Friday, January 29, 2016

New Project Innovate Classes Model Flipped Learning

The Digital Learning team revamped the district teacher iPad training, Project Innovate, to include flipped learning so participants could have more time interacting with their new devices with support. Feedback from the new format has been positive. Teachers watch how-to videos and set up accounts before coming to the class, and then they work at their own pace through the set up process. Activities based on the goals of Project Innovate round out the session. Resources are provided for even more support at the end of the training.

Storytelling via VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a web-based, asynchronous communication tool in which classrooms can create, review, reflect and share digital stories. With VoiceThread, teachers and students can create asynchronous (delayed) voice and video conversations around collections of media. VoiceThread is available to all BISD educators and students through their BISD Google Account and is accessible from any device.

VoiceThread in Action: Students create a VoiceThread to present research about a famous historical leader. Peers reviewed content and facilitated questions within VoiceThread to continue dialogue regarding famous historical leaders. Final projects were published and shared with parents and other classrooms.

Digital Learning Platform: VoiceThread is an interactive structure in which students engage to create authentic tasks, collaborate, and receive feedback.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

RHS Biology Teacher Uses Blended Station Rotations

Richland HS Biology teacher Christine Endsley created objectives-based stations with her teammates to better differentiate instruction for her students before a big test. Her students did a short pre-assessment to identify what they most needed to review and Mrs. Endsley created separate Progress Monitoring sheets for each student with their stations assigned. Students are encouraged to self-pace through their stations, and extension activities are provided at an 8th station for students who showed mastery on the pre-assessment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Technology in Music at Watauga Elementary

I thought I would share how we are incorporating the new technology we received this year here at Watauga Elementary.  With the 5 tablets and 2 laptops we have, I decided to create technology stations.  The students are put into small groups and placed at a station.  The students then play “rock, paper, scissors” to determine who selects the first game/app they play.  After that I start a timer for 5 minutes that is visible on the smartboard.  The students take turns using the technology in that time until the timer goes off.  After that they rotate to the next station.

Here are the topics for each station:


  • Listening
  • Compose/Create
  • Melody
  • Rhythm
  • Music Reading/Staff

Each tablet has different games and apps that pertain to the topic of the station.  Everything I downloaded was a free app from the App Store (or was free at the time), or was downloaded from the BISD App Catalog. 



  • Composers
  • Instruments

I found and bookmarked a lot of websites with games and activities pertaining to the station topic and placed them in a folder on the favorites bar. 


I tried this out for the first time on Friday with Kindergarten – 2nd and it worked GREAT!  The students were already well versed in using the technology, and they were surprisingly adept at taking turns and sharing.  What a fantastic way to incorporate technology in the music room while the students engage in self-guided learning.  I will be rolling this out to 3rd – 5th this week.  It did include a LOT of setup beforehand, as I had to find all the apps, download and install them and then make sure all the correct restrictions were in place.  I basically went through the entire General Settings app on the tablets and made sure it was secure.


For the station houses, I repurposed some empty copy room paper boxes and cut them in half.  I then shaped them to be more appealing, placed duct tape on the edges for reinforcement and then created a colorful sign to top it off.  I put pictures and a short video in my Google Drive.  Click on this link to check it out:


Travis Pollan

General Music Specialist

Watauga Elementary

Heads Up for Spelling and Vocabulary

At Jack C. Binion Elementary, in Jenny Wasserman’s fourth grade class, students are using the iPad app Heads Up to practice spelling and vocabulary.  This engaging and easy to use app can be an alternative way for students to practice words.  They can work in pairs or small groups to take turns describing a word.   




Watauga MS 6th grade math Teachers Use Blended Stations

Watauga Middle School 6th grade math teachers, Debbie Heath and Heather Levingston, use blended station rotations in their classrooms to differentiate for their learners. Some students work on Compass online lessons, others work on illustrating math vocabulary, others research vocabulary online, and the teachers are able to work with a small group during this time. Students are actively engaged and their learning is personalized.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Christine Gaston Blends the Coding of Ozobot with Writing

7th and 8th grade students programmed Ozobots to perform different actions by creating designs embedded with color codes.  Then, students wrote procedural texts related to the predicted and actual behavior of the Ozobots.  



SMS Student Samples:



For more information on Ozobots, check out this site:



Mary Hadley
Academic Coach
Smithfield Middle

Kiddleco in 2nd Grade at Watauga Elementary


The students in BLT are using Kiddleco to do research on their favorite animal. They love using Kiddleco because it is kid friendly and safe.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Paperless Student Journal

One BISD teacher has all but done away with traditional spiral journals and replaced them with Google Docs. Brandi Anzaldua, a 6th grade English teacher at North Ridge Middle School, decided to lead the charge and embrace blended learning by creating a Google Classroom for each of her class periods. Her first assignment, getting rid of the spiral journal. This was achieved by allowing students to have a choice about how they journaled. They could keep the tradition spiral journal or go digital. All but a few selected Google Docs. "It has freed up space that was previously taken up by notebooks, I don't have to carry them all home and the start of class is smoother. The students are no longer huddled around each other trying to get their journals." -Brandi Anzaldua. When a group of students were asked about the switch to a digital journal, they perked up a bit and responded with, "I love it." "It's much easier." "I can write from my phone now." #bisddlp #bisdgps #googleclassroom #gafe #northridgemiddle #ela

Birdville HS English Teacher Incorporates Personalized Learning Paths

When the Spring 2016 semester began last week,  Adrian Baylor’s English 1 students also started a new learning experience.   This new experience will be one of the ways that they prepare for the upcoming  STAAR EOC English 1 state assessment.  The students first completed a Renaissance Star Reading online assessment.   A test translator system, then imported the assessment data into the CompassLearning program and automatically generated personalized instruction paths for each student, beginning at his or her own proficiency level.   Mrs. Baylor will be working with her students in the lab one day a week to master the lessons, and students can also continue to work outside of class on any device with Internet access.


Summarization with Story Kit

W.T. Francisco third grade teacher, Meredith Jones, had her students use the iPad app Story Kit to create summaries.  The students worked in groups to create the summaries and then emailed the final product to their teacher.  Meredith shares,  “The students LOVED it and we’re so engaged and I feel like they have a better grasp on summarizing because of this whole process.”

Sunday, January 24, 2016

SMS teacher Uses Online Formative Assessments for Grouping Purposes

Mary Hadley
Sent from my iPhoneMs. Clark creates online formative assessments using Google Forms to group students for tutorial sessions. She adds Flubaroo for quick and easy grading!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

NOMS Teacher Uses Google Forms for Productivity

NOMS math teacher Erecka Miller is using Google Sheets to organize the school wide candy bar fundraiser. Using her spreadsheet skills, Mrs. Miller set the sheet up to calculate teacher and campus totals for ongoing record keeping. The sheet also keeps gross profit information easily, saving valuable time for this busy teacher.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, January 22, 2016

Technology and The Arts Merge Together

Recently, I got a little behind the scenes tour of Birdville High School’s latest production, Narnia The Musical. Technical Theatre teacher Michael Klefeker was excited to demonstrate some of the different ways his students are bringing technology to the Arts. For example, his students are able to create the illusion of clouds or treetops using the same prop. This is made possible because of the digital lighting programs the students have built for the show. In an effort to immerse the audience into the land of Narnia there will be 180 degrees of projected images on the auditorium walls and above the stage. This was no small feat given Mr. Klefeker had to borrow three projectors and convince the makers of the projection software, to provide their product at a discounted price for the run of the show. So with borrowed equipment and on borrowed time to learn the software, the BHS Technical Theatre students and their teacher will be working hard to ensure the “technical” presentation of Narnia will be one you won’t forget.  


Rashel Larson

Digital Learning Specialist







#LearnAnywhere via Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free non-profit and quality online learning platform in which anyone can learn math, science, computer programming, history, art, economics, and more. All students and educators at Birdville ISD can now access the Khan Academy using their district log in.  Learning is self paced, interactive, and accessible from any device. Students receive feedback instantly, allowing for improved progress.

Khan Academy in Action: Students preparing for PSAT exams use the Khan Academy to pinpoint areas of needed improvement.

Digital Learning Platform: The Khan Academy is an interactive structure in which students receive instant feedback, improving cognitive processing, best strategies, and structures.

Shannon High School Library Accessing Creativity

Mary Huston, librarian at Shannon High School, is providing students with creative experiences in Shannon's new Access Point Makerspace. Students attending Shannon High School are learning how to collaborate, share, problem solve, and apply critical thinking skills as they make an object. While visiting with Mary Huston's students, it is clearly evident that students are deeply engaged. Ms. Huston provides students the opportunity to participate in makerspace activities throughout the day and is beginning to invite teachers into the new makerspace environment.

Ms. Huston is dedicating time towards designing activities to distribute using S'More, an online newsflier application, and Zaption, an interactive video tool. Zaption allows Ms. Huston to create video content to include informational text in a sequential format. Ms. Huston is beginning to post S'More activities on her website, which allows students the opportunity to go back to revisit materials.

The makerspace environment is new to not only students but educators at Shannon High School. Ms. Huston is just beginning to introduce concepts to teachers but has worked with one social studies teacher to connect an activity that considers the topic of survival. Students made a bracelet as part of their survival unit in Access Point's Makerspace. Ms. Huston strongly believes the sense of pride students are developing through the act of making an object greatly increases students' self-esteem.

You have to understand before you can play....

Students use the UPS Check in math class to solve problems. Why not modify it slightly to use in music class to solve their musical problem – reading the notation from the staff (TEKS 4.2A and 4.2B)? So that is what I did, with some encouragement from my math-teaching colleagues. When I introduced it, my students’ first reaction: “We do that all the time! We even did it in third grade!” So I told them “Great! Then you already know how to do it!” The language on my UPS Check for recorder was specific for my content, and I think they will need some practice getting used to it, but I was encouraged to see my students teaching each other how to play new lines of music on their own. You have to understand the music you are reading before you can play it, right? #bisddlp

Elizabeth Shier, M. Ed.
Music Teacher...Girls On the Run Coach

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Educreations Allowing 3rd Graders at DES to Create Math Lessons

Katherine Mongan’s 3rd graders are showing what they know about multiplication. Mongan explains, “Today in class, I had students create a lesson using Educreations where they explained how to multiply 2 digit times 1 digit numbers. The kids loved being able to explain what they knew! It is perfect for struggling learners because I am able to use the other student’s Educreations to help step them through the process… They might understand it better with another students lingo! I will definitely be using this again!”

Check out a sample lesson here:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blended Learning with Google Classroom

Haltom High School English III teachers, Becky Church and Sheryl Stewart, have taken a big step towards a blended learning environment by introducing Google Classroom and Google Drive to their students. Pictured are students viewing an assignment posted by their teacher and typing the assignment in Google Docs. "The students like the fact that they can write their papers on a smartphone, chromebook and any other device with an internet connection." said Sheryl Stewart. Both teachers are excited about using this tool during the upcoming research papers. When a student was asked what they liked most about the move to an online classroom they responded "I liked that I could complete my assignment quickly, it is just like texting." #bisddlp #bisdgps

WMS social studies teacher uses Padlet for Exit tickets

WMS 8th grade teacher Mrs. Elizabeth Cumbie uses Padlet wall as an exit ticket and debrief for the day's objectives. Students used the class Chromebooks or their own devices to post their thoughts after discussion with their peers. Their quick posts also provided a quick formative assessment for Cumbie as they all left out one key concept and she was able to provide a couple of guided questions to help them remember and connect those ideas before leaving for the day.

WMS science students review Newton's Laws

WMS science teacher Sarah Strittmatter uses YouTube videos to get her students to analyze and discuss Newton's laws using academic vocabulary. The amusing videos sparked lively conversations!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Using Video to Show What We Know

Students in my fifth grade classes are preparing to visit the Bass Hall to see the Fort Worth Symphony this week. Today they discussed appropriate Audience Etiquette at different events, including a formal concert (TEKS 5.6A in music). Students then had the opportunity to create a video using the iPad to explain why audience etiquette is important for both the performer and for those around you, and anything else they wanted to share about audience etiquette.

Second graders are working on creating melodic phrases using known notes, and reading notes from the staff (TEKS 2.2B, 2.4B in music). Today they created, read, and played 3-note patterns and then recorded their work using the iPads. They did great job! #thanksBISD! #bisddlp

Elizabeth Shier, M. Ed.
Music Teacher...Girls On the Run Coach

ChatterPix Kids App Supports Summarizing at West Birdville

Fifth grade students spent time showing what they know using their new iPads and the ChatterPix Kids app. The TEK supporting their work was 5.11A and Fig 19 D- summarize the main idea and supporting details in a text in ways that maintain meaning and logical order. The students used non-fiction text and created a short 3-5 sentence summary on paper. They then used ChatterPix kids to verbalize their summary. After they created the video they reflected with a partner using a rubric to decide if the summary they created was: Excellent, good, average, or ineffective. Combining the listening piece with the written piece gave the students an opportunity to improve their understanding of summarization.

Modesta Juarez
5th Grade Teacher
West Birdville

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Power of Encouragement

BISD high school students taking online courses are able to complete their self-paced lessons, 24/7. Students also benefit by regularly meeting with their online course instructors at school. Pictured are Shannon High School Teacher, Janet Erlinger, and graduating SHS senior, Jessica. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Ms. Erlinger helps coordinates the online courses between SHS students and their instructors. Ms. Erlinger’s ability to motivate and encourage students to successfully complete their courses fits right in with the student centered environment at Shannon High School.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

NOMS Flexible Learning Commons!

North Oaks Middle School had a section of lockers removed in the A hall earlier in the year to make way for a flexible learning space for blended learning. Three wall outlets were also installed high up on the wall to accommodate students' personal technology charging as well as campus Chromebooks. The final pieces came in last week, tall cafe tables and chairs. Students are already using this multi-purpose area for learning and collaborating!