Sunday, October 25, 2015

App Smashing Padlet & Hello Crayons with a side of Pumpkin Soup

I have been excited and surprised to see some apps and programs that I used to use as an 8th grade social studies teacher also work with my current K-2 library classes. I incorporated Padlet (originally Wallwisher) for years in my social studies classes, but did not think of bringing it into my library classes until a colleague recently described it as a K-12 app.  Having only used the web version and not the app, I was delighted to see how K-2 friendly the iPad app was. The best feature had to be the built-in QR code scanner that easily lets the students access a shared Padlet through a teacher displayed QR code.  




While I understood that the QR code feature could help my students easily access our shared Padlet, I was originally skeptical about using this app with my K-1 students. As an 8th grade social studies teacher, I had used Padlet primarily as a space for my students to share their thinking through typed responses. It was not until I did a little research online and found a wonderful article, Kindergarten Padlets, from engaged.net, when I understood that Padlet can also be used to share student thinking through illustrations.

By app smashing Padlet with a drawing app, students can save their drawings to the iPad camera roll, and easily upload them to a collaborative class Padlet.


These students are using the drawing app "Hello Crayons" before sharing to Padlet


On my first go-around with Padlet in the library, I decided to have my K-2 students draw a response to a question concerning a character in the picture book Pumpkin Soup, by Helen Cooper.


In this perfect story for autumn, the Cat and Squirrel become worried when their friend the Duck storms off after a squabble concerning their roles in preparing their daily pumpkin soup.  We never know where the Duck disappeared to before returning, but the Cat and Rabbit present many fanciful ideas through thought bubbles.  For our class reflection, my students drew their own thought bubbles of what they imagined the Duck was doing all along.  I had my students work in pairs, and reminded them to take turns sharing better than the 3 character did in the story!


This Padlet contains some of my students' thought bubbles about what Duck was doing the whole time:


On this first go around, I miss-planned the timing of my 30-minute lesson and ran out of time to explain to the whole class how to upload their drawings to the class Padlet.  Many groups simply didn't finish their drawings in time. As a result, I only had a few students in each class finish in time for me to help direct them individually how to access Padlet through the QR code scanner and upload their saved image. The Padlet above contains a mix of K-2 drawings.  One unintended consequence was a shared K-2 Padlet, but in the end the students loved seeing the work posted by the other classes.

I plan to use this application more regularly so that the steps become routine, as well as explore some other options such as the drawing features in Nearpod.


Some technical notes:
If Hello Crayons is not saving the illustrations to the camera roll, check the app settings to make sure that permissions are granted. Additionally, if the built in QR code scanner on Padlet is not working, your firewall might be the issue. 

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