Monday, October 31, 2016

Time Lapse Video of the Life Cycle of the Painted Lady Butterfly

Mrs. Maxham's 3rd-grade students at West Rutland School were really excited when they got their caterpillar kit.  This was such a great opportunity for our students that we wanted to be able to capture the life cycle process in a fun way, so we decided to take a time lapse video.   Then, together the students wrote a narrative to retell what happened when the caterpillars turned into butterflies. It was a lot of fun to make and the students really got into making the video.  Check out it out below!

The Setup:

We set up an iPad on a stand and we used the default camera that came with the iPad as it already had a time-lapse setting. There are also plenty of free iOS and Android apps out there that do the same.  
Videos were uploaded every morning to YouTube.  Once complete, I threw them into YouTube editor to make one video with all the clips.  I then uploaded that video to WeVideo and did all the editing using a Chromebook. There I was able to add the introduction, voice over, the final clip of the class.  I also trimmed down quite a bit of the video to match the voice over.  For the voice over, the students each had their own lines they practiced ahead of time and I called them out into the hall one by one to do voice over right in WeVideo.  

  1.  Mrs. Maxham uploaded a video every morning to YouTube to avoid the risk of it being accidently erased.
  2. Leave a light on over night otherwise, you'll be shooting just black space.  The light didn't seem to bother the caterpillars.  
  3. Play around with the lighting. We had a difficult time avoiding the glare off the plastic containers.  If you have any tips, let me know!
  4. Find a quiet spot to do the voice overs, especially if you are using the built-in microphones on your iPad or Chromebook.  
Standards Alignment:

Common Core:
L3.6 : Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships.

SL 3.4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

3-LS1-1: Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles, but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.  

VT Transferrable Skills
1.F Use technology to further enhance and disseminate communication.
1.G Collaborate effectively and respectfully

ISTE Standards for Students
6.C communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating of using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models. or simulations

6.D publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.  

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blogging in the Classroom

This week's showcase tech project is about blogging in the classroom.  Hannah Thorpe, a 4th-grade teacher at Rutland Town School, came to me at the beginning of the year to set up a class blog so her students could practice writing.  I looked around at various blogging platforms, some free, some paid, and ultimately settled on using blogger.  We are Google Apps for Education schools, and so it made sense to utilize the tools already available to us.  Also, we are currently using blogger in our middle & high schools for Personalized Learning Plans, but Miss Thorpe wanted to utilize one blog instead of each student having his or her own blogs, so we set up a basic blogger and added all the students as authors. An author only has permission to create posts, so the students cannot change the privacy setting or add/delete admins or other authors. We also changed the privacy settings so the blog is not listed in blogger or google searches.  This allows Miss Thorpe to share the blog link with parents without worrying about anyone else reading their blog.

Why set up a class blog?

Using the blog allows students to practice typing skills as well as the ability to share their work with their classmates to get peer feedback. It also allows them the time to practice proper digital citizenship behavior.  Today, our students cannot avoid having a digital footprint, especially when they become active members of society.  We need to teach them at school how to create the best possible digital footprint and a blog is a great place to start.   "I think it is important that kids feel confident in their work and to publish it themselves," Miss Thorpe added.  Plus, she says. that a 4th Grade Common Core requirement is to have them publish their work and use multimedia to present in different ways.  Miss Thorpe is currently using the blog to allow students to type up their different writing pieces.  Most recently they posted their opinion piece about whether or not parents should be punished if their kids behave badly in school.

This project taps into the following standards:

ISTE Standards for Students:

  • 1a Empowered Learner - use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
  • 2b Digital Citizen - cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
Vermont Transferrable Skills:
  • 1a Clear and Effective Communication - Use technology to further enhance and disseminate communication
  • 1g Clear and Effective Communication - Collaborate effectively and respectfully
  • 5f Responsible and Involved Citizenship - Practice responsible digital citizenship
Common Core 4th-Grade Standards
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. (Soon the class will also hit other CC ELA Standards as they explore different types of writing styles)
To get started, head over to in your school's google apps domain and create class blog!