Rolling out the iPads
The first day we used the iPads the kids explored how to make things happen. They were quick to figure out tap or swipe, and together we played with the camera, Photo Library, and Pic Collage. After brainstorming a list of class rules, the kids got together and made posters for each rule.
That same week the kids were using Pic Collage to make Digital Family Trees. The kids brought in 3 generations of family pictures (or alternatively drew the pictures) and used the web to find the perfect tree. To see an example and read more please visit our blog! (Thank you Mrs. Regier for this great activity idea!)
Next we will be using Pic Collage to tell a story of our learning following our video conference with the Texas Wildlife Association, BATS- Live and Interactive. We will be video conferencing with Mrs. Regier’s grade 2 class to learn and share together.
Blog Beginnings – Our Busy Bees Blog
Last week was dedicated to setting up our class blog. We uploaded our avatar (the bee), changed the title to Busy Bees, and added our tagline. Below are some of the widgets we decided to include:
Avatar: We are busy bees in grade 2 and we liked the non-fiction image of the bee. (add in Settings)
Archives: This was important so our blog visitors can look back at our past posts. (add in Widgets)
Calendar: We will be learning how to post upcoming events and information for parents. As well, the calendar provides quick access for families to find older blog posts (add in Widgets)
Class Blogs: Adding the class blogs to the front page allows for students and their parents to easily access their child’s learning (add in Widgets)
Search: The search function is helpful when you are looking for something on our blog. (add in Widgets)
Subscribe by Email: Our class wanted to give our readers the option of receiving emails about our learning. (add in Widgets)
Tweets: Stephen Central Grade 2’s are now on twitter! We felt this would be a quick and easy way for us to share our learning and ask questions throughout the day with our grade 2 partners at Seaforth PS. Follow us @busybeesbzzz
(To add this widget, go to https://twitter.com/settings/widgets. Select Create new, complete the form, and then click Create Widget. Copy and paste the text html code. Next, go to your blog widgets. Drag and drop a new “text” widget into the column where you’d like it to appear. Open the new text widget and paste the html twitter code into the widget. Save and close.)
Busy Bees Blog Posts
Before the students begin writing blog posts of their own, we are writing shared posts about our learning every Friday. By writing shared posts for our class blog, I am able to model how to write a blog post, and we are working collaboratively to develop an anchor chart.
Our class is then sharing these posts with Mrs. Regier’s class. Mrs. Regier and I are commenting on each others’ blogs to model what makes a good comment. We will be using these comments as mentor texts to teach our students how to comment on the posts they read. We will also develop an anchor charts to support this process.
Throughout this process my students have been asking a lot of Critical Thinking questions!
1. Who is our audience?
2. What makes a “wow” post?
3. Where should we place our pictures/ videos when we post?
4. When will we get a comment?
5. Why would people want to read our blog?
6. How do we write a post? How do we write a comment? How do we respond to comments?
In our classroom we will be setting up a bulletin board with our Critical Thinking questions. I will share our bulletin board later this week.
Setting up Student Blogs
The kids have practised typing in the URL for their blogs, but now they are logging in using the link I set up in Novell. The first day the students logged in to Edublogs we talked about the Dashboard. I compared the Edublogs dashboard to that of car. The students brainstormed a list of the controls they see on their car dashboards, like temperature, fuel, and music, and then we made connections between their car dashboards and the controls on their Edublogs dashboards. Our discussion helped students understand some of the new terminology associated with beginning a blog.
Here is a list of the steps we followed to set up our blogs:
1. Each time we log in we make sure to start by clicking on “My Sites”. Then we choose the right blog.
2. We changed the title of our blogs and chose our own unique background colours. (Appearance, Themes, Customize)
3. Next we changed our tagline to read, “Learning is . . . ” and each student finished the sentence. (Appearance, Themes, Customize)
4. After returning to our dashboard, the students uploaded their Avatars to their blogs (Settings)
5. Then we talked about our blog widgets, and removed the ones we felt we wouldn’t need (Meta, Categories)
6. Finally we added the widgets we wanted on our site: Search, Global Site Search (allows you to search Edublogs), and Subscribe by Email.
7. We are now getting ready to write our very first blog posts!
We hope you will take some time to visit our class blog! While you’re there, leave us a comment – tell us what you found interesting, and ask us a question. Our classroom is a buzz with learning and we are excited to share with you!
Stephen Central PS, AMDSB