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.

Quizlet Live

I have used Quizlet for a number of years now. I find it to be a great tool for teaching kids content vocabulary in science and social studies. I use it for literary terms and some grammar terms as well. The kids love the game Scatter. It doesn’t only offer games, though. It offers flashcards and tests too. But now the folks at Quizlet have created a game format called Quizlet Live.

It gives you a link for the kids to go to and a code for them to enter. They put in their names and as the teacher, you have the option of creating random teams. Then, what appears on  student’s screen is their team mates’ options along with theirs. A word is displayed at the top and the members of the team click on the correct answer. Meanwhile, on the teacher’s screen, the teams are represented as sliding markers. Whenever a team misses a question, the team moves back to the starting position.

There is an option to shuffle teams too and we did that. It was so fun to watch the kids move to sit with their teammates. They were very excited to play and really learned the words.

I recommend you try Quizlet Live if you haven’t already. And if you’ve never used Quizlet, you need to right away.

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.

Photo Filter Fun

I recently posted some alien shots of me on Facebook that I created using Prisma, an app from PhotoLab. I spent some time having fun seeing how I’d look as a nun, an alien, and so on. Below are a couple of other filters that seem like I might use them as covers or on newsletters.

So what good is this app for education? Among the many filters were a few that would process multiple photos. One of them was a globe. I thought that would make a cool class picture. Another idea is to have students select a filter and print out their photo instead of the normal head shot. It would tell you something about that student’s personality and just be fun—and there is nothing wrong with that! This could be a fantastic first day activity.



Concept Mapping

This is an excellent article about concept maps and mind maps: the difference between them, how to create them, how to use them in education.

I spoke with the Lucid Chart guys at ISTE2016. They were more than willing to explain how these tools (free to me at my school) would help my students understand concepts.

I especially like the skeleton map where the kids fill it in from a word bank. It gives them the idea of what they could create for themselves–perhaps when they make their own study guides–while checking for understanding in a straightforward way. And with Hapara and Google sharing, I can see what they’ve done.

expert skeleton map.jpg

Hang on though because the article veers into how businesses and health care organizations could use a concept map. You need to skip down to the end of the article to find the how-to create instructions.