Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Green Valley Elementary Students Learn About 3D Printing From Middle School Students

Students at Green Valley Elementary celebrated Art Day today in 3D. North Ridge Middle School student council students that participate in NRMS makerspace  taught Green Valley Elementary students how to use Tinkercad, a CAD (computer aided design) application. Students learned how to manipulate 3D objects, scale objects, create holes in 3D objects, create rings and letters, and export objects to print on a 3D printer. Scholars spent time creating a 3D object with a partner and learned how to export files for 3D printing and share files on Thingverse. Students also learned how industries such as the medical, fashion, aviation, and construction industry are using 3D printers to create objects to solve real world problems. Finally, students learned about local library programs that can assist students and provide 3D printing access.

North Ridge Middle School 3D Printing Scholars

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and screen

NRMS students teach elementary students how to use Tinkercad.

NRMS students introduce the 3D printing process.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Podcast: Birdville ISD Pre-K Parents Share About STEM Literacy Kits

New Apps in BISD Catalog

The following apps have been added to the BISD App Catalog.  
These apps are available FREE on BISD devices with access to the BISD App Catalog.

Flocabulary is a learning program that uses educational hip-hop to engage kids and teens of all ages to expand their vocabularies and learn about school subjects and life skills.
Contact your Digital Learning Specialist or Library Media Specialist for our Birdville username & password.
Little ABC Alphabet Phonics
Fun and easy to use ABC tracing app.
Periodic Table Game
Periodic Table Game is an educational game, designed to teach and test the player’s knowledge of the periodic table.
Meet Beethoven
"Meet Beethoven" from, is an elementary music education resource designed to send your child's excitement about music and learning into overdrive!
Math Olympics
Start out as a preschooler and work your way up to become a mathematical genius, were you could become the next Einstein. For each math level you achieve, by finishing math puzzels, you will earn Math Brain points and your Math Brain will grow.
MathMaker is a state-of-the-art visual math tool, which is engaging and fun to use. Gain a deep understanding of math concepts, develop visual strategies, and explore spatial representations of the procedures taught in school. MathMaker allows kids to create visual representations that help them explain their work. The app offers ease of use, a fun set of tools, and a pleasing environment to make it a “go to” tool in math classrooms and at homework tables.
Fractions with Trains
The student's task is to help the cute panda get to the bamboo forest. This is achieved by repairing gaps in the railroad. To repair the gaps it's necessary to select the right rail lengths, and this it where the students learn the meaning of fractions.
Spelling Slam
With over 1500 words and 30 challenging levels, Spelling Slam is a great way to improve your spelling skills.
Sage 3D Modeling and Printing
Sage is an artist's tool that you don't have to be an artist to use. You can make one-of-a-kind sculptures including vases and figurines right on your tablet.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Teaching Media Literacy: A 2nd Grade Persuasive Writing and Green Screen Media Campaign

Green Valley Elementary students are learning about media literacy in Ms. Rhodes 2nd grade class. Recently, students have investigated media's influence in economics under the free enterprise system and completed a persuasive writing activity.


Students individually designed a cereal box and formulated a marketing campaign. Afterwards, students were placed in groups to write a persuasive commercial script, selecting one product to market. An example of a script can be seen below.

Using the Green Screen app by DoInk, students filmed a commercial using Birdville's district mobile green screen unit.  Students were very excited to have the opportunity to be creative, with some groups even securing a sports sponsorship. Props were encouraged. Ms. Rhodes used her Birdville Google account to upload video content in YouTube, which she can now share with parents. Contact your campus's digital learning specialist to learn more about the Green Screen app or to reserve the mobile green screen unit. Example products can be seen below.

Digital Learning Platform:  Students create an authentic task or product using the Green Screen app by DoInk. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Creative Common Resources for Research and Creation

As the year comes to an end, many students and educators are completing research projects and creating end of the year presentations. Presentations serve as an excellent opportunity to reflect, model best practices and teach good digital citizenship. Educators should be conscious of six different types of copyright uses in the classroom: reproducing, recording, preparing derivative works (such as a new arrangement), distribution, performance, and display. To learn more about copyright and fair use guidelines, check out the following Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers Chart. Here are a few resources to ensure that students have access to applications to assist with following good digital citizenship protocols during the creation process.

Search via Creative Commons

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.

Google Slides enables users to search creative commons within the application. Users select insert, image from the top menu to access a search feature. 

Access Royalty Free Music

PurplePlanet Music offers royalty free usage for personal projects. Users are asked to credit PurplePlanet Music to creations prior to posting on social media sites, websites, blogs, or YouTube.

YouTube Creator's Studio not only offers all BISD Google users the opportunity to create within YouTube, it gives a platform to search creative commons video to add to your videos and embed thousands of royalty free music tracks to your video content. Videos can be shared with the world or set as private and only shared with certain users. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Keep Learning Alive

Hashtag Database Infographic

Grow your Professional Learning Network (PLN) this summer. My favorite “Google Guru”, Kasey Bell, has been hard at work collaborating with teachers to create an educational hashtag database. The database is searchable and can be filtered by grade level, subject area and more. To access the database, go to Kasey's blog. ( See her blog-post titled The Educational Hashtag and Twitter Chat Database”.

Facebook Search field
There are over 90 hashtags at this time. Identify a few good Twitter Chats, open your favorite social media application and plug in one of the interesting hashtags from the database. Now, sit back and watch the information come to you. Think of it like a funnel for the Internet where all of the content is curated specifically for you or your interests.

Educational Hashtag Database Screenshot
Since summer break provides a little extra free time, consider participating in a Twitter Chat. Kasey’s database lists the days and times of each chat, so pick one that fits in best with your vacation schedule. It’s ok to just watch the Twitter Chat if answering questions makes you a little terrified.

By August you will have expanded your PLN and your MIND!  Thanks @shakeuplearning.

New Apps to BISD App Catalog

The following apps have been added to the BISD App Catalog.  

These apps are available FREE on BISD devices with access to the BISD App Catalog.



i-nigma turns your camera into a sophisticated barcode reader.
Features of the i-nigma reader:
  • Scan colored and creative barcodes
  • Scan reversed codes (bright patterns on dark background)
  • All codes are scanned simultaneously - no need to preset barcode types
  • The i-nigma Shopper compares prices of books, games, CDs and many more products at leading online retailer sites such as Amazon and eBay 
  • Scan QR and DataMatrix codes off printed material as a quick and easy way to access video, news, music, sweepstakes or any mobile content. 
  • Share scanned codes through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks 
  •  Share scanned codes through SMSCreate QR codes on screen for scanning and sharing by other devices
  • Scan vCards or MECARDs, and save to phone contacts
  • Scan Geo barcodes and open them on Map
  • Scan Calendar barcodes and save them to phone calendar 

Mad Libs

The world’s greatest word game is back with an all-new look! 

  • 21 free Mad Libs stories with new free content added all the time
  • New swipe gestures make creating stories faster and easier
  • Interactive hints provide inspiration and speed your play along
  • Save your stories and share with friends
  • Earn stickers and badges every time you play
  • Brand-new Game Center rewards
  • Replay stories as many times as you want
  • Play solo or with friends and family
  • Bright, engaging color palette and all-new typography
  • Custom illustrations for every book
  • Explore optional in-app purchases for loads more stories
  • Kid-friendly interface

Monday, May 8, 2017

Creating Collaborative YouTube Playlists

Did you know that you can add a collaborator to your playlists? Consider partnering with another teacher on your team to populate playlists. To add a collaborator to a playlist on a computer, go to the Playlists page.  
  1. Get there by selecting Video Manager from My Channel located above the channel banner.
  2. On the left, click Video Manager > Playlists.
  1. Next to the playlist you want to collaborate on, click Edit.
  2. Click Share.
  3. Check the box that says "Allow people with the link to add videos."
  4. Copy the unique link for your playlist and share it with the people you want to collaborate with.
collaborators youtube.png

When videos are added or removed from the playlist or new collaborators join, the playlist owner will get a notification. To learn about creating and sharing YouTube playlists, check out the video below.

Friday, May 5, 2017

3D Printing in Classrooms: 3 Tips for Providing Creative 21st Century Learning Experiences

3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making a three dimensional solid object digitally. Students begin by creating a  CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using 3D modeling software. Birdville students can create CAD designs from any device. Beginning can become a little overwhelming as there are many choices.

Start Simple

A good place for students to begin creating 3D models is Tinkercad. Other beginning iOS apps used to create 3D models found in the BISD App Catalog for 3D printing include 123D Design  and Morphi. Secondary students can also use a PC to create advanced CAD files using Autodesk, SketchUp, or Onshape. After creating a 3D model, the next step is to save the model as a .STL file and prepare the model in order to make it 3D printable.

Choose The Right 3D Printer

Slicing, a process that divides a 3D model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. prepares a 3D model to become 3D printable. Sometimes a 3D model can be sliced from within a 3D modeling software application. It is also possible that you are forced to use a certain slicing tool for a certain 3D printer. When the 3D model is sliced, you are ready to feed it to your 3D printer. This can be done via USB, SD or wifi. When a file is uploaded in a 3D printer, the object is ready to be 3D printed layer by layer. The 3D printer reads every slice (2D image) and creates a three dimensional object.

Connect With Community

Birdville ISD is lucky to be connected to a strong Makerspace community. Teachers do not have to know how to use the 3D printers to begin. Many local public libraries are available to support you. Users can also upload their STL file to sites and have their 3D file mailed to their home. Students at Smithfield Middle School use the 3D printer, located in their school's makerspace,  to print CAD designs for various projects.  The librarian, Beth Muirheid, worked with  a TX history classroom in which students studying regions of TX and each group created a 3d model of their area.  One element of their “map” will be printed on Brad.

Digital Learning Platform: The 3D printer provides students with a best structure in which students can make an authentic task or product.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Creating Interactive Drawings via Google Drawings

Google Drawings is a free app, available in the Google Drive suite,  in which users collaborate and work together in real-time to create and share drawings, flowcharts, concept maps, and diagrams. Educators and students can access Google Drawings with their Birdville ISD's Google account. After logging in to Google Drive, users can create a new drawing following the following steps.

  1.  Select New located in the top left corner.
  2. Select More, Google Drawings found under the drop-down menu.
Google Drawings is also accessible as a Google Chrome extension. 

Google Drawings in Action:  Students use Drawings to create a timeline, adding information in chronological order to include images and text. Timelines are used to assist student as they build connections and recognize patterns in a series or process. Other classroom uses include creating an infographic, annotating key concepts over images, and creating concept maps.

Digital Learning Platform: Google Drawings is an interactive application that serves as a best structure to facilitate an authentic task and product. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Creating and Sharing Content via Google Sites

Google Sites is a free and easy system to create and share webpages using your Birdville ISD's Google account. The new Google Sites offer a clean and easy to use interface, templates, and easily embeds other Google applications such as Google Forms, Presentation, Docs, Calendar, and Maps. Multiple contributors can add and edit a Google Site, encouraging collaboration.

Google Sites In Action: GT students in Glenna Harris's class at John D. Spicer Elementary are using Google Sites to share their capstone research using the new Google Sites. Creating the capstone project in Google Sites allows for the project to be shared with a wider audience, which encourages student motivation.

Digital Learning Platform: Google Sites provides a safe and best structure in which learners can create an authentic task or product.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Random Name Picker

If you need a quick way to choose students for an activity or assign topics, Random Name Picker is the right tool for the job!

Simply enter you list of names/topics, then choose the theme of the picker and spin for a selection!

Keep Track of Time with Google

Just go to and search for "___minute timer".  A timer will appear in the search results.  You can even make it full screen!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dell Chromebook Keyboard Shortcut Commands

As the new Dell Chromebooks start entering our classrooms there's a few tips you will want to know. You'll want to take special note of the "rotate screen 90 degrees" command, just in case someone rotates the image accidentally, it is Ctrl+Shift+Refresh.  Click here to see all of the Commands

HMS Theatre Students Create Products to Show and Share Learning

Haltom Middle Schools theatre students led by Deanna Davis are creating authentic tasks and products to show and share learning. Ms. Davis has partnered with Michael Hanson, a secondary digital learning specialist, to leverage technology and introduce students to sound engineering, set design, and video production. Students have scaled set designs and created soundscapes that were used for UIL production. Students in 6th grade made a product and will be sharing their product through a commercial to their peers using the app, Green Screen by DoInk and Google Classroom. Students in 7th and 8th grade are creating films to showcase in a media fest later this spring and are also using green screen technologies.

Deanna Davis and Mr. Hanson invited Jennifer R. Miller, Birdville ISD's digital learning resource specialist, to assist with green screen production and provide training to both the teacher and students. Students were able to use a mobile green screen unit to create their films. Ms. Davis was able to learn how to utilize YouTube to show and share learning. Finally, students learned how to export soundscapes created in Audacity to utilize in a video podcast that Ms. Davis placed on her classroom YouTube channel. Final products will be showcased in May.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Create Short Links with

Long internet links (called URLs)  can be difficult to deal with.  They do not look nice when pasted into an email, posted on your website, or even printed in a newsletter.  You can use Google's URL Shortener to make long URLs short and more accessible.  

This is a link to Alice Keeler's blogpost about using short URLs -
Here is the short link to the same place - 

Note: links are case sensitive, so you need to be careful about the font you are using to share the link.  If students are having to type the link, you will need to remind them to use capital and lower case letters as shown.

If you need a fast way to shorten links, you can install the extension in your Chrome browser too!

Severe Weather Broadcasts with iPad App

An iPad with the Green Screen app from Do Ink was used to record severe weather newscasts in Ms. Rollette's Science Class at North Ridge Middle School. The students went all out to make their groups the best. I especially enjoyed the teams that would throw debris through the shot behind the anchor. If you'd like to try a project with a green screen, please let your digital learning specialist know, we would love to help. #birdvillelearns

YouTube Without Comments & Suggested Videos is a website that allows you to paste in a link to a YouTube video and get a new link with no suggested videos on the side and no comments below.

When sharing YouTube videos with students, using this tool is considered a best practice.  You can't control what students may see if you send them a link directly to YouTube.  With Viewpure, you can eliminate much of that risk.