Merry Christmas St. Raphela's School

Thank you to all who made this year's seasonal greeting to St. Raphaela's, Naga City, the Philippines possible.

I would like to pay a particular thank you to Mize (Grade 6) for editing and producing the final video.


We would love to hear your comments.


Be sure to read Ms Sandra & Mr Hughes' blog post for more details about St. Raphaela's School.

I have embedded Carol Concerts below.  Sit back and enjoy the seasonal greetings from Seisen International School.

Elementary School


Kindergarten

Quiver Vision

 How the world works
An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; and the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

What lines of inquiry will define the scope of the inquiry into the central idea?
● Identifying the Earth’s physical features
● Why the Earth has changed and is continuing to change
● Human responses to Earth’s changes







I always enjoy using technology with students where their reaction is that of pure shock and amazement! With Quiver this is always a first-time reaction whether it be with Kindergarten or Grade 6 Students the reaction is mouth-opening!

As grade 2's latest unit draws to an end I wanted to give them this jaw-dropping feeling!

Enter Quiver!
Grade two girls' colour their Quiver Picture!
They colour their picture.  The girls cannot wait to use with the Quiver App


Students are able to take part in an interactive quiz!

Here's a picture of Miyu with her diorama of various landforms.
She created the volcano replica on the left.

Listen to Miyu's Screencastify about the grade two unit and the use of Quiver Vision. 

video

I would love to hear your comments about how you have used Quiver in the classroom.  

Digital Citizenship with Ms. Carnright

Keeping Safe Online

World Record Attempt!?

Thank you to +Tara Carnright for writing this guest blog.

Throughout the first half of the school year, several students have made appointments with me to discuss their online & social media activity. What I've observed is that some of these children have concerns about e-safety, specifically their interactions with strangers via gaming websites (e.g., Minecraft) and phone applications (e.g. LINE). Parents have also articulated their uneasiness about their children's increasing use of technology and their own ignorance regarding how to monitor their safety.

From these discussions described above, the idea was born to start the conversation with grades 3-6 regarding e-safety, to include cyberbullying. While the majority of these students have not yet been exposed to cyberbullying, this is something that they will inevitably witness or fall victim to.  As educators, we are also aware of our shared responsibility in teaching our students how to be responsible digital citizens, while being especially attentive to issues surrounding personal safety and the "footprint" that's created each and every time something is texted or posted online.

As a result, 16 presentations were given over the course of 1 week. Mr. Towse and I were clearly aiming for a world record! The students, most notably those from grades 5 and 6, were highly engaged and were willing to share many of their own experiences (both positive and negative) using social media and the internet. It is important to reiterate that many of these applications (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) have age restrictions that were created with kids safety in mind. Parents, we ask for your help in ensuring your child is using the internet and social media responsibly and with your careful monitoring, to include limiting their time on their devices. We look forward to continued discussions about this topic and your feedback on how we can further educate you and your children!


Chatterpix with Kindergarten


This blog post is the subject of a #techwithtowse weekly blog challenge. This week, the challenge is to write a blog post using no more than 140 words and include images with captions and a movie.


The focus over the last few weeks with kindergarten has been speaking and listening. I wanted to use their current unit to explore ChatterPix Kids, and the results have been fantastic! This app involves a picture and a line to act as a mouth and then audio for up to 30 seconds. ChatterPix is an easier app to use and a great alternative to some the more complex apps such as Morfo and Funny Movie Maker.



Learn your ABCs with Primrose Kindergarten.

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Bluebell Kindergarten love to share their Christmas song.  Sing along with them.


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How are you using Chatterpix?  I would love to see your ideas.  Tweet me yours @MrTowse

The Power of Twitter


Twitter in the Classroom
While some school admin team's ask that social media not be used by teachers, others are a little more open-minded (#PYPChat)  Here at Seisen, we have been given the 'green' light to adopt and welcome social media given that it is able to impact on learning standards in the classroom. Personally, I advocate the use of Twitter in the classroom. In fact, when leading training sessions, there is a live hashtag conversation available.

As we know, social media is not without its flaws and yes, there is often content that is not age-appropriate. However, we must accept this and be understanding that Twitter and its counterparts allow schools and staff members to share fantastic ideas/theories and blogs!

Using Twitter to Make an Impact!
Social media feeds have been very active recently with the tragic news coming out of Paris.  In light of this, if you are looking for resources for support and to offer guidance, +Tara Carnright  latest blog post is a must-read!

Monday's morning prayer was a little different this week as a result of the Paris attacks.  Mrs. Rogers, Head of School, led us in a moment of silence.  Seisen's guiding principals were in mind, and it gave us all time to reflect and reaffirm our own beliefs.

This week I have been working with grades 3 to 6. During this time, we've shared experiences of internet use and reflected on practice. The girls utilised role-play and drama to showcase their understanding of unexpected behaviour whilst online and how to cope with these instances.

Breaking News! 18th November 2015 - 3:10 pm

With a little over five minutes of the school day remaining,  my Twitter feed is wild.





I decided to work with Grade 5A in a way different to other #esafety sessions'.

I used the words of Mrs. Rogers and the guiding principles that Seisen International School is built on:
  • Shape international mindedness and celebrate international diversity
  • Reach out to the world with hospitality and hope.
  • Act as leaven for worldwide community building
  • Share all that we are and have
With a couple of whiteboards and a lot of enthusiasm, +Christine Richardson 5A students sent a message to reach out to the world, help shape international mindedness, act as a leaven for others and share all that we have!
Tweet all about it! 
There is a real 'twitter buzz' around the elementary school at the moment.  Over lunch today, it was great to hear that Ms. Brittany has signed up to Twitter, thus bringing the world of twitter into the gym and taking our PE classes outside the walls of Seisen.

Update: 5th March







Part II is a far cry from my initial taste of Twitter!


I would love to hear how you are using Twitter and other forms of social media to make an impact! Leave your comments below.

Learning through ICT Coffee Morning





Throughout the year, the elementary school hosts a variety of PYP Coffee Morning's. This past Wednesday, ICT was asked to present.  This gave us the opportunity to demonstrate to parents how we are using technology to support student inquiry and enhance standards.

This year, we have moved to blogs as a method of communication, and today we officially launched the comment feature to our parents.  Be sure to visit our blogs and give our students an audience! The introduction of blogs has revolutionized the way in which we communicate with parents. Now, we are able to engage with a world-wide audience.

The morning included a demo from Mr Hughes on how we are using Mathletics, giving parents the chance to explore this fantastic learning tool through the eyes of their daughters. Ms Lea proudly talked about the rebranding of the ES Media Centre, while Ms Carnright shared her blog.

Thank you to all in attendance! It was a great atmosphere with fantastic collaboration between staff and parents.

Mr Hughes and Ms Sandra will host the next PYP Coffee Morning on Thursday, February 11th, where they will be talking about assessment and the IOWA standardized measures of achievment. To confirm your place, click here.

If you are interested in learning more, there is the opportunity during the 3-Way Learning Conferences this coming Monday, November 23rd.



Using QR Codes to Create Portfolio Pages


Report Card Season is well underway and with it comes the need to evidence student learning.

During our last elementary school staff meeting, a question from our music department got me thinking....hence this blog post!

"How do we evidence student learning when a physical printed piece of work is not produced?"

"Students have produced a fantastic piece of work, but it is an MP4 and we cannot put this into a portfolio."

FEAR NOT...Enter Google Drawing and QR Codes...

Steps to Success

  • First, open a new Google Drawing Document. If you have created a template format for portfolio use, great.  If not then, click here for an example - feel free to save a copy and use it!
  • QR Codes (Quick Response) are a mobile phone readable barcode that can store website URL's. Here at Seisen International School we use GAFE (Google Apps for Education) so all that we store on The Drive is given a link (URL).  
  • Ensure you have saved the file you wish for parents, students and colleagues to marvel in the magic at in Google Drive.  Create a shareable link and decide your privacy setting - it might be best if anyone with the link is able to view the file.
  • Copy the URL, visit  www.qrstuff.com paste it into the generator and the QR is created!
  • Download and save the QR Code.  
  • Click here to download Mr Towse's steps to success guide!
If you use this or any of the ideas in this blog, I would love to hear from you.  Let me know through email, Twitter or leave a comment below!

Halloween

On October 31st, we celebrate Halloween, thought to be the one night of the year when ghosts, witches, and fairies are especially active.

Whilst Kindergarten, Middle School & High School celebrated Halloween last week, our elementary school was taking IOWA Tests!

This week our Homeroom Parents' have been busy decorating homerooms across the elementary school ready for Thursday's (5th November) Celebration.


ICT integration meets Halloween and Mr Towse is showcasing Ditty and WordFoto.  It is not the first time these apps have featured in Mr Towse Blog!


If you are a regular visitor to Mr Towse's Blog you may remember the post, featuring WordFoto.  It was used in Grade 4's Previous Unit of Inquiry - Central Idea: Creating and responding to art develops understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Here the girls used the app to create a piece of art to represent social issues.

Mr Towse has used Word Foto this Halloween to represent words associated to this particular time of year.  This was given to students and students used their Word Foto to create a word bank of ideas.  It was a great link to week eight's 100-word challenge.

WordFoto
Mr Towse as The joker
Original Photo
Mr Towse as The joker
















Ditty makes another appearance on PYP ICT with Mr Towse, it also features on Ms. Carnright's blog.  Check it out!


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If you use this or any of the ideas in this blog, I would love to hear from you. Let me know through email, Twitter or leave a comment below!

Welcome back with Ditty

Made with Ditty
Welcome back, I hope you all had a well-earned break and are feeling refreshed and ready for this upcoming quarter!

I would love to hear about your break, and share your stories with our global audience.  I have condensed my break using the Ditty.  I would like you to create a short music video, using Ditty.


video


video

Okinawa

Photos and stories to follow....

House Day

20th October

The weather did not disappoint and we were set for what is Seisen International School's Second Annual K-12 House Day. A massive well-done and our appreciation must go to The House Captains, they did a wonderful job of organising activities at school and outdoor events at Kinuta Park for their teams.

With 48 teams, the task was huge! Keeping an entire school organised and on task, without breaking a sweat they kept students and staff entertained!

We spent half the day at school competing in activities to earn house points for our respective team (Go Ontake!) We were given the task of designing house mascots! We also played Charades and Pictionary. In the gym, there were competitive races, only here would we see staff racing around on mini skateboards.

Over at Kinuta Park, teams worked together to get to know each other and use our individual strengths effectively. The park events closed with K-12 three-legged races and a staff race for good measure.

The day drew to a close with a 'Seisen Records' event, where each house was given 30 minutes to make as many coloured paper cranes as possible.


16th October

Rain Stops Play!

ScreenChomp with Kindergarten

ScreenChomp
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been using ScreenChomp with Kindergarten.  I continue to explore the ways in which an iPad can enhance learning. 
I wanted to use an app with students where they would be able to draw and record. With this app, they are then able to share their recording via Twitter or by email, which is a bonus!  It is great to share student learning with their school community in such a convenient manner.  It is wonderful observing five-year-olds who are able to open an app, create a video and share it via email with their parents.

The purpose of the described app was to develop the children's fine motor/coordination skills by drawing members of their family.  I was looking for students' control of the interactive pen whilst drawing on the canvas.  

Here are some of those links:










Blogger - Steps to Success Pt 2

Single Subject Teachers were today introduced to the world of blogging!  For most of them, it is completely new - their reaction showed great enthusiasm and it a privilege to be a part of their blogging journey.

Homeroom teachers have been blogging for a couple of weeks now. Last week homeroom teachers were introduced to our steps to success during a session at our recent professional development day.  Today was the turn of our single subject teachers.  Specialists are going to contribute to a grade level blog once a week.

Using our steps to success #SOLOTaxonomy we are able to identify where we are now and where we are going.

It is an amazing feeling to be in a room with such creative and inspirational teachers, moreover to see this passion applied to blogs when celebrating the success of our students is a privilege!


Committed! (Seisen Teacher profile!)

Great to see Grade 1 at almost 500 visitors (in a week!)

Teachers leave after an 'exit tweet'

I am looking forward to our next session.

If you are looking to introduce blogging at a school in Japan - please do not hesitate to contact me!


Sakura Medal @ Seisen

Sakura Medal

Sakura Medal Season is underway at Seisen International School, Tokyo!

Today saw the official launch of Sakura Medal.  This week, all elementary classes will be introduced to this year's collection of books.  Ms. Lea & Mrs. Ingrid are very excited, and it has been great to see such a 'student buzz' surrounding Sakara Medal 2016.  Today alone, we have had four elementary classes drop into our newly rebranded media centre to find out this year's contenders.


What is Sakara Medal?
Started in 2006, Sakura Medal is a book award voted on by children and young adults in Japan. Sakura Medal brings together students from international schools across Japan, giving them a voice, each year to vote for their favourite books!
Ms. Lea outlined the process of Sakura selection this morning to a grade 1 class:


Ms. Lea holding two of the books nominated from our school
"Librarians from lots of different international schools meet, with their favourite children's book and then 25-30 books in each of the Sakura Medal categories are selected by the different librarians, working together. The criteria for books chosen is that they are no more than two years old and that are from a variety of backgrounds and across varying levels of reading abilities.
Being relatively new to Japan and being a part of my first Sakura Medal Program, I am looking forward to the next few months and seeing children further develop a real passion for reading! To find out that one of my favourite books 'The Day the Crayons Quit' was last year's winner, I am already hooked until the very end to see what this year's winner is going to be. If only I could vote!"

Seisen's Guidelines
Students from Grade 1 to 5 read at least five Sakura books, and Grade 6 students read at least four.
The list of Sakura Medal short listed books is available online and in the media centre, and may be borrowed from the Elementary Media Centre.
For every four of five books read, each student can place one vote at the end of the programme. For example, if a student reads ten books in the picture book category, she is entitled to put two votes in the box.
Students complete a bookmark for each of the Sakura Medal shortlisted books they have read. These are kept in the Elementary Media Centre and students can refer to them when it is time to vote. Students will vote for their favourite books in April.

The winning book will then be announced, and the author will be awarded the Sakura Medal.

Word of the day (for me at least) Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms! I cannot wait until spring to see this incredible sight!


Blogger Steps to Success Pt 1

@MrTowse #Japan #CPD
As part of our whole school implementation of blogging here at Seisen International School #bloggingatseisen we had a 45-minute session, where I introduced staff to Seisen's Steps to Success.  Steps to Success is a model built in conjunction with Mr Michael Hughes from the great work by  #SOLOTaxonomy & Pam Hook.

The session also showcased apps that may also find a way into a classroom, and if you would like to hear more about this workshop or further sessions that are available, please do not hesitate to contact me @MrTowse or email

Staff sharing initial feedback regarding blog practice

Staff using #SOLOTaxonomy to reflect on own practice

Update: 15th October

Single Subject Teacher's Blogging



Google in the Classroom

Google in the Classroom
Ahead of becoming a Google Certified Educator, I would like to share some of the google apps for education (GAFE) I have used, and how you might use them in your classroom.

I am passionate about ICT and Technology in classrooms, but only when it is used with a clear purpose and is not just a gimmick.  Technology must have an impact and must make a difference to the teaching and learning process.

The results must be visible!

Google in the Classroom

YouTube
  • Start your lessons with a movie trailer, a music video or a pre-recorded introduction! 
  • Something visual and engaging - hook students from the outset of the lesson! 
  • Create playlists - students record a video clip to demonstrate their learning, this is then added to a playlist for other to view and make comments (in line with school policy) or integrated as a comment on Google Classroom. 
  • Record a class lesson and use it as part of a summative or formative assessment. Flipped Classroom!
Blogger
  • Post lesson resources and follow up with homework tasks 
  • Use as a communication tool to keep parents informed of what's happening in the classroom 
  • Reflect on own practices and share ideas with other educators (for me this is the best form of professional development!) 

Have a read of this article by Hanna Shekhter - Why Teachers and Students Should Blog.

Google Classroom


Gmail
  • Students can communicate with staff and peers and with the added feature of instant chat, Gmail becomes more than email
  • Students can submit assignments
  • Students can connect their learning tools
  • Staff members can use Gmail & Google Groups to hold virtual discussions
  • Staff members can collect student date and produce graphs and distribute class surveys
Google Docs
  • Collaborative Writing with Docs - with comment and share features, students can receive and give immediate feedback to documents as well as reply to comments and edit their work
  • Collaborative mind-map with Drawing - with this features students can contribute as a group to mind-maps! Gone are the days of fighting for the pen and space to write!
  • Google Forms - this has to be one of the best tools I have used in recent times as a practitioner.  With Google Forms, I have created an app review and book review for staff and students to share good practice.  For students, it can be used to create their very own quiz or contribute in a survey!
I am looking for Google Certified Educators to leave guest posts.  If you are interested, I look forward to hearing from you.  

Google in the Classroom

Google in the Classroom
Ahead of becoming a Google Certified Educator, I would like to share some of the google apps for education (GAFE) I have used, and how you might use them in your classroom.

I am passionate about ICT and Technology in classrooms, but only when it is used with a clear purpose and is not just a gimmick.  Technology must have an impact and must make a difference to the teaching and learning process.

The results must be visible!

Google in the Classroom

YouTube
  • Start your lessons with a movie trailer, a music video or a pre-recorded introduction! 
  • Something visual and engaging - hook students from the outset of the lesson! 
  • Create playlists - students record a video clip to demonstrate their learning, this is then added to a playlist for other to view and make comments (in line with school policy) or integrated as a comment on Google Classroom. 
  • Record a class lesson and use it as part of a summative or formative assessment. Flipped Classroom!
Blogger
  • Post lesson resources and follow up with homework tasks 
  • Use as a communication tool to keep parents informed of what's happening in the classroom 
  • Reflect on own practices and share ideas with other educators (for me this is the best form of professional development!) 

Have a read of this article by Hanna Shekhter - Why Teachers and Students Should Blog.

Google Classroom



Gmail
  • Students can communicate with staff and peers and with the added feature of instant chat, Gmail becomes more than email
  • Students can submit assignments
  • Students can connect their learning tools
  • Staff members are able to use Gmail & Google Groups to hold virtual discussions
  • Staff members can collect student date and produce graphs and distribute class surveys

Google Docs
  • Collaborative Writing with Docs - with comment and share features, students can receive and give immediate feedback to documents as well as reply to comments and edit their work
  • Collaborative mind-map with Drawing - with this features students can contribute as a group to mind-maps! Gone are the days of fighting for the pen and space to write!
  • Google Forms - this has to be one of the best tools I have used in recent times as a practitioner.  With Google Forms, I have created an app review and book review for staff and students to share good practice.  For students, it can be used to create their very own quiz or contribute in a survey!
I am looking for Google Certified Educators to leave guest posts.  If you are interested, I look forward to hearing from you.  

An Epic decision!

The Netflix of books!


...and the best part, Epic is free for teachers!

Epic is an online reading library, with a wealth of fiction and non-fiction texts.  The app allows teachers to add their students and track their reading progress.  Students can earn medals for their reading success and progress through the levels.  A feature of Epic that I particularly like is the 'read to me' option; this allows children to 'sit back and relax' while enjoying a quality text.

The range of books available is Epic! (Sorry, I couldn't resist)  What are you waiting for, try Epic today!
The process to sign up is simple:
  • log in and explore what Epic has to offer!
I would love to see how this app is being used in homerooms.

Leave a comment below or tweet me!

Chinese New Year Questions

Why do people give PoPo oranges at Chinese New Year?

You will find the answers in stories, available on Epic!

  1. Why do we see dragons a lot during Chinese New Year Celebrations?
  2. What is the reason many people go to the temple during New Year?
  3. What is the name of the sweet sticky cake eaten during Chinese New Year?
  4. At New Year, many children are given a red envelope.  What does it contain? And Why?
  5. Why is Chinese New Year not celebrated on 1st January?
  6. What is the significance of orange and red clothing?
  7. Why did people take baths with mint leaves?
  8. What do Fish and the word 'Plenty' have in common?
  9. In what ways do children show respect to their elders during Chinese New Year?

Thank you to Grade 2 & 3 for their questions!



Updates
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year with Epic.  New books added.
  • Find hidden clues and solve mysteries with newly added mystery books
  • Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. learn about his legacy as well as The Civil Rights Movement and social justice.

Peace and Conflict

After arriving at school this morning, my entire plan for Grade 5 changed!

I was uploading a video to my Roald Dahl blog post and via Save the Children Channel, I found this video.



After thinking about how I could use this video in today's lesson with Grade 5 and a quick Google search I discovered Mr P had it on his blog, with a guest post from John Murray!

Thanks John, for some starter questions!

We created a Padlet, where we have been responding to the video. Check out our thoughts!

http://padlet.com/dtowse/peace

5A



Doodlecast Pro with EAL

DoodleCast
Thanks to Ms. Kathi for her guest post.   

Ms. Kathi has been using the iPad with her EAL group, and has booked iPads for the rest of the academic year!

Below are some videos that her team has produced.  Also, you may want to visit Ms. Kathi's website, for further insight to EAL here at Seisen International School.  Ms. Kathi is also posting on grade level blogs; you can access individual blogs from the pages bar at the top.  

video


video


Roald Dahl Day


Celebrate Roald Dhal with this collection of free resources for teachers contributed by teachers.

Monday 14th September

How will you celebrate the works' of Roald Dahl in class today?


"if my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important."

Roald Dahl


After searching for resources to celebrate Roald Dahl Day '15, I came across Save the Children Channel on YouTube.  Their channel had this very powerful video and should be shared far and wide.  
Ten Minutes a Day! That's all it takes.



QR Code Treasure Hunt

QR Reader

QR Codes

(Quick Response) Code similar to that of a barcode, in the way that information is stored and is retrieved using a scanner.  Mobile Applications make the retrieval of data much more accessible. Using the website http://www.qrstuff.com/ you are able to embed a Website URL, Twitter Account, iTunes Link or App Download to name but a few into a QR Code!

There are many online tools for creating QR Codes, which you can then use in your classroom. I tend to use QR Stuff.

http://www.qrstuff.com/

I have recently started using ClassTools for generating QR Treasure Hunts:
http://www.classtools.net/QR/create.php

QR Codes @ Seisen!

Blogging @ Seisen

Morfo

Morfo

I have been using Morfo for some time, and  I am featuring this app again.

I have previously used the app as part of World Book Day Activities!  The app is a great way of bringing historical characters to life - how about the next time you teach the Victorians', you could have Queen Victoria introduce the unit.  Create an interview with Henry VIII.  Relive some of those most famous speeches through the use of Morfo!

Next time you are looking for a quest speaker - try out Morfo!


Morfo Role Models'


Thanks to Emilie from Grade 6 for her Martin Luther King Speech!

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Quiver in Kindergarten

Quiver formerly colAR

Quiver (formerly colAR), is one of the better AR apps I have used in recent times.  I decided to use this app with a Pre-First Grade Group (5-6 year-olds), but it wasn't before long, the three-year-olds were fascinated by what was going on and joined in!

What was going on?
Our 2D drawing was coming alive!

#Fireworks! #Fire Engines! #Birds!

Used in Kindergarten, to show how colouring within the lines can impact on the visual effects of their creation.  The possibilities are endless! I am already planning to use this app with grades 5 and 6, to show how Augmented Reality enhances the written quality of students' work.

Check out the official trailer and a video collection of Seisen's experience with Quiver!







video
Quiver in Kindergarten made using Flipagram!

Pic Collage

Pic Collage

With Pic Collage, a poster becomes more than just a 'poster' and best of all it's free! It has to be one of my favourite apps!  I have used this app with students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Successful ways, in which I have used Pic Collage in the classroom:
  1. I have used with students in Grade 4 to create the front cover of a book.  We read a short story, without seeing the cover (covered with brown paper). Afterward, the students designed their version based on what they had read
  2. Visual introductions, with Kindergarten; we used Pic Collage to introduce ourselves at the start of the academic year
  3. For those who are still developing writing and typing skills - students can recall their memorable moments in a Pic Collage
  4. Grades 3-6 enjoyed creating festive cards.  Students were able to send a digital card across the world in minutes! Far quicker than the Christmas Postal Service
  5. Kindergarten  to Grade 6 can use Pic Collage to create varying levels of a storyboard

If you are using Pic Collage, tweet me your suggestions! 


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