Project Based Learning Using Our iPads!

Students take a benchmark assessment each month to monitor achievement toward the Georgia Reading Standards of Excellence. Each standard is tracked to identify percentage toward mastery. The weakest standard, at 60%, for the class is RI3; describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. In addition, my class showed a weakness in writing on the beginning of the year informational writing benchmark with 100% of students falling in the basic and below basic category.

The data suggested more instruction was needed in reading, specifically informational text, as well as informational writing, I developed an informational cross-curricular unit based on a weather systems theme. In the unit, students will practice their informational text reading strategies. Students will then research a topic of their choice and present the information in a report using a web presentation tool.

Planning a Project Based Learning Unit

Getting Started

We spent a month learning all about weather. We used our CLOSE reading strategies to analyze informational text, take notes and complete graphic organizers. In science, we conducted weather experiments to grasp a better understanding of the scientific concepts. They filled their weather journals with their thoughts, ideas and wonders.

Choosing a Project

Then students were ready to choose their project. I wanted to give a lot of free choice. They choose to work independently or with a partner and they chose their weather topics.

In addition, we explored the various presentation tools we had available. As a class, we made a list of the different tools and their uses. The students used this to make their choice.

Working Hard!

The projects took about an hour a day for a full week. I was so impressed by how intuitive the students were on the presentation programs. Most students only needed guidance on the information they were presenting rather than the tool they were using.

Tellegami

Tellegami is a very simple app that uses an avatar to relay information. It is by far the easiest application to use for presentations. As students become more familiar with how to import pictures they can get more creative. There is a free version that worked well for our classroom needs.

Adobe Spark Page

Adobe spark was exceptionally easy for the students to use. This presentation is made on Adobe Spark! The interface was very intuitive for the students. The students also found taking and downloading pictures to add to their spark very easy. They drew their own diagrams and found applicable youtube videos as well!

Canva

Canva is a great poster making tool. It includes fantastic templates that my students manipulated to make advertisements and ads for our lemonade war as well. This presentation tool worked well for the project that I differentiated for my below learners. They were able to easily add slides and include facts in sequence.

Adobe Spark Video

These boys desperately wanted to make a movie and Spark helped them do it! Like the Adobe project before, this was very intuitive for the boys. They really enjoyed searching images and theme music. It was very easy to search and take their own photos. They also drew their own diagrams and added them as well!

Have I mentioned Adobe Spark is FREE!!!

Stop Motion

The most challenging presentation was for the student who choose stop motion. There is quite a learning curve with Stop Motion Animation! She is a high achiever and read a couple books and watched a few videos on the topic to understand the process better. Once finished, she wanted to create another!

Here are some Stop Motion tutorials and blog posts for you to look at. Stop Motion is NOT for the faint of heart!

Minecraft

I was reluctant when one group asked if they could use Minecraft. I didn't quite understand what they were going to do. They were insistent so I brought my son's tablet over so they could do the project without me having to pay for it! Ultimately is took 2 iPads, one for Minecraft and one to record them presenting. The end result was actually quite wonderful. It was quite innovative and really required them to apply their new learning.

Piktochart

Piktochart is an infographic builder with fantastic templates. It is an iPad app and can also be used on the computer. This is a free app and very easy to use. These girls took a template and ran with it to create a stunning banner.

Glogster

I really love glogster. It is a digital poster maker that allows students to add text, photos, images, sound clips and even videos. It has an easy interface to add and manipulate and the students loved all of the options. In May, we studied Kevin Henkes and students worked to create a digital poster about Kevin Henkes.

iPad Tips & Tricks
  • Create a classroom Google account. For instance mine is gurleyclassroom@gmail.com. This way it is easy for students to log into multiple applications. It is also easier for me to go into the applications and look at their work.
  • Identify your iPads in some way. My iPads all have a different color case. When working on a project, students use the same iPad for the length of the project so that they always have access to their photos and videos.
  • Trust that your students know more than you do! Often they would ask for help and then have solved the problem before I could even get to them.

iPads & the Future

I am so grateful to have such amazing resources at my disposal! We have completed two projects on our iPads since the completion of the weather unit. We use our iPads every single day!

Credits:

Created with images by cuncon - "ipad girl tablet"

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