Thursday, December 19, 2013

Google+ Hangout with White House Pastry Chef, Florist

Third graders in Ms. Key’s class participated in an online Google+ Hangout with the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, and White House florist,  Laura Dowling, on Thursday, December 19. The class was one of only three across the United States chosen for active participation! To prepare, the students researched the White House before the hangout. They also wrote questions to ask the chef and the florist. Their question about "lines of symmetry" generated great responses!

Our students were wonderful representatives of their families, our school, and Round Rock ISD!

Ms. Key's students are ready for the Google+ Hangout to begin!
Emily, Abigail, and Jordan practiced asking their questions before the Hangout.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Giving Technology? Check Out These Tech Contracts

Many children will be receiving cell phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops, and/or gaming systems during the holiday season. These expensive gifts will be favorites long after the kids return to school, but they can also impact family time, family interactions, family budgets, and family safety.

The Family Online Safety Institute has created contracts for a variety of popular devices to help parents set expectations and limits for their use. The contracts help parents think about the ramifications of new devices. By setting expectations for use BEFORE the items are unpacked and activated, parents may prevent conflicts and disagreements. The contracts can be downloaded and customized by parents to suit the needs of the family. Contracts are designed to be signed by both the child receiving the device and the parent.

Holiday Contract Cards for Families

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Creating Graphs in Microsoft Excel

Students in Ms. Hanna's fourth grade TAG math class used Microsoft Excel to create graphs during a lesson on December 10. In math, they were working on graphing a given set of data using appropriate graphical representation.

This lesson also addressed Technology TEKS 4(B): collect, analyze, and represent data to solve problems using tools such as word processing, databases, spreadsheets, graphic organizers, charts, multimedia, simulations, models, and programming languages.

Students found the assignment challenging, but they were able to successfully complete the various graphs.

Jaden (above) begins work on his bar graph, which is pictured below.

Hailey (above) begins work on her circle graph; the finished graph is pictured below.

Publishing Research with Microsoft Word

Learning to locate information and understand informational texts and websites is a critical skill for our students. During their research unit for the second nine weeks, second grade students were guided by their teachers in the use of search strategies to access information, which is Technology TEKS 3(A). They also used research skills to build a knowledge base regarding a class topic, which is Technology TEKS 3(B).

The students then wrote expository pieces to share what they learned about their research topic. They published their pieces using Microsoft Word, so they were also working on the technology skills of creating original products and saving them.

Ms. Street works with Gianna, Ethan, Grace, and Daniel during the publishing process.

Grace displays her completed piece about the Day of the Dead, which was the class research topic.

Publishing Personal Stories in Microsoft Word

During the second nine weeks, first grade students worked on writing personal stories that included a beginning, a middle, and an end. They used Microsoft Word to publish their stories, which addresses technology skill 1(B): create original products using a variety of resources. Students learned how to center titles and how to make capital letters using the SHIFT key.

Below are some screen shots of stories written by students in Ms. Campbell's class. You can tell from their stories how much the boys enjoyed Halloween and Trick or Treating!

Subtracting Apples in Kidspiration 3

In November, first grade students in used a program called Kidspiration 3 to work on both technology skills and math skills. Students opened a teacher-created template and then saved it. Saving can be a tricky skill, as students have to find and select their own folders as the save location. This skill is introduced in first grade and should be mastered by the end of second grade.

The "Subtracting Apples" activity required students to follow written directions and drag the specified number of apples from the tree to the basket. Then they filled in the blanks for the subtraction problem. Students enjoyed the activity and got in some important practice in both math and technology.

Vincent (above) is in Ms. Neubauer's class; Vincent's work is shown below.

Students, like Julien in Ms. Neubauer's class, printed their work for a classroom display.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Taking a Virtual Field Trip to Zoo Atlanta

Ms. Key's third grade class took a virtual field trip to Zoo Atlanta on November 21. The class participated in a Google On Air Hangout sponsored by the zoo. They watched and listened to a turtle expert in Minnesota, live in front of a pond where the turtles live. They also learned from an alligator expert at the zoo, who used an 11-month old alligator to show them how alligators have adapted to their environments. One interesting fact was that alligators have 80 teeth, which grow back when they are lost. One alligator might have 2000-3000 teeth over its lifetime!

Before the hangout, Ms. Key instructed her students in the "netiquette" for virtual field trips, so they would be good ambassadors for Herrington. Students from several schools across the United States participated in this hangout, and some were able to ask questions of the presenters. Unfortunately, students in Ms. Key's class waited quietly but were not called on. Maybe next time!

Damajia, Delilah, Leyla, and Zion in Ms. Key's third grade class took notes in their journals as they participated in the virtual field trip to Zoo Atlanta.

Learning Mouse Skills with TuxPaint

Hannah displays her writing in TuxPaint.
Kindergarten students in Ms. Bird's class recently used a program called TuxPaint to practice their mouse skills. TuxPaint is a drawing program that also allows users to learn technology skills. It's especially good for younger students to practice their mouse skills. Many kids are catching on to mouse skills more quickly than in earlier years, since they have played with tablets or iPads at home. Students also practice opening and closing programs, which is a skill from their Technology TEKS.

Devin shows off the skillful way he wrote his name with the mouse.
TuxPaint is a free program, but it does have to be downloaded and installed from the TuxPaint web site.

First Graders Access Starfall for Reading Practice, Tech Skills

Learning to use computers can be complex, especially for students who don't have computers at home. Students have to learn how put in their user names and passwords to access the RRISD network before they can do any computer tasks. They also have to learn to use the touch pad mouse that is found on netbooks and laptops. And then they have to learn what different programs do and how to access them.

Connor, Mikayla, and Kaitlyn, from Ms. Redwine's first grade class, navigate Starfall activities. is a popular and free web site for primary students that reinforces reading skills like letter recognition and decoding. Along with  reading skills, this web site work provides practice with Technology TEKS, including opening and closing programs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

AUP = Acceptable Use Policy

Technology instruction begins every year with lessons in Internet Safety and Acceptable Use. Students at all grade levels learn ways to be safe on the internet. They are also taught Round Rock ISD's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), along with school policies about the use of technology.

Students in Ms. Zepeda's second grade class practice waiting safely back from the computer cart and carrying the computers with two hands.
Every student has a personal user name and password for logging into the Round Rock ISD network. Students learn to log in and are encouraged to memorize their user names and passwords to speed up the process. They also have folders on the server which allow them to save work that they do on computers.

Ms. Zepeda assists one of her students with logging in to the network for the first time.

Better late than never!

Welcome to Herrington's technology blog for the 2013-14 school year! I am getting a very late start on this blog, it's true, but I have many wonderful technology projects to share with you. I'll be catching up for a few weeks, and then you can expect to see weekly posts about what our students are doing with technology.

I am Carol Edwards, instructional technology specialist for Herrington. I was here half-time when Herrington opened in 2011-12. Now our school has grown, and I'm pleased to be the full-time ITS for Herrington.

Revised Technology Applications TEKS for grades K-8 went into effect for fall 2012. The K-2nd Grade TEKS are introduced in  kindergarten, developed further in first grade, and should be mastered by the end of second grade. The 3rd - 5th Grade TEKS follow the same pattern.

TA_TEKS for K-5

Our goal is to incorporate these technology TEKS into subject area instruction, so students are learning technology skills along with reading, writing, math, science, or social studies content.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Kim Miller!

Kim Miller is the Librarian at Herrington Elementary. Ms. Miller is an excellent resource for students and teachers to come to for research projects incorporating online resources and the many devices available in the library. Ms. Miller uses technology throughout her day with all of the students at Herrington.

Here are a few ways that she uses technology:

  • Promethean Board
    • enhances material available in books and bring subjects to life visually
  • Library Database
    • helps students gather information in 'student' friendly environments. Many are designed specifically for young readers and can read the text aloud.
  • Digital Camera
    • capture and highlight special moments
  • Video Camera
    • create learning tools using students and staff
What is a favorite lesson that you do that incorporates technology?
Database scavenger hunt is a favorite beginning of the year lesson. It is always fun to watch the students as they gather new and interesting information. They become so absorbed in their research they lose track of time and are utterly disappointed when it is time to log off. They leave the lesson really motivated about conducting online research.

I plan to create book trailers with the upper grade students using Movie Maker this year. This will be a fun lesson that incorporates technology, reading, and writing.

What is the one instructional technology that you feel you could no longer do without?

If wishes could come true, what technology would you want to have available in your classroom to enhance instruction?
Interactive Desktop

What are some of your thoughts on using technology as part of classroom instruction?
Technology is a way to engage students. It enhances the lessons and helps students retain information. Using current technology reaches students on their level. We are fortunate to have so many technology tools at our disposal. Our online catalog of eBooks and audiobooks enhance the technology learning and experience for students at Herrington Elementary.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Kim Guettler!

Kim Guettler is part of the Third Grade Team at Herrington Elementary. Ms. Guettler is excited about technology and always looking for ways to incorporate it into lessons to get students motivated about learning in her classroom.

Here are a few ways that she uses technology:

  • For Interventions: First in Math
  • For Research: Pebble Go!
  • For comparing Fiction/Non-Fiction: TumbleBooks
  • For finished products/presentations: Word and Powerpoint
  • For Enrichment: Book study using and webquests
  • For instruction: the document camera, slate, Promethean software
  • For science: SEMScopes
What is a favorite lesson that you do that incorporates technology?
A project on Expository/Non-Fiction text, where the students complete a research project using the library online resources to write an essay. The look of amazement at the sounds animals make and the information about the animals drive the students to want to learn more.

What is the one instructional technology that you feel you could no longer do without?
Promethean Flipcharts

What is a technology wish you have for your classroom?
Promethean Board

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Donna Wise!

Donna Wise is an Interventionist at Herrington Elementary. Ms. Wise uses technology extensively herself and believes that it is important for students to use and be comfortable with it as part of their learning.

Here are a few ways that she uses technology:

  • Read180
  • Interactive teaching lessons
  • Reading Counts
  • First in Math
  • Aimsweb (teacher resource)
  • Powerpoint
  • Projects
  • Istation: The Imagination Station
She feels like the one technology she can no longer live without is the document camera and classroom projection system.

What technology would you wish to have available in your classroom to enhance instruction?
Promethean Board

What are some of your thoughts on using technology in the classroom as part of instruction?
Technology is an excellent way to enhance the delivery of instruction and provide students with interactive media to supplement instruction.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Cynthia Hendry!

Cynthia Hendry is an Art Teacher at Herrington Elementary. Ms. Hendry does an amazing job of providing her students with many different experiences in Art. She understands the importance of using technology as one of the many tools that artists use to create their pieces.

Here are a few ways that she uses technology:

  • Document camera/projector
  • Powerpoint
  • TuxPaint
  • Pixlr photo editor
  • Various art create websites:
  • Digital cameras
  • Word
  • Microsoft Paint
What is a favorite lesson that you do that incorporates technology?
The Third Grade Japanese style dragons are a favorite. Students start by creating dragons using the website. These come out great but then we up the creativity even more by using the photo editor

The Fourth Grade outer space project is also a favorite. Students start by creating a space-scape using TuxPaint. We then pull that into and get even more creative with it!

The Fifth Grade album art project is another one that I look forward to. Students work as Graphic Designers to create an album for an artist or group that they make up. We use TuxPaint to create the album cover and then upload it to to really up the professional aspect.

What is the one instructional technology that you feel you could no longer do without?

What technology do you wish you had available in your classroom all the time?
Class set of laptops

Friday, February 15, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Kristy Street!

Kristy Street is a Second Grade Teacher at Herrington Elementary School. Ms. Street is excited about using technology with her students and enjoys finding new resources for them to try. She feels that technology is an  imperative part of her classroom and today's instruction.

Here are a few ways that she integrates technology:

  • Publishing student stories
  • Kidspiration
  • Pebble Go
  • TumbleBooks
  • BookFLIX
  • Research Projects and Presentations
One of her favorite ways to use technology is to use Kidspiration during a math lesson.

What is the one technology tool that you could no longer do without in your classroom?
The document camera

What one piece of technology do you wish were available in your classroom?

What are some of your thoughts on using technology with your students?
It is imperative that students learn how to use computers. Even simple tasks like logging in and opening/saving a word document is beneficial. The students engagement level increases when technology is used.

Stay up to date with Mrs. Pinali's Third Grade Blog!

Mrs. Pinali does a fantastic job of informing her parents and students about what is happening in her classroom via her class blog. She shares announcements and links to relevant websites that they are using. Way to go, Mrs. Pinali!

For more resources, check out her "Helpful Links" page that has links to useful Third Grade Websites that the whole Third Grade Team uses!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Showcase Teacher: Wendy Jones!

Wendy Jones is a Fifth Grade Teacher at Herrington Elementary. Ms. Jones uses technology in a variety of ways with her students. She is open to new technology and resources that will effectively and in an engaging way deliver the content to her students.

Here are a few of the ways that she uses technology:

  • Science
    • weekly STEMScopes activities including interactive review vocabulary games
    • interactive review games
    • webquests
    • virtual labs
    • online assessments
    • science fair project research
    • charts/graphs creation
    • research presentation
    • digital camera
  • Social Studies
    • Research Project and Presentation
    • Powerpoint
    • Colonies, Explorers, States
  • Math
    • student created charts/graphs
    • math games
    • first in math
    • webquests
  • Reading/Language Arts
    • African American Research Project
    • Interactive reading online resources
What is a favorite lesson that you do that incorporates technology?
Science Fair Projects

What is one piece of technology that you wish was in your classroom?
Promethean Board

Friday, January 11, 2013

First Annual Herrington Teacher Conference

On January 4th, 2013, teachers participated in a Staff Development Day that was structured like a professional conference. When teachers arrived they perused the conference sessions and then chose to attend sessions that most interested them throughout the day. There were three sessions offered that were specifically focused on Technology Tools such as Google Sites, Photo Story, and interactive Web 2.0 sites. The sessions were designed to give the teacher's more ideas and ways to help motivate our students throughout the day. We had a lot of fun learning together. Ask your child what technology they used at school! It just might be one of the resources that they learned about at our Herrington Teacher Conference.