Staying At Home

As of now per our governor, Gregg Abbot, we are staying at home for at least four more weeks.  I know this is not what any of us even imagined our “after spring break” classrooms would look like. I have posted assignments for all third through fifth graders in Google Classroom.  The assignments are voluntary and are using Tony Vincent’s Shapegrams to teach students how to use Google Draw.  I am checking Google Classroom daily for submitted assignments and have really enjoyed the creativity of my students.  I will make a slideshow of some of their drawings in the next week or two.  In addition to specific assignments, I  also added  a page to the TechNeck Site webmix that includes a link to a site to make your own merge cube and print out coloring pages that come alive when scanning with the Quivervision app.


Another announcements I added to Google Classroom is a link to a website that includes 25 Makerspace Project Ideas.  I have encouraged students to take picture of what they build and post to their blog.


Web License Test, Google Draw, and Typing Club

Third graders will be taking their web license test.  The test consists of 20 questions on a google form.  When they get all the answers correct, they will receive their web license.

Fourth graders will be exploring the attributes of polygons by learning to draw with the symbols in google draw.  Students will access watch this video from Tony Vincent:

Students will then click on the link to the drawing to get their own copy and try it for themselves.

Fifth graders will be signing in to Typing Club to attempt to complete the first 126 lessons.  This platform has been perfect to engage my students in learning how to touch type.  We use the free version, and it has been an important part of their technology education.  The employees are very friendly and helpful.  I stop by their booth every February in the exhibit hall while at TCEA.

Kahoot Part 2, Symmetry Activity, Gift Blog Post

This week, third graders finished the review for their web license by answering the last 10 questions in Kahoot.  Students stay engaged the entire time when we use this platform to review material.  We will see next week how well it paid off when they take their test for their web license.

Fourth graders are learning about horizontal and vertical symmetry.  One of my favorite activities I remember doing in elementary school (over 50 years ago!) was a symmetry activity.  We folded a sheet of paper in half to make a crease, unfolded the paper and wrote our name in cursive with a lead pencil on the folded line, then folded the paper back up to rub the lead from the marked side to the unmarked side. We used a black marker to trace the pencil lines and then got to decorate our drawing.  Mine looked something like this:


I wanted to recreate that experience for my students and have them post it to their blog.  Most of my students have not learned to write in cursive, and it requires extra steps to post something they have created on paper.  Instead, students opened TuxPaint and used the Magic Tool, Kaleidoscope, to draw a picture.  Once complete, they used the Line Tool to draw the vertical and horizontal line of symmetry.  After screen capturing the image, they posted it to their blog.  Here is one student’s creation:

Fifth graders posted their Gift of Reading slideshow to their own blog.  I love the fact they get to keep a digital copy of their creation to share with family, friends, and the world!

Kahoot Review, Symmetry, and the Gift of Reading

Students will be working on these assignments for the week ending January 17th:

3rd Grade – Students will review for their web license test by playing Kahoot.  There are 20 questions on the test, so the review will be broken down in to 10 questions per session to allow time for discussion and clarification.  Students LOVE reviewing this way.

4th Grade – Several years ago, the 4th grade teachers requested I cover some math vocabulary if time permitted.  This week, students will understand what symmetry means.  They will watch this video before doing an assignment to demonstrate their understanding:

For the activity, students will access a copy of a google sheet that shows the alphabet.  Students will determine if the letter is vertically symmetrical and/or horizontally symmetry by placing an X in the cell.  If the answer is incorrect, the cell will turn red.  If the answer is correct, the cell will turn green.  As a final self check, students will count the letters that are asymmetrical and type the number in the cell provided that is colored red.  When the answer is correct, the cell will turn green.  Students will not submit (or TURN IN) their sheet if there are any red cells. The google sheet was made using conditional formatting.  I learned this trick from Alice Keeler.  Click on the image below to get a link to force a copy of the google sheet I assigned:

5th Grade: 5th graders created Christmas alphabet books and Christmas counting books to gift to our PreK students before Christmas.  Students were assigned groups where they created couplets and illustrated the pages.  There were 15 counting books and 15 alphabet books.  Students will access the images shared with their group of the pages they created.  They will create a google slideshow displaying one image per page.  Next week, students will share their creations with the world by posting them to their blog.  Here is just one example:


Welcome Back!

This week students will only be in the lab for enhancements on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Monday was a student holiday and Thursday and Friday all intermediate students will be completing benchmark tests in math and reading.  Students will post the following image on their blog and describe which saying represents how they feel about coming back to school and why.

Countdown to Christmas

The fourth and fifth grade students did a fantastic job on creating their Countdown to Christmas videos.  Students used Tuxpaint to create their own background image for the animation.  Below is a compilation of their images made into a Christmas quilt to decorate the computer lab door.

Students inserted the image in a Keynote slide and created 3 textboxes: a number, days until, and Christmas.  Students then used the Build In animation tool to animate the countdown.  The 15 best animations were chosen to be featured in our Morning Announcements.  You can see them by looking on this page or by checking them out on the Morning Announcements youtube channel at  Embedded below are two examples of the student created count downs.

My students and I hope you had a very Merry Christmas.  Below are images of the decorations from the computer lab.

The Power of Words

The Power of Words is the last lesson in the Digital Citizenship unit from Common Sense Media for third graders.  This lesson focuses on what I call digital conduct.  Students understand that words matter.  After watching the video below, students discuss how words can hurt.  I tell students this can be a hard lesson to talk about, because the subject of cyberbullying and its effects have to be addressed.  Students have to understand that using the internet to bully someone is now considered a criminal offense and can result in students being confined to a juvenile detention facility.

Fourth graders finished their digital citizenship review by completing Commons Sense Media’s Digital Passport module called Search Shark.  In this module, students learned how to receive more productive search results by using specific words or phrases.

The fifth graders continued working through the first 126 lessons in Typing Club.

Creator’s Rights and Responsibilities

Third graders will be understanding the terms copyright law, fair use, public domain, Creative Commons, and why knowing those terms are important to them this week in the computer lab.  Students will watch Common Sense Media‘s video on Copyright and Fair Use posted below.

Then they will watch the video to help them understand how the Creative Commons license allows creators to release their work to the public but still retain certain rights like not being able to change it in anyway, not being able to profit off of it, requiring attribution be given, and/or requiring the user also share with the same kind of license their work.

Finally, students understand their need to follow the steps represented in the acronym HPCF: Harry Potter Can Fly.  This poster was created by Wes Fryer‘s daughter.  I use it every year to help students understand the concept.

H – Homemade
P – Public Domain
C – Creative Commons
F – Fair Use

Finally, students will log in to Google Classroom and take the quiz included in the Common Sense Media lesson called Creator’s Rights and Responsibilities.

Even though copyright can be a difficult subject for even adults to grasp, I am always amazed at how quickly these young students get the concept of copyright.

Amazing Creation

This was created by a 5th grader during Makerspace today.  He created this from his own imagination, not a pattern.  I am encouraging him to create Lego patterns for others to follow.

Rings of Responsibility and Countdown to Christmas

This week, third graders will understand Rings of Responsibility in regards to their behavior online and offline.  This lesson comes from Common Sense for Education.  Students will watch this video:

After discussing the lesson, students will post this image to their blog.

They will complete the lesson by taking the quiz included in the Common Sense curriculum.

Fourth and fifth graders will begin creating an animated slide using Keynote on their macbook to help count down the days until Christmas.  The first step will be to create their own Christmas scene in Tuxpaint to use as a background in Keynote.  The best countdowns will be featured in Morning Announcements during the month of December. Below is an example:

The Rings of Responsibility lesson from Common Sense Media was a perfect opportunity to explain to students how their actions not only affect themselves, but their community and possibly the world.  I shared the story of the two young women who posted a picture of themselves on social media at the tomb of the unknown soldier while making an obscene jester.  Those young women did not THINK about how that picture would go viral and affect all the millions of people on social media who had a lost a loved one fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.  That one simple action caused a major backlash from the “world” and almost ruined one young ladies’ life!  I believe students understand now how vitally important it is to consider the Rings of Responsibility before they post anything online.