Sep 28, 2014

Digital Safety Powtoon

For my Leading Edge Certification assignment this week, I created a Powtoon to promote digital safety.  While I was deciding what area of digital safety to focus on, I thought it would be helpful to provide teachers with information on safe search engines for grades TK - 8.  Powtoon can be a little tricky to use at first, but their website has a lot of great tutorials:

Enjoy my first Powtoon: "5 Safe Search Engines For Students"!

Sep 26, 2014

Marshmallow Catapult Challenge

Yesterday, I had the privilege of visiting Carrie Tibbs' STEAM class at Campbell Middle School.  Students very engaged building their catapults in groups of 3 to 4 students.  Each group was given a paint stick, a film canister, 3 rubber bands, and a marshmallow.  Students were actively problem solving as they prototyped their designs and had to figure out how to measure distances longer than their tape measure.  Carrie did an exemplary job of explaining to her students that, "the definition of success is that someone can take your design and replicate it."  Students also took notes in their engineering log/journal.  Students also had a meaningful discussion at the end of the class and realized that the most successful groups varied their designs with each test.

Sep 19, 2014

September STEAM Structures

So we just completed the last day of the September STEAM Challenges at Capri!  It was an exciting month of building index card structures to hold Cubby the Cougar.  To adapt the challenge for the kindergarteners, we used cardboard building cards which were a little sturdier.  Here are a few of my favorite moments from the STEAM Space this month!

Sep 11, 2014

Leading Edge Digital Educator Certification and Voki

This fall I am fortunate to be participating the Leading Edge Digital Educator Certification.  Our district sponsored a special CUSD cohort, so while most of the classes are conducted online, when we do have to meet it's conveniently at one of our schools.  They also generously paid for all of our registration fees, showing a real commitment to ongoing professional development.  Over the course of 8 weeks, the 20 or so dedicated teachers in our cohort will be actively participating in online discussions, reflections, and assignments.

Our first assignment was to begin or continue to develop our digital presence by creating an avatar on Voki.  I had seen examples of Voki before, but this was my first time actually creating my own Voki.  After creating a character and background, I was instructed to introduce myself and to explain why it is important to create a productive and positive digital presence.

Our instructor, Martin Cisneros, also provided a helpful Voki Tutorial.

The final part of our assignment was to share our finished Voki on our own professional website or community space.  So you can view my finished assignment below:

Sep 10, 2014

Grand Opening of the STEAM Space at Capri!

I am so excited that we were able to open Campbell's first STEAM Space at Capri!  I piloted the STEAM Challenge of the month with a few second grade classes last week and a kindergarten and fourth grade class this week.  Thank you to the Capri administrators for allowing us to use this extra classroom and the second grade teachers for being so excited and making me follow through with the STEAM Space!

My vision for this STEAM Space was to have a space where teachers could come and bring their students to work on a STEAM Challenge.  I wanted to have materials readily available for classes to use and the open space for kids to really get creative and "messy", since I think those are often the two biggest challenges when working on hands-on projects.  Our plan at the moment is to offer a monthly challenge, where classrooms can come in and create!

Another part of the STEAM Space was to provide training for teachers.  So today we welcomed the entire staff to the STEAM Space and had them actually participate in the challenge.  My hope would be to provide a training day at the beginning of each month so that the teachers feel comfortable and confident to lead their classes in the challenge later that month.  Look how seriously they all worked on the challenge!

Things are really getting STEAMy at Capri!

Sep 3, 2014

Back To School iMovie Trailer

Several people have asked me what a good first iPad project would be.  My suggestion was to start with a whole class iMovie trailer using one iPad.  Trailers look very impressive, but are fairly easy to make.  I made the trailer below using the Superhero theme as a whole class lesson.  I put my iPad under the document camera so that the students could see what I was doing, step by step.  I found this to be clearer than Apple TV, since my students could actually see my fingers and what they were touching. 

Using the Outline titles, we tapped on the text that we wanted to change and could simply type in our own movie title and group names.

We then took the pictures we wanted using the Storyboard tab in the middle of the screen.  iMovie also suggests what type of picture or video you might want to take, like group or action shots.  One thing that is a little limiting with trailers is the fact that you must use the number of photos they have preset.  If you don't add your own photo, you will see the gray picture that says "group" or "action" in your finished trailer.  If you need to be able to customize the number of pictures you use, you may be better off making a regular movie.  My students, on the other hand, had a blast coming up with new photo ideas to fill each frame!

We then previewed our trailer by pressing the play button.  iMovie automatically adds the music, special effects, and transitions, so we ended up with a very professional looking movie trailer!  We later shared it with all of the Room B families on Back To School Night!  It was a great way to get the students and families excited about technology integration in our classroom!

Engage NY and Nearpod

Today I had the privilege of observing Shelley Smith teach an Engage NY math lesson with the iPad app Nearpod.  Last year, I kept hearing about this amazing 2nd grade teacher at Castlemont and it was truly a delight to see her in action.  I loved that her students were purposefully working with partners and that conversation was plentiful and valued.  Her thoughtful interactions with her students and her willingness share with other teachers is truly inspiring.

Shelley creates Powerpoints for all of the 2nd grade Engage NY lessons and has very generously made them accessible to any CUSD employee on Edcaliber.  She then uploads the Powerpoint to Nearpod and adds interactive features, like drawing, polls, and questions.  To access the Nearpod, Shelley writes the lesson's PIN on the board and students type it on their iPad.  She can then control all of the slides and can see student responses in real-time.  I also noticed that students were particularly proud when Shelley shared their work with the whole class.

Shelley even created a website for other CUSD 2nd grade teachers at:  She did a fantastic job organizing the modules and writing important tips for implementation.  Thank you Shelley and Room 26 for allowing me to visit today!

Sep 2, 2014

Engage NY Math, Edmodo, and Notability

Last week I had the opportunity to team teach an Engage NY math lesson with Math Coach, Margaret Hulgrave and 5th grade Marshall Lane teacher, Andrea Lawryk!  Our district has officially adopted Engage NY as our math curriculum.  Last year I started having my students students use Edmodo and Notability to work on the Student Materials digitally.  It was a wonderful way to save paper (no more paper copies), my precious time (no more printing and standing at the copy machine), and most importantly it increased student engagement!

So with Andrea's fifth grade class, after a review of the math content, we helped them set up their Edmodo accounts.  We found the easiest way to do this was to write the Group Code on the board and to have students create their user profiles.  Students then opened the assignment in Notability and annotated it from there.  We then went over how to export it back to Notability.

I also created a few tutorials on how to download PDF Engage NY files from EdCaliber, how to open the file in Notability, and how to use the Notability tools.

And the fabulous Amanda Haughs created this tutorial on how to export from Notability.

I look forward to teaming up with the other CUSD district coaches and teachers to integrate STEAM into classroom lessons the future!  Margaret, Andrea, and I were truly modeling collaboration for the 5th grade students at Marshall Lane!