Thursday, April 10, 2014

Learning All About Weather with QR Codes {FREEBIE}

About a month ago, my wonderful teaching buddy and I had an opportunity to present at the CUE conference in Palm Springs! 

It was SO much fun!!! We presented "iPad Projects for the 21st Century Classroom" and {we think!} it was a hit!  

I wanted to share one of the projects we presented on, and share this weather freebie with you! 

In our new Wonders curriculum, there is a unit on weather, and how weather affects our everyday life. We did lots of close reading, shared reading, and guided reading about weather. We're so lucky to live in beautiful Southern California, so many of the types of weather we read about were very unfamiliar to the students. 

For this project, students were randomly placed into groups of four. 

We wanted students to create a virtual "wall" using Padlet, which is a website that allows you to post "stickies" to the wall. {HAVE YOU USED PADLET BEFORE!!!!?} One group member created the wall, then shared it with the other group members using the easy share feature! This meant that all students in the group were on the same wall, and could collaborate with each other and see one another's ideas! 

(We use the Qrafter app to scan QR codes!) 

Once in groups of four, students chose from a bag to determine which weather type they would be the "expert" on. 

Once students knew which type of weather they were responsible for, they began scanning the QR codes that matched their weather type. 

Each QR code would take them to a slide I created using PowerPoint. The slides were then exported as a PDF and uploaded to my Dropbox account. I then "shared" the link through Dropbox to create the QR codes. 

The actual slides look like this, and there were six slides for each weather type (so this is what the kids saw when they scanned the QR codes):  

Once they scanned the QR codes, they added the information they had learned to their Padlet wall to share with their other groups members. (Any sticky one kiddo posts, all of the other students in the group can see it on their device as well!) 

Some kids even got really tech savvy, took a screen shot of the slide, and added it to the Padlet wall as a photo! By the end, some of them had even added videos of themselves SPEAKING about what they had learned! They also found photos and drew pictures!  

You can download all of the QR code resources for this project here! 

To evaluate how the project went, students took a survey on Google to determine how working with their group went that day. 

You can check out a video of this lesson here! 

As a follow up activity, students worked with their groups to create newscasts about their weather type! We used a green screen and iMovie

Check out one of the group's videos here! 
(I'm working on a how-to post on iMovie and green screening! Look for it soon!) 


Here is the outline kids used to organize their news reports!
(Click to download!) 

Finally, we had a wonderful opportunity to Mystery Skype with Kate from Purely Paperless's class in Montana! You can check Kate out here (she's wonderful!!!!!): 

Purely Paperless

When you Mystery Skype, you connect with another class around the country (or world!) through Skype or Google Hangouts (we used Google Hangouts- it was really easy!) and students ask questions to figure out where the other class is located. 

This was an amazing opportunity because while we were enjoying 80 degree weather in Southern California, our buddy class' playground was covered in inches of snow! We got see what it looks like to have a playground covered in snow, and we got to ask questions about what it's like going to school in the snow! They also got to ask us all about the beach! This was such a fun way to collaborate and communicate with students from another part of the country! 

***If you're looking for a class to Mystery Skype with, a great resource is Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #mysteryskype! Blogging is also a great way to connect with other teachers who might be interested! 

If you'd like more technology project ideas, or to see our resources from the CUE presentation, hop on over to 

iRock Common Core

and check it out! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Volcano Fun!

If you follow my Instagram account (@soaring_through_2nd) you know we've been learning all about volcanoes this week! Here's a step by step in case you want to do this fun experiment with your class!!!

We used masking tape to create the structure on top of a large piece of cardboard. (That's a 2 liter bottle under there!) 
:) I did this myself and had it ready to go for the kids. 

We used newspaper strips and paper mache to cover the structure. Each kiddo got to add five strips. (A parent volunteer for this part is extremely helpful!- Thanks Mom!!!)  
The paper mache is 1 part flour to 2 parts water! 

Ta da!!!!!!!!!

We painted it.....

And then watched it erupt!!!

(Not the greatest picture- sorry!) 
(Also- do you like the houses the kids made at home and brought in to put around our volcano...? ;-)

Here's the mixture we put inside, in this order:

Water (About a cup or so...) 
A little bit of dish soap
Red food coloring 
Baking soda

No exact measurements- we just kind of dumped it all in... and when nothing happened, we added more. The only two ingredients you really need are the baking soda and vinegar.

It was raining outside, so we had to do this inside, and it was totally fine- didn't make too much of a mess! 

Have fun, and happy erupting!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas! My Adhesive Whiteboard Table!

I am so excited to link up with 186 of my favorite blogging buddies to share one of the BEST things I did this year! It's saved me tons of time, copies, and the kids absolutely LOVE it!

It's my adhesive whiteboard table!

We went from a boring old blah brown table.....

To this:


I got the adhesive whiteboard roll from Amazon, stuck it to the table, sealed the sides with a little duct tape, and viola! My own little think tank!

Students use it during math to work out problems, during writing if they're having trouble spelling a word, and during guided reading to create graphic organizers and show their thinking! And NO copies or a zillion post its (anymore!)  

Now head on over to see the wonderful Nancy at Joy of Kindergarten to read about some fun directed drawing ideas!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine Party Pack- A Common Core Aligned Celebration! Plus a FREEBIE!

We had so much fun at our Valentine's Day celebration last year!!! It went so smoothly with the help some amazing volunteers, and I am actually looking forward to celebrating Valentine's Day with my class this week!!! 

Here are some pics from the six stations that are included in my Valentine Party Pack! (All of the activities are Common Core aligned, except the good old fashioned mail delivery station ;-) 

Estimation Station 

Measuring with Hearts 

Make 100 card game

Graphing with Hearts

Exploring the Human Heart (this was a favorite station- so fun!!!)

We used the Exploring the Heart in 3D app on our iPads! 

And last but not least... 
Mail Delivery 

The card/candy/treat/sugar passing-out was confined to one little (quiet & calm!!!!) area! It was beautiful! ;-)

I have kids spend about 15 minutes at each station and rotate on through. It takes up the whole afternoon! And with a parent volunteer at each station, I'm able to walk around and take pictures and help out everywhere. You could also do all of these activities with whole group, or small groups, or even at a fun early finisher station! 

Here's a closer look at each station:

A freebie for you! 
Just click the pic to download! 

I'd love to hear some of your favorite Valentine's week activities that you do in your classroom! Leave a comment with your email and I'll pick five random comments this afternoon and they'll receive this pack for free! 

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day week and are surrounded by students and colleagues and people and things you love! 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

President's Day Fun with QR Codes {FREEBIE}

Happy February!!!!!!!!! Eeeek! Time is flying! It seems like we just started school! And now Spring break is right around the corner! (Wishful thinking, right!?!?)  

This is a super fun President's Day writing activity I've used in the past. 

If you're able to scan QR codes (using any device with a scanner- iPads, iPods, iPhones, and even computers can scan!), your kids will love this project and it'll keep them super engaged! 

There are 15 informational slides that include facts I want my students to know about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and all about the President's job today. I created each slide in PowerPoint, saved them as PDFs, and then uploaded each slide individually to my DropBox account. 

After they were uploaded, I clicked "Share Link" for each slide. This generates a URL, which I was able to use to create the QR codes with. I print out all 15 of the QR codes and hang them all around my classroom. When students scan the QR codes, they are taken directly to the slide with the information about the presidents. 

One benefit of creating these slides myself was that I am completely in control of what the students see and learn. I'm also able to tailor the project directly to my class' needs and reading abilities (which is impossible to do with some websites). 

As they scan, students use the graphic organizer to record and organize the information they are learning. 

Students then use their pre-writes to complete an informational writing piece about the presidents. Here is an example of a final writing project completed in Pages by a 2nd grade student. 

(We used the free version of the Comic Touch app to add the speech bubbles... ;-) 

Click the picture below to download all of the resources and QR codes you will need to complete this project with your class!

Happy scanning! Happy February! Happy almost President's Day! :)

For more techie ideas and projects, head on over to my collaborative blog I work on with my dear teaching partner and friend!  

iRock Common Core