Creating A Global Community

We always talk about opening our student’s eyes to the bigger picture and the world around them. How can we connect them to their learning? How can we let them see that there are bigger things out there beyond their own neighborhood and school?

More importantly, how can we keep our students interested in writing?  What can improve their skills in their daily writing? Social media is a great, easy way to peak students interests, create an authentic audience to motivate them to produce quickly writing as well!

Blogging is an easy, safe way to connect our young students across the global in an instant!  We have been using Seesaw within our school for ALL areas in the curriculum, but the new blogging feature makes it so easy for us to connect with other classrooms and share our learning with peers in other countries.

I used twitter to find other teachers looking to connect, and paired up three classrooms in our school to get us started.  We have only just begun, but the students are SO excited to share what they are learning, their likes/dislikes, etc.  They have an authentic audience, which makes them exciting and proud to write more and more each post!

They were so excited when we get started this week, and immediately made connections with their new “blog buddy” in Hong Kong!  We were so excited that they liked so many of the same things we liked, and we can’t wait to keep this excitement going through the year!  This week, we will be sharing photos from our classroom to showcase our favorite learning tool whether it be an anchor chart, word wall, iPad, SMART board, or classroom library!  We will ask our blog buddies to share their favorite learning tool, so we can compare and make even more connections across the globe!

What a fabulous, real-world connection to get our students using Social Media appropriately and purposefully!

By Lissa Blake @D60Holmestech

Weather Movie Makers

Our students are expected to share their learning through a variety of media, so we like to create fun, engaging projects with each unit of study!  Second grade was researching various types of weather and wanted a special way to produce their hard work!

We created newscasts using the FABULOUS green screen app by Doink!  We use this app for many purposes, but this project was the first time we tried using all three layers of movie magic!

Our students saved images of their storms, an empty newsdesk and then dressed for the part!  They were able to be reporters at a newsdesk to introduce their friends, and change scenes using iMovie to create a complete weather research report!

We used our green wall, a desk and the app by Do Ink to create the fun.  Each child was filmed sitting at the desk, and standing by the green wall with a microphone, just like the real weather reporters!  We put all the clips together in iMovie, and shared them with our families on Seesaw Learning Journal!

A great lesson on real-world connections, collaboration and communicating our learning in a very sophisticated way!  Enjoy a great example here:
By Lissa Blake @D60HolmesTech


50s Day School Movie!

We celebrate the 50th day of school by dressing up in poodle skirts, rolled up jeans and hula hoop competitions!  I wanted to create something with each classroom to celebrate the 50th day integrating our technology throughout the entire school!

I took some time to research all the fun products that came about in the 1950s that our young students would know or care about still today! Each classroom picked the product out of a hat, we did some class research using a variety of tools and produced a short movie with our findings!

We learned about everything from PEZ dispensers and McDonald’s to Play-Doh and Frosted Flakes!  The kids loved learning about all the fun products that they still may use today  while we all learned a great new app, Puppet EDU (Shadow Puppet) to publish our research and share with our friends.

I took all the short videos, and put them together in iMovie with a 1950s soundtrack to complete the final project!  We all got to celebrate together by watching the movie our whole school worked hard to create in our classrooms on the 50th day of school!


What an easy and fun way to bring our school community together, and learn a little along the way!

Enjoy our school video:

By Lissa Blake @D60holmestech

Academic Vocabulary Student Driven Review

Academic vocabulary words can be tricky for young students to understand since they are not words readily used in their daily language. The second-grade team was looking for a way for students to define and review these words in an accessible way.

We used an app called Puppet EDU (formerly called Shadow Puppet) to create short slide show videos with the students voice recordings.

Students were placed in small groups to complete this activity to allow for collaboration and more communication about what these words mean to the students.

Each student was given a graphic organizer to come up with synonyms for the word in “kid friendly” language. Then, each student was asked to draw a picture to show what their word meant to them.

Once we had some definitions, synonyms, and images to explain our vocabulary words we added them to the app Puppet EDU.

Students were able to record their voice over each image or text to explain what those words meant in their own language.

We shared our work on Seesaw, labeling each movie within a vocabulary folder, so all students can access these at home or at school to review the words often!

What an easy, and student driven, way to reinforce our academic vocabulary words!

Check out a great example here:

Lissa Blake, k-2 Instructional Coach


ChatterPix Research Movies

Our first grade students were researching animals in small groups, and we wanted to step up the typical “book writing” on a typical template on paper.

We came up with an idea for our students to draw images of their part of the graphic organizer (ie. habitat, baby, food, etc.)

Students were given the task to draw their animal and save it to the camera roll.

Then we used an app called, Chatterpix, to record our research and use our own animal pictures! These animals were now able to “talk” with our students voice!
Then, we wanted to step it up a bit!

We added some green screen fun to create some more engaging videos to publish our research!

We painted a wall in our computer lab green and used one of the great green screen apps to put our students within a photo of their chosen animal!

They really, really got into it and loved every minute of this lesson!

They were given CHOICE of photos and allowed to be creative, which was so exciting to see! Check out our work!

Recording Sight Word Fun!

iPads make recording our learning so easy, and possible for our young students! We love sharing and showing what we have learned with our families at home through online posts.

This week, I was working in a ELL Kindergarten classroom, and they are struggling with learning and articulating their sight words. Many of the students parents do not speak English, which also makes it harder for them to practice at home as well. So, we came up with a simple idea for students to record their sight words using images and voice, then post them online for parents to learn at home with them.

Students were given letters and paper and were asked to spell their favorite sight word. Then they were asked to take a picture of the word, then each letter to spell the word in order.

We used a fabulous, easy app, Puppet EDU, to create a slide show and record our voice over the word and letters. Once we saved the movies, we posted them to our Seesaw account for parents to see at home!

Students are now able to use this as a guided reading center to watch, listen and engage in basic sight word practice! Authentic audience, authentic purpose!

Instructional Coach Lissa Blake

Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety

We start the year by making sure all of our students hear the same internet safety lesson to help keep our students safe and start the conversations about our digital footprint, even at a young age.

Common Sense Media is a wonderful site to look for information, ideas and lessons to help teach students about being a responsible digital citizen.

I found a great resource that I used with my second grade students, a video called “Pause and Think Online”. I played the animated music video for my students, which they truly enjoy and start to sing along as we watch it together. Then we have a great class discussion about how to keep ourselves safe online, respect each other and give ourselves a balance of online and outside time.

Once we had this great discussion, I gave them each a bookmark, since what primary student doesn’t LOVE a bookmark

Students were in small groups, and were put to a task of creating a “poster” that tells about some of the information on their bookmarks. They were given choice to create with images of themselves, text or clipart. I gave them a time limit, and let them go on one of our favorite stand by apps, Pic Collage.

Here is our teacher example:

When the time was up, they were put on the task of posting their “poster” on their class Seesaw page and present it to the class.

Great job second graders!

Instructional Coach Lissa Blake