Friday, February 22, 2013

Techie Thursday (delayed): AppsGoneFree

I'm a little late on my Techie Thursday but was so excited about this find that I couldn't wait until next week.  So without further adieu here it is.   Have you heard of AppsGoneFree?  This awesome little app gives you a DAILY list of what paid apps are on special for FREE!

Unlike AppGratis or other ones of it's kind, AppsGoneFree will list more than one app.  As of today, there were 11 apps that were listed for free.  You can also look at past dates and see what apps were free and if they are still available for free, you find that out as well.  

The apps range from educational to art to productivity.  For example, today I was able to download Fiete, which is an interactive picture book that helps children work on their fine motor skills.  Perfect for my 19 month old WHO loves fooling around with the iPad. 

For my students in 5th grade, I downloaded Mozaikr, which will allow them to create mosaics from their photos.  This should be fun to use in art class - not quite sure what I'll do with it but hey I couldn't pass it up. 

It's definitely worth having the notifications sent to you on a daily basis as you never know what will come up.  

Have you ever heard of Apps Gone Free?  What is the best paid App you ever got for free?  What app do you think I should be on the look out for?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

QR Code Hunt with a Valentine's Day Theme

Last year around Easter I did an activity with my students in which they had to solve riddles that would lead them to an activity they had to complete.  The riddles would bring them to another part of the school (usually another teacher) and they would receive a plastic egg that would either contain the activity or would contain the name of the activity and they would get the sheet they needed from me when they returned.  Once they complete it and I checked it over, I would give them another riddle and off they would go.  The winning team was that who solved all the riddles first and completed all the activities correctly.

Multi-colored QR Codes
My students absolutely LOVED it!  However, since this year I'll actually be on maternity leave during Easter (only 3 more weeks before my due date!!!) I wanted to do something similar with my current class.  And of course, since we are addicted to QR Codes in my classroom right now, I knew I wanted to involve those as well.  So, in honor of Valentine's Day my students completed The Valentine's Day QR Code Hunt.

First, I created eight sets of QR codes using so I could make them in different colors.  Each QR Code was encrypted with a riddle that would lead the students to another teacher or faculty member at the school.  After I created the QR Codes, I printed out enough of each one for my students and visited each staff member to give them a copy of the QR code and the activity they would give my student.  It was important that I gave the other teachers a copy of the QR Code that would lead the students to them so they could make sure it was the correct color.  If a student arrived with a QR Code with a different color, the teacher would send them on their way because they solved the riddle wrong.  (It did happen a few times.) 

I started the hunt out by giving my students the following sheet.  It explained what they would be doing, gave them a hint as to what the activities were and finally a place to put the QR Codes after they had solved each riddle.  This also helped me because when a student completed an activity, they would bring it up to me, I would QUICKLY check it and if all was done to my expectations, I would give them a new QR Code.  I could easily scan what QR Codes they had already been given because they were all in different colors. 

This allowed me to randomly hand out the QR Codes so my students weren't all going to the same teacher at the same time.   Now regarding the activities that the students were completing they all contained the same theme of Valentine's Day.  I mixed together puzzles with math and language arts.  And the best part about all of them - they were FREE!!  (Not signed up for TpT??? - what are you waiting for - click here to do so now and find out what you've been missing!) I was able to download all the activities off Teachers Pay Teachers without spending a dime.  However, I did make sure that I went back and left feedback thanking each of the teachers for putting in their time and effort in creating the products and listing them for free.  Here is a list of the activities I used. 

  1. Valentine Mystery Word Search
  2. Hink Pink - Valentine's Day Themed
  3. Valentine's Day Tangram
  4. Valentine's Day Wordplay Activities
  5. Valentine's Day Multiplication Math with QR Codes (this one is my own creation) :-)
  6. Valentine's Day Wordsearch
  7. Valentine's Day Acrostic Poem
  8. Valentine's Day Budget Activity
This type of hunt could be done at anytime of the year or for any holiday.  It took me less than 20 minutes to get it all set-up (as a matter of fact I did it that morning).   It kept the students engaged for a couple of hours while still having them learn.  A win-win for us all in my book!

What did you do for Valentine's Day? Have you ever done a hunt like this before with your kids?

Check out more QR Code activities here - my collection of Task Cards

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quadrilateral project with the Geoboard app (and a AWESOME Giveaway!)

In math class my students are learning how to identify different types of quadrilaterals and the characteristics that make them all up.  In order to assist them, I created this little handout which they put in their math notebook so they have an easy reference.

Since we have the iPads, I also created a little Quadrilateral booklet project for them to work on.  The project requires the students to create the shapes using the Geoboard app AND be able to identify these shapes in real life and explain how they are use. The students were thrilled to be able to play with the Geoboard app as we've had it on our iPads for sometime but never used it.  Just like if they were using real Geoboards, they have the ability to pick different color rubber bands but unlike the real Geoboards they can also fill in their shapes.  Best part about this's FREE!

The possibilities for using it are practically endless!  Students can represents fractions, figure out area and perimeter, and so on.  It's really easy to use too.  A win win all around. 

You can get a copy of both my free handout and booklet project at my store.  Hopefully your students will enjoy it as much as mine are!

Also, in case you haven't heard or seen it already, my friend, Krystal Mills, over at Lessons from the Middle is having her First Bloggy Birthday!  A bunch of us fellow bloggers got together and donated TONS of products for her to give away ranging in all grade levels.  Head over and enter to win some awesome prize packs whose total worth IS $500!
And don't forget to download the Geoboard App for some virtual rubberband fun! ;-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Techie Thursday: MyHomework App

As my 5th grade class continues the pilot program for the 1:1 iPads which will be in place school-wide next year, we also continue the search for a great homework app.  Of course, each student at my school is provided with an agenda book where they can write out by hand what their homework assignment is.  There are of course pros and cons to this.  In my classroom, I'm all about accountability and responsibility.  So my philosophy was always that the students are RESPONSIBLE to write their homework down.  Of course, as teachers we know that as wonderful of a philosophy that might be, it doesn't always happen.  Which then leads to issues of parents not know what the assignments are, which leads to parent/teacher conferences to try and solve the problem which leads to me having to potentially check EVERY single agenda to make sure students have written down their assignments.  And I'll be honest.....that's just not going to happen. efforts to save time for us all, still make my students accountable but even more importantly inform parents of what assignments are so they can be sure to provide the support needed at home, I searched out apps for students to record their assignments.  The first app we tested out was called iHomework.  It was nice and had many cool features but I found that it was unreliable at best and didn't work for what I needed.  Many times it would force close, didn't provide a link to parents, tended to confuse students on how to enter in assignments and on top of it all, cost $1.99 per iPad (of course you could get the educator discount if you bought 20 or more of it).  Don't get me wrong - this is probably a perfect app for a high school students or even college students but for 3rd - 8th grade it didn't cut it. However, it may be perfect for some.

So while my students had the option between using the iHomework app or using the traditional paper/pencil agenda, I continued to look.  After doing some research I came across MyHomework.  The app itself is free (however I think if you load it onto a computer it costs money).  The app itself requires students to create a personal login and password (unlike iHomework).  It does request that the students are 13 or older but with parent permission that isn't a problem.  Students have the ability to create different classes (which is great for middle school students) and can enter in Lessons, Assignments and Tests.  They can also download this app onto several devices and it will seamlessly sync between all of them which is what iHomework lacked.  With this ability, my students' parents load the app onto their smartphone or device and login using their child's information.  This way they can see what the assignments are and when they are due.  However, this is only TRUE if the student is recording all the assignments down. 

This is where this app gets EVEN better!  There is also a teacher component available as well (FREE).  As a teacher, I can go in and create my class(es) and add in assignments, lessons, tests, announcements, syllabi, etc.  Students can then search for me and "JOIN" my class.  Instantly providing them with all the information I'm inputting.  When I first signed up for this resource, I still made it the responsibility of the student to input their assignments in.  But I found time and time again that a couple of my students just would not enter them all in.  Which resulted in their parents still not knowing what was due and a lot of incompletes and zeros.  I have since started to input my assignments in daily (it takes me less than 3 minutes!) and still makes my kids accountable for actually doing the work.  Because when it comes down to it, I'd rather them be completing the work instead of just writing it in their agenda.  Again, my students' parents see everything I'm putting in because they either are signed in as their child on their device or they created their own account and "joined" my class.  How awesome is that?!?!

What the students see on their iPads

And again, the best part about this app and all it's fabulous features - it's F-R-E-E!!!  You can't get better than that. :-)

So don't waste anytime - check it out.  (And no - I don't get royalties.....though I should! haha)

Here are the two links you need:

Student Login:
Teacher Login:

When you sign up as a teacher, you need to first input your email and you'll receive an "invitation" via email.  I'm not quite sure why the developer went that route but I found that I received my invitation in a matter of hours of requesting it.  Students can sign up immediately. 

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Catholic School's Week - Over and Done

Last week we celebrated Catholic School's Week at our small but awesome school.  Each day had a different theme that we focused on.

Monday was Jeans for Jesus Day.  Students were allowed to wear jeans instead of their traditional uniform and school t-shirt.  If students chose to participate they brought a $1 which we donated to the Missionary Childhood Association

Tuesday was Service Day which is where each classroom focused their activities for the day around their Service Learning Project.  In case you missed my post last year on our Service Learning, you can see it here

Wednesday was Career Day and each teacher arranged to have parents or alumni come and talk to the students about their jobs.  Students also got to dress up like their future profession and explain to the class what that was.

Thursday was Holy Men and Women Day.  Students chose either a biblical character or a Saint to dress up as.  Or they could just bring something to symbolize that person.  The students spoke to the class about who they chose and why.

And finally, Friday was our mass celebration where the entire school went to church.

Overall, it's a fun (but exhausting week) for all involved.  In addition to the daily activities, each teacher also had to complete two extra projects with their class.  One was to lead our classes in writing a letter to their parents thanking them for the sacrifices they make to send their child to a private school.  Most of the classes just wrote handwritten thank you letters for their parents.  But since my kids and I am addicted to QR Codes, we incorporated that into our cards.  First, students had to write a rough draft of the letter they wanted to give their parents.  After I reviewed their draft, students used the App "Show Me" on their iPad to record an audio of their letter to their parents.  Here is an example of one that my students completed:

After students completed their audio video, they then went to QRStuff to create the QR Code they would put into the thank you card they made.  The QR Code was linked to the web address that their video was hosted on.  They then copy and pasted that QR Code into the thank you card template we created in Pages.  The front of the card had the words "Thank you" and a picture of the student and inside the card was the QR Code with a message to scan it with their smartphone (or their child's iPad) to see a video.  The kids really enjoyed the whole process. One of my students compared it to the greeting cards you can buy at the store and record a message inside it.  They are exactly right - except this card is hand created saving you about $6! :-)

In addition, they learned how to create the same codes I was creating for their math videos.  One students even took this learning experience and applied it to their Science Fair project which they presented this week.  On their presentation board they put a QR Code which when scanned showed them actually conducting the experiment.  How clever!!

Front Side of Card

Inside of Card
The other project each class had to complete was an art project.  The only guidelines that we were given was it had to tie into Religion.  The project I chose could be used with ANY topic and the students were really proud of their final product.  I found and printed out an outline of a cross with a dove that the students had to cut out.  Next, they were given a piece of white construction paper and were instructed to paint it with their watercolors.  While the watercolors were wet, they then sprinkled salt over it to produce a unique look.  I was really happy with how they turned out.  Here's some examples:

We had a great week but I'll admit it's nice to be back into our regular routine.

Do you celebrate Catholic School's Week?  If so, what did you do?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday - TpT Sale!!

This upcoming Sunday is going to be packed with three of my favorite things!  Food (especially that I'm almost 9 months pregnant!), Football and an AMAZING SALE!  And guess what, my entire store will be 28% off!!  Just use the promotion code "Super" when checking out.

If you haven't visited my store in awhile, be sure to check out all the new things I've been creating and listing.  I have tons of QR Math Task Codes ranging from identifying the states all the way to converting improper fractions to mixed numbers.  Additionally, I have a bundle pack of telling time QR codes.  And I plan on adding more before Sunday!  What would you like to see?

Also, I have tons of resource posters available for your classroom ranging from Reading Strategies to Math Keywords.

Be sure to check it all out on Sunday! 

Can't wait till Sunday???  My store will be 20% off beginning on Saturday.  Enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...