Saturday, January 12, 2013

3 Classroom Apps for the New Year

Thanks HRM for the artwork!
This week I introduced my kids to three new apps which I am hoping will provide me with additional assessment information. We started a class blog using kidblog.  It is a secure blogging platform that my kids can use to create their own blog page within our group.  So far we wrote about our winter break and we've started with doing our weekly reading log online.  I am learning more about my students' writing and they are learning from each other.  There is an app for easy access to the blog from our class iPads. I am hoping that blogging will provide an opportunity for communication, collaboration and developing authentic writing skills.  My kids know that I blog, too. It helps them to see that writing is a life-ling skill.
We also started playing around with Khan Academy. Although I did the set up on my Mac, the kids and I are now using the app.  I know Khan has its detractors, and I am remaining open minded as I pilot its usefulness in my classroom.  I teach a 4+5 combo with very independent learners and I am hoping that Khan Academy will allow my students the ability to go deeper into subjects in which they have a need and or interest.

As part of our monthly life-skill focus of kindness, my students have begun a Kindness Project. We brainstormed a variety of ways that we see or hear kindness.  We are now working on developing icons or memes to represent kindness.  One of the tools we are using to draw them is the third app we started using: Skitch, which is part of Evernote.  Some students are also working on short movies to inspire kindness. We were inspired by this video from +Dan Pink 's daughter, Sophia.

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