Kids Can Code with Osmo Coding

IMG_1715 (1)

We love using Osmo in our library for makerspace opportunities, centers, and lessons with multiple grades. We’ve had Osmo since it first came out. If you aren’t familiar, Osmo is an attachment for iPad that comes with a base and a mirror that attaches over the camera. There are 5 apps that are used with Osmo. Tangrams allows users to build figures with real tangrams that are recognized on the iPad app through the mirror attachment. Numbers allows users to use both numerals and dots to create different combinations that equal a set number. Masterpiece allows users to draw on paper outside the screen by following tracing lines on the screen. Words allows users to look at a picture and spell a word with letter tiles based on the image. Finally, Newton allows users to create angles to make falling balls bounce and hit a target.

IMG_1718

Recently, they released their coding set.

It’s summer for us, so I haven’t had a chance to use the set with a class of students. However, I was able to hand the set to my 6 year old daughter to see how well she could use it straight out of the box. It didn’t take her long at all to figure out how to snap the various coding pieces together in order to get Awbie, the strawberry-eating monster, to find his strawberries and earn seeds to plant.  Osmo coding has several built in tutorials in the beginning to show users which pieces to put together and as the game progresses, there are signs in the game that show how to add together more complex code. One thing I love is that there isn’t just one right answer. Kids can snap together small or large amounts of code to see what happens without being penalized. They can safely advance the character one space at a time or experiment with making Awbie move multiple spaces by snapping on a number.

IMG_1717

After a few sessions of using Osmo coding, Alora decided to make a quick video to show off the pieces and how they work.

I will say that Osmo Coding has some glitches to work out. Sometimes when you press the run button, Awbie does not do what you have in front of him. Sometimes he’ll only move one space even though you have multiple commands lined up. Other times, you press the run button multiple times and he doesn’t respond at all. However, even with these glitches that I’m sure will be worked out in future updates, the game is engaging and easy to use. It’s a tangible way to introduce block coding to our youngest learners, as well as older learners too, and build up to online coding in other block coding programs.

IMG_1716

I can’t wait to get more sets of coding and explore block coding with our earliest grades in the fall.

Osmo can be purchase at https://www.playosmo.com/en/ with prices ranging from $75-$145 per set.

First Grade Wizard of Oz Meteorologists

weather (2) - Copy

Our amazing 1st grade team and students have been working on their Wizard of Oz unit.  I love this unit because they weave in so many content standards with Wizard of Oz as their guiding text. A part of this unit is the weather standards from science.  Students have to know various kinds of weather as well as how to dress in that weather.  Since this is a part of what meteorologists do, we decided to try something new this year by looking closely at the role of meteorologists.  The goal was for students to write a weather report for the Wizard of Oz regarding the cyclone and to record the forecast in front of our green screen.

weather (4) - Copy

Students came to the library and we looked at a few videos of meteorologists reporting on severe weather. As we watched, students noticed things about the posture and speech of the meteorologist.  They also pointed out many of the weather words he/she used.

As weather words were noticed, we added them to a shared Google doc.

weather (3) - Copy

This doc was shared with all classroom teachers to continue to add to and use in class.  We also looked at another student-made video and noticed how the student introduced himself in his weather forecast and pretended to be outside in the story.

weather (5) - Copy

In the library, we also spent some time beginning the writing process of creating a weather report.  Students continued working on this in class during writer’s workshop.  The list of weather words continued to be used and added to. They also did a bit of rehearsing.

Finally, students returned to he library and one by one recorded themselves in front of the green screen with a tornado or other weather behind them.  As students were recording, the rest of the class practiced, looked at weather books, and searched for the current weather in our area using apps on the iPad.

They loved seeing the weather magically appear on our iPad using the DoInk app on the iPad.  We took all of the videos from the iPad and uploaded them to class playlists to share back with the class.

You can enjoy the variety of videos in each of these lists.

One of my favorite parts of this short project was how it tied to a real career and gave students experience with a real-world job related to the standards they were studying in science.  They were each able to be a bit creative in their forecasting, and each student had a chance to use a cool technology to make their voice heard at such an early age.

A Little Augmented Reality and Zombie Math with 1st Grade

IMG_1842A few weeks ago, Em Smith Headley, 1st grade teacher, asked if I could help with their math standards using the iPads.  They have been working on using a variety of strategies to solve basic addition and subtraction problems.

I pulled together just a few iPad apps for our time together that addressed basic addition and subtraction facts.  I decided to use:

  • Fetch Lunch Rush: an augmented reality app that combines basic addition/subtraction, missing addends, racing, and augmented reality!
  • Math Zombies:  a racing app that gives basic addition/subtraction problems along with double digit math to race against the ever-approaching zombies.  Correct answers knock them out of the way.
  • Candy Count:  a sorting app that allows kids to sort candy by color and then asks several math questions about the candy in each bag.
  • iXL: an app with multiple grade levels which gives standard problems and allows kids to type an answer.

IMG_1846

I had student helpers make a 1st grade math folder on the iPads so that students could easily get to the apps.  We looked at the standard and students brainstormed several strategies that they currently use for solving math problems.  Things such as:

  • number lines
  • draw a picture
  • count up or count back
  • manipulatives
  • etc.

I reminded them that these same strategies come into play when we do math digitally and sometimes the app even provides some strategies for you with hints.  I did not tell students how to play every app because they were perfectly capable of figuring that out on their own.  I spent my time helping students think about strategy and encouraging students to help one another figure out the technical details of how the games worked.  Of course, I helped students who had technical questions, too, but that wasn’t my main focus as the teacher.

Students were bursting with energy during this.  Whether we worked for 25 minutes or 40 minutes, they were extremely focused.  They were free to move in and out of the apps as needed.  We were also able to differentiate for students who needed problems that were more challenging or problems with more basic  features.

At the close, students gave some feedback on what they liked about each app.  Math Zombies and Fetch Lunch Rush was by far the favorite, and they begged to get to do this again in their classroom or the library.

 

First Grade Google Form Choose Your Own Adventure

IMG_0050A small group of five 1st graders have worked with me during their writing time to create a Google Form Choose Your Own Adventure.  This year, some 4th graders tried this with some social studies standards.  These 1st graders were free to write about anything that they wanted to.  We met during 4 one-hour sessions that looked something like this:

Session 1:  I showed a completed Google Form Choose Your Own Adventure as a model.  Then, I showed the first steps of creating the story which were to create a title, a beginning, and the first 2 choices the reader had to make.

Session 2:  We made new pages for each of our 2 choices and created 2 new choices for each of those choices.  We linked the choices from the beginning of the story to the correct pages.IMG_0049

Session 3:  We made 4 endings for each of our choices from the middle of the story.  We also made a “The End” page.  We linked each choice to its correct page.

Session 4:  Students used Google to correct spelling, added details to their stories, traded computers with a friend to test their story out, chose a theme for their form, and emailed their final form to me for this post.

IMG_0048These students needed a lot of assistance during this project, so I feel like this is something that would work better in small group settings with adult support for younger students.  I do think that the structure of these 4 sessions was very obtainable for these students and 1 adult.  These students now have a lot of expertise that they can now share with students in their class.  I’m not sure that they could fully create one of these on their own yet, but they definitely developed their skills in Google docs and forms.

 

You can read their stories here:

The Apple and the Chocolate Trainer by Kyusung

The Clouds by Katie

The Fairy by Adaline

Ninjago by Bo

This story was still in progress at the time of this post:

Tinya the Teacher Fairy by Carinne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fetch! Lunch Rush! App

Recently, on one of my favorite blogs, Free Technology for Teachers, Richard Byrne featured the app Fetch! Lunch Rush! for iPhone (also can be for iPad).   I immediately downloaded it, played around with it, and loved it.  I emailed all lower grade teachers to see if it might benefit their students with practicing some basic math facts, and the entire 1st grade team signed up to give it a try.  I printed out the cards  and posted them around the media center so that the game took on a true scavenger hunt feel.  The basics of the game are that you have basic math facts that add or subtract up to 10.  You have 10 printed cards with numbers and symbols on them to post around the room.  The app gives you a fact, you find the answer, you point the iPad at the picture, a picture of sushi appears on your screen, and you tap it to send it to lunch.  The app times how long it takes to answer the problems and increases in difficulty as accuracy and speed increase.

Students began on the carpet for a very brief demo of how the app worked.  Some students were paired together on 1 iPad (up to 4 players can play on 1 device).  Other students worked alone.  It was amazing to watch how active the students were.  They were scurrying about the media center looking for answers, pointing their iPads at the answer, tapping the augmented reality sushi, and moving on to the next problem.  Along the way, students got problems that were challenging to them.  The teacher and I gave them tangible objects to help them (fingers, popsicle sticks, markers, etc).  They stopped on the floor or at tables to figure out the answer before moving to find the card on the wall.  Students also began to get missing integer problems like 3 + ____ = 9.  These were the most challenging for first graders, but the challenge didn’t stop them.  They were eager to get an answer and continue the game.  

This app pulled together so many great learning pieces for students.  There was gaming, movement, problem solving, the cool factor, and technology.  The teacher made observations and then went back to the classroom to practice more strategies that will help students develop their math fact fluency.  I hope more apps like this one cross our path because it was fun, engaging, and took boring math fact practice to a whole new level!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Math Buddies Project

Today I had a wonderful time collaborating with Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and their 5th grade/1st grade buddy partners.  The first grade teachers has noted that the 1st graders are being challenged by math word problems, particularly those that they write themselves.  Most of the students get the basic information of the problem down, but they forget to ask a question at the end and are often unsure of how to answer the problem.  The 5th grade buddies have been supporting the 1st grade students in this challenge.

Today, all of the buddies came to the library.  We began on the carpet where I read aloud the book Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy.  When each subtraction scenario appeared in the story, I paused and the 5th grade buddies worked with the 1st grade buddies to figure out the problem.  We pinpointed the information that was provided, identified the question that was being asked, and vocalized our strategies for getting the answer.

Next, Mrs. Mullins demonstrated some math word problems on the smart board using the names of the first grade buddies.  Once again 5th graders and 1st graders worked together to find a solution.

Finally, buddies went to tables to craft their own word problems using any numbers and objects they wanted.  They were asked to jazz up their word problems as much as they wanted.

Mrs. Mullins, Mrs. Maher, and I all visited with buddies as they worked and listened to the many strategies that they were using.  They crafted a whole variety of problems that ranged from single digit problems to problems dealing with thousands.  Now, Mrs. Mullins plans to type up these problems and share them with the 1st grade teachers for use in class.

The buddies will return to the media center in January for another math experience with fractions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.