Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spanish Club Creates Día de los Muertos Video

Students in Ms. Gines' fifth grade Spanish Club created a video explaining the Día de los Muertos celebration for KLHE Morning News Broadcast. They collaborated on the script using a Google Doc. Several students worked simultaneously on perfecting the script, and Ms. Gines was also able to add comments as they worked. The video was uploaded to Windows Movie Maker, where students edited the footage. They also added captions listing the Spanish words. The title and credits pages were created using PowerPoint and saved as .jpg images to import into the video.

Enjoy watching this excellent video!

Rebecca works on adding Spanish captions to the video.

Tiernee and Lexi create a PowerPoint for the title and credits.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Skype Visit with Famous Author Avi

A group of fourth graders visited with the famous Newbery Medal winning author, Avi, through a Skype online event on October 21. Students have been reading Avi's book Poppy, which is an engaging animal fantasy. Four students from each class were chosen for the visit, based on the questions that they generated to ask Avi.

Milo shows his surprise during his conversation with Avi.
Milo asked, "Is the process of your story making very long? If so, tell us about it." Avi answered that he worked on one story for over eight years!

Breno has a nice conversation with Avi.
Breno asked, "Did you want to be a writer when you were a kid?" Avi answered that he was more interested in machines and motors and airplanes and that he loved machinery when he was Breno's age. When Avi asked Breno what he wanted to be when he grows up, Breno said a soccer player. Then Avi shared the story of playing on his high school soccer team and losing every game!

Hayden asked,  "What advice do you have for young authors like myself? What could I do to make my books better?" Listen to this one minute video with Avi's answer:

You may also view the video on YouTube (if you are reading this outside the RRISD network.)

Finally, here's a photo of the happy fourth graders who got to interact with Avi via Skype, while he was at home in Colorado and they were at school in Round Rock!

NGDC: Learning about Chromebooks with "Selfies"

The Chromebooks in Ms. Price's Next Generation Digital Classroom (NGDC) are devices that are new to Round Rock ISD. So students, teachers, tech support, and I have all been experimenting with and learning about the Chromebooks. On Friday, September 19, students used the built-in webcams to take "selfies" - photos of themselves. Students were instructed to take one nice, normal portrait for use in classroom activities. But they were also encouraged to explore the more then twenty different special effects that are built into the Chromebook web cam app.

Preston plays with the big head special effect.

The swirl special effect made Olivia grin at her image.
Learning to save and manage digital files is a critical skill. So, this lesson also included learning how to create folders within Google Drive and how to save the photos into the Picture folders that were created.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Virtual Field Trip to Learn About the U.S. Constitution

Third graders in Mrs. Pinali's class went on a virtual field trip to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on Constitution Day - September 17. The field trip included a tour of the rotunda of the National Archives, which displays the original Constitution of the United States. Students learned how the Constitution has been preserved, why the lighting is very dim,  and why the special glass protecting the document is so thick. This was a live event that students were able to view due to the robust Internet service provided by Round Rock ISD.

A photo of third grade students viewing the U.S. Constitution in the National Archives.
The image projected on the screen shows the actual Constitution
of the United States in its protected environment.

Students prepared for this educational experience by reading about and researching the Constitution. The class made a KWL chart before the field trip, showing what they knew and what they wanted to learn.

A photo of the KWL chart generated by third graders.
Students wanted to know what an archivist does.
Their question was answered during the virtual field trip.

To sum up their learning, students discussed their questions and the answers that were given by the hosts and experts during the field trip.

A photo of Mrs. Pinali recording the answers that students discovered during their virtual field trip to the National Archives.
Mrs. Pinali jots down answers about what the students learned
on this virtual field trip.

This virtual field trip was a valuable way to provide a real-world experience for our Central Texas students.

AUP - Required Acceptable Use Policy

Mr. Olson teaches Acceptable Use Policy to third graders in early September.
Before using technology in a new school year, all students are required to participate in Acceptable Use Policy training. This training varies a bit, depending on grade level, but students learn ways they can stay safe online. They also learn which web sites are acceptable for school work and where to find links to recommended sites. The prevention of cyberbullying is also covered.

A federal government web site called explains cyberbullying. It also presents several ways that parents can help their students stay safe online and prevent cyberbullying when students use technology at home. I encourage parents to educate themselves about cyberbullying and to pay careful attention to what children are doing online, on cell phones, and on other digital devices.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NGDC? What's That?

NGDC stands for Next Generation Digital Classroom, which is a Round Rock ISD pilot project for 2014-15. Dr. Steve Flores, the Round Rock ISD superintendent, is an enthusiastic proponent of technology in schools. He and his team planned NGDC and garnered the support of the school board, who allocated funding for the project.

Through an application process, one teacher at EACH school in RRISD was selected as a NGDC teacher. Herrington had a number of strong applicants, and Becki Price, fifth grade teacher, was selected.

Ms. Price shows off the Dell Chromebook cart.

Ms. Price and I attended two days of training in the summer and another day in September. We will participate in additional training throughout the year. We are learning how to use technology to help students with the 4 C's: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Since this is a pilot project, Ms. Price will be sharing her classroom experiences with RRISD through weekly reflections. She also has to create two lessons integrating technology each semester, and she will have frequent observers in her classroom.

Ms. Edwards teaches the NGDC fifth graders about their Google Apps for Education Accounts. Note the new projector, which is part of the NGDC equipment, which makes the regular white board interactive.
After permission forms were returned, students began using their Dell Chromebook devices on August 28. Chromebooks connect to the internet quickly and work well with Google Apps for Education (GAFE.) Students can use GAFE to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more. They can also use web sites like STEMscopes for science and Think Through Math on their Chromebooks.

The photos below show how much the students enjoyed their first day with the Chromebooks!

Getting I.T. Right @ Herrington 2014-15

I.T. stands for Instructional Technology, and at Herrington in 2014-15, the teachers, students, and I are working hard to use technology in meaningful ways.

Let me introduce myself. I am Carol Edwards, Instructional Technology Specialist for Herrington. I am a certified teacher and librarian with many years of experience, and I love teaching about and using technology! The most important part of my job is to help teachers and students use technology effectively and efficiently.

I'll be using this blog to feature some of the lessons, learning, and activities that involve technology. We've been busy, and I have some catching up to do. Once I'm caught up, my goal is to share something interesting on this blog every week or two.

I'd love for my readers to comment on my posts, and please feel free to email me if you have questions. Thank you for reading my blog!