Friday, March 17, 2017

Coding of Robots and Drones, Oh My!

I have (finally) decided to apply to present at NETA. I sub,titled my proposal and was accepted! Here is the basic information I will share with the world (or just those interested educators at NETA on Friday April 21 from 11:15-12). I am bringing four student "experts" with me to show off the four drones we use: Sphero, Ollie, Jumping Sumo, and Airborne Cargo by Parrot. We recently got a BB-8 for our classroom but will not be taking him to NETA this year.





Does your class do coding activities? Which ones do your students enjoy? Have you used them with drones? If so, which ones? I would love to hear feedback, questions, comments! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

November already?!

I can't believe we are already full swing into 2nd quarter! This school year has FLOWN by thus far and brought about new adventures both professionally [individually] and in our classroom. I am now the Building Tech Coordinator for LL. That has been a pretty smooth transition and the support from the other BTCs has been great! I love helping teachers find ways to integrate technology into their classroom....and even push some of the "stubborn ones" into trying something different/new!  I just wanted to run through some of the latest happenings/info about my class this year. I have 24 students this year - a FUN group that is very creative! Each year I see students feeling more and more comfortable with technology. It just completely changes the way the classroom is set up, run, etc. Each day is different and EXCITING! Here are some examples:

We often set up a Mystery Skype/Mystery Google Hangout with classes around the world. This is where we play a geography based guessing game asking yes or no questions only. 10 days ago we were lucky enough to connect with our friends in NEW ZEALAND! We were able to guess them first but more importantly, had question/answer time where we learned a lot about their country, seasons, school, etc. They even performed a skit for us based off a rugby team there.....they sang us a song...and we sang them our National Anthem. Everyone learned something that day!




We have really been focusing on using specific details in our writing. I had all three 6th grade classes print of a nature picture and describe it as best as they could. We talked about using measurement words, specific color words, comparing, etc. Then they traded descriptions with someone and had to draw their picture based ONLY off the descriptions given. Some students were very frustrated and we talked about how that can happen when the author doesn't give complete details. Some students described very well and the pictures definitely "matched up" better than others.





Genius HOUR! This is my 3rd "season" of running Genius Hour in my classroom. I absolutely love it! We do it every Monday morning, and then students are required to keep a running journal via our Kidblog LINK on Tuesday mornings. Just recently, students ran a bake sale [for teachers only since they were home baked goods] and raised money to donate to the Nebraska Humane Society. One parent even matched the girls' donations! When they were there, they were able to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Humane Society in addition to donating to this wonderful cause. I am so proud to see what each of the students come up with for their projects. They are SO excited and many students have told me how they never look forward to Mondays, but this year they are the BEST!




STEM challenges. I have been eager to do more of these each and every year and just made sure THIS year that I started the year with one. So far, we have done the Marshmallow Challenge [students get a set of rules, so many pieces of dried spaghetti, tape, string, etc to create the tallest free-standing structure with a marshmallow at the top of the structure], Saving Sam Challenge [use a gummy worm, gummy life saver, cup, and two paper clips-students are only allowed to touch the paper clips...must get the life saver under the cup onto our worm Sam that is atop the cup], and the Broken Squares Challenge [team members must trade and match up pieces to form 5 equal squares-no talking, no motioning, and only allowed to give their own pieces away and wait for partners to give THEM the correct piece they need]. All of these have been amazing TEAM BUILDING activities that require critical thinking, teamwork, collaboration, patience, etc. Thanks to Michelle Boyce, Stephanie Toelle, and Terri Brown for these ideas!







I submitted an application to present a poster/playground session at NETA this Spring. I have a Wizard of Oz themed idea of presenting about coding with drones/Ollies/Spheros etc and HOW to apply these activities into a classroom setting. I hope to bring students in my class to show off their "expertise" with the different types of devices and be able to talk about the different challenges and projects they have done. A LOT of things going on this year but it has been great so far and I look forward to the many things to come! Follow me on Twitter @esalie13 or feel free to comment if you have any ideas/comments/questions!




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NETA 2016-Reset the Presets!

What a wonderful conference, yet again! So many ideas, amazing educators, and thought-provoking presenters. I was firmly reminded how lucky I am to teach in Bellevue Public Schools....and just how, in so many ways, we are RIGHT there in the technology department....in some cases, way ahead of the game. And by we I directly mean the iPad Academy teachers [1:1 iPad classrooms]. We are doing things the right way....and we are doing things that other districts don't even know about or wish they were doing. Okay, pat on the back is over. Now the takeaways.....I usually type these up in a list format so I can easily refer back to this blog to find "it". Here we go:

Bitmoji app-fun way for teachers or students to create personalized avatars to use in projects, presentations, or to simply send via social media.


Seesaw app/seesaw.me-great way for students to keep a digital portfolio. My students have been using this for about 6 months. I just wish more parents subscribed, commented, etc. Parents often complain to me about not getting any "papers" from school work anymore-this is the digital form of that and so much more. Students can comment on each others' work, receive feedback from parents, and now it even has the blog addition [we still use KidBlog, but I am curious to see what Seesaw's blog evolves into...]. Students can explain their work, add text or recording, etc. Great program. If you have devices where students are creating "things", you should be using Seesaw!


Hstry.co is a great website that allows teachers or students to create timelines with interactive capabilities. You can put in facts, quizzes, videos, etc. to jazz up the typical ole timelines. History teachers where are ya?!


Citethisforme.com allows a Chrome extension that automatically lists the citation of sources in whatever format you are specified to use [MLA, etc.]


Gzaas.com is a website that allows you to create messages to use FULL SCREEN. This is great for projects or simply for an intro or directions for an activity.


Cookie Caster allows you to create and design cookie cutters to print with a 3D printer-I am SO envious of teachers that have 3D printers....I want Santa to bring me one of those!


Quizzizz was a popular phrase at Neta....much like Kahoot but has a few unique features, such as allows you to have longer time limitations and allows students to work at their own pace, and also shows the question and the answer choices on the students' device.


BouncyBalls app-app that monitors students' voice level. I believe my 6th graders would purposely make random noises to see the balls bounce all over the screen, but maybe primary would handle it somewhat better?


Prodigy math app-similar to Front Row where you try to save up and buy things for your avatar but you can also challenge and play against others.


JustMath Tutorials/Mashup Math-both give students tutorial videos to watch when they don't understand a math concept. TONS of videos between these two sources.


Breakyourownnews.com allows you to put any picture on a breaking news story, where you can type the headlines that go with the screen....then download it and can use it in projects, etc.


Pixabay gives you FREE high quality videos and images that you are free to download and in any size you choose.


Storybots for pre K or K teachers....has cute rhyming videos for numbers, letters, etc.


Noredink.com allows teachers to create Grammar lessons using students' favorite artists, actors, etc as the subject in the sentence. Just a way to make typical grammar practice problems a little more exciting for your students.


Codemonkey is an app that is coding based....the difference between this one and Hopscotch or Tickle is that CodeMonkey has you actually type in the commands vs just a drag and drop program.


Nicertube is a way to share YouTube videos without ads, comments, other videos, etc. You can also customize the background that the selected video is playing on top of.


BreakoutEDU is an activity you can create for ANY subject that follows a typical escape room format. You create clues that correspond to different locks [combination locks, letter locks, etc.] and students have 40 minutes or so to "break out". AWESOME activity that I highly recommend looking into. $100 from their site OR you can create your own box and buy locks from Amazon, local hardware stores, etc.


ClassCraft is a web based way to gamily your classroom. Award students different points for different projects or assignments or pop quizzes. Students earn points so they can shop for their avatar, name another group and delete their existing name, and go to "battles".


Periodic Table Battleship-create a battleship game but instead use Periodic Table. Call out the elements instead of giving a number and letter, etc. OR ask a question, if they get it right, they get a turn to try to and sink the opponent's ship.


Ken Shelton shared a LOT of great tips on video production, creating slides, the do's and don'ts, etc. I would definitely recommend following him on Twitter @k_shelton.


Tony Vincent was a keynote presenter on the 2nd day of Neta. I have always LOVED Tony's ideas and tips for the classroom. He is very passionate about technology and education. Again, @tonyvincent if you don't follow him already. He is known for apps such as Stick Around [and Explain Everything, I believe. ] He has a great video on his website about InfoPics, which my students use almost daily by the way. His link is HERE. He elaborated on that video and told us about wonderful apps to create those beautiful info pics.....[my students love Pic Collage, but when I showed them these they are hooked]. He discussed Typorama, Pixlr, Canva, SnapSeed, and even told us about Photofunia app or website that allows you to put your picture anywhere [side of a building, football field, Mt Rushmore, etc.]. Check these apps out if you are at all doing information pictures!


My students have really enjoyed coding with Ollie and Sphero [see previous posts]. I learned of a few more robots that use the Tickle app to drag and drop commands to make the robot go. I went on eBay and was able to bid, win, and purchase these awesome "drones". My students are pumped! The first picture is the Jumping Sumo drone that has an HD camera in front....is able to JUMP and flip, spin on 90 and 180 degree angles, etc. The 2nd drone allows students to add on lego pieces and can fly. The third is the Rolling Spider drone where it can fly using the 4 propellers OR can climb walls when it detects them. The down side to the flying ones is battery life. They only have about 15 minutes of fly time on average. So I will definitely be investing in some extra batteries and a charging station. Hopefully I can find these on eBay as well :)






Google Cardboard/VR app and goggles. I LOVE THIS IDEA! I had heard of Google Cardboard but wasn't sure if it was worth my time or money. After exploring several different pairs of glasses, I purchased two separate types on eBay [do you see a theme here?]. I am going to bring in my old smartphones for students to use with the apps already downloaded on them. I may also look into using our district's set of iPods that have been collecting dust for a while now. Essentially with the phone app and these glasses, students are able to "visit" places and get 360 degree views. Last night, from the comfort of my bed, I visited: Tokyo, Paris, Pyramids of Giza, rode on a roller coaster, stood on top and above the Seattle Space Needle, flew a plane, etc. Think of all the places we can go and actually let our students EXPERIENCE places they would normally never be able to travel to!!

I received the cardboard kind in the mail yesterday. They were a bit annoying to put together, but for 4 dollars....who can beat that?  

 I am still waiting on these slightly nicer ones with padding and a specific slot to put your device in:

With all of these new ideas, apps, games, etc....I am almost HEARTBROKEN we only have 3 and half weeks of school left! My summer school students and future students will have TONS of different Maker Space options. With these new tools, plus the Makey Makey, Little Bits, Ollie, Sphero and accessories we already have....students are in for a FUN RIDE!

If you use any of these or are interested or have questions/comments/etc please COMMENT below or feel free to follow me on Twitter @esalie13



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April Tidbits

What a whirlwind this second semester has been! We have been running with lots of different things in class, so this may be a random list of different ideas/things/etc....apologies for that now!

Genius Hour-this has been an awesome project that I have continued to implement in my room once a week. Students have been running with the Ollies, Spheros, Little Bits, and Makey Makey [see previous post about these fun gadgets]. I would LOVE to apply for a grant to receive more Makey Makeys, a drone or two, and especially a Lego Mindstorm programmable Lego Robot. High hopes! Just this past week I was contacted by someone with the Green Bellevue [recycling program]. April 24th at the LIED center, they are having several activities to celebrate Earth Day. They asked if any of my students would be interested in participating in the "Trashion Show". This is where students choose one of two categories to compete in....and create an outfit or costume made completely of recyclable materials. The groups have to have someone willing to model their creation on the runway and then one other person to serve as the spokesperson to explain to the judges and audience where they got their ideas, what they made their creation out of, etc. I have three different groups that are going to pause their current Genius Hour project and do this for the next 3 weeks. I am eager to see what the students can come up with! [hopefully they all follow through!] Side note...one of my students from last year [see post about Donnie] that ran a book drive for his project was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution Citizenship award because of his Genius Hour project. I am SO proud of Donnie!

NETA is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am blessed enough to be able to attend for another year. I can't wait to hear some of the exciting new things teachers are trying and doing in their classroom. It is always INFORMATION OVERLOAD, but in the end, we come away with so many ideas and connect with so many people....what an amazing experience....CANNOT WAIT!

iPad Academy just met yesterday for our last meeting of the school year. I am so grateful our district has these collab/creation days for members in our district that have a 1:1 iPad room. An "Apple guy" came to speak with us yesterday about some VERY exciting updates included in 9.3....some revolve around more control for the teacher. I will hopefully soon be able to: see the live screens of all students in my classroom, can "freeze them" into an app, freeze their iPad entirely [great for when I need to give a last second direction, etc], and I can also send them all to the same place from my iPad if I need them to go to a specific URL or app. This is called CLASSROOM [not to be confused with the app Google Classroom]. I just need my iPads updated and enrolled in JAMF....and then I will give a try! We also had Lisa from Norfolk @ilisapack talk to us about "Power Slides" click HERE for video. She also talked to us about DoInk/Green Screen ideas. My class uses this often [AND LOVE IT], but we are eager to try out the Power Slides as something easy and new! 

Wizer.me Heather Callihan (@hcallihan) from Grand Island sent me a link for a program that allows you to create lessons [very similar to NearPod] and shoot them straight to students via LINK or GOOGLE CLASSROOM! It has multiple choice, fill in blank, open ended questions, label the picture, watch a video, and more. They are adding features often....I created a few and look forward to trying them out with my students as we use Google Classroom often for work flow. 

As my brain allows me to process, I will add more goodies as they come up. Has anyone used programmable drones or robots in their classroom? Personally? What are the pros and cons? What do I need to consider if I purchase them? Thanks for any comments!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

TECHNOLOGY IS AWESOME!

Our school did a FUN RUN fundraiser in October of last year to raise money for technology for the building. The ultimate goal was to raise enough money to purchase 2-3 iPads for each classroom. With 21 classrooms in the building, it was a lofty goal. But, with the help of the parents, community, staff, and students....we were able to raise over $25k! My classroom is already a 1:1 iPad room that was achieved through training and an application process. So my question was...what will my students get? We were able to get a chunk of money to spend on technology and resources in the classroom. I emailed my lovely tech trio [@jeffreybernadt, @annfeldmann1, and @mrsjcarlson on Twitter] and they gave me some GREAT ideas to use our new funds on! I looked at and purchased: LittleBits, Sphero, and Ollie with accessories.

LittleBits:
The first gadget purchased was a Gizmos and Gadgets kit from LittleBits. If you have not checked this out you definitely should. The students have really enjoyed following the step by step modules to create different things using snap together circuits. They have also been able to add their own ideas and run with them given the tools. With a coupon code, I was able to also get a storage tub and a motion sensor to use with the different modules. Students are able to download and use the LittleBits app [I have a log in and password that I have set up that I put in for them]. On the app they are able to see other people's ideas and also add their own if they have something new for others to try!

Sphero:
This is an app enabled robot that I wanted to use hand in hand with CODING. My class participated in the Hour of Code and many have tried writing their own code and using HopScotch app and Scratch app, etc. This gives students a way to see coding live in person! They absolutely love it. If you have never heard of Sphero, I would start by watching THIS video. The options with Sphero are ENDLESS! He also came with some small ramps and I was able to purchase a turbo cover to keep it protected without giving up speed. This amazing robot even works in water [I am still nervous about letting the kids try this, though I don't know why!] We just received Sphero a week or two ago and the kids are just getting the hang of driving it and now are looking into different ways to code with it. Some ideas: tape a "racing course" along the floor and code it to go through; tape a specific pattern/shape on the floor and have it coded to follow that shape; or even setting up an obstacle with ramps and different things to go around and then code it to make it through the entire obstacle course.


Ollie:
This guy does mostly everything that Sphero does [except go through water, although it is "water resistant"]. We were able to get [through a crazy set of events] TWO Ollie's-one is the dark side Ollie and one is the regular Ollie with spine ramps. The students have leaned more to this one because it is a bit easier to drive. Coding and all the other ideas mentioned above still apply. If you have not seen Ollie, watch THIS video.

 regular Ollie with Spine Ramps

"Darkside Ollie"

These awesome additions to our classroom are exciting in themselves-but it really pushed a lot of my kids to try something different. We use them with GENIUS HOUR [innovation time] each and every Monday. Students can try these out and dive into the coding or circuit explorations just for a day or they can make a whole new Genius Hour project with them. I haven't opened them up for an "open explore time" or something to do when they are finished with all of their work. I am curious if others of you out there have these. Do you let students use them during "free time/work time"??? Do you only allow them to be used at certain times on certain days? I would love to hear the way other classes are implementing them. Students CANNOT wait for Genius Hour....because of these new additions and all the other AMAZING things they are creating and learning about. And why are they so excited? Because THEY get to choose. THEY problem solve. THEY create ideas and solutions. THEY choose their paths. Students will always be passionate about things THEY create and get to choose to do. I would love to hear feedback of how Genius Hour is going in YOUR classroom OR if you have one of these awesome gadgets in your class-how do you implement? 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Genius Hour, ClassKick, Green Screens, Google Hangouts, Oh My!

Where do I begin? This year my 6th grade students and I have been further implementing our 1:1 iPads. They really do know their stuff! It has been fun to try new things out with this group. I have been more of a student while they teach me on a daily basis, and it has been a blast. Let me take you on a little tour of things we have been doing:

Genius Hour-this is something I started with my group last year [see May 2015 post], and more and more I see why it is the BEST thing I have implemented in my classroom. Students are able to decide what THEY want to learn about. Every Monday morning, my students get an hour of uninterrupted time to expand, learn, explore, experiment, and truly lose themselves in whatever passion/idea they choose. Some of my students chose to work in partners, some chose to work alone. The only limitations I gave were group size [no more than 3 people], and that content and ideas had to be school appropriate. The kids CANNOT wait until Monday! In fact, for a fundraiser event we were doing where the kids had to create incentives to raise money....one of the "top prizes" they CHOSE was EXTRA Genius Hour time. How cool is that?!!! Some of the topics/ideas in my class currently are: raising money for YOUTHDIGITAL program to create own app-these boys have been doing raffles for extra PE passes, etc. and have so far raised almost $70 to go towards the $150 program [when it is on "sale"]. Another group has explored JAVA script coding. Two of my students are exploring/creating their own 3D animation characters. Three of my most imaginative students are writing, filming and editing their own movie via Do Ink/Green Screen app. Three girls are purchasing/decorating/selling iPhone cases to raise money to donate to local charity. A few students are dabbing in art and painting their own canvases, etc. And finally, I have a group of three girls that wanted to raise money for the Omaha's Open Door Mission. They decided to create/design/decorate/sell large, wooden letters. *See pictures below. An awesome father of one of the girls cut them out of wood for them and the girls have spent that past 3 months decorating them. Just last evening, at our school's "Bingo and Books Night", they sold several of these letters and even took orders to custom make them for their customers. They did an AWESOME job organizing this, preparing signs, creating an order sheet, handling the money, etc. I showed them where materials were, but they did EVERYTHING on their own from there. I couldn't be more proud of these girls. So, if you would like to order a letter, I'm sure we could get you the custom design you have always wanted for your home or office! [shameless plug]. 
 Here they are at their table last night. They raised over $100!!!
My three 6th grade girls and a younger sibling-so proud of these girls!

Other pictures of Genius Hour in action:



A new app we are trying in my class is CLASSKICK. I began using NearPod...and while I LOVE that app as well, I struggled in Math with it. NearPod allows you to present to students and control what is on their iPad screens. So you decide when to go to a new page or when to show them something new. It is GREAT for whole group discussions, introducing new concepts, staying together as a group. However, in Math whenever I used it, I could see frustrations from some of my "higher" Math students. They were irritated with how slow I had to go to make sure I wasn't rushing those students that needed extra time. After looking through some feeds on my Twitter PLN, I discovered Class Kick. This is an app that allows students to work at their own pace! While they work, from my iPad I can literally watch them work in real time. As they write on their screen, I see it on my screen. I can also write something on their screen and it instantly pops up on theirs. So if I see, for instance with Math, if they skipped a step in their work, I can write a note to them to have them check it over. It's awesome! There is also a feature that allows students to "raise their hand", virtually of course. They can choose "check my work" or "I need assistance". I have not explored another awesome feature of this app yet [but intend to], and that is the "ALLOW STUDENTS TO HELP OTHERS". So now instead of them all waiting for me if their "hand is raised", other students can take the leadership role and help others out. I can't wait to see how the students do with this! What better way to show understanding than to help and teach others? If you have not checked this app out-you definitely should. It is ENTIRELY iPad based-all creation and implementation is done in one place!

Green Screens-if you have not purchased the DoInk Green Screen app....what are you waiting for? My students and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this app. We have used it in Math, Reading, Writing, Science, and now Social Studies. Just recently we were discussing advertisements in Language Arts class and Egypt in Social Studies. So, we merged the two together-students were asked to pick something Egypt-related and write up an advertisement for the product. Then, they found pictures and we filmed in front of our green screen [green plastic table cover that was 50 cents at a garage sale-deal of the summer!]. This app is easy to use and the kids really enjoy seeing what everyone comes up with. As mentioned above, my students have also used it to film their own movie in Genius Hour. If you would like to see our Egypt commercials/ads, please click HERE.

Mystery Hangouts-now this is something I have done since the moment I got the iPads! These are some of the greatest activities we do all year! We connect with people from literally all over the world! Every student has a "job" and we ask YES or NO questions with the other class. The first class to guess the state or country first wins! Students have incorporate team work, geography, logical reasoning, questioning, creativity, and so many more skills. Best part is the students LOVE and have enjoyed every single hangout we have had. They aren't always smooth, technology sometimes lags, but at the end of it-the students are BUZZING with the things we learn about and always enjoy the competitiveness of "winning". I have a map in our classroom and we place a push pin in the location of each classroom we have a hangout with. I have posted some pictures below! 



Global Challenge-Thanks to Ann Feldmann for pushing me to learn more about these Global Challenges that take place. My class participated in the "Marshmallow Challenge" where students are given 18 minutes, 30 pieces of dry spaghetti, one large marshmallow, one meter of masking tape, and one meter of string with their goal to build the tallest standing tower. The marshmallow had to be on top of the tower in one whole piece. Spaghetti could be broken up and did not have to be used in its entirety. Students were put into groups of 4. They were definitely up for the challenge! The teams worked very well together and started coming up with different strategies. It was so exciting as a teacher to watch these groups come together and the many different ideas that were shared! They were so set on the structure and the tape, that all of the groups waited until the final 2 minutes to place their marshmallow on top. None of the groups got their marshmallow to stay except one...and theirs was only 9 inches in height. But the discussion that followed the challenge was awesome. We talked about things that went well, things that didn't, struggles they had, and what they would do differently if they were given a second chance. We had an amazing time and can't wait to compete in another Global Challenge. Picture below:


What awesome things have you tried this year in your classroom? Would you like to connect with us? We have our own Kidblog accounts at kidblog.org/MissSaliesClass or you can reach me on Twitter @esalie13. Please comment below with any ideas or words of wisdom-we are lifelong learners that want to experience as much as we can when we can!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Year...New Opportunities!

Really trying to mesh things I have learned to use on the iPads over the last year and half while trying to keep up on new ideas and opportunities. So far the students have done some pretty amazing things with the iPads.

*We have successfully started Genius Hour. I am following the same model of Thursdays for Genius Hour and Fridays will be Kidblog reflection/updates.

*Students have really LOVED Tony Vincent's "Info Pics" to summarize a lesson. Pic Collage is the FAVORITE app to complete these assignments.

*Green Screens by DoInk. This one is a paid app, but I just purchased it under my personal ITunes account and students simply air drop the items needed to complete their projects. I always start the year doing fun 6 trait writing activities so students truly understand what we as teachers are looking for in those traits as it pertains to writing. I read the story I am the Dog/I am the Cat and students pair up writing from two opposing perspectives. They playfully banter back and forth, learning the fun and excitement of the trait VOICE. SEE SOME OF OUR "VOICE" VIDEOS HERE

*Many students have really attached themselves to coding....Hopscotch, Tinker, and Scratch seem to be the most popular. 

*Khan and Front Row-I have made both available to students this year as some students in the past have been intimidated by Khan. I have a TOP 5 leader board for each of the programs showing who has the most energy points thus far [Khan] and who has collected the most coins [Front Row]. Both give great end of the week reports via email showing me the students' progress. 

Upcoming goal: learn the ins and outs and start implementing/working with NEARPOD. I remember the wonderful qualities of this app, just need to polish and refreshen the skills involved to create and do it. 

What is a great app or project idea YOUR students are doing and LOVING right now/in the past?