Figurative Language with Second Grade

For the past few days, I’ve had the chance to work with a reading group in Mrs. Allen’s Class.  This group of students had read the book, Punished by David Lubar.  I had never read this book, but the kids LOVED it and were so excited to tell me about it.  The main character of the story is “punished” when talking back to the reference guy in the library and has to find different types of figurative language to lift the magical punishment.  The book covers types of figurative language (oxymorons, palindromes, anagrams, and puns).  Mrs. Allen wanted her students to practice creating (or finding) these types of words.

After brainstorming with the group of students, we decided that they would make a virtual poster (using iPads) containing an example of each word.  Students used the iPads to research and take (or find) pictures of the different word types.  As they went along, they kept a list of the examples they found so they would be ready to create their poster.

On day two, students used one of my favorite apps, PicCollage, to create their figurative language posters.  They were given this sheet to help them.  Below are the posters they created.


They did such a great job.  I had a blast watching their excitement over the project. Way to go Mrs. Allen’s Class!

Basic CTRL Key Shortcuts

We have these basic shortcuts hanging in our computer lab, and we teach students to use them when needed.  There are many more, but these are basic ones students find fun using.  If you want a list of them in Word Format, here it is: Basic CTRL Key Shortcuts

CTRL+C (Copy)

CTRL+X (Cut)

CTRL+V (Paste)

CTRL+A (Select All)

CTRL+Z (Undo)

CTRL+Y (Redo)

CTRL+O (Open)

CTRL+N (New)

CTRL+H (Hide)

CTRL+F (Find)

CTRL+P (Print)

CTRL+Q (Quit)

CTRL+U (Underline)

CTRL+B (Bold)

CTRL+I (Italic)

CTRL+Shift+> (BIG Text)

CTRL+Shirt+< (Little Text)

Getting Pictures from School iPads to Your Computer

Did you know you can transfer content from the school iPads right to your computer (with no plugs)?  Using the dropbox app, it’s easy and simple.

In order to have content transferred directly to your computer, you will first need to install dropbox on your computer.  Be careful, though.  Roanoke County Teachers will want to make sure  it is installed to sync to your desktop and NOT your My Documents folder.  If you need help with this part, I’ll be glad to install it for you. :)  Let me know you plan to do this, and I”ll send you an invite for our school’s student work folder.

When your students create a project on the iPads, have them save it, if possible, to the camera roll (or export as .jpg, or export to photos…it could be worded differently in different apps).  Then have the students open the dropbox app and upload the picture to their grade level’s folder.  Below are step by step directions. It’s very easy, and once you show the students, they will be able to do this on their own!

Check out How to Use Dropbox on School iPads by Tina Coffey on Snapguide.


By the way, for those of you who like such things, the guide above was made with a free app called Snapguide. It was so easy and quick!

More Popplets!

Students in Mrs. Mulvaney and Mrs. Downey’s Language Arts Class are at it again!  This time they created Cause and Effect Popplets about the book Rosa Parks: Freedom Rider.   Many of them blog with different teachers, but you can see their work by clicking on the links below.

They were excited to learn how to post their work to their own blog too.  Keep an eye out for more projects by this class!

Learning about Rosa Parks with iPads

This past week, fourth graders at in Mrs. Mulvaney’s, Mrs. Downey’s, and Mrs. Wallace’s reading class have  been learning about Rosa Parks while reading the book, Rosa Parks Freedom Rider by Keith Brandt and Joanne Mattern.

To augment what they were learning in the book, they also practiced research skills to learn more about her. They used Mobicip, Popplet, and Videolicious to create videos about the facts they learned.

The project started with Mobicip. Because Safari is not filtered very much in our school system, we have opted to use Mobicip instead. Mobicip looks a lot like Safari (with tabs and a search box) and allows students to save images in the same way. Students practiced finding relevant websites to find facts about Rosa Parks and saved copyright friendly pictures of her to the iPad Camera roll.

Once students had saved pictures and done their research, they used Popplet to create a concept map. This concept map wouldserve as a storyboard for their Videolicious videos.
Finally, students partnered up. One student opened up the popplet they had created on one iPad and the other student opened up Videolicious on the other ipad. The students choose the pictures they wanted for their video. Then, the second student videoed the first student while he or she used their popplet as a guide.



It was great fun and the students learned a lot…and it was very easy. It was nice to be able to research, brainstorm, and create all on the iPad right in the classroom.

This project also made it easy to see where there were gabs in the knowledge of students, which teachers then could address.

Take a look at a few of their final projects!

Rosa Parks Example 1
Rosa Parks Example 2



4th Grade Virginia Studies Projects

I was horrible at history when I was in school, especially if it involved memorizing dates and names. I am a “big picture” learner…I stink at details. I learned information better if I could put dates and people into stories. I remember that my mom used to teach me mnemonics and other techniques to remember facts I had to memorize. I think that’s what’s made me enjoy working with Virginia Studies classes on projects this year: I’ve watched the teachers make history memorable and understandable for students with these projects. If I’d had teachers that allowed us to do projects like these, maybe I’d have had a much easier time learning history back then!
The first project was a podcast about the 4 regions of Virginia. Mrs. Ingram at East lead a group of students as they wrote 5 different segments–one for each region. It turned out great, and they even had a catchy way to remember the regions.

Press on the button below to listen:

The 5 Regions of Virginia

The next Virginia Studies project involved using Timeliner, a program for creating a visual timeline of certain events. Mrs. Barnett and I worked with two of the 4th grade classes at East to help them create broad timelines that included the most important events in Virginia History. Mrs. Barnett wanted students to see the time span between events that happened, especially the large span of time between the American Revolution and the Civil War. This was a way of placing details into a big picture context. Take a look at some of the ways they displayed this information:

The most recent project was a podcast created under the direction of Mrs. Crotts at GWC. The students met with her and wrote their own scripts for this podcast. I was unable to be at the school to help them record, so a couple of students learned to use an MP3 player to record their classmates all by themselves. All that was left for me to do was add music and put it all together. I’m always amazed at the creative ability of students when given independence…the result was incredible. Take a listen:
Ready, Aim, Fire! SOLs! — American Revolution

In the end, the students even wrote thank you notes to both Mrs. Crotts and I for helping them with the podcast, which totally made my day!!!

All three of these projects were wonderful ways to engage student creativity and to help them see the broad picture and stories behind history facts…while using technology!! Thanks, Mrs. Barnett, Mrs. Ingram, and Mrs. Crotts for allowing me to work with you and your students this year. I’ve had a blast! I hope your students did too!