A great time was had by all at the 2018 Middle School Battle of the Books. In 21 rounds, North Middle conquered all to take the title of Davidson County Schools champs for this year. NDMS will go on to compete in the Region 5 competition in East Bend, NC on Thursday, April 12th.
2nd place went to Oak Grove Middle School and 3rd place to Tyro Middle School.
For some added fun this year, all 7 teams traveled to downtown Lexington to compete in the auditorium at the historic Cecil School Building at 301 E. Center Street. The house was packed as many parents and family members attended to see students compete. Following the competition, students enjoyed a Chick-fil-a lunch coordinated by their team coaches.
A very special thanks goes out to:
Readers are Leaders!
If you want to get on the Augmented Reality train, I encourage you to explore the universe of Metaverse- a free, online AR experience that anyone can learn to use.
My first experience with Metaverse was in October at a session for NCDLCN. Two of my favorite tech people, Jeff Crews and Dean Phillips, were sharing new ways to “play” with technology. One of their favorite new APPs was Metaverse. They gave us a brief overview and I came home determined to learn how to do it!
Metaverse is an AR experience built in a drag and drop work space.You can build simple or complex experiences for students to access on an ipad, phone or even some Chromebooks. Students scan a QR code that the APP generates for you and they are off! It gets your students up and moving, and allows them to problem solve, research and explore in a new and interesting format.
I was so excited to present on Metaverse at NCTies- here is the link to our presentation- http://bit.ly/2F9GBcH - and I feel so fortunate to have established great communication with the creators of the APP- I email them all the time to ask questions and get advice. And my co- presenter and I, Allyson Medlin, are skyping with members of the Metaverse team to be interviewed about how we use the APP. (If only there were money in this!) But the beauty of Metaverse is that no new equipment is required- just your brain and your creativity.
If you are not sure about the educational applications I encourage you to read the article in the link below. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-22-five-ways-teachers-can-use-and-create-augmented-reality-experiences
And go ahead and experience it for yourself- scan the QR code below. You will FIRST need to download the Metaverse APP onto your phone. Open the APP and click on the arrow that says SCAN.
So not everyone got to go to NCTIES, including me! So this year I asked @dcsnc staff that attended to share some of their takeaways.
Julie Faria, ETS/Media asst., Friendship
I am so excited to learn new ways to broadcast the Morning News Show. I realize our equipment is antiquated so seeing new technology at work is reassuring and exciting. I also loved talking to the students who totally create, write, and produce the show. Very inspiring.
Friendship's Chuck Bullins won the ipevo document camera on Friday. Our district had 4 people (out of apprx.15) at drawing...we are always looking for was to get ahead!
And lastly I enjoyed seeing educators connect nature to literature and technology.
Brene Duggins, SLMC - Oak Grove High School
The networking and sessions were great but one of my favorite parts this year was the Student Showcase. Being able to hear about a project or activity from students themselves gave not only excitement, but really gave me great ideas of activities to bring back to school and share with teachers and use in the Media Center that will be engaging and exciting for students.
Dru Davis, ETS/media, Tyro Elementary
I loved this year's session on Creative Ways to Check Understanding! Lots of great ideas to get students engaged using our chrome books!
Daniel Everhart, SLMC - Southwood
Here is a great session on #FakeNews and #Alternative Facts: https://www.smore.com/j653z.www.smore.com/j653z
Kristi Allred, SLMC, North Middle
The theme I kept seeing in various sessions and workshops was about giving students the tools and the time to reflect and express themselves. Seen though that lens, the technology becomes less about being a "cool tool" and instead is much more meaningful. I loved seeing new, fresh ways to use existing tools, like SeeSaw, Flipgrid, Google Apps, and Padlet.
Sue Tobin, ITF
There were over 4,000 attendees at this years conference. The opening keynote speaker Kristin Ziemke did an amazing job of pointing out the great things students are doing in schools and how important it is to highlight their work. There were also lots of concurrent sessions on Google and ways to use it more efficiently.
Robin Snider, SLMC, Churchland Elementary
I love going to NCTIES each year because it gives me a chance to recharge and get energized by discovering new ways to integrate technology at my school. I love taking what I learn back to the teachers and finding ways to collaborate with them so the students can experience a variety of technology tools. Of all the sessions I went to, I enjoyed the one on Drones the most. I'm excited to purchase some of these and get our students working with them. I also learned better ways to incorporate Dash and Dot into the curriculum. And lastly, I really enjoyed a session on Digital Breakout Boxes and can't wait to try and create my own!
I would love to see our District represented more at this conference. It's not just the media coordinators and technology facilitators that can benefit from NCTIES. I think it would be amazing if we would send more regular ed teachers, administrators, and district admins along with Media, ETS, and ITFs so everyone can experience the fire for learning that ignites in yourself and your students when you realize how to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum.
Joanie Williams, SLMC, Midway Elementary
As always- Jeff Phillips and Dean Crews were AMAZING- they presented on Google tools- and showed some new cool things. (The new Google Earth is locked here- I was a little embarrassed when I could not open it at their presentation.)
I also enjoyed a coding workshop and the keynote speaker was great.
Google MY Maps was an awesome presentation- you can create adventures where you find clues and explore the map- a lot like break outs, but no box required.
When Tammi Rachels told me about the lending program from Rubik's Cube before Christmas, I couldn't wait for an opportunity to try it out. Well, one conversation led to another and I was able to collaborate with the AP geography teacher, Kyle Kester, from North Davidson High to give students a "Breakout" experience that was cross-curricular, utilized digital resources, and stretched students' critical thinking skills.
Tying to Curriculum
Sure building a mosaic with 100 Rubik's Cubes is neat, but how is it relevant? We needed to make sure we were tying this activity to the curriculum. I put together a digital breakout using Google Sites and World Book Online with a focus on the life of Nelson Mandela.
A Special Visitor
Since most of the students don't know me, I introduced myself as the museum curator at the North Carolina Museum of History. I told them that I needed their help with a special project. I had the materials for a special display commemorating Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, but I forgot the combination to the vault! I needed their help to crack the code before the museum director got there. Students were instantly engaged!
World Book Online
Only a handful of these students had used WBO before, so the first task was the crack the code for the username and password. Once in World Book Online, they had to research Nelson Mandela to answer the questions to unlock the vault. Students in groups of 2-3 worked collaboratively to read, research and solve the puzzles.
Opening the vault!
Once the first group finished the digital breakout, we were able to unlock the "vault" (a cardboard box labeled "vault") and retrieve the materials. Each group (after breaking out) received a bag of 7-8 Rubik's cubes with solutions. Each solution has a corresponding number of row and column. Once all the cubes were solved to match, students were then able to assemble the "big picture".
Teen Tech Week:
After keeping the mosaic on display in the front office for a couple of weeks, we are going to give other students at NDHS an opportunity to participate during lunch for #TTW18. We hope to create the Mona Lisa!
If you are interested in learning more about the Rubik's Cube lending program, check out: https://www.youcandothecube.com/
NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. To read more about the history, partners and other resources from NEA RAA, click here: http://www.nea.org/grants/read-across-background.html
If you are wanting some fresh ideas for RAA, check out this list of ideas here: www.nea.org/grants/11-seussgestions-for-a-great-reading-event.html
Kate Lewis from Denton Elementary will be inviting guest readers from the community to read with classrooms again. Last year Kate had county office staff, the mayor of Denton and other local notables to read to children. Joanie Williams from Midway Elementary is also inviting guest readers to share Dr. Suess with their students, including Deana Coley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum.
Danielle Treadway put together this awesome smore for their activities next week.
Kate Lewis from Denton Elementary will be inviting guest readers from the community to read with classrooms again. Last year Kate had county office staff, the mayor of Denton and other local notables to read to children. Joanie Williams from Midway Elementary is also inviting guest readers to share Dr. Suess with their students, including Deana Coley, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. Danielle Treadway put together this awesome smore for their activities next week.
Shanna Leonard from Tyro Elementary will be hosting dress up days to match characters created by Dr. Seuss! Each day a student participates in a dress up day, his/her name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a poster, bookmark, book, or pencil.
They will include facts about Dr. Seuss and reading during our morning announcements.
Other resources include games, activities and resources for teachers and parents at Suessville.com: www.seussville.com/
If you have other ideas to share, comment below. If you do celebrate, be sure to share photos of your acitivites on social media tagging @dcsnc and #readacrossamerica.
On Tuesday, February 14th, SLMC Jackie Hunt held the 4th annual Battle of the Books competition for students and staff after school. Competitors enjoyed donuts and a hot chocolate bar with toppings as a sweet treat.
Students squared off with the staff in 4 - 12 question rounds. To make the competition more evenly matched, all 10 staff members were allowed to compete at one time. Each staff member was required to read 2 books from the list.
The students easily won three of the four rounds and tied one round with the teachers. This fun competition helped give students a chance to practice their battle skills as well as to build enthusiasm for the upcoming competition.
Thanks to Jackie Hunt for making reading fun for her students!
Thanks to Tina Heitman for sharing this good news! This is a great example of using a collection development plan to advocate for funding for your media center. Tina worked with Michele Hamer from World Book Online to choose the titles for this donation.
At the beginning of the school year, I nervously asked PTO for $5,000 to replenish our nonfiction section. I presented them with data showing the state of our library. The average age of our nonfiction section was 2007, which is actually the year I should have been purging. Without hesitation, the PTO generously said yes. All of the books are now here, and a picture says a thousand words, so I would like to take you on a picture walk of our new nonfiction books. These books were selected based on student interests, grade level teacher requests, and library circulation needs. PTO, I cannot thank you enough for your donation. Enjoy the tour of our updated nonfiction sections! Be sure to CHECK OUT these new books!
Nonfiction Grades 2-5: Grapic novel formatted science topics, scary and out of the ordinary, building character, mythology, citizenship, space, landforms, weather, animals, robots, military, transportation, dogs, sports, war, and American symbols!
Thanks to Tracy Varner for this awesome blog post! In this lesson, she has skillfully integrated North Carolina Children's Book Awards, NC Kids Digital Library, the eWISE research model and DE's Board Builder in this one lesson. What an excellent example of seamlessly integrating technology into instruction. Great job, Tracy!
Our county has been provided with some awesome technology tools and resources that will make learning fun! Recently, in our media center, we integrated three of these to learn about a mysterious deep-sea creature—the Giant Squid!!
At our last PLC meeting, we were provided with a new research model that is concise and student-friendly. The model is called “eWise”, and consists of four steps (see photo).
During the first phase, students “Wonder”, by thinking of any unanswered questions or new information they may want to discover about a particular topic. To find answers to these questions, the next step is to “Investigate” by doing research, using appropriate Internet resources or other sources. Once new facts and information have been gathered, they must compile it and develop a means of presenting it, which is the “Synthesis” phase. Finally, students share this information with others, using the “Express” phase.
During our media classes, we’ve been reading books that are being nominated for the NC Children’s Book Award. This week, our feature book is a nonfiction book, Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann. One of the most current resources our county has been given, NCKids Digital Library, has this ebook available that we read as a group (see photo).
While reading the book, it was clear that there are still many unanswered questions about this mysterious sea creature---questions our students were eager to find answers to. Following the second phase of “eWise”, students investigated, using Chromebooks and appropriate Internet sources. National Geographic Kids was just one of the sources that provided some answers.
After investigating, students “Synthesized” their new facts and information, using Google Discovery Education Board Builder tool (see photo). This was also the perfect way to “Express” this information by sharing Discovery Boards with the class (see photo).
Recently, some of our SLMCs and ITFs went to a PD day featuring resources on NC Wise Owl. Thanks to Rhonda Florence for this blog post recapping what they learned.
If you haven’t spent any time on the new version of NCWISEOWL, take a moment to do some exploring. Username and password are both wiseowl17 There are some new and extremely exciting updates in the latest offerings by DPI. And the best part is…..it’s free!!!!
Several Davidson County media and technology folks, including myself, Marley, Sue, Libby, Suzanne, Jill, Danielle and lead teacher Michelle Slate, attended PD provided by DPI in late January. There were lots of fabulous takeaways.
Divided into 4 sections, the homepage of NCWISEOWL offers elementary, middle, high school and professional sections. Each is geared toward the knowledge level of users.
In the Britannica section, there are colorful icons and letters to help with beginning researchers. The elementary level also includes a PreK-2nd grade learning zone. All researchers can create a MY CONTENT area where students can permanently file interesting findings (students must create a login in) Middle and high school levels include primary resources and detailed country comparisons. As the educator, you can create Resource Packs and get a permanent url to share assignments with your students.
For each Britannica article, there are usually 3 reading levels. Just switch from level 1 to level 2 or 3 by clicking on an icon (no other searching required). This makes finding appropriate resources for struggling or advanced readers quite productive. READALOUD is available!
Pop into the World Atlas section, and you can move your little yellow man straight to a spot on the map. I ended up in an building in Khartoum in the Sudan, able to see signs in Arabic, embellished carpets and men in traditional white outfits. Moving my man to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, I viewed a gorgeous blue-tiled fountain area. GEOGRAPHY BEE wannabes, take note. This can be lots of fun for your young geographers.
Clicking in the NCWISEOWL logo will quickly return you to the main menu. Products from GALE include Kids InfoBits, Research in Context and Student Resources in Context. These are particularly exciting because you can assign articles through Google Classroom, login in through Google to add the information to your drive. When you’ve save it, you can edit it AS YOU WANT. There are great unlabeled diagrams you can get to verify student learning.
This resource also has leveled articles. Green is the easiest, yellow is intermediate, and red are the more advanced. There is a readaloud option!
You can search by state standards. Just pick out NC and you can find articles that readily work with specific essential standards.
Citations are simple with both Gale and Britannica. Basically, they are already done for your students.
During the DPI training, we could only go to 2 of the 3 information sessions, but several of our county’s attendees went to the EBSCO training. I am sure you will be learning more about that resource soon. These products offer the chance to create relevant and useful staff development for my staff!
Which school hosted it’s first-ever Geography Bee, and the first Geography Bee in Davidson County Schools, in January 2018? Pickett Elementary or Hasty Elementary?
If you answered HASTY ELEMENTARY you are right! Six fourth and fifth grade students from Hasty competed in a 7-round competition in mid January. The winner will take an on-line test to see if she qualifies as one of the top 100 geographers in North Carolina in grades 4-8. If she qualifies, she will go to the state Geography Bee competition in Charlotte on April 6. Based on how well our winner performed in the school bee, there is a very good chance she will be in the state competition. The 60-minute test will be administered at school.
National Geographic coordinates the Geography Bee each year. Interested schools can register and pay the $120 fee in the fall. This year, the Davidson County Association of Educators was willing to pay for 5 elementary school registrations.
Materials are downloaded from the National Geographic website, including the questions for the preliminary and final school rounds. There are 35 questions available in each preliminary round. In these early rounds, students get the choice between 2 or 3 answers. For example, you might get a question that asks “The North Platte and South Platte Rivers meet in which state - New Mexico or Nebraska?” The correct answer, if you weren’t sure, was Nebraska.
Questions move from questions about the United States, to questions about physical geography (landforms, weather), to questions about the world. These include cultural as well as physical location questions.
How do students prepare for the test? That’s a tough question, and one we are still working to figure out. Basically, students should be able to physically locate all the US states, have a good command of the vocabulary needed for the fifth grade science test, and learn about major cities and all countries of the world. That’s a lot to do. But it’s fun! Our six students all hope to participate again next year. Logic and reasoning skills are just as useful in this competition as the names of the rivers in South Korea.
Having this first year under our belts, I feel much more ready to prepare students for next year’s bee. Our students want to have a geography club next year, after school, even while most move on to middle school! And several parents have expressed interest so we are doing a Geography Trivia as part of our next family night, and gauging interest in an adult Geo Bee.
Thanks to Rhonda Florence for this great blog post and her continued enthusiasm and leadership for geography education. If you would like to learn more about having a GeoBee at your school next year, please let her know!
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