You can watch forests completely wiped out, the drying of the Aral Sea, construction of the Bay Bridge, Urban Growth...it's very interesting! It allows you to travel back in time to see how the world has changed over the past 35 years. Check it out!
Video Editing in Reading
I'm so excited that Mrs. Martsney Williams at HPM invited me to come work with her class on this project! I've had green screen boxes, smallish boxes with green construction paper covering them, forever, and I've always wanted to have students create puppet green screen videos. It went so well! She worked with them on creating their scripts and puppets ahead of time, then I came to help with the filming and editing part. You can see some completed project examples and more detailed steps below.
A Message From the Teacher:
I am a Reading Strategies teacher at Honea Path Middle School. The curriculum that I use with my students is excellent; however, there is minimal room to deviate from the curriculum's instructional plans. I'm always looking to integrate technology into my class to keep my students engaged. I was exposed to different technologies that were available at Anderson District Two through a staff development that Beth Dabney facilitated. I was immediately drawn to the mini green screen projects using WeVideo.. I reached out to Mrs. Dabney to schedule a time that she could work with my students.
Novel Studies are included in the curriculum that I use; therefore, my vision for the project was for my students to re-create scenes in their assigned novel. The project would involve my students summarizing important scenes in the novels and writing scripts for the characters. I encouraged my students to be creative, while preserving the integrity of the overarching main message of the scene.
Mrs. Dabney did an excellent job of preparing my students to use the WeVideo application. She taught them vocabulary specific to the application that can also be used with other types of technologies as well as how to edit their final projects. One of my 8th grade students was so impressed with this technology that he asked Mrs. Dabney how he could use this application for a project in one of his core content classes.
Overall, I was very impressed with how the projects turned out. My students enjoyed the project and I will definitely ask Mrs. Dabney to come back to my class again for future WeVideo projects.
Introducing the Topic
I had so much fun coding robots with two of our kindergarten classes the past two days! The first lesson started with a discussion about what robots are and different types of robots that exist today. After a short video, students were introduced to Ozobots, small robots that can be coded by lines and patterns drawn with markers. Students then practiced drawing lines and creating corners and curves that are "just right". Lastly, students discovered how the Ozobots react when using different colored markers. We spent the last part of the lesson creating paths using all four colors. The students did an excellent job!
Coding the Bots
On the second day, after reviewing what we learned the previous day, students were introduced to other "tricks" they could program their robot to do by coloring certain patterns along its path. They needed to practice at first. Some kindergartners are still working on their fine motor skills and have an especially hard time making the precise squares needed for the Ozobot to be able to read the code perfectly, but they worked incredibly hard, and got better and better! Most of both classes had mastered coloring in the squares to make the codes work.
The last activity we did was actually an extension of a field trip they took only two days prior to the Greenville Zoo. Students were given a map with a similar path to the actual zoo. Along the path were pictures representing some of the animals they saw there, such as monkeys, leopards, lions, giraffes, alligators, flamingos, etc. The path had four blank 3-color codes for which students could choose to draw one of their newly practiced codes. For example, many chose "fast" by the lion and leopard because of how fast that animal runs while others chose to make their robot "stop and wait 3 seconds" when they got to the petting zoo section so they could pet the animals. See the video below to hear a young lady explain the codes she chose and her reasoning for choosing them.
For students who finished early, we printed out graph paper and some of the more complicated codes so they could practice drawing lines and codes. Several students got to this point.
I was hesitant about trying this activity with kindergartners. We printed out labels with codes on them just in case the students struggled too much, but honestly, they surprised me with how well they caught on, and we ended up not using the labels/stickers! This entire lesson was very engaging for all, and it was fun to watch them problem solve and persevere through some of the challenges they faced. I'm so thankful to Ms. Hobbs and Mrs. Bannister for letting me come into their classroom and work with their sweet students! I'm excited to try this lesson with some other awesome teachers and students in our district!
Keep reading to see what Ms. Bannister, one of the teachers who let me come into her classroom, had to say about the activity:
"When we saw the Ozobots at a PD day earlier this year, we thought they would be great to try with kindergarten students. We weren't quite sure how that would look. Beth helped make it such an easy process. On the first day of instruction with the Ozobots, Beth taught our students the basics of robots. She told students about how these were small robots that we could code using markers. The class learned how to use markers so that the Ozobot would follow their path. On the first day, students had time to explore and figure out the basics of Ozobots. Then, on day 2 we took it a step farther. Beth taught students how to use different patterns in the code to make the Ozobots do special tasks. Students had the opportunity to practice and explore further. It was amazing hearing them think through the process. They were figuring out how the patterns worked and how some of the patterns were similar/different. By the end of the class period, students were exploring and coming up with their own ideas to try. They were taking the information they were given and thinking about how they could use it and expand what their Ozobot could do. It was awesome to see and experience! We were so lucky to have Beth's support during the process! She made it so easy for everyone!"
She is a teacher rock star, and I'm certainly thankful for her kind words and for her inviting me into her classroom!
Day 1 Presentation
K-2 Basic Training - I followed the first lesson in Ozobot's basic training pack on their website
Handout 1 (p. 8) - connecting/drawing lines
Handout 2 (p. 9) - drawing corners and curves
Day 2 Presentation
Color Coding Practice (p. 2) and Zoo Map Coding (p. 1) (early finishers were able to practice harder codes on p. 3)
I met so many famous people today! Michelle Obama, Michael Jordan, Helen Keller, Maria Tallchief, Steve Erwin, Amelia Earhart, J. K. Rowling, Anne Frank, and many more! Today I was privileged to get to attend Belton Elementary's first Wax Museum and Technology Institute. These fifth grade students completed an inquiry project about The Great Depression or another historical topic. They were able to choose the topic they wished to learn more about and completed research to prepare their presentations. This took months to prepare, and attendees could tell students put in a TON of work.
Students were also able to choose HOW they wished to present their information. Some of the formats used for presentations today were:
This is seriously the BEST thing I have seen all year. The amount of work that went into this was phenomenal. Something I often hear is "all kids do is look at their phones, tablets, or computers. They never talk and no one is learning soft skills anymore". This event shows what is possible when teachers use technology to allow students opportunities to explore their interests and share the information they've learned in a creative way. Every student made and kept eye contact the entire time with me during their presentations. Two students who have joined us from other districts exclaimed to their teachers, "I have never been able to actually present my project to someone before! I'm so glad people are here to see us."
I am so proud of how hard these students worked.
I recently learned about this useful extension! It makes it easy to share your Google Drive files as forced copies, previews, templates, and PDFs! All you have to do is open the file you wish to share, update your share settings, and then click the Sir-Links-a-Lot extension. Last, choose the option you want. It will automatically update your URL to include what you need. A super-easy, super-useful little tool! Click here to install the Sir Links-a-Lot extension.
Fourth grade students in our district have been able to show what they know by creating interactive posters using Makey Makey and Scratch! The process seems a little overwhelming, but it's actually really easy! They were able to complete the entire project in 4 Days.
Days 1 & 2 - Research and Illustrate
Students found 5 facts they wanted to share (2 they learned about in class and 3 new ones). Each group illustrated their posters. Each fact needed an illustration. Students also had to add a "button" for each fact (and one extra we called the "home" button) to their posters. These buttons were made out of aluminum foil tape.
Wire the Posters: This part is probably the trickiest, but the fourth graders I just worked with did a phenomenal job! Students hooked one end of a wire to their Makey Makey while ensuring the other end was going to the fact on the poster it should be. For example, if we look at the example above, students had to connect the "down arrow" wire to the fact they illustrated about "teeth". Once all of the wires were connected, they plugged it into their Chromebooks and tested them out! When touching the "home" button and a "fact" button simultaneously, you heard a student explain the fact through the Chromebook.
Day 4 - Show Them Off!
Students set up their posters in the library. Parents, school employees, and other students were invited to come into the library to check out their hard work. The fourth graders were excited throughout this entire project and were very proud of their hard work. I loved listening to them explain the process to the sweet first grade students that came in to check it out!
Below are a few items I found particularly interesting in a recent an email from Google for Education.
EDU in 90
Google Classroom Update
Check Out Jamboard
While Chromebooks work similarly to Windows devices, there are a few differences. You can download this poster and hang on your wall to help students remember shortcuts and troubleshooting.
Weather report, KINDERGARTNER Style:
This awesome production was trending the other day on Reddit. I'd be so happy to create something like this within our own district! Let me now if you're interested. :)
My name is Beth Dabney. I
have been working in Anderson School District 2 for nine years. I was a fourth
grade math and science teacher at Belton Elementary School for the first seven
years of my career. I am looking forward to working with the amazing employees
of Anderson Two to implement different technologies to help enhance learning for