Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guest Post by Kim Martinez: Tech Lesson Reflection

Lesson: Using Doodle Buddy to photograph a plant and then label it’s parts.

Intro: After a solid introduction on plants, their parts and their needs, by reading several books, a KWL chart, labeling the plant in large group, as well as the kids drawing and labeling in their own science journal, we did it with the iPADs.

Modeling iPad use-First we reminded ourselves of proper iPad use and care. I then, showed them the APP and modeled use if it-showing the ICONS for taking the picture, where to find the drawing/writing tools etc. I then modeled taking the picture and labeling it.

Doing it… My TA had to help me get the kids to Doodle Buddy, since the iPads have SO many APPS, it was difficult for them to find it.
Once we go the APP, it went pretty smoothly. Some of the kids did it right away, with ease, so I enlisted them to help the few that had a harder time. A few kids just couldn’t write with the drawing tool, so I differentiated by showing them the typing text tool and that worked great for them.  The kiddos that caught on quickly went on to draw pictures of plant life cycles and plant needs. I was happy to see them excited again and doing something new!

I will do more lessons like this in the future, but I think I will try to jump in more gradually--starting by “playing” in the app that we will use a time or two before we use it, so I have a fewer questions. I have to say I was pretty surprised at how well they did, despite this is truly the first time we had the Ipad cart for an actual project instead of just “free choice” game time. Now that I have wet my feet, I will attempt to go a little deeper the next time!

Below you can see some student samples.

The student above used the type tool, but it is hard to see in the photo.

This is one of my strugglers! And she did GREAT!!!


Kim Martinez
Kindergarten Teacher
Webb Elementary

Friday, May 23, 2014

Success in the Second Grade Classroom with Nearpod!

Written by guest blogger, Robin Shepard
2nd Grade Teacher at Ditto Elementary School

Nearpod is an app that allows you to interact with your classroom using mobile devices. You can use presentations that are already created or create and customize your own. The app is free and can be downloaded on iPads, iPad Minis, Chromebooks, laptops, PC’s, or MACS.

The teacher can create or download interactive multimedia presentations; share the interactive presentation with your class; control the student’s activity in the presentation; and monitor and measure student results on an individual basis. The student interacts with the presentation and submits responses to multiple choice or open-ended questions.

There are many free presentations for all grade levels as well as those you can purchase. The pricing is very reasonable – most are $2.99. There are also presentations that teach you how to create a fabulous presentation of your own.

I have used this app in my classroom for math and language arts. The students think it is great fun. I have not had any issues with the app working in real time but I know this has been an issue with our server in the past.

Download Nearpod and see how to liven up your classroom instruction.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Crouch Elementary: App Smashing with The Parts of a Plant

During a recent classroom visit to Ms. Leti Hernandez's Kindergarten classroom at Crouch Elementary, students were reviewing the parts of a plant. Students used the Doodle Buddy app to draw the parts of a plant and then used the app Shadow Puppets to record their understanding of what roll each part plays. During our time together, we were only able to finish projects from two of the groups. The students who were able to finish the activity then were able to teach the other students how to use the apps the next day.

Please enjoy a student sample.

Images were drawn using Doodle Buddy. PicCollage was used to create the collage for this post.

This was the students' first experience with recording their voices on the iPad so they were a little soft spoken, but they still wanted to share their projects.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Media Fair 2104 Best of Show

On April 28th, the Instructional Technology Department hosted their ninth annual Media Fair Showcase and Awards Ceremony. 208 medals were awarded to PK-12 students in for their technology projects in nine different categories ranging from Digital Video to Programming and Mobile Applications. From the submitted projects, one was chosen for the "Best of Show" award.

This year's Best of Show award is truly incredible. Ahmonza Gwynn's digital animation project, Beowulf: The Anglo-Saxon Hero, is truly a showcase of his absolutely incredible talent. To truly appreciate the project, keep this in mind:

  • The entire project was animated using Adobe Flash
  • Every graphic was digitally, hand-drawn with a mouse (no, not a a graphic tablet)
  • When he couldn't find any acceptable music to use, the student composed his own soundtrack using another application called Fruity Loops
  • The voice-over is his original work, recorded and altered using Audacity
This is true, raw talent- a story brought to life using amazing artistic and technical abilities. Enjoy!

Here is what educators are saying about Ahmonza's talent:

"Your work left me speechless. I'm still holding on to my seat waiting for more!" - Media Fair Judge

"Ahmonza epitomizes what is means to be a true artist. His ability to design, create and implement is absolutely amazing and like no other! It is without a doubt that Ahmonza will excel in his future artistic endeavors!" - Linh Nguyen, Coordinator of Art K-12/Journalism

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Yes, today is May 1st and among other celebrations going on today, many AISD teachers are celebrating the end of CPALLS+, TPRI, and Tejas LEE assessment windows.

Thanks to all our wonderful PK, K, 1st and 2nd grade teachers for all the hard work that goes into teaching students all year and assessing them via the TANGO application three times a year.
While we know there is a lot of time left in the school year and oh so much more to accomplish before sending your children out into the world (and onto the next grade level) we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the end of testing - at least this round. Thanks for all you do!

Margaret and Jana

Make sure to check back here for more information in coming weeks about our TLI (Texas Literacy Initiative) Technology Ed Camp - happening Friday, August 8th at Adams Elementary!

CRE8R Space at Remynse Elementary School

Every Wednesday afternoon at 3:30, a group of fifth grade students make their way to the CRE8R space in the Remynse Elementary library. The librarian, Lesley Cano, applied for and received a Transformation through Innovation grant this year to acquire equipment for the Remynse CRE8R Club. They received computers, a 3-D printer and  a Lego Robotics set.

The day that I visited, I watched the students as they began designing playground equipment using Tinkercad. This is a web based tool that students can use to design products that they can then send to a 3-D printer. Because Tinkercad is web based students worked with a variety of devices. I observed students using PC Laptops, Macbooks and even Chromebooks. Each student received a login card with his/her Google credentials as they were able to use the same credentials for Tinkercad.

Students worked in small groups as they began the design process. Some began by sketching their designs on paper while others just jumped right in to Tinkercad. At one table a group of boys were designing soccer goals and at another table girls were creating a special swing that would allow the user to lay down. The students will work on their projects for two or three weeks and then they will be printed using the 3-D printer.

Being a part of the club is teaching students skills that they can use for a lifetime. Sometimes students design something that does not work. They are learning that failure is part of the design process. When something does not work, they can analyze why and find a better design.

The students really enjoy the CRE8R space and Mrs. Cano hopes to expand the use of the it next year. I look forward to future visits to see all of the creative things that students have designed.