Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trading in My Flip Flops for My Alarm Clock!

Like many teachers right now, I am busy reflecting, preparing, and brainstorming while trying to ignore the last few days of summer. My flip flops seem to be yearning for one more trip to the beach, and my alarm clock is ready and waiting to be used! As I try focus on what can be a busy time of year, I have decided to recap my "Favorite Things" from last year with my students (feel free to insert a little Julie Andrews singing if it helps).  Some are major projects where light bulbs went off, others are quieter, more subtle ideas that just made life better. I hope you enjoy a glimpse into my world with some amazing students who keep me smiling, loving what I do, and looking forward to seeing them continue to grow. 

1. Book Creator Fetal Pig Lab Projects- Nothing is better than having my students asking to come to class during study halls or free time to get better pictures and ask deeper questions about the anatomy and physiology that so closely resembles their own.  @BookCreator has changed how I teach in more ways than I can explain.  The fact that my students know they are publishing their work adds another level of focus that cannot be otherwise provided. 

2. Crime Lab "Mockumentary" Project- This a super way to incorporate many lab skills, content objectives, cooperative learning, and team building moments into one activity. This is a 3 week project where all of my students are split into teams to solve a murder mystery. The kicker is that the entire middle school faculty is suspect of the crime! Check out my blog post about this project. I guarantee your students will love it!

3. Free "Charge" Bar- It is amazing how making the 15 open slots in my iPad cart available to students can be such a game changer! First, it gets the phones out of their hands/pockets and their eyes looking up. Second, the times that they drop their phones off and pick them up give me two extra personal touches during the day. Third, word got out, so I am lucky to have kids whom I don't teach come by and drop off their phones for some "free phone daycare". 
4. Mystery Skype- This is a total game changer! I am looking forward to next year's Global Collaboration Day already! Thank you, Jodie Deinhammer @jdeinhammer 

5. I am fortunate to teach in a community where most students have smart phones. We have been able to send out student activity text messages to remind them of events, fund raisers, schedule changes and more. I also have one for my classroom to send out assignment reminders, sample questions, and reminders.

So whether you are still planning or you are fully immersed in a new school year, I wish you luck and the confidence to try something new!

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Sneaking Some Biology into Crime Solving Fun!

When asked how to make class more interesting, I often equate my strategies to sneaking veggies into dinner (or even dessert). It is about the presentation, conversation and outcomes that often distract students from being frustrated with their work or reluctant to give it a try. I truly believe it is about the attitude that we use to"serve" the dish of education.

The most recent "entree" I have been serving to my students is the annual forensic crime lab. I combine microscopy, fingerprint analysis, blood typing (synthetic, of course), blood spatter pattern, karyotype analysis and DNA profiling to narrow a list of 37 teacher suspects to one guilty murderer! 130 students are divided into groups to be the CSI for one of the suspects. They share their work in a common space and draw conclusions to end up with the guilty suspect.  This project takes three weeks to complete but can be modified for any schedule. Their main tool to use is their iPad to collect their photos and notes and then compile everything into a 5 minute "mock-umentary".

Please use this link to see the full description of the project.

Something new, added this year, is a two day blood spatter analysis. It was a huge hit and success for adding geometry into the mix! Use this link to get to the description of the blood spatter analysis from the Sherlock Holmes International Exhibit. It was a definite winner.

Projects are due at the end of the week, and I will be certain to share the best of show!

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Global Collaboration Day Mystery Skype

Awesome Mystery Skype with Ms. Partain's Class! 
My classes had the great fortune to participate in a Global Collaboration Day Mystery Skype. If you are not familiar with a Mystery Skype, check out the official Mystery Skype Link! Basically, it is an opportunity to connect with classrooms all over the world. The mystery part of it is not knowing where the other classroom is located.

Before class, I provided my students with some background information and descriptions of the possible roles they would have, thanks to some fantastic resources within the Mystery Skype website and resources at Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's Langwitches Blog. I then established a back channel for each group using Today's Meet. This was the forum to share questions with the interview team.

I then organized my students into teams: research teams, interview team, blog team and scribe.  I provided job descriptions for each group as well. Once we were set we made the call!  My students LOVED the experience and are ready for another one. They also want to stay connect with the classes we met. It was a fantastic day and the benefits far outweighed the risks. Taking time away from our regular routine was refreshing, and this is an experience that they will not soon forget.  Many thanks to Jodie Dienhammer (@jdeinhammer) for organizing our collaboration group and special thanks to Ms. Deinhammer's 7th grade students and Ms. Meggan Partain's (@Partain_Science) 8th grade class.

Our blogging teams were doing their behind the scenes work, while the call occurred.  You can enjoy one group's blog below!

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, 
follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

GUEST BLOGGERS: G Bell BioBlog Mystery Skype 
by Carson, Molly, Ellie, and Emme

       Today we took part in a Global Collaboration Day Mystery Skype. We have never blogged before so this is totally new to us.  We already know to be more detailed in the future, but at least we gave it a try! We called a mystery classroom and asked them questions to try to figure out where they were located. We had a couple technical difficulties at first, but after fixing some sound problems we got right into the interview. We would ask the other class a question and when the answer was no, they would then ask us questions. We asked if they were located on the East Coast, and near the Gulf of Mexico. 

We have a research team, who would research the clues that we received. 

We have a blogging team, who wrote down the questions and summarized the events. 

We also had an interview team that asked our Mystery Skype questions. 


We found out that they are located in San Antonio, Texas!
We had a bunch of fun testing our geographical and investigative skill sets!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This Little Piggy...Book Creator Lab Manual Project

One of my favorite activities with my students is the Fetal Pig Book Creator Project.  I have always wanted to have my students capture their dissection experience and be the teachers. The results were fantastic. Please check out my resources and some of the fabulous projects the kids made.

Fetal Pig Book Creator Project Information

Fetal Pig Book Creator Project Rubric

I also  put kids in groups based on comfort level. I always like to have one strong leader in the group, and this also gives them a chance to tell me how they feel in a private setting.

Dissection Comfort Survey

As always, be certain to have students save their work as ePub and PDF files so everyone can access their work.

Fetal Pig Book Creator Project Final Lab Books

Student feedback was extremely positive. They felt the assignment/project was time well spent, and their understanding of the anatomy and physiology was deepened.  Practical test results were strong, and having this project as a resource for the final exam was extremely valuable.

Let's hear it for Book Creator!

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Camp...iPad Academy Awards Style!

I am currently in my second year of directing an iPad movie making camp for rising 4th-6th graders for Summer at the Academy held at Norfolk Academy in Virginia.  It is so much fun to work with a different age group than what I teach during the academic year. Having a daily plan is a great guide, but I continue to be amazed at how the kids' ideas bring forth new projects! Feel free to use any ideas or resources you find here!

1. Start small with the iPad and build. Day one was focused on making sure all of the campers know how to use the iPad, how to check them in and out from our cart, and appropriate use. Their only task that day was to make a trailer. Keep it simple.
2. Apps that we are focusing on include iMovie, Explain Everything, My Stop Action, and Green Screen by Do Ink. Keep it simple so that they get used to the apps. This helps keep frustration levels low.

3. Create place for all of the videos you create.  Last year I made a channel on Vimeo. This year I made a camp folder on Drive that contains each students' own folder for storing finished work. Make it accessible to families when camp is done so the kids can share their productions!

4. START WITH PAPER and PENCIL FIRST! It isn't always about the technology! My favorite resources are the trailer planner from Learning in Hand by Tony Vincent and everything found on Jessica Pack's Digital Story Telling Blog!

5.  Have the kids work independently and in groups.  Remind them that many productions are the result of many contributors. Film ideas: stop motion, documentary of camp life, parody of favorite book, etc.

6. Host a film fest at the conclusion of camp! The camp I am doing is a two week camp. We invite families and other campers to join us. I have found some great props and supplies on Oriental Trading to make the event.
7. Do this at home with your own kids! There is no reason you can't make your own family films and host a family academy awards night with your own red carpet! Challenge your neighbors.

Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!

iPad academy awards 2014 from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

David And Michael's Movie: Extra-Terrestrial Life Form from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

Micah's Reduce, Reuse, "Tree-Cycle" Movie from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.
Will's Lego Movie from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

Isabella's Movie: For America from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Exam Review- Book Creator Style

This is my second year of doing a student produced semester exam review project, and this book was even better than the last.  Each student was given one question to answer from the list I provided. I teach 9th grade biology, but this can be adapted to any subject area and any grade level.  The key is being organized, having clear directions, and affording class time to get great results.

Book Creator Exam Review Project Information

To see the final product, use either one of these links:

Book Creator Exam Review Project 2014 ePub Version

Book Creator Exam Review Project 2014 PDF Version

I had the distinct privilege of being a guest speaker for the EdTech Teacher Winter Webinar Series, Creating and Collaborating on eBooks, on December 9, 2014.  I had so much fun talking about how I use Book Creator in my classroom with the genius brains of Beth Holland, Sabba Quidwai, Dan Amos and Nik Chatzopolous.  How great it was to get to talk to the creator of one of my favorite apps! Follow all of them on Twitter if you don't already!

I also need to give a "shout out" to iPad Educators for mentioning this project in their 2014 App Awards in the science category! Congrats to Book Creator for being a featured app.

If you are new to doing this type of project or just want some ideas, here are my main suggestions:

1. Require students to start with paper and pencil to brainstorm and collect thoughts. Once they have revised and edited their work through conversations with classmates and you, add in the technology.

2. As the teacher, choose the book format. If students do not all have the same format, you will not be able to compile them into one final project.

3. Require students to title their work by question number. It will make your life much easier when you merge all of the separate files.

4. Make sure the work is accessible. Not all families have the ability to open ePubs so be certain to provide links to the project in ePub and in PDF formats.

5. Finally, and most essential, have fun with the project and let your students show you what they know.

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cell Projects with an App Smash or Two...

I am a little behind on blogging, so I thought I would write on my students' last three projects.  To say I am proud of their work is an understatement.  I will try to keep it brief since the projects speak so well for themselves. I have included the project description pages as well as examples of each.

I require my students to keep a digital portfolio folder in Drive for our class. All of their projects are then shared with me using the same file name format.  This has been a great time saver for me, and it also keeps them better organized.  Semester exams are just a few weeks away. Having the biology folder ready to go will make for a great review tool.

Cell Diagrams using Explain Everything and Thing Link The requirements of this assignment were simple. Use Explain Everything  (my favorite app of ALL apps) to draw and illustrate an animal and plant cell. Save the pictures to the camera roll. Create a Thing Link account and upload the pictures.  Create targets on the diagram of each organelle, including the name and description of each.

Website link to sample seen below. 

This "App Smash" (phrase copyright by Greg Kulowiec) was so successful that I wanted to share it with the EdTech App Smash Awards. We had a great response and ended up winning the Steam/Stem Best AppSmash Award! I am looking forward to San Diego in February!

Photosynthesis using Explain Everything, Tellagami, and Aurasma

I divided the topic of photosynthesis into 8 questions for my classes.  Each group had to create a video answer to the question assigned.  That answer was uploaded to the camera roll and then added to our school Aurasma account.  Each group also had to complete a trigger image for the class board. This was my first experience with Aurasma.  The end product is awesome, but it did take some time for me to upload all of the videos and triggers. Thank goodness I have an amazing colleague, Ed Patterson, Director of Academic Technology at Norfolk Academy, (@espatterson) to teach me the tricks of the trade.

Photosynthesis Aurasma Project Information

Photosynthesis Aurasma Rubric

Photosynthesis Aurasma "How To See Our Projects" poster

Use directions in the link above if you are not familiar with Aurasma to use the picture (trigger image)  below to see one of our projects!

Cell Cycle using My Stop Action and My Create
For this project, we focused on creating a stop animation video of the cell cycle. Since my students are familiar with many creation apps, they could choose what they wanted to use, focusing on My Stop Action and My Create for the stop animation portion of the project.  I had specific topics that needed to be covered to show understanding of the functions of the cell during division. I then allowed students to "choose their own adventure" with a topic of their choice that relates to cell division.  They had one week to finish their projects and submit them to me via Google Drive. This was a great way to encourage students to put the processes into their own words and also tap into their creative style.

Cell Cycle Project Description

Cell Cycle Project Rubric

D Bell Daniel William Cell Cycle Project from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

To learn more ways in which I am using technology in my classroom, follow me on Twitter @eglassman757.