Tuesday, June 13, 2017


One of the big reasons I wanted our district to go 1:1 iPad was the mobility of the device.  As much as I love my MacBook, I can't really take it outside and capture pictures and video with it easily.  The mobility of the iPad allows us to have class wherever we want, whenever we want.

Here are some ways that we take learning outdoors:

1. Citizen Science:  Using the app iNaturalist, our kids can become citizen scientists.  They can capture images of living things around them and upload to document nature.  There are so many projects in iNaturalist you can join, or you can create you own.

2. InfoPics: One vocabulary word, one picture, and a five word or less definition. This is a great way to review vocabulary with each student taking one word and creating their infopic using Moldiv or PicCollage.  Once everyone is done, students can upload them to a common space (we use Schoology media albums) and comment on each others pictures.  We use the "Yes, and.." format when commenting. See the example below.

3. Walk and Talk:  Get with your project group and plan your project while taking a lap around the school. Discuss goals for the day, who is doing what, any supplies or materials needed.  

4. Nature Walk: Test the soil pH or temperature, find seeds, collect specimens for viewing under the microscope, etc.  Several of our labs could be completed outside - measuring heart rate, calculating jump distance to compare to height, etc. We also use the Pro-Scope iPad camera attachments to get macro images of nature.  Everything looks cooler magnified by 40X.

5. Flipgrid Reflections:  Using the app FlipGrid, have students reflect on their learning or answer a question prompt.  Going outside allows them to spread out and have better sound quality on their recordings.  You can also join FlipGrid Friday and discuss some science hot topics with us! If you follow the grid, you will notified as new questions are added.  

6. Sidewalk Chalk: Want to see 7th graders get super excited? Hand them some sidewalk chalk!  Once we left Earth Day messages in the car loop, but my favorite is having them draw a structure, capture an image of it and then annotate it on the iPad.  Now with the Clips app, the could put together a short video that explains the particular topic we are focused on.

Share ways that you take learning outdoors!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Saving Earth

This year my 7th graders focused on ways to improve our planet.  They began by looking at the United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development and figured out ways we could help in our community.  At the end of our first semester, they presented their plans to their peers and we voted on which projects we could accomplish in the spring semester.

The culminating project was to create a book, Saving Earth, to help kids better understand how they could help.  The book is completely student created including animations, illustrations, photography, and text.  We were able to collaborate with other schools on some of the chapters and share the voices of students from around the world.

Download their book and see what you think!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Earth Day 2017

This year for Earth Day, we will partner with schools around the world to conduct a BioBlitz and compare our communities.  Join us as we capture nature, become citizen scientists, debate, challenge others, and create art!

1.  SAY HI: Introduce your team. Share where you are from and why Earth Day is important to your group.  What are your team goals?

2. EXPERIMENT: Conduct a bioblitz (a quick survey of living things) in your neighborhood or community.  Create a quick video slideshow of your images of living things using an app such as Clips or iMovie and share your environment by uploading it on FlipGrid.  You can also upload your images to our iNaturalist project and become citizen scientists!

You can read more about the BioBlitz from Apple Education.  There are several really awesome lessons here to celebrate Earth Day.

3. DEBATE: As a group, decide if you think we should be concerned with climate change. Share your opinion here and make sure to defend your thoughts and opinions with reputable science.

4. CHALLENGE: Come up with a challenge to pose to our audience to encourage them to make a difference and protect our planet.  What can you say in under a minute that would convince someone to make every day Earth Day? Give them a specific challenge, such as meatless Monday. Start your challenge with "I will..." as your commitment and encourage them to do the same.

5. CREATE: Using only recycled material you find on campus or at home, create an original art piece.  Share your art and explain the materials you used and why it is helpful to keep them out of the landfill.

6. REFLECT: What did you learn? What surprised you the most? What questions do you still have? This room will open at the conclusion of the project.

So far schools in Ohio, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Bangladesh have joined this project.  If you want to join us, SIGN UP HERE!

Download the FlipGrid App and use the code earthday or use https://flipgrid.com/earthday on your computer.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

World Water Day

World Water Day is March 22.  Our class is looking to connect with schools around the world to compare our water sources.  We plan to look at creeks, streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. Here is our outline:

1. Have a few students introduce your class HERE.  
(The grid code is worldwaterday)
Tell us where you are from, what local water source you are going to look at, and what the biggest water threat is where you live.

2. Have your students analyze the water.
You can do this anyway that works for your classroom.  You can talk about the color and smell, you could record the temperature or pH, you could look at it under a microscope and tell us what you found.  You can use any equipment you might have or just make qualitative observations. 

We will do this in stations. Here are the STATION SIGNS
Here are the directions for each STATION.  These are written for 7th grade students so feel free to edit away!  Both are shared as a PDF.  If you want an editable Pages version, contact me and I will send that directly.

Have your students submit their results HERE and also share their thoughts to the FlipGrid that will be opened on Wednesday, March 22.

After results are posted, I would encourage you to have your kids ask questions of other students results.  I will share a Numbers document with each teacher that has the shared data in it so your students can compare the different results. They could create charts, graphs, or just look at the results.

3. Have your students come up with an "I Can..." statement. 
Their statement should share how they can conserve or protect water.  We will open another room on our Flipgrid for this statement on Thursday, March 23. Example: "I can reduce the amount of water I waste by not watering my lawn during the warmest parts of the day"  

4. Develop a plan to spread the word and make a difference.
Think Ice Bucket Challenge, but without wasting water. :)
We will open this FlipGrid room for this Friday, March 24.

5. Reflect
Have your students reflect on their learning in our last FlipGrid room (opens next week).  What did they learn? What surprised them? What questions do they still have?

So far we are connecting schools in Texas, California, Maine, Ohio, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Canada, and New Zealand.  Feel free to share this with anyone you think might want to join. 

Sign up HERE to participate in our World Water Day project for 2017.