Friday, October 30, 2020

A Proud Political Moment

Every year, our 5th graders partake in a unit on government and elections.  The unit always ends with some sort of social action project on the kids year.  When it's an election year, it's an even more exciting unit!  This year's monkey wrench, also known as CO19, didn't stop the teachers from pulling out all the stops!

Using Seesaw, students took the letters they wrote convincing people to vote and turned them into a video.  All the videos were then compiled, and the one class's results are below.  We all hope that it helped voter turnout!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Third Grade Slides!

Once third graders have the basic down - and by basics I mean they can login to their Chromebooks and access Google Drive - we jump right into one of the most used (and sometimes overused?) GSuite tool: Google Slides!

(Don't get me wrong, it is definitely my most used tool, and a favorite.  I mean, I have a few presentations ready to roll on how to make Google Slides work for you.)

The biggest hurdle to pass is that for most of these kiddos, it's the first time they're using a trackpad (or mouse) and not a touchscreen.  Because of that, we start with drag and drop skills.  Now there are lots of templates and activities out there for this, ready to go.  But when you teach in a school that is dual language, you have half the time to accomplish what you need to do.  So you get a little creative.

That meant that this activity accomplished not one, not two, but three tasks: introduction to drag and drop, BrainPop login, noun review.  Check out some of the tasks!

They logged into BrainPop for the first time and watched the assigned movie.
Then they practiced drag-and-drop activities based on the video.
They weren't expected to have mastery of this last one, but it brought up great questions!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Digital Citizenship Kick Off!

This week 4th grade kicked off a unit on Digital Citizenship.  We also kicked off learning how to use Pear Deck!

That is one of my favorite things about my role - finding a new tool and using it when I teach.  Since technology isn't a "drop off" or prep for the teachers, they are co-teaching the class with me.  Modeling, as we well know, is one of the best ways to learn new things!


In this six week unit we are using a mash-up of Common Sense Media and Google with Pear Deck's Be Internet Awesome curriculum.  I love the Common Sense Media videos - they are engaging and catchy for the kids.  I also love the new Pear Deck curriculum because of the interactivity it utilizes.

Oh, I should probably specify - we are using lessons from the first unit, Share with Care, with the 4th grade.  I have plans to use other units with other grades as the year progresses.  These first two weeks are all about the Digital Footprint.  Hat tip to Epic for such great resources to supplement the lessons!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

4th Grade Tech Basics

One of the most used tools in ed tech seems to be Google Slides.  And while I love, there are so many other tools to use for presentations!  But that's a whole different post!

In 3rd grade, we introduce some of the basics of Google Slides.  Adding in text boxes, backgrounds, images, that kind of stuff.  In 4th grade, we dive deeper into all that slides offers.  To do that, the kids create covers for their work binders.  This year, we have one class of 4th graders learning remotely.  Not to worry!  They created custom backgrounds for their Google homepage instead!

The teachers love this project because the kids get to create individualized, personalized binder covers  AND they revisit their basic tech skills from the previous year.  The kids love it because they get to create their own binder covers, they get to play with images online, and it's fun!  I love it because it's a meaningful way to level up their basic Google Slides Skills.

Students insert images and crop them into shapes.  They learn to add borders and fill to text boxes to make titles stand out.  They learn how to layer images on top of shapes to create frames.  They learn how to layer text boxes to make shadowy text.  They review copyright vs common-use images.  There are so many elements of Google Slides that one can keep learning forever! 

Oh, and since they are creating binder covers, they also learn how to change the page orientation of the slide - can't forget that one!