Friday, November 17, 2017

"The Best Way to Learn Something is to DO IT"

instructables logo

Instructables has tons of curriculum connected projects for your classroom. 

The Instructables site is a place to explore, document and share creations.  Learn about sewing, design, food, 3D printing, electronics, crafts and so much more. In the education section, teachers can search by grade level or content area. 
favorite educational projects
Some of my favorite educational projects
Not all projects require technology and many can be completed with minimal supplies. Create a free account by signing up with your BISD Google account. 

Premium Memberships are free for teachers and students  The upgraded membership provides teachers with plug and play, hands-on projects.

7 Things the Digital Learning Team is Thankful For

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, 2017.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Walker Creek 5th Grade Acceptable Use Policy Presentation

5th grade students at Walker Creek Elementary worked with Computer Lab EA, Richlene Mekush, to create kid-friendly versions of the acceptable use policy.  Each class created a presentation with 2-3 students collaborating on each slide. Students were given feedback on their first drafts, then allowed to make improvements.  Once complete, the best of each slide from all the presentations was compiled to create one slide show.

Check out the finished slide show below!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Spicer First Grade Flips for Flipgrid!

Adobe Spark Page

Google Forms + Autocrat = Magic Certificates!

Check out this Facebook Live video to see how Jeanna Koerner, counselor at Green Valley Elementary, is using Google Forms and Autocrat to automatically generate CORE Value certificates each six weeks!

Want to try it yourself?  Reach out to your digital learning specialist for help!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Check out Close Reading--through Gamified Learning

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The story starts the same way...

"The Machines have taken over and you are our only hope!"

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Think back to books and movies of the past.  How many stories can you remember that have a variation of that phrase to start off? 

Write your ideas in the comment box below!  

So here we are again,

 I'm sitting here, typing the same message, "The Machines have taken over and you are our only hope!"  Yet, my cry for revolution is not powered by magic stones, aliens, or some rich guys with super suits... this revolution is about READING.

Amplify ELA (@amplify_ELA) is promoting Close Reading through their story The Last Readers.  I spent about 20 minutes going through the beginning stages of the game and had to stop myself from continuing on because I'm an adult and need to get some work done!  That being said, the story is engaging, fun, and hooked me in pretty quick!  Very Fun!

Dr. Tim Shanahan, Advisor and Co-Author of the Last Readers states on the website:

“It is not enough to ‘comprehend’ a text or to be able to summarize it or answer basic questions about it. A close reader will understand how the author has powerfully communicated the ideas and where that power emanates from.”

In-depth, detailed understanding. 

From a Student's Perspective:

The interface is easy to use, the graphics are great.  The graphic novel structure is engaging and attractive.  Students get to create/design their own character within the game, adding different customizes for uniqueness.  As the story unfolds, students will need to complete different ELAR tasks to continue through the game (I was shown the structure of an argument because that's how you hack the machines.  I had to define the three pieces of an argument with different examples...the more I got correct, the more points I received).  The story has a soundtrack and voiceover that takes you through the story as you meet different, unique characters along the way.

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From a Teacher's Perspective:

Similar to other online tools, you have the ability to create a class and track where your students are at in the game.  This has the potential to be a really valuable tool to pinpoint the areas of ELAR that might need more work.

  #formativeassessment #forthewin 

There are various links to other resources that you can bring into your classroom as well as the promise of more levels coming!  The site also has the potential to assign differentiated lessons to your classroom based on their level of reading!

CHECK THIS OUT NOW!  Because the free BETA version ends on New Year's Eve.
Check it out!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

DL Underground Spotlight: Lexi Gizzy on NearPod

Walker Creek 4th Grade Inference Breakout

Fourth grade ELAR teachers at Walker Creek Elementary, Meredith Jones & Amanda Bural, worked with Digital Learning Specialist, Toni Hylander to create a BreakoutEdu Game where students had to apply their inference skills.

The students were excited and engaged by the inference challenges.  In addition to using inference skills, they also got to practice teamwork, perseverance, and grit.

Want to try BreakoutEdu in your classroom?  Reach out to your Digital Learning Specialist for support!

DL Underground Spotlight: Ryan Buchanan on ZipGrade

Globally Subscribed Education Podcast, Teach Me, Teacher, is One of Our Very Own

Teach Me, Teacher is the brainchild of Jacob Chastain, a sixth-grade English teacher at Richland Middle School. Teach Me, Teacher is a podcast for educators where teachers discuss topical, informative, and inspiring subjects. Designed from the ground up as a no nonsense approach to teacher development, this podcast is your gateway to bettering your craft (and having some laughs along the way). The show's goal is to help teachers better their craft, learn new skills, and get ideas to fuel new ideas. While the show is hosted by Richland Middle School in Birdville ISD in Texas, it is a show for anyone in the field of education, and features teachers and administrators from all over to offer their unique perspectives. "The podcast is fueled by the idea that teachers learn best from other teachers “IN” the classroom. Yes, there are a lot of great advisors out there that have ideas and methods for us to try, and an endless amount of professional development seminars we can attend (which we should.) But I believe professional development isn’t just something we sign up for and attend. It is a life commitment to bettering ourselves for our students.", Chastain continued, "Every district, school, and class is different. The students of today are not the students we were. They have changed, and they will keep changing. In order to adapt to these circumstances, it is imperative that we, as teachers, stay students ourselves, and learn from each other every single day. Teachers and educators of today don’t have time to waste on old advice or outdated practices. You need the good stuff now." To listen to the shows Jacob mentions in our podcast, or any other of his podcasts simply click here

Check out our interview with Jacob on our latest installment of the DL Underground Podcast

Literacy Meets Tech Integration

Animating with Stikbot

No Worksheet November Contest from Region 11

Enter to Win the NO-WORKSHEET NOVEMBERChallenge!

Throw away an old, worn-out worksheet, and transform it into an engaging, on-standard, technology-rich learning experience. 

Teachers with ESC Region 11 schools who share their learning experience to #URockEdu will be entered for a chance to WIN 
  • a $50 Amazon card or
  • registration in a #URockEdu academy of their choice
    • Hey Now, You're A Rockstar:  Innovation Academy
    • Project-Based Learning Academy
    • Blended Learning Academy
WHAT to share: 
  • Pictures, Video, etc. that show:
    • an old worn-out worksheet
    • a new, better learning experience to replace the worksheet
      This could be ONE or more of the following:
      • your learners doing the lesson
      • you or your learners explaining what they did
      • examples of student work
      • the lesson plan including standards addressed
      • anything else you think of
WHERE to share:
Share to at least one of the following social media options, tagging us at @URockEdu and #URockEdu:
WHEN to share:
  • by midnight on November 30, 2017.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

First Grade Catches #flipgridfever!

First graders at Spicer Elementary are learning how to create video responses to share with others using Flipgrid. Teachers Linda Ristow and Cathy Linehan are using iPads and the Flipgrid app to create opportunities for all students to have a voice and be heard. Mrs. Ristow's students are especially enjoying working together and practicing their reading skills.

Flipgrid is a free video response tool that can be used with all grades levels, content areas and even with parents and colleagues! It will work on iPads, laptops, smartphones, and chromebooks. The Flipgrid iPad app is available for free as well.

Sign up for your account and check out some of the resources below:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Explain and Understand

Check out what Taryn Perkins' fifth graders have been working on! 
Students in Taryn Perkins' 5th grade class at Smithfield Elementary are using their creativity and knowledge to share their learning. They have been studying MELTS (mechanical, electrical, light, thermal and sound) energy in Science class and Mrs. Perkins challenged them to create their very own videos that explain these concepts of energy. 

Students were shown an example of a finished product and then experienced a walk through of how to become video animators using mysimpleshow. As part of the project, students had to write a script that included science vocabulary and real life examples of MELTS energy. Students also needed to add appropriate images to the project to aid in the understanding of the concept. Completed projects will then be added to Mrs. Perkins Google Classroom, where the students can share, view, and comment on their creations.

Thinking about having your students create video animations? Be sure and check out mysimpleshow.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Breakout EDU Changes

breakout edu logo

Breakout EDU has been a big hit at Birdville ISD this year. Everyday more and more students and classrooms are tackling challenges and learning along the way. Until very recently, the games have all been free with the proper access code. 

Here's what you need to know:

1. Breakout EDU still has free games. Use the keyword "free" in the search field of the platform section on the website.

breakout edu kit2. Kit cost - The basic kit has gone up by $25 for a total purchase price of $150. Purchasing the kit comes with 12 months of platform access.

3. For those who already have kits, $60 will purchase 12 months of platform access. 

  *Note: If you just purchased a kit this year and don't have access to all of the platforms, consider contacting the company. One district librarian did so and the company upgraded her account.

4. A registered account isn't necessary to access free games. However, paid subscriptions will need to create an account. Consider creating a free account to save free and paid games. 

breakout edu games5. Games/platforms are now grouped by Subject which makes finding content related games easier.

6. New games have been added to Subject packs and Digital games.

7. Game pages are more organized and easier to navigate. Some games now come with suggestions for game alterations. 

Have fun and keep BreakingOut!


SMART Notebook App for iPad

Did you know that SMART has a Notebook App for your iPad?  Well, they do!  And BISD has made it available in the BISD App catalog.  The SMART Notebook app allows users to open Notebook files and interact with them.  Files can be stored in a Google Drive folder or in Drobox for ease of access.  This app is great for workstation time!  Check out the clip below for a short demonstration.  For more information about using the Notebook app, please contact your campus DLS.   We would love to help!

4th Grade Teacher Posting Videos for Tutorials/Homework Help

At West Birdville, 4th grade teacher Mark McAlister knew his students would benefit from a little extra help with their homework.  He began utilizing the camera app on his iPhone to record himself working through concepts and problems the kids were exposed to earlier in the day or week.  Videos were uploaded to his YouTube channel and then links posted to Class Dojo for kids to access at night or any other time they may need to see the content again.  Over time McAlister noticed the videos were being accessed a little but not as much as he would like.  He thought he may need to post the content in another location for his kids to access.  He settled on making a Math and Homework Help page on his teacher website.  On this page he is embedding his videos for his Math concepts as well as any other homework help videos.  He will be watching over the next several weeks to see if students visit his website more than Class Dojo.

McAlister has done a great job utilizing the available digital tools and resources to provide the extra tutorial help his students need.  In the future, he will be using his document camera to record tutorials for posting on his website.  If you are interested in doing what Mark has done, please contact your campus DLS.  We would love to discuss the tools mentioned in this posting and help start you on the road to posting your own video content.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Haltom High School MATHEMAGICIANS!

During fifth period classes on a pep rally day, Marissa Milini-Pruitt, Jared Clarke, and Melissa Avila chose to have a three-class competitive game. “Students were actively engaged in learning and winning.”, said Marisa. This is just one example of the Haltom High School Algebra 1 team’s commitment to helping students continuously improve on their test data, which saw a 9% gain on the 2017 STAAR Exam. The team is also implementing a digital data analysis after each test, which includes a disaggregation of the test questions as well as links to videos for immediate remediation with students. Department Chair, Kristen Wilkerson stated, “the personalization has helped our students understand what they missed on the test and has provided them an opportunity to improve their grade in a way that is targeted at the information they are missing. With the most recent videos and by creating google forms for each topic tested, students can master those standards that they struggled with on the exam."

Monday, October 30, 2017

Flipped Classroom in Action

Check out this "On the Spot" DL Underground where Taylor talks with Aubrey Otero about how she flipped her classroom and what she learned from the experience!