Thursday, April 18, 2019

CS First Club Game Design

I've been using Google's CS First's Game Design and created a checklist for students to use as they complete each activity. It's an awesome club that can be used with Scratch.  Read more about it on my guest post on EducateLLC.

Printable and Editable Resource:
CS First Club Game Design Checklists

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Heart Inspired Art

This semester is my first time as an art teacher and I want to document some of the projects we started.  For the month of February, we were inspired by hearts and kindness.  We decorated boxes for students to leave sweet notes for one another.

We studied the artist Wassily Kandinsky and used the color wheel (credits to MrPrintables) to discuss complementary and analogous colors. Students used oil pastels to outline the hearts then used water colors to paint each of the hearts.

We studied the artist Chris Uphues and looked at the murals he's created.  Then students went off to make Valentine's Day cards for their loved ones.  

We studied the artist Piet Mondrian and created Piet Mondrian inspired hearts (credits to KinderArt).  Students cut out hearts then created lines to make shapes.  Afterward they used oil pastels and black glue to color in the shapes.   

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

No need to repeat- Screencast-O-Matic

Do you find yourself repeating strategies or steps over and over again?  Sometimes excessively too many times?  Well, it happens often as educators.  Here's a simple solution- record your lesson on Screencast-o-Matic using the free screen recorder.  It's a software where you can record yourself speak as you model your lessons step-by-step.  It's also perfect for blended learning or flipped learning where students can watch the video as well as complete their assignments.  In addition, teachers can assist other students and facilitate while the video is running on the main monitor for those who need reminders. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Coding with Robot Mouse

Robot Mouse is a simple programmable robot to start young students on coding. I have been looking for something tangible and easy to use for students in kindergarten and first grade.  The kit comes with maze boards that can be customized.  Initially, it would be easier to create a 2x3 grid for students to get comfortable before piecing the 3x5 or 4x4 maze together. Students can discuss and plan the algorithm using the coding cards (forward, backward, turn left, and turn right) to determine how the mouse will get to the cheese.  Then they enter the commands directly on the mouse using the different color arrows and then press the center green circle. 

Students have a great time programming and re-configuring the grids, and even putting up "walls" to challenge their mouse to get to his cheese.  Another way to use robot mouse is to create math grids with numbers or words to practice math fluency or sight words while coding! With the number grids, students can roll the dice, place the cheese on the sum, and code the mouse to the cheese.

Printable and editable resources:
Plan your Algorithm
Number Grids for Robot Mouse 
Word Grids for Robot Mouse

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

5 Ways to Use Padlet

Padlet is a flexible and resourceful tool to post ideas, share links, and collaborate wherever you are.  Just imagine a virtual post-it board where you can manipulate your post-its seamlessly and instantly. Padlets can be kept private for personal notes, links and resources, while some can be toggled public to share.  
In the classrooms, these are five quick and simple ways to use Padlet.

1. Getting to Know Me: In the beginning of the school year, this is my way of getting to know the students and remembering their names and faces, and their computer seats.  They love to take selfies and share a fun fact.  I can also download and print them in pdf or jpeg format.


2. Exit Ticket: At the end of a lesson students can answer a few questions about what they've learned or found challenging.  For English language learners, they can type in their language. They can also speak into the computer and record themselves. This is also good in the beginning of a lesson to assess what they already know.

3. Q+A: Students love to ask questions so this is a great way to jot their questions so the teacher can address them during class and refer to it after.  In this example, I introduced Dash, our robot to the second graders and they were so curious about him and had lots of good and fun questions.

4. Resources: A page we can easily throw our ideas on and share links and documents, and refer back to on another day. At a professional development workshop, these were some fun makerspace ideas resource page that another teacher started and I got to add to it.

5. Sharing Projects: Students created games on Scratch and this was the simplest way for students to upload their links then play each other's games.  I started the page and posted it on Symbaloo. The students clicked on that link and started posting, it was updated instantaneously.  

Monday, July 30, 2018

How to use Choice Eliminator in Google Form

Do you need help creating a Google form that offers choices and then eliminates the option after it has been chosen?  Well, the video below will show step-by-step of how to use this add-on feature. It is useful for the computer lab or library sign-up, parent-teacher conferences, student to teacher conferences, party meals options, etc.  The forms are very versatile and can be personalized to fit your needs.
*Just to update- choose the "Choice Eliminator 2" offered by Accemy & SW gApps.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Google Expedition Augmented Reality in the Classroom

Augmented Reality is having digital images in the physical environment viewed through a device.  One of our second graders says, "It's a real world and a fake world. It's really cool and I don't think there would be a hurricane on a sunny day." Her class participated in the viewing of 'Forces of Nature', so they had a chance to experience a natural disaster up close.  They saw a hurricane, a tornado swirl, an volcano erupt, and the movement of tectonic plates all in the classroom. 

I signed up for Google Expedition AR Pioneer Program back in May 2017 and the expedition team was in New York in September so they came to visit our school.  I was super excited! The associates arrived an hour earlier before the students to set up two classrooms. They had to map the room and "leave" the objects in a few open areas. Then the teachers came to get a brief lesson on how to use the devices and what to anticipate. Due to the age restrictions, only grades 2 to 5 got to participate. 

There is a variety of AR experiences the teachers can choose from: Solar System, Landforms, Circulatory/Immune/Respiratory System, DNA & RNA, Animals, and many more.  The students were psyched about the experience and related it to Pokemon Go. Our favorites were the Solar System, Circulatory System, and Animals.  We were in awe when we saw the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Saturn right above us.  We zoomed into the rings around Saturn. In the Circulatory System, it was cool to see the oxygen and blood travel through the atrium and ventricle of the heart. The younger students were thrilled to see a deer, salamander, and lobster in the aisles of the classroom.  We also saw a planaria, aka flatworm for the first time that day! Yuck!

Since this is just the beginning there is some limitation to the depth of each experience but I can imagine what AR can bring to the classroom in the future.  It can take a difficult topic in science such as the function of the heart and make it more of a reality for the students to visually see, hear, and "touch" the object in order to enhance their understanding.  Overall, we had a good experience and look forward to what's to come with augmented reality.