Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Abraham Lincoln Memoirs

In my never ending quest of trying to integrate the iPads with library instruction I developed an interactive memoir lesson centering around the life of Abraham Lincoln. This lesson was designed to be implemented in centers with fifth grade students . Three centers were going on at the same time. I will describe the centers below just as the students used:

Center 1: Video Memoirs (Partner Center)

At this station you will be creating a video memoir. One of you will become Abraham Lincoln and one will become Ulysses S. Grant.

During his tenure as President, Abraham Lincoln hosted many important people at the White House. Two of these people were Ulysses S Grant and General Meade. Follow the steps below to complete your memoir of this dinner.

1. Click on the Abraham Lincoln Telegram app on your ipad.

2. Click on March 12, 1864 and read the telegram.
3. Now click on transcript to read what the actual telegram said.
4. Click on summary to read what was going on at the time of the telegram.
5. Next, click over to see what is thought as the reasoning behind the transcript.6. Now go back to your home screen and open the imovie app
7. Click on the + at the bottom of the screen and begin a new project.
8. Click on the video icon on the middle right screen.
9. You will take turns recording each other.
10. Decide who will be Lincoln and who will be Grant.
11. Now using all of the information you read about Abraham Lincoln’s invitation to General Grant you will become either Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant and tell what dinner at the White House was like that night. Write down your memoir before you video it. Remember it doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to be long enough for your audience to understand your thoughts.
Some questions to get you started...

  • Why would Grant turn down Lincoln’s invitation?
  • Were they angry towards each other?
  • Were they just busy?
***Remember these are just questions to get you started. This is your memoir from that night. You may add as much as you want.
12. After the first partner finishes, pause the video and switch roles.
13. After you finish your memoir save it by clicking the star on paper icon at the top middle of the screen. Now click on the arrow out of the box icon in the bottom middle of the screen and select “camera roll”.
14. Upload your video to edmodo.

Center 2: Memoir Blogging (Partner Center)

At this station you will be creating a blogging memoir. You will become Abraham Lincoln or his father, Thomas Lincoln.

What was Abraham Lincoln’s life like as a child? We do know that when Abraham was 9 years old his mother died. Follow the steps below to complete a memoir of this event.

1. Click on the audio Lincoln boyhood app on your ipad.
2. Listen to the audio file about Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abraham’s parents.
3. Now decide which partner will be Abraham Lincoln and which partner will be Thomas Lincoln.
4. Each partner will open safari on the iPad.
5. Type in kidblog at the top and hit enter.
6. Click on the kidblog link to open kidblog.
7. Click the red secret code button and enter **** and click join class.
8. Now type in your computer login information to set up your kidblog account and click the orange create my account button.
9. Click the pushpin icon at the top of the page. Enter a title for your blog.
10. Now write a blog memoir about the death of Nancy Lincoln and the effect it had on you.
Think about these questions as you write:

  • How did you feel when she went to help your sick neighbors?
  • Were you worried for her?
  • Could you have done anything to help her?
  • How will life be different now?
***Remember these are just questions to get you started. This is your memoir from that event. You may add as much as you want.
11. At the end of your blog make sure to write your name. (example- by Ms. Anderson)
12. After you write your blog click publish to save it.
13. Now, switch partners and repeat steps 5-8.

Center 3: Voice Memoir (Partner Center)

At this station you will be creating a memoir using voicethread. You will become John Wilkes Booth or the Doctor who tried to save Lincoln’s life.

We know that on April 14, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. But what was going through the mind of John Wilkes Booth or the Doctor at the theater who tried to save Lincoln’s life? Follow the steps below to create a voice memoir of this fateful night.

1. On the iPad click on the Ford theater app and take a video tour of the theater.

2. Next, click on the Lincoln's Death Reenactment app and watch the reenactment of Lincoln's assassination.
3. Decide which partner will be John Wilkes Booth and which partner will be the Doctor who tried to save Lincoln’s life and write a draft of your memoir before you record it.
Keep these questions in mind for your memoir..

  • Why did John Wilkes Booth want President Lincoln dead?
  • Was Booth working alone or did he have help?
  • How many years had the doctor been practicing?
  • What was the doctor’s specialty?
***Remember these are just questions to get you started. This is your memoir from that event. You may add as much as you want.
4. At the end of your memoir make sure to tell me your name (ex. by Ms. Anderson)
5. Now open the Voicethread app
6. Select the bubble with the + sign
7. Select the bubble with the microphone
8. Record your memoir by speaking close to the ipad
9. Now switch roles and record the other partner

These centers were very successful but did take longer that I anticipated with about 1 hour per center. After completion the student were more comfortable with the iPads and memoirs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Exploring the Library- QR Code Scavenger Hunt

Well, school is up and off to a running start! The media center is no different. We have been busy preparing for students to take full advantage of all our services! In doing so I decided to try something completely different from what our students are used to and at the same time use our magnificent new ipads to acquaint them with the library. I began to read all the school library blogs I could find trying to get some fresh ideas. Did I mention how much I love library blogs? So, I came across the blog belonging to the Daring Librarian (quick shout out because she's awesome!) She had done a QR Code Scavenger Hunt with some of her middle school students. She even had the resources she used linked for download! Doesn't get much better than that! I used the same format she had developed but adjusted most of the questions to work with my library.  This would definitely be a lesson for my 3rd-5th grades. After that I began working on my QR Code clues. That part was the most time consuming but it was also the most fun! I had a mixture of picture, video, and voice clues. I posted the clues around the library near the section that the clue referenced.

Once I had the lesson set up I decided to divide the questions into five different groups. I have the links posted below. This would allow collaboration and prevent all groups being at the same clue at the same time.     Now it was time to roll out the lesson!

I spent a good amount of time explaining and modeling the details of the lesson and showing the students which app to use (I really like the red laser app for scanning but anyone would work) and expectations of working in a team. I then divided them into teams according to the different color Popsicle sticks on their tables. I assigned one student to be the "leader" (the leader was in charge of reading each clue and recording the answers). The ipad was rotated around the group so each student could have a turn scanning because of course that's what's most important to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. So how did they do?

Well, my fifth graders did the best. They worked well together and fully understood the assignment. Fourth grade was okay but did require a good amount of assistance. When it came to third grade, I had to do whole group modeling for the first two questions, but after that they went off in their own groups. With every grade, I traveled from group to group checking for understanding and offering assistance.

The activity did take two sessions to finish but was a big hit with all the students. Not only were they able to use awesome technology, but they learned a lot about the library in the process. I will certainly use QR codes throughout the year given the success of this lesson!

Links for QR Code Scavenger Hunt Groups

Monday, June 25, 2012

IPADs for the library

This year in the library we will be using new IPADs. I am looking forward to using these to promote project-based learning through collaboration in every grade level.I will be training on these and developing lessons over the next few days.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Median, Mean, Mode, and Range and Graphs

This week my students began studying the median, mean, mode, and range of a set of data. To make data collecting a little more interesting the students developed a survey using The questions ranged from favorite singers to favorite sports. We recruited the computer teachers help in gathering the answers. She had one class from each grade level take the survey. The next day the students logged in to get the results. They took those results and created a bar graph using the nces create-a-graph site. We used the data and the graph to explore the median, mean, mode, and range. I wanted the students to also learn how to find these using excel. To do this they made different charts in excel and found the median, mode, mean, and range using the function buttons. After that, just for practice, they used the chart to insert a bar graph into excel. Through this activity the students not only explored the median, mean, mode, and range of a set of data but they also gained experience with online survey development and Mircrosoft Excel. I have included some student samples at the bottom of the blog.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lines Project Complete

Last week students finished up the project, What do lines and angles have to do with the real world? I must say that I was a bit disappointed in their lack of critical thinking when it came to composing the paragraphs to answer the question, "What are the importance of lines and angles in the real world?" While reflecting on this project, I came to the conclusion that if we do this next year I will guide the students through the hallway on a guided tour of the lines and angles used in our school building and the purpose they serve. 
Below I have included some pictures of the students on the scavenger hunt, working at the computer, and the rubric for the project. I have also included a snapshot of the edmodo screen of a student's completed and uploaded pictures and paragraph. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update on class project

As stated in the previous blog my class has been busy on a digital scavenger hunt for lines, rays, etc. So far all the students have found all of their items (sample list below) and they have uploaded them to picnik. I must say that I was very impressed with the creativity of some of my students. They saw lines and angles that I didn't even see! The students have truly enjoyed editing the photos and shown their creativity even more

. I have included some sample photos of student work below. Next, the students will upload their edited photos onto edmodo and complete the assignment. When the entire assignment is complete and I receive more photo permission slips I will post more samples.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Student Project

Integrating technology with everyday learning is essential in the 21st century classroom. My 5th grade students will be exploring angles, lines, and shapes next week. I want them to think outside the box with our geometry unit. For this study, the students will get digital cameras to go out into the school and capture real life lines, angles, and shapes. They will then upload these pictures onto the picnik site (yes it's closing in April, but head's up, everyone gets free premiere status until then) and experiment with different editing tools. The students will then upload their pictures onto edmodo and answer specific questions assigned by me. I will post blogs this week as the unit progresses. I only meet with each class 30 minutes a day so it will take us an entire week to complete the project. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Today my students began blogging using Edmodo. My son has used this all year in middle school and really seemed to enjoy it. So, I decided to check it out from a teacher's point-of-view. It was super easy to set up! When I finished setting up my teacher account I created a group titled, "5th grade" and was able to assign a project. What's really cool is the ease of differentiation. You, as a teacher, can create as many groups as needed and assign each group a different project/assignment! 
If you're looking for an easy-to-use class blog then check out Edmodo!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Johnnie's Math Page

This site is the one stop shop for almost any math or logic game for elementary level! I am thrilled to have this as one of my many resources. After discovering this site, I have shared it with many of my fellow teachers. It is definitely a resource I wouldn't want to do without. I love the logic games just as much as the math. These games are designed to develop critical-thinking skills, which most of our students are in need of.  All of the activities are interactive and most don't require a keyboard so they can be used on your interactive board.
Add this site to your favorites because I'm sure it will soon become one of them!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Awesome Tech on the Web

Recently I was directed to an awesome blog that that is constantly updated with the latest Web technology. The blog is . The blog is written by Richard Byrne and filled with thousands of FREE resources for teachers. I seriously don't even know how he sleeps! He teaches on top of providing daily blogs on the coolest and newest web technology available. The best part for teachers is the work is already done for you. This is like a one stop shop for technology, ideas, and links. Don't take my word for it though, the blog has one several awards in the past two years. Go check it out today! You can follow them or subscribe to their feed to keep technology up to date in your classroom!