Show Me With Showbie

We are not cisterns made for hoarding, we are channels made for sharing. -Billy Graham

Sorry, but I just can’t get enough of Showbie.  It is our new app used school-wide for creating digital portfolios.  I recently wrote about Showbie and our using it to create digital portfolios.  Since then, I have discovered some other pretty awesome features.

First, let me say, we are not completely paperless.  We have, however, significantly reduced our paper usage and Showbie has facilitated that.  In kindergarten, there is still the need for paper/pencil skills.  School-wide, we saved over $21,000 in paper usage, copies, ink, and toner last year.  Showbie has several features that are helpful.  Here is a screen shot showing some features:


I have blurred out my students’ last names, but my class list is to the left.  The small paper icon to the right of each name shows which students have submitted an assignment.  You can also add student pictures beside their names if you want.  The shared folder allows me to upload resources, videos, voice instructions, PDF files, and ePubs to be used in that particular assignment.  Once the resources are loaded in the shared folder, it is available to all students.  It is in the shared folder that I added an ABC book that I created in Book Creator.  My students just went into the shared folder, downloaded the book in their iBooks and all students have the book on their bookshelf.

The area to the right has a drop-down box with choices for adding files. The camera option allows photographs or videos.  You can upload images from the photo library as well.  Using the Capture PDF option, you can scan in a document.  If you have a PDF file in your photo library, you can upload this also. In addition, you can add text notes to student work or voice notes.  These are all of the teacher options.  Students have the same options in their drop-down menu for putting work in the assignment folder.

Last week, I uploaded a PDF of primary lined paper for my students to demonstrate writing their numbers to 20.  They opened the assignment in Showbie and then used Good Notes (a PDF annotator) to write their numbers.  I was able to quickly email their parents this assignment.  Later in the week, I used the camera option to video tape students counting to 20.  This was a quick assessment that was also emailed to parents.

photoThe best part is that Showbie is so easy to use.  At this early point in the school year, my kindergarten students already know how to open the app and upload work on their own.  Parents also enjoy feeling like they are a part of the classroom through the email feature.

One last way we are using Showbie is to share student work with our principal.  Each grade level decided on student assignments for each nine weeks that would be used to demonstrate growth and demonstrate CCSS. My principal created a class for each grade level in Showbie.  These student provisos are uploaded for him to monitor.  We send a high, medium, and low work sample each nine weeks.  This allows him to check in on student work on a regular basis.  It also encourages meaningful use of the iPad in the learning environment.

We are very excited about the incorporation of this robust program into our classrooms.  There is a free version of Showbie if you would like to check it out. We liked it so much we purchased the school license.

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!


Making Your Mark With iPads

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

medium_4176075327Well, we missed it.  International Dot Day was September 15th.  Better to be late than not go at all, we celebrated making our creative mark this past week.  It came at a good time.  I’ve been hearing a lot of “I can’ts”  lately.  If you are unfamiliar with the story of The Dot by Peter Reynolds and International Dot Day, you can check it out here.  In the story, Vashti is an uninspired student who feels as if she can’t draw.  Her teacher encourages her to be brave enough to “make her mark”.

Leaving our mark is a lot easier than we think.  We make it hard.  We resist and tell ourselves we aren’t smart enough, creative enough, talented enough, rich enough…but what if we took a page from Vashti’s playbook and just tried?  As educators, we make lasting marks with every child we teach.

As we started using iPads in our classroom in 2011, there was no real path to follow.  We trail blazed our own.  There were a few bumps along the way, but we believed in what we were doing.  We started with our own “dot” and it has transformed the way we do everything. It has transformed the way we think about everything.

So back to our dot project…after reading the book, we used our iPads to create our own dots in our Drawing Pad app.  (We usually use Doodle Buddy, but they have not updated the app lately and it doesn’t work very well with the new iOS 7 update.) The kids uploaded their dots to Showbie and I then downloaded them all on my iPad and put them into Book Creator.  As you may know, my love  for Book Creator is epic.

Our finished product is here:

The Dot

The great thing about Showbie is there are “shared folders” with each assignment.  After I created the class book in Book Creator, I uploaded it back to the shared folder in Showbie.  This made the book available to each student and all they had to do was download it into their iBooks.  Now each student has a copy of our class book in their iBooks shelf.  They have loved looking at each other’s work and are definitely proud of their own.

You know, a lot has changed for me since I said, “yes” to iPads 2 1/2 years ago.  I never dreamed I would be doing the things I am.   I chose to try and make my mark by creating a student centered classroom infused with technology.

How are you making your mark?

Today we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!

Dot photo credit