Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Second Graders Community Walk with the iPads and Evernote

Last week, we continued the Evernote project with our second graders.  One of the classes is doing a project with communities for our Evernote pilot so Tracy Ferguson and I took them on a walk through Van Meter with the iPads.

Before we left their classroom, all of them logged into their Evernote accounts on their iPads.
They took photos of each other and themselves before we left the classroom.  This was the start of their community walk.
Being the first time that we took the iPads outside, Tracy and I spent a few minutes going over once again how we carry them around town.  :)
The second graders took their own photograph in front of the school.  
I loved watching them make sure they got the one they wanted to use in their community project.
Once they had a few photos taken, the second graders saved them within their Evernote account.
They labeled them too.
We made a quick stop at the playground...
before we set off around town.
The little people took photos of themselves in front of the Van Meter Vet Clinic...
Van Meter City Hall
and silly ones with the librarian at the Van Meter Public Library.  Riley had so much fun with Jolena Welker at the library.
We made a stop at the post office and
And our community walk wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Bob Feller Museum,
Wells Fargo bank and 
Tropical Snow...a favorite summer place for all of us.
When we got closer to the school, the second graders got great photos of the fields and school. 
When we got back to the classroom, the students took their photographs and used Skitch to make remarks about their community.  When they were finished annotating, the images were stored in their Evernote accounts.  
As you can hear from Chaney, they did an awesome job with this part of the project. 
And Riley made sure to tell us all about the fun she had with Jolena. 
This week we will continue our Evernote project by researching within the eBooks we have about communities.

We are all having so much fun and can't wait to start creating eBooks of our own in FlipSnack!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our New Pet "Rocky" Visits Lots Of Awesome Drawings In First Grade

When children's author and my new Twitter friend Tammi Sauer sent me a tweet asking if I would be the home to a little "pet rock" I quickly said "YES."  My friends at Van Meter would LOVE our new pet.  
Tammi created these "pets" to send to her friends and readers celebrating her new book Me Want Pet!  
So one day in the mail, Rocky arrived!  Hagan and I had fun looking inside to find our new pet.  
Last Friday after reading Me Want Pet! I showed the first graders Rocky.  We talked about the setting in different books and all of the places Rocky could visit in our illustrations as well.  They had a great time drawing a place for Rocky to enjoy.  
Tammi wrote about the creation of all her little Rocky's on her blog (this is a picture from her blog too).

Thank you, Tammi for such a wonderful surprise and for writing amazing and FUN books for all of us to love.

We can't wait to have YOU visit our library, too!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our Second Graders Are Piloting Evernote At Van Meter

I love the words on the Evernote site... Remember everything. Capture anything. Access anywhere. Find things fast.  

I have always thought..."Wouldn't Evernote be perfect to use in education?"  
So, when I was contacted a few months ago to do a pilot with Evernote for Schools (on Twitter @evernoteschools) I was so excited!  

As stated on the Evernote for Schools site, "Keep a lifetime of learning at your fingertips. Evernote is a great tool for teachers and students to capture notes, save research, collaborate on projects, snap photos of whiteboards, record audio and more. Everything you add to your account is automatically synced and made available on all the computers, phones and tablets you use."

The possibilities are endless on how Evernote can be used within our schools by students, teachers and the school community.  

As I started working with the Evernote for Schools pilot program, I wanted to do a project that would include using multiple devices (iPads, iTouches, laptops and desktops) and the new eBooks in our library collection.  I went to the 2nd grade teachers, Tracy Ferguson and Mindy Doggett to see if they were interested in piloting Evernote within Van Meter....and they were in!  
After I set up the Van Meter Evernote Group, I invited Tracy, Mindy and the rest of the staff and secondary students to join.  Since the 2nd graders do not have school email addresses, I set up an account for each student by creating multiple gmail accounts from my school gmail address.  (This blog post describes how to do this.)  Each student would now have an unique login and password to use with their Evernote account.  
We also worked together to brainstorm what type of project we wanted to do using Evernote.  Tracy, Mindy and I decided to focus on two different themes from their curriculum...."Living and Nonliving Things" in Mindy's room and "My Community" in Tracy's room.  I worked with Mackin to develop two sets of eBooks.  Once they were included in Van Meter's Mackin VIA, I created Groups for each one so they would be easy for the students to find and use.  
In my initial conversations with Evernote, they told me about Skitch.  Skitch is an Evernote product which,"Gets your point across with fewer words using annotation, shapes and sketches, so that your ideas become reality faster." Skitch can be downloaded on a Mac computer and is also an Android and iPad app.  This would be PERFECT for us to use with the eBooks and Evernote.  

The students would research animals and communities within the eBooks.  They would use Skitch to make annotations and notes over the top of the pages.  The pages would then be uploaded and saved into their individual Evernote accounts.  They would also use the iPads to take photographs on walking tours around Van Meter looking for landmarks and animals in their community.  Once back to their classrooms, they could use Skitch with the photographs too and save them into Evernote as well. 
After each student has saved pages within their Evernote accounts, we will upload them into a "Flickr Set" using the unique email for my Flickr account.  We will save them as PDF's and use all of the pages to create two flippable eBooks with the Web 2.0 tool, Flipsnack. We will be able to share our two Flipsnack eBooks with the school community and others.  
So with everything set and ready to go, I introduced Evernote to the 2nd graders last Friday in the library.  Each of them got an iPad and we (I had a few of my 8th graders with me too) helped them log into their new accounts. 
They did a wonderful job listening to a few minutes of instructions on what Evernote was and what they could do with it.  I taught them how to save different kinds of notes within their accounts.  
I then gave them this simple instruction...

"I want you to create three notes within your Evernote account.  You can save a voice recording, an image or a type a note."  
And they were off! 
The second graders were figuring out how to rename the things they were saving and how to delete them from their accounts all by themselves....and I loved watching them help each other.
This boy couldn't wait to get started with his research so he asked me if he could get a book off of the shelf and "take notes in my Evernote account."
The 2nd graders loved showing off the photographs they were taking with the iPads and storing in their Evernote accounts.
And they were excited to learn that they would be able to get to these notes anywhere once they signed into their Evernote account.  One boy said, "You mean I can log into my account on my iPad at home and look at the pictures I took in the library today?"

We were so happy that the second graders loved Evernote and the projects that we were going to work on during the last month of school.

And as you can hear in Meridan's explaination of Evernote, they really loved today.  Being given the opportunity and freedom to use a tool like this was a big deal for them....and they did an amazing job.

I can't wait to see what happens this week as we take walking tours, use Skitch with photographs and the eBooks, and learn even more about Evernote.