Scratch & Makey Makey’s

As part of our Tech Takeout at Baker Elementary on Friday, the students learned some basic computer programming in Scratch. They had a great time practicing their measurement skills while computer programming to make their characters come to life.  When they were finished, they were able to hook up the makey makey to their project and see how it plays with the game controller.  Check out some of the great finished examples:

For this first game, click on the green flag. Then push the down arrow and then the up arrow and repeat to see him dribble the basketball. To try again, refresh your page.

For this game, click on the green flag. Then push the up arrow and watch him shoot a basket! To try again, refresh your page.

For this game, click on the green flag. Then push the right arrow key to watch him throw the baseball! To try again, refresh your page.

Skyping with Bruce Strickrott

Photo Mar 19, 10 06 25 AM

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Skype session with a 5th Grade class at Trevvett.  They Skyped with Bruce Strickrott, the Alvin Manager at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.  The students had researched all about Bruce and his career and were prepared with some excellent questions to further their understanding of their oceans unit and their Underwater Human Environment Project.

We learned so much!  Here are some of the highlights:

– Alvin is the deepest diving submarine in the world and can stay under for 3.5 days, though their trips are usually day trips from 8am-5pm.
– They average 3 new species per dive.  One new specie was even named after Bruce.  Check out the Eptatretus strickrotti
– Using the Alvin, they have discovered brine lakes on the bottom of the ocean floor.
– Usually animals are scared of the Alvin and get out of the way, but it has been attacked twice by swordfish.
– The grossest thing he’s ever seen is a hagfish feasting on a dead whale on the bottom of the ocean.  Check out these hagfish and see why.
– The windows on the Alvin are cone shaped to prevent the pressure at the bottom of the ocean from crushing the submarine.  It can dive down to 14,764 ft.  Under the sea, there are 6800 lbs of pressure per square inch pressing on the Alvin.
– They have to take the right amount of oxygen tanks down for each dive and scrub the carbon dioxide off of the Alvin to keep the conditions right for humans to be at the bottom of the ocean inside the Alvin.
– If they start their dive near the equator, the water temperature is around 95 degrees.  However, when they reach the bottom of the ocean floor, it is 2 degrees above freezing, so they take layers of clothes to bundle up in and have special sleeping bags designed to keep them warm.

It was such an authentic experience and such an exciting way to learn more about the ocean!  You can download Skype from the Software Center and get your class chatting with an expert to enhance your curriculum.

Readability Level in Word

One great resource for improving writing is the Readability Level in Word.  It just requires a quick setting change in Word.  Open Word and go to File — Options — Proofing.  From there turn on “Show Readability Statistics.”


Then your students can type in Word.  After they are done, go to Spell Check and when the spell check is complete the Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics will appear.  This could be a great way to track student’s growth in writing over the course of the year and encourage them to spice up their adjectives and vocabulary to earn a higher readability level.


Food Fractions

Breakfast FractionsThis is a quick example of how you can relate fractions to a Kindergartner’s world. Using the Story Kit app, the students can take pictures of the food items and then write on top of the picture. They can also record their voice explaining each page. The finished product can be e-mailed out with the help of your ITRT. Story Kit provides a link to the finished product. There are also other alternative apps on the K/1 image that are easier to pull your story from, such as Book Creator.

Shadows in YakIt Kids App

These Kindergarten students have been excited about shadows this week. On Monday, they learned about the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, and talked about how shadows are made. On Tuesday, the teacher constructed a KWL chart on the board and the students discussed what they already knew about shadows and what they wanted to know. The teacher read What Makes a Shadow? by Clyde Robert Bulla, Illustrated by June Otani to help answer the questions they had about shadows. Then the students went on the playground with the iPads and the teacher took a picture of each student with their shadows. When they got back to the room, the teacher and I pulled small groups to bring their shadows to life. We used the YakIt Kids app to add eyes and a mouth to their shadow. We also added a sun in the picture to reinforce the idea that shadows are created when light is blocked by an object. Finally they recorded their voice to make their shadows talk about what they had learned. The finished products were easily saved to the camera roll and the teacher used Dropbox to transfer them to her computer. Check out a few of their finished videos!

Meet My Shadow from Karen Hues on Vimeo.

Tech Takeout @ Adams Elementary

Last Friday the #TechTakeout crew went to Adams Elementary to do some awesome technology lessons with the fourth graders. As a group we planned four different interactive math stations for the students using digital tools such as Google Earth, Google Draw, CheckThis, and ActivInspire flipcharts. Everyone had a blast throughout the day! Check out what we did below. Keep your eye out for us Glen Lea, because we are coming your way next!

Mr. Covais and Mr. Caratachea had the students using Google Earth to measure the perimeter of historical sites aligned with fourth grade SOLs. First the students opened up Google Earth. Once Google Earth was opened the students went to the student server where they could drag a .kmz file onto Google Earth to take them to specific places. The first place that we traveled to was Jamestown. After Jamestown was located the students used the ruler tool to measure the three sides of the Jamestown fort.

The students then added the length of the three sides and posted their findings on a collaborative Padlet Wall.

After the students posted to the Padlet wall they were able to repeat the activity and measure Mount Vernon, St. John’s Church, and some groups even had time to measure Adams Elementary!

Click Here to download the files of the different locations we visited!

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Robinson’s groups started by signing into their Google accounts. We then opened a blank document in Google Drawing and worked to create our own Gallon Girl, Gallon Guy or Gallon Man! Students used the shape tool to create various representations for the gallon, quarts, pints and cups. Each child changed their shape colors and added a key to their drawing as well. Finally they used the webcam to take a selfie and insert their own image into their drawing.

Check out some of their creations:

Mrs. Hues made an ActivInspire flipchart focusing on elapsed time. Elapsed time is always a tricky concept, so this was an awesome activity for these fourth graders! The students were able to use the interactive clocks within the flipchart to find how much time had passed between two events. On each slide, there was a sound recording with an elapsed time scenario, They listened to, and filled in the important information (start time, stop time, etc.). Then the students used the interactive clock to solve the problem.

While the student at the board was working through the problem, the other students had whiteboards and used whatever strategies they preferred to solve the problem.

When the students finished they looked at all of the final answers and shared the different ways that they arrived at the same answer, as well as figuring out where mistakes were made. The best part of the lesson was when another student perfectly explained the method that works for him and the other students benefited from seeing him work out the problem in this way. True collaboration and communication in action!

Ms. Wright and Mr. Clough used an awesome website called CheckThis for their activity. The students began the lesson by choosing items to weigh. Once the student selected their item they then used a balance to measure the mass of the item. After they knew the actual mass the students were ready to head over to CheckThis to make their own website!

Within CheckThis the students were able to take a picture of themselves holding their item. They then created a poll under the picture asking the weight of their item. At the bottom of each website the students took a second picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with the correct weight.

Mr. Clough and Ms. Wright made sure to grab the address of each website so that they can share them with the four teachers we worked with today. When the students visit the websites they can answer the question and then scroll down to see the correct answer.

Check out there awesome websites!

HUGE shoutout to Mrs. Browne and Mr. Favale for hanging with us at Adams and helping out too!

Check out all the fun we had!

#TechTakeout at Adams (01/2015) by Slidely Slideshow

Using Prezi to Present Information on the iPad

Prezi is a great presentation tool. Next time you have information that you want to teach to your kids, you may consider using Prezi as your tool to deliver the information. Prezi captures your student’s attention because it jumps from side to side, up and down, zooms in and out, rather than just advancing in a linear motion. There are copyright free pictures that you can search for and use right within the program. You can also search for and embed YouTube videos right into your presentation. Another great feature is the ability to record your voice over each slide. This is especially helpful in Kindergarten and 1st grade as they are still learning to read. By viewing this Prezi on the iPad, the students will click through the presentation and it will automatically read aloud to them, so they can track with the text as it is read aloud. When viewing on the iPad, there is an arrow that appears and prompts the students to click to the next stop in the presentation. Here is an example of a Prezi that I created for Maps & Globes.

Feel free to scan this QR code with your iPad and let your students give it a try!

Winter in Educreations

This 21 degree morning was the perfect time to have students create a page in Educreations to describe winter weather. Using a variety of picture books that they have been reading in their Kindergarten classroom, the students took a picture of a page that they thought showed the season of winter. Then they used the recording feature to point out what in the picture told them that it was winter. They also used the typing tool to write a sentence and type their name. Here is a great example of what the students created in stations today:

Elapsed Time in Inspire

The 5th grade students at Trevvett are preparing for their upcoming benchmark tests. Elapsed time is always a tricky concept, so today we did math review stations. At the Promethean Board, students took turns using the interactive clock as a model to solve the elapsed time problem. On each slide, there is a sound recording with an elapsed time scenario. They have to listen to, and fill in the important information (start time, stop time, etc.). Then they use the interactive clock to solve the problem.

While the student at the board is working through the problem, the other students have white boards and are using whatever strategies they prefer to solve the problem.

When everyone was finished we took a look at all the final answers and shared the different ways that they arrived at the same answer, as well as figuring out where mistakes were made. My favorite part of this lesson was when another student perfectly explained the method that works for him and the other students benefited from seeing him work out the problem in this way. True collaboration and communication in action!

Magnitude & Estimation with Educreations

These 1st grade students at Trevvett are working on understanding magnitude and how to estimate an amount. To practice with this concept, the students looked around the room for a group of something they could photograph. Then they used educreations on the iPad to explain how they determined their estimate for the number of items that they photographed. Here are some great examples!
This student wanted to estimate how many textbooks were on the shelf:

This student knew exactly how she wanted to approach solving this problem, but she really wanted to count all of the items. She created some groups of 10, but then stopped and guessed how many PlayDoh toys she would have altogether. She estimated 80. The actual amount was 103.

This student wanted to estimate how many words were on the word wall: