No Name Tags on Desks

No NameTags... SAY WHAT?!  

Every year I used to buy the name tags with printed lines and I would neatly write my student's first and last names, then write their number on a colored circle sticker label, lick and stick them to every name tag, then laminate, and cut them all out, and it took tons of time and cost $. I started thinking the only reason I use name tags is so I know whose desk is whose. 

Name tags have always bothered me because kids pick at them, remove them, move them around on their desks, lose them, and when we clean our desks they are in the way.  No more name tags means I just write student's names on the desk with a Sharpie.  

I have been name tag FREE for 3 years now and I love it. I have to write them on about mid year again and if we give out desks a super good cleaning I write them on again but it is super fast and so much nicer than name tags. I will never go back to name tags again.

Time and $$$$ saved!!

End of the Year Googly Eyes Project

The school year is quickly coming to an end and I'm super excited I found this googly eyes app to make a fun end of the year project. "Eye" am looking forward to summer or A Day at the Beach.

So download the Eyebomb it app and follow along with the step by step instructions below.

I chose to do the project in 4 steps and save the picture each time to reuse as the background image. It is because I used multiple pictures in the project. It is a lot to handle moving around if you have photos, eyes, speech bubbles, and text. It will be easier for younger students especially. If you are only going to use one or two photos you might be fine doing it all without saving multiple times.

Step 1. Find Photos for your project
I like to use the Free PNG website to get photos with the backgrounds erased because they are nice for layering and just make cool projects. I just search some summer type items on the site, like water, ice cream, umbrella, etc. You can also use your own photos that aren't .png files. Sometimes I even just find an airdrop photos to my students to save them time looking for photos. Make sure you save the photos you want to use in your camera roll. 

Open your eye bomb it app and follow along.

Step 2: Choose Background Style (horizontal or vertical) and Color 

Step 3: Add photos.
You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the photos box that is on the Eyebomb It App.

Step 4: Add a Title to the Project.

When adding any text to this project you cannot fix it without typing it all over again. This is important to tell your students so they have things spelled correctly. They can delete it if it is wrong but then they have to retype it to add it again. There is no simple edit that I can find.

Step 5: Save the Photo to your Camera Roll.

Step 6: Load the Photos Back into the app.

Step 7: Add your googly eyes.

Step 8: Save the Photo to your Camera Roll.

Step 9: Load the Photos Back into the app.

Step 10: Change Speech Bubble Color

Step 11: Add Speech Bubbles

Step 12: Reload Photo and Add Text.

When adding text to your speech bubbles the smallest size font works best to get the size you want. You also need to remember to return after a few words so your text fits in the box. You cannot fix the text without retyping it all again.

Step 13: Save Your Finished Product


Creativity is endless with this app. You can make tons of cool projects.

*Use a topic of study such as space and planets and have your planets tell facts about themselves. *How about adding eyes to a book and doing a book summary.
*You could even add a project into the app Chatterpix and read and record what you wrote in the speech bubbles.

I can't wait to see what cool projects you come up with. Be sure to share.

Making Words with Pic Collage

Do you do making words with your students? You will want to check out this post to see how to do it digitally with the Pic Collage Kids app.

During my Guided Reading Group time I do a guided making words with my students. I follow the book Making Words by Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall.  If you go to the link you can check out the pages inside the book. We have been using word cards for Making Words but now we like the ease of doing it on Pic Collage. It saves lots of time getting word cards out and putting them away.

The book Making Words is packed with tons of lessons to make words. Maybe your students need a boost or more practice with certain vowel patterns or blends. Making words is great for this. Each lesson has letters at the top of the page that you give to your students.  Students type and arrange the letters in the boxes on the background of their Pic Collage and then drag them to the bottom of their iPad to form the word with the teacher's directions.

An example of how this works is you would tell the students to type all the letters you need to make the big word that they will make at the end of the lesson. For example. If you have the word alligator. You would have your kids type a, a, i, o, g, l, l, r, t. The order is given to them with all vowels first in abc order, then all the consonants in abc order.

Then you give the students directions to make words. Use four letters and make the word tail. Change one letter and make the word rail.  The book has lots of words and a progression of how it works.  

After a word is made you can use the recording sheets and write the word you made onto your paper. Keep adding words until the lesson is over. (You can also use regular notebook paper for this too.)  If students are having trouble making a word have them stretch it slowly with their finger under the letters to see if it matches with the sounds they are saying. Once all the words on the list are made students need to use all the letters to make a big word. They can not shout out the word they have to make it and then they can share it with the group. This is a challenging and brain growing activity. It really makes them think and try lot of combinations to figure out the big word. 

Making Words is a very meaningful way to work on phonics skills in any guided reading lesson. My students learn so much from this. There is also a Making Big Words Book to make it more challenging for the older or better students who still need practice. 

Here are the templates so you can do your own digital Pic Collage Making Words 
Below is the video with step by step directions so that you can use your templates for making words on Pic Collage App.

This post contains affiliate links to the books on Amazon.

Stop Motion with Pic Collage

This project will use Pic Collage Kids App  and Slideshow Studio to make a simple stop motion project. Since it is so close to Easter this project has an Easter theme but you could to it with any theme you want.

Have you always wanted to try stop motion in your classroom but a little nervous? This simple project will be a great way to start. Stop motion is a series of pictures that are strung together to make a movie and my students love making them. You can use legos, paper, digital photos, and more to make a stop motion project.

Here's what you will need to make this stop motion project. Just follow these 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Find photos using the free png website. You will want to download all the photos from the site that you want to use in your project. You will also want to find some cool patterned paper and screen shot it so you can cut eggs out of it.

Note: If this free png site happens to be blocked at your school you could save the pictures for your students in google drive or dropbox and then airdrop them to your students. I always turn the photo search off in the settings of Pic collage Kids App. The photos searched in the app Pic CollageKids don't go through our school's filter so our school requires us to do that.

Step 2: Use the Pic Collage App to make your scene and take your photos. Add all the photos you want into a Pic Collage free style page including the scrapbook paper photos. Use the digital scrapbook paper to cut out your eggs. You can do this by double tapping the photo paper picture and then tapping the clip tool that looks like a scissors. When you do this some shapes will appear at the bottom of your screen. Tap the egg shape and then the checkmark and you have an egg. Continue to do this until you have all the eggs you want. When you have your scene how you want it save a photo to your camera roll, next move your rabbit a little, and then save another photo to your camera roll. Continue doing this until you have a series of photos. (This is demonstrated in the You Tube link at the end of the post.) TIP: The stop motion project looks really nice if you chose a square shape for your size to create your project.

Step 3: Add your photos to the app Slideshow Studio and create your stop motion project. The app even has some nice music choices. I love that you can set the app to make all the slides a small amount of time and select no transitions in one simple step. If you want to speed up your project and make it even more smooth you could add it to iMovie and speed it up. See the video below to see how to add your photos and change settings in the Slideshow app. You may even have your own stop motion app that you can add your photos too. For most apps this is a paid feature so that is why I chose to use Slideshow Studio since it is free.

I hope you have fun making this simple stop motion project. To see the project demonstrated check out the video below to see step by step directions.

Green Screen in the Classroom: Getting Started

Green Screen can be used in any classroom. All you need is a few simple things to get started.
I have been using Green Screen in the elementary classroom with my students for the past 6 years or more. When I first used green screen in my classroom I used the program iMovie on the computer. I had to do most of the work putting it together and now my students use iPads and they can do everything themselves.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about getting started using Green Screen on iPads in the classroom.

Here are the 4 THINGS YOU WILL NEED to get ready.

1. An App that Creates Green Screen Projects
To get started you will need an app to create your Green Screen project. We use the app Green Screen by Doink It is the easiest app for elementary students that I have found and is well worth the $2.99. I have tried other more complicated apps that are also paid and this one is by far simple enough for even lower elementary students. (I don't receive any compensation from Doink for this post. I just absolutely love their app.)

2. A Green Background
A green background can be created out of anything from a large piece of green fabric to a small piece of cardboard painted green.  To start out in my classroom I bought an actual green screen cloth that was 19.99. (This is pictured in the bottom left draped over a table and stool.) It is great to hang up behind students to film 2 or 3 at a time. I hang it from out magnetic whiteboard with strong magnets. I bought mine at a local ACE Hardware store but they are similar to the link posted. I don't hook the cloth on them I just place the magnets on top of the cloth so they hold up the fabric on the whiteboard. We have used this green cloth for many years and it has held up really well and is still like new. Some people use large pieces of felt fabric from fabric stores because it doesn't wrinkle as much. Green bulletin board paper is another thing that can be used. Green plastic table cloths work well and are a very inexpensive option.  I also like to use green tri-fold science boards because they are easy to store since they fold up flat. (shown in top right corner) I also painted pizza boxes that were donated by Pizza Hut and they work well for filming smaller objects. The paint I used is called Luscious Green by Clark and Kensington. There are other colors that work well too. I took my phone to the paint store and tried out the app on the paint strips to find a color to use. You can even use green playdough. Get creative and look around for things you already have that are green. Actually with the Doink App you can use any color as your background color but I have found that the colors green and blue are the best colors to use.

3. An Idea
This is probably the most important part of your project. What do you want to make for your green screen project? Do you want to have a little puppet show, explain a math problem, travel to a place around the world, or recite a poem.  The ideas are endless. When you are thinking of your ideas you will want to think of what you will have for your background photo or video. Check out the video of students reciting a poem about books and they just use a photo of books for the background. Here is another simple project of students explaining a math problem and they used a picture with numbers in the background. Math Problem Explanation Green Screen, (number photo credit) A great place to get pictures to use in your projects is Photos for Class  or Picts 4 Learning. Another way to get background video or photos is to film or take your own. In this video about Force students filmed their own video footage for the background and then told the information they learned about force in the layer on top of it.

4. Stand or Tripod (optional)
Once you have the first 2 things things you are ready to create your own production. I highly recommend getting some type of tripod or stand. My favorite tripod mount to hold our iPads is the Grifti Nootle and any tripod works well with them. We use these 50 inch pro tripods because they are inexpensive. I bought 3 sets because we usually make films with the whole class at once divided into groups. One stand and tripod would definitely be all you would need for a classroom. A stand is not necessary as you can see in the bottom right it is just a child holding the iPad. It is super hard to get it still for filming but can be done until you can afford to get stands. (The sample math problem video  that I talked about earlier is filmed by a student holding the iPad so you can see how it moves around a little.) Also the top right photo shows the first holder (white) I got for iPads. I don't like it near as much as the Nootle one and it cost me more. We have also used iPad stands from the store Five Below and set them on a table of floor. They work well for filming smaller objects.

I hope you have everything you need to get started using iPads and I will share how to make your first Green Screen Project in my next blog post.

*This post contains some affiliate amazon links to products.

Digital Citizen Tips for the Elementary Classroom

Digital Learning Day is almost here and there's no better time to review Digital Citizenship. Keep reading to find FREE ideas to promote Digital Citizenship in your elementary classroom.

I always like to start a discussion with my classroom when introducing Digital Citizenship. I ask them what kinds of devices, games, and social media they are using at home that require access to the internet. I type a list on my computer that is projected on the wall for the students to see.

I am always surprised that even though I teach second grade my students are using all kind of social media like Snapchat, Twitter, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Instagram, and more. Lots of students also use YouTube, Netflix, and Google Searches. They usually mention many video game devices like Play Station, Wii, and Xbox and other networked games like Growtopia and Minecraft.

After we discuss all the types of digital devices and social media they are using we start to talk about using it safely. I love the freebie on Internet Safety from Brainpop Junior. It is especially appropriate for elementary students and always creates lots more great discussions.

I also recently came across another great free resource for Digital Citizenship. Common Sense Media. There are free posters to access here. Also another very age appropriate video for elementary students called Pause and Think Online

Be sure to download my Digital Citizen Brag Tag FREEBIE. You can print them off to give your students once they have learned all about how to be a good Digital Citizen. You can also check out all my iPad lessons here which would also be a great addition to your Digital Learning Day activities.

I hope you found some ideas to help you infuse digital citizenship into any online lessons. I've linked up with 5 other incredible technology-integrating educators from the Tech with Us Facebook Community to share more digital citizenship lessons and ideas in honor of Digital Learning Day on February 23rd. While the obvious goal of Digital Learning Day is to see digital learning find a place in schools all year long, it is also the perfect time to revisit digital citizenship a second time if you haven't yet this year.    

Click the links to learn more tips, ideas, and lessons for teaching digital citizenship on Digital Learning Day and beyond!

Augmented Reality ABC App Ideas

AR Flashcards Animal Alphabet is a FREE app that includes animals for every letter of the alphabet. Use the app to learn your alphabet or take it to a whole new level and app smash with other apps to teach students of all ages. Students get so excited when they scan their card and their animal comes to life.

This app doesn't have to be about learning your ABC's especially if you teach older grades. Try using it in other creative ways and app smash with other apps. As you scan the animal there is photo option that comes up on your card and you can take a picture of your animal.  Use this photo in your app smash.

Here are 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing...

1. Research your animal and record what you learned.
2. Make a little story about your animal.
3. Write a poem about your animal.
4. Think of verbs to describe your animals actions.
5. Make an ABC Book using all the animal photos writing sentences about each one.
6. Practice writing a paragraph that includes a little adventure about a couple of the animals.
7. Sort you animals according to science characteristics. Explain
8. Make up some math story problems about your animal.
9. Tell why your animal would be a great pet. Persuade your parents to let you get one.
10. Find out what your animal father, mother, and baby are called. Do this with other animals too.

Here is a sample (photo on left) of what we did with our animals in our second grade classroom. We made alliteration sentences for each animal photo.  The sample (photo on right) shows a fifth grade student's work. They went into even deeper details to explain simile, alliteration, idiom, and personification. We used Pic Collage Kids app to smash our projects. So download the app. Visit the site AR to print your flash cards and have some fun being creative with Augmented Reality and app smashing. You will notice in the sample projects that we used black and white printed cards.

(Note: They suggest printing your cards in color. I have had great success printing them in black and white too, as long as it is the original sent to the printer and not a copy.)

You can also check out AR Flashcards Space FREE where you could take pictures of the planets and app smash with planet research.

Check out more iPad Lesson ideas here

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