Using Aurasma in the Classroom

I recently discovered an amazing app called Aurasma.  It is a free, augmented reality app that has powerful applications in the classroom.

Today, our 2nd grade class used Aurasma to explain the life cycle of a butterfly.  First, they videoed themselves explaining the process of the life cycle.  Then, they inserted their video into their aura.  Finally, each student walked around the room to see other students auras.

This was such an amazing learning experience, and I’m seeing all kinds of new ways to use Aurasma in the classroom.

Just a couple ideas I have include retelling the parts of a fiction story, sharing information about the school with pictures of parts of our schools, and explaining their writing pieces.

I can’t wait to see what this school year will bring as a 1:1 classroom! Until next time, let’s keep being stewards of ALL learners!

Our 1:1 Journey

This year, our classroom has enough iPads for every student to use one throughout the day.  Our journey to 1:1 has had many ups and downs in the first week and a half of school, but overall it has been a wonderful experience.

Last week, I learned about an exciting app called Aurasma.  It has some amazing possibilities in the classroom.  Students were able to take a picture of their writing and then do a video recording of themselves reading the story.  Then other students could use Aurasma to snap a picture of the document and watch the aura unfold before their eyes.  This is certainly one of my favorite apps on are 1:1 journey so far.

Next, we experimented with using the camera app to take a picture of the monarch caterpillars growing in our classroom and chart their daily growth.  We plan to put all those pictures into an album for later use.  The students have loved tracking the growth of our caterpillars!

Another app we have been using extensively is Educreations.  I have been trying genius hour and passion projects this year with 2nd grade.  It has been challenging at times, but the students are nearly finished with their first showcase of learning using Educreations.  My goal is that students are able to share their learning with their classmates.

Until next time, let’s continue to be stewards of ALL learners.

Knocking Down the Four Walls

In my first twenty-eight years of life, I had never traveled outside of the continental United States.  That all changed, when I received a notice that I would deploy with my psychological operations unit to Horn of Africa.  In less than one year, I traveled to over 9 countries and three continents.  I met new people, tasted new foods, and experienced culture like never before.  When I came back to the classroom, I was a reformed teacher and saw the world through new eyes.

I knew as soon as I set foot in my classroom on the first day of school, I could not contain our classroom to within the four walls of our school.  I had seen so many amazing sights and met so many new people, that I just couldn’t contain my excitement for global education.

Right away, I messaged my good friend from Uganda and asked if he could find a classroom that would partner with us to share and learn through the school.

Two weeks later, I received a message that he had tracked down an international school that was willing to work with us.  Success!

The students from our partner classroom don’t officially start school until tomorrow, but we have already traded videos, pictures, and messages back and forth about our excitement for sharing.

I have no idea where this journey will take our class this year, but sometimes you have to jump in and hope for the best.  Even if this experience doesn’t work at all because of technology, time difference, or lack of interest, we will continue to try to knock down the doors of our classroom and broaden our understanding of the world.

No more can we contain ourselves to the rectangular area within our buildings. Let’s get out there and knock down doors!

Until next time, let’s continue to be stewards of ALL learners!

Forming Parent/Teacher Partnerships

Two years ago, I started involving parents into our 2nd grade classroom every Friday for a one-hour science inquiry lab.  I was terrified!

Something special happened that year that had never happened before.  I didn’t receive a single negative parent communication.  I received countless positive emails, letters, and Facebook messages from parents talking about how much fun it was to come into the classroom and take part.

When parent-teacher conferences came around, I had never felt so at ease in my career.  There was a shift happening in my classroom.  Parents were excited to see what we were doing, and students were excited to show off their parents to their friends.

This year, I instituted Science Fridays with parents from week 1.   Yes, I was terrified they wouldn’t be ready for a science lab on the third day of school, but sometimes you just have to go with it!

So, three days into the school year, I sent letters to parents, emailed, and begged for parents to come in on Friday at 11 am.  On the morning of the big day I held my breath wondering if parents would show.  At 11 sharp, four parents entered the room unsure of what was about to hit them!

For the next hour, students dove into stations where they tried to find the answer to scientific questions based on several of Steve Spangler’s science kits.  Yes, it was messy (we have tile floors).  Yes, it was noisy.  But (and this I feel is most important), students came in the next day saying science is their favorite subject ever and the parents were equally excited.

The next week I sent out invites and asked parents to join the fun of science with us once again.  This time at 11 am sharp, we had 7 parents show up!  I couldn’t have been happier to have so many parents in the room exploring science with us.  It was wild, educational, and fun!

Dare I say the word fun??  Yes, I think I will. 🙂

I was truly terrified the first time I opened my door to parents to watch me teach and participate in a lesson.  Now that I have done it, I can’t imagine going through a school year without bringing the parents into the classroom.  This one practice has transformed my practice and classroom culture.

Until next time, let’s continue being stewards of ALL learners!20881980_1862114417422527_3847636297508043530_n