Sunday, August 28, 2011

Maddy Teaches an Art Lesson

Mr. Mitchell noticed that Maddy was using Adobe Ideas to sketch some animals on her iPad and asked her to teach the class how to do it. Maddy moved to Mr. Mitchell's iPad, which was connected to the overhead, and taught the class using a simple technique based on progressive shapes. Completed images were saved as screen shots, mailed to Mr. Mitchell using a class email account and displayed on the overhead for everyone to view.

Maddy was a wonderful instructor, and the class obviously enjoyed the impromptu lesson. What other lessons could students teach each other? We'll be exploring that idea this year.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Impromptu Field Trip

On the third day of school, Mr. Mitchell decided to take the class on a walk into the boreal forest surrounding the school to document some of the local flora with their iPads. Directions were simple and minimal, but the results were spectacular.

Larry gives more background about the field trip in Week 1 in Review.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 1 in Review

What a week ... 22 new students ... schedules everywhere and no paper, pencils, textbooks or any of the traditional trappings of the "normal" classroom.

So far we have introduced the iPads and begun our Math, Language Arts, and Social Studies just using our iPads. Apps including iBooks, Adobe ideas, Maps, Map-O-Meter, Google Earth, Safari, and Notes have been employed on a daily basis as well as 1:1 which is an app that allows you to measure objects as large as the iPad screen on the screen.

The kids are becoming smoother and smoother with each day and are emailing as many as 100 completed papers, drawings and observations my way as if they have been doing this for quite some time.

The highlight this week in terms of "going mobile" was an impromptu lesson where the weather was good and we headed outside to see how far our wireless network would reach but also to do some measuring and comparing of plants on our ski trails. Directions went something like this ...

Pick ten objects, measure them using 1:1, record your results in Notes, then draw the object using Adobe Ideas. Go! (Skip's note: the video of this field trip may be viewed in An Impromptu Field Trip.)

Measurement using 1:1 app

Sample Sizes

Off we went soon losing our wireless about 200 feet outside the building but the kids didn't really seem to notice as leaves, spruce cones, a few mushrooms and other objects were placed on the iPads for measurement. Once measured a double tap of the power button jumped them into Notes for data entry, followed by another double tap to make some drawings. One team even took a screen shot of the 1:1 screen so when they drew their object in Adobe Ideas, it had the "right background."

Using Adobe Ideas to trace/draw a leaf

Data Entry in Notes

On the way back to the building, we aimed instead to the playground equipment where we completed the days math lesson by taking a screen shot of our math journal in iBooks to be completed in Adobe ideas and then emailed to me as we were now in range of our buildings wireless signal. Several corrections were also made on different pages which the kids fixed on the spot while others began to use an array screen shot to practice the old dots game. And to think we even got some fresh air and sunshine on our faces as we did school.

Here's a video that we shot at the end of the day on Friday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting to Know You

Welcome to our blog. We're excited to be able to bring you a look at our school year in North Pole, Alaska.

A little history--in May 2011, we created a video called One Transformed Classroom. This video documented Larry Mitchell's fifth grade class's remarkable experiences with using iPads for cooperative learning during the 2010-2011 school year. In that video, we got to know some of the students at the end of a year of active engagement with iPads and innovative teaching. It was quite an experience.

We were so encouraged by the response to One Transformed Classroom that we decided to document Larry's incoming class of fifth graders for the 2011-2012 school year. Most of this documentation will be done by the students themselves. They'll be creating podcasts and videos, posting some of their work, and hopefully interacting with folks all over the world on topics that should be of interest to everyone interested in transformed education.

This post is being written on the third day of the 2011-12 school year. Earlier today, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon filming a few lessons, including an impromptu field trip to document local flora and a math lesson conducted on the playground. Results of those activities will be posted soon here in the Our Alaska Stories blog.

We sincerely hope you'll subscribe to our blog, leave your comments, and ask us questions. We'll try to respond to everyone.