Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HyperDocs in a Blended Classroom

In order to help meet the needs of today's learners, Birdville is making a cultural shift towards the blended learning model. Three components of the model are flipping instruction, flexible grouping, competency-based learning and a HyperDoc can be a great plan for either one. A HyperDoc is a term used to describe a Google Doc that is used as a springboard that allows learners to hyperjump to a multitude of online resources, such as short videos, journal articles, online textbooks, and any other supplemental resources that can be accessed by a URL link. With a HyperDoc, it is all about hyperlinking.  When it comes to delivering a HyperDoc, you have several options. With Google Classroom you can make an assignment set for the students to make a copy of their own automatically. There are a couple of options with Canvas. You can share with a link set as view-only and attach the link on a content page or on an assignment page. If you are not using Canvas or Google Classroom, you can copy the share as a view-only link and use sites like, or to shorten the link and then project it on a screen or simply write it on the board. For more information on creating HyperDocs please contact the Digital Learning Team.

Birdville Blended Hits a Homerun!

Yesterday I met Payge Scoggins, freshman at Richland High School.  Payge and the freshman class at the three Birdville ISD High Schools are the first group of students to experience blended learning in their English Language Arts classrooms.  Blended is being implemented in Birdville ISD as a result of being awarded the Raising Blended Learners grant in April 2016.

This spring rather than completing a traditional research paper project, teachers Kate Chambers, Heather Palmer, and April May, instead engaged their students in a research-based Passion Project.  A focus of blended learning is to personalize learning for students and engage them in relevant learning experiences.  Kudos to all Birdville teachers striving to do exactly that each day!

Payge says, "I decided to put together this softball game event at first for a school project but soon it became even more special and meaningful to me.  My dream for my future career is to work with kids and adults who are disabled or have special needs.  My passion is to play softball so I thought I could put the two together and create this charity softball game.  All the donations we receive will go to the Special Olympics foundation."

Each member of the girls' softball team partnered with a special needs student and all enjoyed a fun game of softball - batting, running the bases, and playing the field.  One of the special needs students sang the National Anthem just before Laura Holt, Director of Special Education, threw out the first pitch.  NBC-5 covered the event and you can see the story here:

Payge saw an opportunity and hit a homerun by planning and coordinating the first Richland Charity Softball Game, raising $448 for Special Olympics.

See the Richland High Facebook story here:

Posted by: Cheryl McKnight
Coordinator of Digital Learning, Blended Learning Project Manager

Thursday, May 25, 2017

That's a Wrap! Video Production at Haltom Middle School

Haltom Middle School Theater students in Deanna Davis’ classes are wrapping up their final production of the year. Mrs. Davis longed for a new way to cover several of her content TEKS that would be engaging and allow students to show mastery of semester-long concepts. Deanna teamed up with her digital learning specialist to try to think of some ideas. To begin, they unpacked the TEKS that would be driving the lesson activities. In the next step, they discussed the different ways students could demonstrate their learning in a manner that would be engaging, personalized and would demonstrate mastery of the standards. The decision was made that the final production would be either a commercial or theater promo advertising the theater program to incoming 6th grade students. Student tasks were created using backward design; breaking down the tasks into each of the key stages of film production.
After careful consideration of the campus' available technology, it was decided that iPads would be the best tool for the job. Students worked collaboratively within their small groups, with the goal of creating a group production.
When it came to filming, Mrs. Davis added the element of green screen recording, which was very popular with the students. Smiles and giggles were abundant. When asked about green screening the students replied with comments such as: “it is really cool.”, “I really like it.”, and “how can I do this at home?”
Since the students already had iPad's, video production rolled brilliantly into iMovie. It was the perfect tool for the students to engage in authentic, creative work while covering the essential content. Students were also given the freedom to use their own devices and apps if they preferred. Based on the passion students had when discussing their projects you could feel their sense of ownership. Upon completion, the students turned their productions in via Google Classroom. Here are two of the promo videos that were used to help grow the Theater program.
Video 1 Video 2

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

OER Commons: Open Education Resources

OER Commons (Open Educational Resources) is a free K-12 collaborative network that offers educators access to a large digital library of open education resources. Resources can be searched by subject area, grade level, or by material type. Educators can also enjoy joining one of the many OER network hubs or education groups and connect with other educators. Finally, educators can create open educational resources to create media rich documents and interactive lessons. OER Commons integrates into Google Classroom.

OER Commons in Action: Teachers utilize OER Commons to locate video content and interactive games to add as an enrichment activities in Google Classroom.

Digital Learning Platform: OER Commons provides a best structure for educators to locate open educational resources, connect with other educators, and create open educational resources.

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!