The PicCollage (or PicKids) app is a versatile tool that my students have used for reflection, creating visuals for a report, and telling stories. Recently, I’ve seen a couple of different articles on the web about students and teachers using PicCollage to make game boards. This can range in educational value from creation for fun all of the way to another way to assess learning. In all cases, creativity can be a part of the activity as students can personalize the boards with photos, stickers, and text. For some examples and specific integration ideas, check out these two blog posts: “Digital Game Boards with PicCollage” and “Creating and Playing Games on PicCollage.”
One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Joelle Trayers, posted some pictures last week of some Hashtag Awards her Kinder students designed for themselves. Of course, I couldn’t wait to try the idea myself! I met with my 1st graders today, and we had a short discussion about hashtags. Then they designed their own hashtag awards. In a way, this is similar to a 6 Word Memoir activity because it helps me to learn so much about what is important to my students and how they see themselves. I might try this at the beginning of the year next time!
This is a reblog of a post that I did a couple of years ago, but it was originally titled, “Alternatives to Showing the Movie Frozen for the Next 14 Days.” Since that movie is kind of over now, I came up with a more fitting title for my recycled material 😉
You know how it goes. Grades are turned in. Textbooks have been collected. The computer lab is shut down. But the activity level of our students has gone up. What’s a teacher supposed to do?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been trying to get my students to reflect on the year. Using our class blog as a reference has helped tremendously.
Yesterday, with my GT 1st graders, I also asked them to look through the blog posts for their grade level. They used a simple printable I found from Laura Candler to write their favorite moments of the year. Here are some examples:
Using divergent thinking for activities like the Squiggle Challenge and S.C.A.M.P.E.R. were very popular with this class. Speaking of S.C.A.M.P.E.R., here is what some of them did with a page from my Summer Pool Party S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packet – Put an inflatable pool cushion to another use. (By the way, all of my grade levels, K-5, love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. drawings!)
One of the blog posts the first graders “re-discovered” as they reflected was this one. Try showing the Kid President video at the bottom of that post, and see if your own students can add to the list. We used Padlet, but old-fashioned pencil and paper works, too!
Here are some other ideas from past posts for making the last couple of weeks fun and engaging:
- Some More Activities for the End of the School Year
- More Aurasma Ideas – Great for the End of the School Year
- Journal Pages for Kids
I would also recommend checking out the Not Just Child’s Play blog by Joelle Trayers for ideas. That woman always has creative suggestions that can be modified for any elementary grade level!
The Guru of Everything Google, Alice Keeler, partnered with Matt Miller to publish the DriveSlides Chrome Extension, which is available for free on the Chrome Web Store here.
Near the end of the school year, many teachers like to make slideshows of pictures from throughout the year. With DriveSlides, Keller and Miller have given us a tool that will make this process much faster if you want to use Google Slides. Once you install the DriveSlides extension, open the folder in Google Drive that contains all of the pictures you want to put in your presentation. Click on the extension icon in your toolbar, and watch the magic happen. (You will need to allow permissions the first time you use the extension.) After a slight pause, a new window will open and automatically create a Google Slideshow with all of the pictures in that folder.
My whole family gathered around as I made this quick demonstration with pictures of our family bulldog, taking mental notes so they could use the extension too. (I added the background after the pictures were all imported, using suggestions from the Google Explore Tool.)
If you want to add audio to your slideshow, here is some advice from Richard Byrne.
Keeler also has another Chrome Extension called, “Slideshot,” which will take screenshots every minute and create a slideshow out of those when you hit “Finish.”
Want some more ideas for the end of the school year? Check out this post!
Google Sites are blocked for our elementary students, so I show my 5th graders the Weebly for Education site if they are interested in designing their own websites. Sometimes students create them for Genius Hour projects. This year, my students were so excited about the manifestos they created in Canva that I suggested they use the images as launching points for websites that reinforced their core beliefs.
Students seem to understand the Weebly tools very quickly. In fact, as soon as they see all that they can do, they want to do it all – add images, video, quotes, links, etc… Many of them immediately went home the first day to add to their sites and are super proud to present them.
For this particular project, I asked the students to include their manifestos, along with a page that describes their “Dream Team” – famous people who lived lives that modeled the beliefs in their manifestos. (They used Academy of Achievement’s “Role Model” tool to help them discover potential Dream Team members.) They could also include inspirational quotes and videos.
Weebly for Education is different from the main Weebly site because the education version allows teachers to have a dashboard of students for free. However, from what I have been able to see, there is no way to view a student’s website through the dashboard until he or she publishes it. This is a little inconvenient as they are editing, but the benefit of all of the other free features far outweighs this issue.
You can see a screen shot from one of my student’s websites below, and click on the link to visit his site.
One of the things I wanted to try this year was to ask my students to do hexagonal thinking as they reflected over what they had learned. Since my 4th graders had already done some hexagonal thinking this year, I thought they might like to experiment with this activity.
First, they visited our class blog where I have been posting pictures from throughout the year. I showed them how to filter the categories to find all of the blog posts from their class. Then they chose pictures that were meaningful to them and saved them to their home drives.
After choosing 4-5 pictures, the students signed in to my account on Canva, and created their own blank “A4” projects. Once the project opened, they were directed to use the search window to find a hexagon frame. In Canva, frames have a cloud and blue sky in them.
What I like about frames is that you can drag pictures into them, and they will take the shape of the frame without overlapping.
After the students added a hexagon frame, they resized it and copied it so several could fit on one page. Once their frames were arranged, they uploaded their pictures and set them in the frames. Then they used text designs to explain the connections between pictures that shared sides.
You can see a couple of examples below. They would probably make more sense if you had been in my class this year, but this gives you the general idea.
This went better than my last visual hexagon activity, but I think I will improve it next year by giving a few more guidelines for the “connector” texts so the students will try to find unique parallels that aren’t readily apparent.
For more ideas for end-of-the-year activities, here is a recent post I published.
Chris Shore is quick to note that he did not invent Clothesline Math. However, he is the author of the Clothesline Math website, and producer of many of the materials on the site, so I think he definitely deserves some credit!
When I first ran across this site, I was a bit dubious of the value of a Clothesline Math activity. Basically, the teacher gives out a set of number tents to students, who then must hang them on a clothesline (which represents a number line). However, once I watched Shore’s video explaining how he introduces Clothesline Math, I realized how this seemingly simple activity could really start some incredible math class discussions. There are many decisions students need to make when they determine what benchmarks to use on the numberline, the order to place their numbers, and the amount of space in between. Even with a set of 3 fractions (1/2, 1/3, and 1/4), you could take up an entire class period.
Shore provides different sets of printable numbers (from various math disciplines) and an answer document on his site. Of course you can DIY with your own supplies and number sets based on whatever you are studying in math class at the moment.
I like the idea of students reasoning through this, and having to justify their responses. It can also be a great visual and kinesthetic activity that will be much more meaningful that choosing from multiple choice answers on a worksheet.
For more intriguing math sites, take a look at 15 Math Sites That Won’t Make You Fall Asleep. Let’s get our students excited about math!