Friday, October 30, 2015

New Algebra I Textbook Adoption Offers a Digital Component

Students in Chris Alegria's Algebra I Math class at Richland Middle School are seen here becoming more familiar with new Math concepts by solving problems in Pearson's digital textbook portion called MathXL. "MathXL is an online tutorial course, provided by our newly adopted textbook from Pearson. This Digital resource allows students to practice on every unit and section of the book."~Chris Alegria. #richlandmiddle #math #algebra #education #bisddlp #alegriarocks

Storybird in Computer Lab

Walker Creek Elementary Students Create Poems Using Storybird During Computer Class

Presently we are discussing poetry.  After an introductory lesson to Storybird, I challenged the students to create a poem.  Above is a rough draft of a poem created by one of our 5th graders during class.   Their assignment was to choose a picture in Storybird that they would like to write a poem about. Our students really enjoy using Storybird because of the large selection of artwork. Every time they come to the computer class they ask if they can get on Storybird. Many of our students access Storybird at home. The following Monday, several students said they had written stories over the weekend. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

SMS Students Track Data with Digital Portfolios

Smithfield Middle School is piloting a new app, (SeeSaw), that allows students to create and share their work through digital portfolios. Teachers and students can add items that represent best practices and parents can view their child’s portfolio through a parent app. Today, administration and staff took it a step further and had students upload and reflect on their progress reports. What a great way for everyone involved to share data and examine learning. #bisddlp #bisdgps

BCTAL Hosts Regional TAFE Competition

Future educators gathered at the BCTAL to compete against other schools in the area. Susan Stevens organized the event where prospective teachers came to show their creativity in lesson plans, pedagogy, presentation skills, literature publications and technology. The future of education looks very bright! #bisddlp #bisdgps

SMS students reflect with QR codes

SMS students reflect with QR codes

Foster Village 3rd Graders Dive Into Google Classroom

Foster Village 3rd Grade Teacher, Cindy Collins, set up her students in Google Classroom and posted a question for them to respond to.  The students practiced logging on with their accounts.  Once logged in, they could comment on the teacher's post to respond to the question.  Some students used laptops while other students used iPads.  

Prior to posting, the class discussed proper posting etiquette.  They were expected to write 3 to 4 sentences using proper spelling, capitalization, and puncutation. 

These 3rd graders loved interacting with their teacher digitally!  They were excited to write and read the writing of their classmates!

4th Grade uses QR codes on their Math word wall at Walker Creek

Mrs. Wolf’s class uses their math word wall interactively during Math workstations by scanning the QR codes for each vocabulary word. The QR code leads them to a video to watch reviewing each vocabulary word. After they have watched each video, they scan the top QR code which takes them to a Poll Everywhere question they respond to and Mrs. Wolf can then check for understanding based on the students’ responses!

Hour of Code via Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a free iPad app that introduces programming concepts to children between the ages of 8-12. The Hopscotch interface is relatively simple and offers kid-friendly and visual approach to programming using pre-built blocks, similar to MIT's Scratch program. An advantage to using Hopscotch includes the ability to share creations with the app community.

Hopscotch in Action: Students in a makerspace create and program their own math game to reinforce negative numbers, decimals or x/y coordinates on a plane.

Digital Learning Platform: Hopscotch is an interactive application in which students create structures and share authentic tasks and products with others within a learning community.

Interventionist Kicks Off Pathblazer Reading in BISD

Kudos to Melanie Shelton, Haltom Middle School Reading Interventionist, for getting her students started with Pathblazer Reading.  The program begins with an adaptive screener for each student.  After reviewing data which includes a Proficiency Level for each student, Mrs. Shelton will assign the appropriate diagnostics.  This prescriptive model includes only activities to help students master the objectives they need help with.  Both Mrs. Shelton and her students will be monitoring progress very closely.

Karen Teeters
Digital Learning Specialist, Online Learning
Birdville ISD

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WMS Teacher Uses Smore to Compile Research Resources

Watauga's Heather Raynsford used Smore to collect video, music, resources, and tasks for her students in an easy to access format. Students listened to music embedded in the Smore and applied their analysis of a poem based on the music to different text structures. Students could access all parts of the project through Raynsford's web-page.

RMS Special Education Teacher embracing Google Classroom

Courtney Yancey from Richland Middle School is using Google Classroom in her AABLE classroom. "We use Google Classroom for online journals, sharing documents, and collaboration. It is a great way for my students to have a reading piece and other resources in front of them while they work with the material." Courtney has created a Google Classroom for all of the content areas. "We recently used Google Classroom in Social Studies to connect students to their online textbook which offers the children the opportunity to listen to the text." #google #bisddlp #googleclassroom #AABLE #specialed #SpEd #richlandmiddleschool

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stowe 4th Graders Love Technology!

Miss Conan’s 4th graders at Stowe love using technology! Check out our video to see how we learn digitally in our classroom J.

We have been using apps such as Prezi, iMovie, Adobe Voice and Word Clouds to create our own presentations and share our ideas on various research topics. One group of students in the class is reading Esperanza Rising, so they have researched and created Prezis to teach the rest of the class about the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. They also created Word Clouds describing each of the main characters in the book.

We also use technology every day in our Math and Literacy stations. The students use Epic!, Accelerated Reader, Read Theory,  4th Grade Reading Comprehension, Spelling City, Kids’ Vocab, Wordly Wise and Greek & Latin Roots during Literacy Stations. They use Big Brainz, Xtra Math, Sumdog, Sushi Monster, Math Zombies, Splash Math, Motion Math, Manic Math, Math Ninja and abcYa math games during Math Stations. We also love apps such as Brain Pop, Brain Pop Jr., Khan Academy and Stack the States.

4th graders love using technology to enhance their learning!

Jenna Conan
4th Grade Teacher, O.H. Stowe Elementary School

Padlet and Twitter @ Green Valley

Janae Poulton and one of her teammates were wanting to find new ways for their students to share ideas and get feedback.  The teachers contacted their campus Digital Learning Specialist for help.  While many resources were kicked around, Poulton began to focus in on Padlet and Twitter.  Padlet is an electronic bulletin board where students can post ideas or share answers back to questions.  Poulton created a Padlet during Digital Citizenship week for kids to post ideas about being a good digital citizen.  She also used Padlet to collect student responses after studying European Explorers.  Check out student responses using the links below.

Next for Mrs. Poulton and her 4th graders is a class Twitter account.  They use Twitter to display work they are doing in class and to post ideas and share opinions.  Parents and visitors can respond to the post and provide feedback.   Follow #gatorlearning or visit them on Twitter to see what new things they are learning. 

Learning about Digital Citizenship @ West Birdville

Recently, students across Birdville ISD took part in discussions about what it means to be a good Digital Citizen. Students were asked to tell what they thought good digital citizenship was and then provided scenarios in which they decided if good digital citizenship was being displayed. In Mrs. Grupe’s library, students were shown video clips that talked about different ways kids can be good digital citizens as well as how to be safe when working online. Mrs. Grupe used Kahoot to check students’ understanding before the end of class. Students cheered as they worked their way through the questions and built up points. Great use of Kahoot to check for understanding Mrs. Grupe!

Math 3rd Six Weeks Curriculum Previews - Gone virtual

Why leave campus, when you can attend a curriculum preview in your own classroom?  That is the beauty of the 3rd Six Weeks Math Curriculum Previews using Zoom!

Mary Valamides & Toni Dowdy have worked together to give teachers the option to attend the preview in person or virtually on their classroom computer.  

Last week, second and third grade teachers attended the 3rd Six Weeks previews.  Several chose to attend at the location listed in Eduphoria.  However, and additional 17 teachers attended via Zoom video conference in a classroom at their school.  Mary presented the video conference from her office!

Best of all, the sessions were recorded!  Even if teachers could not participate live, they will have access to a video recording of the session to watch later!

Are you an Elementary Math Teacher?  Click here for directions to participate in the upcoming 3rd Six Weeks Math previews for 4th, 5th, 1st, and Kindergarten!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Student Creating their Own Research Guide

Haltom High School students in Josh Hofford's World History class are seen here using chromebooks to view and create a research guide on the Byzantine Empire. "The students are looking at different facets of the empire in preparation for a writing exercise. They may not realize it but they are creating their own learning tools to use for the writing next week." ~Josh Hofford #worldhistory #haltomhigh #buffnation #history #bisddlp #chromebook

Connecting via Zoom

Zoom is a free cloud based videoconferencing system in which educators can connect with other classrooms, experts, and attend professional development with up to 50 attendees for a duration of 45 minutes. BISD has access to 10 premium accounts to assist for longer video conference needs or to facilitate a larger audience.

Zoom in Action: Students utilize Zoom to connect with top scientists and engineers at NASA and with other classrooms around the world about a real-world space mission event.

Digital Learning Platform: Zoom is an interactive videoconferencing structure in which students share authentic tasks and and products using advanced communication features.

Connecting via VoiceThread

VoiceThread is "an online tool that promotes a supportive instructor-student relationship by presenting reflective response tools to encourage collaboration. VoiceThread serves as a vehicle to encourage students to respond to topics through the use of a computer, tablet, cell phone, or webcam. Connecting the learner to the instructor provides motivation, feedback, and dialogue. With the content, the learner obtains intellectual information; and through peer interaction students exchange ideas" (Kilgore, Mangrum, & Miller, 2014).

VoiceThread in ACTION: Students use VoiceThread to reflect on learning experiences from a recent visit to the Perot Museum in Dallas, Texas. Images from exhibits were posted by the STEAM camp instructor. After the field trip, students build a collaborative thread to share reflections with a wider audience. The learning activity employed the ARCS instructional design model to provide Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.

Digital Learning Platform: VoiceThread provides a student centered  and interactive platform in which learners share authentic tasks and products using advanced publishing features.

Exploring Voicethread Using ARCS Instructional Design Approaches. W Kilgore, L Mangrum, J Miller. Journal of Media Education 5 (1), 16-22, 2014. 

Mrs. Bolton's Reading Students Create Interactive On-line KWL charts

Meredith Bolton at NOMS engages her Reading students with individualized and interactive KWL charts on ReadWriteThink site. Students each create their own charts and save to their student drives to continue work on later.

Connecting via Kidblog

Kidblog provides educators with a safe and simple tool in which students share meaningful reflections, reviews, and learning artifacts via a class blog. Teachers can create a simple publishing  and organized experience. Kidblog embeds media content to include YouTube and Google Drive.

Kidblog in Action: Students utilize Kidblog to collaborate with global pen pals, share digital portfolios, collaborative science notebooks, participate in a virtual book club, and publish creative writings using an electronic format.

Digital Learning Platform: Kidblog is a web based structure in which students share authentic tasks and products using advanced publishing features.

Academic Coaches Embrace Online Learning

The BISD Middle School Academic Coaches recently attended training to begin the implementation of online learning pathways for math students.  After each student takes a math screener assessment, he or she is able to log in to  CompassLearning  and begin working on individualized activities designed to help them close their specific skill gaps.  The Academic Coaches work with classroom teachers and students to help track progress and data as the self- paced learning pathways are completed.

The Coaches include Tracy Cox from Haltom Middle School, Mary Terry from North Richland Middle School,  John Bolles from Richland Middle School,  Pam Ochoa from North Oaks Middle School,  Christine Thompson from Watauga Middle School,  Mary Hadley from Smithfield Middle School, and Melanie Mitchell from North Ridge Middle School.  

The Coaches will continue to guide their teachers, administrators, and students with ongoing support from Brenda Mesa, Secondary Math Coordinator and Karen Teeters, Online Learning Specialist.

Karen Teeters
Digital Learning Team
Birdville ISD

Friday, October 23, 2015

Math Flipped Learning with Explain Everything and Edpuzzle at Haltom Middle School

A student from Mrs. Zamora's 8th grade Math class at Haltom Middle School is seen here taking notes over a teacher-created video covering functions.
Mrs. Zamora creates her videos on her Project Innovate iPad mini using an app called Explain Everything. She then uploads the video to Edpuzzle, where she can stop the video and insert questions that must be answered by the student before the video can be resumed.

Another great tool for flipped learning videos is Zaption.

The Digital Learning Team has created a Smore (online flyer) about Edpuzzle and Zaption.  View it here.

Walker Creek Elementary "Purse"-sonification and Google Forms: ELA Lesson from the Library

Walker Creek Elementary "Purse"-sonification and Google Forms: ELA Lesson from the Library

After attending the Google Forms session at the Fall Digital Learning Conference on Oct. 17th, Susan Smith Walker Creek Librarian came up with an incredibly creative lesson .  She collaborated with her fifth grade teachers to design the learning experience for students.
Susan helped students understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about how an author's sensory language creates imagery in literary text by reading poems with examples.  Students were asked to provide evidence from text to support their understanding. Students evaluated the impact of personification in the poems.

"Then I showed them 6 purses (from my closet). They had to pick one purse, imagine a poem or story they would do about that purse – where it was given human qualities. Then I had them fill out the google form that was conveniently linked from the library webpage." - Susan

Students can now use all of the ideas generated by the class in the results of the Google form to create their own poems that include personification.

Here is a link to the students' brainstorming form.

Here is a link to some students' results.
Posted by Digital Learning

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Major Cheney 1st Grade Chatterpix Audiobook

Pat Clepper, first grade teacher at Major Cheney Elementary, worked with her students to create an audiobook of their class book, "Turkey Has The Hiccups!".

Mrs. Clepper wrote the story, then each student illustrated one page.  Mrs. Clepper used the Chatterpix kids app to take a picture of the illustrations and record the student voices.

Then (with a little help from her Digital Learning Specialist) the video clips were put together with the iMovie App, uploaded to YouTube, and a QR to the video was created.

Now, when students are reading the class book, they can scan the QR code to listen and read on their iPads!

Check out "Turkey Has The Hiccups!" here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WMS 6th grade Science Engages in Stations

Josh Huff engages students in hands-on, inquiry-based learning in stations around his room. Students explore different concepts with activities, guided questions, and Chromebooks.

WMS Students Engage in NASA Webinar

Sarah Strittmatter's classes listen and watch NASA webinar to extend learning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Digital Citizenship at West Birdville Elementary

Collaboration between the school librarian and classroom teachers is not just something that is “nice to have,” IT IS ESSENTIAL.
Studies show that students who have a full-time librarian who collaborates and co-teaches with classroom teachers will have higher literacy levels and perform better on Standardized tests like the STAAR.

Many BISD librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to design lessons and gather resources that support the TEKS students are learning in the classroom. 

One such librarian is Kathy Grupe at West Birdville Elementary.  Kathy and 5th grade teachers collaborated to design a literacy lesson that incorporated Digital Citizenship.  Students brainstormed answers to the question “What does Digital Citizenship mean to you?”  Using the new library laptops provided by the 2014 bond, students posted their responses on Padlet and then had deep and meaningful discussions. Click on the links below to see these bilingual students’ ideas.

Posted by Birdville Digital Learning

Monday, October 19, 2015

Google in the ELA Classroom

Fifth grade students at Birdville Elementary are using Google Apps for Education in a variety of ways. Students in Lindsay Griffis Language Arts/ Reading class are using Google Docs in their reading and writing assignments.
In Writing, she likes to make comments on their writing pieces so they can revise and edit immediately. Lindsay can do this while in the lab, or at home without taking any papers with her.

In Reading, students work in groups of 3 to discuss posts about their reading homework, and collectively post a response using text evidence. She is able to monitor their responses and quickly respond back with either a comment or a grade. At the end of the week she can download those grades and put them in Skyward.
All of the teachers in fifth grade are using Google Drive for data folders. Students have a shared folder in their account where they enter grades on major assignments and track their progress on a bar chart/line graph combo, comparing their grades to class averages.

NOMS science teacher Lisa Bradley

Lisa Bradley sends students out on the Web in search of elements and compounds.

North Oaks Middle School
Academic Coach
Pam Ochoa

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Google Classroom at BHS

Emily Shipman is using Google Classroom to deliver all of her electives courses to students at BHS. Emily was one of the first teachers who approached me about using Google Classroom, even before school started. 

I went to visit Emily for an update now that we are eight weeks into the school year, & see how things were going. She likes that all of her assignments and student work is in one location. She has been able to have students collaborate in real time and she loves how easy it is to prepare for a sub! Now that her students know all of there assignments will be in Google, she can upload work from home and students can continue as if she hadn't left. 

The first couple of times students got in to their online class, was a bit challenging but it really didn't take long for them to figure it out.

Some of her students commented on how much they enjoyed the convenience and the automatic reminders for work due. Some wished more teachers would use Google Classroom.

Way to be 21st century learners Mrs. Shipman and students!

posted by Rashel Larson, Digital Learning Specialist

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WMS Art students use Digital Cameras

WMS Art teacher Esmeralda Elhamad began a Cubism project with her students using digital photography. Students shared the class cameras and put up quick butcher paper backdrops. The digital images will be the subject for the students' Cubism artwork.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

District Tech EAs in the Spotlight

The Tech EAs participated in the first Tech EA Edcamp, last Friday. An EdCamp is a time when people get together to learn from one another, so this arrangement lends itself to the collaborative learning that can happen on district professional development days. The Tech EAs used Padlet to list the ideas they wanted to learn more about. Then someone who was comfortable sharing about that topic jumped up and talked/trained. Topics covered included Kahoot, features of Vision, Padlet, SumDog, as well as ideas for collaborating with teachers. It was a great time of sharing and learning, capitalizing on the diverse talents of this dedicated group of educators.

North Ridge Elementary Science Teachers Explore Digital Microscopes

Science Teachers at North Ridge Elementary met for orientation of the science lab.  North Ridge Principal, Deborah Coulson, invited Toni Dowdy to demonstrate how to use the SmartScope microscopes for the computer and iPad.  Teachers explored animal fur, grains of salt and sugar, and many other items.

Friday, October 9, 2015

CTE Teachers Gather at BCTAL for PD

BISD's versatile team of CTE teachers met at the BCTAL on Friday the 9th for professional development. The Secondary Digital Learning team met in rotations with the teachers to explore iPad tools for classroom use.

Recording Notes Using Audacity

Debra Szostek, 5th Grade Social Studies teacher at Walker Creek Elementary, is using the Audacity software on her teacher computer to record audio notes for students.  The notes will be exported as MP3 files and loaded in Google classroom for students to access.  This will support and assist students who may struggle with reading and be a great study aid for all students!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Elementary GT Teachers Dive Into Google Drive & Classroom

The BISD Elementary GT Team invited Elementary Digital Learning Specialists Jeff Samuelson and Toni Dowdy to join in their PLC meeting this week to learn more about Google Drive & Classroom.  During the interactive presentation, GT teachers learned all about these wonderful collaborative Google products.  Many discussions were had about how GT students might begin to use Google Drive & Classroom for anytime, anywhere learning!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Gamification has become a hot topic in education in the past few years. Utilizing games as educational aids has been proven to boost academic performance and engagement in the classroom. Now, there are even ways to turn the whole learning experience into a game that motivates students and serves as a behavior management tool. Classdojo and are two excellent examples of online interfaces that allow teachers to "gamify" the classroom.

For a real immersive experience, however, Classcraft sets the bar. The website allows the teacher to turn the classroom into a game where students gain XP (experience points) and are able to "level up" through good behavior and lose HP (health points) when they make bad choices. Check it out the video below! 

It's a truly innovative idea and a fantastic supplement to classroom management. My students absolutely love it and cannot wait to see the update on their experience points every day.

Hernan Oropeza
4th grade bilingual teacher
Academy at West Birdville

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Smithfield Middle School Book Reviews

Our Reading Raiders are taking advantage of the YakIt! Kids App to report on reading books from the BISD Texas Star List.  This is one of many ways they can report their reading this year.  If they read 12 titles, they will earn an invitation to the Texas Star Celebration in the spring.  Read on, Raiders!
Smithfield Middle School Librarian

Monday, October 5, 2015

Going Paperless with Google Classroom

Haltom Middle School's Jonathan Thorn is seen here making the leap into Google Classroom. Students are turning in assignments that they created in Google Docs. Mr. Thorn can then grade the papers on any device with Internet access. No more carrying stacks of papers home to grade.

North Richland Middle School Makerspace

What do you do if you want to implement a Maker Space but have no budget? Go see Julie Pursley, North Richland Middle School Librarian.

Julie is new to the campus this year but it took her no time to notice a need for a Maker Space on her campus. To purchase the pre-packaged STEM activities that fill many Makerspaces, can amount to thousands of dollars. Julie’s new library didn’t have the budget to purchase those supplies, but that didn’t stop her. With some creativity, lots of friends and a “shout-out” on social media supplies started pouring in and the North Richland Middle School FAB LAB was born.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings you can see 30-40 middle school students working on a variety of projects. There is an art station where students can create with paper, glue, markers, old magazines and even use one of the donated Circuit machines. Large pieces of cardboard are available for those who want to create a more 3-D project. Students can make things on a larger scale or take up a challenge to create a structure or putt-putt golf hole. A take-apart bin of old electronics is very popular with students who are curious to see what is inside these devices, how they work and how they can be repurposed. This table collaborates about the possibility of fixing the devices or what they can create from the pieces. I even heard mention of a robot one morning as a possible option.

Another popular table is the sewing station. Students use needle and thread to create handmade Teddy bears. Almost every teddy bear will be a gift for a sibling or special friend. This station is not just for the girls, there are quite a few camouflage teddy bears being created by boys. One young man even used his needle and thread to sew up his hoodie that had a large hole in the pocket. Students are especially excited because there's a possibility of a donated sewing machine in the near future.

Julie plans to continue to build on her donated items where she can and tie station projects to grade appropriate TEKS. Kudos to you Julie for seeing a need and thinking outside the box so BISD students can continue their learning by exploring and creating in new ways.

Rashel Larson
Digital Learning Specialist