Thursday, March 27, 2014

App Review: Hopscotch

Guest post by Ms. Neumeyer, our online student teacher from Canada.(Dean Shareski's class) Today Ms. Neumeyer continues her series of iPad app reviews. 

Check out her other reviews! 

The reason I picked the Hopscotch app to review is that I saw recently that you had been learning about coding using Scratch.  We talked about this tool during my online college class, and it was also designed for kids to learn about coding. I thought it would be perfect to try out!

Welcome to Hopscotch! 

The first step when opening this app is to pick a character (and they sure have some great ones to pick from).

      Then users are given a list of commands on blocks which they can drag into order. The user can choose from a variety of options such as how far their character moves, the color and size of trail it leaves, creating a line or shape, changing its size and costume, etc.

             Hopscotch is an open-ended program so users can create anything they want. Users can easily experiment with what different commands do and revise their script to make it do what they want. Users then hit the play button to run their script, and if they want they can share it with others over email.

Here is a quick animation

Check out the Sydney Opera House done by an experienced coder. 

 What have you created using code?

Share some tips for making an interesting animation!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Video :: Learn About Text Features!

Mrs. Yollis' class is learning about nonfiction

Nonfiction writing is based on facts, real events, and real people. There are many helpful text features found in nonfiction writing. Some common text features are:  headings, subheadings, captions, diagrams, time lines, maps, charts, and the glossary.

Below is a humdinger of a video made by Sheriff Yollis and Sheriff Salsich. They hope their video helps you greenhorns learn about about these important reading features!


Here it is on Vimeo if YouTube is blocked.

The Nonfiction Trail from Jonah Salsich on Vimeo.

 What are your favorite text features?

(Headings, subheadings, captions, diagrams, time lines, maps, charts, and the glossary.)

Share something you learned from a text feature! Add a hyperlink if appropriate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Terrific Twitter Time : Bird Detective

It's time for another installment of 
Terrific Twitter Time! 

Mrs. Katz found an unusual bird feather on the ground and left it by our door. She knows how much we love nature. She also knows we love to discover unknowns. The detective work started immediately. 

What kind of bird feather is this?

STEP 1: Shoot a picture. We included a ruler in the photo because the length of the feather would be an important piece of information. 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

STEP 2: Tweet out the photo to Mrs. Yollis' PLN (Personal Learning Network.) Twitter can put you in touch with people who know! 

What hashtags did we use and why? 

Why did we ask people to RT (retweet) our tweet?

STEP 3:  Read through the tweets and follow the useful links. 

We heard from Jozi in South Africa. The Audubon Society is a great resource for bird facts. Great idea! 

Ms. Felton from Iowa guessed that it was a pheasant feather. 

Mr. Terpsma, from California, teaches fifth grade. His student had a guess.

After learning where we are located, Ms. Harbeck from Maryland, guessed that it was a red-tailed hawk feather. That is a very common bird in our southern California area.

Ms. Wagner, from southern California, thought it was an owl.

Ms. Bates, from North Carolina, mentioned this Feather Atlas of the Fish and Wildlife Service. 

This Feather Atlas of the Fish and Wildlife Service  was new to us and to one of our Twitter helpers! It's fun to learn together!

We have not drawn a conclusion yet. 

What kind of feather do you think this is and why? 

What resources did you use to come to your conclusion

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Toontastic! Ipad App Review

Guest post by Ms. Neumeyer, our online student teacher from Canada (Dean Shareski's class) Today Ms. Neumeyer continues her series of iPad app reviews. 
Other Review: Virtual Manipulatives 

Toontastic is a great app which teaches and improves storytelling, by allowing users to draw, animate, and share their own cartoons. 
Characters and settings for the cartoons can either be chosen from templates or drawn from scratch. 

Toontastic is very easy to use: after picking out setting and characters, a user just needs to press the record button, move their characters onscreen, and record their story by speaking out loud and using the iPad's built-in microphone. 

Users also have the option of including music to their story by picking an emotion which best suits the story.  Toontasic also has a global storytelling network for kids, called ToonTube, where they can share their stories. Toontastic is a fun tool that skilfully explains the essential aspects of storytelling (character, setting, story arc, etc.), and gives students a great way to practice the storytelling process.  

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Let me share the making of my Toontasic video with you!

First, the app shows the opening screen which shows the arc of a story. Then I picked the setting. Next, I selected the characters or toys. After that, I recorded my voice reciting a poem while the characters appear to be talking! Lastly, I picked music to go with my poem. 

Below is my Toontasic video of one of my favourite childhood poems,  "My Robot" by Shel Silverstein.  

Take a look!


What did you think of my video?  

How could you use this Toontastic app?

What is the arc of a story? 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Scratch•ing the Surface of Visual Programming

Mrs. Yollis and her students love learning about computer programming. During the Hour of Code project, Heather's mom came in and taught about JavaScript using the Khan Academy. 

On Friday, Nick's mom came in to teach the class about an online educational programming language called Scratch. First, the good doctor shared a presentation about her work as a computer scientist. 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

Next, she shared some information about the computer program called  Scratch.

Here is the sprite that is first introduced when you open the program. By clicking and dragging events, you can make the sprite move, slide, rotate, or talk. The event options are limitless! 

When using Scratch, you may create using this orange sprite. However, the Scratch program allows creators to choose a new sprite or create a unique character from scratch. :-) 
(To start from scratch is an idiom that means to start at the beginning.)

Students worked in teams to create a program

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

As you can see, the events lock together to make a sequence of events

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

At the end of the session, teams came up to the front to share what they had created. It was interesting to see the different programs.

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

Photo by Mrs. Yollis

 Here is a link to learn about Scratch. 
Scratch must be downloaded by a parent. Parents, here is a direct link to the PARENT INFORMATION PAGE.

There is no iPad application for Scratch.

*     *     *     *     *

Do you see the word play in the title? 

Scratch•ing the Surface of Visual Programming
(Hint: Scratching the surface is an idiom.)

What did you think about the presentation?

What have you created? 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Video Tutorials: What Are Quadrilaterals?

In our polygon unit, we are learning about four-sided figures called


Many  people were confused about why some shapes have more than one name.  Here are some tutorials to help you learn about quadrilaterals.

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What is a parallelogram?

Here is an interactive parallelogram.

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What is a rectangle?

Here is an interactive rectangle.

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What is a rhombus?

Here is an interactive rhombus.

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What is a square?

Here is an interactive square.

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Maybe you'd like to watch the Polygon Movie again and meet these quadrilaterals in person!  

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Have you used our quadrilateral tutorials? 

Which tutorial helped the most?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ms. Neumeyer's Favorite Seuss

Today, Ms. Neumeyer has a special post for us! She wanted to be a part of our sensational Seussical series, so she recorded herself and is here to present her favorite Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches!


What did you think of Ms. Neumeyer's video?

How did Sylvester McMonkey McBean profit?

What do you think Dr. Seuss was trying to teach everyone? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

This week, our school has been celebrating the life of Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was March 2. Dr. Seuss, or Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904, and passed away on September 24, 1991. 

How many years did Dr. Seuss live? 
How old would Dr. Seuss have been this year?

On Monday, we explored Seussville

One of the first things we did was look at the time line of his life. What events did you find interesting?  

Mrs. Yollis read Horton Hears a Who on Monday. 
Our fabulous media specialist, Mrs. Minicozzi lead a directed draw lesson today in the computer lab. Who did we draw?

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book and why?

How old would Dr. Seuss be today? 

What other characters will you draw on Wixie