Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kids Coding Club Newsletter

Kids Coding Club Newsletter3/21/2016
Online Coding Resources
Code Combat
Hackety Hack
Code Academy
Code School
Summer Coding Options 

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Kids Coding Club Newsletter

Dear Judy,

Welcome to our first Kids Coding Club Newsletter!  We will be sharing upcoming Super Code Sunday and 100 Girls of Code workshops as well as resources for the kids to explore.


Monthly Code Club Dates (Super Code Sunday)
 April 3rd  (Exploring Minecraft)
 June 5th
 July 10th
 August 7th
 September 11th 
 October 2nd
 November 6th

*Club meets from 1:00 - 3:00 pm at the     McWane Science Center on these dates.
Other Upcoming Events


Monday, March 21, 2016

EdCamp Birmingham

Want some GREAT, and FREE professional development! Check out EdCamp Birmingham!  It will be April 23 at Trace Crossings Elementary! Tickets are free but go fast so register now!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Guest Blog Post by LaRue Frederick

Recently, while having an impromptu conversations, I found myself listening as a teacher described her growth and transformation through the use of technology. I asked her to write a blog describing her journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

By: LaRue Frederick, 3rd grade teacher, Riverchase Elementary

 It was about this time ten years ago, when an email arrived in my Inbox that would become the starting point of an adventure guided by my students with endless possibilities.  I couldn't wait to receive my first round of technology.  It felt like Christmas when the five laptops, projector, digital camera, and video camera were delivered.  I was so excited and could not wait to use all of it. Then came the fear of what do I do with all of this.  I attended countless professional development opportunities where I listened to all of my amazing coworkers share how they were implementing technology into the classroom.  Every time I would leave with amazing ideas but felt overwhelmed attempting to follow through with my plans to implement technology.  Don't get me wrong I was doing the basics and my students were researching and producing various projects using Microsoft Office applications.
     Then one day all of that changed.  It was the day we had all anxiously awaited for.  The one to one initiative was just getting started and the Nooks were being delivered.  If felt like Christmas again as we all took our Nooks out of the box.  I had planned what I would do and say and then I stood there and nerves took over and I could not remember how to turn the Nook on.  One of my students said "Ms. Frederick just press the button with the line and circle."  I looked and still didn't know what they were talking about.  Then the student said "you know it is the one with the picture that all power buttons have on it like on a remote."  In that moment, my perspective about my job as a teacher changed drastically.  I realized that I was no longer the holder of all the knowledge which was a huge relief but was a facilitator in my classroom.   As time went on I still left pd opportunities and my brain felt like it was going to explode.  
   As frustrated as I would get at times managing a classroom of 19 kids each with a device and the wifi not working correctly, I knew I had to continue to work through the frustration to prepare my students for the world they were born into and to start helping them to obtain the skills they would need one day when they had a job.  Little by little and bit by bit things began to get easier and I began to think outside of the box.  All of this led me to where I am today and today I am in that place where I have climbed the mountain and I am starting to cross over the peak to the other side.  In January, I left the National Board Conference ecstatic because for the first time I left a technology pd session and I was able to keep up with the presenter and my head did NOT feel like it was going to explode.  
     Currently in my classroom, we use Google Classroom daily.  My students fluently use Google Drawing, Google Slides, and Google Docs.  We started using Google Sheets this week.  We are at the point, only three days later, where my students can effectively use Google Sheets in the form of their reading journals successfully with only a few questions.  The difference in five years ago and now is that instead of being the only teacher in the room there are 19-20 teachers in the room collaborating to help each other meet our needs.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Epic! iPad App

Many teachers around the district have been using Epic!, an iPad app, to access many free books. Check out this great article written by Technology Rocks. Seriously.:

EPIC! is the first ALL-YOU-CAN-READ eBook service for kids, 
designed to get kids to LOVE reading!
It includes thousands of popular, high-quality books for grades K-5. 
It's truly like a Netflix for Books! 

Here are just a few things I love about EPIC!

1. It includes THOUSANDS of books! 
Early Readers, Chapter Books, Non-Fiction, 
Read-to-Me Audio books and more! 
And these are popular books- 
not just random books you have never heard of! 
Books include...Fancy Nancy, Big Nate, Warriors, Ramona, 
Batman, Disney Frozen and National Geographic Kids and more!

2. Students can read anytime, anywhere! 
EPIC! can be access via a desktop, iOS or Android device.
You can even read books offline! 

3. EPIC! Is 100% FREE for Elementary School Teachers 
and Librarians in the US and Canada!

4. EPIC! offers books in both English and Spanish! 

The books stream so they load instantly with no waiting! 
There are parent accounts (for a small fee) and parents can then set up 
and mange profiled for their kids.  
They can see how many books each child has read, how many minutes, 
how many pages flipped and when they last read. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

TED Ed Club at GVES by Al Elliott

I've started a TED Ed Club this year at Green Valley Elementary. I am excited to have so many fifth graders sign up.  I will be delivering my own TED Talk on March 12 at TEDxBirmingham so I am especially excited about facilitating the club at our school.  There is a process to delivering a TED-styled talk and to be able to share my experience with students in this way is a nice change of pace for both the students participating and myself as an educator.

"TED-Ed Clubs aims to introduce a school-friendly framework that supports students in meeting regularly to discuss, pursue and present their big ideas in the form of short TED-style Talks. We hope to celebrate exceptional student ideas by potentially featuring them at the annual TEDYouth conference or TEDxYouth events." - From TED Ed Club Website

Monday, February 22, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Games that Teach Empathy

Graphite (Common Sense Media) recently released a list of games that teach empathy to children of all ages.

Quote from Graphite:
Kids who are in tune with other kids' emotions are off to a great start. They earn the trust of their peers. They can help mediate when tempers flare. One day, they may even use those perspective-taking skills to become organization or world leaders.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gmail Default Email

Have you ever been viewing a website and click on an email link only to have Microsoft Outlook open? Want Gmail to automatically open? Find instructions below from Cameron McKinley:

Try this...

1. Open your email
2.  Find the little diamond icon in the browser address area shown below.
3. Click it and choose Allow and Done
4. Once you do, emails on websites will automatically open in Gmail.

Inline image 1

If that doesn't work for you, see more detailed instructions here:

Gmail Canned Responses

Canned responses is a Gmail Lab that might just save you a lot of time! You can create and save an email which you might send out a lot and insert it whenever you need to. For example, maybe you send out an email to your classroom parents saying to check your blog. In the body of your Gmail, you can click on a drop down arrow (after activating canned responses) and insert an email you have already written. Maybe you're getting many emails about the detailed for an upcoming field can use canned responses so you don't have to type the same message many times.

Check out the video below on how to use Canned Responses:

Explain Everything and Chess

Mrs. Shackelford's 2nd grade class at Trace has been studying chess for the last few weeks. After learning so many new skills, the students were ready to share with the world. They created an Explain Everything video demonstrating how to play chess complete with the proper names of the pieces. (Unfortunately this tech coach called the knight a horsey and it got a few groans. Thanks to their video, I now know better!)

I love this project for so many reasons: 

  • The students are taking ownership of their own learning and sharing for a real audience - you!!!
  • The students were their worst critics. After watching the movie, many wanted to rerecord. I can't think of a better way of teaching drafting scripts, writing scripts, and writing again...and again...and again to get ideas across to the audience. 
I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did! Way to go, Mrs. Shackelford's Class!

Monday, February 1, 2016

ISTE Standard 4 and Graphing - K. Darroch

Great information from K. Darroch!

Got Data?

ISTE Student Standard 4 covers critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. This standard includes the collection and analyzing of data using appropriate tools and resources. This week we will take a look at the math standard that covers data collection and add a couple of technology resources available for your students to create graphs.

Kindergarten - Grade level does not have a specific standard for graphs. Here is analyzing shapes: Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices or “corners”), and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length). [K-G4]

Shapes and Colors

1st Grade - Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another. [1-MD4]

Gynzy - Chartmaker
Gynzy - Diagrams
IPad App - Teaching Graphs -

2nd Grade - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph. (See Appendix A, Table 1.) [2-MD10]

Gynzy - Bar Graphs
Gynzy - Diagrams
Website: Create a Graph
IPad App - Teaching Graphs -

3rd Grade - Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. [3-MD3]

Gynzy - Bar Graphs
Gynzy - Diagrams
Gynzy - Pie Chart and Histogram
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

4th Grade - Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. [4-MD4]

Gynzy - Central Tendency
Gynzy - Finding the Average
Gynzy - Line Plot
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

5th Grade - Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. [5-MD2]

Gynzy - Line Plot
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

Friday, January 15, 2016

AETC 2016

AETC is coming this summer on June 7-9! This is a great, fairly inexpensive professional development in our area.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Resources

From K. Darroch:

MLK Resources

  • Gainsay Jukebox - I Have a Dream (Audio recording)
  • Martin Luther King Lesson
  • Black History


Alabama Virtual Library


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Automated Email to Parents after a Google Form Submission

Some teachers in the district had a Google Form they would submit if a student did not do his or her homework. Wanting to keep the parents informed, they used the tutorials and information below to set the form up to send the parents a notification when a teachers filled out the form!

Click here for video tutorial on how to create one, here for handout w/step by step.

Creating Cartoons with Google Slides

Thought this was a great tutorial on how to create animations with Google Slides!  

Check out the example below by Kim Pollishuke: