I know that I have posted before about the merits of the Toontastic App in all different content areas, but I have to share this really, really cool experience.
First, watch this student video...
You might not notice anything about the video right away. It looks like a video done by a child showing their understanding of the life cycle of rats. But, wait...there is more.
The author of this video, (we will call her Jane) is a new student to my school. She is very shy and withdrawn. I have not observed much interaction between her and other students. When the options for creating cartoons came up, Jane asked if she could work independently. While I was cringing on the inside because I wanted to see her mingle, I didn't push the issue. I said, "Absolutely. I cannot wait to see what science you share!" Jane asked if she could share about the life cycle of her pet rats. Our class is studying our Butterfly Garden, cicadas, fresh water jellyfish, and anything that catches our interest in the life sciences. So, "Go for it!"
So, Jane began her prewriting for her Toontastic video. It seemed to be an excruciating process. The attention to detail in the drawings. The time spent mapping out the dialogue. Two class periods (40 minutes each), and Jane didn't even have her pre-writing page done. Yikes! This is where the panic (in me) starts to come in. I asked Jane if there was anyway that I could help her...could she speed it up...when was she expecting to finish? After a third day of pre-writing, when everyone else is busy building cartoons, Jane asked me if she could finish the pre-writing for homework. While I was a little nervous about sending home the paper, I agreed to the work going home. "Please, please, please, bring it back though! You cannot start over again."
Jane finished her pre-write at home and the next day began the next part of her project...actually building the cartoon. As you can probably imagine, this was another very long process. Jane's classmates were beginning to share their work with the class, and she had yet to finish a single scene. I offered Jane any available time I could...recess, studyhall, lunch. Whatever time she could give, I was up for it! I just had to see this cartoon finished.
Today, at the very end of studyhall, Jane brought her iPad up with her pre-writing sheet. This was our conversation...
Me- I am so excited to watch this!
Jane- This is my best work.
We watched the video!
As it finished, I was clapping my hands, grinning from ear to ear, and saying...
"Wow, wow, wow! This is amazing!"
My study hall students started crowing around our computer station asking for Jane to play the cartoon again. She did, and the kids were wild with excitement.
"Wait...you have pet rats? Awesome!"
"How did you draw this so good? You are like REALLY good."
"Did you look this stuff up, or did you know it?"
Some students were giving Jane knuckles and high fives.
This...for the new girl. The girl that hasn't spoken but a couple words in class.
Seriously! Moment! Wow!
When the student asked Jane about looking up this "stuff", I absolutely loved her answer. "No. I didn't need to look it up. The science was right in front of me. I just waited and watched."
Time. Detail. Patience. And, an amazing tool to help bring out the shy, new girl to our school. Toontastic...storytelling. This app just opened the door for creativity, science, and connections.
Would this moment had happened without the combination and series of events? Can I have this type of sharing and learning and growth with another tool in the classroom? I'm sure you can guess my answer. Thank you Launch Pad Toys!
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Today, two of our science classes were fortunate enough to connect with partner classes in Arizona and Georgia. In general, the experiences were exciting. Students were challenging each other, learning about other areas, and learning how to connect for learning in a professional way! Students on both side of the camera worked well as a team to discover the others' location. Excellent clues and questions were given, and all of the teachers were proud!
Mrs. D's Skype #classconnection:
Students in second period could not stop talking about how much they learned about Georgia! Here are some of our favorite clues:
- Jimmy Carter was from Georgia.
- The state was named after King George.
- They are famous for their peaches.
- The 1996 Summer Olympics were held there.
- And, they are bordered by 5 states!
We found many connections between the classes, and finished off the call with a short chat about the similarities. It was a great way to start the #classconnection.
Mr. B's Google Hangout #classconnection:
Our call with Mr. B. was quite a thrill! We had prepared clues, but they were ready to ramp up the challenge by asking yes/no questions to narrow down location. This was a challenge, but we were ready to dive in! Looking at our clues, the students adapted them to ask questions such as:
- Are you west of the Mississippi?
- Do you border Mexico?
- Are you in the Pacific Time Zone?
- And more!
The kids were sharing ideas, referring to the maps around the room, and keeping close tabs on the clues!
Video from 6th period's Google hangout with Mr. B's class in Arizona:
I cannot wait to reconnect with our new learning partners!