Monday, September 26, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action: Welcome, News Crew

What a start to the new year!  It honestly has been a whirlwind of great fun.  Just last week, we celebrated International Dot Day, built amazingly awesome marble runs, made liquid nitrogen ice cream, and were featured on the news!!!

CBS 19, a local news station, visited one of the schools with which I work to see how teachers and students are using augmented reality to bring learning to life with Osmo.
Osmo, one of my favorite tools to use in K - 2 classrooms, gets results by providing practice opportunities for students in spelling and numeracy and challenges student thinking through the coding and tangrams apps.

The students and teachers love it!  Osmo is perfect for center rotations and with its 7 different apps, students are always excited to use it.
See our story here.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Giving Students Out of This World Experiences with Augmented and Virtual Realities Using Quiver Vision, Osmo, zSpace, and ClassFlow

School has been in session just 3 weeks in our district and already our students are immersed in augmented and virtual realities. These technologies are impacting student learning in classrooms around the globe, so why not in a tiny town in Texas? Experiencing augmented or virtual reality makes you feel as though you have stepped into a Harry Potter movie with paper coming to life and images literally popping out of the computer screen. How fun, right? It doesn't have to cost a ton of money or be "something else" we do. It truly fits naturally into our classrooms to support student learning.

We are using coloring pages by Quiver Vision, formerly known as ColAR, as writing prompts, STEM starters, and review pages in our interactive notebooks. The kids are always delighted when they scan their customized images to see their work come to life with music,movement, and interactive features.  We re-size the images so that time is spent less on coloring and more on guiding students through the writing and design process.

Inspired by Andrea Beatty's book, Rosie Revere, we were challenged to create our own Eggs-eptional Flying Machine

We are also using Osmo, a device that attaches to an iPad, takes interaction to a whole new level. LoVe!!! In this gamified application,  students use included tiles to practice spelling words, acquire new vocabulary, reinforce math skills, expand spatial awareness, learn coding, explore STEM concepts, and make works of art…all while “playing”.  

Literally, we CaNNoT get EnOUgH of Mo! Students love it and the academic benefits have helped students of all abilities exceed academic expectations in spelling and math.  

Finally, to see graphics jump out of a computer and into the space in front of your face, you must see zSpace! Loaded with hundreds of lesson plans and labs for math and science, this equipment allows students to interact with models in way that would have otherwise been cost prohibitive.  From frog dissections to exploration of the human brain, learning environments are transformed by these highly engaging student experiences.

AR Circuits
Regardless of budget, teachers and students can experience augmented reality.  Inexpensive apps like AR Circuits and AR Flashcards (for addition, letter recognition, space, and more) can be used to create a whole different experience for students.  Place the apps' free images into an interactive presentation software such as ClassFlow or print tangible cards using copy paper and you will immediately see increased excitement and engagement in classroom learning stations.  Pick up a copy of Moonbot Studio’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore or borrow that Guinness Book of World Records (years 2013, 2014, or 2015) from your local library to augment your reading nook. Add a VR ViewMaster to a learning center along with some of your favorite VR apps and students are immediately immersed in another culture, habitat, or experience.
With augmented and virtual realities you can do things that you’ve never done and see things that you never thought possible. The ideas are endless and, with this still new technology, the possibilities are great.  It will be interesting to see which augmented application will be developed next to positively impact teaching and learning.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

6 Reasons I Love ClassFlow

It's official....summer is over for students and teachers in East Texas!  We are headed back to school tomorrow with new friends to meet and fresh opportunities to make a lasting difference.  In preparation for the new year, I have hit the Target Dollar Spot more than one should, bought my Heidi Swapp light box, and taken a deep dive into Promethean's ClassFlow.

For me, ClassFlow is a keeper (and not just because I saw my favorite teacher, Ron Clark, using it at ISTE 2016)!  It is truly an all-in-one solution.  From presentation station to interactive student response cards, ClassFlow has it all.  I've practiced using it this summer alongside a few of my teacher besties and we all agree...we have a serious case of #ClassFlowLuv!!!

Here are a few of the things that I love most:
1.  It is possible to have both teacher AND student cards.  So, one card can be displayed on the board and another card can be sent directly to the student device.  This allows students to refer to the image displayed by the teacher while interacting with information unique to the device that they are using.  So, in my STEM Nametag Challenge lesson, I was able to explain the engineering design process while students thought through how they would complete the design process template.

2.  And when I say unique, I mean that you can literally differentiate student assignments using ClassFlow.  Groups can be pre-set and when student cards are distributed during the presentation of the lesson, assignments that have been selected based upon student needs are sent directly to participants.  Since it is digital, you have electronic documentation of differentiation for all students.

3. ClassFlow makes it easy to consistently monitor the quality of student participation and performance with real time polling options available.  Simply with a click of a button you can ask students different types of questions like true/false, Likert scale, text or number answers, and even creative response allowing students to draw or capture an image!!!!

4.  Whether using a poll on the fly or integrating planned assessments within the web tool, ClassFlow allows you to systematically gather input from students to monitor comprehension and adjust instruction as needed.  No more going 50+ places to provided varied student assessments. With ClassFlow, it is all available in one spot!

5.  Since ClassFlow is web-based, teachers and students can be anywhere and still access instruction. Just this morning, I sat in a McDonald's in Louisiana and tutored a student in Texas using ClassFlow!!! We saw the same images.  I got real-time feedback.  I was able to help as needed and guide him through tough concepts...while working 212 miles away.  I love this, because I have struggled for years with being able to teach multiple students who were out with prolonged absences due to medical issues.  I could figure out how to present one sided lessons, but other than utilizing the speaker on my phone or a service for which I had to pay, I couldn't figure out how to get real-time feedback from my students.  With ClassFlow...problem solved!

6.  Finally, I like that ClassFlow has a Marketplace with a plethora of awesome lessons searchable by topic or standard making it unnecessary to reinvent the wheel as we give ClassFlow a try!

Friday, August 5, 2016

STEM Quick Challenge: Design a Nametag

What a summer! The past few months have been packed with conferences and presentations focused on STEM in Elementary, STEM in Middle School, and now, STEM is for Everyone.  I have definitely stayed busy, but it has been so much fun prepping, planning, and sharing my passion with others!
When I present, I like to start off with some type of introduction and a name tent so that everyone can get to know one, with the many days of STEM trainings, I thought that it would be fun to include a quick challenge to get everyone comfortable and creating from the very beginning.  I developed 2 versions of a STEM Quick Challenge: Design a for STEM teachers and one for teachers new to STEM.
Needless to say, we had so much fun collaborating and thinking through how we would accomplish the task and with a roomful of teachers, we had no shortage of creativity!
I used resources which were readily available: white and colored copy paper, markers, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, pom poms, glue sticks, tape, paper brads, and markers.  For the "new to STEM" challenge, I added conductive tape (left over from my paper circuitry project), LED lights, and watch batteries to the more advanced version.
Here is the printable version of both challenges!  Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Augmented Reality App Giveaway at ISTE 2016

I am so excited to be part of the Creativity Playground (ToDaY from 3 - 4PM...Concourse E!!!) at #ISTE2016. I am sharing how I use some of my favorite augmented reality tools like Quiver, BlippAR, AugThat, AR Circuits, AR Flashcards, and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  From writing prompts to science applications, you can do it all with #AR.  Whether you are at #ISTE2016 or #NotatISTE16, you can still enter to win 1 of 20 promo codes for these awesome apps to use in your classroom!!! Then, join in the #AR4Learning Chat on Twitter...the talk is all about augmented reality every Thursday night:)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Melted Snowman

I was recently asked about the recipe for slime I made while studying non-Newtonian fluids and chemical engineering (more on that later).  I thought it might be easier to show you how we made it rather than attempt to explain it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How Do Your Students Know What They Know and When Do They Know It?

     How do you know what your students know?  When do you know it? What do you do once you realize that there are gaps in the learning? During my first few years of teaching I would be so disappointed on the day of the test, because I thought that my kiddos had a good grasp on the content only to see assessments roll in with incorrect answers or answers at all on some of the questions.  I knew that I needed to change something and so did my students.
     15 years later after much growth in my profession, my burning questions have grown to include 'How do my students know what they know and when do they know it?'.  I feel strongly that students must be given the opportunity to evaluate their own knowledge in a non-punitive assessment, so that they can discover where their gaps are prior to the day of the test.
     Attached is my presentation on ways to Check for Understanding presented at Marshall ISD's Destination Success Conference.  The ideas go beyond the 3 question quiz, the use of Socrative, Plickers, Google Forms, and Kahoot, all of which are wonderful tools; here I share quick and easy activites that can be incorporated into your classroom tomorrow.  I have blogged about many of these strategies over the years and have included the tag "check for understanding" on all of the posts related to the presentation.  So, if you are looking to add a little twist to your daily warm-ups or exit tickets, you are in the right place!