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 Can Interaction Support Active Learning in Canvas?

Keeping students actively engaged with you, the content, and each other promotes student success. When students are observing, doing, communicating, and reflecting, they are actively working with concepts and people.  We describe these activities as interactions.  Interaction is at the center of the teaching and learning process.  When we move that process online, the way in which students and teacher interact changes. As we re-think how we approach interaction online there are three main types of interaction to consider. While learning activities will differ depending on the content, context, tools, and people involved, there are some strategies that can be incorporated into almost any course to foster interaction. 

Student to Teacher Interaction
Student↔teacher interaction can include both formal direct instruction and more informal mentoring and support.

A few examples of student↔teacher interaction include:
  • providing feedback on assignments, learning journals, or other reflective activities
  • participating in discussion forums or chats
  • sending frequent announcements to summarize the previous week or describe the next week
  • providing online or telephone office hours
  • mentoring individual learners
  • working with small groups of students assigned to help teach portions of the course
Student to Student Interaction
An interaction between students can include formal course-related collaboration and interaction as well as more informal social interaction, which can increase students' comfort with each other and with the online environment.   Student↔student interaction-based activities include but are not limited to
Any of these examples can be used on a large or a small scale ranging from semester-long project groups doing research and presenting results to an optional live meeting where those present discuss a short video case or a discussion forum where they brainstorm alternatives to a textbook problem.
Depending on the size of your class, you can encourage student↔student interaction class-wide or in smaller groups or pairs.  When working with smaller groups, it helps to emphasize individual accountability, positive interdependence, and positive interaction in grading the group's work. This strategy leads to three grades on a group project emphasizing the three aspects of group work:
  1. individual contribution to the group project
  2. synthesis of the individual parts into a project that shows collaboration, consensus, and learning
  3. working together to encourage and facilitate each other's efforts to complete the project
For more on using Canvas to manage your student groups, please see the Group section of the Canvas Instructor Guide. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Student to Content Interaction
Student↔content interaction includes students' concrete interactions with the course materials and their more abstract interactions with the concepts and ideas they present. It is more than just reading a book or watching a video.  It includes but is not limited to
  • tutorials (using text, still images, audio, and/ or video)
  • quizzes (if the feedback is useful and usable)
  • web quests (Links to an external site)
  • reading/video discussion or reflections (Reading a textbook is technically a student↔content activity but explicitly requiring students to reflect on the reading and providing directed prompts for that reflection improves the interaction.)
  • simulations

Key Elements
The keys to developing effective online learning activities are to make them: 
  • include opportunities for active learning
  • allow for different types of interaction
  • sequential so each one builds on the preceding one,
  • include useful feedback on the activities, and
  • include opportunities for students to think and reflect on what they are learning, how they are learning, and the significance of what they are learning.

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:

DL Underground Spotlight: Felicia Cherry on Class DoJo

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Classroom Crashers Episode 1

Classroom Crashers Episode #1

Teacher: Julie Dickman

Grade: 3rd

School: Holiday Heights

Summary: Julie was looking to use technology to make her vocabulary assignments more engaging.  The team recommended using Padlet & Chatterpix.  Julie worked with Jeff Samuelson, to integrate these tools into her vocabulary assignments.

Resource Links:

AppSmashing ELAR

AppSmashing ELAR

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Classroom Crashers Coming Soon!

Classroom Crashers is a new program by the BISD elementary DLS team.  Teachers will have an opportunity to apply to be "crashed".  When selected, our team will visit the classroom to make observations and brainstorm ideas for integrating technology.  Then one DLS will work closely with the teacher for 3-6 weeks implementing one of the ideas!

Over the next few weeks, we will release our first 4 episodes highlighting the crashes we did last spring!  Stay tuned to the blog for each episode!

Highlighting Student Work and Giving it an Authentic Global Audience

Richland Middle School's Mr. Moreau dove head first into Camtasia for video editing a few weeks ago. His latest video highlights the work his students created covering the 6 habits of a successful person, as part of  Leadership Academy Day at his campus. Mr. Moreau then shared it on YouTube to reach an authentic global audience. Check out Mr. Moreau's video below and subscribe if you'd like to be notified when he posts a new video.

Try Camtasia's free trial here

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!