Friday, November 29, 2013

iPads in 4th Grade: Week 1

My school lent my classroom five iPads last week to see if I could find things to do with them. If I can then they might make them more widely available for other upper elementary classrooms. Our class get to use them for three weeks and then I have to give them up. In the meantime I've been asked to make weekly reports on how I used them. Since I haven't written on my blog since I changed schools this summer, I thought this would be a great place to put my write-ups.

This post will highlight two things I did this week:
1) Making Book Trailers
2) Creating a Youtube Playlist of Math Tutorials

1) Making Book Trailers
One of our big social studies themes is "Our World of Rights and Responsibilities." Since we live in the Czech Republic, we tie this theme to the region's recent communist past. We have guest speakers, we went to a Stalin era Hard Labour Camp, and we read Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin.
Spoiler Alert: The title refers to a bust of Stalin

We did a lot of work processing the text, and we even wrote scripts for several of the chapters. I was going to leave it there though because it would take too long to film and it would have been very difficult to split up into groups. Then the iPads came, and I decided we would could film using the iMovie Trailer templates. I've talked about book trailers using iMovie before. And it's a lot easier to make the trailers on an iPad than a laptop. There is much less of a learning curve with the iPad iMovie, and everything is more efficient since the iPad is both the video camera and the editor. 
There are three templates in iMovie that (kind of) fit the tone of the book:

Although to be fair, "Narrative" is really the only one that fits the tone.

I showed the trailer templates to the class, split them into three groups, and when their group decided on the template I gave them a storyboard. Writing the storyboard for the trailer: Narrative, Adrenaline, and Expedition. I made the storyboards rather than convert the iMovie storyboards into pdf files. I did this because in the past kids get too caught up on the extra information on the iMovie storyboards. For example, they would think that a "Landscape" shot would have to be a landscape. So my storyboards stripped all of that extra information out. While they were storyboarding their trailer, I made a trailer for them to show how we replace the film footage and the words of the template but keep the music and the pace:
I was tempted to do "The Making of The Making of..." trailer after this one.

We started filming the trailers on Friday. 

I'll report on how they turned out next week.

2) Creating a Youtube Playlist of Math Tutorials

Part 1: Use the drawing and recording features of Explain Everything.
One of the best ways I can think of to have the children demonstrate their thinking is get them to make tutorials for each other. We started the week using the Explain Everything app for our math tutorials and uploading them to our Youtube channel directly from the app. 

Part 2: Use some advanced features of Explain Everything.
By the end of the week I showed them how to embed videos into their presentations. Several of them attempted to take videos of themselves using base 10 blocks to illustrate a math concept, playing the video during their screencast, and working out the problem along side the video.
The below video features a mathematical mistake. We'll examine the mistake on Monday. 

The videos are not just an interesting alternative to teach others, but can also be used to explore our own misconceptions. 


  1. Way cool guys! Keep up the great work, Dr. B

  2. Way cool guys! Keep up the great work, Dr. B


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