Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Saint of the Day Video Project

I have a great group of 7th graders this year, one class in particular. I love when they come in as they have so many great ideas and we seem to always be brainstorming and coming up with new projects. Their excitement is contagious! I have been talking with them about changing up the morning routine of the school.... yikes! Each morning, a few 8th graders read morning announcements over the PA System. I thought it would be great to move towards something a little more modern and technological. (Did I mention I have a GREAT group of 7th graders?) This group of 7th graders also loves to do videos, iMovies, 360 Videos, etc. Anyway, I was thinking how to get started with "Live" announcements and thought baby steps might be a good idea. I started, with 8th graders, and they did a Saint of the Day iMovie which would replace the reading of this each morning and will give the students something more visual and engaging to watch and listen to. After the positive feedback from the teachers, I decided to have the 7th graders do this as well. They are blowing me away with their work. I have added a few below. 

The assignment was as follows: 
  • Each student was given a date. They had to pick a Saint based on their day. (Some days have multiple Saints)
  • Research their Saint. (I did give a few suggestions for sites)
  • Create a Google Doc with their notes and citations.
  • Create an iMovie, Video, Stop Motion, etc that is approximately 45-60 seconds long and the target audience is our younger students- must be visual!

March 3rd:

March 6th:

March 10th:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Technology & Art- A perfect marriage!

The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th Graders are working on projects in both the Technology Lab and in the Art room. The art teacher and I came up with artists for each of these grades to learn about and then create masterpieces in each of our classrooms. Last year we did just one artist, Dale Chihuly, with the odd grades and the students loved this unit! This year, we decided to branch out and explore multiple artists.

So, for each grade, we decided on the following artist:

  • 1st- Paul Klee
  • 3rd- Roy Lichtenstein
  • 5th- Andy Warhol
  • 7th- Claes Oldenburg
At this point, I have just finished 1st grade and 3rd is almost done. The 5th and 7th are finishing other projects right now and will be starting soon. 

The first graders researched Paul Klee. I found a cute short video about him that the students enjoyed. You can find it here: . I also did some other research and found sites ahead of time for us to go to as a class. The students are now able to tell others about Paul Klee and where is he from, about his family and of course about his artwork. After we did research, we started our project this is inspired by his work. The students created a Microsoft Word Document. In this document they worked on the following skills:
  • Creating New Word Document
  • Typing (First and Last Name with proper capitalization)
  • Inserting Shapes
  • Using Fill to Color the Shapes
  • Copy/Paste to add multiple (similar) shapes
  • Mouse Skills- dragging, dropping, right click, double click, etc.
  • Saving
Here are some examples of their work:

Castle and Sun

More to come with other Art Projects by the 3rd, 5th and 7th graders! I cannot wait to see the finished projects in the Technology Lab AND projects from the art room!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Internet Safety Newsletter

Recently, in the Technology Lab, the 8th Graders created an Internet Safety Newsletter. Each class was tasked with creating a unique newsletter. There were 3 Editors in each class (which they had to apply for) and it was up to them which articles were selected, what layout to use, and what videos to include. It was set up as a competition and the “best” would go out to our families and that class would also get a treat of some kind.

Each student created an article and then, in groups, the students created videos that went along with the topics of the articles in the newsletter. There are even videos on page 3 of the newsletter!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Olympics in the 2nd Grade.

I like to do projects.... even with the little ones. I think students learn a lot from just having to maintain an overall concept while still completing smaller tasks. Since the Olympics were this summer, I decided to use this idea for a large 2nd grade project.

  1. Handouts- I created handouts with a country and the amount of Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals they won in Rio. Each student had a DIFFERENT country. This makes is funner. :) They have to be confident enough in their skills because they would not be able to just do what their neighbor did (sneaky, right?)
  2. Research- We used Time for Kids and they needed to take guided notes on the back of their paper with the medal counts. I checked all their countries prior to make sure it was there. The students had to go to Google, search for "Time for Kids + Country" to get the correct site. I do not do this for them, nor do I create shortcuts. I guided them and had them take notes on things like- Capital, Currency, Climate, Religion, Language (which were all great talking points for cross-curricular discussions).
  3. PowerPoint- Students created short 6 slide presentation. On the interactive board, there was an outline of what each slide should be. (Title, Map, Flag, 3 facts slides, Medals) On this one, we had to review PowerPoint, they did a very basic presentation in 1st grade, and needed review and additional instruction. They were asked to insert an image on each slide as well, which they needed to find online. 
  4. Excel- Students created a basic spreadsheet with their country and the amount of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals their country won. They also added some basic sum formulas to add them up. Students that worked a little faster, were asked to add additional countries to their spreadsheets. As as side-note, we had some visitors one of the days we were working on this and one of them happened to be a tech teacher from a nearby school. She was absolutely shocked that I was able to have a conversation with them while the students were working on formulas in Excel! When they didn't know how to do something, they went to a "Help Desk Expert" for assistance and just kept going. It was such a proud teacher moment for me! 
  5. Presenting- I don't like to have the little ones sitting still the entire time in the Tech Lab so I usually space out presentations and do a few at the beginning or end of class over a few weeks. So, we are still working on this one.
Here are some work samples:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Help Desk Experts

I implemented a new concept in my classroom this year... it is called the Help Desk Experts. I have 3 identifiers that I made from a doll rod, a foam hand, and a small wooded circle. When the students first came into the classroom at the beginning of the year, they wanted so badly to know what they were for. I waited a few classes to fill them in and now they look for them and know when they belong at their work station!

So, what is this Help Desk Expert? Well, I find myself doing a lot of my own research and reading in all the free time that I have (hahaha!) I wish that I had some of the articles I read to provide links to, but I don't always keep all of my sporadic reading materials. Anyway, I realized that I am trying to foster a culture of accountability, professionalism, good communication and solid work in my Technology Classroom and I believe that a lot (most) students want the teacher (or adult, or parent, etc) to answer all their questions and "fix" everything for them. I don't agree with this with my own children and this has carried over into my teaching. Therefore, these Experts are students that I have identified as those that have quickly "mastered" a skill and have proven they can effectively assist other students. As we start a new project and get working I observe the students and find 2-3 students that I think will do a good job at being the expert. I move the identifiers to their station. (The students really take ownership of this and are so proud when they are selected.)

The other students... well, when they have a question, they need to first ask the Experts. If they are all stumped, I am always wandering around watching and am there to help them problem solve and no I won't just give them the answer. The older students are expected to work collaboratively with the other Experts, tinker, and research online before coming to me. The great thing about this is that you can customize how you use it in a way appropriate for your audience.

Is this all working?  Yes, this has really been working on getting the students to be more accountable. They are getting better at formulating questions when they need help. I also like that I can tie this in with their future and possible Computer Science jobs. BUT, what I am most happy about is that they are no longer immediately raising their hands to have somebody else do it for them- they are stopping and thinking, trying, and reaching out to their peers for help. I am so glad that I have implemented this into my classroom.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!

This is a very short week for us here at school, only Monday and Tuesday. As a result, I only have a few classes since my early week is lighter with classes. I wanted to find something to do with the students that was a little different and having to do with Christmas. I had 5th graders today and decided to do a Binary Code ornament.

Last week, we participated in Hour of Code school-wide so I thought Binary Code would be a great follow-up for the 5th graders (and 6th grade tomorrow.) We didn't go too deep into Binary Code, but we did define what it is and why it is important. I asked the students to create an ornament with the word, "Joy" which they did and many asked if they could create other words and make more. The students really enjoyed making these and we made some extras to take to the School Office to put on the school tree.

The instructions were simple... Red=1, Green=0, and White is a space between letters.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stop Motion!

One of my favorite projects with 5th grade is their Stop Motion Project. It is one of the few projects that I have done more than one year in a row. It is such a great project that I can incorporate so many skills into--- Research, Storyboards & Google Docs, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, and of course Technology!

This is an overview of the project:

  1. Research Stop Motion- What it is? How long has it been around? How does it work? 
  2. Learn the app, Lego Stop Motion- We broke it down into pieces where we looked at the app and then we introduced a block and created short videos to understand how it worked.
  3. Assignment of the "Mystery Bag"- Each student gets a mysterious bag of something that they must use in their video (such as blocks, sequins, yarn, cups, beads, etc)
  4. Storyboards- Students had to create a storyboard in Google Docs, using numbering. 
  5. Practice- This is when they practice, work out the kinks. revise storyboards, and run through at least once from beginning to end. 
  6. Action! They record their turn-in Stop Motion video. 
  7. Viewing Party- We watched all videos and students had to provide peer feedback (both pro and cons) and what would a viewing party be without popcorn???

I love watching the students work on this. It gives all students a little something they like-whether, creative or analytical. This is usually one of the projects they say at the end of the year was one of their favorites and I always get requests for this type of project in the following grades.

(I love this picture with them all lined up in the hall working on their projects!)

(Viewing Party, complete with popcorn!)