Archive for January 7, 2015

Matching and Exploring on the iPads

Today the PreK students used 2 apps. We did the Preschool Memory Match game (currently $0.99 US) which is the best matching app I have found. Love that it uses pictures, text, and audio and helps to stretch students’ vocabulary as they play. The sound effects are realistic, and there are fun little touch widgets in between each game that students can touch and manipulate.


We also played the Toca House app (currently $2.99 US) which is a touch and explore game. I like how students just have use some problem solving skills to get the various elements to work by touching, swiping, and dragging. Good fun as the help clean the virtual house!
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Minecraft Animal Habitat Reports using Explain Everything


Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 7.54.41 AM  1-2-15The third graders recently finished their Minecraft Animal Habitats. They took screenshots of their habitats and then used the Explain Everything app to record a report where they told about their habitat.  This was the students’ first time using Explain Everything, and unfortunately we ran into some issues with the audio recording with technical errors, being too soft, or having lots of background noise.  Therefore I selected a few of the reports to publish as examples of the students’ work in this project.

This was a long project with many parts, but I am very proud of the great work that the students did throughout the process!


Teacher Notes – Here is an overview of the project and some of my thoughts about what I would do differently next time. Click on the link to read the post about each part of the project:

Inquiry and Research – we used Padlet to collect questions before researching an animal’s habitat.

(I loved using Padlet to collect student questions. I did find that some students struggled a bit to generate questions that directly addressed things they needed to know to build the habitat and sometimes their research did not relate to this task. Next time I would look for new ways to focus the inquiry and research process, perhaps trying to do more of the research while they are building the habitat.)

Building in Minecraft – students worked either individually or with a partner to build an animal habitat.

(The students knew much more about Minecraft than I did, and that was great! If someone got stuck, I would just shout out “Who knows how to….” and someone would jump up and help! They did a great job teaching each other, and me! Now I know how to fly and grow trees – bonemeal, who knew? Those who had done a lot of Minecraft definitely came up with the most creative solutions. A few students who had never used Minecraft struggled throughout the MInecraft part of the project – they never could quite find a good location or build a structure, but they accomplished enough that they could at least explain what they were trying to do.)

Recording a Report – using video tutorials about how to use Explain Everything.

(Having the video tutorials for Explain Everything worked great! Students watched them when they were ready for each part and could rewatch as needed. It really made the process of follwing the steps easier.  However, next time I think I would simply record a video of the student showing their habitat in Minecraft and talking about it.  I think it would give a better overview of the habitat and students could more thoroughly explain their design and thinking, plus it would be much faster than using Explain Everything.)