Today, I co-taught a social studies activity with our first grade team. This lesson focused on prioritizing needs vs wants. The class had discussed these two areas, and the teachers were looking for a unique way for students to work in groups to identify wants vs needs. Rather than doing a traditional sort, where students would categorize photos of items into wants and needs, the teachers reached out to me to integrate robots into the activity.
In addition to serving as my Instructional Coaching office, where I meet with teachers and teams to reflect on lessons and engage in coaching conversations, my office also houses our building's Makerspace Carts, which include several types of robots. After meeting with the first grade team to learn more about the activity, I selected four types of robots: Ollie, MiP, Dash, and Grip Robot. The teachers would place photos of various wants and needs (candy bar, glass of water, video game, etc.) on the floor, and students would then navigate the robot to the needs, while avoiding the wants. Since students were in groups of 3-4, they had to work together to control the robot and successfully achieve the task. Groups spent approximately 5 minutes at each station, allowing them to use each robot. These robots will then be used in different activities as the year progresses.
Four days a week, I have the privilege and opportunity to support our first grade team during their MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support) time. I have planned a helped facilitate several enrichment activities for first grade students who have already met the end of year reading benchmarks. Earlier this year, students researched animals and created Who Would Win books. Now, they are working on story retell (CCSS RL 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) using Bloxels as we read High Time for Heroes by Mary Pope Osborn.
To help facilitate the process, I created a guidebook for students to use (see photos below).
As for structure/pacing/routines, we meet for 25-30 minutes, four times a week. During those times, we read a chapter and complete the planning guide section on Mondays and Thursdays. Tuesdays and Fridays are spent creating the game level for the chapter we read the previous day. The first week we did take a little extra time getting familiar with Boxels (both the kits and the app), and creating the main characters, Jack and Annie.
To date, we are about halfway through the book, and the first graders are enjoying collaborating with their partner, problem solving how to create the game, and look forward to publishing their game in the near future! The photos below are from a few of their level creation days. Stay tuned to see the finished project.
If you would like a copy of the guidebook, please let me know!
Update March 2020:
Unfortunately, due to the extended school closures from Covid-19, this group wasn't able to meet again to finish the book or the Bloxels game. It's a disappointing way to end our time together!
I've mentioned before how my office is also home to the Makerspace carts, which include one of my favorite little bots...Ozobots! These bots can be used to visually code, and we love using them during reading! Whether it is story retell, sight word practice, or letter ID, students love using the Ozobots to practice their reading skills!
Ozobots are easy to use and highly engaging! To use with storytelling, you can either have pre-made mats with graphics already placed, or you can have students identify story elements they want to draw. Next, students will identify what Ozobot codes they want to use. If there's a repetitive part in the book, like "I'll huff and puff and I'll blow your house down," I have students pick one code to represent that saying. Then, you will have your students draw the path (solid black line) the Ozobot will travel. This path will sequence the events in the story. To add a bit more fun, you can add a photo from the story to the Ozobot (see the Twitter video above) and students can retell the story from the perspective of that character!
-If your students make a mistake, you can cut a white Avery mailing/file label to size, cover the error, and redo the path.
-If your students struggle at first to make the codes, you can print them on Avery mailing/file labels and students can these as sticker codes.
Ozobots can be used with other subjects as well, so feel free to get creative! If you'd like any of the resources or support with anything discussed in this post, let me know!
Today, I had a blast co-teaching a story retell lesson in first grade! As you may know, story retell, CCSS RL.2, is a skill kindergarten through third grade students work on each year. Teachers are always looking for new ways for students to practice retelling stories, and I was approached by a teacher to provide coaching support through co-teaching a technology integrated reading lesson.
My office is full of Makerspace items, including Spheros, Ozobots, Ollies, but the cutest is definitely the BeeBots! We have Bluebots too, however for this activity, the teacher wanted to use the Beebots.
For this lesson, students retold a familiar story: The Three Little Pigs. This was selected so students would become acquainted with coding the Beebot. I had pre-made cards representing different parts of the story, which students placed around the card mat.
Next time, students will retell the story from their whole class reading lesson or small group reading book. Other lessons the teacher has brainstormed include placing sight words, math facts and number sentences, and science concepts like animal life cycles, under the cat mats.
If you haven't given Beebots a try, I highly suggest it! Students love coding, and teachers (and Instructional Coaches) love seeing another technology learning tool being used in the classroom!
Every so often, teachers reach out to me for enrichment activities for reading, math, science, or social studies. This is an activity I put together for 1st grade students and is modeled after Jerry Palotta's Who Would Win series. The grade level is 1:1 (one device per student) Chromebooks, so I designed this in Google Slides. The final page will have a Blabberize (Chatterpix could be an alternative if you have iOS devices, where the winning animal explains why they won the battle. A few resources students will use for this project are PebbleGo, Bookflix, TrueFlix, and Kiddle.
If you would like a copy of the Google Slides file, please let me know.
I also created a graphic organizer where students can record their findings.
There were a lot of shrieks, giggles, oohs and aahs coming from the first grade classroom today. While there are always exciting things going on in this room, today it was because of an augmented reality activity. With Christmas break approaching, I decided to use colAR's holiday present coloring sheet for this activity. I even used a Teach Like a Pirate hook by telling the students that the new iPad app would transform their present. Several wanted me to show them using my example, but I said we were all going to unveil at the same time.
To begin, students wrote items they'd like to receive for Christmas around the outside of the gift. Next, students colored the package. Finally, when all students had a decorate package, we used the colAR app to transform the 2D gift into an augmented reality 3D gift with a lid that opened and decorations that came out as music played and a Happy Holidays message appeared. After viewing their own creation, students went around and scanned classmate's work. I even overhead students complimenting the coloring ability, color choice, and gifts hoped for.
Although this activity had little instructional content, it was a nice brain break and opportunity to get the kids excited about the holidays. A few students did notice there were additional coloring sheets available and asked if they would be doing those as well. It turns out that first grade will be learning about animals in January, so if time permits, and students need another brain break, we certainly will give the animal coloring sheets a try!