Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Vocabulary Instruction Part Two

This week I introduced my students to the app Aurasma, with an activity that supplements our vocabulary lessons. See my previous post on Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Vocabulary Instruction for more information on the activity.

I was so excited to introduce the task to the students as I knew it would be unlike anything they’ve seen or done on the iPad so far. I modelled how to use Aurasma and scan the activity cards. The children were so shocked to see our puppet Snazzy Jazzy appear “out of nowhere”, they were actually looking in between the iPad and the card I was scanning to see where she was. They have dubbed the activity cards “magic cards” as they are so in awe of what they can do.

The students have since used the cards independently in reading groups and were so engaged with the task they were upset when it was time to pack up. I can see this activity being the new favourite for my students!

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Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Vocabulary Instruction Part One

Over the school holidays I have been playing around with an app called Aurasma, in the hope of creating an activity for reading groups to enhance our vocabulary studies. We already do a number of activities with iPads that enhance explicit vocabulary instruction, but this is going to be different. I think this activity is going to blow the kids away, and I’m so looking forward to seeing their faces when they use it for the first time.

I recently bought a puppet to enhance the delivery of vocabulary lessons. The students teach the puppet our “Fancy Words”, demonstrating the action associated with the word and explaining its meaning. The puppet, known as “Snazzy Jazzy”, copies the actions and “learns” from the children. They just love her. Their obsession has reached the stage that when our vocab lessons are over there is a collective “Awww!” And each child has to get a hug from Snazzy Jazzy before she can leave. So in developing this activity I knew that I had to use the puppet as the overlay that would appear when the iPad is hovered over the activity card. I knew I wanted her to speak to the children, instructing them on what to do to complete each vocabulary task.

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Snazzy Jazzy

To begin with, I recorded ten different instructional videos on the iPad using the puppet. Next I needed to make the cards. I wanted them to look similar, but they needed to be different enough so that the app would be able to distinguish between cards and play the correct video. This required a fair amount of trial and error. Through this experimentation I can give the following advice. Do not use the same image on each card, even if other elements of the card are different. This still makes them too similar. Dashed line borders add a good amount of detail to the cards that the app likes, along with the different number and coloured background. For some reason the app doesn’t respond well to a dotted border and the video overlay jumps around a lot when hovered over it. After I figured this out, it was as simple as associating each video overlay with a different activity card in Aurasma.

Snazzy Jazzy's Fancy Word Work Activities

Snazzy Jazzy’s Fancy Word Work Activities

This week I will teach the children how to use Aurasma and then implement the activity in reading groups. I can’t wait see their reactions. That’s what makes teaching worthwhile, after all.

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No Mess, No Fuss Capacity with iPads

Over the last two weeks we have studied capacity in our mathematics lessons. We began with hands on exploration using containers of various sizes and a big tub of birdseed. This hands on exploration of capacity is a necessary part of teaching this concept but it is messy, to say the least.

To reduce the mess and fuss I devised a series of iPad activities to consolidate student understanding of capacity following our hands on learning.

We created a book in Book Creator to summarise our findings of the bird seed measuring task.image

For our follow up activity I designed a Nearpod lesson that contained videos of me measuring the capacity of containers with water. Students followed along with the videos and were so engaged you could hear a pin drop in the classroom. They made predictions, counted along with the measurements and recorded their findings. Not to mention, everyone could see the measuring clearly, rather than having the students crowd around a live measurement demonstration. What an easy and effective way to revise capacity!

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One of the Capacity Videos

One of the Capacity Videos

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Why Kids Love Nearpod

I have been using Nearpod in my Maths rotations for a little while now and my students just love it! They love this new way of sharing their work with me and the immediacy of feedback the app encourages. They also enjoy being able to analyse their own and others’ samples, which is helping them learn from mistakes, understand alternate ways to complete a task and engage in rich mathematical discussion. They are proud of their work, and delight in telling the other students “This is mine!”, when I broadcast samples to the group for discussion.

Our latest Nearpod lesson is focused on 3D shapes. I experimented with the quiz feature, which I hadn’t yet explored, as a way of establishing prior knowledge before the main content of the lesson. I found this feature of the app quick, easy and effective in providing a snapshot of my students’ understanding.

Nearpod certainly is value-adding to teaching and learning in our classroom. When it comes to apps that allow for task transformation, this one is my new favourite!

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Student Sample

Student Sample

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Student Sample

Student Sample

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Enhancing Explicit Teaching of Vocab with iPads

Over the term we have been part of a vocab study designed to improve students’ use of vocabulary both verbally and in their writing. The project has involved the explicit teaching of a large bank of words from texts and sources encountered over the term in various subject areas.

The project was originally introduced to the students after we had read a number of “Fancy Nancy” books together, and discussed the use of fancy words in Nancy’s stories. We created a wall of “Fancy Words” in our classroom and we add words to the wall as we encounter them in the context of our studies. Students are provided with example uses of the word and collaborate to devise an action to associate with the word. They then provide their own example sentences.

We have been consolidating learning through creating and continuously adding to a “Book of Fancy Words” on our iPads in Explain Everything. Students have a page for each fancy word which contains the word meaning, their own sentence with a matching image and a photo or video of the action associated with the word.

Along the way we have done several vocab warm-ups and played various games to further improve our understanding of the target words.

By the end of 5 weeks of explicit vocab teaching, most students were able to correctly and meaningfully incorporate fancy words into their writing, which was just astounding considering they are only six years old. I also found that as students were considering how they could incorporate our fancy words, they were adding adjectives of their own to further improve the sound of their writing, without any encouragement from me.

This week for fast finisher work I set a challenge to my students to improve a list of sentences I created using our fancy words. We discussed that even though my sentences involved one of our fancy words, they were still boring sentences. We talked about where we could possibly add adjectives and adverbs and from there I left the students to their own devices to create a book of fancy sentences on their iPads. The results just amazed me! I am so proud of what we have achieved in such a short time and I have to say, using iPads throughout the project has thoroughly engaged students and helped to enhance their understanding of this complex vocabulary.

Our "Fancy Words"

Our “Fancy Words”

The Fast Finisher Task

The Fast Finisher Task

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

Student Sample

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Representing Addition and Subtraction with Nearpod

I’ve been wanting to try Nearpod in my classroom for a while now, after having heard about how other teachers are using the app in reading groups. It was when I came across a post on Mathy Cathy’s blog that I really became inspired to incorporate Nearpod into my Maths rotations this week. The way Cathy explains that Nearpod≠Powerpoint challenged me to think about how to use the app to enhance my existing teaching practices and allow for more student input and effective monitoring of their learning.

My Nearpod focused on representing addition and subtraction in different ways. I devised slides as examples and opportunities for teaching points, followed by interactive features such as drawing and open ended questioning.

My students loved the activity and kept telling me how much they were enjoying themselves. They especially enjoyed analysing their own and others’ samples that I broadcasted throughout the lesson. Sharing both correct and incorrect samples led to some powerful and invaluable mathematical discussion. The students and I are all looking forward to our next Nearpod lesson!

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Student Samples

Student Samples

Student Samples

Student Samples

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Part 2: Year 4 Endangered Animals Apptivity

This week I continued my work with the year 4s to finish our endangered animals  Apptivity. We used the QR code from the previous lesson again to locate the information on the animal chosen in our last session. We had already saved an image of the animal so students only needed to copy their information. We started a new Explain Everything file and inserted our existing Pic Collage onto the first page, and the image and text of the selected animal onto the second page. We skipped the recording step of the Apptivity this time, due to lack of time and the amount of noise in the area of the library where we were working. This step could be completed later if students were able to take their iPad to a quiet place in the library. This step would be very valuable in allowing students to verbalise existing knowledge and knowledge gained. Being the first app smashing task for these students, they were still more focused on the steps involved in creating the end product, rather than learning more about endangered animals. However, with further practise, students’ iPad fluency would improve, allowing them to focus on learning through the use of this tool. I was really impressed by the year 4 teacher who I was working with when she expressed out of her own, plans to continue using the Apptivity. From here she could have students develop this Explain Everything file into a book of endangered animals, where students continue to add different animals from the website to their document.

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