Friday, April 3, 2015

A Little App Smashing With An Amazing Group Of 4th Graders Over Skype!

Yesterday was a super fun day!

I started the day planning the last 36 days of school with Hagan, Skyped with my 5th grade friend Meridan about her blog after school, and met up with an awesome group of 4th graders and their super fun teacher Joellen Wesselmann to do a little App Smashing over Skype right before lunch.

Her little group have been learning and reading about a famous person.  They told me they each read a nonfiction book about their person and used websites and other resources to find out more.  Joellen and I brainstormed ways to put what they learned into a technology project.  We talked about different choices for digital tools and decided to teach them a few this time.  It would give them more choices and bring so much more to this project.
What you ask is App Smashing?   

App Smashing is the art of bringing together multiple apps in an imaginative way to create an enriched project. 
This diagram created by Meghan Zigmond is a powerful representation of App Smashing and all that it can bring to your students, libraries and classrooms.  It can enrich a lesson or project and definitely help you integrate technology and innovative ideas into the curriculum.
My students learned many digital tools and apps throughout the year.....kindergarten through 12th grade.  We built a Symbaloo as a toolbox for all of these tools and shared this with the students, teachers and even the parents and school community.

In kindergarten, they might learn 3 or 4 digital tools.  The next year in 1st grade, they would review and continue to use these tools but learn a few more as well....building their own toolbox.  During this time, I would have them smash two or more apps together...even our youngest learners.
This is a great example of a project I did with the kindergarteners....Our Kindergarteners Get "All Mixed Up" With Eric Carle And New Friends In Alabama For Global Read Aloud.  

We built their own little wild shelf using the digital tool Build Your Wild Self.
Then we took screen shots of each and uploaded them into Little Bird Tales creating a wonderful digital eBook where they shared their voice and creations.

We smashed together two digital tools to create and publish something they were all so proud of and shared it with parents, students, and the world.

In first grade, they used these digital tools to have some choice and voice in what they wanted to create.  They could use these tools independently and with confidence.....and I saw them create beautiful rich projects hitting different standards and learning goals along the way.

This is how all of our students interacted and learned with digital and apps.  Of course they had their favorites, but by smashing together apps throughout the year, our students were also challenged and it pushed their creativity and engagement to a new level.

This is exactly what we are doing with Joellen's students too.
I showed them four new digital tools yesterday.  We created a couple examples along the way.
They are going to use Tackk as the platform for their project.

Tackk is a free, simple way to create beautiful pages and collaborate in the classroom.  I will tell you all about Tackk in my new blog post.

This will be the perfect place for the 4th graders to create their biography projects.
I then showed them Canva, which is an amazing free digital tool that allows one to create all kinds of design materials including banners, posters, menus, and so much more.  

We used Canva to create a banner for the top of our Tackk that we did together as an example.  It is easy to download your creation in Canva and then upload or smash it into Tackk. 
Next I showed the students Spell with Flickr, which is a free website (you don't even need to login) that created words made out of images.  It is super easy...just type in your word or phrase and it generates them pulling from Flickr images.  

You can change each tile by clicking on it.  
I took a screen shot and uploaded it as an image into the Tackk. 

Recite This is the last digital tool that I taught them how to use in their project.

This is another free tool that requires no sign in.  You just add the words that you want to use in the box, click on the template you want from the bottom, and push Create. 
Your creation pops up.....and you can always change styles or templates.
It creates a variety of really cool posters that can be downloaded and shared in a variety of ways.   

Joellen and her 4th graders worked on their projects again today.  I can't wait to touch base with them next week and see how their projects are coming along.  I just know they will be awesome at app smashing. 
I am excited to do a little app smashing on my own this summer with my dear friend Joyce Valenza.

Joyce and I are traveling to EduTECH in Australia in June to conduct the Masterclass, App Smashing Make and Take Day With Shannon & Joyce.  It is going to be so much fun....and I know I will learn lots of different digital tools and apps to use too. 

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