May 09

Virtual Career Fair

Over the last two weeks I’ve had the opportunity to team up with a great group of teachers at Byrd Elementary School to help students learn about various career fields.   The school counselor, Mrs. Albert, initially developed this project.  She collaborated with the 4th grade team (Ms. Singh and Mrs. Johnston) to integrate the project across the curriculum.  Students spent time during guidance lessons to learn about their strengths in the multiple intelligences and to research career fields of interest.  Then teachers supported the students in writing class to further research careers of interest, and to create scripts for the final piece of the project.  The scripts included information about students’ current interests, a potential future career, and what the students need to do to prepare to work in the chosen field.

Finally, students used Voki to create messages to their future selves.  On the Voki site students created an avatar, and then recorded a reading of the script they wrote in writing class (using Google Docs).

 

 

You can read more about this project on a page Mrs. Albert created.  You can also view the virtual career fair.

 

It was obvious during this project that the students were engaged and enjoying learning!

May 05

Collaborative Writing Project – the eBook is Finished!

Over the last few weeks, students in Goochland County have been working on an exciting collaborative writing project.  Students in Mrs. Demas’s 4th grade class at GES and students in Ms. Gill’s 5th grade class at RES worked together in a virtual environment to research and write biographies about historical figures, found in our Virginia SOL’s.

 

The planning process began over one of our many snow days earlier this winter (literally, we met at Panera to plan out the details)!  Mrs. Demas and Ms. Gill wanted students to work on a nonfiction-writing piece that involved a bit of research.  They also wanted students to focus on the editing and revision aspects of writing.  With the writing SOL test right around the corner, we couldn’t think of a more authentic way to get the students writing for a real audience and critically analyzing their own work as well as others.

 

The teachers assigned partners and provided students with guidelines and a rubric, but the students used Google Docs to communicate with their partners and complete the work involved with this project.  To start with, students wrote autobiographies to introduce themselves to their partners.  Next, students wrote persuasive letters to each other to convince one another to write about a specific historical figure.  Finally, the collaborative research began.  Partner pairs had to decide who would collect specific pieces of information.  Students began writing, and shared their work with one another.  During the writing process, students often left each other “glows” and “grows” to improve their shared writing piece.  The comment feature of Google Docs make it easy to share thoughts.  Students realized that it is a challenge to combine writing styles to make one cohesive paper.  They had to reorder each other’s work so that the essay could flow from one topic to another in an appropriate sequence.  Teachers enjoyed watching the students engage in an extremely active revision and editing process.

 

The teachers and I were impressed with the end result!  You can check out the students’ book on Google Docs here (if you do not have an e-reader), or the eBook here (if you are using a mobile device).

May 01

RES Fine Arts and Film Festival

In April I had the opportunity to participate in a community-minded event at Randolph Elementary School that blended curriculum and the arts with 21st century skills.   It was the RES Fine Arts and Film Festival!  Planning for this event took place over the course of a year and involved participation in our district’s G21 program.  Many teachers were involved, yet the end products were student driven.

 

The event showcased student artwork created in art classwith Mrs. Edmonds.  Students also had the opportunity to show off their musical talents with Mr. Snead, the music teacher.  In addition, attendees had the opportunity to view student-created films.  Some students wrote scripts and filmed their products with their classes.  Other students worked in small groups.  Individual students were invited to submit their work as well.   There were so many films submitted, that we were unable to show them all!  We created a gallery of QR codes for visitors to view the submitted films, and a website as well.

 

One of the best pieces of this project was the element to help our community.  All attendees were asked to bring a book to donate to Goochland Family Services.  RES fourth graders made commercials to advertise the event, and to encourage others to bring books to the festival.  You can check out the commercials here (created with 30 Hands on the iPads).

 

Check out the Kindergarteners singing a song in Spanish.  Their singing was beautiful (and loud :)

Kindergarteners Perform at the FAFF

 

I am lucky to be a part of such a caring and creative community at RES!

Apr 29

ePortfolio Class

We will use the site below as a guide to tonight’s class on using ePortfolios with students.

ePortfolio Class Site

 

We will also check out Nearpod by viewing a presentation made with the software.

 

If you are interested in using Google Docs more to help improve your students’ writing, then check out this great site!

Apr 28

Sign up for STEM Camp!

Time is running out to register for STEM Camp.  This exciting program for students in kindergarten through 8th grade will be held June 16-20.  Monday through Thursday we will be at Goochland Middle School.  Friday we will be taking a field trip to The Science Museum of Virginia!

Students in kindergarten, first or second grade have their choice of Mother Goose Club, Amazing Animals, or Sweet and Sassy.  Each of these programs offer students the opportunity to do, hands-on, children’s engineering.

Students in grades 3-5 take part in the Emerging Engineers program.  They will learn to apply science, technology, and math by making a solar car that they will run on the big track at the Science Museum of Virginia.  They will also launch rockets and eat s’mores made in a solar oven.

Finally, students in grades 6-8, our apprentice engineers, will build a propulsion and electrical system, develop a controller, investigate density and buoyancy while assembling and launching an underwater remotely controlled vehicle, or ROV.

If you have any questions or would like a form, contact Mrs. Spessard at jspessard@glnd.k12.va.us.

 

 

Apr 21

Byrd Elementary School Spring Farmers Market

Spring Farmers Market – Byrd Elementary School April 22nd Byrd Elementary School will host a Spring Farmers Market on Tuesday, April 22nd from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. The Spring Farmers Market will be held in the multi-purpose room at Byrd Elementary School. Items such as plants, flower pots, wreaths, bird houses, jewelry, and other homemade goodies will be for sale. There will be lots of good food to eat too! Get your dinner from the potato bar or have a hot dog or turkey, ham, or roast beef sandwich. There will also be lots of tasty desserts on sale! The students at Byrd will be donating all money earned to CHaRa – Construction Health and Relief Acts. CHaRa assists schools in Africa by purchasing desks, providing clean water, and supporting the food program for a school. Please plan now to attend this special event! Byrd Elementary is “Growing Great Citizens Locally and Globally.”

Apr 11

Collaborative Writing Reflection (for GES and RES)

Apr 04

Social Studies Enrichment

Looking for a fun review or enrichment activity?  Try the choose your own adventure activities on this site.  There are three missions, one for each of the following subjects:  1)  Revolutionary War, 2)  Civil War, 3)  Native Americans (Plains).  The site uses Flash, so the activities will not work on an iPad.

Mission US

Apr 04

What’s Trending at RES

There are always great things happening at RES, and I wish I had time each day to highlight them all!  The activities I do get to highlight are just snip-its of the wonderful things happening there every day.  Today I spent time with Cindy Edmonds, the art teacher, and 3rd graders in Ms. Gentry’s class.  Last week students read a story about the horses that live on Assateague Island in Virginia.  This week we brought to life one part of the story with a stop-motion project.  We used the camera app on the iPad, and merged the pictures together using iMovie.  Last month students spent time studying art work from the VMFA that included horses, and then they built their own 3D horses.

Here is the final movie!

 

Later the fourth grade team was busy preparing commercials to advertise the RES Fine Arts and Film Festival that will take place next Thursday night.  Students worked together in small teams to plan the commercials, write scripts, and use 30 Hands to create their projects.  Next week we will share their commercials with the entire school.  The commercials remind others of the time and location of the event.  Students also shared that we are encouraging everyone to bring a book to donate to Goochland Family Services.  I was impressed by how quickly and easily students learned to use the app.  In a matter of minutes they were taking pictures, annotating, integrating other pictures, and adding text to their projects.  Every student was engaged and hard at work in fourth grade today!

Apr 03

iPads and State Testing Review

This year GES teachers participating in the 1:1 pilot have done an excellent job experimenting with various ways to use the iPads for deeper learning.  The year has flow by, and we now find ourselves one month away from state testing season!  Throughout the next month teachers will finish teaching new content, and will begin to spend some time on review.  Although we always strive for deeper learning activities, sometimes it is important to provide students with review of material already learned.  Check out some of the options below for using the iPad to review content!  Some activities or sites you may have already used this year, but I hope you will find something new and helpful on the list!  Let me know if you would like support implementing any of these ideas or finding more sites.

 

Apps specifically for review:

Pass the Past – This app created by the VDOE houses past history SOL test questions.

 

Websites that work on the iPad:

All subjects

Mr. Nussbaum Mobile site – Houses numerous review games for all subject areas!  All are built with html5, and work on the iPads!  You can link individual games to your blog or post the links in Edmodo.

ThingLink – Teachers can sign up for an account, and create protected student accounts (the program provides teachers with student logins).  Students can create interactive pictures.  Students could add interactive features and information to a science diagram or a painting from history.  It takes a few minutes for a teacher to sign up his or her class, but the features of the site are worth it!

Flashcard Machine – Teachers can sign up for free and make flashcards for your class.  The site will give you a web address for each set of flashcards you make.  You could give students the address by posting in in Edmodo, on your blog, or by linking it to a QR code.

 

Math

Hooda Math - Practice games that will work on the iPad, that are grouped by grade level.  Teachers could post links to the games on their blogs or Edmodo.

Transum Math - Practice games that will work on the iPad.

 

Ideas using apps on the iPads

iMovie

1) Students can create videos in which they ask review questions (play for whole class).  Students can write their own questions, and film themselves asking it.

  • you could assign different units/topics to groups or individuals

2) Summarize a unit, or what you know about a topic.  Share movies on Edmodo.

 

Explain Everything

1) Create visual cues for science, social studies, or math vocabulary (drawing or taking pictures)

  • students can make an audio recording explaining each visual cue

2) Present student groups (or individuals) with word problems (could use QR codes).  Have them illustrate and verbally explain their work and solution.  Then share solutions with the class.

 

Edmodo

1) Post review quizzes on Edmodo for daily practice

2) Have students watch a video covering information from a content area.  Assign roles to students to review and post information from the video.  Teachers can show the video to the whole group, or post in Edmodo so students can easily re-watch it.  There are lots of great videos on Discovery Education!  This activity is similar to literature circles, but with videos rather than texts!

  • Role 1: define vocabulary
  • Role 2: summarize the information
  • Role 3:  illustrate concepts
  • Role 4: write questions from the video

 

Google Docs

1) Each student creates a practice quiz on Google Docs.  The teacher could set criteria, such as “must use multiple choice questions.”

2) Create a collaborative class document and have students write everything they know about a topic (could also do on Edmodo).  This would be like a mind dump.

  • Could also send collaborative documents with small groups for the same activity

 

Book Creator

1) Students could create vocabulary books for units of study (can incorporate video, pictures, drawing, and audio clips).

2) Teachers could assign different topics to groups or individuals, and then share books with class.

3) This app is great for challenging vocabulary or topics because of the easy access to multi-modal opportunities (pictures, video, drawing, audio clips).

4) In Language Arts class create short stories that incorporate facts from social studies or science (could also use Pages or Google Docs)

 

Pages

1) Students create trading cards for famous people.

  • Create a template on your computer, and send it to students using Google Docs.  Students open the template in Pages.  Within pages students can add pictures and text.

 

Comic Life

1) Students label science diagrams (plants, cells, waves, clouds, etc.).

2) Students create a comic that illustrates a historic event or fact, or students could make a timeline.

3) Students create comics that illustrate vocabulary (could create a page sized comic for math vocab.).

4) Students can create comics that reinforce reading skills (cause and effect, making inferences, illustrating literary elements, fact/opinion, compare and contrast).

 

Morfo

1) Create a project as someone from history explaining an event.  You can mash multiple Morfo projects using iMovie if students need more than 30 seconds of recording time.

 

Tellagami

1) Create a teacher character that teaches information from a science or social studies unit

  • Could also use some math concepts (especially geometry)

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