Become an Apple Teacher

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In September, Apple Education announced its Apple Teacher Program, a program aimed at helping educators unlock the magic and potential of Mac, iPad, and apps in the classroom. Teachers sign up and learn new skills, test their knowledge, and earn badges to be ultimately recognized by Apple as an official “Apple Teacher.”

The best part about this program is that it is self-paced and teachers can participate while in their pajamas at home! Teachers can decide if they want to focus their learning for the Mac or the iPad and choose the path that works best for them. Once teachers complete a module, they will be given a quiz. No pressure if you don’t get the questions correct, as you can test again. The purpose of the test is so that educators can truly get the most out of these modules and the tests force you to master the concepts rather than skimming through.

THE BADGES

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Once you earn a badge in each one of the categories and learn not only to use the app to get the best results, but you also learn how to infuse this into the classroom as a powerful teaching tool. Each module is full of ideas that relate to classroom content and help bring its use to life in meaningful ways teachers will appreciate. Click here to get started.

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You will use your Apple ID to get started.

I am a huge supporter of this program.  Apple’s commitment to education is evident and I appreciate the way Apple continues to give teachers quality tools to enhance learning and teaching. My favorite tools as a creative professional will always Keynote and iMovie. I couldn’t live without those two apps and neither could my students. If you choose to accept the challenge of becoming an Apple Teacher, I promise you that you will learn something to take back to your classroom TOMORROW as a result and perhaps you will have a new favorite tool.

TEACHER RECOGNITION

Since I am the instructional technology teacher and leader of the technology program, I am encouraging teachers at my school to join the program and earn their badges. I put together some fun rewards to recognize the commitment and time teachers put aside to further their learning in this area. We are an Apple school and we have access to all of these applications and tools, so I can’t think of a better way for teachers to learn on their own time, and I do think they should be recognized for their commitment!

  • Upon completion of the Apple Teacher program, teachers will earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.
  • Teachers will also receive a certificate showcasing their skills at this will be hung outside their classroom.
  • Teachers will receive a “shout out” on our school Facebook page to congratulate them on their extended professional learning.
  • Teachers will receive the official logo from Apple to use in their professional email signature.
  • Most importantly, teachers will gain knowledge in unlocking the  potential with these great productivity and creative apps that are already on their iPad and Mac. These are the native apps and most people don’t realize the potential in these applications and how they can be used as tremendous tools in the classroom.
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The “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.

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Wall of Fame photo and school Facebook page recognition.

OTHER WAYS TO OFFER INCENTIVES

I have seen other schools and teachers provide a variety of incentives for teachers to earn their badges and expand their professional learning. Here’s two examples:

Do you have another idea? Please share it! #AppleTeacher

 
Here’s the link for further information: http://www.apple.com/education/teachers/
 
Here’s the link to get started: https://appleteacher.apple.com/auth/#/signin/
Good luck and happy learning!

Build Beautiful and Engaging Online Assessments and Worksheets

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I am probably late to the party on this one, as many of you might have already heard about this! Since I haven’t heard about it, I thought I would share with others who might be as surprised and delighted as I was! I love it when you stumble upon little gems!

So, this gem is called app.wizer.me and it is a site that allows teachers to build and design online quizzes, worksheets, and other material to test student’s knowledge or build a great review for them. What I loved most was the ability to add a variety of questions and tasks (open question, multiple choice, blanks, fill on an image, table, sorting, text, image, video) to reach all learners. I also loved that there was a “listen to instructions” button where you can record instructions or dictate questions. This is really great for formative and summative assessments and immediate feedback for students. Additionally, there is a teacher area that allows teachers to remix someone else’s quizzes/worksheets in a public gallery. This works well on computers, iPads, tablets, and Chromebooks. It works seamlessly with Google Classroom, too! It was super easy and I am already thinking about the possibilities in how I could use this in my classes. Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Create an account. This was painless.
  2. Begin building your document/worksheet
  3. Select which type of question you want to add (a little similar to a Google Form)
  4. Choose a design
  5. When you are finished, give it a title, and choose how you want to distribute to students. Can share via Google Classroom, copy the link and share it, or have your students enter the pin code. Students will need to enter their first and last name and create a password that they will use each time they go to the site! I love that the students didn’t need an email address in order to use! HOORAY!
  6. Loved the options of distribution…whenever there is a direct link, I do the happy dance.
  7. Share with other teachers!
  8. Boom! You’re done! I selected the option to allow my students to receive immediate feedback when they submit the assignment to see how they did. Then, you can review the work of your students and provide comments.
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First step is adding a task. Look at all the cool options!

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Lots of great design options!

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Assign to students by sharing the link with them. They will go to a new screen that asks for their first and last name as well as a creation of a password.

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You can also have students go to http://app.wizer.me/learn and type in the PIN code.

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Gives students automatic feedback once they complete the tasks.

Hope you are able to use this with your students. A fun and easy way to ditch the paper tests and worksheets!

On the appwizer website, it states how long it takes to set up…(and it really is that easy)

  • 5 minutes to set up and learn
  • 20 seconds to assign via Google classroom, Edmodo, Moodle, or direct link
  • Automatic grading
  • 5 minutes to make your first worksheet
  • 5 minutes to check grades and give personalized feedback

 

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!

 

 

 

100 Days of School with Technology

Days of School Activities with Tech

Are you looking for some fun ways to engage your students with the 100 Days of School by using Technology tools? Here are some fun ideas to get you excited about how you can use technology as a tool to create fun and engaging lessons and projects for students to interact with the number 100 (and all the numbers in between).

100 Gum Balls in Keynote I created this Keynote template that you can download here. You can use this on the Mac or iPad and have students practice inserting shapes using the circle tool. Students can format the circle by choosing a color. Next, they will practice using the copy/paste feature to re-create their circle. This is such an important skill for even the youngest of students. For a fun extension, students can animate the gum balls as the drop through the black slot! The gum ball machine is not clipart! It was created in Keynote with the “Draw with Pen” tool! Isn’t Keynote awesome!!!!

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When I am 100 Years Old Using the app, Aging Booth, students can take a photo of themselves and see what they will look like when they are 100. From there, they can save their 100 year old photo to their camera roll and then use an app such as 30 Hands,  iMovie, or Explain Everything to tell a story about what they will have accomplished when they are 100 years old. For this example below, I had students create their photo and then Air Drop it to my iPad. From there, we created one large class recording in 30 Hands where students talked about what they would have accomplished with they are 100.


Personalize a 100 dollar bill with student’s photos. Click here to create 100 dollar bills. Once students save their image, they can drag it into a word processing app, such as Pages, and write about what they would do if they were president and had a 100 bill with their photo on it.

Example:

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Typing and Formatting a Document Practice:

Type out a bulleted list of

  • 100 Animals
  • 100 Things that Make You Happy
  • 100 Favorite Things to do for Fun

Web Activities (whole group on Smart Board or individual)

Give the Dog the Bone

100 Balloon Pop

Splat Square

Ghost Blasters

Number Grid Fireworks

100 Snowballs

Before 100 and After

 

 

How We’re Kicking Off the Hour of Code

HOUR OF CODE

I love the Hour of Code project and I think it’s fabulous to get students as early as kindergarten thinking about how things work and how that might shape their future goals and career path. How cool would it be to create your own game rather than consume a game someone else made? How cool would it be to make other people’s lives easier as a result of something you created by becoming a computer programmer? Those are just some of the questions I am asking my students. This week, along with millions worldwide, my students are participating in the Hour of Code in each of my classes. I set up nine stations around the room and had the students interacting with robots, iPad apps, and Code.org resources, which allowed students the opportunity to experience writing computer programs. Here is a website I put together to have my students experience the Hour of Code websites, which encourages students to begin writing and creating blocks of code.

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I had been wanting robots to teach my students programming for a few years now, so I wrote a grant, created a talent show video and sold the DVDs, and won a video contest to purchase the robots for my students to use. We have the Osmo, Sphero, Sphero Sprk, Ollie, and Dash and Dot. Additionally, there are great iPad apps where students can learn to program objects on their screens. Today, we used Hopscotch, Daisy the Dinosaur, and Scratch Jr. Code.org also has so many fabulous resources! I know my students will be trying those out as soon as they get home from school! Another fun thing I did was creating mazes out of painters tape–it was a hit today! The students loved trying to program the robots to stay within the lines and follow the course, but it definitely is harder than it looks and requires much perseverance! Today was critical thinking at its best!

If you’re looking for inspiration to put together your own Hour of Code, here are the stations I set up in the computer lab:

One more thing, if you are interested in learning a non-traditional way to teach coding, check out my iTunes U course, which is called The Key(note) to Coding. It is all about using Keynote for the Mac to create Tangram shapes while noting the size, placement, and rotation of the shapes to then write the code for someone to re-create!

Happy Coding!

 

Fun with Place Value in Base Ten

Place Value

Teaching kids place value can always be something that may or may not prove to be difficult. I remember teaching students to use base ten blocks as hands-on manipulative in my classroom years ago. Today, I had second and third graders create objects (houses, creatures, or people) using base ten blocks. This particular application (Number Pieces) can be accessed through a web browser or iOS device. Click here for the web link and click here for the iOS app.

I love this on either the computer or iPad because students are able to click and drag (or tap and drag) the base ten blocks to create a picture. Once their picture is complete, they count up the blocks and write the number with the pen feature. It’s always great to give students the ability to be creative in math and I was very happy with what they created. This activity allowed students to interact with base ten blocks and revisit the place value system. Another option would be giving students a list of numbers to create and have them create the numbers using the blocks and have a friend check for accuracy. It’s all the fun with base ten blocks without needing the real blocks!

Here are a few samples from my class today:

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