In my last post, I shared TeachThought’s Six Digital Tools. I decided to try one of them even though it is the end of the year.

I am reading Wringer by Jerry Spinelli aloud to my class. We are about 50% of the way through the book. I wanted to stop and see what they were thinking and to find out what some of their predictions were. I thought this app, Recap, would be great for that.

Recap lets you record a video so I could have read a section of the text or done something else to set up these questions, but this time I didn’t do that.

My students’ laptops are four years old which may not sound too bad, but they are limping to the end of the year. What this means is that activating the camera and the microphone often resulted in errors or long wait times. Recap is an app so recording on an iPad would most likely be much faster. Even so, about ten of my kids persevered and finished recording all five questions.

A student can join a class using just the class PIN or via Google. We use Google so we signed up that way and then added the class PIN to access the assignment. That part was smooth. Creating the assignment was very easy as well.

A student can listen to their recording and decide it is fine or decide to re-record it. If they are happy with it, they click on next. A red bar moves across the top of the screen and then the next question pops up.

There are a couple of features I really like. One is a share feature which allows you to email the student or anyone else with the video or you can get a weblink. And the other feature is called a Daily Recap which combines some responses. I have a few links I will post so you can see what it looks like.

Student One

Student Two

Daily Recap

A blog post about Recap

Formative Assessment Tools That Really Work

One of my favorite tools to use to assess what kids know in science is Padlet. I also really like the 3-2-1 format. Combine those with Google Draw and the results are pretty amazing. I can tell at a glance who gets what and who doesn’t quite grasp the concepts. Padlet lets you edit the post, too. Getting a shareable link is a snap in Padlet. (I remember when it was Wall Wisher.) It is very easy to use.

Today we watched a lesson on atmospheric pressure using Nearpod. Afterward, the kids were to complete a 3-2-1 (3 vocabulary words, 2 facts, 1 drawing) to show something they learned. I have the kids snip their Google drawing but you can actually download it as a jpeg. We have a few hiccups with picture sizes but otherwise, I like what they were able to do. Many are not yet finished but this gives you an idea.

WellCon–Presentations on Wellness

We have this great short unit in reading where the kids research a topic concerning wellness. They start out learning general information and then narrow their focus as they learn more. We use this unit to reinforce Webb’s Depth of Knowledge question levels.

This year we decided to showcase the learning with a conference-type activity that we call Wellcon. Tomorrow is the big day where one or two presentations from each of our classes will be shown to all fifth graders in a common venue.

The class has seen all groups’ presentations and voted on the one to represent the class. After Wellcon, another class will come and view our projects and we will view theirs.

My students used freemium versions of Biteable, Powtoon, and Thinglink. They used Google Slides and Poll Everywhere too.

Some of these need some proofreading. Also, because they were created with free versions, they can’t be downloaded or shared in certain ways. We also ran into some access issues so if you aren’t allowed to view it, I apologize.

Project 1

Project 3

Project 4

Project 5

Project 6

Project 7

Project 8

Project 9

Stop Motion Animation as an Assessment Tool

It has been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog. The kids have been using technology but not near as many programs and apps as classes in the past. Part of that is because of what they need and part of that is me deciding which ones really do the job and which ones aren’t worth it.

One tool I like to use is the Stop Motion app on the iPad. For this unit in science, I ask the students to create a Stop Motion video that explains a sea breeze, a land breeze, or a convection current.  I could have easily asked them to show the water cycle or to explain uneven heating of the Earth, too.

Here is a video created by some of my students this year. Keep in mind that they are fifth graders just learning about these concepts and all of the vocabulary may not be just right. For example, they say the molecules are heavier instead of denser. I will work with them on that.

I think you might find this an effective tool to use to assess your students either formatively or even as a summative assessment on a concept. It has the visual and the verbal aspects to it.



Prisma Follow-Up

I did use this filter app with my students and they were able to easily select something they felt reflected their personalities. I printed the filtered pictures out and posted them on the outsides of the classroom doors. Other students from other classes still stop by to look at and comment on the pictures. I love this app and will use it again.

Dirpy–From Streaming to Download

From time to time I get emails from PBS and they are always filled with great resources. I just received an email and in it was this link to how-to videos about various digital tools. That in and of itself is a great post, but I want to talk about Dirpy, one of the digital tools listed.

The video from the PBS link is very good and straight to the point. But even without the video, this was easy to do.

I have some videos that I love and want to have available for school use and my personal use. If your streaming speed isn’t quite up to snuff or you don’t have access for some reason, then this is a great backup because you will have saved your YouTube or Vimeo video onto your desktop. (If you create your own videos, then you don’t need to do this of course.)

Keep in mind this is not a video editing tool. You would still need to trim videos with another tool. It does allow you to only record the audio if you want and you can decide when to begin and end that recording.

I hope you give this a try.