Friday, January 23, 2015

Safety Issues When Using a Burner or Hot Plate

Hot Chocolate is my most recent post on the Teachers Pay Teachers site! 

Hot Chocolate seems to be a perfect forum for discussing safety issues when using a burner or hot plate in the classroom.

Whenever we’ve made hot chocolate in the classroom, we’ve always conducted the activity with extreme caution. Here are several classroom setups specifically designed to allow each child a good view of the cooking activity, some ‘hands on’ involvement, easy access to a switch controlling the animations, while simultaneously making safety a top priority.
  • When conducting a collaborative small group lesson (3-5 students) I have found it helpful to seat students on one side of a wide table while positioning the burner on the opposite side (away from small reaching hands). The table is positioned in front of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) which is used to display either the Animated Step-by-Step recipe or a food prep communication display. Obviously for many of these setups we would be using a remote switch to instigate the click necessary for activating the animations/sound effects (as opposed to waiting while students circumvent the table to tap the interactive whiteboard). If your table is narrower than you’d like … consider placing the burner on a small sturdy table/cart positioned between the main table and the IWB.
  • When conducting a larger group lesson (6-11 students) a V- or U-shaped table or desk arrangement works well.  In fact I’ve found these table arrangements to work well for  most teacher-led lessons. The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is clearly visible at the open end of the  U or V seating arrangement. The open center space allows the Primary Facilitator (the person leading the group) to interact with each student and freely move in and out to offer the remote switch to various students to activate the animations/sound effects/page turns.  As illustrated, a  small internal table or cart is set up for the burner and the recipe ingredients. Many teachers prefer to use a small cart on locked wheels as the shelf beneath allows the teacher to minimize visual clutter. 

  •       When conducting the activity using a TapIt interactive learning station (, a small table/cart is set up next to the adult facilitator (in sight, but off to the side). Obviously, some steps can be safely performed by students, while others (e.g., stirring the hot chocolate on the burner) are best performed by an adult. The fact that all steps cannot be performed by students does not appear to be an issue. There are numerous 'surprise opportunities' to use the switch to activate an animation or turn the page .... so engagement is ensured. 

Hope this information proves helpful.

... ’til the next post …

© 2015  Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Animated Step-by-Steps on the iPad!

This blog is dedicated to sharing information on the interactive use of Animated Step-by-Steps.

Animated Step-by-Steps can be purchased at the Bloom ... Where You're Planted digital store on the Teachers Pay Teachers web site.


I’ve been eager to figure out an easy and inexpensive way to use the Animated Step-by-Steps on an iPad so here is one solution.   I downloaded the free Microsoft PowerPoint app from the App Store.  At first I was a little daunted by the polarized reviews … people either loved it or HATED it.  Thus far, for our purposes … I am in the ‘love it' category.  Although the program gives you every indication that you must 'sign in' for their cloud membership, this is primarily directed toward individuals wishing to create PowerPoint content with all the features on the iPad. Obviously our intention is to use the program to view and interact with existing PowerPoint show files.  If you see a dialog box encouraging you to  'sign in' just cancel and proceed to the open button (depicted as a folder on the far left) of the program (there'll be more on that in a bit).

As the Animated Step-by-Steps are very rich in animations and sound effects, most files exceed the memory limits for a simple e-mail transfer.  So far, the easiest way to import Animated Step-by-Step files into the PowerPoint app appears to involve linking the app to a Dropbox account where the Animated Step-by-Step files reside. Dropbox basic is a great starting point. When you sign up you receive 2 GB of free space! Not to overstate the obvious but you must have the files copied into a pre-established Dropbox account in order to access the files via the iPad PowerPoint app. 

Step 1:             On your computer: After purchasing and downloading your Animated Step-by-Step files, COPY them into the Dropbox folder on your laptop or desktop computer.

Step 2:             On your iPad: go to the App Store (icon on home page) and type in the words microsoft powerpoint in the search box (upper right corner). An array of apps will appear. Select the official PowerPoint app …. the one that was created by Microsoft.

Step 3:             Click the Get button to start the download process. A blue circle will appear informing you of the download status.

Step 4:             When the download is complete, click on the open button provided or find the Microsoft PowerPoint icon on your iPad home page.

Step 5:             When the Microsoft PowerPoint app is open, click on the open button (visually represented as a  folder) on the left side of the opened program. This will give you an option to import content from within the iPad or  press the +Add a Place button to establish a link to your dropbox. You must then type in the email address and password that you used when you established your dropbox account.

Step 6:             Click on Dropbox and select the Animated Step-by-Step file that you wish to import and display in the PowerPoint app. After it has loaded you can proceed with using the file.

Here are some handy tips for using the program: 
                        To put the imported file into presentation mode, select the arrow in the upper right hand corner (it actually took me quite a while to figure this out). 

                        To activate the starred animations, make a small swipe to the left.  Please note unlike the Interactive Whiteboard which uses a tap/click, the app version of PowerPoint requires a small swipe to the left.

                        To escape out of presentation mode,  touch or swipe down from the top of the screen. A bar will appear giving you the option of selecting End Slide Show in the far left corner.
                        Hope this all makes sense and hope you enjoy using your Animated Step-by-Steps on your iPad.      

                        ... 'til the next post ...

© 2015  Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.