Story Elements in a Snap (Snapchat that is!)

My students LOVE making videos of themselves! To add a little extra excitement to guided reading rotations, I let students summarize their learning in a Snapchat video. I do not share the video on Snapchat, instead I download it to my phone. That way, I can share it on Twitter which is "district approved."

So that I could post an example on my blog, I had my daughter (a first grader) summarize the problem and solution in the story, Franklin is Lost.

Happy snapping!

Use Wixie to Increase Engagement (Problem & Solution Lesson)

I teach first graders...six year old children who have NEVER experienced type writers, dial-up internet, an old-school library card catalog (I'm ancient and I'm not even 40 yet!).These kiddos were born into a world with smart phones, instant messaging, social networking, and personal technology. It's simply part of their culture. As teachers it is increasingly important for us to embrace as many forms of technology as possible. Children LOVE technology, they live for it. And, it's highly engaging, which is an important aspect of any lesson.

Recently, my kiddos used an application called Wixie during a lesson on problem and solution. The lesson was live broadcast to some teachers in my district. If you saw the broadcast and are interested in how to recreate the lesson, then this tutorial is for you! If you do not teach in my district, or have not heard of Wixie, I believe it is subscription based. Wixie works on desktop computers, Google Chromebooks, and iPads. My students love it and you should look into it!

The Student Activity

Students worked with a partner for this Problem Detectives activity. First, students scanned a QR code to access a recording of me reading a case file. Students who were capable of reading the selection independently had the option to read the text themselves, but noone did that because QR codes are fun! A "case file" is really just a short passage with a character and a problem. 

(I use Audioboom to make recordings and generate QR codes.)

I used four of the case files from a resource called Character, Setting, Problem, and Solution - The Bundle by A Year of Many Firsts. Then, I created some additional ones like the one in the picture. 

Students identified and discussed the problem and came up with possible solutions. Partners agreed on one solution to include in their product. The product was created on Wixie. 

One partner typed the problem and one student typed the solution. Then, students recorded a voiceover. One partner talked about the problem and the other partner talked about the solution. I like for students to record their thinking because A) sometimes it's difficult to tell what they meant to type, and B) primary students can typically tell with more detail than they can write or type. 

At the end of the lesson we listened to the case files and the student's reccordings. 

How to Create a Project in Wixie

If you're unsure how to create a project (like this one with file folders) for your students, here are the steps to follow:

1. Log in. Click "Creat or edit a Wixie project."

2. Click "New Project."

3. Click "Library" tab.

4. Search for stickers (clip art or pictures) that you need. In this case, I searched for "folders."

5. Click on a sticker to insert it onto the project. Use the green dots to adjust the size of the image. 

6. Click the "Text" button to insert a text box.

I inserted text boxes for the title, file folder labels, and "type here" boxes so students could just double click "type here" and begin typing. 

7. You can play around with font colors and add additional stickers to make the project more visually appealing. 

Wixie automatically saves all work. So, when your project is complete, assign it to your class. The next time they log in, the project will be there.

Assigning an Activity/Template

1. From the home screen, click the "Projects" tab.

2. Highlight the template you want to assign.

3. Click on the "Actions" drop down menu, then click "Assign." Your class list will pop up. You can choose to assign the project to the entire class or to select students.

Happy Wixie-ing!

Flexible Seating in Action!

Instead of the traditional classroom tour with pictures of an unused, immaculate classroom prior to the beginning of the school year, I'm doing a post about my flexible seating classroom in action! It's messy and it's AWESOME!

Our classroom seating options include:

  • 5 stability balls with legs (Amazon, approx $17)
  • 5 yoga mats (Five Below, $5)
  • 5 wobble discs (Amazon, approx $12-14)
  • 5 traditional desks
  • 1 floor table (legs removed from a rectangular table)
  • 1 high rectangular table
  • 6 stools (Aldi, $3)
  • 1 horseshoe table for guided reading & math
  • 4 fruit cushions (Five Below, $5)
The absolute BEST part of not having 25 traditional classroom desks and chairs is the space we have for games, activities, and demonstrations. And, the kiddos absolutely love having choices. In September the stability balls were all the rage, but in October the yoga mats reign supreme. 

We work anywhere!

I'll try to do a post soon on how I implemented the seating options from the first day of school, how we choose our seats for each activity, and what to do if you are going to have a substitute.