Thursday, April 23, 2015

Students Driving Instruction

Science students at Smithfield Middle School are teaching each other key concepts during class. Mrs. Youngblood and Mrs. Benton prepare a Padlet page for the students to use as their learning canvas. They students enter class, are paired up and given a Chromebook. Today's task is to find out what watershed is, why it's important, find a supporting visual, and a video that will explain watershed to their peers. The students are given 8-12 minutes to gather their information, which is then shared and explained by the students. The teacher's highlight key points and adds positive reinforcement to each group.  Here are a couple of the student created padlets, Period 7 and Period 8

Student Created Evaluation Rubric

In Mrs. Massey-Davis' Spanish class students created videos to show mastery of specific standards given by their teacher. The projects were then assessed using a rubric that was created by the students. "I was surprised, their rubric requirements were set higher than I was planning to set myself."  Mrs. Massey-Davis felt that the risk of releasing some of the control really paid off and is already making plans to use this strategy in as many assignments as she can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SMART boards

SMART Boards are a great “workshop way” to practice with math manipulatives.  Check out more SMART ideas…

·  SMART Educator2Educator Virtual User Group   
·     Twitter #smartE2E 
·      YouTube channel  (Subscribe to keep up-to-date)
·      SMART Exchange

Debbie Darter
Special Education Teacher- Resource/Inclusion
The Academy at West Birdville
Birdville I.S.D.
Achiever, Consistency, Discipline, Harmony, Learner

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kahoot - Feedback Based on Student Performance

Adam Hogg and Christy Upton were introduced to Kahoot by Julie Hyman, Secondary Social Studies Coordinator and Michael Hanson, Digital Learning Specialist. These teachers immediately started thinking of ways to incorporate this into their lessons. Kahoot is a game-based interactive formative assessment tool that can be used by individual students or small groups. Students use their own electronic devices, or school-owned devices, to answer teacher-made questions with results displayed. Students have fun while learning because they receive immediate feedback and can track their progress toward learning goals.

Kahoot is a great tool for teachers to monitor students' understanding of key concepts in real-time. Data can be downloaded after each class period to gauge students' overall progress. The ability to immediately collect data digitally, allows teachers to close gaps in student learning and re-teach on the spot, as needed. PLC teams review and compare student data to make decisions regarding knowledge and understanding of the standards.
To remind students to bring their own devices, Christy and Adam use to send text message reminders the day before class.
For more information about using Kahoot and other online formative assessment tools visit the Digital Learning Platform website at

"I'm a Research Engineer!"

Standard Addressed: B.6H Describe how techniques such as DNA fingerprinting, genetic modifications, and chromosomal analysis are used to study the genomes of organisms
Biology students assumed the roles of Doctor, Genetic Counselor, and Research Engineer as they studied DNA karyotypes, as an introductory lesson, to diagnose genetic disorders. Dr. Justine Timberlake and Dr. MarryHim McConaughey (a.k.a. Alyssa Dolney and Shannan Fears) from Haltom High School designed and co-taught this rigorous lesson that required students to utilize digital resources in a real-world application as they analyzed information to determine characteristics, causes, impacts, and treatments for certain disorders.

Tweet Your Way to Professional Learning with Twitter

Professional Learning does not always have to happen in a formal setting. Some of the best ideas for teaching and learning come from other professionals while participating in Twitter Chats. In this professional learning scenario, there is no loss of instructional time, no substitute teachers to plan for, and there are no travel fees incurred! Anyone can participate from anywhere on any device -- all you need is an Internet connection.

The Birdville Digital Learning Team hosts a weekly Twitter Chat each Tuesday evening from 8:00-8:30 PM. If you are new to Twitter, or to view the archives of previous chats, visit the Twitter resource page at

In the video that follows, Mary Hadley and Tosh McGaughy, from Smithfield Middle School, share how they have benefited from participating in the weekly chat. You too are invited to join in the learning! @birdville_dl #bisddlp

Student Workstations in the Library for Effective Learning Structures and Authentic Tasks/Products

Julie Pursley, Watauga Elementary Library Media Specialist, extends literacy instruction into the library with Workstations. She utilizes technology in many of the workstations to engage students in activities for practice and mastery of TEKS students are learning in their classrooms.
Students use iPads, chromebooks, and desktop computers to:
  • listen to reading
  • retell stories
  • write new stories
  • create video book trailers/summaries
  • practice vocabulary and word work, and
  • write music


"My students have been struggling with context clues all year. It doesn't seem to matter what I or how I teach it to them, they just tune me out…ugh! So, I began using Flocabulary provided by the district, and the kids really took to it. The website has a vocabulary section for each grade level with activities. I am having my students identify the context clues in the lyrics by highlighting the words with a marker. Then we go and watch the video and now are making the connection to the meaning of the words! The light bulb went on in their brains!!!! Each week they are asking for new words and of course a new video. It is so exciting seeing them take ownership of learning through this activity. " -Kim Clay, 3rd Grade, Spicier Elementary. ~ Birdville ISD
Teachers, be sure to set up your teacher account.
Flocabulary is an online library of educational hip-hop songs and videos for grades K-12 that will engage and inspire students. You now have unlimited access to Flocabulary's library and lessons through 07/13/2015. Please contact your campus librarian for the Birdville ISD access link and sign up today!

Plickers - Digital Formative Assessment Without Student Devices

If you are looking for a great and fun way to check for understanding/gather feedback with your students, try Plickers ( The program works with your computer and an iPad, iPhone, or Android app. Students show their answer to teacher-created questions by holding up their Plicker card. The teacher scans the room with the ipad/iphone and the results show up "live" via the projector.

Kathy Grupe, Library Media Specialist at Academy at West Birdville, used Plickers with all of the 5th grade classes last week in the library reviewing idioms and figurative language. "The questions are so easy to set up and kids love seeing the results instantaneously on the screen - seeing if they got it correct or not," said Mrs. Grupe. She continued, "I just stood in one place in the front of the room and used my new iPad mini (from the Project Innovate training) and scanned 25 cards in a few seconds." What an innovative way to use technology to show student mastery of concepts.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Welcome to the Digital Learning Lounge!

This new space, named the Digital Learning Lounge is for BISD Staff to post best practices for teaching and learning that support the Digital Learning Platform.  We invite you to share the successes you and your student experience so that others may learn from your expertise.