Sunday, July 27, 2014

YAKiT Kids - My new favorite app!

I am having so much fun with this free app, YAKiT!

Just me . . .  having fun!

What makes an 11 year old roll her eyes and glare at her mother? Take her picture and add it to YAKiT! My daughter and her BFF made some fabulous watermelon shaped cookies (as seen on Pinterest), so I snapped a few photos and threw them into YAKiT . . . then, added a high pitched voice (too funny), added animated confetti and last but not least, added some talking bacon! (Would doesn't love talking bacon?!!!)

It was very quick and easy.
The first step is to take a picture. You can pick a photo from the photo album or select a web photo. There is an interesting feature that states students can use advanced filtering to remove adult content, but does not hand-select each image. Worked pretty well.

Step 2: Add a mouth and other fun features.

Step 3: Record the voice over. You can make the voice high, normal or really low!
The recording is only 15 seconds, so students need to be well prepared and have a script ready. (See below for some YAKiT script sheets.)
 If you make a mistake, just re-record or even edit the scene. To add a new scene, just click on the Add Scene button.

The More button allows you to send videos using email, Dropbox, Evernote or various apps you might have on the device.

This is such an engaging app. It is open ended which I love!

A few ways to use YAKiT . . .
  • Take a picture of a science or math tool and have students explain how it is used
  • Book characters telling their story
  • Talking scientist and historian telling their contribution to the world
  • Sequencing events
  • Cause and effect scenarios
Scripting is important before starting an app like this. Remember, students only have 15 seconds of recording. Adding scenes allows you to tell a story. This is a great way to practice fluency. 

Here are a few scripting sheets. Click [here] to download the scripting sheets.

I know the wheels are moving! What ideas do you have for using this app?
Happy creating!

P.S. here are the watermelon cookies my daughter and her BFF made!

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Blog Name

I finally did it!  Changed my blog name! When I started thinking about blogging, I was excited to get a name, a cute blog design and start blogging.

In my zest, I didn't think long term when selecting my blog name. Soooo, when I changed positions last year from a 5th grade teacher to Instructional Technology Specialist . . . the name just didn't fit.

It took me a about a year of tossing names around. Finally, I came up with The Techie Playground!
Honey Bunch Blog Designs had created my original blog design, so I contacted Erika to see if they would help with the name change. Ever so helpful and patient, Erika redesigned the name, my signature and button!

The url will stay the same, but got myself a cool new name!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

6 Words and App Smashing

It's time for a bit of app smashing and a linky with iTeach 1:1!
In app smashing, the key is to make sure to use apps that allow you to save to the camera roll. Saving to the camera roll allows you to post it, send it or share it!

A 6 Word Memoir is one of my favorite writing activities to do at the beginning of the school year. It's a great way to get to know your students.  
I love using task card. They allow students to be more independent when creating their product. 

This task card is for younger students. 
Click on the task cards above to download a copy.

Let's start smashing!
Dragon Dictation is great for your hesitant writers or students that have a hard time typing. Using Dragon allows thoughts to flow without getting bogged down in the typing and spelling.

There are several paint types of apps, but my new favorite is Zoodle Pad!
Use it to paint, draw, or just doodle crazy designs! The very cool part is that you can play it back as a movie.

Some features  . . .

ChatterPix Kids time!
Take the saved graphic and open it into ChatterPix so you can add voice!

Happy app smashing!
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

ABCya - Create!

There are so many facets to this site. For summer school, I was interested in the portions that were part of the creating and printing! I love that you can take these in any direction. The best for a literature connection and a writing prompt!

There are many Paint programs available, but this one has many features! Stickers, stamps, paint brush, pencil, spray can, lines of symmetry . . . I let the kids explore this site. The dinosaur stickers seemed to be a big hit, but it was the picture below that caught my attention. One of the 2nd graders drew the picture. I think she has a career in graphic design!
One of my favorite books is Hooway for Wodney Wat. I was super excited to find Wodney Wats Wobot! It was perfect to use with the Make a Robot site. If you are familiar with Wodney Wat, you know he can't pronounce his R's and gets teased mercilessly. When Wodney must go up against Camilla Capybara again, a talking robot becomes his secret weapon.
Students created their own personal robot and wrote about how their personal robot would help them in their ever day life. (Most had their robot do their homework!)
Skills learned: Manipulate graphics . . . rotate, scale, send to back, and bring to front.
Make a Pizza is a great site for the younger kiddos. It really helped them learn to use the mouse. These kiddos are what I call my swippers! They have learned to swipe iPads and iPhones . . . they have a hard time using a mouse, which they need to be able to use for some of our district assessments.
The Little Red Hen, was the perfect book to go with this site!
Click, hold, drag and drop the sauce and toppings onto the crust . . . put it in the oven and watch it bake! Print and write about your pizza!
Last, but not least . . . Create a Car! I read Ride, Fly Guy, Ride! Fly Guy decides to go on a car ride with his friend Buzz, but ends up on a wild adventure! Students designed a crazy car to take them on their own adventure. Students were then able to print the car and write about the adventure. Bonus:  Start the engine and drive the car!

ABCya Animate is on my list to investigate. Animate and create a .gif!

So . . . in 30 minutes (cuz that's what I had with each class) a literature connection, 
a creation and a story!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday

A Friday during the summer just doesn't have the same feel as a Friday during the school year. I just looked at my calendar . . . why did I look?!!! I officially head back on August 13th, but have several meetings the week before. How did that happen?!!!

1) My friend Roxanna and I met up at Tuk Tuk Tap Room . . . Asian Street Fare to celebrate! We were celebrating the fact that she finished her graduate program in Leadership and me . . .  surviving my first semester in the same program. 
9 grad hours in 5 weeks! Whew! 

2) School supply shopping! Last year, I waited too late for school supplies. My poor daughter got the dregs of the dregs! Not this year! Now, the cute little buckets and bins were not on her school supply list! Just couldn't pass them up! You never know how they can be used . . . QR code task cards maybe?

3) After all the grad school projects . . . it's finally time to get that boat out! Our first trip out . . . my daughter invited 3 friends and fun was had by all! 

4) Fun new coffee cup! We have a yummy juice bar close to my house . . . Revolucion - Coffee & Juice! Next on my list to try - honey lavender latte and coconut blossom sugar latte!

5) Three out of the four books my daughter needs for 6th grade!  We started reading Flipped. I love the fact that she didn't want to stop reading, but she had to head off to a slumber party. (The book hidden in the back is my treat to self!)

Tomorrow, I celebrate 17 years of marriage with my husband!
Have a fabulous Friday and head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see other 5 for Friday posts!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Your Story is Unwritten

I had an opportunity to teach summer school in June and part of July. My position wasn't the "academic" kind . . . I was a technology rotation - students also attended art and movement.  These allowed teachers a 30 minute conference time. Now, let me tell ya! 30 minutes goes by quickly!
I loved the challenge of finding fun things for kinder through ninth graders to do.

Our theme for summer school was . . .
My main goal was to have students tell their story through sites that allowed them to create, not just consume!

Here are some of the sites/apps we used . . . some new . . . some not so new, but definitely fun!

I love this site!  Most were familiar with Wordle, not many students had used Tagxedo for creating word clouds!

After reading, The Crayon Box that Talked, we talked about what made us each unique, things we love and things we like to do. (This is my all time favorite book for the beginning of the school year! See this post for first week of school books.)
I took the opportunity to teach students the shortcuts . . .  Command C and Command V.
I created a step-by-step guide for using Tagxedo. With the final product, some teachers made copies and posted the word clouds outside their classroom while others made a class book. The class book was adorable!

Another book was The Dot! (Great for International Dot Day - Sept. 15, 2014!)  
Augmented Reality!
You need the ColAR Mix app for this activity. Using the ColAR mix coloring pages, students colored their dot with things they like to do and for my kinders . . . their favorite colors! It was so fun to watch the little people look under the iPad for the actual floating spheres! Even better was the confused look when the spheres weren't there!

Build Your Wild Self
The kids had a great time with this site. This is perfect for when you get to animal adaptations and habitats or for creating a character for a story!

After I would read a book, I'd do quick share of the site for the day . . . then say . . . 
"Now tell me your story!"

Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Data Gathering, Sharing & Comparing

Wow. . . May was the last time I posted! Life got a bit crazy . . . we were winding up the end of the school year, I started grad school (2nd Master's - what was I thinking?) and summer school started. Summer school was a ton of fun. I was part of a technology rotation for Kinder through ninth graders. Every 30 minutes I got a new group. We had fun, but that's another post!

Soooo . . . my first post for the summer is Tune into Technology Linky with iTeach 1:1 & Teaching to the Core!

I am a huge fan of Google docs, spreadsheets, presentations and drawing!!!
All our teachers and students have Google accounts. As the Instructional Tech Specialist, I try to promote the these applications. Such a cool collaboration tool!

Sooo, The Lucky Charm Challenge was created. The weekend before Spring Break ended I sent an email to the faculty stating that the first 6 teachers to respond to the email would get a box of Lucky Charms delivered to their classroom on Monday morning. The stipulation was they had to sort, share and compare the data. I set up the Google spreadsheet for each teacher. They just had to input the data and create the graphs. The great thing about Google docs is the ability to share the data with everyone! 

Once each teacher input the data for their class, I shared all the graphs and spreadsheets with the entire campus. I also sent the Data Analysis Sheet out to everyone so any class could go in and compare the data. (Love the "oddly mutant" category)

Data Analysis Part II (A few months later)
Again, promoting Google Spreadsheets, I posted an email asking for teachers willing to participate in the Animal Cracker challenge. This time the major focus was with out kinder campus! Great participation!
 Data recognition sheet!

I always try to find a literature connection . . . this book was perfect!

Love the huge sorting mats the kinder teachers used!

The best part of all of this, are the discussion comparing the data from class to class.
The next step, sharing the data beyond the 4 walls of our school!