Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Professional Learning from logo is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing
participation by women and underrepresented minorities. They provide computer science
curriculum for students of all ages.

On Saturday, January 13, Richland Elementary hosted a CS Fundamentals workshop.
Computer Lab EAs from six BISD Elementary schools attended the training.  They received
FREE swag bags, classroom supplies to begin using in the classroom, and certificates
for attending.

Photo of teachers. Left to Right   Julie Mize - Birdville; Richelene Mekush - Walker Creek; Danielle Ellis- Mullendore;   Amber Cozad - Watauga; Meagan Owen - Holiday Heights; Angela Dotson- Binion
Left to Right
Julie Mize - Birdville; Richelene Mekush - Walker Creek; Danielle Ellis- Mullendore;
Amber Cozad - Watauga; Meagan Owen - Holiday Heights; Angela Dotson- Binion

These teachers are learners too! We are excited to see these how you use your new skills in the computer lab with students!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

N. Oaks MS Makes Data Visual

NOMS Academic Coach Pam OchoaBISD PLCs are working hard to help students improve their literacy skills. Although teachers have access to student lexile levels it can be difficult to visualize what all that data means.  Academic coach, Pam Ochoa wanted to create a picture of literacy data for her teachers.  

Data MarkersShe enlisted the help of her Principal, Dr. Klaerner who expertly pulled data for every student in English based on period and teacher. After the reports were printed, Pam transferred the data onto clothesline markers. 
Next, she enlarged the lexile scale to span all of the bulletin boards in the PLC room.
Class data markers on lexile scale
After the markers were hung on the bulletin board and against the enlarged scale, teachers were surprised to see that the data was actually more positive than they had initially thought. Now each time staff meets for PLC, the data is more than numbers. This data will become an even bigger visual projection when middle of the year reports are pulled.  Pam plans to show student progression form the beginning of the year to mid-year by re-creating the scale and linking each class marker with yarn. 
BOY lexile data visual

Finding ways to turn numbers into understandable visuals is just one of the many wonderful things Birdville academic coaches do. If you have a method for visualizing data, we would love for you to share in the comments below. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Flipgrid in PE

Flipgrid Fever at West Birdville

Have YOU caught  Flipgrid fever yet?  It seems to be working its way around BISD and has landed in Jorge Gutierrez's PE class.  Jorge recently learned the awesomeness of @flipgrid  and jumped right in to its use.  Earlier this week, students responded to topics about the circulatory system as well as details about games that were being played in class.  Check out the pictures below!

To learn more about Flipgrid and what it can do for you and your students, click on the image below to access a Digital Learning blog post from earlier this year.  For help planning and implementing Flipgrid into your classroom, please contact your campus DLS!

Create Awesome Learning Videos for Your Classroom! You have the Power!

Like it or not video is here to stay and embracing this trend in your classrooms can be beneficial on many levels.  Flipped learning, video messages, Instagram/facebook stories, and of course YouTube are the means of student learning on their own time.

Think about how you could use video in your own class: 

  • An introduction video about you and your course for your website
  • Weekly updates for parents about what has been going on in class
  • Flipping your lectures to provide more opportunity for teacher/student interaction in class along with greater differentiation!
  • Make a trailer for what is coming in the next unit
  • Create a highlight reel of your students and how they have been working over the week 
Want some tips for creating videos?  Check out How To Create Top Notch Learning Videos

When it comes to the resources that teachers have in their classroom, here are a few tools that can help you get Classroom Video Famous!

-Your Project Innovate iPad:  Your iPad is a video juggernaut.  You can record, edit and publish directly on your iPad using iMovie.  You are mobile as well, allowing for greater movement around your classroom, school or community. 

-Adobe Premier Pro for your Desktop-  Talk to your DLS about setting you up with this POWERFUL video editing software

-WeVideo on the Chromebooks.  Check out how to do WeVideos here

-YouTube Channel- Each teacher has the ability to create a youtube channel with their "g.birdville" account.  Check it out!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Find Great Writing Prompts with Twitter

Twitter has long solidified itself as a great resource for educators when it comes to the area of Professional Learning Networks, and it continues to grow into many teachers go to resource for ideas. One reason is the fact that it is easy to search. Simply search a hashtag followed by what you are looking for and Twitter will show you posts containing that specific hashtag search.

One search that can transform writing in your classroom is the hashtag search  #writingprompt. Simply go to Twitter and type ''#writingprompt" in the search box. Here is a link to the search results,

If you find Twitter accounts you'd like to follow, simply log in and follow the account to see their newest posts in your home feed. Here are four accounts that are worth the follow. @WritingPromt_s@WritingPromts@DailyPrompt@WritingPrompt_.

Friday, January 5, 2018

DL Underground Spotlight with Stacy Howell

Learn While You Drive?!

Oftentimes, I am so exhausted when I get home from work that I'm lucky to get something to eat and set out my clothes before I collapse in bed. I have a large list of books and resources I intend to read at night only to find myself dissapointed in the morning. So I've been trying to find new and different ways to make time for learning and that's when I discovered PODCASTS. 

What is a podcast? Remember the days of radio theatre or talk radio? Think of it like on-demand, Internet radio. Typically a series of episodes very focused on a particular topic or theme. You can subscribe to a show with an app on your phone and listen in your car or on the go. Podcasts can also be downloaded to your device for listening when you are not able to stream Internet. If you want to learn more about podcasting, subscribing and listening, then check out The Podcast Host website

Next, you will need to find a podcast to listen to. A simple Google search will suffice. Try searching: "topic you are interested in" + podcasts. Here are a few resources to get you started.

Give it a try! You can listen in your car, while you are working out, during your lunch break or anywhere else. Hopefully you will find a podcast or two worth listening to. You might learn something, improve your life or at least improve your drive to work!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Classroom Crashers Episode 4

Classroom Crashers Episode #4

Teacher: Annell Butler
Grade: 5th
School: John D. Spicer
Summary: Annell wanted feedback on using Google Classroom along with her makerspace lab project.  She worked with Jennifer Miller to create interactive discussions and reflections for the makerspace lab projects of her students..
Resource Links:

How to Choose the Best Apps for Kids

"...when technology is used in the classroom to augment classroom learning, it can be very effective," said Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media at the University of Amsterdam.

The following five criteria are suggested when choosing apps:
1. The activity must require mental engagement.
2. The must be able to focus on the learning experience without distractions in the app or in their learning environment.
3. The children should be able to bridge the new knowledge they're gaining to their existing knowledge and the wider world.
4. The learning activity should involve social interaction, such as teacher feedback, class discussions or interactions among classmates.
5. The activity should have clearly defined learning objective that students or teachers can track and assess and that expand on past goals and build on previous learning.

Learn more: 

Thursday, December 7, 2017


No time to think up creative stations for that new set of Chromebooks or laptops in your room? We've got you covered! During a student centered learning lesson at the secondary monthly principle's meeting this week, Dr. Klaerner from North Oaks MS brainstormed with other administrators to come up with stations anyone can use with any curriculum. 

Post this in your room or add it to your online classroom to be used in a flash when needed. 
 Click this image to copy to your Google drive
Click the image to add to your Google drive
Download the document, edit and post in your room. Ideas for additional stations can be found at the bottom of the Google document.

Tips for getting started:

  • All stations do not have to be digital
  • Practice with your class moving through stations
    • Establish expected norms and procedures for station work
  • Use a timer
  • Contact your campus DLS for, in class, support the first time you implement

Dave Lambson's Do's and Don'ts Video Series Debut!

Check out Dave Lambson's first Do's and Don'ts episode!

Classroom Crashers Episode 3

Classroom Crashers Episode #3

Teacher: Ginny Tanner
Grade: Kindergarten
School: Snow Heights
Summary: Ginny was wanting to create a more personalized learning environment for students during math stations. The team suggested Ginny create a Google Site that would have a page for each student. During math workstations, the students would be able to go to their page to practice specific learned concepts. Ginny worked with Jennifer Canizares to create the site and the activities for each student.
Resource Links:

Literacy and Breakout EDU

NRMS 6th grade ELA teachers harness the fun and challenge of Breakout EDU to help students better understand Procedural Text. What does a teacher do with one week until winter break and the curriculum calls for a unit over procedural text? Arrange a small group lesson called "Elf Panic" of course. 

Perhaps you have been wondering how to incorporate Breakout EDU into an authentic experience in your curriculum. Kathy Harvell, Kylie Norell and Bailey Haugaard were thinking "BOLD" when it came to literacy this week. The team decided to harness new technology to help their students master "understanding and writing procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes." (TEKS 110.17

During a recent PLC training they had expereinced the exciting new puzzle game called Breakout EDU. So they already knew how powerful the process would be in helping students with the  curriculum unit. The challenge they decided on was "Elf Panic" which fits in nicely with middle school students and the holiday season. Librarian Julie Pursley helped the team set up the locks, plan the process and provided valuable tips based on past Breakout sessions. 

If your campus doesn't have a Breakout EDU box contact your campus DLS or play the digital version of "Elf Panic" instead.  For more timely Breakout challenges visit the seasonal games section of Breakout EDU. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Classroom Crashers Episode 2

Classroom Crashers Episode #2

Teacher: Jenna Henderson
Grade: 5th
School: Watauga
Summary: Jenna was interested in finding more ways to engage students in her math classroom. The team suggested trying out the new "labs" features inside the updated SMART Notebook Software. Jenna worked with Toni Hylander to create some fun interactive games with SMART Notebook labs.
Resource Links: