The Learning Hub

Wonder Wednesday: What is Rain?

Hopefully winter weather has finally left your neck of the woods, but oftentimes rain showers and indoor recess continue to dampen our days. Don’t let that get you down! This season brings the chance to watch storms from a window, play in a nice drizzle, see a beautiful rainbow, or watch water drops drip from objects after a hard shower. In this Wonder Wednesday, students will explore all things related to rain.

Lightning

 Students can find the above visual prompt in the Write About This “Nature” category . Have students select the picture and choose an appropriate prompt as an anticipatory set.

1-True or False: You enjoy thunderstorms. Why or why not?

2-Describe the worst storm you have ever seen.

3-Write a short fictional story or fable about where lightning comes from.

Have students share their responses and discuss any similarities they hear from each other’s responses. Inform students that they will be investigating a topic of their choice about rain. To help define that topic, they will start by completing a KWL chart. This will help them see what topics about rain they may wish to explore further.

Students can now work to generate their own investigative question for further research. This can include investigating how rain is formed, what causes a rain storm, how rainbows are formed and even what parts of the world receive the most rain and how this influences the environment. If you have a current science unit of study related to weather– the water cycle, for example– this will be a great opportunity for students to explore their current curriculum! If students are having difficulty narrowing down a topic or finding research, there are great resources on rain at Wonderopolis: Why Does It Rain?“, “How Much Rain Can a Cloud Hold?“, and  “Why Do Rainbows Appear?“.

Rainbow Writing

For younger students, you can get their inquiry started by doing a quick lab activity on making it rain (indoors!) from Planet Science.  They can then generate their research questions/topics from the KWL chart they continue to work on. To organize their research for formulation of an essay or multimedia presentation, students can complete the Inquiry Project Essay Graphic Organizer.  This is a great way for students to organize the evidence they gather during their research! Research can be acquired through science curriculum materials, internet and library research as well as interviews with community members and local centers.

They can take notes in the Write About This app as they research and add their own audio interpretations to their notes as well.

Finally, have students create a final project presenting their discoveries. Write About This is great for short “essays,” video scripts or presentation notes. Students can easily provide an image or drawing to help illustrate their investigative research to share with the class. While students share their research with peers, they can review their KWL charts to see if their initial questions about rain have been answered!

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10
Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Lani deGuia is a teacher, instructional technologist, and social media manager. She has over 13 years of educational experience in traditional and online classroom settings for both K-12 and adult learners. She currently works in digital content and strategy for businesses and personally blogs at Rose Tinted Traveler.

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Acrostic Poetry Using Visual Prompts

Subject:  Language Arts
Grade(s):  3-8

In this lesson, students will use a visual prompt to write an acrostic poem.  They will practice using adjectives and descriptive phrases to illustrate meaning in their poems.

Acrostic_(PSF)b

Background

Acrostic poetry is an easy way to get even early writers interested in creative writing and poetry.  Based off a single word, acrostic poems teach students the interplay of adjectives and phrases in describing a single idea or event.  The Write About This app gallery is one way students can find a photo prompt to help them brainstorm a word to provide the structure of their acrostic poem.  Sometimes visual prompts can help students with selecting an idea or theme as well as finding various ways to describe their chosen word.

The Activity

The teacher will define the structure and process of writing an acrostic poem.  Through the use of examples, students will start to understand how each line of the acrostic poem is critical in providing description and depth in conveying the meaning of the root of the acrostic.  The teacher will explain to students that seeing a photograph can help students visualize all of the various elements that can be described for the poem.

1. Have students select a photo prompt of their interest in the Write About This app gallery, find an image from a safe online database or take a photo using the iPad’s camera. They can tap the “Create Custom” feature to use a gallery image with their own words–this works for adding a title below the image, typing a custom prompt, or even leaving the prompt area blank.

Create Custom

2. From the selected photo, instruct students to pick a word that inspires them from the photo.  Explain to the students that this doesn’t always have to be a physical object.  It can also be a conceptual idea, adjective, emotion, etc.  Whichever concept or idea that speaks strongly to them from the photo will work well for the activity.

3. Have students write their selected word vertically letter-by-letter in the Write About This app.

4. Before they start to write each line of their poem, give students 5 minutes to write as many descriptive words and phrases that come to mind while viewing their photo.  This will help students brainstorm ideas for their poem.

5. Give students time to write each line of their poem, referring to their brainstorming notes.

6. After students have completed a rough draft of their poem, give students time to revise the poem by reviewing the adjectives they have selected.  Invite them to use a thesaurus to find the best adjectives to articulate their ideas.

7. After students have had a chance revising, have them create a final draft to publish and share with the teacher and family members using the share options.

Acrostic

What’s Next?
Supplementary extension activities:

  • Print out the Write Abouts and include a QR code which links to them reading their poem using the “Record Audio” feature (needs to be hosted on a class or student blog or website) – Inspired by this post from Karen Arrington!
  • Have a poetry reading with the class and invite parents and other community members.  Offer refreshments while students present their poems by displaying their final Write About.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Lani deGuia is a teacher, instructional technologist, and social media manager.  She has over 13 years of educational experience in traditional and online classroom settings for both K-12 and adult learners. She currently works in digital content and strategy for businesses and personally blogs at Rose Tinted Traveler.

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Found Poems in the iPad Classroom

Subject:  English/Language Arts

Grades:  3-12

Words are all around us, but can you find words and put them together to make an interesting piece of poetry?  Whether you are teaching limericks, rhyme, haikus or free verse, students can stretch their brains in finding unique and creative ways to use the words they find in their classrooms (or the school)!

Magnetic_poetry

The Activity

In this critical thinking activity, students will search and gather words around them and use the Write About This app to to create a poem.  This can be done individually, pairs, or in a group of three.  The teacher will give an allotted amount of time for students to “collect” words around them and then move to arranging and adding to their collected words to create a poem.

Key Procedures for Creating a “Found” Poem

  1. Have assigned groups of students jot down words from their surroundings.  You can grant them permission to go around the school if you’d like.  Encourage students to look inside their personal belongings, books, notebooks, signs around the room.  Emphasize to them that the more creative the words are, the more potential they have  for an amazing poem!
  2. Give students time to share their found words/images with each other.  Assign one student to record the words in the Write About This app.
  3. Instruct students to decide which words they may like to use and which ones they may wish to discard.  By looking at their collected list of words, they may find a theme appear that they would like to pursue!
  4. Give students time to create and write their poem.  This can be done in the Write About This app on another iPad if students are working in pairs or triads.

Found Poem

The Product

Students will create a poem comprised of key words they found around them.  They can recite this poem to the class, make an audio recording with the Write About This app, and share it with the teacher and parents!

What’s Next?

Supplementary extension activities can include:

  • Have a poetry reading in the school library and invite other classes (or younger classes) to hear the poetry!
  • Have students compile images they collected of the words/text along with the Write About to make a visual collage of their poem using an app like Pic Collage.  The collage can also include images that can enhance the theme and meaning of the poem.  This can be displayed while students are reciting their poems for the poetry reading.

 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Lani deGuia is a teacher, instructional technologist, and social media manager.  She has over 13 years of educational experience in traditional and online classroom settings for both K-12 and adult learners. She currently works in digital content and strategy for businesses and personally blogs at Rose Tinted Traveler.

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Photo Prompts to Ignite Novel Discussion

Reading_old_Norseb

Subject:  Language Arts
Grade(s):  9th-12th grades

Overview

Students will complete a targeted novel discussion sparked by visual prompts with members of another class.  Throughout the unit, students share contributions to the discussion to help guide student understanding of the literature.

Background

Improving reading and writing outcomes for students at the high school level can be a difficult challenge.  The National Writing Project provides multiple resources, ideas, and strategies that can be a tremendous benefit to the high school student.  Many of which are well-suited for use with the Write About This app.  One example mentioned in NWP’s “30 Ideas for Teaching Writing” is the implementation of an email dialogue between students in different schools/classes reading the same novel.  In this lesson, students will engage in a written dialogue through the Write About This app to discuss a novel through prompts involving predication, clarification, analysis, and more.

The Activity

The teacher will need to find a class that is currently reading the same novel for literature studies.  Through this “buddy class”, students will participate in individual and group discussion on the current reading selection through responses created in the Write About This app.  There are a variety of ways the class dialogue can be conducted, but the key idea is to use visual prompts in order to share student reflections and ideas with each other.  To create a paired discussion, student responses can be shared via email, blog posts or through an LMS like Edmodo.

Facilitate the discussion:

1.  Start with a mutual prompt for both classes regarding the novel.  This can be inspired by a photograph or visual image found online and used for a Custom prompt.  Have students respond and share their responses to the “buddy teacher/partner”.  Received responses can be selected for group discussion the next day and/or have students respond to individual responses.

2.  Have students create ideas for writing prompts on the novel for the other class to answer.

3.  Challenge each student to respond to a Write About This gallery image using as many of the novel vocabulary words as possible.  Share these with the buddy class for response and reflection.  You can even involve peer editing at this point!

4.  Have buddy class partners collaborate on a single writing piece based on the novel.  Once the visual prompt has sparked their ideas, they can collaborate using Google Docs or Edmodo.

5.  Use the audio recording feature to have students complete an audio response to a student’s discussion contribution.  When a student receives a buddy class response, they can respond using both text and audio to share back!

Animal Farm Prompt

 

What’s Next?

Supplementary extension activities:

  • Have a Skype or other video-conferencing closing session with the other class to discuss whole group analysis of the novel.
  • Have students evaluate the differences in how they learned through this format and how it may have influenced their writing, reading comprehension, and or motivational level.

 We’d love to see how you use custom writing prompts to support literature discussions! 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Lani deGuia is a teacher, instructional technologist, and social media manager.  She has over 13 years of educational experience in traditional and online classroom settings for both K-12 and adult learners. She currently works in digital content and strategy for businesses and personally blogs at Rose Tinted Traveler.

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Wonder Wednesday: What is Pi?

PiDay Writing

National Pi Day was this month (March 14th) and many schools are providing math related activities to get students involved in the celebration!  There’s no better time to get students wondering what the magic number “Pi” is all about…and it’s always a great time to get students WRITING across the curriculum!

Students can find the above visual prompt in the Write About This gallery by searching for “cookie” or navigating to the Food category.  Have students select the picture and choose an appropriate prompt as an anticipatory set.

1-What is your favorite type of cookie?  What makes it so delicious?

2-Give step-by-step directions on how to eat your favorite cookie.

3-Tell why you think it is either OK or not OK to eat dessert BEFORE dinner.

Have students share their responses and discuss any similarities they hear from each other’s responses.  Ask the students, “How are cookies related to math?” Accept all answers and guide the discussion towards identifying that cookies are circular and has the properties of circles.  If you want, you can provide examples of cookies and have students measure the circumference, radius, and diameter of the cookies.  So how are these numbers related to Pi?

Students can now work to generate their own investigative question for further research. This can include investigating what is pi, what are irrational numbers, how are the properties of circles related to pi, the ending of pi, etc.   There are great resources on pi at Wonderopolis:   “What is Pi?”!  Once students have decided on their investigative question, have them complete a KWL chart.  They can then generate their research questions/topics from the “What I Want To Know” column in an I-Chart.  This is a great way for students to organize the evidence they gather during their research!  They can take notes in the Write About This app and add their own audio interpretations  to their notes as well.

Finally, have students write on their chosen question in the Write About This app.  Require students to provide a visual image or drawing to help illustrate their investigative research to share to the class.  Have students share their writing and perhaps celebrate with some cookies!

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.Math.Content.7.G.B.4 Know the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle and use them to solve problems; give an informal derivation of the relationship between the circumference and area of a circle.

Lani deGuia is a teacher, instructional technologist, and social media manager.  She has over 13 years of educational experience in traditional and online classroom settings for both K-12 and adult learners. She currently works in digital content and strategy for businesses and personally blogs at Rose Tinted Traveler.

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