Monday, April 28, 2014

Subtext and No Red Ink Apps in Edmodo

Finally I found some time to check out one of the latest apps in Edmodo - Subtext.  It is absolutely amazing! First is the fact that it is free.  Second you have access to many books in the public domain for free.  Third is that the platform is very similar to the new PARCC computer-based assessments.  Fourth you can import any news article online.

I do not have school funds to purchase 30 copies of Call of the Wild for my students to use.  Using this app, students have immediate access.  They are able to read it on the computer or their devices (using the internet to sign in to Edmodo).  Students are loving that they are using the computers and don't have a book to carry.

I love the platform.  It is not difficult for students to learn how to use it.  Students can highlight and comment on the text which you are able to see.  If a student doesn't know a word, they highlight it and click on the G icon for Google.  This pops up and gives an immediate Google search of that term. Teachers can pose open-ended, multiple-choice, or true/false questions.  You can create a poll.  The best thing I love is that you can set so that students don't see with others said until they submit their answers.

By putting the "Save to Subtext" button on your favorites bar, you can import any online article.  Even the photos import so it's not just text.

If you have school iPads with accounts for Google books, you can buy eBooks and use them right inside the app.

Last year in Scholastic's Instructor magazine, I learned about a brand-new web site called NoRedInk.  I fell in love with this site since it incorporated favorites of students into grammar practice to make not so boring. You can have certain students or groups of students work on a particular topic.  On the practice assessments students have multiple tries, and it gives an explanation of the grammar rules.

I loved that it is another free app in Edmodo so students don't need multiple log ins.

I am disappointed to learn that the new added topics are only available for purchase school-wide.  I hope in the future they have the app for purchase in Edmodo that has all the new and old topics.

If you want to or have tried these apps and have questions, feel free to ask me for help in the comments at the bottom.

Monday, April 14, 2014

SpongeBob on Trial for Murder?!?

Since 1999, kids have been loving SpongeBob SquarePants so what better way to open up a persuasive unit then to have him on trial for murdering Mr. Krabs.  Thanks to Arik Durfee and his lesson on TPT!  I raided the local party store for all things SpongeBob.  In order to create the feeling of being under the sea, I put up plastic blue tablecloths in the drop ceiling.  With help from the school librarian, it took about an hour to put six cloths.  Thankfully I used them for two previous days for being in out of space for our analysis of Louis L'Amour's persuasive essay, Final Frontier.

As usual, I blocked the windows so no one could see what awaited them inside the room.  As students arrived, I popped only my head out the door with my mask on to welcome them to Bikini Bottom.  Students were given a slip of paper that had one of the characters on it which directed them to their seats.  



I projected the Krusty Krab onto the whiteboard since it was the crime scene. 

Using the Relax Melodies app on my computer, I had the underwater sound playing during the entire analysis of the crime scene, witness testimony, and the trial.  The pictures can't begin to tell you how it actually felt like you were under the water.  Teachers from all over the building came to the room to see and feel the experience.

The underwater sound and the excitement from the students made it the best #tlap experience to date!