Sunday, March 13, 2016

Life Cycle Explain Everything Investigations and Padlet

I'm going to jump right into my first post. I have the pleasure of having an amazing digital learning coach at our campus whom I love. Not only is it so much fun hanging out with her, but she has totally blown my mind with technology integration. I want to share a combination lesson of the app Explain Everything and Padlet, a litlte "two for one" deal coming right up.

I asked her advice for how to implement technology for our life cycle unit. We came up with the idea to use the free app Padlet in combination with the app Explain Everything. Explain Everything is an app our school has paid for, I believe. It is completely worth it. It allows your learners to create slides, record over their pictures or drawings, use a laser pointer, and many other features. One of the best things about this app is that you don't have to create an account. I have my learners download their completed videos to the camera roll and then upload their video to Schoology, a Padlet link, or Seesaw.

Learn more here: Explain Everything

This is how our life cycle activity was completed:
Day 1: The Friday before beginning this unit we emailed parents asking for a baby picture. Then, we used a present day picture with the free photo booth aging app to make an older picture of the kids. Monday we gave the three pictures [baby, present, aged] to the kids and asked how they think they should be sorted. Then we discussed the changes they observed throughout the cycles of a human. We then watched a brainpop on life cycles and created a double bubble map with the butterfly life cycle and human life cycle. The purpose of this day was to identify how organisms grow and develop, while discussing how different organisms are similar and different.

Day 2: Brainstorm things that go through a life cycle using a circle map. Watch a sunflower time lapse video and discuss the plant life cycle. Then, discuss how plants grow and change over time.
In rotations, learners would log in to Discovery Education and investigate the various life cycle videos and articles. When they were finished, they posted an "I learned" on the Padlet link at the bottom of the board. I did have to build the board with resources from Discovery Education, but it was incredibly easy and useful to have in one location. Our purpose for the day was to investigate how animals and plants undergo a series of orderly changes in their diverse life cycles.

I learned Life Cycle Padlet: (you will have to be on an iPad to view the Explain Everything videos)



Day 3: Now that I saw how easy it was for learners to post on Padlet, I was ready to try having them post videos. I sat all the learners on the carpet and used the Reflector app to show them how to use Explain Everything to create a video explaining the life cycle of their choice-from a list of approved animals, insects, and amphibians I created. They were working with a partner to research using Kidrex.org. Then, they used the information to show each stage of the life cycle. I forget how much they like to investigate as young children and they easily were able to navigate the Explain Everything app. We have been using Kidrex in our classroom for a while, so they already know how to navigate and locate information. Thanks to our librarian for teaching them "trash and treasure". The purpose for this day was to continue our investigations of plants and animals.

Day 4: Finished Explain Everything videos were posted to the Padlet and learners then watched and posted "I like" and "I learned" for each video.


Day 5: From that Padlet, learners then found a partner to create a Popplet explaining the similarities and differences of two life cycles, which went along with our purpose of comparing how plants and animals undergo changes in their life cycles.


I liked having all videos submitted in one place. I usually use Seesaw to have learners post their work because it's so easy to look at and assess. You also have to approve before posts are available to other learners. However, you would have to scroll down to give feedback and it seemed easier for learners to leave feedback posts using Padlet. What the learners discussed about Explain Everything they liked was that it was different than the app ShowMe, which can cover your image or writing when you try to point to things. Unlike with Explain Everything, it allows the laser pointer to move around without covering up the images. Both were easy for learners to navigate once they saw an example. If they didn't remember, then they just had to play around with it for a few seconds. What I liked about Padlet was that learners couldn't edit or delete any post that they hadn't created.

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