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Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Monday, May 2, 2022
Now that we've moved on past COVID protocols, and kids can work together again, I've had to review my tech teamwork policy.
Help with your words, not with your hands.
I love how much the kids love to help each other. In fact, one of the lessons in Code.org's curriculum has kids doing something called paired programming. I use the analogy of pilot and navigator a lot as well, directing one student to use the controls while the other is in charge of the "map."
There are a ton of unplugged ways to practice this as well. When I taught third grade, we had a fun (yet old fashioned!) team building activity that involved one student giving directions to a second student. The first student had to direct the second as to where to place shapes to build a picture. The "direction giver" was not allowed to say what the picture was, they were only allowed to say things like "put the blue circle below the red rectangle." The result was often comical, and drove home the importance of clear communication (a lesson we can use at any age!)
Communication is one of those critical life skills that kids begin developing at birth, and the finessing of communication skills can take a life time to achieve. These kids are so helpful (for the most part) and are more than happy to jump up and help out a classmate, especially with technology. The challenge comes when kids want to grab their friend's device and do the work for them, instead of explaining how to complete the task at hand.
It's part of why I love teaching coding so much - if the directions aren't crystal clear, the program won't work. Plain and simple. And while communicating in real life isn't as black and white as coding is, it's definitely a skill worth honing.
Help with your words, not your hands.
Making the time for this kind of practice is worth it, because in the long run (or even just a few months down the road) the payout is huge. Not only that, but it crosses curriculum and content areas - because if you can explain a fairly complicated tech task, maybe explaining your thinking for that math problem won't be so challenging!
Friday, April 29, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Hold the Presses!
This past weekend I found the COOLEST (yes, it's worth the all caps!) website to use for stop motion (and so much more) with students! I've written about stop motion in the past, and all that you can do with it. For iPads, my favorite app is the free version of Stop Motion Studio. It is very user friendly, and I continue to use it with our lower grades as they still use iPads. Many of our older grade students also prefer using Stop Motion Studio on their own tablets at home.
For Chromebooks, we've been using the Chrome App Stop Motion Animator. It is a great introduction to stop motion, and is super simple to use. But saving your work is a little clunky, and it is pretty basic (which for the most part, is really good when introducing the concept to students!)
If you're looking for something that can do just a tad bit more (or, really, a lot more) then check out Wick Editor. It. Is. SO. Much. Fun! The editor still appears to be in a bit of a beta mode, but is fully functional on so many levels. I love that it is simple enough for basic learning, but the accouterments with this tool are beyond!
I was beaming with pride watching these third graders Google questions that they couldn't figure out independently, as they taught each other how to change the frame rate and the background. They found the apps that can be added to the editor for surprisingly fun elements. As we wrapped, one group was working on coding a robot to dance.
All this after 20 minutes of exploration. Student led. I call this a WIN!