Tag Archives: Prezi

Using Prezi in the Early Elementary Classroom

8 Mar

Prezi StoryI have fallen in love with using Prezi with the Interactive White Board (IWB) when working with students in early elementary. I thought I’d share a few of my ideas and see if  I could get your help to generate a few more.

In first and second grade, I’ve been using…

1. Prezi for telling stories

Students love to watch the movement of the Prezi and they can’t wait to turn the digital pages by taking turns clicking the next button. Because the text and pictures are so big, it’s the ultimate “big book”. Every student can see every word and every illustration or image on every page.

Prezi stories allow for unique possibilities too. I wrote a story for the kids called “Jerome’s Dirty Floors”. It’s about a mechanical engineer named Jerome who wants to create a robot to clean his floors since he doesn’t have any time. He looks for inspiration in objects all around him. He imagines a robot vacuum that is remote control operated like his son’s toy. He imagines one that runs on tracks like the train on which he commutes. Eventually he observes the bumper cars at a park and decides they are the perfect inspiration for a robot vacuum. The story ends there, but the Prezi continues. The next screen has a few questions to check for comprehension. We discuss and share answers. Then, a question for fun, “Do you think a robot vacuum cleaner could really exist?” Consistently, students mostly vote “no” with their down-turned thumbs. You can imagine the smiles and “oohs” and “ahs” when we hit next on the Prezi and an iRobot Roomba video starts to play.

2. Prezi for watching YouTube videos.

Prezi is a great way to share YouTube videos with young students. Once the video is embedded in the Prezi, there is no side screen chatter, advertising, or user content to distract them. It completely removes the potential for anything inappropriate or unexpected to pop up on the screen.

If I plan on using any videos with the first or second grade I just stick the URL in a private Prezi and Ta-da! I have a clean white screen with a video in the middle. (It’s handy that I can find them to use again easily as well!)

3. Prezi for simple assessments.

A fun way to review a concept or check for comprehension is to create a simple assessment in Prezi. Insert a question, then have the students use thumbs up or down to vote, or do a quick pair-share. Then, let a student push the next arrow to zoom across the screen and check if their responses are correct.

To see if my younger students were starting to understand the function of a motor, I created a quick Prezi called “Does it have a motor?” I embedded five or six YouTube videos featuring quick clips of everyday objects in motion: a drill, a bowling ball, a fan, a kitchen mixer, a bicycle… Underneath each video it said, “Does this ____  have a motor?”

We played each video and observed the object in motion. Then students voted yes or no with thumbs. Then, we clicked the next button to reveal the answer. After the first two videos, the answer screen would also include a follow-up question or two. “What does the motor do on this object? How does using a motor in this object help people?” It was a fun review for the kids and an easy way for me to gauge whether or not the lessons we’d been working on were sticking or not.

I’d love to hear how you are using Prezi with your younger students! Please share in the form of a comment or send me a quick tweet!

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Five First Grade Activities for Robotics Instruction!

14 Jan

We had our second robotics lesson down in the first grade today, and before too much time passes I want to share a few activities from weeks one and two.  Any of these activities could be easily modified to be more age appropriate or to be used for different subject matter.

Activity 1: “Computer Says”

To help first graders make the connection that robots must receive commands in order to operate, I borrowed an idea from members of the Robotics Outreach at Lincoln Laboratory (ROLL) who had visited a first grade classroom to introduce students to the concepts of programming and robotics. (Read about their visit!)

The activity is simple… replace “Simon Says” with “Computer Says”.

Say, “I am the computer. You are the robots. Robots can only move if they receive a command from the computer. If you move without a command, I will have to power you down.” I used it both weeks for one or two minutes. The kids love it and the idea that a command must be sent to a robot has stuck! I’m a bit of a goofball, so I like to give my commands in a robot voice.

Activity 2: Robot K-W-L in Voicethread

I love Voicethread and I love K-W-L charts, and they work beautifully together. To keep track of our learning during the unit I set up a new Voicethread account and created an identity for each of the first grade students using the image of a cartoon or comic robot for their avatars. These avatars were also printed under their name on each of their name tags.

The layout of the Voicethread is super basic. It has three slides in total. Each one features an image of a robot. Slide 1 is titled “What do we know about robots?”, Slide 2 is titled, “What do we want to learn about robots?” and Slide 3 is titled, “What have we learned about robots?”

When a child has something to add, they come up and find their robot identity, they share their idea and I take dictation and type their ideas. Eventually we will move into recording their voices in place of typing comments.

You can visit our Voicethread and see what it looks like after three class periods. On day 1, we did not have Internet access, so I kept track of their ideas on the board and added them later. (I wish I could embed the thread, but WP doesn’t allow it, so you’ll need to click this link to see it.) 1649945

Activity 3: Prezi Story – Jerome’s Dirty Floors

I always look for ways to include literacy in lessons and this week’s lesson provided a great opportunity for a story. I couldn’t find any stories that featured the concepts I wanted to introduce, so I wrote a story to accompany the lesson. I created a Powerpoint of the story, but then I remembered that I had seen Prezi used for storytelling and thought I should give it a try.

It was a fun way to create a flow to the story and it kept the students engaged. I was able to have a student do the page turning by clicking the next arrow, and I could embed a video as well.

Click on the Prezi image below to take the story for a test drive! ( Special thanks to the folks at ProfessionGenie for giving me permission to modify one of their images for my main character, Jerome, the mechanical engineer. )


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