Tag Archives: app

Goosechase Edu

While writing yesterday’s “Game of Phones” post, I started searching my archives and I was surprised to see that I hadn’t mentioned Goosechase Edu.  So, let’s rectify that today.

Goosechase is a scavenger hunt app available on the App Store and on Google Play.  Players need to download the free app.  (If you are using district devices, be sure to verify ahead of time that the app has been approved for use.)  Organizers need to create an account online.  There is a special, educational version of Goosechase available that has different pricing tiers, so be sure to visit the Edu site rather than the one designed for corporate use.

The pricing can be a bit confusing when you are new to using Goosechase Edu.  Suffice it to say that, as a classroom teacher, I found the free plan to work well for my class.  This plan allows you to have 5 teams compete against each other during a game.  This is in contrast to the next tier, which allows for 10 teams or 40 individuals to play at a time.  You only need one device per team, although you can use more – allowing team members to separate to complete different missions.

When the organizer sets up a Goosechase game, he/she adds missions to the hunt.  Each mission can be awarded points when completed, and the organizer can determine which missions are weighted more than others.  An example of a mission would be the following, which I used in my Principles of Arts class when we were learning about different camera angles:

extreme closeup

The organizer can make up missions, or use missions that have already been posted in the Goosechase Mission Bank.  In fact, you can even browse the library of public Goosechases, and choose to copy an entire hunt for your own use.  Each mission requires that a photo and/or video be submitted in order to complete it.

Like many online student interactives available these days, Goosechase creates a code, which participants will use to join the hunt.  Teachers can determine the amount of time for the hunt, and even when missions or automatic messages will appear for participants.  (When students first launch Goosechase, remind them to allow for notifications so you can get in touch with them during the hunt.)

I like to mix missions that require some, most,  or all of the group to be in the pictures or videos as well as some images that are of things around campus.  This way, the group has some accountability for staying together and on school property.  I also go over behavior expectations before they leave the room, stressing that teams must: stay together, not disrupt any other classes going on, stay safe when taking pictures, and return on time.  As students are off on the hunt, the organizer can pull up an activity feed to see the missions as they are being completed. I walk around the halls as I monitor the feed to help discourage any temptations for mischief.

With notifications enabled, you can send out a reminder to the teams when time is wrapping up.  Give yourself some time to do a debrief at the end, when the class can look at the team submissions and decide as a group how to assess them before declaring the final winners.  One of my favorite features of the game is that you can actually download all of the submissions to save for the future end-of-the-year slideshows or other reminders of silly learning experiences in class.

birdseyeview

There are plenty of Goosechase games in the library related to core curriculum that you can use.  Another great way to use Goosechase is in a unit on Growth Mindset.  I worked with my 8th graders on this a lot last year.  We talked about taking risks and solving problems, and then I sent them off to complete the following set of missions:

growthmindsetmissions

Here is what I like about Goosechase: students can get out of their seats, students can be creative, students can choose the missions they want to do, we can laugh together as we learn, we are making tangible memories, and even the students who are the least engaged will participate.

strong
An “Impossibly Strong” submission from my Growth Mindset Goosechase

Leela Kids

The “Wow in the World” podcast from NPR is just one of the many kid-friendly podcasts that can be curated by the Leela Kids app, which is available on iOS or Android. Download the app to your mobile device (search for it under “iPhone Only” in the iTunes store – even though it works fine on iPads), and open it up to see a simple menu that allows you to choose an age bracket (3-5, 5-8, 8-12, 12-15*) and a category (Stories, Music, Animals, Ocean, Space, and Curious).  Once you’ve made your selections, you can then see either a list of specific episodes or the list of shows that provide those episodes.  The duration of each podcast episode is listed under the title.  Some are a minute long, while others can be almost a half hour.

How could you use this?  Well, as a parent and/or a teacher you may know how difficult it is to search for appropriate podcasts.  Now you have a treasury your children can listen to during long car trips or in classroom centers with a set of headphones.  The great thing about this is that podcasts have frequent updates so there is a slight chance that you will never run out of episodes!

If you are using this in the classroom, you can gather student reflections using a response sheet like this one from Chase March.  Students searching for topics for Genius Hour projects may find something that they may want to research further. Another idea is to use the app to find relevant podcast links for class, and embed those links in a Hyperdoc.

As you can see, there are many ways to use podcasts in class, and the Leela Kids app just made it even easier.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 8.12.55 PM.png
Leela Kids App

*If you teach secondary students, here is an article on “Likewise,” a more robust collection of podcasts that can be used in the classroom.

Word Dream

Word Dream is one of those apps that I downloaded because someone mentioned it on Twitter –  and then I forgot to try it.  It is free for iOS, but there is also a paid Pro Version and there are in-app purchases to unlock all of the “goodies.”  I actually did fine with the free version, but had a gift card balance left on iTunes and decided to splurge for everything.  Now I can give my text a 3d appearance or add a fish-eye bulge to it, among other things.

I started playing with Word Dream because I read A.J. Juliani’s post about the “7 Mantras” he is displaying for the year and wanted to make some of my own.  I have a Pinterest board full of favorite quotations, but sometimes I discover an inspiring piece of text that hasn’t been graphically designed by a clever person yet.  Therefore, I wanted to try my hand at making a few of my own.

Word Dream allows you to choose a background from Pixabay or one of your own images.  Then you can add your text using numerous different options for the layout, color, and effect.  It’s not a unique idea, but I found Word Dream very easy to use with plenty of choices for design without too many to overwhelm me.  If Word Dream isn’t quite what you want, here is a list of 20 Alternatives – many that I’ve tried but deleted for one reason or another.

Here are a couple of samples I made while learning the app.  I’m not sure if I’m going to include them in my set of mantras, yet!  The black dog, by the way, is my daughter’s puppy.  (She was a bit more cooperative than my bulldog when I asked her to look adoringly at me.)

Photo Aug 30, 5 52 55 PM

betheperson

bethepersonsilly

Blippar

I briefly mentioned Blippar in a post last summer about the Augmented Reality magazine, Brainspace.  A tweet from last night reminded me that there are other educational uses for the free Blippar app.  In this post by Rob Stringer on Blippar’s blog, you can find some great uses of Blippar for science activities in the classroom.  I’m ready to try the solar system one tomorrow!

At Diary of a Techie Chick, you can find lots of AR activities.  Using Blippar’s sunflower trigger and a couple of other resources,  @KatieAnn_76 offers a free lesson plan full of rich ideas for learning more about plants.

To learn more about Blippar for Education, click here.  If you are interested in seeing more Augmented Reality activities, here are some I’ve collected over the last few years.

Blippar Volcano

 

Using Canva for Reflections

My students went on a great field trip two weeks ago, and lots of photos were taken.  We have a class blog but I thought it would be nice to use the pictures for more than that.  I decided to try out Canva for a reflection tool.  I have exactly 18 students in my 5th grade GT class.  With 10 iPads and 8 laptops, Canva was the perfect choice because you can use either the app or the website to create. There are lots of free templates and text options to choose from, and the students also enjoy trying to different filters on the photos.

I have one class account for Canva that all of the students use.  This makes using the app easy because they can stay logged in.  Another bonus is that I could upload all of the field trip pictures taken by the group to that account from Dropbox, and the students could choose any pictures from the uploads to create their photo collages.

The students were assigned to find pictures that completed any two of the following:

  • One way the field trip connected to something I learned in GT was…
  • The field trip inspired me to…
  • My favorite exhibit was…

They could use any combination of pictures, and they needed to use some sort of captions to relate the photos to the above statements.

Here are some of their final products:

Every photo collage was different, and I really learned what was important to the students from doing this activity.

If you are interested in using Canva, you can sign up for free!

If I Lived in a Snow Globe, I Would Wear my Bike Helmet to Bed

Screen shot from BumbleVille
Screen shot from BumbleVille

UPDATE 1/18/15 – I just added a post that gives more details about using augmented reality with this lesson.  Go to “Outside My Snow Globe” to learn more!

Earlier this year, I posted about a short video called, “BumbleVille.”  This cute animation would be fun to show your students at this time of year.  You might want to show them part of the film, then stop and ask them what they think is going on.  Chances are they will respond like mine did: “earthquake”, “aliens”, “volcanic eruption”.  You will enjoy their reactions when they find out the true cause – that the characters are inhabitants of a snow globe which just got shaken.

In my first BumbleVille post, I gave some suggestions for incorporating Kaplan’s “Multiple Perspectives” into a lesson using the film.  Since then, I’ve also thought that it might be interesting to think about the “Rules” that might be important for living in such an unpredictable environment:

  • What special rules would they have for buildings in this community?
  • What do they tell the students to do at school when such an event occurs (similar to earthquake or tornado preparedness)?
  • Are there certain objects that should not be allowed in this community?
  • Are there certain actions that should be against the law?

When I first posted BumbleVille, I happened to be reading Not Just Child’s Play, and came across a recommendation in the comments to read The Snow Globe Family, by Jane O’Connor.  This book ties in very well with the BumbleVille video – giving perspectives from both inside and out of the snow globe.  I found this free Snow Globe Family packet on Teachers Pay Teachers by Anita Bremer that asks the students to make a text-to-self connection, which is great.

There are tons of “Snow Globe” resources on the internet – including Pinterest ideas – for crafting your own.  You can create real ones or facsimiles.

If you are interested in a digital version of a snow globe, there is a free app, called “iSnowdome” (available on iTunes only) that allows you to place a photo of your own inside a snow globe, then e-mail the video of it.  (From what I can tell, this is the only app that will e-mail a video instead of just a screen shot.) This could be a cute combo writing/augmented reality project – have students write about what it is like to live in a snow globe, use iSnowdome* to make videos of themselves in the snow globe, and upload the videos to Aurasma Studio with the screen shots as trigger images.  Voila – an interactive, winter-themed bulletin board for your classroom!

*(The iSnowdome video includes an instrumental of a Christmas song in the audio, which some families may not prefer.  You could easily mute that in a video editing program, though.)