Monday, December 16, 2013

Using Google Presentations to Teach Writing Prompts

The third grade team has used Google Presentations to not only create math lessons (word problems), but to create expository pieces. Check out these three pieces the teachers have made to introduce expository writing just in time for the STARR. 

Additionally, they are continuing their Edmodo use to access Sokikom, an online behavioral management app. With an entire grade level using the same application, it has made for consensus and clearer expectations. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

FNE Eagles Robotics competes in first FLL tournament!

Third, fourth, and fifth grade students are competing in Forest North's first ever time at the FLL (First Lego League) competition tomorrow! Thank you to coaches, Ms. Fennewald, Ms. Rideaux, Ms. Potral, and Mrs. McCollum. More details to follow on the tournament.

3rd grade Takes Google by Storm

Third grade teacher, Mrs. Rhea, is a Google Ninja in her own right. However, now her students are becoming masters themselves.

Recently, students used the Google Research tool within Google Presentations to research animals and places and costs while presenting the information in a presentation. Though the presentation itself if a common platform, the Google Research tool allowed students to research within the presentation and to search more scholarly sources.

Check out some of the student work!

As a teacher, Mrs. Rhea uses her Promethean board daily for lunch count. Mrs. Rhea uses Google Presentations for teaching all the time. For example, she has started sharing the presentations with her students so they can have access to the information at anytime.

Mrs. Rhea also uses Flippity flashcards with Google to help students review math. Then, she posts them to Edmodo so they can view them at any time!

Next week, they'll be using Blendspace next week for publishing our biographies.

Way to go, Mrs. Rhea's class for integrating technology!

Monday, December 2, 2013

2nd Grade Celebrates Thanksgiving 21st Century Style!

In honor of Thanksgiving last week, several of the second grade classrooms produced paper slide videos and Google Presentations to share their thanks with the world.

In Mrs. McCollum's class, students drew pictures of people, things, places, etc. that they were thankful for. Then, students wrote words to correspond to their slides. These words became their script. Using the in-class document camera as a video recorder, students placed their pictures under the document cam and narrated the "slides" with their words. At the end, Mrs. McCollum saved the video and placed it on her Website for the world to see.

Additionally, Mrs. Johnson's class made a Google Presentation of the things, people, places, etc. that they are thankful for. Mrs. Johnson created the presentation and assigned each student a slide. With Google accounts, students were able to edit the presentation simultaneously. She, too, has placed the finished product in Edmodo for her subscribers to see.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google Forms to vote on writing topics

Second grade teacher, Mrs. McCollum, wanted to give her students a voice in choosing their non-fiction writing topics. And, she was able to use Google Forms to produce a quick and easy survey for her students to complete. The data was, then, sent to a spreadsheet for Mrs. McCollum and her students to review.

Though simple, it was a great way to give students a voice and discuss data, graphs, and information organization.

Turning Spreadsheets into Flashcards

Third grade teacher, Mrs. Rhea, is excited to learn just as much as her students. Recently, she implemented a new tool,, to turn Google Spreadsheets into flashcards.

Her students have an ongoing list of multiplication facts they have studied. She used that list to generate electronic multiplication fact flash cards for her students. Now, her students can go to the link and they can review their facts any time.

Here's her first creation:

What a great way to reinforce math facts!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What is Forest North doing after the Google Ninja Academy?

On November 2, 2013, over 500 teachers gathered at Round Rock High School to learn all things Google and to collaborate on ways to improve student learning. Since the conference, Forest North teachers have already implemented new strategies and ways of utilizing Google Apps for Education.

Special Education teacher, Ms. Rideaux, is using a Google script called Flubaroo to help speed up the grading time and offer her students immediate feedback. With this simple tool, students know how they performed and are able to make revisions immediately.

Interventionist, Mr. Braudrick, is using the app Movenote. He has recorded short lessons that the kids can refer to when they need help. This allows students to watch the lessons as many times as needed until they "get it."

Support Specialists, Ms. Hansen and Ms. Guthrie, are making forms for our teachers to use to get processes going in their LID world. They are adding them to a Google Site that they created this last week. This allows for easier data management and for quicker feedback.

And, Special Education teacher, Mrs. Shetty, has started having her students use Google Drawing to create personal invites for the student celebration on Thursday. They just inserted one image, one shape, and one text box with some words. Though simple, the activity called upon a variety of skills. Other teachers have used Google Drawing to create mindmaps and to brainstorm before or after reading.

It's been a great start to Google Ninja Academy implementation!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Students teaching students

In Mrs. SanMiguel's first grade class, students completed surveys in order to eventually produce graphs. With the survey data first grade students collected, fourth grade students are teaching the 1st grade class how to make a picture graph using a new Chrome Web App.

Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of this exciting partnership!

Pressing Forward with Doc Cams

In Ms. Manack's first grade class, students constantly use their document camera as a way to share their work with classmates. Today, the class featured a student's work during writing time so that classmates could help the student edit her work for punctuation and spacing.

In doing so, students were able to master TEK 1.17 D: Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting editing and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to: edit drafts for grammar, punctuation, and spelling using a teacher-developed rubric.)

The doc cam is user friendly and is a great place to showcase and manipulate student work. Check out their video capturing the editing process.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

4th Grade Collaborates on Google Presentations

Fourth grade teachers, Mrs. Talley, Mrs. Koester, and Ms. Ellis, are using Google Presentations as an assessment tool for their students after studying various tribes. After researching a variety of tribes, students collaborated on Google Presentations. Students learned the basics of sharing a Google Document while learning how to collaborate and work as a team.

Stay tuned for examples of student presentations. In the past, students have created presentations with PowerPoint. However, this year, they were able to work on the same presentation at the same time, work from any location, and access more media.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Edmodoizing First Grade

Students in Ms. Matuschak's first grade have started using Edmodo as they begin their learning about data and graphs in math. Students applied their knowledge of voting by participating in an Edmodo poll to determine their favorite read aloud book this year.

Students were excited to see the results update on the page, as they kept up with how many votes each book got. This data will be organized into graphs created by the students. As the unit continues, these first graders will generate their own polling questions to use as authentic data. Students will use this data to develop their skills of graphing, and interpreting graphs for real purposes!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Google Invasion Continues

Forest North teachers continue to go Google this year as all students in grades 2-12 have Google accounts.

The third grade teachers - Mrs. Rhea, Ms. Pearson, and Ms. Moore - are creating all of their unit maps and are uploading lesson files to Google Drive to facilitate collaborative planning. They have also created a third grade Google Calendar to keep track of their unit dates, when common assessments are to be given and to remind them of things like who's doing  homework this week and what each teacher's duty is. These simple integration steps have allowed them more time to spend on learning and student help.

In 5th grade, Mrs. Rataj and Mr. Martir had their students create Google Presentations on their Drive to share their strengths and learning goals for the year. It was a way for them to have a student led conference with their parents. All students shared their Presentations last week and they went really well!

The second grade team - Ms. Johnson, Ms. Savaovong, and Ms. Burns - is using Google Drive to create their unit maps in order to make collaborating easier. Ms. Johnson has used Google Drive to share documents with other second grade teachers in the district who were interested in seeing their unit maps. Additionally, Ms. Johnson has used Google Drive to collaborate with teachers outside of the district. In fact, she has collaborated on a couple of unit maps and lesson plans this year with her former student teacher (who is now a second grade teacher at another district). Now, the teachers can type and chat at the same time. The collaboration has been helpful to the other teacher as a first year teacher and she is very appreciative of the support. She has been able to share new things with her team and has sparked some changes in instruction at her school. Likewise, Ms. Johnson's plans for a specific lesson were stronger because they brainstormed ideas together through Google Drive.

The TAG fifth graders are participating in the Global Read Aloud. They are using a collaborative Google Document to answer questions and share thoughts about what they are reading.

Stay tuned for more updates on Forest North's Google Adventure! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

FNE Google Invasion

In August, all students in grades 2-12 were given Google Apps for Education accounts. Since August, teachers have been working on ways to integrate Google's collaboration tools into the curriculum. The goal is to prepare students with 21st century collaboration tools so they can be successful in whatever career they pursue.

Check out some of the Google snippets thus far:

TAG teacher, Mrs. Stewart: For the 5th graders' TAG project, they answered questions in a Google Doc in Drive.  When they are finished, they shared it with Mrs. Stewart.  Then, when Mrs. Stewart received the sharing email, she knew they are finished, and could easily view their work and add comments or suggestions.

3rd grade teacher, Ms. Moore: Ms. Moore has her students complete daily work on a Google Presentation Template in their Google Drive. She also shows math problems from the (Aligned Round Rock Curriculum) ARRC in Google Drive on her Promethean Board. Additionally, they use Google Drive to complete their daily checklist.

Librarian, Mrs. Fournier: Mrs. Fournier has created all of her Bluebonnet Accountability and Bluebonnet Quizzes with Google Docs and Google Forms. Therefore, the students, then,use Google Docs and Forms to complete the quizzes and see their results.

3rd Grade teacher, Mrs. Rhea: Mrs. Rhea's class has published their own work in Google Docs and they have accessed a shared file (that Mrs. Rhea pushed out to each of her students' Google Drives) to create avatars for their profile pics on Edmodo.

It's been a Great Google start to the year!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Graphing with the ActivSlate

Mrs. Albin's Kindergarten class recently learned some graphing skills. On day one, students selected an item they wanted to graph. 

Then, the following day, they placed their names in their chosen column. 

Students, then, titled the graph, and counted the items in each column. Next, they made observations regarding the number in each column and the relationship among the columns. 

Students were able to master the teaching point that the class graphed in order to organize the class information. Students, at the end of the activity, successfully mastered the following TEKS: 


Way to go, Kindergarten!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Doing International DOT Day the Google Hangout On-Air Way

On Friday, September 13, 2013, Forest North joined the world in participating in International Dot Day, named after the book, The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Art teacher, Ms. Bell, decided to use a Google Hangout On-Air to create a live feed of the festivities so all classes could tune in from the comfort of their rooms. Ms. Bell joined librarian, Mrs. Fournier, and counselor, Mrs. Peyton, in a Hangout that she broadcast live as Mrs. Fournier and Mrs. Peyton did a live reading of The Dot in the library. Do to space constraints, not everyone could fit in the library. Therefore, a Hangout On-Air was the perfect solution!

Ms. Bell advertised the event across the campus through a Smore, a fancy electronic flyer, she learned about in one of the school's after school tech trainings, Tech Thursdays.

Next year, the teachers plan to use the same concept, but to connect with classrooms all over the world in the Dot Day festivities. What a great example of collaboration and innovation!

Check out the Hangout On-Air here!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kicking off the new year with The Alphabet Song

Kindergarten teacher, Claire Smith, has started using videos to help engage her students in learning the alphabet and hand motor skills. Since this practice has been successful, Mrs. Smith has also started flipping videos to give her students additional practice with key concepts while at home.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gears, Levers, and Pulleys--Oh, My!

At Forest North, third grade students study simple machine in Science. Ms. Bell, Forest North's art teacher, reinforced the learning by having students create simple machines in Art.  

To create the machines, students used a photograph of their own silhouette and traced it onto a sheet of paper.  Next, they brainstormed an action that could take place in the brain like sneezing, crying, thinking, laughing. After narrowing down an idea, students created a series of events with levers, pulleys and gears.  All of these objects had to be constructed out of paper and glued onto the silhouette.  

The students then wrote a short explanation of the process and used Vocaroo to record themselves reading their artist's statement.  Once that was complete the recording was turned into a QR code and attached to their final artwork.

Ms. Bell effectively integrated both science and technology into an art lesson--a great example of teaching across the curriculum! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reading music with iPads

Music teacher, Mrs. Hermansen, is using iPads in her music classroom to help students learn to read music. Mrs. Hermansen says, "One of the biggest challenges teaching music is helping students learn the letter names on the staff, in preparation for reading recorder music."

She has used three different iPad apps to make this learning more engaging for third, fourth, and fifth graders. One app, Note Squish, works like a whack-a-mole game, rewarding students with points when they "whack" the right letter names. Another game, Flashnote Derby, simulates a horse race that students can win if they identify enough of the letter names. Additionally, Rhythm Cat, allows students to tap the rhythms that come up on the screen, and win points if they follow closely enough.

All three games work really well under Mrs. Hermansen's document camera, allowing the students to see what's happening on the projector screen. Students take turns playing, and the rest of the class stays engaged by learning from their friends as they go through the game. Students can choose to let the others help by calling out the answers, or they can choose to play without any help. Student learning has been focused when using these games, and students have been polite and encouraging to others while watching their friends take a turn.

Great job integrating, Mrs. Hermansen!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Get ready for a slam of sorts!

Representative teachers from each of the grade-level teams highlighted the technology they currently use in the classroom during the first ever Eagle Tech Slam.

Presentations included:

  • Mrs. StewartJourney North (an online collaborative project dealing with math and science patterns)
  • Mrs. Rhea: Movie Maker (using Movie Maker to present 2nd grade TEK showing how technology influenced recreation, transportation)
  • Mrs. Fournier: Broadcast video editing with Any Video Converter
  • Ms. Rideaux: Edmodo behavioral management with Sokikom (using to motivate students to always give learning a try)
  • Ms. BellQR Codes in Art (using to give a voice to art work so parents can hear students discuss their work)
  • Mr. Martir: Edmodo Uses in the classroom (book clubs) (using to incorporate all learners in the classroom--even those who have moved to other districts)
  • Mrs. Rataj: Energy sources with Smore, Graphing website, and how all were uploaded to Edmodo (using to have students learn the elements used to create a graph after gathering data and recording data)
  • Mrs. Albin: PhotoStory with Kidergarten (using to give connections to books)

And, the winning teachers are:

  • Who is your pick for the overall Eagle Tech Slammer?
Angie Bell--QR Codes
  • Which slam was the most entertaining?
Rachel Albin--PhotoStory
  • Which slam do you feel you will start using quickly?
Bonnie Stewart--Journey North

Great job to all teachers who participated in the Eagle Tech Slam! There are lots of tech integration strategies being incorporated daily into the classroom!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Class Surveys with Google Spreadsheets and More!

5th Grade teacher, Mr. Martir, has joined Mrs. Rataj in creating Edmodo Book review groups and Google documents. Now, however, he is having students create Google Forms to gather data on a spreadsheet. Students are reviewing that data and building their own graphs. Finally, Mr. Martir is combining forces with Prezi and Edmodo to create student presentations and interactive discussions.

Check out Mr. Martir's integrated classroom in action!

Book Reviews:

Student created book reviews after students in the class recommend books they had read to others and
gave brief descriptions of their books.

Book Clubs:

Mr. Martir set up small groups in Edmodo to hold book clubs. Students are able to reflect and ask
questions concerning their books from home or classroom. One student uses his smart phone
and the speech feature to reflect because he has difficulty with spelling and writing. Mrs. Fournier, the school librarian, attends all the book clubs (via Edmodo) so she is able to respond to their thinking as well.


Google Docs:

Mr. Martir is also using Google Docs on Edmodo to share files with students in the classroom.


Students are becoming familiar with using Prezi to present information to the class.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stepping into blended learning with Google and Edmodo

Fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Rataj is using a 1-2 combo with Edmodo and Google to create blended learning within her classroom.

Within her classroom, Mrs. Rataj has created a variety of groups for her students to join. Recently, she created a Book Clubs group with several smaller groups for break-out discussions. Students may now have ongoing discussions--with documents, videos, images, audio clips, and more--about their books. Since Edmodo stretches beyond the classroom walls, students are able to bring their book discussions outside of the classroom.

Additionally, Mrs. Rataj provide instruction on topics like the Manifest Destiny and included links on her Edmodo page so students could return to seek more help. Now, students created Google presentations on those same topics and posted them in Edmodo for all to share and comment on. Once again, the discussion is ongoing. 

Kudos, Mrs. Rataj, for bringing educational technology outside of the classroom!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2nd graders take on Movie Maker

Mrs. Rhea's class--winners of Digital Learning Month for the most effective integration of technology--received a day devoted to technology. Per Mrs. Rhea's choice, the class researched how technology impacted recreation, communications, and transportation. Then, they created scripts with the information they gathered and found and saved images from the Forest North Library Databases relating to their research. Next, Mrs. Rhea filmed students with a Shoot n' Share as they recited their scripts.

Using their images, scripts, and videos, the students used Movie Maker to make their very first movies--including transitions, text layovers, credits, and title slides. Students worked in pairs developing their movies. Final movies were exported as WMVs.

Mrs. Rhea took a unit that she typically ended with research and extended it. In the process, students worked on story development, writing, teamwork, and more--through the use of technology.

Great job, second grade in creating your first of many movies!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sokikom invades Forest North

Fourth grade teacher, Mrs. McCollum, is the latest to join the Sokikom bandwagon at Forest North. First discovered as an app on Edmodo, Sokikom pairs behavior management with educational activities. Students earn badges for great behavior. With those badges, they can then create an avatar or buy goods at the Sokikom store. Likewise, students can play any of Sokikom's math games to earn extra badges and "money" to jazz up their avatar and buy goods at the Web store.

(Sokikom behavioral management board displaying via Edmodo)

This has been a great way to get students motivated to take on additional math challenges while at home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EdCanvas tells all!

As a side effect of the Edmodo invasion, teachers like Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Rhea discovered EdCanvas, a  great site for creating timelines. Since timelines are one of the TEKS that students are required to fulfill during their 2nd grade year, EdCanvas fit in perfectly, blending traditional with technology.

Within EdCanvas, teachers can form classes where their students can create timelines. This gives teachers the ability to monitor and manage all timelines created.

In EdCanvas, students can create interactive timelines that incorporate text, images, video, and audio. This is a great way to have students record history in a 21st century collaborative fashion.

Check out some examples:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Digital Learning Month Takes Off!

Check out our Digital Learning Edmodo page that features the most creative and innovative technology projects at Forest North during the month of February. The class with the most innovative examples will receive a lesson in a technology project of their choice. Meanwhile, the student with the best display of digital learning will earn a YouTube interview featured on Broadcast.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Digitizing 1st and 2nd Grade

Librarian, Kristen Fournier, is at work again. Recently (in honor of our tribute to digital learning this month), she taught 1st and 2nd grade students how to combine technology with content skills like poetry and shape identification.

Check it out:

Mrs. Fournier taught 1st grade how to use a digital camera. The class went on a shape hunt to take photos of geometric shapes. Then, she taught them how to use a USB/miniUSB cable to download them to a computer.  They loved it!

Today, she also taught all 2nd grade classes how to make spine poetry. They took videos and still photos of it.

It was a great showcase of technology integration in action!

Digital Learning takes Forest North by Storm

On February 6, 2013, Forest North students and staff participated in what will become an annual tradition--Digital Learning Day. Librarian, Kristen Fournier, and Instructional Technology Specialist, Christy Fennewald, collaborated to create a Digital Learning Day to correspond to the National Digital Learning Day. Six speakers--all with jobs in the technology sector--came to Forest North to talk to Kinder through fifth grade students about careers in technology and the skills needed to make those careers possible. Students followed up with direct and specific questions for each speaker. Speakers varied from communication directors and graphic designers to computer engineers and video game creators.

Photo: Digital Learning Day! Woot woot!

With the help of the entire staff, students were given the chance to ask real professionals what digital skills are needed for the workforce of tomorrow.

Next year, Mrs. Fournier and Ms. Fennewald hope to bring in more speakers and extend some of the offerings. 

QR Codes make waves in Art

Art teacher, Angie Bell, is leading the way in QR Codes in Education. Recently, she had her students record themselves talking about their artwork using Vocaroo. With the URL that Vocaroo created, the students made QR codes. Now, with every piece of art work that is hung in the halls is a corresponding QR codes that links to an audio recording of the artist. How cool is that?

Ms. Bell made sure all QR codes were up and functioning in time for Family Night in order to showcase student work.

Check out some of the great examples!

Ms. Bell is just another example of digital learning in action at Forest North Elementary!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bringing the solar system to life!

Mrs. Talley's third grade class is wrapping up their solar system unit by making PowerPoint presentations a new way. With the help of Edmodo, students will upload their presentations to their own personal account where they can post and respond to one another. It is merging traditional presentations with 21st century communication. Now, students can go home and interact with their work!

Students work in groups to create the presentations.

However, students can individually post comments and share their resources in their online class space. Parents can now see this content too!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

ActivSlates meet Ms. Moore's Math Warm-ups

Third grade teacher, Ms. Moore, has figured out a way to make her math warm-ups a more interactive experience with the help of a Promethean ActivSlate.

Students begin by focusing on one math concept--today it was basic multiplication--for a few minutes at the beginning of math. Ms. Moore began by working out a problem with her ActivSlate while students watched. With the ActivSlate, she was able to move around the classroom while working on the problem.

Next, students got a turn to answer the problems--per Ms. Moore's selection.

Unlike working out a problem on the board or overhead, ActivSlates can be passed around from student to student and work can be saved.

Students took turns working out problems on the ActivSlates while their classmates joined on paper and Ms. Moore offered guidance.

The ActivSlate has become an everyday tool in Ms. Moore's class. It is seamlessly integrated and is an expectation of her students.

Stay tuned for more applications of the ActivSlate in the elementary classroom.