Monday, October 3, 2016

Geography Fun in 4th Grade!

I found out that the 4th graders were doing a Geography Unit in class and I wanted to piggy back this unit in the Technology Lab. The main reasons for this was because a few weeks ago there were all these globes in the teachers lounge with a free sign on them... I was so excited! I waited a week or so to make sure that none of the classroom teachers wanted them and when they were still there I grabbed them!

Aren't they great? I was "throwing" them at the students and asking for them to find things like North America, Australia, Equator, Longitude, Latitude, Indian Ocean, as well as many others. They loved this and were begging to be the next one!

Now, on the computers... I thought it would be great to have their first project be fairly easy and a review from last year, but still be relevant to what they were doing in their class. I decided to have them do a labeled drawing in Google Drawings. I shared with them the image and they had to do the following:

  • Label (with text boxes) at least 8 items (from specified pages in their books, I didn't want them making stuff up!) Notice the "at least" part. I am really trying to get them to give every assignment their all and not to do just the bare minimum. 
  • Resize image, if necessary. We worked a lot on this last year. I can hear it in my sleep, "use the corners to resize objects!"
  • Add bells and whistles (arrows, colors, font changes, font sizes, etc)

The last part of this unit in the Technology Lab was a word cloud. I love word clouds! I think they are a great way for students to practice brainstorming (I love brainstorming.) Also, this is a great way to get the students to think about different words and work on vocabulary. The students needed to create a word cloud at  with at least 20 words that they think of when they hear Saint Sebastian. It could be words about school, church, activities they participate in, or whatever came to mind. The only requirement was the longitude and latitude of our school and the name of our school be in their clouds. (Of course spelling was a factor as well.) We have done word clouds before, but this was a new site for them and they enjoyed it. Tagul is great because there are lots of options for cloud layouts and colors as well as different shapes which was a class favorite. There are also options to save and email your cloud which helps with assessing and keeping their clouds for later retrieval. 

(We are the Terrier, hence the dogs and paw!)

Thursday, September 22, 2016


The school purchased 75 Chromebooks that go in 3 carts... This is fantastic news for our students and I am sure the learning curve will be short. A cart will go to the Junior High wing, one on the 4th-6th grade floor and the other will be a floater for grades 3-8. We still have 5 carts of iPads as well so our students have plenty of technology opportunities during the school day.

This was a new process for me to learn as well. This was my first attempt at setting up this kind of device and enrolling them. I will say it wasn't too bad. Now, just need to find the time to play around in the Management Console to see what kinds of great and innovate things we can do!

Monday, September 12, 2016

When you thought nobody was watching...

As I would watch our students in the morning in our cafeteria before letting the student go to their classroom, in the halls, during lunch, on the playground, in my class and pretty much anywhere else during the school day I realized that so many of our kids were doing great things. Doing great things, when they thought nobody was watching. These are the best good deeds, those that come from the inside without even thinking about it.

I realized that I wanted to "recognize" these students. I wanted them to feel extra great about what they did and perhaps others would see and just start doing good, even when they think nobody is watching. I decided to create a quick little trinket in Tinkercad and print it on the 3D Printer (in yellow, one of our school colors) that the student could put on their school key chain as a symbol of the good that they do. I gave my first one out last week. The best part is that this student came down and thanked me! Really... she thanked me for giving it to her!

I created some little notes to put in the bag as well and on the back I wrote a special little note to the student. So remember, do good-- even when you think nobody is watching.

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!