Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Age Reading at Forest North

Recently, several Forest North classes began using the Google Chrome app, Newsela, to supply students with non-fiction texts at specific reading levels.

Mrs. Rhea's third grade class is using the site (that allows teachers to manage classes and assign readings) to teach mini lessons, differentiated instruction and intervention.

Parent connection: Another intervention teacher, Mrs. Cardenas, uses it with her 6th grade Autistic son on his ipad when they are on the road or for "brain breaks." With her 3rd grader, she uses it to practice fluency and comprehension. Teachers can also recommend parents to use it as a resource to track their child's comprehension because it allows the parents to create their own "class" profile for free.

Stay tuned as we chronicle other classroom and at-home connections with Newsela!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Music class takes one giant note forward

Through the generous support of the Forest North PTA, Mrs. Hermansen was recently able to purchase a software and DVD package from "Quaver's Marvelous World of Music" called The Essentials Kit. This kit offers 30 units that cover all the required curriculum for music: music theory (reading and writing music), instruments and ensembles, composers and music history, and music styles. Each unit includes a video on DVD, plus a wealth of online resources. One of the most exciting resources included with each unit is a set of interactive whiteboard activities, which are really fun and engaging for the kids. The videos are also very entertaining as well as informative. Some of the best features of the Essentials Kit are several virtual composing and recording studios, teaching students to create music in many different styles, from classical to rock to rap to jazz. There is also a fun section called "Bach's Brain" that helps students get to know six of the most famous composers throughout history. In another section, students can explore an interactive "World Map of Music" that introduces kids to a huge array of music and instruments from all over the world. Best of all, there is a free kid's area on the "Quaver's Marvelous World of Music" website that students can explore at home, which includes games, a virtual recording studio, and much more. 

Mrs. Hermansen and her class are anxiously preparing to dive into this wonderful new music resource at Forest North! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

First Annual i 3 Tech Fest Connects Parents, Teachers, & Students

Students, parents, and teachers at Forest North, Deer Park, and McNeil held the first annual i<3 Tech Fest at McNeil High School on February 12.

Prior to the event, students, parents, and teachers submitted ideas of topics they would like to teach others in their respective groups. Some students wanted to set up a booth on Scratch to teach other students how to us Scratch while some parents wanted to set up a booth on gaming to teach parents how to get students to create games. Topic suggestions ranged from "Elf Yourself" and Google Calendar to Javascript.

Though quaint, the event connected parents, teachers, and students and gave each a chance to teach and learn. Parents left with an understanding of Home Access and a student-produced app, QuickHAC, that can aide in grade-monitoring. Meanwhile, students learned of a gaming site called Game Salad that features tutorials and other best practices. Parents also left with ideas on how to use Google Calendar to manage family schedules. Stay tuned for more updates from the event!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2nd Annual Digital Learning Day Celebration Takes Off

On Thursday, February 6, Forest North marked the second annual digital learning day. The day was filled of learning!

At the start of the day, fourth grade students piled in to learn from Mr. Koester about video game design and software engineering. Next, other fourth grade students learned from Mr. Tolleson about graphic design and the design process. First grade students learned from Mr. Kumar who presented on cloud computing while second grade students learned from Mr. England who taught on civil engineering - the waterworks system and the roadway system. Third grade students learned from Mrs. Loy who presented on the app design process while fifth graders finished up the day with a presentation by Mr. Rhea on video game design.

After each presentation, students attended a career fair put on by the fifth grade students. Fifth grade students came dressed as their future career and presented Google Presentations on the necessary steps needed to make it in their careers.

Stay tuned as we post our favorite examples of technology integration to our Edmodo group this month.We will also hold a Hangout On-Air series to bring experts into the classrooms. Lastly, students have been given a list of reading material to help compliment the presentations they learned today.

Check out the first round of digital learning day here!

More updates will follow!