Tag Archives: digital tools

4th Grade and Google Draw

I frequently ask teachers what skills or topics I can cover with their students, but I don’t often get a lot of feedback. But, a couple of weeks ago a 4th grade teacher did respond that she needed a digital way for the students to create a ecosystem diagram.  She mentioned that they had worked with Google Docs.  I started looking at Google Drive and spotted Google Draw.  I played around with it, created a drawing and shared it with the teacher and she liked it.  So I started planning on how to teach the students to use it.

Students working on their tablets creating a Google Draw document.

Working in groups of 3 on a Google Draw document.

Google Accounts

Our students have Google Accounts created for them as part of our 1:1 roll out.  That is in theory!  There were  problems with a few accounts that I have to have technology work on, but on the whole it went well.  The teacher that asked me to find the digital product is piloting Google Drive in her classroom for that grade level, so all of her students had already signed into Google Drive-not so for the other 3 classrooms.  That process took 20 plus minutes, which I found out trying to do it in the library.

I had planned on having the students sign in to Google and then go onto working on a Google Draw document, but it took so long for the students to sign in that I decided to go into the other two classrooms before their scheduled library visit.  This worked out more smoothly, as we had only a few problems with students signing in when they came into the library later in the day.

tablet showing a Google Draw document

The Google Draw document in progress.

Tablets showing a Google Draw

A group’s Google Draw created on their 1:1 tablets. They have keyboards and mouses which make using these Dell ProVenue tablets easier.

Created Google Draw

I created a Google Draw document with 3 simple tasks (type in names of the group, include one fact from the online encyclopedia, find an image and put it in the document).  I made copies of the document so that there were enough separate documents that groups of 3 students would be working on a single Draw and it wouldn’t be overwhelming with too many students.  I also shortened the URL for each document and wrote it out on index cards and gave to each small group (3 students).

Draw

This group did a good job, accomplishing all of the requirements!

I learned something along with the students.  The 3rd class I worked with had a few “aha” moments.  One student was a little upset that after he closed out and then went back to Google Drive, he didn’t see the document.  But after I reminded him that I had shared the document with them, he figured out to look under “Shared with Me”.  We “shared” that bit with the rest of the class.

It was fun to see how excited some of the students were , though some were less excited after I told them to stop using the “Comment” feature as a text messaging app!

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4th Grade and World Book Online Timelines

Last week I asked the 4th grade chair what skills that they might want me to cover over the next couple of weeks.  She mentioned that she needed the students to complete a timeline of events leading up to the Revolutionary War.  In the back of my mind I remembered something about timelines on World Book Online and when I checked there is a very easy to use timeline generator.

First Create Student Accounts in World Book Online

First I had to have each student create an individual account in World Book Online, which was easy but time consuming for 4th grade students.  This took about 15-20 minutes by the time everyone gets their tablets up and running, logged on, connected to the internet, keyboards plugged in, blah, blah, blah!  For 2 classes I went into the classroom and used the interactive board to demonstrate how to fill in the blanks and the students followed along.  I did it in the library for the other 2 classes and think it worked better in the classroom, partly because it is a smaller space and I could get around to help the students more easily.

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Searching for events in World Book.  Students used their Dell ProVenue tablets, with keyboards and mouses.

 

 

student using tablet to create timeline in World Book Online.

Searching and saving images to add to an event on the timeline.

Creating a Timeline Is Fun and Easy

After they had their accounts, I demonstrated how to use the World Book Timeline.  It is easy to search the encyclopedia’s content for events and add them to a timeline, but it also very easy to create your own event.  I showed them how to add images and edit any event.  They really enjoyed it and I think the previous experience they have gained throughout the year making PowerPoints and Prezis in the library (saving images, finding out how to ascertain the owner of the image’s rights, etc) paid off by increasing their skill in navigating this digital tool.

World Book Online Timeline is Versatile

This timeline generator is so versatile in that you can take advantage of the massive amount of data in the encyclopedia, but you can also use your own content to create timelines.  I showed them how to print the timelines, but I guess I’m a little disappointed that there is no way to share the timelines (sharing links, emailing links, etc.).  But, I understand as this tool is only available to subscribers and they need to protect their product.  I will definitely being sharing this to other grade levels (probably just 3rd and 5th grades).

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Creating with FlipSnack: Adding Tools to the Digital Toolbelt

One of our 3rd grade teachers asked me to work with several of her students to create some digital project using the drawings they had made about the habitats of Georgia (which covers the Georgia Performance Science Standard – S3L1. Students will investigate the habitats of different organisms and the dependence of organisms on their habitat. a. Differentiate between habitats of Georgia (mountains, marsh/swamp, coast, Piedmont, Atlantic Ocean) and the organisms that live there). The students had created drawings of the Georgia regions and written text on each and the teacher just wanted them to use some digital tool to put it all together.

FlipSnack

I have worked on projects like this before (student created drawings with text) and used Windows Movie Maker.  This time I decided to use FlipSnack.  So far I have worked with three students (who are all in the gifted program) and they caught on very quickly to using FlipSnack.  Working with each student individually, I had them start by taking photographs of their drawings.  We copied them to a desktop folder and I showed them how to upload each photo.  I helped them add pages and add their photo.  I showed them how to add an audio component to each page.  We did one or two together and then I left them on their own.  They got the hang of it pretty quickly.  The students listened to their recordings and noticed if they needed to re-record if they left out something or made an error in reading their text.

3rd grade student recording audio for their Flipsnack.

3rd grade students recording audio for their Flipsnack.

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Sharing Their Digital Projects

I emailed the FlipSnacks links to the teacher so the whole class can view the project.  She can forward the link to parents so they can also share the experience.  I think I have created 3 FlipSnack experts so far and hope they will share their excitement and knowledge with their classmates. so that they have an additional digital tool in their digital toolbelt.

Here are links to the 3 stories they created (I have the free version of FlipSnack, so no embedding capabilities).

http://kmliebert.flipsnackedu.com/browse/fu90o33u

http://kmliebert.flipsnackedu.com/browse/fumyv55k

http://kmliebert.flipsnackedu.com/browse/fzh82kk7

 

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Students use variety of digital tools

Our school is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and so our 5th grade students participate in a research project that’s called an Exhibition.  This year our Exhibition was scaled way back as our IB coordinator had to take over a 5th grade class when the teacher left in early spring due to medical issues.  The students had chosen the topic, homelessness, and had conducted some research on the topic, but things sort of ground to a halt.

IB PYP Exhibition

After conducting research on a real world topic, students are supposed to take action.  That’s the part we weren’t able to pull off, but I worked with small groups from 3 classes and helped the students figure out ways to present the information they had gathered.   This year I did not have as much time to work with the students in small groups, as I was doing most of it myself.  In past years we had the IB coordinator to help organize and also work with the students, but she was busy being a classroom teacher!  The students used a variety of digital tools and I was finally able to get a new one, Present.me, to work.

Digital Tools: PowerPoint & Windows Movie Maker

One group that I helped did a tried and true format, PowerPoint.  I try and get the students to think beyond PowerPoint as it is important to have more than one tool in your digital tool belt!  Two of the groups used Windows Movie Maker, which they had little or no experience with. Together we put together videos using video clips (filmed using a Flip camera…still love our Flips).

Web-based Tools: Prezi, Flipgrid & Present.me

The other groups used web-based digital tools, two of which were brand new to all of the students.  Two groups used Prezi to present their research, gathering photos from the web and inserting recordings we made.  I taught these students how to create Prezis as 3rd and 4th graders, so most of them had some basic skills with this tool. Prezi is so versatile and the students can fairly easily create a slick presentation.

The two new tools that students used were Flipgrid and Present.me.  I first learned of Flipgrid (http://flipgrid.com/info/) from Andy Plemmon’s blog (http://expectmiraculous.com/) and  I decided it was worth the $65 a year subscription. I used Flipgrid with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students earlier this school year, so offered it as an option for the 5th grade students.  The only downside to Flipgrid is that viewers can click on any student’s response in any order, so information cannot be presented in a strictly linear manner.  The students had to rewrite some of their information so that it was not dependent on a previous student’s presentation.

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students

https://flipgrid.com/#8ecb5ece

Last year I tried desperately to make Present.me (https://present.me/content/) work.  I could get it to work at home, but something in the school’s web filter was blocking the video from uploading.  But this year, we (teachers and me) got new laptops and EUREKA!  I was able to make Present.me work.  I had used Present.me with two groups of 3rd grade students earlier this year, so I had figured out some things that work when using this tool with groups of students.  Only downside to Present.me is that you are limited to creating 3 presentations a month.

Present.me presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students

Present.me presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students

https://present.me/embed/922/400/283548-homelessness-stripling-2

I like sending 5th graders off to middle school with a couple of cool digital tools in their technology tool belts.  So when a teacher next year says they have to make a PowerPoint, I hope they’ll ask, “May we make a Prezi (or a movie or Present.me or a Flipgrid) instead?”

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