Three Little Pigs Creativity Project- Kindergarten & First Grade

Creativity, Innovation, MakerEd, STEM, Tech Integration, TPACK

Beginning with the framework that we used with fourth grade, we created a simplified and shortened version of the creativity project to use with our kindergarten and first grade Next Generation classrooms.

We did a quick think-pair-share retelling of the traditional Three Little Pigs story.

Then, we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and talked about similarities and differences in the two versions of the story.

We discussed the strategies the three little pigs used to keep the pig out and then revealed their challenge. The students needed to design a house that would stand up to the big bad wolf. IMG_1355

Within the time constraints of an hour, we had students go through a brainstorming process and create a design either on paper or their iPads. Working collaboratively to create one unified design was more challenging for this group of younger students compared to fourth grade but after some questioning they developed strategies for creating a design. One group had everyone create their own design and then shared them and picked the best one. Another group took parts of everyone’s design to create one design. This was probably the most time consuming part.


After their design was approved, the groups were given their materials to start building. We did give different materials to this group and gave them a base to put their structure on to help them develop sturdier structures.



It was extremely interesting to see how the different groups created their structures. Some groups were very detail oriented- worried about chandeliers, signs, furniture and a yard. Other groups tested their structure by all blowing towards the structure at the same time to see if it would stay up.


After about 20 minutes of work on their structure, we had each group come up and present their structure and tell us about why they did what they did. They had some well thought out reasoning! We then had the Big Bad Hairdryer come out and test the design to see if it would withstand the huff and puff.


Finally, we self-reflected as a group using the K-2 BIE Creativity Rubric.




Three Little Pigs Engineering Design and Creativity Project

Creativity, Innovation, MakerEd, STEM, Tech Integration, TPACK

After our Creativity and Innovation professional development (Next Gen Teacher Academy) training, the tech team pushed into Next Generation classrooms before Winter Break to tackle some creativity projects.

In designing this creativity project learning experience, I used TPACK to create the most effective learning experience.

Pedagogy: First, I considered the pedagogy that would help stimulate and develop creativity. In project or problem based learning, students are solving a complex question or problem that does not necessarily have one correct answer so it really lends itself to thinking creatively to solve problems. It was important to consider other best practices such as Backwards Design, UDL, differentiation, scaffolding and inquiry based learning and they seemed to complement a project based learning approach to the creativity project.

Content: Next, I considered the content that would frame the creativity project. We pushed into Kindergarten, first grade and fourth grade classes for our creativity project so we needed content that could be adapted to be applicable to all grade levels. Making interdisciplinary connections, I settled on a STEM and literature project. I worked backwards to design essential questions for a fourth grade creativity project.

Big Questions: What is the Engineering Design Process?

How can you design a solution to a problem?

What strategies does a write use to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes?

How do folktales provide insight into other cultures and teach us lessons for our daily lives?

Objective: Students will engage in the steps of the creative process including defining the creative challenge, identify sources of information, idea generation and refinement, openness and courage to explore, working creatively with others, creative production and innovation and self-reflection.

Context: Next, I considered the context. We are pushing into Next Generation classrooms which have one to one iPads and flexible learning spaces. We also wanted to design a lesson that would adaptable to several grade levels.

Technology: Finally, after considering all of the above did I start to think about the ways in which technology could enhance the creativity lesson. The technology used for this lesson needed to provide a tool for collaboration, for publishing and sharing and also for engagement and creation.

The Three Little Pigs Engineering Creativity Project

Hook: To quickly engage students, we told them a little about how they would be using some engineering skills combined with a story they would be familiar with but that they would have to use some creativity as well. We showed The Three Little Pigs advertisement from The Guardian & discussed the different points of view within the video.

Retelling: We then moved into a retelling of the traditional Three Little Pigs story through a Think, Pair, Share. We found that there was some confusion so decided to just read the original folk tale aloud to clear up any misconceptions.

Then, we read aloud The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, the version of the story told from the point of view of the wolf.


Compare and Contrast: We asked students to think about the different points of view found in the three different versions of the same story and had them discuss with partners. We then had them create Venn Diagrams on their iPads.

On Day 2 of the creativity project, we began to shift our thinking towards engineering and how that played a role in this story.IMG_1414

Ask (Define the Creative Challenge): Students were shared a Google Doc to begin to explore engineering and what an engineer does. They were provided with this What is Engineering? ThingLink to help them start to define their creative challenge.

Here is what the Google Doc looked like with the red text being the student feedback summarized:

We had a fantastic discussion while sharing out what we had learned during our exploration time.

Driving Question: We wrapped up this discussion on engineering by asking the students “If we were engineers designing a house, what is the potential real world problem we would be trying to solve in our design?”.

Students determined that they were trying to design a structure that could withstand strong winds from hurricanes or tornadoes and thus designed their driving question for this project.

Imagine & Plan (Identify Sources of Information/ Idea Generation & Refinement):

Now we introduced the groups and materials to the students. Each group had a bag of materials that they were able to use to create their structure. They were also provided with a ThingLink with resources  on wind power, architecture & engineering that they could explore if they chose.

Groups had to brainstorm and create a general design either on paper or iPad and be able to explain it to one of the teachers in the room. If the design was approved, the group received their building materials and could begin building their structure. If their design was not approved, they had to make changes using the teacher’s suggestions before the group could begin.


Create (Creative Production & Innovation, Working Creatively with Others, Openness & Courage to Explore):

Students worked very hard creating their house the first day.

However, on day two of building we introduced some constraints in order to really stimulate some creativity and create some roadblocks that had to be overcome. First, we introduced the Pig Depot. Each group now had a budget and had to purchase the supplies that it was using to create their house from the Pig Depot adding some layers of math that had to be considered.


When the groups were reading, they   could test their structure using the Big Bad Hairdryer. If their structure did not stand up to the Big Bad hairdryer, they needed to make improvements.


Finally, we introduced the bigger badder fan that students had two chances to try and get their structure to stand up to.


 Self-Reflection: After all groups had tested twice on the bigger badder fan, they had to reflect as a group and individually using the Saline Area Schools creativity rubric that incorporates the Buck Institute for Education Project Based Learning Creativity Rubrics and the EdLeader21 Creativity Rubrics. Each group presented their house design, whether or not it stood up to the bigger badder fan, their successes and failures throughout the process, what they would do differently and how they worked as a team.

The feedback that I got from the fourth grade teachers was that they were really excited about how the project engaged and hooked some of their normally disengaged students and how the students seemed to gain a recognition of how valuable collaboration was for solving a complex problem. The students made tons of cross-curricular connections and all developed unique structures with supporting rationale. We then took this activity and adapted it for our Kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

uLearn iPad Accessibility for Educators-Micro MOOC

Conference Proposal, Differentiated Instruction, MAET Year 1, TPACK, Understanding by Design

uLearn iPad Accessibility for Educators

In my uLearniPad Accessibility for Educators course my peers will master basic iPad Accessibility features by doing hands-on experimentation with each feature and collaboratively creating solutions to common classroom accessibility issues with their peers.

Course Topic:  iPad Accessiblity features for Educators

Course Title & Photo: uLearniPad Accessibility for Educators


Target Audience: Educators (K-12 and Higher Ed) using iPads in the classroom who have a desire to know or did not even recognize that there are accessibility features for differentiated education on the iPad. Educators will be able to give students access to different features like VoiceOver, AssistiveTouch and Guided Access to make sure that they are using the iPad as a tool to create individualized learning for each student.

What do you want learners to be able to do when they are done?

How long is your course experience?

What will peers make?

How will peers help each other in your course?

Course Learning Goal: Educators using iPads in the classroom will be able to use accessibility features to differentiate learning for all students on the iPad.


  • Learners will understand that there are built in accessibility features in general settings on the iPad and how to use them.
  • Learners will understand that educators are able to use these accessibility features with students to help differentiate instruction for all learners in their classroom.

Essential Questions:

  • How can educators use the iPad to differentiate instruction for all students?
  • How do educators use the iPad to its fullest capabilities as a learning tool in the classroom?

Know & Show:

  • Learners will be able to know and show how to activate, use and personalize the VoiceOver, AssistiveTouch and Guided Access accessibility features on the iPad.
  • Learners will know and show when to appropriately utilize these tools for students in the classroom.

Performance Tasks:

  • At the end of each lesson, students will be presented with a real-world classroom situation and have to collaboratively create a solution to the problem using the iPad accessibility features that they have learned about.

Learning Activities:

Week 1: Vision Accessibility Tools

  • Learn:
    • Watch short screencasts on how to use the Vision accessibility features on the iPad. Read posted resources on how these features can be used in the classroom.
  • Explore:
    • Take a screenshot of a website zoomed in using the Zoom tool and post it to your blog. Reflect on applications of this tool for students in your classroom.
    • Take a screenshot of a note or e-mail that is in large text using the Large Text tool and post it to your blog.
    • Use a screencasting tool to create a screencast of a read aloud of a short book or article using the Speak selection tool. Post this screencast to your blog with a short reflection on applications of this tool for students in your classroom.
  • Create:
    • Performance Task:
      • Situation: A vision-impaired student has entered your classroom. Create a Google Presentation or PowerPoint with two to three other classmates that illustrates and explains three different ways you could use the Vision accessibility tools for differentiation in an actual lesson. Post and share this presentation on your blog.

Week 2: Hearing Accessibility Tools

  • Learn:
    • Watch short screencasts on how to use the Hearing accessibility features on the iPad. Read posted resources on how these features can be used in the classroom.
  • Explore:
    • Plug in earphones and explore how the Mono Audio tool works.
    • Watch a YouTube video with the closed captioning feature.
  • Create:
    • Performance Task:
      • Situation: A hearing impaired student has entered your classroom. Create an interactive slideshow with a three question quiz with a partner using PhotoPeach or Mentor Mob Playlist to present three situations you may encounter and what tools you could use to address them. Post and share this PhotoPeach to your blog.

Week 3: Physical & Motor Accessibility Tools

  • Learn:
    • Watch short screencasts on how to use the Physical & Motor accessibility features on the iPad. Read posted resources on how these features can be used in the classroom.
  • Explore:
    • Turn the AssistiveTouch on and play with it.
    • Create a custom gesture in AssistiveTouch and demonstrate it for us the action and its purpose in a YouTube video. Post it to your blog.
  • Create:
    • Performance Task:
      • Situation: We have to meet the needs of many different kinds of learners in our classroom. With one other classmate, create a HaikuDeck or PowerPoint explaining what kinds of students might benefit from using the AssistiveTouch feature. Post and share this to your blog.

 Week 4: Learning Accessibility Tools

  • Learn:
    • Watch short screencasts on how to use the Learning accessibility features on the iPad. Read posted resources on how these features can be used in the classroom.
  • Explore:
    • Choose an app you would use with your students and use the Guided Access tool to make it the only accessible app. Test it by asking someone to try and access another app on your iPad while this is running. Post a blog entry on how that person reacted and how you may use this tool with your students in your classroom.
  • Create:
    • Performance Task
      • Situation: You have a full class of thirty-two students with iPads with broad needs including ADHD and ASD. Create a collaborative GoogleDoc with two to three other classmates and create a “Top Ten Teacher Strategies for iPad Success” list thinking about how the use of iPad accessibility tools can enhance the learning in your classroom. Post and share to your blog.

Support for this Course

The instructional design for this course was developed using an Understanding by Design unit/lesson template. It is key that the learners are instantly able to make a meaningful connection as to how this course will help them in the real world. For me the Understanding by Design template has been the best way to illustrate that with an “essential question” that tells learners how the content relates in the big picture.

I differentiated the learn and explore (or learning plan) and create (or performance task) sections to each lesson by allowing students to choose the technology they used in their performance task, allowing collaboration with peers, a flexible amount of time to explore each new feature on their own and options to learn about each feature through a multi-modal approach. According to Tomlinson and McTighe (2006), “in tandem, UbD and DI provide structures, tools, and guidance for developing curriculum and instruction based on our current best understandings of teaching and learning.” I believe that Understanding by Design and Differentiated Instruction work really well together to put the focus on the elements of an effective classroom: whom we teach, where we teach, what we teach and how we teach.

For the performance task at the end of each lesson, peers must work collaboratively with a tech tool to create a demonstration of their knowledge to share. It is purposefully designed to be relatively open ended since “the TPACK framework emphasizes the importance of teacher creativity in repurposing technology tools for making them fit pedagogical and disciplinary-learning goals ” (Mishra, 2012, p. 14). The performance task is designed to help educators think not only of the obvious possible ways to use the accessibility features on the iPad but come up with new and creative ways of using them that have not been thought of before.

I feel that the purpose of my course, to inform educators on how to purposefully use iPads for differentiation in the classroom, relates to the TCK part of TPACK as “teachers need to master more than the subject matter they teach; they must also have a deep understanding of the manner in which the subject matter (or the kinds of representations that can be constructed) can be changed by the application of particular technologies”(Koehler & Mishra, 2009). The potential of the accessibility features of the iPad is huge but must be unlocked by the teacher before the tools can be passed on to the students.


Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

McTighe, J. & Tomlinson, C. (2006). Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Mishra, P. (2012). Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st century: Crayons are the future. TechTrends, 56(5), 13-16. doi:

Chopped Revisited

Learning, MAET Year 1, TPACK

Chopped Round 1

Content: “A Small Price to Pay” by Stephen Kosslyn

Technology: Montage

Pedagogy: Chef’s Choice (Whatever means necessary)

FINISHED DISH: Completed Montage

Chopped Round 2

Content: “A Small Price to Pay” by Stephen Kosslyn

Technology: Whiteboards and Whiteboard Markers

Pedagogy: Create a visual image



I feel like my groups were pretty successful in both Chopped rounds. Maybe we would have made it to Round 3 for dessert?

These Chopped activities were useful in seeing that despite different pedagogy and such completely different technologies we could still create something meaningful. It forced me to recognize my own pattern of thinking as we reflected on things that were positive and negative about using each technology. I know that I personally have gotten caught up in “chrono-centric” mindset and focused more on the technology and how I can mold what I am doing to fit that specific technology. I now recognize that the focus should and CAN as Dr. Mishra(2012) says be on what we “…want our students to learn and how that learning is going to happen” (p. 14) rather than letting technology dictate learning.

Obviously, these Chopped assignments also tie in with our “Cooking with TPACK” repurposing activity as well. I appreciated the opportunity to actually see the TPACK theory in action as we were doing these activities and being able to note the differences in learning. I think many teachers resist “technology” on the basis that they do not realize the tools they use on a daily basis like whiteboards, crayons, ect. are forms of technology. I think if all teachers approached new technology with the TPACK model in mind, they would enjoy and want to continue using it as opposed to getting frustrated and giving up.


Cooking with TPACK

Learning, MAET Year 1, TPACK

Our Task: Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Our Tools: Large Pink Bowl, Blue medium size plate, pumpkin carving knife

Our Supplies: Seeded Italian Bread, Smucker’s Goober Grape Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Stripes

What does this activity has to do with teaching, technology integration, and TPACK?!?!?!?!

We were given specific tools for this activity. We choose to use the plate as it was intended to be used, we repurposed the pumpkin carving knife and we did not even use the bowl. We also added a tool (our hands) to the mix pulling from what we already possessed.

As we were creating the sandwich, we both thought of different ways to create it. One of us liked the sandwich to be cut in half and with peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other. The other one liked the sandwich whole and to mix the peanut butter and jelly together on both sides of the bread.

We can directly relate this experience to our teaching and learning. We have all sorts of tools available to us as teachers. We are constantly sifting through them repurposing, tossing out and finding ways to make materials work for our own learning goals. Dr. Punya Mishra spoke about the movement from “technology integration into technology innovation” and we think we see this innovation in ourselves as teachers on a daily basis. We mold and adapt our teaching to reach all of our learners.

Written collaboratively with Thoughts & Wonderings by Yalonda