The Student Has Become the Teacher

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Today at iPadpalooza, I gave a presentation on my SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology). It is an after school program that I teach each Wednesday and we do a variety of events to not only advance the technology program at our school, but also to reach out to the community and be of service to others. Here are the digital resources from today’s presentation: https://tackk.com/zyy71l.

Thanks! If you have a tech team at your school, I’d love to hear more about it on Twitter @aprilrequard.

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Key(note) to Creativity Resources

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Today I presented the Key(note) to Creativity to educators in Austin, TX at iPadpalooza. I presented ways teachers and students can use Keynote that move beyond a presentation. The focus was on students and teachers creating their own content within Keynote and explore how one can use Keynote to be creative. If you’d like the resources from this session, they are available here: https://tackk.com/70bn8f.

Cheers and happy learning!

 

Technology in the Hands of the Powerful

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The Student Has Become the Teacher: Technology in the Hands of the Powerful. This was the title for my TEDxABQ Education talk on empowering teachers to champion the idea of creating student-led technology teams at their schools. Our students are our greatest resource.  Their help, ideas, and vision can help create lasting change within the walls of our schools…all we have to do is empower them with the tools to help lead the change alongside the educators in our schools. The theme of the TEDxABQ Event was all about Equity in Education…I can’t think of a better way to provide equity than by giving students a front row seat at the table!

Click here to watch my TED Talk! I was so blessed to bring along 7 of my fabulous students to speak about how being on our SWAT Team has impacted them! These students inspire me and are a sweet reminder of all things that are good in education! This experience was one that I know these kiddos will never forget and I am so lucky to be one of their teachers.

My tech team is called the SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology). This group truly became my teammates as we worked together to create published work, inspire teachers, lead others towards learning how to integrate technology into their classrooms, reach out to the community, and create change within our school and district.

I’ve previously written about how I choose the members of my SWAT Team, the application process, and the general goals of the group. Click here to view this post.

Hopefully, the TED Talk and the ideas presented by my students inspire you to begin thinking about how you can involve your students in changing the technology integration climate at your school!

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Raise Money for Technology Tools

drop off your old textbooks atthe OFFICE of the student counciluntil may 31, 2017

Teachers across my district are frequently asking how I have the money to purchase paid apps for the iPad carts, robots, and other fun technology tools. The answer is that I do a school-wide talent show and it is my big (and only) fundraiser of the year. Most years, I will bring in at least $500 for this event. Here’s how:

Near the beginning of May, we hold our school-wide talent show. We have two daytime shows and we try to keep this a very student centered event. I put together a great team of teachers to help me do all the behind the scenes work, but on the day of the show, you will see only kids on stage. The kids that work behind the scenes are always 5th graders. It’s a coveted position in the talent show before they move on to middle school. The positions the kids serve are stage crew, emcees, ushers, and videographers. Anyone in any grade can sign up to audition, but due to time constraints (each show is limited to one hour) we have to keep each act under 3 minutes and limit the number of total acts to 24. We rarely have an act that takes up the 3 minutes. Since our audience is mainly children, we try to keep the show moving with a variety of acts to keep the attention of the students that range in age from five to eleven.

So, how do I turn this into a fundraiser?

I make it very clear to all that audition that all of the money raised goes towards our school’s technology program. To audition for the talent show, it costs each participant $1.00. If they are accepted into the talent show, it’s $5.oo for each participant. Finally, I have a 5th grade student film the entire talent show and we edit the video and burn many DVDs for students to purchase for $5.00. Here’s what always gets the kids to buy the video: The staff dance at the beginning of the DVD. This is where I come up with a fun song, ask the teachers to dress up and dance, I film them, and we show this at the very beginning of the Talent Show. The kids go crazy every single year. It’s the highlight of the Talent Show! Without this portion included in the DVD, I don’t think sales would be as high.

Here’s the staff videos from the last 5 years:

2012: https://vimeo.com/45680724 (Boom Boom Pow)
2013: https://vimeo.com/65676903 (Party Rock)
2015: https://vimeo.com/127235738 (I was working for Apple last year and didn’t make this video, but my awesome principal stepped in to keep the tradition going while I was gone!)
2016: https://vimeo.com/165915417 (Whip Nae Nae)
The staff video is key for students wanting to buy the DVD. Hope this helps give some ideas as to how you can raise money for your technology program in a fun and student centered way.🙂

Parts of Speech iMovies

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.55.45 AMWhat a better way to demonstrate knowledge of a topic than by creating a video using iMovie! One of the great things about iMovie is the built-in trailers that kids can use to demonstrate or show their learning. I have kids create movie trailers to show their learning in all content areas and the result is always amazing. This time around, I had third graders showcase their knowledge of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I have included a few of my favorites below. One thing that is very important to note is that I never allow my students to just take off with the iPad and begin taking pictures and videos for their projects. They must always do a rough draft where they complete an outline as well as the built in storyboard in iMovie. Additionally, this is also where they can decide what type of shot (video or still photo) they will add to their movie. A great resource that I love to share with others was created by Tony Vincent. He has created planning PDFs, which include fillable or printable templates for students as they plan their iMovie trailers. I love this resource and I use it all of the time! Once students have planned their trailers, then they get right to work in editing the text and adding photos and videos.

Verbs Can Be Fun! from April Requard on Vimeo.

 

Verbs are Everywhere from April Requard on Vimeo.

Scary Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Dylan and Landon from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Ahmed and Shayan from April Requard on Vimeo.

All Sorts of Verbs by Parishi and Asha from April Requard on Vimeo.

Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Adjectives: Reese and Caitlin from April Requard on Vimeo.

March Madness and Bracketology in the Classroom

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A good friend of mine recently shared this app, Bracket Maker Pro, and we had a really fun time playing with it. I knew I wanted to try it with some of my students. Today, my SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology) met after school and I thought it would be fun for them to have an epic “App Smack Down.” I asked the kids to get in groups of two or three so that we could have 8 teams. Since this was for fun after school, I told them that they could choose any app to showcase and they would have one minute to speak about the possibilities of the application and why we’d select that app over the opposing team’s app. Bracket Maker Pro  (this is an iPhone app, but can be used on iPad as well) makes it very simple. All you do is select the number of teams, select whether it’s single or double elimination, and most importantly shuffle the order, so no app has a higher seeded advantage. Then, the lightning rounds begin and each team has one minute to highlight their app. Once they both present, then the group votes for the team that will advance through the bracket. Since I work with very competitive 4th and 5th graders, I had them vote anonymously. Finally, once the votes are tallied,  a winner advances to the next round. Since we did 8 teams, our bracket was smaller than the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, Finals, and Champion.

As we played and the kids debated, it made me think of all the cool ways this could be used in the classroom. What a better way to engage kids in subjects than to involve them in current sporting events? The kids also surprised me with their public speaking skills, presentations,  general ability to prove their points, and their power to persuade.

Here’s a few ideas that you could use in your classroom:

  • App Sharing
  • Book Reviews
  • Various Topics in a Geometry Unit
  • Historical Figures
  • General Debates
  • Follow Up to a Persuasive Writing Project (Is a bike or car better?)
  • Geography

The list could go on and on, and what kid doesn’t love a good debate on something they’re passionate about?

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Pic Collage vs.Geometry Dash 

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Talking Tom vs. Clash of Clans

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This is what quickly voting anonymously looks like.

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I hope you have fun with this! Please leave a comment as to how your class has used this app as a tool to support this fun learning activity!

 

 

 

Create a Magazine Cover in Keynote

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As most of you know, Keynote is my go-to tool for creating just about anything. One of the things I love to have my students create is magazine covers. They can use these covers to highlight a topic or subject they recently studied, they could feature an image of a person whom they studied, or they could create a cover of themselves showcasing something they’ve recently participated in.  Regardless of the topic they choose, creating a magazine cover will introduce students into so many tools in Keynote and teach them some skills in  graphic design. There are many online magazine generators that will allow for the creation of magazine covers, but they have all of the magazines, some of which are totally inappropriate for school. Additionally, you can easily create a template for your students so that the formatting is already complete and all they have to do is plug in their information.

Here’s the steps in creating your own cover in Keynote!

Keynote opens in landscape mode, so the first step is changing the orientation of the slide. Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.29.01 AM

 

 

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Reverse the numbers so that your slide is 768 x 1024

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 9.29.46 AMThis is how your new slide should look

Now, you are ready to begin adding elements to your cover. Here’s a cheat sheet that I created, which includes elements and tips for formatting text and adding shapes. Click Magazine Cover Elements to download the PDF.

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This project will take users down a path in really getting to know the format tool in Keynote as they will work to change the color of shapes, use the arrange tool to send objects to the front or the back, format text, and also draw their own unique shapes to be used as placeholders for photos. This all adds interesting elements to the design. Once users add a shape as a placeholder, they simply drag in their desired photo and drop it on the shape. Then, the user can adjust the size of the photo so that it fits perfectly in the shape by using the masking tool.

Here is a TIME magazine cover created by one of my students.

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The details added in this example:

This student used a large square with no fill and added a very thick border (red) and did the same thing for the smaller black border. He searched for a TIME magazine .png image to use as the title because we were not having any luck locating the Time Magazine font. He also added a shape for the main title to stand out. Additionally, he included a barcode that he created. You can create your own unique barcode at this bar code generator.

If you don’t have Keynote, you can create some very cool magazine covers here.

It is very fun to see what students create and how this allows them to report on something they’ve learned in a relevant and fun way!