Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5th Graders Enjoy A Little Frivolity with Tagxedo!!!

This week I had a little extra time with 5th graders.  We were between projects, so I decided to show them one of my favorite web 2.0 sites, Tagxedo!  I just knew they would love it as much as I do!!  It is my favorite of all the Word Cloud sites! 

Our theme was family traditions!  I asked students to make a list of their family traditions.  They were encouraged to choose whatever traditions they love most, whether it be holiday traditions or the simple everyday traditions that all families have!!  On the Tagxedo site, students listed their family traditions, separated by commas.  In order to make some words and phrases bigger, students entered them more than once.  In order to keep phrases together, student put a tilde (~) between the words.  They selected their choice of shape, color and font.  The result was their own personalized word art!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TIES Conference 2013 - Fast Forward, Transforming Pedagogy With Technology

On Monday and Tuesday I attended the 2013 TIES (Technology and Information Education Services) Conference.  This is an annual education technology conference that I look forward to attending every year.  I find it energizing to hear what other innovative teachers are trying.  It sparks new ideas for me to return and try with our OHE students!!! 

Tuesday's Keynote Speaker - 
Mizuko Ito, cultural anthropologist

My favorite presentation of the entire conference was a presentation by Ben Friesen, Digital Content Specialist (below) for Hopkins Public School.  I walked away with lots of new lesson ideas, apps and websites that I can't wait to show our students!!

I really enjoyed Gadget Girl - Leslie Fisher (below) who showed off all the latest technology and it's potential use in the classroom.

My media collegues Paula Hansen and Randy Schlede (below) preparing for the next session!

Friday, December 13, 2013

1st Graders Catch Gingerbread Friends With The Help Of QR Codes!!!

Gingerbread Friends! by Slidely Slideshow

This week, Oak Hills 1st Graders continued with the book Gingerbread Friends, by Jan Brett from last week's lesson.  (Read about last week's lesson - 1st Graders Are Researching Authors...)  In the book Gingerbread Friends, students learned that Gingerbread Baby was lonely and looking for friends. This week, 1st graders went searching for friends for Gingerbread Baby with a scavenger hunt around the media center!!  I placed gingerbread friends with QR codes around the media center.  Each QR code brought the students to a different gingerbread book that we had in our library.  Students could see and compare all the creative gingerbread stories by a variety of authors!  Students used the iPad app RedLaser to read the QR codes!  After all of the gingerbread friends were found we read the gingerbread books!  I took lots of photos and popped them into a Slidely Slideshow so everyone could join our fun Gingerbread Friend QR Code Scavenger Hunt!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Hour of Code" Week - December 9 - 15

Readers may remember that several weeks ago I wrote about coding with students in several blog posts. (Oak Hills Students Take Their First Steps Toward Coding with BotLogic, and Some May Wonder Why Teach Coding)  This week, students are getting the opportunity to take it a step further.

In keeping with "Hour of Code" week, our Oak Hills students are using the Tutorials to receive coding lessons from Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates!!  Using the popular gaming theme Angry Birds, students are having a blast "coding" the angry birds to land on the naughty pigs!!!  

The organization is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science education.  They are sponsoring "Hour of Code" Week.  They have compiled resources for schools, teachers and parents interested in teaching coding to students of all ages.

There are many students who may want to try coding at home and there are many more tools that they can try!   Here is a list of a few!

#1  Start with  

#2  BotLogic 

#4  Tynker

#5  Light-bot

# 7 Kodable (App)

# 8 Hopscotch (App)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2nd Graders Create "My Life As A Reader" Digital Timelines...

For the past week or two, Oak Hills 2nd Graders have been gathering images of books they remember reading throughout their lives.  (I wrote about our Google searches in a post entitled 2nd Graders Learn To Search.)  Some of our 2nd graders were able to remember books from when they were tiny, while others were only able to remember a few of their early books, but they could all remember books they read this year.  It was a great starting point.    

We brainstormed some possible early books that students might all remember.  I was amazed at how many remembered Goodnight Moon!  That was a nightly favorite at our house when my children were young, so I should have expected it to be a favorite for my students too!! Also, almost all of them remembered at least one Eric Carle book!  

My second graders amazed me during this entire lessson!!  As a parent and teacher, I have never really thought of young children as being very sentimental.  I always assumed that sentimental emotions come with age, after having lived long enough to have lingering memories.  But when we began talking about their earliest memories of books, I was struck by how sentimental our 2nd graders were when they thought back to their early books.  There were lots of "Awwwww" and "I Looooved That One"!  Clearly our Oak Hills parents did a great job of connecting our students to reading at a very early age!!  Hopefully this timeline demonstrates to our 2nd graders that they are readers for life!!!

Students loved it when I shared memories of my very first book.  I remember studying the pictures in The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton for what seemed like hours!!  I had no idea what a Caldecott Medal was at the time.  I just loved the changes in seasons and environments I could see in the pictures!!  When I think of this book I am immediately transported back in time to my early childhood...sounds, smells, family and my room, complete with shag carpeting :)

We created our timelines in the timeline creator on the ReadThinkWrite website.  It was the perfect tool for students to be able to create their digital timelines!  Students could add titles and images to their timelines.  We saved their digital timeline to their Google Drive for safe keeping and future publication!

3rd Graders Learn Internet Safety From

It is humbling, but every so often I am reminded that a well chosen cartoon can teach a concept better than all of my words, singing, dancing, and standing on my head!!  This week I found this to be true with's Interactive Adventure Router's Birthday Surprise.  The lesson provides students with a variety of concepts all centered around Internet Safety.  It grabs their attention from the beginning and keeps their attention as it instructs students on rules of online safety.  Students are given badges as they successfully progress through the maze of information and activities.   Thanks to my colleague Mark Deming, Media Specialist at Orchard Lake Elementary for sharing this one with us!!