Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sharing Information with Google Sites

For Google users, Google Sites is a quick and fairly simple way to set up a website. It is included with Round Rock ISD's Google Apps for Education package, so all students and staff have access to Google Sites.

Reece, in Ms. Salvati's language arts class, created a Google site for his ISP project about dragons. Check it out - it looks great!

Reece's Dragon Project

Teachers have also been learning how to create Google sites. Most currently have their websites with a vendor that will not be available after June 30. So I have been working with the teachers to create new websites that will be ready for the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. Our teachers are learners, too! And even as the 2014-15 school year winds down, we are getting ready for a new school year.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

First Graders Research Careers

First grade students have been researching careers, and Mrs. Moeller's students created videos to share what they've learned. The students used PebbleGo to learn about different jobs. Then they searched for and downloaded images from Britannica Imagequest, which is a library resource with "millions of rights-cleared images" for student use. They uploaded their images to Photo Story 3 and then recorded narration to tell their viewers about the career they learned about. Mrs. Moeller then uploaded the students' videos to her YouTube channel. Please visit YouTube and watch some of these awesome videos!

Mrs. Moeller's YouTube Channel

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creating Pictures with Two-Dimensional Shapes

Kindergarten students have been learning about two dimensional shapes in math. They read a book called Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh, and they saw how shapes could be manipulated to make pictures. Then students in Mrs. Manibusan's kindergarten class used two dimensional shapes found in the computer program Kidspiration 3 to create pictures of their own. Students added a sentence about their picture.

Mrs. Manibusan printed her students' work. When she showed me the pictures, I asked her to choose two or three for me to feature on this tech blog. Instead, Mrs. Manibusan sent me the whole stack of pictures with a note that said, "Please choose your favorite ones . . . I love them all." Take a look at the slideshow below, and you will see why it was too hard to choose just a few. That's why I published ALL of them!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TAG Students Use Kahoot for Game-Based Review

Fourth graders in Mrs. Salvati's language arts class have been using Kahoot!, a game-based program, for reviewing material. In Kahoot!, teachers create questions to assess student knowledge and then save their game. To play Kahoot!, students join a game by entering a specific game code on a device, like a smart phone, tablet, or computer. When the teacher launches the game, students view the projected questions and input their answers on their devices. Kahoot! keeps score, based on correct answers and speed the answers are received. It's a fast-paced, engaging way to question students and have everyone participate. And after the game ends, the teacher can download a spreadsheet with details of the students' performance.

Click the link and select "What is it?" to learn more:  Kahoot!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Publishing Super Hero Poems

Students in Ms. Neubauer's first grade dual language class wrote poems that they published using Microsoft Word. Students continued their work to master the basics of word processing. They learned how to center text. They also worked on capitalization and punctuation skills. After they printed their poems, they illustrated them. I think you'll agree that these Super Hero poems are Super CUTE!

Stop by Ms. Neubauer's classroom soon, and read all of these
Super Hero poems.

Creating Genre Reviews Using Google Slides

Third graders in Ms. Pinali's class created presentations using Slides in Google Apps for Education (GAFE.) Their presentations reviewed characteristics of the literature genres they learned in reading this year. Students collaborated in small groups on the project. This is one of the strengths of GAFE, because ALL students in the group are able to log on and work on their presentation at the same time. Students are also able to share their work easily with others. The links to their projects listed below were created to allow anyone with the link to view their work. Enjoy!

Biography by Zach, Garrit, Kacy, and Daniel S.

Fiction by Stephanie, Kira, Maggie, and Angel

Nonfiction by Faith, Ben, Vivian, and Victoria

Poetry by Daniel G., Abby, and Robel

Maddison works with her group
on planning the traditional
literature presentation.
Students collaborate to plan their project content.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Online Testing Expands for 2014-15

Students across the state of Texas - and at Herrington - are taking state-mandated STAAR and TELPAS tests online this spring. This week, our second, third, fourth, and fifth graders who are English language learners took the TELPAS (Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System) reading test online. This test assesses students' growth in learning the English language.

Second graders complete the TELPAS tutorial on March 11
 to prepare for their online reading assessment this week. 
To prepare for the online TELPAS reading assessments, students completed tutorials the week before spring break that presented them with sample questions so they would be comfortable with the format of the questions and navigation through the tests. Students in grades three through five also learned how to use online tools, like the highlighter and pencil tools, and the X-out tool, which are available during their tests.

Links to the TELPAS tutorials are included, if you'd like to see what these assessments are like:

TELPAS Tutorial Gr. 2
TELPAS Tutorial Gr. 3
TELPAS Tutorial Gr. 4-5

New this year to online testing is the STAAR A, an online version of the STAAR tests, for some students with disabilities that includes embedded accommodations. Fourth and fifth grade students will be taking the STAAR A for the first time on Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31.  Learn more about STAAR A by visiting the Texas Assessment web site.

STAAR A Resources

Thursday, February 26, 2015

ActivExpression Devices Support Student Assessment

Sephanit and Ali participate in the trivia contest based on
books nominated for the 2014-15 Texas Bluebonnet Award.

Librarian Kim Miller recently hosted 37 third, fourth, and fifth graders at a Bluebonnet Books party. Students were invited to the milk and doughnuts celebration if they had read ten or more books nominated for the 2014-15 Texas Bluebonnet Award. Students also competed in a trivia contest to earn a spot on Herrington's Bluebonnet team, which will compete at the fifth annual Round Rock ISD Battle of the Bluebonnets on March 12.

For this contest, students answered multiple choice questions.
However, ActivExpressions support a variety of responses,
including short answers and even paragraphs that students type.
How did Mrs. Miller keep track of trivia answers from 37 students? She used Promethean individual response devices called ActivExpressions. Each student submitted answers on a device, and the ActivInspire software saved their answers to a spreadsheet. Mrs. Miller was able to tabulate correct answers and then pick her team from among students with the most correct answers. Students enjoyed the trivia contest AND the doughnuts!

Tierenee and Rebecca will represent Herrington at the RRISD
Battle of the Bluebonnets. Enzo, Makayla, and Mason were also
chosen for the team.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

KLHE Broadcast News, Produced by Fifth Graders

Every morning at 7:45, all the projectors in the building switch to our KLHE News broadcast, which is produced by teams of fifth graders. Counting students, staff members, and visitors, this show is viewed by approximately 950 people every day!
Broadcast Team 3 rehearses: Sage and Rebeca (in front of
the green screen) are anchoring; Makayla (in yellow jacket)
is scrolling through the script, which is displayed on dual monitors;
Austin (in blue jacket) is controlling the PowerPoint presentation
which includes backgrounds and videos; Sephanit (in sleeveless
shirt) is controlling the videomixer; and Alex (in orange jacket)
is running the audiomixer.

The anchors greet their viewers first, followed by a video production of the pledges to the American and Texas flags and the 60-second moment of silence. The anchors then read news announcements or reminders. On Mondays, Principal Julie Nelson introduces student super citizens, who are nominated by teachers. The weekly birthday book club video airs on Thursdays. On Fridays, Mrs. Nelson introduces her community super citizens, as well as super citizen staff members who have been nominated by their peers. Broadcast closes each day with student viewers joining the anchors in repeating the Hawks Rules - have respect, act responsibly, work together, keep safe, and soar to success.

Special features are also included in broadcast. Since February is Black History Month, student-created videos of famous African Americans are being played several days a week on broadcast. (See the Jan. 29 tech blog entry: Creating Videos for Black History Month Broadcasts.)

Fifth graders must apply to participate on Broadcast, and they must pass all their classes and exhibit appropriate behavior. Each team works approximately 4 weeks, and students rotate through the jobs, so they have the opportunity to anchor as well as run all of the equipment. Students also learn teamwork, responsibility, and the importance of reporting on time for work. It's a great experience for our fifth graders!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Expressing Creativity Through Digital Art

Digital art is art that is created using technology. The TEKS for art encourage students of all ages to create art in a variety of mediums. When students design art with programs like Tux Paint, they are expressing personal creativity and they are also learning technology TEKS, like opening and closing programs and naming and saving their work.

Breno and Abbey work on their art pieces, while Ms. Spady
instructs Bronwyn and A'Mariee on how to save their work.

Here are some examples of digital art created by these fourth graders from Ms. Hadamek's class:

By Breno.

By Abbey.

By A'Mariee.

By Bronwyn.

These four pieces were created using Tux Paint, which is free, open source software that is compatible with many computer operating systems. Click on the link below to read more about the program and download it for a home computer, if you'd like to.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Power of Professional Development

This tech blog usually features the work and learning that Herrington students complete using technology. This week, though, I'd like to discuss professional development - the continued learning that enables educators to improve their craft and better meet students' needs. 

Moby, from BrainPop, poses with Mrs. Edwards in the
exhibit hall at the 2015 TCEA Convention..

Teachers graduate from college knowing the basics of the technology that they need to teach. However, technology changes rapidly and every school district has different programs and equipment that teachers need to learn, so they can teach their students technology skills and use technology effectively. As Herrington's instructional technology specialist, that's where I come in. Some important parts of my job are to provide training for teachers and staff and to help teachers and students integrate technology into the curriculum.

The first week of February brings a special event for technology educators - the annual Texas Computer Education Association conference. This conference , which is held at the Austin Convention Center, is MY opportunity to learn about new programs, new apps, new ways of teaching technology literacy, and more. And I'll bring back what I learn to share with Herrington's staff and students. Some examples - we will be rolling out new teacher web pages for the 2015-16 school year, and I got some great ideas for using Google's Blogger to create web sites. One of the presenters demonstrated a nifty way to use Google forms that teachers could utilize for scheduling conferences. I'm excited to show our specials teachers how easy it is to record using Vocaroo and then embed the audio in a web site. 

I'm a LEARNER this week, and that will help me to be a better teacher. That's what professional development is all about!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Creating Videos for Black History Month Broadcasts

February is Black History Month, and Americans honor and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans. Herrington students will be learning about famous African Americans and their contributions to U.S. History and society through videos created by students. These videos will be featured on the KLHE News Broadcast, which airs on projectors throughout the building every day at 7:45 a.m.

Scotdrick and Matthews, from Ms. McDermott's fourth grade class,
work on their video about Muhammad Ali.
First, students did research to learn about their famous person. Then they created Google presentations with photos and information. The presentation slides were saved as .jpg images. Then those images were imported into PhotoStory, where the students added their narration.  A finished video is included below - and the students do know that next time they must include a Credits slide acknowledging their sources for the information and photos!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Texas History Museum Includes Digital Products

Miina, Sergio, Principal Julie Nelson, and Andy watch a
presentation at the Texas History Museum.
Herrington fourth graders hosted families and friends at their Texas History Museum on December 18. The museum was project-based learning about famous Texans. Working in small groups, students read and researched about a person they chose to learn about. They focused on how that person impacted Texas.

Students created traditional displays on poster board, they brought artifacts, and they created some 3-D models. They also created digital products of their choice. Products included PowerPoint presentations, Google slide presentations, Prezis, videos, PhotoStories, and even a project using Scratch to create the code.

Peyton shares her group's Alan Bean presentation with her mom.
Peyton, Tiara, and Milo also made the 3-D Alan Bean figure.

Milo created an interactive project in Scratch about Alan Bean.

Imani shows her presentation to her mom, grandmother, little sister
 and dad, while her friend Tiara (in red hat) watches, too.

Brooke and Estefania, in Ms. Viloria's class, videotaped their presentation about Alonso De Leon. Their whole presentation was too long to include, but a short clip is featured below.

Alonso De Leon by Brooke and Estefania

 Herrington's fourth grade Texas History Museum was a huge success!