It has been such a joy to work with Mrs. Gillespie and her sixth graders. At the start of their second week in the AT&T Classroom Mrs. Gillespie created a class Padlet wall that she used for student sharing and as an “exit ticket” for reflecting on their learning. Padlet is a free web-based tool that functions as a virtual wall or bulletin board where people can exchange thoughts on a common topic. Users are able to post several forms of content including text, images, and videos. Mrs. Gillespie created a Padlet wall where students could post and share their group research projects.

This past week in the AT&T Classroom the Lakeview sixth graders also explored several new tools for programming and design.

Minecraft EDU is a simple building-blocks game within an immersive environment that is designed to promote children’s creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving. As children are challenged to build, design and program with the blocks they are also developing and improving important spatial reasoning skills which provide a basis for the abstract thinking and problem solving involved in math and science equations.

The sixth graders were also introduced to Bitsbox, an online application that runs in a computer browser and displays a virtual tablet on which the user is able to access programming lessons to build simple apps and games in JavaScript. Once the user has created a game, they are able to use a mobile device such as an iOS or Android tablet or smartphone to scan the QR code associated with their Bitsbox project. They are then able to access their game on that mobile device through the QR code. The challenges that were used in the AT&T Classroom are available on the Bitsbox website at no cost. Bitsbox also offers subscription plans that include monthly mailings containing new programming tutorials and projects for children to explore.

The students also explored Educreations, a multi-platform tool that allows the computer or tablet to function as a digital dry erase board. The tool’s features allow the device to record the student’s voice and his/her writing and drawing which can be saved for playback. Once a student finishes their assignment or project in Educreations, they can save their work and then access it from any device with a web browser. The 6th graders enjoyed exploring the features of Educreations to solve math equations and to create digital stories and collages.

This past week the sixth graders were also introduced to a new tool for animation and digital storytelling. Recently released by Google less than two weeks ago, Toontastic 3D builds upon the original Toontastic iOS app released in 2011. Now available as both an Android and iOS app, Toontastic 3D offers newly designed 3D characters and expanded templates and backgrounds that students can use to draw, animate and share stories and cartoons. Students are also able to add audio to their story by recording their own voices.

Thank you for participating in the AT&T Classroom!

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