Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day

Happy Leap Day!!! Above is a really good video that explains what a leap year is. Even though it was made in 2012 I thought the information was good and worth showing to a class. I particularly like it in relation to our fourth grade astronomy standards.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Hot Wheels Speedometry

This came across my Facebook feed and if I still taught 4th grade I would definitely be signing up. Apparently Mattel has a Speedometry set for free for 4th grade teachers that helps to teach math and science skills using hot wheels. What?!?! How awesome is that?!?! The set includes lesson plans to help teachers integrate hot wheels into the curriculum.

If you are interested you can sign up for your free kit here -

Eagle Cam

Check out the Berry College Bald Eagle Cam at

It is super addictive! I love showing it to children and having them make observations in the nest. Right now there is a little chick under the eagle and students get excited when the eagle moves and they can catch a glimpse of it. They are less thrilled with the dead fish and squirrels but it does reinforce the food chain :).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

YouTube - Downloading

In a previous post I talked about how I download videos from YouTube using a YouTube downloader (I followed that up with another post on how to download videos another way). Someone at the FETC conference in Orlando, FL taught me that I can download videos from YouTube yet ANOTHER way by simply typing an ss before the y in YouTube. This has been much easier for me! (step-by-step directions are in the pictures above) 

I use downloaded videos as part of my lessons. Having them downloaded allows me to upload to our Promethean flipcharts or PowerPoint presentations (it also takes out the annoying ads before the clip). I can also upload a video I want students to view into Edmodo or Google Classroom.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Black History Video Project

February is Black History Month and I am working with some teachers to help students produce research videos.

The video above is one I completed as a student/teacher sample.

The students have to produce a video that has 12 slides (or pictures). When I broke it down as follows to them they really only had to find eight facts:

1. The first slide has to contain a title and the students name 
2. Where and when the person was born
3.  Fact #1 (full sentence)
4. Fact #2
5. Fact #3 (by now tell me what he/she is famous for)
6. Fact #4
7. Fact #5
8. Fact #6
9. Fact #7
10. Fact #8
11. The year they died (or anything of note after they died)
12. Credit slide – where did they get their facts (This was made in their educreations app. They took a screen shot of it and edited it in the photo editor)

I was giving students three class periods to do the project.

Day 1 – Pick your person and do your research (if they couldn’t pick someone they pulled one out of a hat)
Day 2 – Get all your pictures
Day 3 – Put it together in iMovie

Note - I got the Billie Holiday song off of YouTube but students would be expected to narrate and use music that is offered in iMovie. I did say if any child picked a musician I would be happy to download music for them and upload it to their Google drive for use.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lion King Jr. - Production Roles (PBL)

This past week I worked with an elementary school that is putting on a production of The Lion King Jr. They are a project based learning (PBL) school. In an attempt to get all students involved in the process of the production they modified the specials schedule for a week.

Every special area became something related to theater production and students got to choose what special they wanted. They had that special for two days before switching to another area of interest. The areas they had were (this ran Monday – Friday with Friday being a review of what they learned and did):

Morning (K2 students)
-          Hand craft beading and Jewelry (run by a community volunteer)
-          Fabric Design (run by the art teacher)
-          Singing (run by the music teacher)
-          Choreography (run by the dance teacher)
-          Improve (run by a community volunteer)

Afternoon (3-5 students)
-          Make Up Design
-          Masks
-          Puppetry
-          Set Painting and Design
-          Improve
-          Singing
-          Choreography
-          Graphic Design/Media

I was asked to work with the afternoon graphic design/media group (with the schools computer lab teacher and media specialist). Third graders designed tickets. Fourth graders designed posters and fifth graders designed trailers.

It was a fun experience. We got to teach students about design elements, we introduced them to the old fashioned “In a World…” trailers from the 80’s and they learned a lot about how to use their respective tech tools. This was a first for the school and hopefully not the last time they do it.

Some items of note…we could not use any copyright image (except for the logo) or any copyright music. We had to teach students how to search google images and refine the search parameters to images “labeled for reuse”. We used for the music and I downloaded a couple of songs for them to choose from into their Google Drive (I gave them Loyal Magnificence and African Footprints to choose from).