Mrs. Becker’s Area and Perimeter Activity: Skitch

Thanks goes to Mrs. Becker for this idea. Not only was it a good idea, but it looks tasty too! Here she took a creative activity and integrated it naturally with her class set of iPads. The portion completed with the devices is where she can assess how well the students grasped the skill. Could she use a quiz to accomplish the same task? Yes, but that wouldn’t be as much fun now would it? Also, it provides them with some technology skills that are applicable to showing work in any subject area, and even outside of the classroom.

There are numerous times that I use Skitch to ask or answer questions through email. Just the other day, I wanted to trade my car to an auto dealer. He asked me if I could show any defects so that he can properly assess the value of my vehicle. I used skitch to not only take the pictures, but to draw the arrows and annotate the issues I saw. These are real life skills.

In this lesson, Mrs. Becker had students arrange Cheez-It crackers to form a polygon. Then the students had to label the area and perimeter of the shape. I used to have kids sketch it on a piece of paper to prove their work. With an iPod or iPad, students can take a picture of the real evidence and label it in the same amount of time. Not only that, but the kids can email it so I don’t have to stuff my bag full of papers that will eventually get scrunched on the bottom. 🙂 (Yes, I’m a messy teacher.)

Thanks again, Mrs. Becker! This is great!

Me by Numbers – Skitch

“Me by Numbers” is an activity developed by Mrs. Yoder that she performed with her first grade students. In studying measurements and how they are a relevant to our everyday lives, she utilized the Skitch application on her class set of iPods as a means to produce a recording of the students’ work. The students had a partner take a picture, and then they proceeded by finding their weight, date of birth, height, etc.

Skitch is a great app for both iOS and Android devices. It is a simple app that gives students an easy way to demonstrate their knowledge about any subject. Imagine how long it would have taken you as a teacher to take pictures of every kid, print them off, and have students hand write these tidbits of information about the subject?

I recall doing activities like this prior to going 1:1 when I taught fourth grade. I also recall thinking that it really didn’t take that much time to gather all the pictures, print them, and get them passed out to the students. That is just the preparation of the materials alone and we are talking about a considerable amount of time spent on this project. Yet, did it anyway because I found the value in it and I was excited about the activity the students were going to complete.

Using Skitch eliminated almost the entire prep work that went into this lesson. Technology makes completing tasks faster than ever before.

(I used Skitch to blur out the faces in these images. I felt it was necessary due to the nature of information listed in these examples. Another handy use of the app that would have taken me longer to do with a PC.)

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Pic Collage and Skitch – Let Students Share What They Know

I love applications/websites that teachers can use across their curriculum. I especially love it when teachers tell me how well that application or website is working for them because they have found it to be an essential part of their teaching.

Here are a few examples that were sent my way this week:

The first example is from a first grader in Mrs. Yoder’s class using an iPod Touch and the Pic Collage application. They used the app to quickly record a nonfiction text feature with a picture and label it. This is a really good opportunity for students to see that their iPods can be a recording tool while working with a paper text. I love the idea of students studying a text and having their iPod/iPad ready to document their findings.

Pic collage first grade non fiction features


The second sample was sent to me by Mrs. Abbs. Her first graders used Skitch to make a synonym web. I had never really thought of using Skitch in this manner, but I can imagine that it was a fun and engaging way to study synonyms and integrate technology. I learned something from this as well since I did not know that you could use a blank canvas for Skitch instead of an image. You can also find out more about Skitch here.

skitch first grade synonyms


The final example is from Mrs. Erexson’s second grade. Here she is using Pic Collage to have students write a summary. This same task could be accomplished with applications like Pages. However, in many ways, Pic Collage meets the younger student’s needs better since it is not fully featured.

Pic Collage second grade summary


Big Universe Learning – Engaging Online Reading and Writing Platform for K-8

Big Universe Learning – Engaging Online Reading and Writing Platform for K-8.

Last October I had the opportunity to participate in an interview about the benefits of using tools like Big Universe and also having a 1:1 technology initiative. Earlier this week I was contacted by Anil Hemrajani (CEO of Big Universe) about using the article to help promote his product.

I found it to be a great honor, and an awesome opportunity for East Noble Schools to shine in the ways we are integrating technology.

As I was reading through the article, I couldn’t help but think that the vision of how we use technology has not changed a bit since October. We have to keep striving to communicate to the kids that their devices are tools for learning.

Now that East Noble School Corporation is entering into their third year of being a 1:1 technology school district, we really need to evaluate how we are using the technology. I challenge you all to think of ways that we can pursue “transforming” uses with the technology we have placed in the students’ hands.

Are we having students accomplish tasks with the devices that were previously inconceivable? I think Big Universe can be included in this type of activity as students could take screenshots of parts of texts that they want to reference and annotate. They could then use apps like Skitch  to mark, highlight, and annotate as they wish. All of this without using a single bit of paper. Lastly, they could use an app like 30 Hands to create a slideshow with their voice recording what they accomplished so that it can be sent to a teacher in a video format.

When I was teaching fourth grade, these were activities that I could only dream of doing. Now the reality is here. Let’s take advantage of it!