4th Grade Jamestown Geocaching

A few weeks ago, a teacher came to me wanting to do a Jamestown Geocaching Activity with her students.  I had been doing a lot of work on iPads, and had enjoyed some of the quick, 1 minutes video podcasts by History is Fun.org.  I decided to incorporate both the iPads and Geocaching into one activity.  Here’s the activity I created:

1.  Download Podcasts videos to at least 6 iPod Touches/iPads from iTunes.  You can find them here: Historyisfun.org Podcasts.  You’ll need the following videos:

  • The Voyage
  • John Smith
  • Powhatan/Pocahontas
  • Hardships
  • Representative Government
  • Women
  • Slavery (I used this one as a practice example)

2.  Hide 6 Caches with the following labels on each cache: Jamestown Cache Labels.  Mark the locations of the caches with the GPS Units.

3.  Students were broken up into groups, and given a clipboard, a Jamestown Geocaching Answer Sheet, an Order Strip for 6 Caches, and an iPad with the videos (but iPod Touch would work too), a pencil, and a GPS Unit.

4.  Students worked in groups to find and answer the questions using the videos.  I suggest the following jobs for members the group:

  • Navigator (Works GPS Unit)
  • Scribe (Writes the group’s answer)
  • Governor (Keeps folks on track, carries the number strips, reads the cache questions)
  • Historian (Carries the iPad/iPod Touch and plays the appropriate video)
  • Scout (Double checks to make sure the group is at the right cache number, Re-hides the Cache in the exact location, )
  • Judge (Checks the group’s answers with the QR Codes)

5.  When students were finished, they used the app, Scan, and the following Jamestown Geocaching QR Codes to check their work.  A traditional Answer Key is located here if you do not have time for this part of the activity.  Students re-watch the videos for the questions they’ve missed.

So far I’ve had two classes complete this activity, and they loved it!  I liked using the iPads because they were big enough for the entire group to see.  I found it really important to discuss reading the questions BEFORE watching the videos…and practicing with the Slavery video was very helpful.


Image:  Kolk, Melinda. compassrose.jpg. 1-Apr. Pics4Learning. 9 Nov 2012 <http://pics.tech4learning.com>


Computer Lab Makeovers

I work at three different schools, and they each have two computer labs.  Periodically I’ve tried to add posters and other decorations to the lab walls, but haven’t been able to really add things like I’ve wanted.  So this year, I spent time making posters and bulletin board items that focus on some of the new things teachers are being asked to cover while in the lab.  I made 6 copies of everything, made an appointment to use the district laminator, and bought a bunch of stick goo and tape.  The labs now look completely different, and I’m really happy with their transformation.  I wish I’d taken before and after pictures because the labs are all very different in their setup, but I did not.

To get ideas, I first started in Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you haven’t checked out this site before, it has great resources made by teachers for teachers…and most things are free or cheap.  I bought copies of MS Word icons for three of my labs to help assist with the new online writing push.  I added some signs to split these icons onto tabs (for MS Office 2007 and 2010).  I also bought a couple of copies of Technology ABCs for two of my labs that have space for an alphabet around the top of the room.  I also got some great ideas from looking at some of the other posters and signs on this site.

Keyboarding is being pushed by our district because of the SOL Writing Tests students are now having to type online.  I would really like some giant keyboard posters for each lab, but they are expensive.  The ideas I’ve seen using take-out boxes to create your own would also be expensive and time consuming when I’d need to make them for six labs.   Since I couldn’t  afford to buy six giant keyboard posters, I made my own signs about Keyboarding rules (and the Homerow).  Feel free to use them too if you would like.  I’m including pictures so you can see how I mounted these rules on colored paper.  Later maybe I’ll find a deal on giant keyboards or think of a quicker way to make them.  I’d love suggestions!

Keyboarding Rules (Posture, Finger Position, Homerow)

QR Codes are the latest and greatest craze in education, so for fun, I posted computer jokes with QR Code answers.  I posted these all around the lab.  You can snag those here:

computer qr codes
QR Computer Jokes

And our labs have had outdated rules (if there are any posted at all), so I create five posters for lab rules.  I did get this idea from the Elementary Tech Teachers Ning.  I made multiple copies of the signs for each lab.  First, I hung all the rule posters in one area, and then I hung copies of individual signs around the room.  The Arrival and Dismissal signs went on the front and back of the door, and the Be Nice to Each Other, Be Nice to Computers, and Internet Rules I hung in various places around the lab near the computers.  Here they are if you want to use them:

Computer Lab Rules

Finally, in some of my labs, I still had space, so I posted Control Key shortcuts.  You can find those below:

Control Key Posters

I’d love more ideas…so if you have any for me, please leave a comment below!

Pirate Joke QR Codes

I love International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19)!  Well, basically, I just love Pirates!!  I usually do something with geocache treasure hunting on this day, but this year I’m adding QR Code Pirate Fun.  I’m posting Pirate Jokes with QR Code answers around the school.   I know this activity isn’t all that education (though I think understanding jokes is a great higher level thinking activity and it’s a great way to practice reading skills), but my main goal is to excite students (and hopefully teachers too) about QR Codes and iPod/iPad use.  Students will be using the app i-nigma to find the answers to these jokes.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  Meanwhile, if you want to use these Pirate QR Code Jokes for Talk Like A Pirate Day,here’s where you can get them!

Pirate QR Code Jokes

QR Craze

You’ve seen them, right?  On the corners of mailings, on the windows of businesses, maybe even on the tags of things you buy.  You may have even used them…used your phone to scan one and get coupons or reviews for a business or more info on a product.  But did you know they are being used like crazy in classrooms?

Here’s one of my favorite videos about the use of QR codes in the classroom.

And here’s one based more for elementary school:

So basically to use QR codes, you need the following things:

  • QR Code Generator (usually a website that will easily make the code for you)
  • A device with a camera to read it(iPod touch, iPad, cell phone, or computer with webcam)
  • QR Code Reader (which you download to the device with a camera

Want to create a QR code?  It’s easy…your students can even do this!

Here’s a few QR Code generators:

Here a few QR Code Readers:

And here are some cool links to use them:

And here are some ideas for using QR Codes in the classroom: