Math apps and more!!!

Hello everyone,

I wanted to send out a few updates! We are currently working on adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers. This includes using mental math strategies, regrouping and borrowing. In class we have been working on centres and using the Ipads to practice our mental math abilties. If you have an Ipad or Ipod at home there is a free app called “Mental Math Cards”. It is a wonderful tool for students to improve their mental math and they have a lot of fun doing the timed challenges!

iPad Update – More Great Apps

Hey Folks,

I just wanted to share some more great app finds that I think have some pretty serious education merit to them. These have either been recommended by colleagues or have just been stumbled upon from pure nerdom.

  • CloudOn – A great app that lets you edit and create MSOffice documents as well as Google Docs through Dropbox and Google Drive. I use this for my day plans and make changes on the fly.
  • Reflection – (Google it) A third party app not sold through the app store that lets you display your iPad’s desktop on your laptop or desktop computer using wifi. This is great since you can use it for instructional purposes but also because it turns your iPad into a mobile and wireless document camera (iPad 3 recommended since the camera is better and images are clearer). Credit to Enzo Ciardelli.
  • Board Cam – Basically white board software that you can write on and present with. A key feature is that when used with “reflection” you can take picture of student work, post it on the smartboard for all to see and instantly analyze and discuss student work. Credit to Thomas Ro.
  • Socrative – Get the teacher version. With this app you can create little quizzes perfect for use as exit cards for a quick formative assessment piece that can be completed using any mobile device or computer that has access to a web-browser. Not only does it help you create the quizzes but once all of your students have completed it…  you can e-mail yourself an excel document with all of the data nicely laid out for you.
  • Printer Pro – Wireless and remote printing.
  • Brain Pop – Great educational videos broken up by subject.
  • Popplet – A graphic organizing app.
  • Visual Poet – An easy way for students to make their poems look really cool. We just did a poetry unit and the kids loved this app.
  • Say Hi – A translator. You say something in English and it translates it into whatever language you would like. Great for communicating with ELLs.
  • Invasion of the Moon Monkeys – a math game that helps reinforce multiplication skills
  • Math Terms – A glossary of math terms
  • Musicnotes – This app syncs with the desktop version. If you have sheet music purchased from their online store you can have it synced to all of your devices.
  • My First Classical Music App – A great resource for kids learning about composers, instrument families, and various walks of life that require music.
  • Kids Song All – 220 song – Kids songs with lyrics.

iPads at Lisgar

It was a great experience for the students and I to have a set of iPads in our classroom for the last month.  I made a video to document our experience with them and have posted it in the link below.

iPad Video

Being completely honest, we didn’t even scratch the surface of how the iPads could be used to engage our students in their learning.  There are so many great apps to choose from and the educational uses for these apps are exciting and seemingly endless.  The apps that made our student’s top 10 list are:

  • Garageband – great for easily creating, playing, and programing instruments as well as recording.
  • iMovie – video recording and simple editing.
  • Explain Everything – Presentation software.
  • Overdrive/Kindle/iBooks – ebooks
  • Pages/Docs to Go – Word processing
  • Dictionary – both Merriam-Webster and – is great since it has a thesaurus built in as well.
  • Dragon – Voice to text software.
  • Speak it! – will read text from online, pdf, and other formats when copied into it.
  • eClicker Host – is a personal response system that allows you to poll your students using most mobile devices…  so have the kids B.Y.O.D.
  • Mathemagics – lessons and games geared towards developing various mental math strategies.
  • LearnITapps – Interactive middle school math lessons.

With honorable mentions going to:

  • Evernote – we didn’t get to use this but I was really hoping to get to the research portion of our unit to see how the kids could have used evernote to collect and organize their research and disperse it amongst their mobile and desktop devices.
  • Splashtop Remote Desktop – This is my personal favorite app.  Take over your computer, have access to everything on your computer, watch videos, edit documents, and move things on your Smartboard from your iPad.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in the 21st Century Fluencies Department for making this experience possible, for your flexibility and for your various displays of support.

Sean Kelly

Talking “Bump It Up” Walls

While I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in Zoe Branigan-Pipe’s (@zbpipe) Livescribe TLLP Project, I’m also fortunate enough this year to be involved in a Descriptive Feedback Livescribe Pen Project through my school. My two wonderful administrators, Deb Chabot and Tammy McLaughlin, purchased Livescribe Pens for all interested staff members with the understanding that we would be using these pens for descriptive feedback and writing conferences. I’ll be honest here: I loved this use of the Livescribe Pen, but up until I became involved in this school project, I never really tried using the pen for this purpose. Now I have this great opportunity to try something new.

I was actually thinking about this project when I decided to do something else that I’ve never done before: create Talking Bump It Up Walls. My class just started two new TLCP’s (Teaching Learning Critical Pathways): one on story writing for Grade 1 and one on procedural writing for Grade 2. Yesterday, I took six samples of student work — three from Grade 1 and three from Grade 2 — and placed them around the room. Inspired by Trevor Hammer’s (@trevorhammer) PA Day session, I gave students different coloured dot stickers: yellow ones, green ones, and red ones. One colour was for Level 2 work, one colour was for Level 3 work, and one colour was for Level 4 work. Both the Grade 1 and Grade 2 students worked in partners. They went around to the work samples for their grade, read the work together, looked at the Success Criteria that we had generated previously as a class, and decided on the appropriate level for each sample.

Then we looked at the work samples under the document camera, compared them point-by-point to the Success Criteria, and came to a consensus on the level. Students then worked in partners again to write specific suggestions on how to “bump up” the work from a Level 2 to a Level 3 and a Level 3 to a Level 4. Again, they used the Success Criteria to guide their discussion. (See a video of the Bump It Up Wall process here.)

We then met together as a class and the students gave me all of their ideas. As part of shared writing, I wrote their suggestions in the Livescribe Notebook, and then as part of Shared Reading, the students read their ideas orally, so that we had a visual and an auditory recording. We cut the Livescribe Notebook pages into quasi-arrows, and we put them on our Bump It Up Walls, along with the work samples, the learning goal, and the big idea. Now students can go and read the ideas on how to improve their work, but they can also use the Livescribe Pen to listen to these ideas.

That’s when one of my students had a fantastic idea! He knew that the Livescribe Pencasts can be uploaded to the blog, so he wondered if we could make Bump It Up Walls for our student blog. Then, as the children are typing their stories or procedures, they can use this Bump It Up Wall to easily access the suggestions for how to improve their work. Better yet, students can use this Bump It Up Wall at home with their parents. When they’re writing at home now, their parents can use the same vocabulary that we use in class to help their children improve their work. We now have a real parent connection to classroom learning, and with parents, students, and teachers working together, we are sure to see academic success. Yeah!! I’m so glad that this student made the suggestion that he did. (See the Grade 1 Bump It Up Wall here and the Grade 2 Bump It Up Wall here.)

Have you ever created Talking Bump It Up Walls before? What were the results? How can you see using this idea in your classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Now I can’t wait to figure out the next way to use the Livescribe Pen for meaningful descriptive feedback and increased student achievement!



The end of our ipad time has come.  Yesterday, I delivered the five ipads we were given on a trial basis back to the 21st Century Fluencies Department.  We are very sad to see them go.  Here are a couple of educreation videos that the students in my class created while having the opportunity to use the ipads.  Thanks to Jared and the 21st CF team for allowing us to borrow the ipads for the last four weeks.  It’s been great using such an amazing classroom tool.





iPads at Helen Detwiler

For the past month students at Helen Detwiler, primarily in the grade 5 classes, were able to experience what it was like to use the I Pads as a a learning tool. Overall the experience was a major success and everyone was engaged.

What we did………

We used our I pads to do a number of things in mathematics. Students were given questions in groups, and they had to present there findings using the I Pads. Some decided to take pictures of their solutions and record their strategies through audio. Others took pictures of what they used the manipulatives for and put it as there backround in the screen chomp application. Others would record using I Movie, shwoing their work visual and explaining what they had done with the camera. They would also sneak in sound effects and theme music, or even a news report theme to add to their creation. Little did they know when they were having so much fun that they were actually learning as well. Students used the educreations to create success criteria for perimeter and area.

Our math facilitator also took small groups around the school and they created questions for the class to do regarding area. They created success criteria and brought that information back to the class and it was projected on the smartboard. The students then were given the task to try and solve their friends question.

During science each group was given a non renewable resource to present in an intersting way (e.g. coal), and the students acted out, provided information and diagrams all using the I Movie format.

Having the IPads were a great learning tool, the biggest thing I noticed was that engagement was way up. Every student was involved in their learning. I will be interested to see how this translates to academic success. I am glad we got to be a part of having these tools.

ScreenChomp vs. Educreations

Today in class groups of 6 each got one ipad to use however they would like to create a lesson on how to calculate each piece of data’s degrees in a circle graph.  The students immediately chose to create a “Khan Academy” video. *we call them Khan Academy videos because we’ve used them often in our math lessons and research.

What was interesting from there is that most groups chose to write a script first so they knew what lines each were saying and what they wanted written on each screen.  However, one group had another ipad.  One of the girls in the group brought her ipad to class, so they created a notebook in penultimate to write their script.  If you don’t know what penultimate is, think of a student workbook but digital. What I really liked about this idea was that it was very easy to edit.  They just erased what they didn’t want.  I know, I know, pencil is easily erased to.  But this is different.  Not only were things being erased, but lines were being dragged all over when they wanted to change the order or add a line in. Speaking lines were changing colours as the group decided who said what.  The ease of the program made their lesson easier to create and present.

These are pretty small things to the students, but amazing to me because I watched and heard their creativity exploding…all without wasting a single piece of paper to write a script on.  The class is currently studying Global Warming and ways to “save” our Earth.  This group ‘got it’.  They even remarked cool it was not to be wasting paper.

Turning a class around

Over the past few weeks we’ve been using the netbooks in my class. At first some of the students didn’t want them because they felt the other classes would make fun of them.   They told us the felt it made them look stupid, since they associated the use of computers with IEP’s.  I was truly surprised by their reaction when I told them about the computers.   Some even refused to use them at first.

I should say that the class in question is a very high needs group with a range of challenges, not the least of which is the fact that it was created at reoganization and many of the students have refused to do any work because they WANT TO GO BACK TO THEIR OLD CLASSES!!!  There have been anumber of incidents reported of other students making fun of them for being in the new class.

So, engagement has been the number 1 priority on our agenda. Though at first they didn’t want t o use the netbooks, they turned around.  I’ve used the netbooks in a few different ways, for instance in groups they used  the LINOIT site and posted stickies and that got them interested.  From there we have used them to create group PowerPoints for class discussions and a number of other simple tasks.  They have really warmed up to the use of technology, and no longer view it as meaning they are dumb.
The other day the principal walked in and was impressed with how different the class was from before the break.  We still have our problems, but now the level of student engagement has really gone up!  🙂
The one problem we have found is that if we save anything in PowerPoint on the netbooks the file won’t open on any of our school computers. that is also true of Word documents…  🙁

Students as Teachers?

Today, we used the iPads to teach a lesson about mean, median, and mode.  We used an app called educreations. It was really cool because we got to be teachers instead of students and everyone got the chance to do something. Also, rather than writing everything on chart paper, we got to use our fingers to write on a screen and incorporate voices into our writing to bring the work to life. I never imagined doing math on an iPad, but being able to show our work on one makes school fun and interesting. The iPads are really awesome and it makes school work fun as well.

D. Bryan Grade 7 Student

This is what I feel the iPad trial is all about.  Today I was not a teacher, but a facilitator.  Students were not just there to learn, but were also there to communicate understanding by re-teaching the concepts learned in the form of a lesson.  My job was to be a resource, show them the app and help when/if required.  Basically, I was there for support.  My students today learned how to teach themselves and then teach other students.  It was pretty cool when one of my students finished his presentation and said, “Look out Khan Academy guy!”


Well that was interesting…

The first day with the ipads has come and gone.  I think the reactions were mixed by the end of the period.  We had groups of six students per ipad.  Their instructions were to watch and take notes from a TED talk on climate crisis.  Now, I’m sure many of you have experienced this, if you have wireless in your school, but with six ipads running a video (I brought mine in today), the connection slowed quite a bit.  The numerous times the videos paused to buffer was ridiculous.  A positive was seen by a few students though.  The buffering gave them time to “catch-up” with their notes.

I realize that not all of the ipads will be accessing wireless signal and chewing up bandwidth all month; I’m sure there will be times when we are strictly using apps to complete our work.  I would’ve just thought that with a brand new school that opened this year, we would have the infrastructure and technology (the router is in my classroom) to be able to run a pretty strong wireless connection, able to support 5-6, if not a full class of ipads.

Tomorrow, the students will be creating and recording lessons on mean, median, and mode that will then be presented to the rest of the class via our SmartBoard.