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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Guest spot in 5B!

Well, today I have experienced the best of teaching! Mrs. Brown brought her second graders in to be guest teachers in my class to present the app "screen chomp". They were amazing teachers. They came well prepared to instruct my class. They had answers ready to address any questions that my class had. They also came with a project for my class to complete.

We paired them up and set them to work. They worked well together and it wasn't long before we had completed projects! Huge thanks to the second graders, who took time out of their day to come and teach the fifth graders! Thank you to Mrs. Brown for sharing your knowledge.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cat's blogging has us purrrrring!

Okay all you cats and kittens! It is time to focus, and get your blog on! I was not certain I was buying into this blog business, but it really is the Cat's Meow!

Coach Catlett showed my students how to comment on others blogs today. We saw a very short excellent video made by some second and third graders in Mrs. Yollis' class. HOLLA! They did a great job and it was wonderful tips on how to write a quality comment. Here's the video:

So I came home tonight all hyped up on the blogging and commenting and decided to do a bit of research to see what is out there...WELL, I just hit the tip of the iceberg. I started at a website that was created by a genius of a man named William Chambelain. It is called

I was hooked right away. Not only does he spotlight many different blogs from everywhere.  Under his heading "Comments4Kids blogs" he has a spreadsheet with over 50 blogs to hook up with from all over the world. He has all sorts of links on how blogging helps writing skills develop, how to blog, how to comment...AND hang on to your hats...QUADBLOGGING!

What is quadblogging you ask? Why, it is a safe way to set up a small social network of 4 schools that commit to boosting the numbers and frequency of comments! WHAT?! I know it is unheard of! I love it! I checked out many of the blogs listed and found many to be frequently blogging and sites we can access with our filters on our network! I added six from around the world, like Australia, India, England, Ireland, and I have three from New Zealand to add next month (as this is their summer break and they don't come back in session until mid-February.)

So if you haven't joined up with this crazy ball of yarn called Blogging, then gather round...and get started! It is a ball!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

iPaddy cake...Better than birthday cake!

You would think it was my birthday! We had such fun today and it was like a sugar rush all day long! Today my students got their iPads, and it was learning on the run! They learned more than I had planned today.  Here is the breakdown of what we got accomplished:

We got the iPads in our hands and we talked about expectations for handling and care of our iPads. We learned some basic things like turning it on, off, volume controls. We learned that a one finger drag downward between apps will get you a search bar so you can quickly get to the app you are looking for. We learned to "chomp" our screens with a 4 or 5 finger pinch to close an app. We also learned the four finger swipe upward will allow us to move quickly between apps for some "app smashing" when we are using a couple of apps to complete a project, or allow us to completely close an app out. We learned about the "home button". 

After these basics we moved to photo booth, where we explored the many camera styles of photos and we learned how the camera worked. Some pretty silly alien heads, twirly faces, and block heads were spotted on different iPads.  We also opened the actual camera app and learned how that worked differently. We saved our pictures (selfies) and then we opened an app called "Skitch" and we found we could write on our photo. 

We used one of these photos to create a new background and lock screen for our iPads, and now our faces are the first and last things we see! 

The last thing we learned today an app called "Popplet". This is a presentation/creation app that allows kids to create something to display or show. We spent some time learning the ins and outs of the app, including how to "app smash" and head out to google and gather some pictures for our Popplets.  

On a whim, I decided to challenge the students to use what they had learned with Popplet to create a study guide for our American History EO test which is scheduled for Friday. I think this is a great way to assimilate the information they have learned about the causes and effects of the start of the American Revolution!  AND IT WAS A HIT!!! Everyone was engaged and active. They were helping each other, and showing off! I cannot wait to display them tomorrow on apple tv!

Overall, a very successful day, and we all ended the day on a high...almost like we ate birthday cake all day long. The only difference? Well we get to do it again tomorrow! And no calories! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eve of Greatness

As I sit in my classroom today, on the eve of getting the iPads, I have to ponder everything I have taken in over the last two days. My fingers have been flying over the keys to input things into google forms, set up google drive, and practicing with notability and explain everything on my instructing iPad. I think I have a plan for what I would like to begin to start, but I am just on pins and needles with the waiting.

Some moments are filled with warm anticipation, and other moments a prickly anxiety for all that can go awry.  I know there is an amazing network of support waiting to assist in this new venture, and for that I am eternally grateful. It doesn't seem to ease the roller coaster of emotion on this day or so before the iPads arrive.

In my mind I have set up expectations for my dream 1:1 iPad classroom and I know it is going to take time to get there. But as with all human nature, I am impatient. I continue to plug away at things that I know are going to prepare me and my students, to put myself ahead of the game, but there is so much I don't know and it is difficult not to fret some about that.

I guess today I am an emotional mess. Excited, thrilled, anxious, nervous, unprepared, brimming with enthusiasm and passion, scared of unknown. YIKES! I guess the only thing to do is carry on and when they finally arrive, dive in! The eve of greatness is upon me, and I will deal and thrive! Here we go.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First iPad Collaboration

Well, it is our first iPad collaboration. It has been an amazing success so far. We spent the first part of our morning in an inner circle/outer circle discussions that modeled after EdCamp. We (the newbies) were in the outer circle, and the folks who have had them for a while were on the inner circle. We moved around spending two minutes with each person asking many MANY questions.

I am so excited to start learning many of the apps we discussed. Explain Everything, Notability,
Stanford History Education Group for History lessons, Flubaroo from Google, Hangouts, Drive, and all things Google. Using Google Forms for our reading quizzes! Oh My Goodness!! Genius.

There is so much to learn and work on that the kids will never see, and i just can't wait to get my hands in it, and get started. I am looking forward to see what the future holds. Here we go!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

iPads are coming!

Okay,  word on the street is that our classroom set of iPads should arrive next week. This has really stepped up my blood pressure! The excitement, the nervousness, the anticipation, the impending sense of failure looming!

FAILURE! This is almost an expectation of mine. Our class has meetings twice a week to "talk iPads", (that way we don't get sidetracked with our studies!) and during these "talks" we have discussed my expectation of knowing less than the students. We have also talked about them being my proverbial guinea pigs! We discussed things we have tried in the past and we failed learning to ice skate as an adult! EPIC FAIL!

We talked about being relaxed enough to laugh at our mistakes, maybe cry a little too! But the students now know I am not afraid of it, and they should not be either. I think that is my greatest "solid" expectation.

There are other things I think about, worry about, have sleepless evenings (no naps!) going mostly paperless, organizing the google drive to be manageable, STORAGE, managing the plugs/electrical situation, app configuration, and only about a million other things!!!!

Well, I guess the plan is one day at a time, connecting with other teachers who have already used them for a while, exhausting my coach with questions, and of course leaning heavily on my coworker who has had them in his class for the first semester!

Ready or not, here they come!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Today my students and I are starting a 40 day Blog challenge. The beginning of the inspiration comes from a teacher in CO who gave her third grade class a 20 day challenge. I borrowed her idea, added to it, and really took off! I have included the link here

40 day blog challenge

We intend to take on the challenge of the 40 day blog, but we may interrupt the flow of the document that I created to blog about things that are happening in class with the iPads since that is one of  the main reasons we started blogging. We plan to get our class iPads this month, and we are so patiently and anxiously waiting.

However, today's blog is inspired by Kid President and it is:

The world would be more AWESOME if...

The world would be more awesome if we were all good listeners. If everyone took the time to stop thinking about their own agenda and really listened to the people who were engaging them in conversation the world would be a better place. It would make the world awesome. OR if it were made of chocolate, that did not make people fat...that would also be awesome!

Well keep checking in, and be sure to visit Boycetown on Kidblog. By the way, what do you think would make the world more awesome.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Well a new day dawns and the children are all excited to be back in school! HA! Actually everyone was a bit sleepy this am, so we began our day by talking about our new iPads that are coming this week. We discussed goals, plans of what they think we should start with, apps they like or don't like, and then we approached the idea of blogging. I was surprised by the number of students who didn't know what blogs were. We read one or two and then I told them about my blog challenge. We discussed getting into the computer lab and starting tomorrow! and that got the blood flowing!

Here is the link to my 40 day blog challenge:

Feel free to copy and change at your discretion to match your grade or classroom, and share back with me! This challenge is not set in stone, nor is it may turn into a 60 day challenge! I am certain it will change once the iPads arrive as we will be blogging about projects we are working on, etc...but it is a beginning!

40 day blog challenge

Also the first blog challenge was inspired by Kid President! My students love him as he is so cute and silly! We started our blog talk off with a short inspirational video by him....

Kid President gives a pep talk!
Get to it! and make our world AWESOME!

Catch ya later!

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Blog Ever!

Hello all,

This is my first blog for my iPad classroom. My name is Michelle Boyce and I have been a teacher for 20 years. I spent my first 6 years as a resource teacher in multi-categorical room for Conestoga Public School in Murray, Nebraska. I moved to teach for Bellevue Public Schools in 1999.

My first experience in BPS was at LeMay Elementary teaching 5th grade. I was so lucky to work with a highly motivated staff of young teachers, and I learned so much there. In 2007, I was given the opportunity to move to Fairview Elementary to teach 5th grade. The coworkers I was blessed enough to work with pushed me even farther to continue to learn and grow. Since then I have also been to Two Springs Elementary to teach 5th there, and then 4th grade back at Fairview, and now I have returned 5th at Fairview.

I am eager to begin this new adventure as a 1:1 iPad teacher and see how my teaching evolves and my students explode in creativity and motivation in their learning. I am anxious to find other teachers and see how they have incorporated the iPads into their curriculum or their curriculum into the iPads.

I look forward to any input, ideas, blogs, posts, apps, or guidance that you can offer to me. Check back and see how we expand!