Time to Organize

This week students will be getting their headphone bags ready for use.  Students keep their headphones in gallon size ziplock bags.  In the bag is a sheet of paper that has their name, their teacher’s name, and their log in information for various things like email address and password, blog address and password, and other services like BrainPop and Facts4Me.  The homeroom teachers collected the headphones at Meet the Teacher night and placed them in the drawer that is kept in the computer lab.  This week students will be given the ziplock bag and headphone name card. They will take their headphones from the packaging (which sometimes requires an “act of Congress”) and place them in the ziplock bag with their name card.   I have been busy creating the cards with their information.  Like last year, this year I am using Document Studio, a Google Sheet Add-On.  The premium version is $29, but well worth it for the time it saves me.  Document Studio will pull the fields I request from a spreadsheet and merge it onto a Google Doc.  The spreadsheet I received of student information had their last name, first name in a single field.  I needed them separated.  Last year, I used the Add-On called Split Names.  That Add-On now costs $12 a year or $39.95 for unlimited use.  I did a quick google search for how to split a field and found out that functionality is ALREADY BUILT IN TO GOOGLE SHEETS! That’s right.  Simply choose the field you want to split, click on Data, and Split Text to Columns. Below is an image of the Google Doc template used to customize the sheet:

3rd Grade:  Third graders have not used Google Classroom in the lower grades because they do not have gmail accounts in the lower grades.  This week, students will understand how to access the link to Google Classroom, sign in using their gmail address and password, screen capture a portion of their screen and turn in the screen capture in Google Classroom.  Rather than walk them through it all together in front of the projector, students will be assigned to stations so that I might assist them in a smaller group.  Here are the stations:

Station 1:  Using the information from their name card, students will access the link to Google Classroom.  They will sign in by entering their gmail address and password.  Students will understand how to take a picture of a portion of their screen (Command, Shift, 4) and then turn that image using Google Classroom.

Station 2:  Students will take their headphones out of the package, throw the package away, and then place their headphones and name card in the ziplock bag provided. They will then have access to a computer where they can continue to explore the websites available at http://tinyurl.com/technecksites.

Station 3:  Students will explore an activity of their choice that are available during MakerSpace.  The activities include Snap Circuits, Cubelets, Playdoh, cup stacking, Legos, and Hot Wheels.  They will understand the importance of putting everything back where it belongs when their time is up.

Station 4: Students will view the video posted below as an introduction to our Digital Citizenship Unit.  After watching the video, students will use an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper and map pencils or crayons to make a quick poster of some aspect of the content in the video.

4th-5th Grade: After preparing their headphone bag, students will review for the test they will take to renew their web licenses by playing Kahoot. Students will log in to Google Classroom where they will have access to the link.

I adjusted the plan before the first class of 3rd graders came in this week.  As I was imagining the flow from station to station, I had a flashback from last year of how time consuming and difficult it is for the 3rd graders to sign in to Google Classroom.  I prepared the 3rd grade headphone bags ahead of time so all they would need to do is pick up their bag as they entered the room.  I then explained where in the room they would find the computer number they were assigned to.  I reviewed on the projector how to access the google slideshow with the designated sites they had access to: http://tinyurl.com/technecksites.  I dismissed all but 8 students to find their computer and get on a site they wanted to engage with while they waited their turn.  The small group sat with me as I walked them through the process of finding the bookmark to Google Classroom, signing in using the gmail address and password found on their headphone bag sheet, and then finding the assignment for the day: Introduction to Digital Citizenship.  Students plugged in their earbuds to watch the 4 minute video.  When all students had completed the video, I demonstrated on the projector how to indicate they had completed the assignment by clicking Mark as Done.  Students then learned the importance of signing out. After ensuring all students signed out properly,  I dismissed those students to engage with the designated websites and began working with the second group.  I worked with 3 small groups and managed to get all students rotated through the Google Classroom tutorial station before class was over.  It was a little stressful, but worked out SO much better than last year.  I really see the benefit of working with a small group of students when teaching a new concept.


Welcome Back, students!!!  I am excited about all the learning that will happen in the computer lab this year.  Our theme this year is It’s GO TIME based on various games.  You will see classroom decorated in different board game themes.  I chose the game OPERATION. As always, I HAD to include my 8 precious grandchildren in the decoration.  It makes me smile the minute I enter my classroom.  The door poster indicates which group of students may choose a ball to sit on.  I will switch the mask weekly. Here is a picture of me in my “costume” for beginning of the year pictures with Nurse Jones being silly.

I ran across a blog post this summer at https://www.byrdseed.com/talking-less-shocking-stats-on-what-students-can-hear/ that got me to thinking about the way I give instructions.  I LOVE to talk about things I am passionate about.  Give me a captive audience, and I can ramble on and on and on.  You get the picture.  I am passionate about my content, and if students are not what you consider a captive audience, I don’t know what is!  Hence, the problem.  I look forward to the first week of school because it gives me an excuse to ramble on and on about all the wonderful opportunities my students will have in technology.  I get to “tell” them what I expect of them. Due to the blog post I read, now I have a dilemma.  What to do, what to do?  THEN, I read this tweet:

That gave me an idea.  Could I give my students all the information they would normally hear me talk about by allowing them to go to stations and discover it for themselves?  One of the things I am nervous about is getting from them their choice for our Fun Friday Clubs.  We began Fun Friday Clubs a few years ago.  Clubs are held on the Friday the high school has a pep rally.  Teachers get to choose what activity they want to lead and students get to choose what club they want to participate in.  Being a technology teacher, I will see every student the first week of school, so I create a google form to collect that information.  For the past two years, I have included the form in a google classroom lesson where students access the form by logging in.  That has been problematic in the past, especially for the 3rd graders who have never had a school email account and are not familiar with google classroom.  This year, I will monitor a station where students fill out the form AND introduce themselves to me using FlipGrid.  They will be able to record a short video of themselves telling me their name, their homeroom teacher’s name, what they would like me to call them, and one thing they would like to do in technology.  I am looking forward to the chance to get to learn their names by watching their videos.

Here are the stations students will participate in:

Station 1 – Lego Challenge

Station 2 – Would You Rather Jenga

Station 3 – I’m Done/Now What  I will have a set of computers opened to my google slide mix of sites students may access when they have free time.  You can check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/technecksites.

Station 4 – FlipGrid introduction and Fun Friday Form – I will monitor this station

Station 5 – Arial’s Adventure AR

Station 6 – Find It Word Scramble Each team will pick up a form.  They will locate the places indicated in the room and place the letter above that place on their page.  When they have located each spot, a very important phrase will be revealed.

Below is a slideshow of the pictures I took of decorations and stations.  I will post a reflection below when the week is completed.

Thursday and Friday classes went well. I did have to make an adjustment to stations after my first class left.  Having students record themselves using FlipGrid was just too time intensive without them having prior knowledge of the application.  (They seemed to enjoy it immensely, however.) I was able to get the information regarding Fun Friday Clubs from all students, but it was a time crunch with my first group of students. I eliminated the FlipGrid activity and combined exploring the I’m Done, Now What webmix with the Fun Friday form.  Students rotated through five stations.  When all the students had made it to every station, they were then able to go back to their favorite activity until the class period was over.

Math Family Fun Night

White Oak Intermediate School, led by our math interventionist, Amy Banks, hosted a Math Family Fun Night on January 24, 2019.  Almost 100 students from the 3rd-5th grade, along with their parents and siblings,  participated in the activities planned by the grade level teachers: Loree Tatum, Shawna Casey, Stephanie Hunter, Laura Odom, Heather Brantley, and Shannon Ummel.  Students were rewarded with a hat pass for attending, and door prizes were given away.  Click on the images to link to additional resources for playing games using cards and dice and the slideshow of the event.

Crochet Snowballs for CASA

The newly formed Crochet Club at White Oak Intermediate was busy before Christmas break creating snowmen faces. The original intent was to deliver them to the pediatric unit of the local hospital. Instead, they were presented to Shelly Smith of East Texas CASA. Shelly used them to adorn Christmas gifts given for foster children. The pattern is included below the images.  The ski cap was created using the snowman head pattern. At row 10, create a row of double crochet, followed by another row of single crochet before tying off.

5th Graders Share the Gift of Reading

Public Disclosure:  The contents of this blog post is the brain child of 5th grade teacher, April McFall.  I am a casual observer, reporter, and amazed fellow educator!  Mrs. McFall created an amazing opportunity for our 5th graders to share the gift of reading with the PreK students in our building five years ago.  It has become a very important annual tradition.  In the past few years, her efforts have been supported by fellow 5th grade teacher, Shannon Ummel.  The fifth graders created Christmas alphabet books and number books for the PreK students.  They also illustrated them.  Mrs. McFall compiled them and packaged them in gift bags.  With the help of 5th grade parents, each PreK student will receive an originally authored and illustrated alphabet and number book along with a pair of pajamas and other books donated by teachers and parents. The fifth graders and PreK students met together in the computer lab for the exchange.


When students return from Christmas break, they will create a slideshow of their book to post on their own blog. You can enjoy their amazing creativity by clicking through the slideshows embedded below.
123 for Achilles

ABC for Achilles

123 for Addison

ABC for Addison

123 for Aurora

ABC for Aurora

123 for Brea

ABC for Brea

123 for Elijah

ABC for Elijah

123 for Ethan

ABC for Ethan

123 for Fannin

ABC for Fannin

123 for Jaiden

ABC for Jaiden

123 for Jo

ABC for Jo

123 for Keagon

ABC for Keagon

123 for Kenzley

ABC for Kenzley

123 for Kylee

ABC for Kylee

123 for Macee

ABC for Macee

123 for McKenna

ABC for McKenna

123 for Paisley

ABC for Paisley

123 for Ruston

ABC for Ruston

Our Own HPCF Acronyms

As a teacher, I am so grateful to my PLN.  I do not know how I could do this job without the sharing of ideas from not only my co-workers in my building, but also the wonderful educators I follow on Twitter.  Wes Fryer is one of those educators.  I am passionate about teaching Digital Citizenship to my 350+ students, and his resources on copyright have been invaluable to not only my own understanding, but my ability to convey what my students need to understand also.  I have used the creation of his daughter Rachel’s acronym Harry Potter Can Fly in my classroom for many years. This year, I decided to let my third graders come up with their own acronym.

Gifted/Talented Innovative Invention Convention

The fourth and fifth grade gifted/talented students are hard at work preparing for the Innovative Invention Convention hosted by Region 7 Education Service Center.  Students will leave around 8 a.m. next Monday, November 12th for the event.  Students need to wear a White Oak shirt and bring a sack lunch.  Region 7 requests that students make sure NO PEANUTS or PEANUT PRODUCTS be brought due to allergy possibilities. Any adults that plan on attending the event must register with the school by emailing Ashley McClanahan ([email protected]) by Wednesday, November 7th. Students will return to school around 2:30 p.m.

Compassionate Crochet Club

My co-worker and friend, Pam Cranford, taught me to crochet two years ago on our trip to TCEA in Austin.  More than once, I wanted to toss my yarn and hook out the window, but she encouraged me to persevere, so I stuck with it.  I was able to complete two messy bun beanies that trip.  When I returned home, I began seeing items crocheted out of plastic grocery bags.  I was intrigued.  What a wonderful way to recycle.  My first attempt was making ottomans, but after sitting on them awhile, they quickly lost their height and became big floor cushions.  I have alternative seating in my classroom, so the idea struck me to crochet seat cushions for my “tree stumps” since our theme this year is camping.

Some students also became intrigued and wanted to learn to crochet.  I posted some how to videos on our Makerspace webmix and began the process of teaching them the craft.  Once students are fairly proficient, we are going to start crocheting to meet some needs in our community.  I was inspired by the Magic Yarn Project, and realized we have needs right here at home.  The first project will be to crochet these smiley face balls to take to the pediatric ward of our local hospital at Christmas. I am excited about where this all may lead and the joy it will bring my students and the recipients of their labors of love!


Let the Internet Adventure Begin

We are six weeks into this new school year, so I am a little late in getting this post up.  Our theme for this year is camping.  In Technology, students will be going on a “Internet Adventure.”  I wanted to share pictures of my classroom, mainly to bless you once again with my cute grandchildren. By the way, I have added two since the beginning of last year!

I have discovered over the past 12 years of teaching, attention to ORGANIZATION and PROCEDURES are huge stress relievers.  I made two important organization decisions this year over previous years that have already paid huge dividends.  I am equipped with a lab of 28 macbooks.  Most of the computers are about 10 years old, and although they are laptops, they are not holding a charge for long.  I have to have all 28 plugged in. That means 28 cords!  Last year was frustrating because students would have the cords all tangled up by the end of the day.  This year I simply color-coded them with tape.  The number cards are in 5 colors, so students know to match the cord with their color tape closest to the computer with the color on their computer card number.

The next decision involves the Makerspace.  I have all the supplies in buckets that are labeled.  Those buckets sit in stacked crates.  Last year, most students were successful in putting the items back in the correct bucket, but they did not know where the buckets came from.  Great confusion and arguing ensued as a result.  This year, I split the tag that shows the supplies and taped one-half to the bottom portion of the bucket and the other half to the crate itself so it “matches up.”  Result: NO MORE ARGUING about where something belongs.

Here are my “tree trunk” alternative seats.  I love the way they turned out.  The cushions are crocheted from plarn (plastic Walmart bags).