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Showing posts from December, 2015

Snowflake Matter Activity (and Video)

Yesterday I worked with two groups of third graders at the end of their matter unit. The teacher and I are working together to try and incorporate a tech project at the end of each of her science units. 
I would like to claim this snowflake idea...but I got it from a friend of mine who is a science lab teacher at another school. She was showing me how she had her third graders make dipped wax snowflakes as part of their study of matter. She awesomely lent me all her supplies so I could do it with the students I had. The tech component was they had to make an iMovie (new skill for them) explaining what they did (in the iMovie they had to have one definition, they had to use at least two unit vocabulary words, and have a safety tip...we kept it pretty basic because we had to finish it that day but the requirements could certainly be increased based on grade and available time). 
The teacher very nicely gave up a large chunk of time for this. She teaches math and science and we used bot…

Touchcast (Green Screen) Video Entry

I worked with a class of 5th graders last week making green screen videos with their TouchCast app related to Westward Expansion. The one featured above was the "best of the best" and was entered into a video contest put on by TouchCast (fingers crossed they win). The teacher will win a Studio in a Box to use with future classes.

It was the largest project I have done with students with the app. I have played around with it on my own but organizing and executing a script based project definitely was more time consuming then I originally thought. I now have a better idea of how I would go about planning it next time. I am hoping to get the app added to all 3-5 iPads in the district next year (I wish they had a web version as well for our middle/high students who use Dell tablets). The only problem is that the app is rated for ages 12 and up so principals have to agree/sign a waiver to have it added to iPads. I'm hoping that if I have more student samples that it will be…

Modeling "Call Back" Chant

I was in a classroom the other day helping with something TOTALLY unrelated to the teachers lesson. As I was working I was listening to the teacher teach math to her 1st graders. She did such an awesome job (I mean I stopped what I was doing to see what she was doing...teaching 1st graders is a rough subgroup for me...control wise). Anyway, we had to test out what I was helping her with (signing 1st graders into our science tech book) and I asked her to repeat this "call back" she used with her students as she modeled how to use the shortcut we set up. I video taped it because it was too cute not to.
I tried it today in a 3rd grade classroom and they picked it up pretty quickly. I would like to say I was as successful as the teacher in the video but alas I failed to model what "watching" looked like first (my mistake).
So, if you are going to use this call back make sure students know and practice what "watching" looks like before introducing it.

Christmas Music Composition Recommendation

Last night I attended a Christmas concert put on by the Marine Corps Band and it was...as always..outstanding. My favorite piece was the one above called Minor Alterations - Christmas Through the Looking Glass composed by David Lovrien. It made me think of a Christmas themed circus (dark and light) as I was listening to it. The unusual remake or remix of all these iconic Christmas songs made it on my December music list for the classroom (for sale on iTunes for .99).

I thought I would share...since I had never heard of it until last night.

Technology Newsletter - November and December 2015

Each month I work on our department's monthly tech newsletter. It gets compiled from a variety of sources...resources/ideas from other tech coaches, upcoming technology support activities, blogs I follow, etc.

Just recently I added a project corner where I highlight three or so tech projects that either I have done with students, seen teachers do with students, or other coaches have done with students. It is definitely worth a look if you need any ideas for incorporating technology within the curriculum.

A lot of items are relevant to our district only but you should be able to skim and scan quickly to find items that might appeal to a wider audience.

Click on the following following newsletter links to view -

November 2015 Elementary Tech Newsletter
December 2015 Elementary Tech Newletter

Student Peer Feedback

I was in a training class today where we were talking about how to teach students to give feedback. The instructor showed this video which features the evolution of a butterfly drawing a student completed after receiving peer feedback at various stages. The difference from start to finish was impressive! I loved the video and thought it would be something I would share with students (when teaching them the importance of feedback).

The instructor then had us go around the room and provide feedback on group projects. She had us use sticky notes BUT we had to write on the sticky side so that when we left the note it was face down as opposed to face up...so that way people walking around couldn't copy each other's responses and the feedback was private. That was pretty awesome (yet another idea I would copy).




The feedback we left was "Praise, Question, Polish" - something you liked, a question you had, and a suggestion for improvement or something to think about. I made…