Recently we have had a couple of opportunities to Skype with other schools. The first was a Mystery Skype with our Geography Club, which I sponsor. In a Mystery Skype the two classes ask each other yes/no questions to try to determine the other group's location. Our "mystery friends" figured out we are in North Carolina and then we figured out they were in Minnesota! There are lots of helpful tips available online for helping a Mystery Skype run smoothly. We connected with the school in Minnesota by using the #mysteryskype hashtag on Twitter. I definitely learned a lot from doing our first one, and I hope to do it again both with the Geography Club and with Social Studies teachers. The students were very engaged and had fun!
Mystery Skype resources:
Our second Skype was between NDMS and Friedberg Elementary School. 8th graders in my weekly IME class read a few picture books aloud to Mrs. Mitchell's kindergarten class as a way to celebrate reading! The 8th graders prepared by reading picture books aloud to each other in small groups so that everyone had the opportunity to practice that skill. Volunteers decided which books they wanted to read to the kindergarteners. We also made bookmarks to send to the students. It was fun for the 8th graders to see how the younger children responded to the books. The Kindergarten class also demonstrated some of their math songs for us at the end. Hopefully we will be able to do this again and choose some additional NDMS student volunteers to share their love of reading with younger students!
For many years, schools in @dcsnc used Channel 1 TVs for morning news programs for announcements. As this old technology has died, many schools have looked for replacements by using what is on hand. Robin Snider, SLMC at Churchland, has recently launched their brand new morning news channel called the Churchland Morning Buzz.
Robin offered the opportunity to all 4th and 5th grade students earlier this year. Each interested student was given a script, 10 minutes to practice, and had to "audition" in front of a large group. About 50% of students in grades 4 and 5 auditioned, and about half of those students were selected. To give everyone ample opportunity to participate, Robin created 9 teams of students: 8 regular news teams and 1 special events team that shoots "on location". This combination allows for each team to record 2-3 times per year.
Equipment and programs used:
Robin originally created the intros for the 9 teams using the iMovie app on an ipad. She then saved the video clips for students to use in future newscasts. Students write scripts using Google Docs, and shoot their own video footage using an iPad and a green screen app. When editing videos, students use iMovie and PicCollage.
When do they have time?
When each team gets their turn, they may record before school, during recess or during PE time. Since there are so many teams and they rotate, students aren't missing instructional time. Each student in each team plays to their strengths, whether it's writing, speaking or handling the technology. The goal is that each team works quickly and edits their own videos, but Robin does jump in to help if they run short of time. When finished, Robin uploads the final product to YouTube and shares with teachers.
Although the Churchland Morning Buzz has only been around for a few weeks, it is certainly all the "Buzz" at school. Students are perched on the edge of their seats when viewing the news in class. Principal Casey Milstead is overjoyed with the results.
Do you have ideas to share about morning news broadcasts? Share your comments below.
Thanks to ITF Libby Ferrell and SLMC Candy Pierce for this awesome blog post and collaboration!
"It’s important that we don’t underestimate the ability of our students- no matter how young they may be. With the right mindset, tools, and preparation ALL students (and teachers) can be successful with technology." -
Chromebook Activity Goal: To ensure that all students in all grade levels at Northwest Elementary are able to login and utilize the Chromebooks to become success digital learners.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to Kindergarteners learning their Google login information for the Chromebooks. I was so excited to work with Kindergarten students on the Chromebooks for the first time! I have worked with all grade levels (2-5) on introductory Chromebook activities but this would be the first time I would work with Kindergarten students. Even I thought at first that this process maybe a painful one, but luckily Candy had laid a great foundation for the students before I came to help with the login process.
Before the google domain populated the Chromebook login screen most K-2 teachers felt that their students would not be able to utilize these new devices due to the lengthy login information. Fortunately this year our tech department has worked to make the login process easier for younger students by allowing the google domain (@students.davidson.k12.nc.us) to populate on the login screen. With that said, the login process is much easier for our younger students, but still not technically “easy” at first.
Students lack in basic keyboarding skills at this age range and in Kindergarten, some don’t even know all of their letters yet. Not to mention the fact that Chromebooks don’t have a “caps lock” button, and students must learn to use the shift key to make capital letters for their unique passwords. Candy had worked with these classes on several occasions during her media time before I helped facilitate the Chromebook Activity.
As soon as the students sat at their tables and received instruction to open their Chromebooks, it was immediately apparent that students had learned how to properly use these tools. Though they still needed to search for certain letters, students were engaged and motivated to get logged in. There was a lot of excitement and a sense of accomplishment that the students felt when they saw their “profile picture” after successfully logging in. Seeing Kindergarten students take initiative and help their peers to achieve success was a wonderful piece to the puzzle.
I am so impressed with the work Candy has done with these students. I hope that the teachers and administration at Northwest recognize the value of these skills that Candy is helping to instill within the students at her school. By providing this support to her students, she is able to help support her teachers in efficiently using digital tools in their own classroom.
Outline of Chromebook Activity:
Step 1: Students practice their login.
Note: Some students quickly learn how to login and others need more help. Students need a lot of verbal instruction and visuals for making this possible. Candy used her Document Camera to project the Chromebook Keyboard and other steps for students to follow- this process was very structured so that students know exactly what to do. She utilized her Promethean Board and the Desktop Annotate tool to circle important keys (Shift) and to also use it to outline specific steps students needed to follow.
Step 2: Proper Care
Note: To make this process as successful as possible, try to avoid having students carrying the Chromebooks and moving tables. The Chromebooks were placed on the tables and set up for students as soon as they entered.
Step 3: Learning how to access the Internet
Note: Having the ability to save preferences, bookmarks, and apps in Chrome is essential for Chromebook use. We suggest creating bookmarks for your Kindergarten students and showing them how they can quickly access different websites with bookmarks.
(Ex. Type the letters/numbers highlighted in blue where it asks for the username.)
One Kindergarten teacher took her class into the computer lab to practice making capital letters with shift key by having them type their first and last name.
On Tuesday, November 14th, Kim Covington with the Denton Public Library visited South Davidson with four fun Makerspace items. Items included Makey-Makeys, Raspberry Pis, Bloxels, and Stikbots. Students from Ms. Sweeney, Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Russell’s classes all came to explore the interactive fun!
The public library will be back on November 28th for book return/checkout and on December 12th for “The Christmas Hour of Code”.
A special thanks to SLMC Mary Howell for this awesome blog post that demonstrates highly effective collaboration between library media coordinator and classroom teacher. This is the 2nd year that they have done this project together!
Mrs. Craft’s seventh grade ELA classes traveled across the Atlantic this week to visit Sudan! Students came to the media center where they received a passport from their tour guide, Mrs. Howell, to travel to five stations to learn about Sudan as a part of their introductory unit to A Long Walk to Water. Students researched Sudan using World Book Online, made homemade water filters, created a paper bead symbolism bracelet, wrote their own African proverbs, and learned about the Dinka people of Sudan. Students are sure to reflect upon their visit as they read A Long Walk to Water!
Build a Water Treatment System
What you need:
What you do:
Thanks to SLMC Tina Heitman for this blog post. Tina currently uses the eWISE research model with K, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, AIG and will be adding 4th grade this year. These projects are in collaboration with the classroom teachers and she uses a variety of both print and digital resources. Tina started small a few years ago and keeps adding to it. Now each grade level knows to expect a big research project and the results get better and better each year. Awesome job, Tina!
Introduce the topic (5th grade human and civil rights) to the students using primary sources. Students create I wonder questions to research.
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