Friday, June 5, 2015

Ending the year with a SLAM!

Fourth quarter seemed to just fly! During the last few weeks of school, I was looking for activities that were fun and engaging while at the same time still gave students a chance to learn something new.  I was introduced to app slams at March's WEMTA Conference, and I thought that the last week of school was a great time to give this a try.

What's an app slam?  Similar to a poetry slam, an app slam is a competition where participants go head-to-head with one another during various elimination rounds until a final champion is determined.  Students choose an app new to them, spend some time exploring and learning how to use it, and then find a creative way to present it to the class.  During a one to three minute high energy presentation, students present each app to the class ending with the word SLAM!  After each set of presentations, the class votes for who they would like to see move on to the next round.  The process continues until an ultimate champion is determined. Using the free bracket generator and the random name picker, I created a bracket so that each student was randomly chosen to go against one other student during the first round. 

I was initially hesitant about whether or not students would continue to be engaged in the slam once they had seen a presentation multiple times.  The opposite turned out to be true.  As students moved on in the competition, their engagement increased.  During each presentation, students got more and more creative about new ways to share their apps.  One student even gave up his lunch recess to work on a new video to share only if he was lucky enough to make it to the finals.  (He did.  See his video here).  Feedback from the students was also extremely positive.  Students commented that they loved doing this and they were excited to try out some of the new apps that they learned.   Students were also able to share ways in which each app could be used for a class project or help them with their future learning.

I was most impressed with all of the different ways in which fifth graders in Integrated Technology presented their apps.  This activity not only introduced students to a plethora of educational iPad apps and their uses, but it also met CCSS Speaking and Listening standards.  Students used higher level thinking to create something new, and they considered innovative ways in which the apps can be used in a classroom setting.  Was this activity an ultimate success?  That is a definite SLAM!

6th hour champions (It was a tie!)
7th hour champion and runner-up

Sharing Sock Puppets
Sharing Tellagami

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Keeping the Library Open 24/7 with Overdrive

We are SO excited to share some big news!  You now have 24/7 access to our library via our new ebook collection on OverdriveOverdrive offers a variety of popular titles in ebook and audio formats.  Instead of having to go to the library to check out your favorite books, you can now click on the Overdrive link, sign in with your student ID number, and download up to three books to your devices.  Books can be read through your browser or through the Kindle and Overdrive apps.  The best part (besides feeding your middle-of-the-night-have-to-have-it-now book craving)? No more lost books!  You can even hold up to three titles if books are checked out.  After the regular loan period has ended, your library books will be returned automatically. 

To get started, go to Library Media Center-ebooks and ereaders-Overdrive.  You can also directly access our Overdrive library by going to  Check out what we have available to you right now.  More titles will be added in the fall.  There are hundreds of great titles waiting to be checked out to you this summer.  How many books can you read?  Let us know what you think!