Thursday, October 27, 2016

Teaching Nonfiction and Media Literacy Through Comparison

Mr. Vaughn's second grade class and Foster Village librarian, Lynda Pelletier, recently collaborated on a lesson in which students compared spiders and insects using a nonfiction article located on the Internet. Ms. Pelletier wanted students to understand that articles located on the Internet are also nonfiction. Students considered the topic, main idea, and supporting details and located the topic, main idea, and supporting details from a nonfiction article found online. In addition, students created a glossary on scientific vocabulary located within the text. As a final activity, students used the iPad app, DoodleBuddy, to draw and label the parts of a spider from their research. TEKS addressed in this activity included the following.

  • 14A: Identify main idea in a text and distinguish it from a topic.
  • 14B: Locate the facts that are clearly stated in a text.
  • 15B: Use common graphic features to assist in interpretation of text.
  • 16A: Recognize different purposes of media.
  • 19A: Establish purpose for reading selected text based on content to enhance comprehension.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

When is the last time you saw a student BEG to re-work an assignment until it was perfect?

I saw this very thing happen last week!

At Smithfield MS, Mrs. Noonan's 6th graders had been working on a project to research and share important characteristics of each state in the US. With a little pushing and encouragement from the campus academic coach (Mary Hadley) and school librarian (Beth Muirheid) Mrs. Noonan decided to let her 6th graders use the campuses new green screen technology to demonstrate their findings.

Student's spent a day in class researching and planning their videos. They received some tips and resources for good video production from the campus DLS. Students went home to find a great background image and practice their delivery for the next day. GREEN screen.png

On the second day Mrs. Noonan took her students to the library where Beth Muirheid had set up 5 green screen filming locations. In order to facilitate the process Beth borrowed a few items from Digital Learning and recruited a few extra adults to help students along the way.

A short tutorial was provided on how to use the Green Screen App and then students worked in group pairs to film videos. The excitement in the room was so infectious. Students had brought in props to compliment their backgrounds and it was evident they had truly rehearsed their parts. However, it was a challenge to get everyone's filming complete in one class period.

On day three when filming was complete, students could then make some minor adjustments to their videos in the Green Screen app. Then the 6th graders uploaded their videos to their BISD YouTube accounts and shared the video hyperlinks with their teacher.

The last day of the project was spent in class sharing each other's videos to their own class and others.

At one point someone commented, "These kids are never going to finish because they keep re-filming 5-6 times!" As soon as the statement was made all the adults went silent…..all at once we realized, it's not very often that a middle school student WANTS to redo an assignment 5 or 6 times! It was a wow moment.

If you want to incorporate green screen videos in your classroom, see this article with examples, tips and tools.

Cheney 4th Grade - Chatterpix Biography Project

Cheney Elementary Librarian, Susanne Stutheit, worked with 4th graders during I-Time to create Chatterpix Biographies.  Students spent time researching then created a Chatterpix video to show what they learned.

Check out some of their work below:

Cheney 5th Grade iMovie Trailers

Cheney Elementary librarian, Susanne Stutheit, has been working with 5th grade students during I-Time.  Students chose a native american tribe to research.  Once research was complete, each student created an iMovie trailer showing what they learned!

Check out some of their wonderful work below!

Monday, October 24, 2016

WMS Librarian Coordinates 7th grade Research Project

Watauga MS librarian Stephanie Roe leads 7th graders on a "smart" Google search as they begin their research project. Modeling good searching practices, Roe explained how to find reliable sources.

WMS CTE Students use Canvas and BYOD to Research a College

Watauga MS CTE teacher Ms. Levingston posts assignments in Canvas for her CTE students. This week they were researching colleges to design pumpkins with college logos. Students use class laptops or their own devices.

Intervention in the North Ridge MS Learning Lab

Intervention strategies are used in BISD to help students in many ways.  At North Ridge MS, Tracey Schneider supports students in the Learning Lab as they first take a screening assessment and then work on individualized Compass Learning digital lessons designed to fill in gaps.   Tracey coordinates with both ELAR and Math teachers to assist students as they work hard to complete their learning paths.  Great job, Tracey!



West Birdville

5th graders at West Birdville Elementary were introduced to PebbleGo, a database program this week in the library. They had fun exploring the databases: animals, science, social studies, biographies, and dinosaurs.


Kathy Grupe

Library Media Specialist

West Birdville Elementary



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Watauga 6th graders Blog on Blogger!

Watauga MS Pre-AP 6th graders set up personal blogs on The students excitedly typed their first posts and shared blogs with their teacher, Mrs. Zitzman. Publishing their writing to a larger audience appeals to these young authors!

WMS 7th graders Review with QuizletLive

Watauga MS Texas History teacher Brynna Boston helps her students review for an upcoming test using the collaborative online game, QuizletLive. Students use class Chromebooks and their own devices.

Monday, October 17, 2016

RHS Makerspace Green Screen Used for Spanish Recordings

Richland HS Spanish teacher Mr. Wilson had students use library iPads to record each other speaking in Spanish in front of the library green screen. Then, students used iMovie on the library Macs to insert backgrounds from video and still images. Translation + technology = engaged learners!

Digital Research via SweetSearch

SweetSearch is a search engine for middle and high school students that pulls over 35,000 teacher reviewed information. SweetSearch provides a structure in which search results are valid and credible sources of information. SweetSearch is a great resource to use to locate primary source documents. Results are populated based upon reliability, not popularity.

SweetSearch in Action: Students learning about the Holocaust utilize SweetSearch to locate primary source materials and evaluate Holocaust perspectives from around the world during the time period.

Digital Learning Platform:  SweetSearch serves as a best structure for conducting digital research for middle school and high school students.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Online learning & BYOD at RHS

Freshmen at Richland High School used class devices and their own devices to complete grammar and vocabulary work in April May's ELA class. Students are encouraged to use any devices available to interact with their online work in this class, making learning portable and personal.

BHS Sophomores Create Research Smores

Birdville HS 10th grade ELA teacher Paris Powers had her students research the Holocaust for background for reading Night. The groups then put their research into digital newsletter option, The simple visual interface made adding text, images and videos easy for students.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Exploring the Creative Commons Search Engine

Creative Commons licensed resources are resources in which an artist shares media specifically for reuse with some rights reserved. The Creative Commons organization created a metasearch engine, an engine that queries third party search engines to populate results, to help users locate a range of different creative commons resources. Searching via the Creative Commons metasearch engine provides users with the ability to search audio, images, and video using Google, Flickr, Open Clip Art Library, Google Images, YouTube, SoundCloud, Wikimedia Commons, and other engines.

Creative Commons In Action: Elementary students create a PowerPoint presentation to share their research. Students use the Creative Commons search to locate images to place in their PowerPoint presentation.

Digital Learning Platform: Creative Commons metasearch engine serves as a best structure to assist during research and the creation of authentic tasks and products.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Improving Formative Assessment Feedback via Socrative

Socrative is a free student response system that works on any device. With its built-in quick questions and quiz options, it is an incredible resource for formative and summative assessments. Socrative provides instant feedback in real time. Not only do students receive immediate feedback, they can work at their own pace. Educators can track performance over time and import results immediately to their Google Drive account.

Socrative in Action: Students utilize Socrative to improve academic vocabulary at NOMS and receive immediate feedback. Results are emailed to the instructor at the end of each quiz.

Digital Learning Platform: Socrative provides students with immediate feedback and personalizes instruction, which improves cognitive processing and academic performance.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

RHS freshmen Search Library Using Devices

Richland High School students paired up to do one of over 30 different digital scavenger hunts in the library as part of orientation to the different sections and resources. The different hunts are all Google Forms with several text-specific questions that the partners had to find. Angi Magana and her staff work with students as they try to find all of the answers first!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Green Screen via Do Ink

Green Screen by Do Ink is an iPad application used to create incredible green screen videos and images right from your iPad. Users record in front a green screen, formally known as chromakey. The application combines photos and videos from the iPad's camera roll with live images from a user's iPad camera. Green Screen by Do Ink allows for users to easily tell a story, explain an idea, and express themselves in a creative an unique way.

Green Screen in Action: Students at Walker Creek Elementary create weather forecast videos using Green Screen by Doink  and BISD's mobile green screen unit, available to any BISD educator. The teacher incorporated the 5E instructional model. Students were super excited to serve in a STEM role of either a meteorologist, director, videographer, or producer as part of the activity. Students edited video content using the iOS applications Green Screen by Do Ink and iMovie.

Digital Learning Platform:  Green Screen by Do Ink facilitates creation, providing a platform for authentic tasks and products.

Flipped Learning via Screencast'o'matic

Screencast'o'matic is an application used to create video recordings using a PC, iPad, or mobile device. Educators are using screencast'o'matic to flip their classroom. After creating an account, users can record a 15 minute video for free, publish directly to YouTube or export a video file. Premium accounts do allow for longer recordings, editing tools, scripting, and publishing to Google drive.

Screencast'o'matic in Action:  Curriculum coordinators are recording curriculum previews using Screencast'o'matic and publishing video content to YouTube. Teachers can now login to a Canvas platform to view curriculum preview YouTube videos anytime and on any device.

Digital Learning Platform: Screencast'o'matic is an interactive application in which students and teachers engage to create authentic tasks and products.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Watauga MS 6th graders Use Reflector2 to Collaborate

Watauga MS 6th grade math teacher Jim Adams uses his Project Innovate iPad and Reflector 2 as part of an interactive, collaborative warm-up. His students take turns working the problems on the screen while their classmates watch and check their work.