Welcome Back!

Welcome back to another great year!! I’m excited to work with you all this year. Please sign up for lessons and consultations on my blog. There have been some frequently asked questions from teachers, so we have developed this list of answers to those FAQs. Please feel free to save this in Google Drive and reference it throughout the 2015-2016 school year. I hope you all have a fabulous first week, and I look forward to working with you soon!

Scratch Review Games

Fourth and fifth grade students at Trevvett were busy coding this week to make review games for math concepts that they have learned this year. They collaborated with a partner to code review games using Scratch (scratch.mit.edu). Students learned how to change their sprites and costumes, as well as changing up the background image. They learned how to ask a question in scratch and then have the sprite give some sort of feedback as to whether or not they answered the question correctly. Some students also included sound clips and voice recordings to spice up their projects. They did awesome for their first experience with Scratch and I can’t wait to see what they create in the future! Check out some of their examples. Push the Green Flag to get started with the game.

Henrico 21 Student Fair & Awards Ceremony

This has been such a great year full of fantastic new ideas and lessons. I’m so proud of everyone’s accomplishments this year. Henrico 21 is my favorite event of the year because we get to celebrate the incredible lessons you are doing in your classroom. This years student 21 lessons were:

Jamestown Lit Trip in Google Tour Builder by a 4th Grade student in Ms. Driver’s reading group at Montrose.
Monster Dichotomous Keys in Google Presentations by 5th grade students in Mrs. Faini’s class at Greenwood.
Martin Luther King Jr. Gami by kindergarten students in Mrs. Milwit’s class at Greenwood.
The Capitol Moves with Google Tour Builder by 4th grade students in Ms. Adamonis’s class at Trevvett.
Tour of the Midwest: Missouri Edition by 5th grade students in Ms. Sims class at Longan.
Ocean Floor Thinglinks by 5th Grade students in Mrs. Beam’s class at Longan.

We even had 2 groups of student winners that will have their student projects entered into the Virginia Society for Technology in Education Student Technology Integration Challenge. Congratulations to:
Money Talks by Mrs. Byrne & Ms. Evans kindergarten students at Montrose.
Cell Phone of the Past by 4th grade students in Ms. Adamonis’ class at Trevvett.

Henrico 21 Lesson Awards to out to Ms. Adamonis & Mrs. Clark at Trevvett. Ms. Adamonis had her 4th grade students create newscasts for the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Clark had her 5th grade students create Underwater Human Environments as an extension to their oceans unit. Congratulations to all!!

Are you ready to Dine in with Tech Takeout?

Have you signed up for the Elementary Technology Conference happening in August? If you haven’t, now is the time! This year’s theme is Dining In with #TechTakeout. The focus will be on personalized learning for you and your students.

We will have food trucks from Boardwalk, Gelati Celesti, Carytown Burgers & Fries and BonBon! We’ll also have tons of door prizes!

So come on out to Glen Allen High School August 13th from 8:30 – 3:00. Sign up today to secure your spot!

Please register at http://ero.henrico.k12.va.us using your HCPS issued username and password. To access the registration system you will need be connected via Ethernet or HCPS staff wireless within any Henrico County building. Use the following information to help you locate the session when registering, SRN 20153092001.

Want to be a presenter? Click Here to fill out a proposal!


Tech Takeout @ Carver Elementary

Today the #TechTakeout crew went over to Carver Elementary to work with some amazing kindergarten students and teachers! We had a blast working on some Math skills on both iPads and computers. As a group we made sure to focus on particular skills that the students had trouble with throughout the year. Even though we were working on tough concepts for kindergartners such as money and fractions the students were engaged and having a blast the entire time!

We kicked off the day with a great game of Kahoot! The game focused on fractions and money and really got the kids pumped to start the lesson. All of the students were cheering for their friends when they got the right answer. Kahoot is a great tool because it is so easy to differentiate for the younger grades. Today we only let the students choose from two answer choices since they are younger.

Julie Smith and Jessica Robinson helped the students to review the fractions ½ and ¼. The students started by creating a farm fraction scene using the app Farmyard. Students were encouraged to make equal groups using the animal stamps to represent ½ and then make a second scene with four animals to represent ¼. They saved their scenes to the camera roll and imported them into the app, Educreations. Students used Educreations to record and annotate their explanations of their fraction scenes. Mooooooooooooo!


Sarah Green and Stephanie Wright helped students review money by making movies. First, they took pictures of the coins and then used the Shadow Puppets app to add labels to each picture. Finally, they recorded themselves talking about each coin to make a movie.

Tech takeout from Sarah Green on Vimeo.

Gina Browne and Karen Hues used the iPad app 30 Hands to create food fractions. The students uploaded pictures of different foods from the camera roll. There were three pictures of each food item: the first picture was the whole food, the second picture was the food cut in half, and in the third picture the food was cut into fourths. Once imported into 30 Hands, they used the drawing tool to write “one” on the whole, “½” on the halves, and “¼” on the fourths. The students then recorded their voices describing their food fractions. The three slides were combined and exported as a movie.

Fraction Foods from Karen Hues on Vimeo.

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea turned their group of students into computer programmers! When most people think of computer programmers a kindergarten student is not typically the first thing that comes to mind, but these kindergarten students were disproving that all day! The students used both Scratch and Makey Makeys to make money actually speak.

First, the students went to the Scratch website and the students added the event “when spacebar is pressed.” Next, they added the command to make a sound. They students had a great time recording their voices explaining which coin they had and how much it was worth. We then added the Makey Makeys into the mix. The students took a coin and connected it to their own Makey Makey and then connected a ground wire to the earth section of the Makey Makey. When the students touched their coin their computer said, “I am a quarter and I’m worth 25 cents.”

Tech Takeout @ Glen Lea

Wow! Today marks the fifth day of 5 and 5, the Tech Takeout crew went to 5 different schools in 5 days to work in different grade levels on different math and language arts skills. As a group we discussed the areas of need in each of the schools we visited. The teachers provided us with data explaining the needs of their students. Every school we made sure to focus on area of need for that particular grade level.


For the opening activity the students did a quick opening pre-assessment with Plickers. Plickers is a great student response system that takes the need of multiple devices out of the equation. As long as the teacher has a smart device that has the Plickers app loaded onto it they could use this platform in their classroom. The way students respond with this student response system is by holding a Plickers card, which can be printed from the Plickers website. One of our favorite things about Plickers is that all of the cards look different. This keeps students from looking at a neighbor’s card to copy their answer. Mrs. Wright made a quick five question pre-assessment of various language arts skills. The students and teachers both had a great time participating in the Plickers activity.We were so lucky to visit Glen Lea Elementary today to work with the fifth grade. In every class we used different digital tools to hit different language arts skills that the students needed a little extra help with. We worked on inferencing, synonyms, main idea, and summarizing.


Julie Smith and Stephanie Wright worked on inferencing skills using real commercials. The students watched different popular commercials that did not use any dialog so it required the audience to use inferencing skills. While watching the commercials the students discussed how inferencing was used in the commercials. After the discussion the students made their own Comic Life that focused on inferencing. The students chose an emotion on which to focus and took a picture of themselves displaying that emotion. The trickiest part about making their Comic Life is that the students could not say what emotion they were displaying. Once all of the students finished their Comic Life they saved them as JPEGs and then uploaded them to a collaborative Padlet wall. The students did such a great job, and LOVED the activity!



Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea focused on main idea with their group. The students were given a short reading passage and were tasked with identifying the main idea. Once the students decided on the main idea they headed over to Bitstrips to show off their knowledge! The students created a one panel comic showing the main idea of their passage. When they finished their comic the students took a screenshot and saved it to their desktop. Mr. Covais created a Padlet wall for the students to share their work, so after the students took their screenshot they went to the Padlet wall for today. Padlet is such a great tool for sharing work! It is a digital collaborative corkboard. The students simply dragged their comic onto the Padlet wall to share their main idea with their classmates.


Karen Hues and Sarah Green had the students engaged in non fiction learning! Students used newsela.com to read non fiction articles at different reading levels. Then they used Vocaroo to record themselves reading their article to practice their fluency. After listening to the recording, they wrote a summary in TodaysMeet to share with the rest of their group. They were limited to 140 characters, so it was important to condense their article into a concise summary.


Jessica Robinson and Garry Marshall had a blast today with their students! Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Marshall focused on synonyms as well as inferencing. The students were given cards with an emotion listed. Once the students received their emotion card they started by taking a selfie using the Dell Webcam. After dragging their image to their desktops they headed over to BigHuge Labs to make a trading card for their emotion. This is such a great web resource because it can easily be adapted to any content area. The students uploaded their picture and then typed sentences using at least one synonym describing their emotions. This activity was really useful because the students were able to work on multiple skills at the same time. The teacher can then print out all of the cards and use them as task cards in a center. Once the students finished their card they uploaded it to a collaborative Padlet wall.


Tech Takeout @ Arthur Ashe Elementary

Day 4 of our week long Tech Takeout extravaganza was AWESOME! We headed over to Arthur Ashe Elementary and focused on division, word problems, elapsed time, and line graphs in 5th grade. The students had a blast using a variety of technology while thinking critically. One more day left, and we are still excited! This has been an amazing week, and can’t wait to head to Glen Lea Elementary tomorrow!

For the opening activity Gina Browne had an amazing idea for a pre-assessment for how the students felt about math going into the day. The students used the word cloud feature on abcya.com. Once they typed in three adjectives describing how they felt, the students saved the word cloud to their desktop. They then headed over to a Padlet wall that Mrs. Browne created for each individual class so the students had an opportunity to see how everyone was feeling.

Gina Browne and Julie Smith used EdPuzzle for challenging word problem practice. EdPuzzle allows the teacher to find a video or upload their own video to the website. The teacher can crop the video, add a voice over and/or embed quiz questions. This program is great for a flipped classroom environment or even a great tool to use for centers/rotations. Students in this group viewed and worked on two different word problems involving fractions.Check it out:

Sarah Green and Karen Hues had the students use Google Maps to find how much time it takes to travel from Arthur Ashe Elementary School to a destination of their choice. Then they chose a starting time and calculated the elapsed time to find out what time they would arrive at their destination. They posted a screenshot of their travel route along with their elapsed time word problem on a padlet wall to share with their classmates.

Jessica Robinson and Stephanie Wright had their group using multiple online resources. Their students started out by choosing a vacation spot that interested them. They then accessed The Weather Channel website and recorded the high and low temperatures for the next five days at that vacation destination. After their data was collected they signed into their Google account and plugged in their data on a Google Sheet. After their data was recorded they created a line graph within Google Sheets. They personalized their graph and then copied into a group Google Presentation. After their resized their graph they used the image search feature and found a few key places at their vacation destination to add to their slides. Check out their great graphs!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea were training some future computer programmers using Scratch and MaKeyMaKeys. First, the students wrote division word problems and then headed over to the Scratch website. Next, the students selected two sprites to work with. The students programmed one of the sprites to state the word problem when the up key was pressed. We programmed the other sprite said the answer when the students pushed the down key. When the students finished programming they hooked up the MaKeyMaKeys to control what they had just programmed. An alligator clip was attached the the up arrow on the MaKeyMaKey and then another alligator clip was hooked the down arrow on the MaKeyMaKey. The students connected their last clip was to the ground, and they were almost good to go! The finishing touches were when we put Playdough on the other ends of the alligator clips. The students were completely blown away when they were controlling the computer with Playdough!

Gina Browne’s Slidely by Slidely Slideshow

Tech Takeout @ Highland Springs Elementary

Today was our third Tech Takeout this week! We are having a blast working with different schools and grade levels across the county. For our third adventure we trekked over to Highland Springs Elementary to work on word analysis skills. Each pair of ITRTs developed different hands on technology lessons to get the kids pumped to learn! Remember that we want all of you teachers to take anything we post and make it your own! Every Tech Takeout that we do utilizes a variety of tools and focuses on different skills. No matter what grade level you teach you can always find something useful! If you’re on Twitter follow our hashtag to keep up to date with everything we do. #TechTakeout

For the opening activity we had the students answer review questions in Quizziz. The students had a super fun time with the activity.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Stephanie Wright and Gina Browne focused on synonyms and antonyms using Nearpod. Students began by reviewing the definitions of synonyms and antonyms. A short video clip was linked into the presentation as additional review. Afterwards, the students used their own computers/ ipads to create t-charts of synonyms and antonyms. Multiple choice questions were also part of the presentation. The activity concluded with students creating their own synonyms and antonyms.
Examples of synonyms and antonyms they created:

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea used Padlet to play a Prefix and Suffix game. They provided the students with a Padlet wall for the students to use for the game. Every student was assigned a color for their words, the the students were challenged to type in as many words from a list of words with prefixes or suffixes. After about five minutes the students stopped typing their words. Once they had as many words as they could type in they started the game. The students took turns picking an opponent’s color, reading one of their words, and deciding if the word had a prefix or suffix. If the student was correct the word was moved to the prefix or suffix section. The person with the most words at the end left in their color was the winner!

The students had a blast constructing a menu for the “Delightful Deli” with Karen Hues and Sarah Green! The Delightful Deli is a delicious place for writers to select words with prefixes and suffixes to use in their writing. The students opened a Google Doc template with a plate of prefixes, suffixes, and root words, as well as a blank menu board for the specials of the day. With their partner, the students collaboratively worked on a Google Doc to type words with prefixes and suffixes on the menu board Google Drawing. Once the students typed their words on the menu, they used Vocaroo to recorded themselves reading the specials for the day and enticing hungry writers to visit the Delightful Deli.

The students that worked with Julie Smith and Jessica Robinson made affix movies! They did an app smash using DoodleBuddy and Shadow Puppet. The students used DoodleBuddy to write a word that has both a prefix and a suffix. They used stoplight color coding to show the prefix (green), root word (yellow), and suffix (red). Once the students completed two or three words in DoodleBuddy, they exported the pictures to the camera roll. The students then brought in the pictures into Shadow Puppet and recorded their voices explaining the the parts of the word. They also explained how the prefixes and suffixes changed the meaning of the root word.

Affixes from Julie on Vimeo.

Julie Smith’s Slidely by Slidely Slideshow

Tech Takeout @ Crestview

The Tech Takeout crew is continuing our 5 Schools, 5 Days week long extravaganza of fun! Today was day two and it was a blast! We headed over to Crestview Elementary and focused on fractions in third grade.

Opening Activity: It is that time of year….REVIEW TIME! I know many of you have been using the student response system, Kahoot! Are you ready to change things up a bit?

Recently we tried out a similar student response system, Quizizz, and it proved to be a great alternative to Kahoot.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Sarah Green and Stephanie Wright led a group of fraction secret agents. The students used Pixie to decode a picture representing a fraction as well as one of the one of the addends. The students had to use their detective skills to decode the fractions and figure out the missing addend. This activity is great for critical thinking, adding fractions, and equivalent fractions! Once the students finished decoding, they created their own slide for other students to decode.

Julie Smith and Karen Hues used Pixie on the iPads to help make connections to fractions a real world experience. Students used the iPads and the app, Pixie, to create a digital book. The students drew the numerical representation of the fraction and then recorded their voice explaining the fraction. The students exported their Pixie slides as a movie to the camera roll and then uploaded them using the Google Work Collector.

Fractions Around Us from Julie on Vimeo.

Jessica Robinson and Gina Browne had students create word problems about Greece using fractions in Powerpoint. Students were provided a sample word problem and were taught how to animate the slide. After animating the slide, the students recorded their voices on an answer slide where they identified the numerator and denominator. After guided practice, students were challenged to create their own word problems about Greece. They had a variety of clipart to choose from and did a great job demonstrating understanding of how Powerpoint features worked while creating their awesome word problems!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea took fraction war and put a tech spin on it. The students were provided with fraction cards. Each pair of students opened a template on Google Slides and used this to display the fractions that they randomly chose. The students used the manipulatives on the bottom of the screen to prove which player won. Since the students were using Google Slides they were able to work simultaneously and collaboratively. This is a great way to take a simple idea and elevate it using technology. Check out some screenshots of student work, and make sure to click on the template link above and make a copy of the template that we used! Once the students finished playing war they logged into their Google accounts and one student from each pair started a new Google Drawing. The drawings were then shared with

From April 21, 2015

Crestview Elementary #TechTakeout by Slidely Slideshow

Tech Takeout @ Lakeside

This week is our 5 Schools, 5 Days with Tech Takeout. The Tech Takeout crew is going to a different school every day and working on specific skills with students. Today was our first day and we kicked off 5 Schools, 5 Days at Lakeside Elementary School. We were so excited to work with the fourth graders there on their geometry skills.

Opening Activity: It is that time of year….REVIEW TIME! I know many of you have been using the student response system, Kahoot! Are you ready to change things up a bit?

Recently we tried out a similar student response system, Quizizz, and it proved to be a great alternative to Kahoot.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea had the students use iPads and the Educreations app to show off what they know about geometry. Using Educreations the students created riddles about different polygons. After choosing a particular polygon the students recorded themselves asking questions about their shape. These questions focused on the vocabulary that the students must know including angles, vertices, intersection, parallel, and perpendicular. Once the students had their questions recorded they found a picture of their polygon in the classroom and took a picture. They put the shape picture on a new slide in Educreations and recorded their voice saying the name of the polygon. Check out some of their work below:

Jessica Robinson and Julie Smith used Windows Movie Maker and the Dell Webcam to make geometric MOVEies. The fourth grade teachers at Lakeside Elementary really wanted a heavy focus on the vocabulary, so Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Smith wanted to get the students up and moving while showing off what they know. The students recorded videos of themselves acting out the important geometric vocabulary terms (point, line, line segment, ray, parallel lines and perpendicular/intersecting lines) using the Dell Webcam. Once the students had the different clips recorded they used Windows Movie Maker to put them together into a complete movie. These are great tools because not only were the movies fun to make, but they can be used to help the entire class review before their SOL test which is coming up quick!

Lakeside Geometry Movie from Jessica Robinson on Vimeo.

Sarah Green, Karen Hues, and Stephanie Wright had the students programming using Scratch for their station, and using the MaKeyMaKeys to control the programs the students made. The students used the X-Y grid backdrop on Scratch and programmed a sprite of their choosing to flip, slide, and turn over the X or Y axis. Once the students programmed their sprite to flip, slide, or turn they recorded their voice describing the transformation. While the students were coding they made sure to use the arrow keys to control their sprite. They did this because the students used the MaKeyMaKeys to control their sprite.

Julie Franklin led a station where the students created polygons using online geoboards. First the students went to Math Playground to create their multiple examples of polygons. Once the students created their polyon they saved them to their desktop and headed over to Szoter to label their polygons and create a collage with their images. The students had a blast making their polygons and smashing the pictures using the online photo editor Szoter.