Monday, February 20, 2012

Mental Case?

I absolutely LOVE the name of this app!
Mental Case...
I even love telling the kids to open up the Mental Case. Ha!

But, why is it one of my top recommended apps?

Vocabulary can be a dreaded word for some (most) students. It isn't fun. They don't remember the definitions because most time they don't understand them.

I will give credit to the power of knowing key vocabulary. Knowing and personalizing meaning in content vocabulary is a key component in being successful. Whether it is a test or the "real world" vocabulary understanding is necessary.

So, that is where Mental Case makes it a pretty cool process. Unlike other apps that I've tested with students, Mental Case is a kid-tested, teacher approved method of developing vocabulary awareness. :)

Here's why:
*Students can easily create the flashcards. Give them some free explore time, and they are good to go! Seriously, very easy to pick up!

*Picture integration- You can use your pics from the iPad camera, internet, or (best) student created in a drawing app. The pictures are great triggers for understanding the word/definition.

*Voice integration- You can have students record their own voices for the word and definitions. They learn to stress key words, and later they hear THEIR voice. Cool, and fundamentally sound for all students...but, especially a struggling reader.

*Transfer- You can make a set and share to multiple iPads (if you want) via iTunes, syncing w/Mac, Bluetooth, or email. I like having students personalize the sets per iPad (easier and more beneficial, I think).

*Organize- You can create sets based on concepts and help students see connections in words/definitions.

Great app!
Check it out!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Keynote, Socrative, Simple Circuit App, BrainPop

Back from a nice long weekend, I know that I have to reactivate my students memories from our Lego circuit lab from last week.

So, how to do this?
My objective is to review the necessary parts of electrical circuits, illustrate the difference between series and parallel circuits, and review how electrical energy can be transformed into other energy forms. All this in 45 minutes... ;)
Ok, so I know that there will probably be carry over.
But, these are the resources and iPad integration for one lesson. Ready, set, go!

Start off class by showing the lab video (from above). Ask students to share about their Lego vehicles, the triumphs/tragedies in the investigation, and the spin off investigations. (I have one student that was really rocking it out with investigating the changes to the circuit when variable were changed...13 batteries later, the bulb died.)

Enter, Keynote...
My slides will be streamed from my iPad to the projector.

Here are a few slides...

Sorting circuit parts

Comparing various circuits

Traditional circuit question

The students will also have them available through Dropbox. Once they pull the file from Dropbox, they will be able to manipulate the slides directly on their iPad. They will be sorting the pictures of materials found in circuit and adding notations to the questions.

Enter, Socrative app...
This app will allow me to poll the students on some of the key questions in the Keynote. I will instantly be able to check for understanding.

Information on the Socrative app can be found at

Our lesson will really ramp up with the use of the Simple Circuit app that some student explored in our lab last week.

Using intervals of independent student time with app and whole class discussion, we will explore the differences of simple and parallel circuits, how switches work and can be used to control various parts, and more! Using verbal prompts such as, "Flip your lids. Eyes on the Smart Board." I will direct the exploration of this app to highlight the concepts discovered in our lab.

As a cooling down activity, students will log on to the BrainPop app for a quick review of circuits by watching the Electric Circuits video. Time permitting, they will be able to take the quiz. ;)

So, this is one lesson in my room utilizing the iPad for instruction. Not mind blowing, but hopefully productive.

Possible follow up activities could include drawings in DrawingPad of circuits, short videos in ShowMe or Educreation describing the transfer of electrical energy in a device/machine, or a short claymation video using I Can Animate app. Who knows...I'll let the students choose!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad