Tag Archives: Depth and Complexity

Using ChatterPix Kids to Teach Perspective

ChatterPix Okapi

I should probably confess right now that this lesson was pretty much a bust.

“Then, why are you sharing it?” you say.

Well, like most of my lessons, it was not a complete bust.  There were some “boom” aspects to it.  Plus, I think I now know most of the factors that contributed to the bust, and I want to record them for posterity for the next time I try this idea.

“Oh, I thought you were going to say that you wanted to help your readers avoid all of your mistakes!” you say.

Okay.  That, too.

I have been discussing “Multiple Perspectives” with my 11 GT first graders.  A couple of months ago, word of the ChatterPix Kids app arrived in the Twittersphere, and I thought that this might be the time to have the students try using it.  (I used it, myself, in December to make some Augmented Reality cards.)

So, here is the saga.  The starred portions are where, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure I contributed to the ultimate doom of the project.

To set the scene, I read Who is Melvin Bubble? by Nick Bruel to the class.  This was probably one of the “boomier” parts of my lesson.  In the book, different characters talk about a boy named Melvin Bubble, giving their opinion of him.  The perspectives range from Santa’s point of view that he’s “always on my nice list” to the Tooth Fairy’s opinion that “he has a big head!” I used different voices, and the kids were practically rolling on the floor.

After discussing the book, I asked the kids to divide sheets of paper into fourths.  On each fourth they drew: a self-portrait, a holiday character, a book character, and their favorite animal. I told them to make the pictures big – especially the faces.

Why is it that students never want to use up space with drawings?  They have a whole 1/4 of a paper, and they still draw faces the size of a flea.*

Why did I have them do four pictures? I should have had them do two.  Or one.*

I showed them how to use the ChatterPix app.  So many things went wrong right here.  My Reflector wasn’t working, so I had to show the iPad under the document camera.*  I did not emphasize the importance of zooming in on each pic individually.**  I did not show them how to focus the camera by tapping on the screen.***  I apparently did not emphasize the importance of drawing the mouth on the actual mouth of the picture (resulting in talking chins and cheeks).  ****

Of course, I didn’t realize any of this at the time, so I be-bopped happily around taking pictures as the kids chattered away.*

Later, when I watched and listened to the videos, I realized that I also did not make my point clear about the purpose of the activity.  They were supposed to have each character talk in the first person about them (as in the video embedded below).  Instead, the students talked in the first person about their characters.*  Argghhhh!!

Next class, I gamely tried to rectify all of the above issues.  Thankfully, the new perspective on perspective made a difference.  Horrifyingly, however, one of my examples became an oft-repeated favorite. “And, remember the Tooth Fairy in Melvin Bubble?  Not all of your characters have to say how much they like you.”*

Ergo, 50% of the videos commenced to speak about how much they disliked the student who drew them.*

Oh, and did I mention that my plan was to add every video to Aurasma Studio so the students could take their papers home and the parents could scan them to see the cute videos?*

Oh, and did I mention that I told the kids this was the plan, and told the parents (on our class blog)?******************

Lessons Learned:  do only one or two videos, don’t suggest that your students make disparaging videos about themselves, teach kids that talking mouths look kind of creepy on top of noses and even creepier on pin-sized heads, and never, NEVER reveal your future plans.

On the plus side, the ChatterPix app had them completely engaged for 2 class periods 🙂

It’s Like a Box of Chocolates – but Not as Caloric

Chocolate Fix Logic Game from ThinkFun (for 8+)
Chocolate Fix Logic Game from ThinkFun (for 8+)

Since I only see most of my students once a week, I have to think ahead when it comes to holidays.  It suddenly struck me that we are in the middle of January, and I haven’t given thought to Valentine’s Day, yet.  So, I culled together a bunch of resources to offer to you in advance.

And finally, I came across this last one, and almost leapt out of my seat.  If any of you participated in the Global Cardboard Challenge this year, then you know how much the students love making new things with boxes!  In fact, I had a parent e-mail pictures of her son this weekend as he fashioned a large box they had received at home into a mini putt-putt course.  According to her, he said, “After GT, I don’t see cardboard the same way.”

So, if you are looking for another Cardboard Challenge to energize your kids (or didn’t get the chance to participate in October), here is a cool idea for a Valentine’s Day Box Project from Amanda at One Extra Degree.

UPDATE 1/15/15: If you want even more ideas for Valentine’s Day, check out this year’s post!

Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

Twisted Sifter has a great article that includes pictures of “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World.”  Not all of them are appropriate to show students, but some of them would be great to use for incorporating some Depth and Complexity into the classroom.  Here are a few, and some suggestions.

included in 40 Maps
included in “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World” on TwistedSifter.com

Big Idea – What general statement could you make about this map?

Change Over Time – How has the metric system been accepted throughout the world since its invention?

Multiple Perspectives – What are the pros for using the metric system?  What are the cons?  Who might benefit from its adoption by the U.S.?  Who would suffer if it became our only method of measurement?

included in "40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World" on TwistedSifter.com
included in “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World” on TwistedSifter.com

Rules – How are the laws about driving different in countries that use the left side than the ones that use the right?

Details – What other aspects of life are effected by driving orientation?  (For example, car manufacturing, and street signs.)

Unanswered Questions – What does this map not tell us about driving orientation?  (For example, is one way more safe than the other?)

included in "40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World" on TwistedSifter.com
included in “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World” on TwistedSifter.com

Big Idea – What conclusions can you make from this map?

Patterns and Trends – What similarities do you see?  Are there other things that the regions of the same color may have in common?

Ethics – What arguments or controversies might people have about these results?

And finally, this map sparked a little creative thinking from me.  How would the world be different if it was rearranged?

included in "40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World" on TwistedSifter.com
included in “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World” on TwistedSifter.com



GT Frames for Mothers

I absolutely LOVE this idea from Miss Trayers at Not Just Child’s Play.  She asked her young students to use some of Margaret Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity icons in a frame centered on their moms.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to try it with my own first grade GT students.  I broke out our Depth and Complexity stamps, and they went to town.  You should have seen the look on one boy’s face when I asked the class to use  Multiple Perspectives to think about what it would be like to be a mom.  It’s a good bet that’s never been at the top of his list of goals!  For more examples, you can click here.

Rules – She has to be awesome.  She has to be nice.  She has to be cool.  Big Idea – She helps me feel better (I’m not absolutely sure what the other part says.)  Multiple Perspectives – Hard because you have to clean and do chores.  Being Bossy.  Language of the Discipline – I love you.  How was your day?  You’re a good kid.

Depth and Complexity

photo credit: dachalan via photopin cc
photo credit: dachalan via photopin cc

If you are familiar with Sandra Kaplan’s icons for Depth and Complexity, and try to use them in your classroom, you may like this treasure trove of resources from Mrs. Lee in Cajon Valley School District.  It includes Powerpoints that explain the icons, PDF’s of frames and task cards, and posters.  I really like the packet of Literature Circle Frames, created by David Chung, which has great roles for students, a rubric, and wonderful tasks using frames for each roles.  These really take the students’ comprehension to a higher level.

You can find another great tool for designing lessons with Depth and Complexity here, and you can order materials here.

Also, you can see Depth and Complexity in action at Not Just Child’s Play.

The New Differentiator

Ian over at byrdseed.com has revised his Differentiator tool, and it looks great.  This is a great resource for teachers (or students who are good at working independently), allowing you to target different thinking skills for groups of students based on their needs.  You can add depth and complexity to the required content, offer up different choices for resources or products, and select the number of students in each group.  The best part?  It now works on iPads! (I previously mentioned this tool in my “Extend-a-Menu” post.)