Sunday, March 23, 2014

Audioboo - a fluency practice tool from me to you!

I set out to find a fun and easy way for my 2nd graders to record some fluency cards about the Winter Olympics I had found on TpT.  I have always found great success with fluency when students can listen back what they have read and then discuss what was good and what could have been better.

Audioboo was suggested to me by a trusted colleague as simplistic and easy to use so I went online to check it out. As always she was right. It was very easy to set up and with a few clicks I was up and recording with my 2nd graders. I did have some problems with keeping them all recording, not worrying what the person next to them was doing while I was making sure everyone was set up, and some background noise of the person next to them recording, but that is not the fault of the technology :)

Once we had our practice run and decided we needed to record individually to get the best result it was very easy to get logged in and to the point where they could push record and then pause recording when done and I could be working with the rest of the kids in the room.

I was also able to have the kids pick a picture from our Iowa AEA Online iClipart Site to put with each of their boos too. (If I would have had more time I think we could have done a lesson on reading the directions aloud to each other and adding the clip art to the the boo. It is a fairly easy process of saving the picture to your computer and then uploading to the boo in edit mode.

The site is a public site and is meant to share your boo's with others, so be aware they do have an age limit of 13 for use. So I only created an account for myself and had the kids record under it. I also have a student who does not have permission to have his picture online so I had him use Audioboo to record and then I saved the file to my computer to listen to later. I did contact Audioboo about this and they suggested their app on Edmodo as that is a closed environment for students. I looked into it and the app is $4.99 on Edmodo. At this point I am not sure how much we would actually used it, but it is an idea for the future if we continue to make boos and we want to share with each other in a closed environment.

You can also make boards of your boos to keep them organized. In this case I created a Winter Olympics Board and put all of the boos on the board.

You can then share the board with a link on the social media sites of Facebook or Twitter or via email or QR code.

You can also embed the link like I did below and it will put it on your website or blog -

What I really liked about Audioboo was the simplicity of recording, adding a picture, and sharing. It is just what we needed for a quick and easy fluency check in with the kids. If you want sound effects, music, and bells and whistles this is not for you, but that is not what I was looking for so I was happy with what I found as I did not need those distractions with my kids at this point in time. If your kids get used to Audioboo you could use it at anytime to record the kids and then save the .mp3 and load into Garageband, iMovie, Movie Maker or online sites like WeVideo or Loopster if you are looking to add those bells and whistles at a later time. But for my 2nd graders this was enough.

The fluency cards I picked turned out needing more practice than I first anticipated, the mid-west winter happened, and we required a practice and final recording (which I should have anticipated but had too much wishful thinking I guess) so we only got one set of cards recorded. I hope to make this a weekly part of our lessons so we get in the routine of recording and listening each week and hopefully 'hear' our growth over our time together. I would also like to share them with parents, teachers, and other classmates so they can listen as well. I might also look into having a page on my website with the fluency cards so kids can pull them up to listen and follow along on the cards to 'hear' how they did. Or I found this Fluency Evaluation Freebie that they can fill out when they listen to their recordings and we can discuss together.

Before you close the 'page' comment below about programs you use to record your students and what you do with the recordings.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snap on it!

My new technology pleasure has to be Snapguide. It is a site I wish I would have had when I was creating screenshot directions for my students because I was tired of repeating directions 100 times after I showed them on the projector and asked them to read and repeat what I was saying as I was showing it. So I started to take step by step screenshots and put them together for the students to watch if they had a question. One of the best teacher funnies that explains this is -

Snapguide is probably the easiest program I have found to help use pictures to give instructions. It allows you to take screenshots and put them together for a guide. Then you can embed the guide into your website and when the 14th kid comes up and asks you how to do something for the 5th time you can direct them to the Snapguide. I created this Snapguide about how to add a tile to a Symbaloo Webmix and how to share the Webmix on your website or blog as I love Symbaloo for saving websites to use later. Here is the guide - 

Check out How to Add a Tile to Symbaloo and Share Webmix by Melissa Kane on Snapguide.

I also find Snapguide to be great with my elementary RTI groups because I can snap pictures of what we are doing and put them together in a Snapguide for them to read and follow the directions with pictures. I started by just typing out the directions in a Google Doc, but felt is was lacking something as we read and followed the directions together. With the Snapguide we have the pictures and the project sort of comes to life as we create it. Here is a Snapguide I created about making Burger Cookies after we finished talking about how 2014 is the year of the family farm and it is important to know where your food comes from. It was a lot of fun - as you can tell by the last picture in the guide. 

Check out How to Make a Burger Cookie With Kids by Melissa Kane on Snapguide.

I think for next year I will put together a Snapguide of my classroom rules so we can go over them on the screen as we put them up on the wall to remember them. I will then be able to put the guide on my website and it will be there to refer to if we need to as well. 

Before you close the 'page' - Please share any tips you use with your students to make sure they remember the directions of the classroom or a project.