Monday, March 21, 2016

"Wonder" Literacy Chat featuring @avillalon4 and @CarrollColts

Recently, my 4th grade ELA teacher approached me and out of the blue, told me that she had set up a Literacy Chat with a 4th Grade teacher at a neighboring elementary campus. She mentioned that students would be discussing the book "Wonder."After the initial excitement of hearing that she set it up all on her own, we sat down and talked about how she wanted it to flow. After talking it over with her class, students wrote in depth questions that they would be asking the other class. Both classes were extremely engaged in the discussion! We were both worried that there would be a lot of awkward silence, however, there was anything but that! Once students were done, they reflected on a shared Padlet.

Fact and Opinion via G-Classroom featuring @avillalon4 #4thchat

Today, students in Villalon's 4th Grade Class continued reviewing Cause and Effect as well as Fact/Opinion. A very powrful tool that the class is using is Google Classroom. Students are able to go at their own pace to individualize their learning. Students are starting to willingly work outside of class on assignments that the teacher posts online! 

3d Figures in 1st Grade featuring @Rivera_005 #1stchat

Our 1st Grade Teachers are just wrapping up their unit on Geometry. When talking to the team, they wanted to see how they could incorporate technology. They explained that students would be using marshmallows and toothpicks to create 3-D shapes. As we were talking, they had the idea of having students creating Pic Collages in which they had to snap a picture, then label the characteristics of what that figure was. Students had a BLAST with this activity! Students worked really hard on creating these figures- we also learned that we had to rely on partners so that the figures would remain upright!

5th Grade Science Review via @quizizz

Let's step back a year ago. A year ago around this time, students and teachers were preparing for their annual state assessment test. To be honest, it was pretty difficult for me to find ways to integrate technology into the classroom. Flash forward to this year, we have found some incredible tools to help students (and teachers!) check for understanding. One of these tools is Quizizz. Quizizz lets you run fun formative assessment quizzes for students. One major thing that I like about this tool is its ability to be used at home. The week before Spring Break, we gave students access codes in which they could run the quiz / reviews from home. These reviews consisted of 3 groups of 50 questions- yes I know that is quite a lot! However, I made a deal with the 5th graders that whoever gets above 95% on them will earn a Milk Shake from Chic Fil A! I am looking forward to looking at the data!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Green-Screening Phases of the Moon

Students in 2nd Grade were studying "Objects in the Sky" this past week. Going into this unit, the teacher wanted to do something really fun, yet engaging and make an impact on learning. For this activity, the teacher wanted to use the Green Screen in which students would have to choose a "phase of the moon." They would then give a description on why that phase was different than the other phases. Once they were done explaining, they would tell what the next phase would be after the one they were currently talking about.

Cause and Effect Using Google Classroom

It's always a treat when my 4th Grade Teacher and her students learn a new digital tool! Prior to today, when a student was done with their Google Doc, they would either screen-shot it and upload it to SeeSaw or share in with their teacher via Google Docs. Google Docs was a great idea, however over time, her Google Drive would get extremely unorganized with all of the files that were shared. Today, we introduced Google Classroom to her 4th Graders. To be upfront, Google Classroom on the iPad isnt the most convenient way of going about it, but her kids are rock-stars and were able to figure out how to use Classroom and Docs together within minutes!

For this activity, the class was studying Cause and Effect. The students were given articles via Google Drive to access. They were given about 7 minutes to read the articles and then respond to a question or two in Classroom. Once students were done, they submitted their work and awaited their teacher's feedback. Students were totally engaged in the activity and actually asked to have homework so that they could access it from home!! Now that's a good problem to have!!

2-D shapes = App Smashing Opportunity!

Working with 1st Graders is so much fun! They arent afraid to mess up and fail! I think us as adults can learn a thing or two from them!!. The past few weeks, 1st Grade has been covering shapes / 2-Demensional objects. One app that our 1st Grade teachers have really come to like is "GeoBoard." If you remember back in the day, we had a board with pegs on it. On these pegs, we would attach rubber bands to it to make shapes. Well, GeoBoard is a really fun app and is a lot less painful!! The goal for the students was to make various types of shapes. Once they made these shapes, they were to take a screen shot of it and smash it into Pic Collage. Once in Pic Collage, students would have to label and identify what the shape was. It sounds like an easy task, but students had to accomplish a lot of little steps in order to make the project meet the teacher's expectations!! Once they were done, they uploaded it into SeeSaw. Great job 1st Grade!!

Thinking Outside of the Classroom

One of my jobs is to help teachers grow and become comfortable using technology in their classroom.  One teacher that I work with really understands the impact that technology integration and totally goes above and beyond! This past week, my 4th-grade teacher had set up a video chat with Rita Garcia, a News Anchor for Fox 26.  The goal of this video chat was to find out how reports remain non-biased when it comes to reporting the news. Students were able to ask her questions ranging from what time she had to get up all the way to what she studied in college. When the students were finished, they had the opportunity to reflect via a padlet. Below are a few images from the video chat, along with the actual video chat as well. There is also a link to the Padlet- click on the image and you will be able to see their responses. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

#TCEA16 Presentation Reflection

As I am writing this I am currently sitting in the "Digital Square" at TCEA here in Austin, Tx. It has been a great experience so far! I am learning a lot and have been meeting some really cool people along the way. Anyways, this past Tuesday I had an opportunity to present at an "iPad Academy Session" here at the conference. To give you some history about that, way back in April or May I submitted a proposal to present. After not hearing anything for over a month, I randomly get an email saying that I had been accepted to present in their "iPad Academy." This completely blew me away! The proposals that I have submitted in the past have been accepted before, however this one was a special one because it was an Academy session meaning that there would be a big crowd!

About 15 minutes before this presentation began, we had about 15 people in the audience. Not bad- we were meeting and greeting everyone, but in my mind I was like, "Okay, I have worked with smaller groups before in sessions, how could we tailor this session to best meet their needs?" Next thing you know, a huge rush storms our room! Before you knew it, we had about 150 people in the room! That had been the largest group I had ever spoken in front of before! I started to get a little nervous-- so nervous that I asked my co-presenter, "Am I starting off the session or are you?" (Even though we rehearsed it the day before!!)  After she kindly reminded me that I started the session, we got the ball rolling!

We had a blast! We explained how we used Pic Collage, Thinglink and SeeSaw on our campuses! Then, we gave them an opportunity to explore the apps themselves! Once we were done, it was such a relief! Many people came to greet myself and my co-presenter and told us how they were ready to start using these tools!!

I will never forget this experience!!