Thursday, 16 December 2010

More iPad Apps to Love!

Pad fever is starting at our school. From kids who tell me they have one at home to a few teachers who have purchased one as well, there is some serious iPad love blossoming at ISB.

Here are some of my new favorite apps to add to our growing collection on the Hub iPads (our lovely PTA donated another iPad to us a few weeks ago, and we are overjoyed!).

Cut the Rope (.99 cents)
Love the strategy involved in this game. Your job is to feed a Christmas creature a piece of candy by cutting various ropes at the right time. It looks deceivingly simple, but it's a great challenge, and I see tons of potential for collaborative use (much like Gravity HD). Plus, the creature is super cute!

Lego Creationary (free app)
You cannot go wrong with Legos & kids, and this app is great for spatial skills. You roll a 3-D dice (even that is cool!) and then watch a Lego structure being built. As it is being built, you decide which of the pictures shown it will be, all within a time limit. This one is crazy popular during our recess times with all ages of students.

Alphabet Car (free app for the lite version)
This game, designed for the wee ones, is fun because the iPad itself becomes the steering wheel of the car. You try and drive the bus into various letters to spell 3-letter words. 1st graders had a lot of fun with this the other day.

I'm pretty sure our school is piloting iPads in the early childhood classrooms next semester. Can't wait to see some of these apps in the classroom setting.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Star Wars, the Aftermath

a view from outside...I love these funky windows in our Hub.
Let's just say that the Star Wars Marathon was a big hit! Like, 125+ kids and a lot of parents in one space but still heaps of chaotic fun. The Lego activity was the most popular, and I found that kids did not want to leave that center. Overall, it was great fun, but I need to do some future thinking about how to organize these for a smaller amount of kids. I guess if too many kids being excited about something is my biggest problem, that's a good problem to have.
A surprise addition to our event was the visit of many Star Wars characters. Our middle school put on the play last year, and a group of students offered to come and walk around in costume and in character. It was the perfect addition to the party and a perfect addition to my Princess Leia outfit!

One of our centers was a graphing center. I did a quick search for something free and easy to use to show the data, and this one from Kids Zone was very straightforward. Any other easy-to-use sites that anyone knows of to create graphs?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More Celebrating Characters We Love

Last school year's Percy Jackson event was such a success that I started thinking of how to offer something similar for the younger grades this year. When I took more than three seconds to think about what characters make the kids crazy excited, I thought of Star Wars. Our Star Wars basket is one of the first students run to in the Hub, and I try to continue adding to it when I find a new book at a bookstore.

I enlisted a small group of 2nd and 3rd grade Star Wars fanatics to help me design the special day, and they decided that we call it the Star Wars Marathon (I love that the event is 45 minutes after school, and we are calling it a marathon!). Again, I'm keeping it simple with six different stations and having kids rotate at their leisure.

Here are the stations--all names created by our organizing team

1. Death Star Coloring (color your favorite character)
2. Mustafar Battle (show off your light saber moves)
3. Star Wars Structures (putting a ton of Legos out and some ideas of how to make something Star Wars-ish)
4. The Quest for R2D2 (take a quiz to show what you know)
5. Force Jump Training (a non-violent Star Wars online game)
6. Jedi Archives (our graphing station to view our favorites)

Using Photopeach, we made a short promotional video to get people excited about the event. I adore Photopeach.

While all this planning has been going on, the 4th and 5th graders have already begun planning the next event--without me because I was helping with the younger students. I am told that Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be the next Celebrating Characters We Love. Talk about a gradual release of responsibility...