Thursday, November 20, 2014

Todd Parr Inspired Self Portraits

I just completed a little art project with our Grade 1 students using Adobe Ideas iPad App.

After reading a few Todd Parr books, Ms Krause's class decided they wanted to draw some Todd Parr self portraits. To get the look we wanted we decided that Adobe Ideas, a free drawing app, would be the best bet.

First, we drew the outline using the black pencil tool:

Then we coloured in the parts of the face by holding finger down within each defined area. By holding the finger down it recognizes that you want to fill the area. The area you want to fill must be a closed shape.

Once the face was completely filled, we created shrunk the face down (by pinching) then drew a border around the entire face - Zooming out allowed us to colour a large enough area that we could crop in the next step.


Once the outside border was filled, we used the pinch technique to zoom back in on the face so that it filled the screen nicely. once exported the image would be cropped to the same size you see once zoomed in. Then we exported (shared) the image to the camera roll/photo app.

Here are the finished pieces that this talented Grade 1 class completed! Todd Parr will be proud!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Stop Motion - Time lapse

We've had an meal worm observation station in our learning commons for a couple of months. Now it's time for the those creepy crawlies to change!

This is the set up we used. The crucial part is keeping the iPad steady.
I've always wanted to record this process somehow so we played around with documenting part of the process with a stop motion video using Stop Motion Studio. The problem with meal worms is that they change so randomly and once they start they are fast. We picked up this meal worm a little way into it metamorphosis process. We got enough of the process to see some good changes taking place.

We used a mini tripod and also a iTrek Super Mount from Amazon to connect the iPad Mini to the tripod. 

600 pictures and 4 or 5 hours later we ended up with the following video

or watch on YouTube here - 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taking Photos - A Success Criteria

Kindergarten are learning to take photos using iPad. We first got them into the learning commons, we wanted to get them just taking photos, so we learned how to take a selfie (an important skill in today's world).

Then we switched to the other camera and learned how to take a photo of an object. We then created a success criteria of how to do so. The students came up with the criteria. I provided them some words to help describe each criteria.

Now we have something to refer to when we taking photos in the future.

Documenting in Kindergarten

In Kindergarten, we are always looking for new and engaging ways to use technology. Today we started a centre type activity where small groups of 6-8 are coming into the learning commons to take part in a sorting centre.

The students have been learning about grouping and sorting and this was a chance for them to independently apply their new learning in a way that suits them.

We used iPads to help them document their learning. Once they completed their set, they used iPad to take a photo of their work. Then they tried to make a new set.


To keep their work amnd to access it later on, we simply added a name tag to the work so we could track it later, once downloaded to another device or computer.

With todays work, we exported the finished images by using Airdrop to get them all onto one device before downloading.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Documenting Trees with iPad

This week I started a project with a grade one class to do with trees and changes. The plan is to take photos of trees through the different seasons of the year.

Taking photos and DC
Firstly we had to learn/review how to take photos with the iPad. We also looked at some digital citizenship around taking photos with a mobile device as well as some handling guidelines. We decided to have each student in the shot for ease of organizing the photos once we downloaded all the photos off the iPads.

First go at it
We headed outside and broke the class into two smaller groups (about 12 students) we walked around the school to find trees and take some photos. After a little bit of modelling, we all chose our tree and then took our first photos.

Review and full class assessment 
After completing the outside task, we headed back in to view some photos and clean up the camera roll from the extra shots. We quickly realized that the students were not able to take photos of the trees  as we had hoped. There were cut off tress, crooked photos, unrecognizable students etc, etc

Success criteria 
We selected a few examples and non-examples of good photos and had a discussion with the class. Using a Google presentation, we made notes on what we noticed was wrong with the photos and what was good about the photos. We also added some tips about what the photographer could do improve on that photo.

More practice
After creating the success criteria and tip sheet, the student once again took some photos using the iPads. This time, we just worked in the learning commons and took photos around the inside space, being mindful of the composition of the photos.

Outside: Part 2
After having further practice, we moved outside for the second time and tried taking our photos again. It turns out that the practice and discussion about how to be successful made a big difference.

Watch the blog for some of the things we do next with our photos.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Documenting Learning with iPads

Sarabeth Asis, Teacher, Bridlewood School

This year, my grade 5 students and I learned the value of using mobile devices, such as the iPad, to document our learning during a problem-based learning activity. While exploring the question, How can we use our imaginations, prior knowledge and research to create an electrical toy car model?, my class used iPads and a workflow of productivity apps to make student-created artifacts representing their learning. Our pre-planning stage involved using Popplet Lite, a mind-mapping app, which students used to brainstorm what they already knew about electricity and what questions they needed to ask to help them to build an electric toy car. These questions guided their research and students used Safari and YouTube apps to help them find information. Their research notes were recorded on Notability. Later, they used the app, Idea Board, to draw their electric car designs. Throughout the building and testing stages, students used the iPad’s camera to take photos and video. Finally, when the electric cars were complete, students took all their digital artifacts and created a reflection video using Explain Everything.


The first benefit I noticed while using the iPads during this problem-based task was increased student engagement. Most students were focused on the task at hand throughout the majority of the project, with minimal reminders to stay on task. After each learning activity, an artifact was created to represent thinking (mind maps, design drawings, notes) or be used as a topic of discussion (photos of building the cars). I also noticed the increased speed in student ability to get their ideas down into a digital artifact that was legible and visually appealing, whereas traditional paper and pen activities might have proved challenging for some students with fine motor difficulties or would have taken a longer period of time to add visual appeal.

Some affordances provided by use of the iPads with my students included multi-modal features and a streamlining of the documentation process. The iPads provided for various multi-modal methods for students to represent work, such as drawings, voice, text and video. All available tools and creations were stored in a single, portable device. Students could take the iPad to various classroom or school locations conducive to group work and building throughout the learning activities.
The apps we used in this inquiry were open-ended to encourage creativity in the students but also revealed levels in their ability to think critically, problem solve and reflect. For example, differences in the Popplet webs, prototype designs, and reflections in their Explain Everything videos gave me insight into a particular group of students’ thinking and learning. Through use of the iPads in this process, I felt I learnt more about my students’ learning and thinking processes through these artifacts, rather than using traditional paper and pen assessment methods.

Sarabeth (@Sarawa81) has a passion for using EdTech to support learning. She looks forward to new adventures as LL at Royal Oak School next fall.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Creating Digital Fairy Tales using Puppet Pals/ Sketchbook Pro/ iMovie

We loved the idea of using iPads to help guide students through the process of learning. When Google Drive was placed on the iPads at our school we knew this would be a way for us to transfer student work off devices and eagerly planned a project to utilize the technology. 

We asked the Students in our Grade 3/4 classes to make their own original digital fairy tale. Using a hook, relating to the Calgary flood of 2013, students wrote a fairy tale for a character displaced by the flood. Students were guided through a variety of writing lessons, based on Barbara Mariconda’s work, students worked in groups of two to write, illustrate and produce an original fairy tale iMovie.

Drawing Characters and Scenes
Sketchbook Pro
When students completed the writing process they sketched the characters and setting using the app Sketchbook Pro. The app was very easy to use and provided students with a variety of tools to draw with. We highly recommend this app! The app is easy for students and provides a variety of drawing options. The app is available in the iTunes store for $4.99.

Puppet Pals HD
Next, students imported their images into Puppet Pals. They had so much fun using this app! It was easy to use and allowed students the ability to move their characters and change scenes in one recording. The free app includes a wild west background and some characters. If you purchase the director’s pass a variety of themes and characters are available. The students were able to add characters half-way through a scene by placing them off the stage and moving the character into the frame when needed. One handy bit of information we discovered once the projects were completed, is that the Puppet Pals logo, which shows up for a few seconds at the end of each scene, could have been turned off in settings. The Puppet Pals HD Director’s pass is available for $2.99 in the iTunes store.

Finally, students imported the scene segments from Puppet Pals into iMovie to add details and complete their final project. When done, they uploaded the movies onto Google Drive so final projects could be shared and saved for future use.

Students learned so much during the project! They were engaged, eager to start working on the project and they gave and received feedback in order to make their stories and projects better. 

Thank you for inviting us to share.

Rahimay and Nadine

Monday, April 28, 2014

4 Compelling Ideas Using Book Creator App

I am always trying to find new and exciting ways to use Book Creator and other eBook Creators in the classroom. Here is a post found today by the creators of Book Creator.

Monday, April 21, 2014

iPad in the Classroom - EdcampYYC

Today was EdcampYYC 2014

What a great day of learning! In the afternoon, I facilitated a session on iPads in the classroom. The document below are the points we covered and discussed throughout the session.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recommended Apps for #YYCBE

After writing my last post, the idea came up that we should begin a recommended App list for the Calgary Board of Education.
Please note, this list is not recommended by the CBEILT team or our School Technology Support people BUT rather, a few teachers that have used iPads extensively in their schools. 
The list is merely a list of great Apps that we know work well within our network, with our Google Apps accounts, and also those that may require a little more thought around Web2.0 the CBE guidelines.

The following document may look and work better by opening in Google Drive.

Click to open in Google Drive ~ -

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Must Have Apps

I often get asked about my favourite Apps and which ones I recommend people should get. After receiving an email today from a colleague asking for my Top 10, I thought it could be a great time to create my Top 12 apps of today! (I couldn't just pick 10. There are way too many good ones).

This Top 12 has some solid apps that've always loved; some are newer apps; some that will be taken off this list one day; some that will stay. In my opinion, Apps will always evolve. We will find apps that will be better than these. We will find new uses for apps. Our needs will change, Our students will change. All of these things will effect how and why we download apps. We need to always remember that.

In this Top 10 Starter Kit I think you can get a good feel of some very powerful apps and what iPad is capable of. All of these Apps that can be used in a variety of different grades. I have used most of these apps with students in K-6. The best feature that most of these apps have is the ability to save to the camera roll - this is the key to exporting work off the iPad. If not through the camera roll, uploading to cloud storage is the next option I try to look for.

My Top 12 One Screen


This is the must-have app provided by Apple (now for free). When you create video presentations, iMovie is crucial for mashing all your clips and photos together! It's easy to do and allows you to create top quality videos. This app is now free with an iPad purchased from around the Fall of 2013.


I like keynote, not only for making easy-to-make slick looking presentations, but also to create text based images that are useable in other apps (such as iMovie above) by taking screen shots and creating image files of specific slides. This app is free with an iPad purchased from around the Fall of 2013.

Pic Collage

A great way to quickly build a sequence of photos. Pic Collage allows users to easily, and quickly, make learning visible. I also like creating Lego style instructions or sequence of events using this app. Pic Collage is a free app.

Explain Everything

WOW - Probably the most widely loved Ed Tech app that is out there. Explain Everything (EE) is an amazing app that allows you to explain everything :) We have created tutorials, digital stories, solved math problems and more! We are always experimenting with new ways to use this app. EE app costs $2.99.

Voice Recorder for iPad

Recording the voice is very powerful! This app allows you to create folders and store audio recordings in different folders. This is not only a great app for students but it also great for teachers as an assessment tool. You can also save audio files to the camera roll and download as Quicktime files.This app costs 99c.

Book Creator

Book Creator is probably the easiest to use digital book creator out there. I have used this with Kindergarten to Grade 6. It gives the ability to create simple digital book that feature text, drawing, images, and voice recordings. You can even publish these to the iBooks store if you wish! There is a paid version for $4.99 and a free version of this app (which has the limitation of only one project at a time).

Green Screen by Do Ink

This has to be the best option for green screen video for iPad. This app creates beautiful, amazing quality, green screen video all on the iPad. Being a relatively new app, Do Ink Green is improving all the time. They are also planning on introducing a still image output option in future updates. This app costs $2.99.


A great way to create visual or text based mind maps. Easy to use from K-6. Popplet cost $4.99 or the free version will allow you to create one Popplet (mind map) at a time.

Doodle Buddy

This app is one of our most widely used apps. It allows students to very easily create basic drawings and save them to the camera roll. Doodle Buddy is a free app.


Aurasma is an amazing Augmented Reality app that is possibly too technical to be on this starter list. It definitely deserves to be here as it is amazing way to showcase student work. Aurasma is free! I have written another couple of blog posts that share how powerful this app is ~ Augmented Book Reviews and Making Images Move


Skitch is made by Evernote and allows users to take photos and make annotations over the top of the image. It is super easy to use and produces great quality images which can be saved to the camera roll. This is another free app.

Google Drive

This awesome app allows you to connect to your Google Drive account. You can create documents and spreadsheets on the iPad but the power is being able to upload video and images to Google Drive as well as many other apps that you upload to as well.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Creator - Instructions and Sequencing

Book Creator has been one of my all time favourite apps. It's such an easy app to navigate and use. And students can easily produce really nice looking digital books with audio.

This task was done with Grade 1 students. The students had already created books made on paper and we thought that the we could digitize them using Book Creator.

Here are the steps we took to make the books.

Take Photos of Images & Crop

We took photos using the Camera app then edited the photos, right in Camera Roll, by cropping out the carpet or table tops. This provided a nice clean image to put in the book.

Create a new book Project in Book Creator

When you first create a new book you need to choose layout of book. I usually choose landscape. The square version looks good in iBooks as it works well when iPad is in landscape or portrait mode. Another important thing to do which students often miss out, is saving the name of the book and the Author. This help when exporting the book to another device.

Adding pictures, text, drawing, and sound to the book 

Adding different features of the book is simple. By clicking the add button (the + symbol) you have the option of adding numerous different things. In this project, students added photos from the camera roll, they drew pictures, added text and also recorded sound. 



Once books were edited and ready for exporting, we modelled the process for exporting to iTunes. This would allow the teacher to retrieve the ePub files from each iPad.

To export to iTunes, the user must be back on the app homescreen/spashscreen then by clicking on the export button you will see the different options. Then you click on Send to iTunes.

Another way to share the books is to choose Open in another App, then choose Air Drop. You need to ensure that the iPad that you wish to share with also has has Air Drop running and be connected to the same network. This would be a good idea when you have extra time as students finish their work. You would be able to stagger the exporting as each student finishes their project.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Can You Hear Our Learning?

Thanks to guest authors Heather McKay and Jaime Hatchette for this post...

The Curious Journey of 2 Teachers in K: Can you hear our learning?

In Kindergarten our students are fast becoming experts at explaining their thinking. As teachers, we see evidence of their critical thinking in their play, their conversations, and their written work.  We attempt to scribe student thoughts as much as possible in order to leave a visible trace of their learning. 

On one such day we were having trouble keepingup with the flow of ideas; we decided to try the app Audioboo as a tool for making our thinking visible in Kindergarten.

The Audioboo app allows you to capture an image and attach up to 3 minutes of audio. It is a web-based app allowing users to create their own podcast collections.  We access our Audioboo account from our class iPads. We do not attach student names to any podcasts, but instead have taught our Kindergarten students to use their initials as a form of hashtag, when sharing their learning via social media.  Audio files can be sorted and stored in folders you create.  Each Audioboo post can be individually sharedthrough Twitter, email, or embedded within a blog.  Our students ask to tweet Audioboo posts as one way to share their learning with their families. Parents can also subscribed to a RSS feed.  

We are just beginning to explore how Audioboo will support our work within IRIS and are excited about the possibilities!  Because IRIS allows users to insert a URL as an artifact, we predict this will be one way to empower our youngest learners to capture their own thinking using iPads as a learning tool.

How have we used Audioboo in Kindergarten ?

We researched Penguins using the online database PebbleGo.  Afterwards we asked students to share what they learned by drawing a picture.  Students explained their picture and learning by responding to our prompt “Tell the story of your picture” using Audioboo. Here is one example:  What did you learn about Penguins?

Each day during centres two boys continue to look closely at one particular book.  We asked them to share their reflections about this particular book to learn more about why they are drawn to it and to uncover what they were learning. We asked them to look closely and share what they noticed:

Many students choose to create and build different structures during our daily centre block. It is challenging to capture this process, as photos show only part of the story.Audioboo provides a simple and easy way for students to record their reflections and allows us as teachers to uncover many learning outcomes.  Listen to the mathematical vocabulary being used in the following clip:

How do you make the learning visible in your classroom?  We would love to hear from you and build our Visible Thinking toolkits together!

Heather McKay (@HeatherMMckay) / Jaime Hatchette @JaimeHatchette

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Drawing with Writing - Type Drawing

This a fun app to you and I think the possibilities could be endless.

This grade 4 class had a task to do with the Alberta Oil Sands. The teacher tied this task into Science and Social Studies.

After looking for and saving images of the Alberta oil sands, the teacher wanted her students to share their initial impressions about the oil sands. 

Type Drawing allows you to write a sentence then draw that sentence over the top of an image. We think the finished product was something else! What an effective and different way to present ideas and information.

The Best Teaching & Learning Resource Ever!

I made a video to welcome our teachers to their new 1:1 iPad.

I made the video with a few apps (app smash) but mostly with Video Scribe.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Creating Video with Tellagami

Tellagami is an Amazing iPad App I discovered earlier this year from some fellow Apple Distinguished Educator colleagues. I recently had the opportunity to introduce it to our grade 5 team who have been doing a fair bit of work around green screen and news broadcasts. Tellagami provides yet another way to present information in the form of video with added background pictures to match the topic.

When using Tellagami, users customize an avatar, then choose their custom background giving the final effect which is similar to that of green screen. The process is simple:

Tellagami - Video Tutorial App Smash

Here are some great student work examples which were created using Tellagami. This task was completed over only a couple periods.

Friday, January 10, 2014

iPads for Assessment in Gym

I love seeing our teachers becoming creative and experimenting with different ways to use iPads in the classroom. This week, two of our teachers came up with a creative way to use iPads in Physical Education.

As we all probably know, assessment in Phys. Ed. is sometimes tricky, especially in something like gymnastics. This simple idea these grade 4 teachers had is to have the students film their routine that they were assigned with.

After sufficient practice time, students chose when they were ready to record their routine. The idea would be to record it, then in iMovie record a voice over that explains what they are doing in their routine.


The students loved the performance factor of being recorded on video. It added an added sense of ownership and accountability.