Next, I started using SonicPics to put slide shows together of my students. I could upload them to the website and share with their families. Parents love getting an inside look into our classroom. I also take pictures at assemblies and programs to show on our website in-case family members aren't able to make it to the event; they can still relive the memory with their child at home. Then, I found this app useful to introduce new technology into the classroom. I would put brief tutorials together explaining how to use such sites as Glogster or Capzles. Then, I'd embed them to our class site so that students could reference the 'how-to' part from home or with their group in a lab or another class as they were working on their projects. I also found it useful to explain new math concepts (to publish on the website for students needing homework help at home) and then have students explain the concept to enhance their understanding. Finally, I had students begin to use the app as they had been exposed to the many uses of how to create projects with the software.
What if you don't have ipod technology in your building?
At first, I only had my iphone. I use it all the time with our class. Often, I'll throw it under my document camera to do a quick Brain Pop video and short quiz, practice the states and capitals during a brain break or transition activity, or showcase famous works of art trying to teach how to identify artist technique through exaggerative personal characteristics, brush stroke technique, or medium used for art. These activities only take 2-5 minutes, but they refresh their brains and allow for additional enrichment. Plus, they're fun!
Wanting all of my students to have their own ipod, I found out that our ISD had a set of 28 that we could sign out. I jumped on the opportunity. We only had the devices for two weeks so I knew I had to not only come up with a project, but make sure the kids knew how to use the devices and teach the content we'd use for the app. Because we live in Michigan, a few weather days didn't help our schedule; however, we pulled it off. Our administration saw the benefit of such technology and the level of engagement that they approved the purchase of four ipods for our class. We share the devices with another class, too.
I have students using the apps we introduce in class on their own ipods. Without being assigned, they're creating projects and wanting to show them during class. I usually publish them online, too. They're jazzed about creating work that isn't for me, the teacher, but shared with their peers and families. They are spending their own time searching for awesome apps to see if they can show me something I haven't ran across yet. They're talking with friends to see if they can come up with the 'next class project.' These kids are doing my lesson plans and exceeding my expectations by developing more creative products than I thought possible. They're social by nature and our class is offering a platform for them to explore that potential. My co-teacher and I offer the standards, address the structure, and ask the driving questions... then, they put their heads together and allow the magic to transpire.
Examples of My SonicPics: (simply click the link)
- Class Tour (for the audio, I just sat the phone/ipod next to my radio speaker)
- Homework Help (multiplying a fraction by a whole number)
- Sensory Detail (shown before we brainstormed descriptive attributes for a fall writing piece)
- 1st Grader Science Project (Riley, my daughter, and I having fun on a snow day - with Jacob in the background)
- ipod Integration (our 7th graders projects) click here for class site and here for my overview of the assignment and how we worked through the project