This post has been awaiting final touches for a few days now. It’s been pushed to the side for other things, but after reading other posts by colleagues – I knew it was time to polish it off and get it out there! Some days, you just need a few minutes to breathe – even if you have great ideas to get out.
I was talking about my topic with my mentor today. She includes app smashing in many of her posts – including some of our monster unit.
“It could be called Monster Smash!” Great minds think alike – and I’m continuously thankful I get to put my head together with hers often.
During our Monster unit last week, we mashed a lot more things together than apps. We mashed literacies, intelligences, experiences, strengths, and technologies. This unit is always very popular. We lead up to it by learning about nonfiction texts and some real life “monsters” such as bats, owls, and spiders. We compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction, real and make believe. We read wonderful stories, create anchor charts, and illustrate a monster poem. We discuss the parts of a book, make connections, and form opinions.
The first read aloud was the classic by Ed Emberley. I borrowed an idea from a fellow K teacher to read the words and have students draw what they hear. Many students recognized the book right away, but they continued to draw each part of the big green monster. We used our iPads and the Drawing Pad app to create our monsters. They then uploaded their monsters into Showbie and I created a class book using Book Creator. Some students chose to draw their picture in Drawing Pad and then “smash” their picture into Pic Collage for typing about the monster.
There was an Old Monster is a great text to connect with others.
And Leonardo is just the best monster…
Our math target standard also fit in perfectly with monsters – shapes and sorting. Using the smartboard, we created monsters from pattern blocks. We talked about the attributes of the shapes we used, the color they were, and how we could sort the shapes into groups. Cookie Monster helped us practice patterns online with this game.
Little minds were so creative during this unit. Writing time was joyful, even for my most reluctant writers. We wrote about monster lives, monster food, monster homes – pretty much anything monster. To end our unit, we included some of our writing with a handmade monster. Scissor skills are difficult for little hands. The idea of cutting without lines excited some and intimidated others. It was rewarding to watch them sigh with relief when hearing there was “no right way” to make their monster (a little sad too…).