Monday, June 5, 2017

Fidget Spinners...

They say you need to strike while the iron is hot... well, my 7th graders are, of course, obsessed with fidget spinners- just like all the other students in the school. I started to research these crazy toys and started to explore some ideas for the 3D Printer. Within the next couple of days, many 7th graders were coming and asking if they could do something with them and the printer. I figured it would be yet another great opportunity to get them drawn into the wonderful technology of 3D Printing and design. Only a few weeks ago, one of my 7th grade classes required the ladies in this group to visit a local all girls school so I decided to let the gentleman "play" a little. They were researching, designing, and coming up with ideas- all within the "Fidget" family of items.

What came out of this very short impromptu project? LOTS! They found a design, we printed, they figured out how to assemble, they "marketed" them and distributed to other students in the school. They called them, "Terrier Techs Infinity Rings" and they wanted them to be our school colors of green and gold. These Infinity Rings are in the "Fidget Family" and are a little more calm and quiet. They were a hit and the students loved working on this. I am now trying to secure some bearings for a project next fall that would include more design, but this time with a competition element!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Digital Library & iMovie & QR Codes

Hands down, this was my favorite 4th grade project this year! They created a "digital library" for the Kindergarten classrooms. The students were SO excited to use iMovie in class, at first they thought I was joking when I told them what they were going to be using. 

This is the basics of this project:

  • iMovie was introduced and the students had almost 2 classes to “play” with the tool to get more comfortable.
  • As a class, we create a specific To Do list so that they could follow the steps from the beginning of the project to the end of their iMovie
  • The students selected a children’s book
  • The followed steps to create the iMovie (take pictures of book pages, change some settings, record audio)
  • Share iMovie with Mrs. Wyszynski (through a download and upload process)
  • Create a “note-card” - from a template that was shared with them, that included the book title, author, picture of the cover and a QR code that would allow the younger students to scan the code and be taken directly to the story on YouTube.

I am going to hand this over to our Kindergarten teachers in August for them to use. I am so proud of the work they did and I have to say, I enjoyed watching them all- so many great memories of reading these same books to my two children at home. I did send home a copy of the note-card to the 4th graders so that their parents could watch/listen to their child. What a great little memento these students will have to look back on when they are older!

Here's how it works:

Some Pictures from Work Sessions:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Innovation Night- Art & Technology Hall

Our school had a special night for families of the school called, "Innovation Night." It was meant to show parents what we are doing at the school, especially in regards to our new STEM Designation. In my classroom, I had Tinkercad open and had parents and all students try their hand at 3D Design. I had some wonderful 7th Graders in the Lab helping me out, but more on that later. :)

A few months ago, I approached the Art Teacher and asked if she would like to do a collaboration. I posted a little bit about this for our 1st grade with Paul Klee. We decided to do projects in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and a small 8th grade project. The hall looked great- I loved how bright the hall was and the excitement that it arose.

I have to be honest, the 5th graders was my favorite. They studied Andy Warhol. I LOVED the collage of pictures we created and the boxes that students were able to move and create different "people." They are still in the hall and the students are changing it up whenever they pass by.

Displaying these projects was certainly a great way to end the year!




..And my favorite:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Famous American & Augmented Reality in 5th Grade

Every year, our 5th graders do a "Famous American" project. It is a rather large project with lots of pieces and parts. This year, I worked with the 5th grade teachers to change it up a little and add a technology component. I thought Augmented Reality might be a fun idea to incorporate into this project. They have always had to create a timeline for their person. I suggested they create the timeline in Google Draw and then create a video overlay of them providing a summary of their timeline. This video overlay is the Augmented Reality. If you are new to Augmented Reality, here is a good overview: How Stuff Works (You can also learn a lot by looking at articles below)

First, I had the students do a little research about Augmented Reality so they know what it is. I especially wanted to learn more about it because Augmented Reality is becoming so common in our world, I thought it would be a great real life connection for the students. It was easy to start off because the kids all know what Pokemon Go is and that started our conversation. From there, I presented several articles and they each were assigned one to read, review and create a short summary. Here is a list of most of the links I supplied:
They found a strong connection with Virtual Reality while doing their research and reviewing their articles. Therefore, we got to touch on VR as well. After their research, we started working with Aurasma. Aurasma is an app that allows the user to create overlays, the main concept of Augmented Reality. It is free so no issues with cost either.

The students got to work. They first needed to create their timeline. Their Social Studies Teacher gave them guidelines for this and I did as well, but mine were more visual and Google Draw specific. Here is one of my favorites:

After they were done with their timeline, they were paired up and the videos of them summarizing their timeline began. Many students created a little script or notes, which I LOVED seeing. I reminded them to stand tall, speak loudly and clearly and above all make sense!

The last step was using Aurasma. Their picture would server as the "trigger" for their video to start. 

The final product:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Happy Thoughts on MAP Testing Pilot Day...

Our school is adopting a new testing system next fall and this week we are starting to pilot the new tests. These are the MAP Tests and are not like past tests taken with paper and pencil. These tests are taken completely online. Since I am the "Technology" person, guess who got pulled into the project? If if you guessed yours truly- you were right. ;)

Anyway, so far this week, I have done pretty much nothing but testing- helping teachers "Proctor" their first tests, troubleshoot errors on the computers in the Tech Lab and on the Chromebooks. It's been pretty much nonstop since Monday at 6:30 am. until now and will continue for the rest of this week. Oh, and next week and the week after.

I didn't really start this post to write about testing. Testing is what it is. My job isn't about what to do with the results, my job is to help make sure the test taking is successful on our devices and that is going pretty well. So, as I sit here and eat my lunch, I am looking at a text our 3rd grade teacher sent me:

Last week, the teacher told me that her students were struggling with some aspects of time. I asked to borrow one of her small learning clocks, and took a ton of pictures of different time scenarios and created a Kahoot Review. Kahoot is a great game based review app (or can be used on other devices like Chromebooks and pc's) I have used this in my classroom and the students always seem to love it! There is usually clapping, laughing, raised voices, and fun happening which is a great way to enhance a unit- much better than sitting down and doing a worksheet. I am so glad that she did this with her students and that she reported back to me the results. She even said she was going to create another one on her own for multiplication! Yeah, mission accomplished. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ribbon Poem- 2nd Grade

My 2nd graders just finished a multi-step project. I love doing larger projects, even with the youngest students. Sometimes it can be tough picking back up each class since I only see them once a week, but I think the benefits of them seeing a larger project come to life is worth it!

There were a few main parts to this project:

  • Type & Print the Poem- they learned a few new formatting skills, such as center align, and this was their typing practice as well. They then got to cut out their poem and put it on a piece of card stock and make it in any shaped they wanted. I told them they are all unique, so these should be as well! 
  • Measure Stations- There were students manning the stations and they were in complete control. Sorry parents if your child's ribbon is a tad off in their heights :)... Anyways, in one group there was a recorder whose job was to document all heights. There was another in charge of the actual measuring of each student. These jobs were very important and they took them very seriously! The other measure station was to take their number (height) and cut the yard to that height so we had a physical representation of their height to attach to the poem.
  • Excel- The last part of the project was to have the students create a very basic spreadsheet with all their classmates names and heights. They were asked to independently work and type each name and height. They were asked to try their best to spell the names correctly. The almost final step was to create a very basic graph to illustrate the heights of all students in the class. We went over step by step several times. Finally, they needed to change the orientation to Landscape (so we talked a little about landscape and portrait) and print. 

The results were super cute and as a mom myself, I would love to have this come home with my kids! A little keepsake. Here are some pictures of our project.

( I found the poem via is link to photo that was uploaded by user: Poem Link)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Current View

There is a current post in one of my daily ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) feeds about work-spaces. My work space is really the whole school since I support devices in all areas, but today I am in my classroom teaching most of the day. As I look at my view from my desk, I know that I am lucky to have the classroom that I have. My room is beautiful and it was renovated just two years ago and I have all kinds of fun toys... I mean educational items.... to keep my students and I busy. (Like the 3D Printer and dual interactive boards!) The first half of my week is typically spent more on support and the second half with teaching and support so my classroom isn't as tidy as I would like as it has boxes stacked in the back of new iPad mini's to get set up, a pile of ipads waiting to be updated with some new apps, a stack of library books for a 4th Grade iMovie digital library project and remnants from other recent projects, but I guess I wouldn't have it any other way... nor would the students...

Pano view from my desk. I still have the Dale Chihuly Projects hanging from ceiling from last year- I love them!

Right outside my classroom- the Typing Tree for grades 3-6. They get a leaf for a specified lesson and their leaf goes on the branch for their WPM.