1. Google sells its very own interactive whiteboard. The issue is that it costs a great deal of money. You can read about the Jamboard here. Although the board itself is expensive, the good news is that the software that accompanies the board is free! The software is not nearly as strong as Smart's software but when I was messing around with it, I thought back to Microsoft's free paint program that it bundles on all its computers. This would be a great way to allow new Chromebook learners (I was thinking of our PK-ers and kinders.) Try it out and if you think of any great ideas for out older learners, please post them in the comments below. Jamboard can be accessed here.
2.. This week a colleague lamented that she missed the snipping tool on her Chromebook. Again, this is a program that Microsoft installs on all its machines. There is a way to snip on Chromebooks too! If you want to print the entire screen you need to hold he control key + the switch window key at the same time. A screen shot will be sent to your downloads file. To take just a partial screen shot, hold down the shift key = the control key + the switch window key at the same time. The cursor will turn into cross-hairs and you can click and drag around a portion of the screen to "snip it."
3. I created this document to help support place value lessons. This is based on a Montessori lesson I saw years ago in a colleague's kindergarten classroom. Feel free to click on the image to get your copy of the document.
4. I am so excited and am asking you to mark your calendars for March 3rd. Amherst County is hosting its very first division wide STEAM night. The theme of the night will be space. After all, learning has no boundaries! You will hear more about the evening as we get closer to the date. In the meantime, I am asking that you save and bring me some large boxes. I would like to build some photo booths and am planning to get some students to help. You can bring the boxes to the school STEAM/computer labs
5. Friday at the Movies - You know how much I love the Floppotron!!
1. Educators hate reinventing the wheel , that's why this tip that I have come across will be worth a million. You have put a great deal of thought into how you want to organize and set up your Google Classroom; and, it 's a pain to have to created and organize several classes. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could have a template for our Google Classrooms? Well guess what? We can! All you need to do is navigate to your Classroom dashboard, choose the class you want to copy. Click on the three dots you see in the right hand corner of the classroom icon and then choose copy. Before you do this you may be asking exactly what will copy and what will not. I found that items that will copy are the title of the class (you can change this afterwards), the section if you have noted one, the description of the classroom, the topics, and the course subject. Also, any assignments, questions, and quizzes will also be copied as drafts with no due date. You will have to go back in and edit these as you wish and schedule them to be posted. Things that do not copy over are students, co-teachers, teacher announcements, and any student posts on assignments and questions. Please feel free to reach out to your ITRT if you need help in setting up your perfect classroom and copying it.
2. Years ago Amherst had access to a tool called Inspiration. With budget cuts and upgrades of computer systems we lost that tool. When we moved to using Thinking Maps as a division, I often grieved the loss of Inspiration. I can stop grieving now as I have stumbled across a great tool that would make it easier for students to digitally create Thinking Maps using technology that Amherst Veteran Teachers will recognize closely resembles our old Inspiration software. The best part is that this FREE tool can store the maps of the students in their Google Drives!
3. As I was thinking about a Google doc idea that I wanted to share with you this week I was browsing through my resources and came across an online site that I had bookmarked. I pulled up this AMAZING site that has tons of hyperdocs. I am linking the page with the literature hyperdocs. Please browse this site and let your ITRT know if you would like to download one of these and tweak it to fit the needs of your classroom.
4. STEAM is not merely about engineering or making. STEAM is all about problem solving in creative means by combining the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, or math. One idea is to bring literature into your math class. At this time of year we are focusing on place value. Here are some books you can begin with. All of these books can be found on Amazon. When you are finished reading, have your students show what they know by using life size base 10 blocks. Here is a site that shows you how to make them. So cool! BTW, the site that shows you how to make these blocks is geared for kindergarten. Please do not let that throw you. The hands on strategy can be used in any elementary grade.
5. Friday at the Movies - I really enjoyed Dr. Hodge's message at Convocation. I enjoyed it so much that I went to YouTube to see if he had uploaded it at some point in time. I found others that he had uploaded. This is one that I truly enjoyed.
We get a three day weekend this week!!! Yay us! I don't know if you are like me but as much as I love a new school year, by this time I am tired! The outside world will never understand how exhausting it is to teach little people new rules, routines, and protocols.
1. I have an absolutely FABULOUS tip for you this time. You have to check out the Chrome extension called Sir Links Alot. After installing you will see the icon for this extension in the upper right corner of your browser window. Clicking on the icon will open the tool. You can easily choose to share a link that will force the person with whom you are sharing to make a copy, see a preview, create a template, or turn your document into a pdf. I am in love with this extension!
2. One of the biggest gripes I hear about Chromebooks is that they don't have a caps lock key. I find this comforting to be honest as students will often hit the caps lock and then type everything in upper case. However, there is a way to turn on caps lock on a Chromebook should you need to do so. Click and hold the Alt + search (the magnifying glass or Assistant icon). The magnifying glass is in the place you'd look for a Caps Lock key. You'll see an arrow appear on the bottom right notifications bar and a pop-up will alert you that Caps Lock is on. Tap Shift to turn off Caps Lock.
3. Functions Machines are so much fun and a great way to make the kiddos think. Here is one I created. You are welcome to make a copy of this and changes the data to fit your needs. Click here to get your copy!
4. I love this engineering challenge I found using pool noodles! All you need are pool noodles, which are on sale this time of year and toothpicks. The directions, found on this site, have you cutting the noodles into same sized disks but I would make various sizes. This would be an amazing idea to combine with measurement!
Friday at the Movies - This is a video that many of us have seen before, but like a favorite book, I come back to it time and time again because truly, Every Child Needs A Champion
Hello! Welcome back folks! For two years I did a Five on Friday Blog. Last year, about halfway through, I got tired and decided to end it. Well, guess what! I missed my blog so this year, I made the decision to pick it back up. I hope the ideas I suggest are helpful to you. Please feel free to ask me to come help you at any time.
1. One of the items on my Five on Friday Blog that I want to share is a tip from G Suit. I had someone this week call me the Google Guru. Nope! Most of my tips I have stolen from other sources. This is an perfect example! At Central Elementary the School Counselor is using Google Classroom in the same manner as one would use a blog. She is sharing resources to support a curriculum the school is using called Mind Up. I love the unique way this tool is being used!
2. Google Keep is an app in G-Suit that I want to mess around with more this year. I have utilized this on a limited basis in the past; but, I want to delve into it more. I have a video below on how I have used it before but I recently read a blog that had several more ideas for this tool. In fact, on one site, there was a teacher who is using this as her daily planner. That is what I am going to explore. I will update you at the end of the school year on how I set mine up and how it worked for me. Here is the site though that had ideas for organizing yourself as a teacher using this tool: Technology for Teachers: Google Keep- A Busy Teacher’s Best Friend. If you need help in finding Keep, just let me know. By the way, the assignment in this video was purchased from an ITRT on Teachers Pay Teachers by the name of Brittany Washburn. This is an example of a simple assignment that could be done in Google Classroom.
3. I also plan to showcase a Google Doc each month that could be uploaded and used as a Classroom assignment. If the document is mine, you are welcome to make a copy and then change it to fit your needs. The document I am sharing this week is mine. Please click on the image to get your own copy. This would be a great brain dump for a review or use it as is to introduce our younger students to Classroom.
4. During the prep week I saw an email from someone (I don't remember the person) who was trying to get rid of Base Ten Blocks in her classroom. I LOVE Base Ten blocks! I was surfing the net one day in the past week and came across this idea for teaching place value by building buildings using Base Ten Blocks. Check out the site here and please call me in to help with this awesome idea!!!
5. Friday at the Movies- I love including a video on my weekly blog. Sometimes the video is only to make you smile. Sometimes I may feel like the video is a great story starter that would be a resource you could use with students. This one is sort of a sermon to me. I love this video! Sometimes I can get so caught up in trying to make the perfect lesson for the students that I forget to just have fun with the students. Maybe you are like me. It would be nice to think that someone else likes this video as well.
BTW, I do think this would work as story starter for an older grade. What would you want your older self to remember?
Nora Kluender is the Library Media Specialist at MHES. She recently shared this with the teachers there and I thought it would be a good resource to share with everyone! The American Library Association has put out its list of best tools for teaching and learning. Make sure you look at the bottom of the description to make sure it is grade/age appropriate.
Today in the STEAM lab has been so much fun! My room smelles soooo good! We had Christmas music playing. The "fireplace" has a roaring fire. I used the YouTube video linked below. Christmas play mats are on the table. I found some cute freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can click on the link to see what I used. I printed these out and put them under some old overhead transparencies that were put out at the beginning of the school year for the trash. STEAM teachers never throw anything away. Finally, we "programmed" playdough using the special code that makes the room smell like Christmas magic. Of course, my magical ingredient was peppermint flavoring! My code for the play dough is below.
Here are some pictures from our day. Our elves are having a blast!
1. Website of the Week - Festisite
This is a cool site that would be appropriate for grades 3 and up to make mini projects. One of my favorites is the Rebus Generator.
2. STEAM Idea of the Week - Thanksgiving STEAM
Momgineer is one of my favorite sites. I know I have shared it before. This week she is showcasing several idea for Thanksgiving. These would be good to support studies on Native Americans as well.
3. Resource of the Week - Fact Cookies
Use this drag, drop, and type Google Slide to have your students identify facts from a unit of study. To get your copy, click on the image and then click Make A Copy. Student directions are on the slide in the notes area.
4. Coding in the Classroom
I wanted to share a comment a student told me last week. They were having an inside recess time and he wanted to work on the coding portal that I have on my site. He was on a site coding site accessed through my site. He said the teacher told him he could not play on the site because it didn't look "safe." I wanted you to know that I have previewed all the coding games I have linked to my site. Each one is very safe and is a great way for students to learn problem solving skills. Please clip on the image to check out my site and feel free to book mark it for students to access during class times. Coding games make great anchor activities.
5. Friday at the Movies - Always one of my favorites!
Websites of the Week
1. I am absolutely enchanted with Mystery Doug. This FREE site has a new video each week that you can show your students to inspire questions.
2. Another amazing website I stumbled across this week was Freckle.com. This is a reinforcement and practice site. It covers skills like English, math, science, or history. I love that it has a teacher interface that allows you to keep tabs on student progress. It imports students from Google Classroom making getting students in a breeze!
3. This Week's STEAM Idea
This week instead of giving you step by step directions, I would like to share a site with you that has lots of different STEAM ideas. You need to check out Momgineer. The page I am linking you to is called Bird Beak STEM. This set of challenges starts with a choose your own adventure story. The choices the students make in the story affect what happens to the birds. Students not only get to learn about adaptations but also get to see how pollution interferes with an animal's habitat.
4. Weekly Resource
I found a great hyperdoc example online that centers around informational writing. I would love to work with you to create your own version of this. Third grade teachers, this could be used as is since you cover adaptations in science. To see the resource, click on the image to the left. You can then add to your Google Drive.
5. Friday at the Movies - Still love Michael!
1. Website of the Week-
Gail sent this site out on Monday of this week. Many of you may already be using this site but I thought it would be a nice reminder. Epic! - Books for Kids is FREE!! Check it out! Here is the link.
2. STEAM idea of the Week- Pumpkin Geo Board
I saw this online last year and have bookmarked it to do with my grandsons one Sat. I thought I would share with you.
3. Google Resource of the Week-Halloween Pixel Art
Kids love coloring! Here is an new twist on an old task. Color by number with Google Sheets. In this task, students practice adding and subtracting to color a vampire. To get your own copy, click on the image and then click: Make A Copy. Please let me know if you would like to make a Pixel Art to match your skills.
4. Another wonderful Google Resource!
Kasey Bell has a great template for Halloween Themed Magnetic Poetry on her website. This looks really cool!
5. Friday at the Movies - Spookly is the sweetest story. It's all about a little pumpkin who was bullied for being different until the day that his difference was just what was needed.
2. STEAM Idea of the Week: I just discovered something. Of course, I often discover things that others already knew about so if I share something that you are aware of, please forgive me. But have you ever heard of paper circuits? Here is a site that has lots of tutorials and ideas. This would be a great thing for older students to do! This one costs a little to put together but it didn't seem to be terribly expensive. The kits that you purchase seem to cost more than if you went on Amazon and purchased just the components you need.
3. Digital Citizen Week: This week is Digital Citizen Week and I failed to mention it. I am so sorry! However, just because the week is over does not mean that we can't still talk about our digital footprints that we are stomping all over the network. I have an ebook called If You Give A Mouse An IPhone. I would love to come read it to your students, yes, even 5th graders like to be read to. You could build an internet safety lesson around the book. Let me know!
4. Google Resource: I love this extension! It's called the TLDR extension and it will shorten and summarize a website. It stands for too long didn't read and even works with email. So cool! It would be a great extension to add to a student's Chromebook. Put in a help ticket if you are interested in having Joe add it.
5. Friday at the Movies: The Skibide Challenge is going viral. I was not impressed with their original video so I had to find a more PG version to share!
1. Google Classroom
Are you still having issues with Google Classroom? Here is an amazing site done by one of my Google heroes that walks you though how to set up a classroom and get started using it.
2. Site of the Week
I am so excited! I found another new site! Check out Reading Games with Roy. This is a cute site for 1st-3rd grade.
3. Google Resource
Students LOVE-LOVE-LOVE pixel art! We can design a pixel art lesson for just about any topic. Here is an example of one for multiplication. To use this lesson, please click the image and then Make A Copy. Let me know if you want me to design one for your subject.
4. STEAM Idea
This is a lesson from waaaay back, even before I knew what STEAM was all about. Students are put into groups of three to four and given a tray with a medium-sized pumpkin with a pre-cut lid. With their desks covered with several layers of newspaper to contain the “Pumpkin Innards Goop”, students estimate the weight, circumference and number of seeds. After estimates are recorded, students weigh their pumpkin and measure the circumference. Next the students scoop out the “goop”, put seeds in groups of ten and count the seeds. Each group’s data for weight, circumference, and seed numbers is added to a chart. You could use Sheets to create a graph or with older students you can compute the mean, mode, range and median for the pumpkin statistics in our class. Your kids will have a blast with this kind of data analysis (and your room will smell delicious).
5. Friday at the Movies - You gotta love those grannys!
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler