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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

TGIF. . . hAPPy Friday!

30 days hath September and they have already passed! I am now in my third year of iPads in my classroom.  It is amazing how much I continue to learn daily about using these devices to enhance my instruction and student learning.  I decided in lieu of my 20% time fall project to do something I call hAPPy Friday!  Every week, we review the content of the week with introducing a new app or website.  This keeps the weekly challenges fresh and wraps up the week's material in a nice little package.  Here is a glimpse of what we have done so far!

Week 1: Use Explain Everything to create a one slide representation of the characteristics of life.  Save to camera roll and add to Biology folder in Drive. Share with me using proper assignment heading.

Week 2: Use the iBooks app of our text to create a study guide for your partner.  Swap and check.

Week 3: Use Today's Meet to submit an article about water in society. Cut and paste the url to the class discussion and comment on two other articles submitted.

Week 4: Use Explain Everything to illustrate dehydration synthesis and hydrolysis.  Use the picture you created as the background in Tellagami. Narrate your illustration. Save to Drive and submit by sharing.

Hydrolysis and Dehydration Synthesis Tellagami/Explain Everything Video from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

Week 5: Alcohol Edu web course completed to learn the physiological effects of alcohol consumption. This is a program our school uses every year with our 9th graders. There is also a parent component.

Week 6: Use iCell app to complete chart in notes about organelles and functions.  Then use Explain Everything to draw plant and animal cell drawings.  Save both to camera roll.  Using the Thing Link app, add targets/hot spots to your pictures with name labels and detailed descriptions.  Save in Thing Link.  Copy both pictures' urls and paste them into a Google doc that students share with me.

This has greatly improved the fluidity with "app-smashing" in class. The kids have quickly learned that hardly ever do we use just one app to complete a project or task.  They are learning the variety of project based apps to hopefully get us to a place that they can just decide what they want to make without as much direction from me on specific apps to choose.

I am also having them save as much as possible to Drive for future review and reference. It will also be helpful for creating our exam review books in December.

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The A-MAY-zing Race Anatomy Edition

If you are a teacher, parent, student or anyone who knows any of the above, you know that May is crazy in the world of education! Due to this fast paced daily grind, I neglected posting a new blog that should have been done already! So, this is a blog that explains what I did during the last month of school with my biology classes... The Amazing Race Anatomy Edition.  I have always been a fan of the show, so why not bring it into my classroom? As a way to replace the pop quiz and cover a lot of ground, my colleague, Scott Fowler, and I gave weekly challenges to our students for the different systems of the body. This was a great way to bring some competition and intrigue to those crazy days of May. Thank you to many people who helped this brain child come to life through your innovation and ideas, Tweets and thoughts. Special mention goes to Jodie Deinhammer who provided great information for our reaction time task. Check out her amazing work at iclassroomcoppell.blogspot.com and @jdeinhammer on Twitter.

In the following links, you will find resources for the overall project, roadblocks, tasks and assessments. As with any new project, there is room to grow and expand. Overall, it was a success with students and helped with their semester exam review book. Enjoy.

Amazing Race Overview

Amazing Race Grading Information

Amazing Race Roadblocks and Tasks 1-3 (digestive, skeletal, muscular, nervous)

Amazing Race Roadblock and Task 4 (Endocrine/Reproductive)

Amazing Race Roadblock and Task 5 (Immune)

Amazing Race Final Roadblock and Task (Semester Book Creator)

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


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's a Matter of Crime!

One of the brightest parts of a very dreary time of year is our annual crime lab project. The main objective of the 9th grade biology crime lab is to provide our students with an opportunity to work in a collaborative setting to solve a problem while showing proper lab technique and technology skills. Some of the topics and techniques are review from other activities in the year and some are completely new to students.  We kick off the project with a lesson in evidence collection and technique from Joan Turner, City of Suffolk Community Outreach Coordinator and City of Suffolk Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Matthew Glassman. 
Here is how the project works...One teacher is the victim, one teacher is the guilty suspect and the rest of the faculty are other suspects to the crime. Students are divided into investigative teams (ideally 3 to a group)based on common free bells when possible.  Each group is then assigned one faculty suspect to interview, gather fingerprints and take a hair sample.  Based on hair and fingerprint analysis, the list of 40 (this number changes each year) suspects  drops to the Top 10. Students submit their choices via a Google form that must be completed by a deadline. By using karyotype analysis
the list is shortened to four.  Using blood type analysis, students narrow the list to the final two suspects.  The final analysis of DNA identifies the guilty suspect. Testing that helps set the scene and motive of the crime include drug analysis and blood spatter pattern analysis.  While conducting the research and completing the lab work, students must document their findings with photos and notes collected on their ipad and shared in a Google doc with their group members.  Students must submit a packet of information on their first deadline which includes a final four data analysis chart, search warrant and crime scene sketch. The second deadline is a “mockumentary” video which is created using iMovie on the iPad. The video includes an explanation of the testing completed, results, and explanation of motive.  The project is conducted over a three week time frame.

My colleague, Scott Fowler, and I have been doing the crime lab project for the 13 years we have been teaching together.  With the addition of iPads, we are able to go mostly paperless and communicate with groups through shared Google docs. We have also changed from requiring a final paper to producing the "mockumentary" video.  I think this has allowed us to get a better understanding of student comprehension of the parts of the project since we have the opportunity to hear their explanation and see their interpretations.


As always, every project leaves me with ways to improve and refine the process. Here are my main tips if you choose to do something of this nature.

1. Intermediate deadlines are time saver.

2. Common free time for students is extremely helpful.

3. Clear grading expectations should be presented at the beginning of the project.

4. No last names in projects must be reminded to your students!

5. Patience, sense of humor and popcorn are a must.

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thinking Critically with Video Projects

One of my main goals of adapting iPads into my classroom is to continually challenge the quality of work that my students submit. I want to make sure that it shows understanding of the subject matter as well as independent critical thinking. I also want to have the work be something that my students can use when they are studying for the exam at the end of the semester. The most recent work that my students have done required them to present  videos on an assigned topic dealing with Protein Synthesis (project information link) and Human Genetics.  I then used a grading rubric to assess, and the best of each category was then compiled into a video to share with all students and their parents. This can be done with any subject matter and any iPad experience level. The apps we used were Explain Everything, Tellagami and iMovie. All three are paid apps, but worth the cost. As always, Explain Everything is amazing with giving students the ability to do pretty much anything they want with creating or presenting information. Tellagami allows for the creation of an avatar with a background of the creator's choosing. Finally, iMovie allows for the merger of the different videos in to one seamless product. As always, focusing on the push and pull of videos with the camera roll will give the best success for work flow. As long as your students can get their videos to the camera roll, you can publish!

DNA, RNA & Protein Synthesis Video Project from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

Human karyotype genetics project from Elizabeth Glassman on Vimeo.

I used this project format for our chapters on DNA, RNA and Protein synthesis and then on our chapter dealing with human genetic disorders. In both cases, I had five topics, with four groups of students covering each topic. The "best of show" for each category was awarded bragging rights and a few bonus points on their project grade. Both of these projects have been great preparation for the "mockumentary" movies that we will be making at the conclusion of our crime lab!

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

57 Heads Are Better Than One

As I get myself organized and prepared to start a new semester tomorrow, I want to reflect on the cumulative semester exam review project that was a great success for my students.  I decided to take a risk and have them create an exam review book that each student contributed to. The parameters of the project are found at the link, Glassman Biology Book Creator Midterm Project.  I was inspired to do this project from Greg Kulowiec's workshop at the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit in November 2013.  

Basically, I divided up the topics of the semester into 20 sections and then put students in groups of 2 or 3, each group in charge of a specific topic. Because I have 20 shared iPads, I found it logical to have 20 sections to the book to avoid sharing conflicts.  Each group was to summarize the topics, create questions and provide answers to those questions. All groups used Book Creator to submit their work as a Google Doc to me. The other apps that were used are Explain Everything  and ThingLink.  I gave them a week to complete their work during class and submit a shared ePub with me so I could then merge all of the "mini books" into one complete book for all of my students before exam week began.   

If you decide to make a project like this, consider these suggestions for smoother work flow for you and your students. 

1) Make sure all students are saving books in the same format so they can be merged later on.  I chose the square format. I had one group not follow this formatting guideline, and they were not happy when they had to copy everything into a new book. Book Creator will not allow you to change the format once you start a project. 

2) Have a soft deadline two days before the final deadline to check accuracy and depth of content.  This was the best part of all. I found myself saying, "This is good, but you know you can make it better." My students were ok with it, and ended up turning in much better end results with the midway edit. 

3) Remind them that this project is PUBLISHED! That was the biggest carrot of all. Knowing that their names were attached to the project that could be found on the internet created a bigger sense of ownership. 

4) Make sure all submissions have first names only to protect your students.

5) Shorten longer url links (we used bitly) and include them so that anyone using the PDF version of the book can get to the links that are embedded in the ePub version. 

5) When submitted to you, be certain that students have make the title of the book in BookCreator and on Drive the number of the question and the topic. For example, the first chapter of our book is prefix/suffix review so that chapter was submitted as 1PrefixSuffix.  I had 20 books to merge, and this was a huge time saver. 

Once I finalized the twenty mini-books into one book, I shared it with my students and their parents as both an ePub and PDF.  Remember, not everyone has an iDevice at home when you have a shared iPad classroom. My final requirement for each student was to save the book to their Evernote digital portfolio. Please use the following instructions to access the version of the book that works with your computer, iPad, or internet accessible device. Here is a quick reminder in the difference in the ePub and PDF versions of the book. 

ePub files can be opened in iBooks, BookCreator, Evernote, and Dropbox. This format allows you to use the interactive links and videos right in the book.

PDF files can be opened in Drive just as you would open any PDF file. This file version is not interactive, but links have been provided to access that information on the internet.  

Please let me know if you have any questions with accessing the book! Happy New Year and may 2014 be a year of taking risks with technology in your classroom!

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