Read & Write for Google

Image from Chrome Web Store for Read & Write Google

Yesterday, I attended the RVA Unconference that was hosted by Henrico County.  I went to one session called Google Apps for K-2, and the facilitator shared with us a resource that I think would be very beneficial.  It’s a Google Chrome extension called Read to Write for Google.  It allows you to have the text in the doc highlight and read aloud to the students.  To add it to your account, launch Chrome and log into your Henrico Google Account.  Then click on this link:  Chrome Web Store  This will take you to the extension in the Chrome Web Store where you can get the free extension.   The YouTube video about this extension does a great job explaining how this product works.  Once the extension is added, whenever you open a new doc, this icon will pop up at the top of your doc and give you access to the tools of Read & Write for Google.

  Today, I practiced with a Kindergarten class to see how it would work.  I created a doc with a sight word list.  You could use the Tyner Sight Word Lists found on Virtual Share.  The doc reads through the word list for the student.  Then it reads the story I typed using those sight words.  Finally, I typed some directions for the students for what to do next.  After listening to the words a few times, the students can try to read the words aloud using Quick Voice on the iPad.  Then they can draw a picture of what was happening in the story so that the teacher can check for comprehension.

Here’s a quick example of this activity in action.  It was a trial run for all involved, and it’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point.  If you have other ideas of ways this could be used, I would love to hear them!




Composing & Editing Writing with Google Docs

This year, the elementary students are able to log into their Henrico Google Account and use the Google Applications. For this lesson, I set up the usernames and passwords for Ms. Herod’s 5th grade class at Longan. The students logged into their account and opened a new Doc. Ms. Herod gave them a prompt and we allowed them to type their descriptive paragraph(s) for about 30 minutes.

Next the students went to the share settings and shared their document with a classmate and their teacher. When the students clicked on their Shared with Me folder, they saw a document from one of their classmates. This allowed them to open their classmate’s Doc and use the commenting feature to suggest ways in which they could improve their paragraph. Students were looking for grammatical errors, spelling, punctuation, run on sentences, etc.

At the end of the lesson, the students asked if they could continue editing their friend’s writing for homework, so I think they enjoyed this new way of editing writing!

Henrico 21 Awards Ceremony

What a great year we have had! The Henrico 21 submissions this year were incredible! I am happy to announce that the Henrico Hometown Heroes project from Springfield Park is a Henrico 21 Finalist in the Project category! Way to go 5th grade team! You can learn more about their project on the Henrico 21 Site.

In addition, 3 students from Springfield Park will be recognized for their outstanding work! Ravi has been working on computer programming using SCRATCH. Check out his winning project here!

The students in Mrs. Nowicki’s 5th grade class created memorials for someone they thought was deserving. These students finished products went above and beyond the project expectations and have earned these students recognition at the Henrico 21 ceremony. Check out their work here: Katie & Gwen

Congratulations to these student winners and teacher finalists! You can see more innovative lessons and student products at the Henrico 21 Ceremony, Thursday, May 30th at Glen Allen High School. The student fair will take place from 5:30-6:30 and the ceremony will begin shortly after that. I hope to see you there!

How A Book Gets Published Prezi

The students in Mrs. Pierce’s 5th Grade class at Springfield Park have been working on researching and sharing the many steps that go into publishing a book. They brainstormed the different jobs that are a part of publishing and selling a book and split into teams to conduct research on that topic. Then they collaborated on a class Prezi to explain how a book on the bookshelf is just the tip of the iceberg. In their presentation, they explain the roles and responsibilities of each person/group involved in publishing a book. Here is what they have so far:

After working on their Prezi, invited a local author to come into their classroom and discuss the steps involved in publishing a book. Information they gained from interviewing Ellery Adams will help them to edit their Prezi. Next, they would like to Skype with a publisher or someone who works at a publishing company to check their facts and edit their Prezi even further. It’s a work in progress, but they are learning a lot of skills from this experience.

Probability with a Google Form

During spring Reflective Friends observations, I saw a teacher who had some great ideas for probability stations. The students were recording their results on a worksheet, but I thought it will be really neat to gather results on a Google Form, so I gave it a try with a class this week. I tried this activity with 4 different stations. The students scanned the QR code to the form on the iPad and then completed the activity. Students took turns filling out and submitting the form until everyone had a turn.

Color Spinner
Heads or Tails
Roll the Dice
Choose a Block
Afterwards, we were able to view and analyze the data as a class by opening the spreadsheet to the form. If you click on form, you can get a summary of the results, which pulled up as either a pie or a bar graph for the multiple choice question I asked.

Following the lesson, the teacher and I reflected and decided it could be better if we had a spinner with uneven color spaces, so that one would be more likely to occur than another. The same would work for the choose a block station. If the entire bag consisted of red and blue blocks, the students would have much different data than if the bag had one of each color. I can’t wait to try this again with another class.

SCRATCH Force & Motion Review Game

After learning the basics using the SCRATCH task cards provided on, the students were eager to create their own projects. Ravi, a student in Mrs. Moore’s 4th grade class at Springfield Park, decided to create a review game on force and motion, since they had just finished learning about this topic in science class. In his design, the player has to correctly answer the question in order for the roller coaster cart to move down the track. Ravi published his completed game to the Scratch website and then posted a link on the Edmodo Scratch group so that his peers could try his game and leave feedback.
Force & Motion Review Game

STEM Highlight

I am so very proud of two wonderful teachers from my schools, Jan Locher, 1st Grade Teacher at Maybeury and Elizabeth Lacy, 5th Grade Teacher at Baker. They were featured at the school board meeting for their work with STEM. Jan Locher’s students designed a cup to keep the hot chocolate hot for a longer period of time. They tested the hot chocolate’s temperature using the GoTemps and were successful at creating a better insulated container. Elizabeth Lacy mentors a First Lego Leaugue Robotics Team at Baker Elementary where they use computer programming to program their robots to complete a specific task. Way to go ladies! You can check out their highlights on this STEM video that was shared at the last school board meeting:
HCPS TV – STEM Highlight