I love QR Codes! I mostly love how easy they are to make. I wrote about it last year (click here) but I'll recap.
There are so many QR Code generating websites out there - most of them free - but my favourite one is goQR.me. To create a text QR Code (a code that, when scanned, reveals a text message), here's how you do it.
1. Go to goqr.me.
2. Click the icon that looks like a page with the corner turned down.
3. In the text box (labelled "2. Contents") type the message you want the scanner to reveal.
4. The QR Code is displayed at the right of the screen.
5. You may choose to down load the code to your computer, or merely right click the image and copy it, then paste it into a document.
To create a QR Code that links to a website, the steps are almost the same.
1. Go to the website you wish the scanner to link to. Right click and copy the website address.
2. Go to goqr.me.
3. Click the icon that looks like the earth.
4. In the url box (labelled "2. Contents") right click and paste the website address.
5. The QR Code is displayed at the right of the screen.
There are other types of QR Codes that you can make by using this site, including a phone number, an email, a location and more!
So now you know how I made the QR Math Reflection Cubes in the image above. And, you ask, "What exactly is a QR Math Reflection Cube?" I made six cubes, each with six sides and a QR Code on each side. When scanned, a prompt for reflecting on that day's math lesson is revealed. I would use it with middle or senior years students. There are six cubes, because each cube is related to a different level of Bloom's Taxonomy. I thought I would copy each one onto a different colour card stock so that I could tell them apart.
It's true that I could have just printed the message on each side instead of pasting a QR Code. However, scanning the code offers some element of surprise, and it's fun (aka engaging!)!
I'm sharing! The download for the QR Math Reflection Cubes is below. If you use them in class, I'd love some feedback!
OK, so I'm still thinking about Math Anxiety and how to prevent or overcome it. One way to prevent anxiety in math is to make sure that our students have a solid grasp of our numerical system. Our number system is based on tens (and so is our measurement system!), so it stands to reason that our youngest students must have a strong understanding of what ten is, and how using tens can help us with computations and estimating. Therefore, working with ten frames is EXTREMELY important for our Kindergarten and Gr. 1-2 students. How much is ten, and how can we partition ten? What numbers go together to make ten? Knowing these facts fluently will lead to ease with mental computations, namely the "Making Ten" strategy of addition and subtraction.
But let's not just do drill and kill. There are so many fun ways to learn and practice our 10 facts. Using ten frame manipulatives is imperative, and a topic that I've written about before (click here). I've also written about some of my favourite math apps (click here), but today's post will deal with iPad apps that strengthen students' grasp of making and partitioning 10.
The first app (shown above and at left) is called Make Ten+ and is available free from the iTunes store. It's actually lots of fun. Students must click a number at the bottom that goes with the top number to make 10. The game is similar to Tetris in that if the numbers in a whole row are not clicked after a certain time, they rise and you must clear them before they hit the top. Lots of fun, especially for Gr. 1-2 students.
The next app is extremely popular with all of the students with whom I've share it. Subitize Tree has several options, but the ten frame option is my favourite for K-Gr. 2 students. The sensei asks players to quickly subitize (say how many without counting) the number of objects shown when the doors on the tree open. If students correctly identify the number, they get a point. Four points sets free an animal that is held captive in the tree. The game gets tense, but not anxiety-type tense! It's available for $0.99.
Friends of Ten has six different games that can be played, and all of them involve ten frames. Students can count how many, fill in ten frames, make friendly numbers, and add and subtract. It would be a great math centre! $0.99.
The next app I'd like to tell you about is called What's Hiding and is shown above left. Students are shown a ten frame with counters on it. They must identify how many there are by counting as they touch the counters, reinforcing the matching concept that is so important for Kindergarten students. Then the ten frame is covered up and some counters are removed. Students must say how many are left, which we can use to teach the Making Ten strategy, and also the Think Addition for Subtraction strategy! These strategies are so important for Gr. 1-2 students! What's Hiding costs $0.99.
The last app is called Franklin's Friends of Ten. I'm not sure what Benjamin Franklin has to do with Making Ten, but his image is kind of cute! :) This free app involves students identifying the matching number to make 10. When the correct number is provided, fireworks go off. This is a new app for me, and I haven't tried it with any students yet, so let me know if you've used it with your kiddos. Feedback would be appreciated!
Tellagami is a free app for both IOS and Android devices. With Tellagami, the user creates an avatar and records a message, called a gami, which can then be sent or shared in a variety of ways. Click on the gami to the left to see an example.
Here's how to make a gami. When you first open the app, you are asked to create your avatar. There are just enough choices to personalize the avatar, and you could choose to make your avatar look like like yourself, or another character. Each tine you cick on head choices, the head gets larger, resembling a bobblehead, so that's really fun! You can also choose the main emotion your avatar is feeling.
Your next choice is the background. There are lots of choices in the free app, with even more backgrounds available as in-app purchases of $1.99 each. You could also import an image you have saved in your camera roll or open the camera app to take a picture. Another option is "doodle," where you can draw on top of the image you have selected. One of my favourite backgrounds to add is an image that I have created from another app. The example at the top of this page includes a word cloud I made using the app Word Collage. I've also used Pic Collage to make a pretty cool background. Any time you use more than one app during creation, that's called "appsmashing!"
Now you're ready to record your message. You can choose to record your actual voice, but be careful if you are adding your students' voices, as the gamis are stored online, so you need parent permission to display student work, including recognizable features, online. The messages are only 30 seconds long, which I feel is a limitation of the app, but it does force your students to get to the main idea quickly.
Instead of recording voice, you also have the option of typing your message (limited to 440 characters). When you choose this option, you can also choose the type of voice used by the gami. Kids (and adults) will have some fun with this, and is a great option if you can put your students' work online, but parents don't want their child's voice online.
If you click the image to the left, you can hear the gami from the message I typed above. For this gami, I used the Doodle Buddy app to draw a picture, saved it to my camera roll and then imported it for the background. When you are finished making your gami you have several options for sharing, including adding it to a blog, wiki or website, emailing it, or uploading directly to Twitter or Facebook.
Here are some ideas for using Tellagami in the classroom:
This is a very user friendly app and would make a great addition to any workstation where students are asked to work either collaboratively or independently. If you have any other ideas for using Tellagami, please add a comment below. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas!
What are word clouds, you ask? Well, the image above is an example. Basically, a word cloud is a visual representation of text. They are lots of fun to create, and I have collected a list of ways they may be used in the classroom:
So how does one make a word cloud? I'm glad you asked. I'll start with a couple of websites.
This is the first word cloud website I heard of, and I've used it many, many times. It's very dependable, and easy to use.
Tagxedo.com is a website i've only just recently come across. It's so fun! With this website you can make your word clouds into shapes. There are a variety of shapes to choose from, and you can even upload a photo of your own into the site to make one-of-a-kind word clouds. Tagxedo uses the words over and over again, unlike Wordle, and there are many more options to choose from. When your word cloud is finished, you can save as a jpg to your computer, and even order merchandise with the image. Very cool!
To get started with Tagxedo, click "create," then "load." Then enter your text, or copy and paste. Click submit when you are finished (you can edit later if you want to). Again, I think the other tabs are self-explanatory. If you want to add your own shape, click the arrow beside "shape," and click "add image." Be sure that your photo has lots of contrast, or it won't look good.
There are some great IOS apps out there that do the same thing on your iPad.
Word Collage is an app that works much the same as Wordle ($.99 on the app store). WordFoto ($1.99) is similar to Tagxedo in that you upload the picture and the app fills the photo with the words you input. Path On ($1.99) is not really a word cloud. I'm including it because you input a photo and then draw a line where you want the text. Next you input the text and the words follow the line. It's pretty cool too! See the example below of my lazy cat Sammi.
So that's it. That's all I have to say about Word Clouds. Try them in your classroom. Your students will love them!
I have a new respect for an app that I've had for a long time. Book Creator looked to me like a nice little app where kids could write their own stories and illustrate them. And that is true, but it is so much more than that! Students can not only add their own illustrations, but upload images saved to their device, and even record their own voice. Here's how to use it:
3. Once you have your cover the way you want it, you may decide to record your voice. Choose "Add Sound" from the menu. Press the red button (be sure to allow the app access to your device's microphone) and then talk away!
4. When you are finished speaking, press the red button again, and choose "yes" or "no" to indicate if you wish to include the recording in your project. If you decide to keep the recording, a small circle icon with a speaker symbol is placed on your page. You can resize and move this icon anywhere on the page.
5. The picture top left shows how to add images saved in your camera roll.
6. Once you have text (or a drawing, or an image, for that matter) press the "i" icon to edit. This give you options such as resizing text, changing text box shape, font, font colour and more (see top right).
7. When you are satisfied with your book, or even if you just want to see what it's like so far, I like to open it in iBooks to view as if it is now a published book. In iBooks, you turn the pages by swiping, and click to hear the recordings you've included, just like a real talking book that you buy!
8. You'll see in the photo at left how you can share books between iPads. Just click the AirDrop icon to load all of your students' books onto one iPad to make it easier for sharing or assessing.
9. And finally, here's what I learned to do today! I installed the Reflector app onto my Mac computer. Now I can see my whole iPad on my large Mac monitor. I can also use QuickTime to do a screencast of the book I've made, which turns the book I've made into a movie. My colleague Mandy (@Mandy_S_24) wrote about how to do this on her blog (click here.) Now I can share this with parents who don't have an Apple device.
I have used this app now with a class of Kindergarteners who made a counting book about winter. They each made their own page and then we combined them into one class book. Their voices are so cute!!! "Three snowmobiles - vroom vroom vroom!"
I used this with a Grade 1 class, who used Book Creator to retell the story of Jan Brett's The Mitten. In that book, a little boy loses a mitten in the forest, and one by one, more and more animals squeeze into the mitten as it stretches and stretches. The Grade 1s not only illustrated their retelling, but counted the animals by 2s, making it an excellent Math/ELA integration project.
I also used this app with a Grade 3/4 class who used it as a travel journal. Their class was studying India, and every day their teacher had virtual excursions planned for them. After their day trips, they wrote about their experiences in their journal as if they were really in India. I have to say, these journals turned out wonderfully! After their yoga class, for example (they followed along with a yoga instructor), many of the students took photos of themselves in various yoga positions to add to their journals. Voice recordings were included for each day. Awesome!
It is the sharing of these journals that really adds to the significance of using this app. Book Creator can be exported as a PDF or as an ePub via email, print, iTunes or opened in other apps such as GoodReader, Evernote, DropBox, Google Drive and more! With every update Book Creator is easier to use and includes more options. Can't wait to see what they have in store for us next!
If you have some ideas for using Book Creator in your classroom, please share them in the comments below!
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher