Tiger Tech Update

Week of January 25

Alternatives to Traditional "Reports"

Whether it's a book report, essay for English, summary for History, or lab report, students now have a wealth of tools at their disposal to transform the traditional report into a more creative representation of their understanding.

I recently came across a web article entitled, "23 iPad Alternatives to the Book Report," and thought it had good ideas for any type of report. In the article, the author's goals for a report were evidence that:

  • The student has read the book
  • The student has thought deeply & reflected on the book
  • The student understands the assignment

Here are some examples of creative ways students can "show what they know," provided by the article. Even though they are based on book reports, I think they could apply to a variety of different types of reports.

1. If a journey was involved, draw a map with explanatory notes of significant places. (Google Earth, Notability, Showme)

2. Dramatize a scene from the book. Write a script and have several rehearsals before performing it to the class or recording it. Include stage directions in your script. (Screenplay, iMovie, Puppet Pals, Stop Motion)

5. Make a travel leaflet inviting tourists to visit the setting of the book. What types of activities would there be for them to attend etc. (Pages, Lonely Planet, Canva)

7. Use thewallmachine.com to make a fake facebook page of a main character in the book.

8. Make a comic with photos of yourself acting out important scenes from the book. (Stripdesigner)

10. Write a song for your story. (extra marks if performed in class) (Garageband)

12. Create a storyboard for a section of the book. Decide on camera shots etc. Remember to explain the plot and also why a particular camera angle was chosen. (Storyboard Composer, Stripdesigner, Storyboards Premium)

13. Find the top 10 web sites a character in your book would most frequently visit. Include an explanation of why each would be of interest. Add screenshots of the websites to explain. (Notability, Pages)

14. Create a board game based on events and characters in the book you read. By playing.your game, members of the class should learn what happened in the book. Your game must include the following: a game board, a rule sheet and clear directions, events and characters from the story. (Popplet, lovely charts)

18. Make a collage that represents major characters and events in the book you read. Use pictures and words cut from magazines in your collage. Include, on separate paper an explanation of some of your choices. (Photo Wall Pro, Pic Collage , Pages)

19. Make an audiobook of one of the chapters of the book complete with background music and sound effects. Have different voices for different characters. (Garageband)

20. Record a video interview with a character from your book. Ask at least ten questions that will give the character the opportunity to discuss his/her thoughts and feelings about his/her role in the story. (Reel director, iMovie)

23. Make a silent movie of the story. The audience needs to understand the storyline without sound. (Silent Movie Maker)

All of the ideas can be found at http://ipadders.eu/22-ipad-alternatives-to-the-book-report/

Spotlight on Classrooms

Mr. Arnoldi, Mr. Andrews, Mrs. Adrian

Mr. Arnoldi and other members of the Math Department have been working on creating instructional videos using the app Explain Everything. This app has the ability to import a pre-made file into the app. You can record your voice and writing on the document as you teach the lesson. Paul then uploads the video to YouTube and links to it in Schoology so students can access the lesson whenever they need it!

Junior High students in Mr. Andrews' class have been creating interactive maps to show location patterns in historical events using My Maps, a Google application. Brandon describes one of those assignments here:

"I gave the students a list of important events that lead up to the outbreak of the American Revolution. I had the students use MyMaps to create sort of a visual and virtual timeline of those events. Each event needed to be placed in the correct location on map in chronological order. The students would then find a photo online for each event and give a brief description of what took place there and why it was important to the outbreak of the American Revolution. When the students completed the project they would end up having a virtual timeline of events and their locations so they could better visualize where and when they were taking place. At the end of the project the students were able to realize that many important events took place in the New England area, particularly around Boston."

Mrs. Adrian's Art students have been using the SeeSaw app introduced by Jen & Ashley at the December tech training to create digital portfolios. Michelle explains the process below:

"Students take pictures of their artwork both to keep a digital portfolio and also to hand in work for me to give feedback. They do a lot of work in their sketchbooks and this allows them to keep their sketchbooks with them and keep working in them as needed without me having to collect them all the time. I can add comments, draw on their pictures to point out certain areas, and even leave voice feedback for them."

Updates from Technology Meeting 1/26/16

  • Seniors will have the opportunity to purchase their iPads again this year.
  • We will be collecting student iPads before summer break, similar to last year's process.
  • We discussed new iPads for next year. Some of the possibilities are new staff devices and in-class iPads for each 4th grade classroom. This would free up another cart so that 1st Grade and Kindergarten would no longer need to share.
  • The "second" Elementary computer lab is on the schedule for computer replacement this summer.
  • Mr. Kuehn & Roseanne sent out a survey regarding paid subscriptions. Twenty-six staff members completed the survey. Highest used applications included AIMSweb, NWEA, and IXL. Discussion about which subscriptions to renew will continue.
  • Two potential new SIS providers (grade book) we will look into are Skyward and Infinite Campus. The plan is to start reviewing these programs in February. We would like to have the final decision made before summer break.

Questions Submitted by Teachers

  • There are color scanners available in all the offices to use. This might be nice for copying color images for Schoology. The secretaries would be happy to help you learn how to use them.
  • We are a few versions behind on our Notebook software updates (for the SmartBoards). The committee recommended that the district purchase the most recent version for Fall 2016 use.
  • The new computers being added this summer will use Windows 7 (current system), not Windows 10.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these items, please feel free to contact me or any other committee member (Diana Veenstra, Paul Dunn, Brandon Wilhelmi).

Looking For More?


Did you ever have the "opportunity" to watch a recording of yourself teaching when enrolled in your education classes? Have you ever wished you could capture a lesson for absent students? Do you want to keep an extra eye on a couple of students in your classroom? The Swivl system can do this!

The district owns two Swivl "mobile accessories" to capture video of your classroom. It's a stand and device that attach to your iPad. The teacher wears a microphone and a tracker, allowing the Swivl to follow you as it records video and voice. The video uploads to a Swivl cloud service, which means a url for the video is automatically generated. From here, it's easy to post the url in Schoology and share it with students. Or you could email the url to your PLC members and use the lesson to focus on a new teaching strategy. Or you could just review the lesson on your own to look for teaching idiosyncrasies or student issues.

If you're a teacher who uses PowerPoint for class lectures, Swivl also has the ability to embed PowerPoint slides into the video so that they also advance as you record the lesson.

Mr. Briard had a student who was absent from class last month, so we set up the Swivl and recorded the lesson for her. She was able to access the video immediately after class while she was still sick at home.

Let me know if you're interested in experimenting with this device in your classroom. It's very user-friendly and I'll help you get everything set up.