Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Day 2: Showbie

You know what I love most about summer? Not knowing what day it is. I love having those moments when I can't remember if it's Monday or Thursday. A friend once told me his goal was to have a flip flop tan on his feet and no watch tan on his wrist. I need a little more time in the sun to perfect that flip flop tan!

Today I want to share the app Ang and I use to send and receive students' work. Showbie is similar to Dropbox, but I like it better for kids. It basically acts like binder for the kids. Each student has their own log-in and you can create whole group and small group accounts. It keeps everything organized and easy to access. Here's a peek at my summer school set-up, which is way more basic than my school year one. I have two groups going here. One to send assignments to the whole class and another for one of my small groups:

I then create assignments - I treat the assignments like a folder. During the year kids have a Math, Reading, Science, Song Lyrics, Projects, Math Tools, and Spelling folders. In each folder I can load
assignments and pages I want them to have. You can set due dates for assignments (I set most dates
as the last day of school) and check in on kids' progress using your computer or iPad. No more taking home stacks of papers!!! You can grade, answer questions, and add voice notes straight from the app! Here are some screen shots from the App Store:

Showbie is designed to house student work, so kids can't use it to complete most of the work you send them within the app. But not to worry! Tomorrow we'll talk about our favorite app for completing class work - Noteability. Kids love using this app for a variety of tasks.
Sunday, July 27, 2014

An app a day ~ Day 1: Qrafter with GoogleDocs

Hey everyone! Erin here. I'm enjoying a lazy Sunday morning watching The Pioneer Woman (grilled cheese with tons of butter - so good!) and listening to Caitlin and the hubby giggle out in the garage. This week I thought I'd share some of our favorite apps and how we use them to increase engagement and support differentiation.

The first app my kids use each day is Qrafter. I've tried so many different bell ringer type activities from silent reading to grammar activities to spiral math worksheets. However about April of this last year, I dove into using GoogleDocs with my kiddos. Ang had taught me the ins and outs of QR codes and I realized how easy it was to create a google form, display a QR code of the link, and get students' responses to quizzes and surveys. I wanted a way to check for understanding without having tons of tiny sheets of paper and have the data already analyzed for me. Sounds like a teacher dream come true, right? I decided to try a morning check-in with GoogleDocs and Qrafter.

I created a google form with a few questions.

The first is always their names since they don't have their own google accounts. This also helps me take attendance! Then I have 3 review or preview questions from reading and math. I either ask questions related to yesterday's lessons or preview the day's work to see what students already know. I may also ask students to rate how well they understand a topic. I find they're far more honest on these check-ins than they are during a lesson. My last question is always a fun or silly question designed to help us get to know each other better. My school uses the Caring for Kids curriculum and we have a morning meeting each day (ok, most days...some days those first 15 minutes seem to pass in about 5 minutes!) where we greet each other, share, and discuss the day. I may ask kids to pick a favorite ice cream flavor, share their favorite recess activity, or give them a fun "would you rather" question. Would you rather swim with sharks or parachute out of an airplane? Would you rather eat pizza for every meal for a year or go without treats for a year? The one shown asks them to suggest a new class reward to work on for the month. So much fun! Here's what the kids see when they scan the code...

When kids come in in the mornings, the first thing they do is pick up their iPads and log into the internet. After that they open Qrafter and scan the QR code for the day's check-in. I use to generate QR codes. It makes it so easy! Once you click "Send form" on your google doc, it provides you with a URL. Simply copy it and paste it into the space on and it generates your code for you! I then copy the image and project it on the screen. You can also print the QR code and tape it up somewhere in the room. This is great if you're using websites for centers or projects.

When kids open Qrafter, they see this:
They tap the camera, which activates it. Then they aim it at the QR code. It automatically snaps a photo of the QR code when it recognizes it. The link pops up next to the camera and kids choose "go to URL." This automatically takes them to the link and they're ready to go! They have a seat and answer their questions. When they finish, they start they get ready for the day. This might mean sharpening pencils, getting supplies, or trading out books in their book boxes. I love that this routine gives us a quiet start to day, allowing me to take attendance, deal with any issues that invariably crop up, or take care of any last minute prep.

Now, wait!!! Here's the best part! GoogleDocs automatically analyzes the data for you! Go the top of your GoogleDocs form and choose "Responses", then "View Responses" or "Summary of Responses".

 "View Responses" = A spreadsheet of every student's answers.

 I use this for quickly grading quizzes. The kids' names are in the first column, then I just go down each column with a highlighter, highlighting each wrong answer. Makes it super quick and I can see the whole class's data in one swoop! Here's a sample of pretest I gave the kids about Penguins:

"Summary of Responses" = Charts and Graphs of Class Data

This one is my favorite! I project it as we gather for our morning meeting and we quickly review the answers to the check-in. It also lets me see where I need to spend more time during our lessons.
Thanks for checking in today. Let us know what technology topics you'd like to hear more about!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Angela and Erin are second grade teachers in Oregon who are passionate about technology. We created this blog to share ideas, strategies, and materials with others who are either looking for help or looking to connect with other techy teachers. We hope to share some of the things we're doing in our classrooms and hear how others are integrating technology into their daily lessons. Whether you have a few pieces of technology or a roomful, we hope you find what you're looking for here!