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Posts Tagged ‘iPads’

Muy Interesante Junior

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

My lovely husband John went to México in April and I promised afterwards that I’d share some of things that he bought back. However, I never got past the first item(s)! Time to put that right! photo 4 I was overjoyed that he returned with a copy of Muy Interesante Junior. Although I’ve never seen the Junior version before, I was aware of Muy Interesante from browsing quioscos over the years. It’s a (Mexican) factual/scientific magazine with the strap line “La revisita para saber más de todo” and the Junior version is along the same lines aimed at younger readers.  And I immediately thought: ‘Excellent! Non-fiction texts of varying lengths and for a variety of purposes – just what the new Curriculum ordered!’ As you can see from the cover and below, the edition has lots of interesting content including fact files, comic strips, activities, puzzles and articles. There are five regular sections (below with the focus for this edition in brackets) and also sections of Preguntas y respuestas, Club Junior and short Noticias.

El que busca encuentra  (Mujeres célebres)

Mundo salvaje (Serpientes)

Tecnología (Cómo funciona el Internet)photo 4

Cuerpo humano (El sistema inmunitario)

Tierra en alerta (tormentas solares)

Here are some bits that I particularly liked.

1. La Tortilla

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Many pupils eat this type of tortilla but how much do they really know about them?

This double page spread is all about MEXICAN tortillas. How to make them, the origins of la tortilla, interesting facts, records, statistics, health information and language related to la tortilla too. There are even  ‘dichos’ or sayings linked to la tortilla.

2. Protege a tus protectores

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In the section on El Sistema Inmunitario, this section is all about how to give your immune system a hand. Good for talking about healthy lifestyles and also for giving instructions in Spanish. Lots of cognates and making connections with things that they already know about staying healthy as well as the (short) length of the bullet points make it accessible to young learners.

3. Rocas del espacio exterior

photo 1 Space is one of the topics that I’ve found works really well as a cross curricular one in Spanish, and this series of articles (there are five pages worth!) add plenty of new information to my knowledge! Specifically, lots of information about asteroides, meteoros and meteoritos, and new vocabulary like una estrella fugaz, la lluvia de estrellas and los meteoroides. 

I found the graphic below interesting – good vocabulary list too! And I discovered that the seven gold medals handed out on 15th February at the Winter Olympics in Sochi all contained part of a meteorite that fell on Russia on the date in a previous year (doesn’t say when!)

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4. Las maravillas naturales

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In the middle of the magazine there were two inserts – the first was a set of 18 double sided cards featuring ‘las maravillas naturales de la Tierra’ – one side has an image and the other a short description of the place. Good for countries, recognising landmarks by their Spanish name e.g. Monte Everest, las Cataratas de Iguazú, la Selva Amazónica etc and for map work. I can also see how you could use the short descriptions for simple reading  activities:

You could give learners three cards and ask them to identify a landmark according to given statements. You could mix English and Spanish e.g. which place is one of the Seven wonders of the world? (Cataratas de Iguazú) ¿Dónde están los pilares de piedra? (China) Which place is the model for one of the habitats in Avatar? And what is the ‘habitat’ called?(Montañas de Zhangijajie en China; las ‘Montañas Aleluya’) And so on.   Or you could make two sets and learners work in pairs to read a sentence and identify the card by listening and following.

5. Del huevo al pollito

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The other insert is a double sided poster – one side has information about how an aeroplane flies and the other a really informative spread about the life cycle of a chicken, complete with pictures of chick embryos. You’d have to pick and choose which bits to share with younger learners but lots of good information that would be really useful for CLIL Science lessons.

photo 1photo 3There are so many other parts that I could highlight – in fact, too much material to assimilate in one go.

I can see that the articles on skyscrapers and tall buildings will be great for looking at large numbers, and I’ll certainly be coming back to the section on Héroes y Superhéroes as it looks at fantasy superheros as well as what makes a real hero, finishing off looking at some real superheroes like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Rigoberta Menchú (like the Hispanic touch!)

 

The bad news is that you can’t subscribe to the magazine from the UK – they’ll only send it to Mexico 🙁

However, all is not lost as there is a website

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 15.23.16          You can’t access the whole magazine but there are selected parts. The current edition online has three highlighted articles on the shape of the moon, dinosaurs and saving the rain forests, and each concludes with links to another three related articles.

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Then there are Temas de interés and Galerías of interesting photographs, again each linked to further articles and albums so there’s lots of content available if you explore!

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Additionally, you can do a web search and find out what was in previous editions  e.g. la sexta edición, la séptima edición,  la octava edición. This isn’t much help with the website as you can’t back track on there but… you can purchase ‘back copies’ via Muy Interesante Junior app in the App Store. (Sadly no Android version yet although you can get Muy Interesante in the GooglePlay store) Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 20.50.07

The app is free but you must purchase each ‘magazine’ for £1.99 or, at the moment, you can subscribe for a year (6 editions) for £5.49. I’ve just downloaded one copy so far (wanted to check the quality before committing myself!) and am very impressed. All the pages (80 odd) and the posters and the photo cards. Well worth the money I’d say, even if it’s only for ideas and information for you because (with ADE hat on!) if you want to use it with your class, you need to purchase a copy for each iPad so it might not be something for all the iPads in a class set. You might buy it for a few, or project it from one device using AppleTV or Reflector or Airserver etc for small groups to use as part of guided reading.

That’s all for now – I’m off to read my newly downloaded June/July copy!

I’ve saved my favourite activity/pages for another post – coming soon!

BookCreator app (and a few other things!) for Language Learning – LW2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014
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PicCollage done by one of my pupils!

I presented at Language World as part of a triple act on using iPads in language learning. Joe Dale and Helen Bates preceded me talking about QR codes, sound recording, making screencasts and flipped learning before I took over to talk my favourite app – BookCreator.

I shared how to make a book in BookCreator (free/£2.99), how to add images, sound, videos and hyperlinks; how to change the background, how to make sound buttons invisible and how to avoid copyright issues by using QR codes or hyperlinks to videos! I also showed PicCollage (free) as a way of making my front cover, and Tellagami (free) for adding a “talking head”.

I ran out of time to share how you can combine books into one, meaning that you can make a class book with all learners working separately before putting it all together on one iPad (e.g. save to Dropbox and then open and combine) but I did share the news that BookCreator is now on Android – very popular that one!

You can find out more by checking out my post on iPads here which covers things I shared and much more! You can also have a look at this post to see the process of how my Year3s made their eBooks that I shared.

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And here’s a tutorial I did on using Explain Everything (two years ago)

Explain Everything Explained. from lisibo on Vimeo.

Presentation by Lisa Stevens aka @lisibo about the iPad app Explain Everything (recorded using the app itself) for TeachmeetBrum and TeachMeet iPad. November 8th 2012

A beginner’s guide to iPads in the Primary Language classroom #ililc4

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

My first session at #ililc4 was aimed at beginner users of iPads in the Primary classroom.

My presentation is below, and under that I’ll briefly recap the session.

You can find helpful links, ideas and tutorials at bit.ly/lisiboipad

Beginners guide to iPad in the Primary Language Classroom from Lisa Stevens

After looking at some of the pedagogy behind using iPads in the classroom, we watched a video from Cedars School that outlined some of the reasons that such technology is so helpful. And then it was on to the iPad itself.

We talked about how to take screen shots (hold down on/off switch and home key) how to add websites to your iPad as a bookmark and also with an icon so they appear as an app (use ‘box with arrow coming out of it’ icon and Add to home screen) as well as how to add images to the camera roll (hold finger and Save image) as well as copy and paste images and text (hold finger and Copy; hold finger where you wish to put it and Paste) I also explained how to add accents to letters by holding the letter until a popup menu of accented letters appear and then sliding to the option you want, and how to add different keyboards in General – International – Keyboards – add new keyboard then scroll between them using the globe icon next to the space bar when typing thus avoiding auto correction of your Spanish into English for example.

I shared how you might project the iPad in the classroom using Apple TV, Reflector / AirServer or a VGA/HDMI adaptor, and we discussed the advantages/disadvantages of each (I demonstrated the importance of having two options as Reflector wasn’t working so my adaptor was essential!) I also explained a variety of ways to get things off your iPad using email, Dropbox and Foldr for example. We might also have discussed Showbie but it was for beginners!

Then we talked apps – we looked at some specific language apps like Mindsnacks French for French vocabulary learning,  Lectura Mágica for phonics in Spanish and Wortzauberer for German spelling/phonics. There are lists on the wikispace of specific language apps.

I made my love of generic apps very clear however as they are so much more versatile and can be used across the curriculum so it’s easier to justify any cost.

We looked at Popplet as a mind mapping tool, useful for vocabulary lists, sharing plans for units, mapping ideas, planning work. We discussed how you can add images from the camera roll or take a picture as well as text, and how to change the colour of the bubbles, and then how to export it as a jpg or pdf via email or to the camera roll as a jpg.

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Then we explored Tellagami (which was behaving contrary to reports that morning and unlike Popplet which kept crashing!) an app that allows you to make an talking avatar using text to speech (not so good for languages other than English) or by making up a recording of up to 30 seconds. I explained how I use it in the classroom to record pupils speaking as it allows me to record their task and review it later, and is also very motivating for them, allowing them to rehearse and refine their speaking. I also warned that it is quite addictive making Tellagami avatars so to make sure that the objective of the exercise is clear to learners – to speak Spanish (in my case) not to make a beautiful avatar! We also  had a quick look at Morfo Booth, another tool that encourages speaking, and I demonstrated how you could animate a picture – the result was rather scary I have to say!photo

Then I shared my favourite app, BookCreator. So versatile and useful, not just for writing stories but for all kinds of writing – making speaking word books, dictionaries and glossaries, information books, stories, explanations and so on. The ability to add text, sound, videos (directly from the camera roll), hyperlinks to URLs and also the ability to merge books to make a collaborative book makes it a really powerful tool, not just for language learning. And in BookCreator version 3 you can even draw and write on your book using the pen tool! I’ve talked about how I’ve used this app with Year 3 to write their own ebooks previously, and I’ll be sharing more at Language World in April in Lancaster in a session with Joe Dale and Helen Bates. Books can be shared in a  variety of ways and can be easily shared as a PDF. However, this does not allow for audio/video to function and you need either an i-device or Chrome and the app Readium to read the books as fully functional eBooks at present.

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And that was it as it was time for tea!

I also wanted to share Pic Collage, Puppet Pals HD and Sock puppets but we ran out of time so here are a few notes!

I’ve used Pic Collage a lot recently to encourage learners to write in Spanish; some of my pupils have only had 6 weeks of Spanish so far and their repertoire to write is limited. They used PicCollage to make a poster using what they knew (and bits that they’d found in the front of their exercise books – impressed me!) They enjoyed it and felt confident, and they were proud to see their work projected onto the IWB.

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Puppet Pals HD (with Director’s Pass) and are great digital storytelling apps, taking my use of puppets to a different level. Both allows you to make ‘puppet shows’, SockPuppets with socks and Puppet Pals HD with characters within the app.  In Puppet Pals you can also add your own characters from images from camera roll, cutting them out as well as backgrounds. In SockPuppets you can change your voice, higher or lower according to the level you set for each puppet.

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And the final slide said – it’s not the technology that’s important, it’s what you do with it as this video demonstrates!

Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch app

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Being a fan of 64 Zoo Lane and having a wild imagination, when I discovered that there was someone called the Night Zookeeper on Twitter, I was fascinated and wanted to know more. And I wasn’t disappointed when I found that the NightZookeeper pr

oject was all about encouraging children to be creative and use their imaginations.

To quote the About on the Night Zoo Teacher website (companion to the NightZookeeper one)

Night Zookeeper was first delivered as a creative project in a Lancashire school back in 2007. It was clear from the beginning that the project had huge potential to inspire children to learn through the mediums of art,

creative writing, ICT and playground games. And so, from the children’s smiles, animal noises and magical creations, a Night Zoo was born.

In 2011 we launched the website (www.nightzookeeper.com) and the project has since gone from strength to strength. Support has reigned in from education thought leaders, governments and most importantly from teachers from all around the world.

The Night Zookeeper team consists of artists, storytellers, primary school teachers and creative technologists.  We are all united in our belief in the importance of fostering a child’s creativity in the classroom and at home.

I have to admit that, not having had a class on which to try it out, I’ve not explored as much as I might. However, following on from #TMTwist last week which was organised by @nightzookeeper (with @jodieworld  and @oliverquinlan) and held at NightZookeeper HQ (looked wonderful – wish I’d been there in person rather than virtually), I revisited and was particularly interested to hear of an app!

 

Night ZooKeeper Drawing Torch is a FREE app for iPads that is just amazing or as Apps Playground says ‘ A CREATIVE IPAD TREAT FOR KIDS’. Taking the premise that you are  a Night Zookeeper, you are set challenges or missions to look after thousands of magical animals and defeat the monsters that attack the zoo. And how do you do that? By drawing of course with your drawing torch! I am no great artist but that doesn’t matter – in fact, I find that it helps me in the classroom as no one can EVER be intimidated by my drawing being better than theirs! And because it’s a drawing app that asks for you to use your imagination, there’s no right or wrong answer so there’s no fear there. AND it’s all part of a story too, beautifully narrated! Examples of the challenges (I’ve taken them form the iTunes page as I don’t want to spoil the surprise by revealing more!) – “What do you think a Spying Giraffe looks like? Can you turn one of your friends or family into a strange animal? Could you draw a frog, if a monster has stolen the colour green?”

So far I’ve completed two missions of the 22 on the app, each a star in the night sky. I’m trying hard to ration myself and not do them all in one go but it’s very tempting! The naughty monsters are already being tricksy and making life interesting. Below are the first two drawings I made (told you I wasn’t very good at drawing!), saved to the CameraRoll of my iPad using the save option – you can also email. Very simple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, I love any opportunity to get people thinking and exploring their creativity – whether young old or in between! And I’m having a blast playing with this app. In the classroom I can see this app as a great springboard to some brilliant imaginative writing, dancing, singing not to mention drawing of course. It could be linked to Science e.g. adaptation and habitat, to PSHE e.g. problem solving, and that’s just a few ideas for starters without a) exploring the whole story and b) looking at the resources offered on NightZookeeper Teachers page.

I’ve already tweeted @Nightzookeeper asking about the app in other languages – a bit impatient of me considering the app is only 3 weeks old! However, I like to get my requests in as soon as possible, especially when I like something! It takes Build your Wildself  (which I love and have mentioned before here and here ) a step further – so much further – and that’s just one aspect of it.

Two ways I might use it.

1. At the moment, I teach English to some delightful kids and over the last couple of weeks we (coincidentally) talked about animals and made up our own hybrids so I think this app will be a great next step – you can redo the challenges so that’s not a problem!

2. And although the challenges are written in English, there’s nothing to stop you using the Drawing Torch for things other than the official missions, is there? So I could set my own mission in Spanish for example and learners could carry it out using the app. They wouldn’t win a star but I’d find another reward! ;o)

I’m sure that’s there’s more to come from Drawing Torch in the future. In fact, there’s a competition for kids to devise a new mission and win an iPad Mini (closing date 4th January and you don’t need an iPad to enter!).

And I’ve just discovered that, despite only being 3 weeks old, Drawing Torch has already been nominated for Best Edu Mobile app in the Edublog Awards . Way to go @NightZookeeper!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can read… eBooks

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I was reflecting today how much things have changed since I began teaching – we still used a banda machine (ah, the smell of that fluid!), Spain had the peseta, computers were huge and static, and the www was in its infancy.  Even in the last few years things have changed significantly with the arrival of smartphones and tablets – “fruity” or otherwise ;o)

By coincidence, I’d found that a resource I’ve used as a primary school teacher has now been released in a new format.

When first taught primary languages I discovered the I CAN READ series of books, firstly in French and then in Spanish.  These bilingual books allowed learners to read the simple stories in English and French or Spanish at the same time, meaning that they were never unsure about the meaning of vocabulary. It also made it less ‘risky’ for a learner to choose such a book as they didn’t have the mental block of all the words being ‘foreign’.

Then, as learning became more ‘technological’ and with the advent of the IWB,  Early Start began to market the books as Big Books on CD Rom, offering French Spanish and some German books. This meant that a whole class could read the book together, or have it read to them. They could complete activities collaboratively and discuss the text, focussing on individual items of vocabulary or grammar points like adjectives or exclamations. and of course, individuals could access them and play independently with the sound of the language adding to the reading that was possible with the books.

 

And now bsmallpublishing  have added ebooks to the mixture! Priced £4.99 and available from the iTunes app store, there are currently 10 French and  2 I can read… Spanish titles, and then 3 Let’s read (aimed at older KS2/KS3 readers) eBooks in Spanish and French.

The eBooks all feature a helpful ‘tips and shortcuts’ page which explains how to interact with the book – the eBooks are intuitive but there are certain things, such as how to stop the book from reading in English and skip to the French/Spanish, that are best made explicit from the start.

 

Below are screenshots from two of the books – Soy demasiado grande and Le facteur spatial showing some of the features such as Read to me (press the green triangle), the thumbnail bar that appears so you can skip to the correct page, and the vocabulary/pronunciation page that highlights the key words in the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bsmall webpage explains –

We have been busy preparing ebook versions of some of our bilingual stories. Our bilingual books are designed as fixed layout, colour ebooks with read aloud capabilities in two languages. They are in the epub format. They are readable on your iPad via the iBooks App and will be available soon for Kobo Vox and Kindle Fire. We’re adding more and more devices/distribution options as we go along so watch this space.

Read a little more about our list’s journey from print to digital on our blog.

And here is a Youtube video demonstrating how the books work using George, le poisson rouge.

I think that the eBooks are great for individual pupil access which is after all the idea of a mobile device. The stories are simple yet appealing, and feature repetition of words and structures, making them very accessible to beginners as well as intermediate learners. If I were to use it as a teaching tool, I would want a way to choose between hearing the English OR the French/Spanish OR both, rather than having to ‘jump in’ as quickly as possible to isolate the French/Spanish story – perhaps a future update might allow this. The vocabulary section is great too – a clear picture dictionary makes it very accessible to personal learning. I might like to see some phrases added to this e.g. me gusta – I like / no me gusta – I don’t like or tengo – I have and quiero – I want in Soy demasiado grande; however, I appreciate that the idea of a picture dictionary is that it is visual and sentences are more difficult to illustrate clearly!

The other great thing about the eBooks is that, once purchased, they go into your iBooks library where you can use all the feature of that app too such as the ability to ask it to speak a word or phrase that you highlight (in any language for which you have the keyboard), define to find out the meaning of words  or the search facility to find every occurrence of a certain word.

There’s a part of me that still loves ‘proper’ books, and I’m not entirely convinced that I’ll ever completely abandon the joy of literally turning pages, but I have to admit that in the language classroom, eBooks are a great tool that allow independent access to stories (and information books of course!) in other languages, not just in written but also in spoken form.