Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy Back to School! (Bulletin Boards)

A few years ago, before I was a teacher in an elementary school, I would kinda look forward to the kids going back to school. We would be coming off a fun summer of vacationing at the beach, going to the pool, swim meets, smores, staying up late, etc and let's face it, this mom needed a little break. Now that I work in an elementary school, I get to go back to school too!

One of my favorite parts of the new school year is doing my bulletin boards. I am lucky to have a new technology lab classroom (redone last summer). I spend time really thinking about these boards. I want the students to come into my classroom and be happy. I want them to be colorful. I want them to be fun. I need to keep in mind that I am with students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade. I also need to keep in mind, I will be looking at them a lot too!

Here are a few of my favorites!

Being a school in Akron, Ohio how could I not honor Lebron James!


Critical Thinking to go along with our STEM initiative: 

Outside my classroom... Can't wait for our Augmented Realty projects:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How does your garden grow?

I am an avid gardener... it's a hobby that calms me and makes me happy. The past few years, I was the Coordinator of the school's garden. I considered it my "parent volunteer" activity- it was a LOT of time! I tried to come up with a way to use the garden in the Technology Lab. Soooo, I planted a large bed of Zinnias. (My favorite flower.) In the fall I took the 2nd and 3rd graders over to the garden to take pictures on the iPads. Then, they created collages. They were so proud of their work. When the flowers started drying up, I had students cut off the dried flowers because we were going to save them and harvest the seeds from them to be used at a later time.

Then, this spring, I had the students in those same classes dissect the flowers and pull the seeds out. This works great because 3rd grade learned about the parts of a flower earlier in the year. Now, we had a big bag of Zinnia seeds- what to do, what to do?

I had the students use a template for a seed pack. They had to design a cover, using Paint Go,, and we saved their image to the computers. Also, the 3rd graders had to work in collaborative groups of 3 to research how to grow Zinnias. Then, as a class, we came up with an agreed upon set of instructions. The students then had to type these on the reverse side of the seed pack.

Once they were done, we printed them and they cut and assembled their seed pack and we stuffed seeds in them all. We sent them home and also gave some out to other teachers and parents. They turned out great!

3D Printing...

So, I have been really bad about posting, but I am going to start making it more of a priority because we are doing so many cool projects in the lab that I want to keep everybody updated!

I have been working on a presentation for a conference on 3D Printing. It was really easy to outline the 2 presentations I will be doing, but a bit harder to narrow ideas down and provide a useful and concise presentation that teachers can go back and use immediately! There is just so much out there for 3D Printing!

Well, here I am going to attach the introduction presentation I created for the students. I will continue to update this and refine it as we advance in our 3D Printing journey. This was what I created to get started and to have something for the students to have in class to take electronic notes. I am in the process of creating a Google Form assessment for this unit. I will post when it is done and ready to go.

Here's a link to the presentation: 3D Printing Introduction for Students

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3D Printer, finally playing...

So, we have this wonderful MakerBot 3D Printer in my classroom and I never seem to have the time to play and figure it all out. I decided that I am going to start making this a priority so I can pass this along to the students as soon as possible. Even with the time constraint, I have to admit that I am a little intimidated by this device. I have been talking with some of our upper grade teachers and we are trying to come up with some ideas. These are some of the ideas we have come up with so far:

  • Dice (7th Grade- to be coordinated with Geometry)
  • Pyramids (6th Grade- to be coordinated with both Math and lesson on Egypt)
  • Some kind of creation that students can test strength (8th Grade- Engineering topic to coordinate with our STEM Initiative)
  • Parts of Flower (5th Grade- Science)
  • Gadgets (3rd and 4th Grades)
I started playing with the idea of dice today... it was fun! The results were great. It only took 23 minutes to make and it did not use a ton of filament.

I cannot wait to keep playing and learning so I can create a fantastic learning opportunity for our 7th graders!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hour of Code

This year, we had 310 students participate in The Hour of Code. This year we utilized the following:
  • Kodable- Younger Students
  • Lightbot- Younger Students
  • Minecraft Hour of Code from Middle Grade Students
  • Star Wars Hour of Code from Middle and Upper Grade Students
Another year, and another success. The students loved these activities. The younger students have been doing Kodable for several weeks now, but this was the first "coding" class for our middle and upper students. The second half of the year will bring more of these activities for all students. In fact, I am getting ready to start a large Scratch Unit with our 3rd and 4th Graders. 

I had the 7th grade students work on a project in late November/early December for The Hour of Code. I had them create "advertisements." They first had to research The Hour of Code (which I told them to use and then they had to create a Storyboard for their commercial. I am really big on fostering time management and organization so I like to divide projects into pieces and parts. Finally, they used our iPads to create an iMovie Commercial. Here are some of my favorites...





It's been awhile...

Okay, so it has been awhile since I last blogged. I have a million excuses so I won't bore you with them.

In the last several months a lot has been going on in the BRAND NEW Technology Learning Lab. I have a new classroom and I LOVE it! More importantly, the students love it! I see Pre-K through 8th grade each week, but teachers bring down their students for extra projects and for Think Through Math. I also have lots of students ask if they can come in and work on the computers during their study hall. So far, we are off to a great start with our very tech new classroom!

Here is a picture of my new classroom!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spreadsheets & Skittles & Fruit Loops???

The third grade students recently worked on a lesson in Excel and working with numbers and creating charts. They did AMAZING and they had a lot of fun in the process. I think many of them were proud of themselves for what they accomplished.

This is what we did:

  1. I passed out Skittles or Fruit Loops.
  2. We sorted them by color.
  3. We then went into Excel and created a spreadsheet for their data. 
  4. Once they added the data, they got to "make it pretty" by formatting the cells.
  5. They created a formula to add their colors together to determine who got the most. 
  6. After they added their data, they created Charts. 

To be honest, their work blew me away! They did such a great job of understanding the basic concepts of Excel. This group of 3rd graders is quit amazing! Of course their favorite part was at the end of class.....  we ended the class with a yummy treat!