Typing Club, Share Jumper and Personal vs Private

The free 30 day trial for Cospaces is ending soon.  The fifth graders enjoyed using the platform so much, I chose to write a White Oak Education Foundation Grant to get funding for 150 licenses.  If and when the funding comes through, we will continue learning how to create AR and VR using Cospaces.  In the meantime, students will be learning how to touch type, or proper keyboarding technique using Typing Club.  The Typing Club platform called Typing Jungle varies the lessons between explanatory videos, skill practice, and games.  I am always surprised by student response.  Most students end up really enjoying the experience.  Some students start off frustrated and have a hard time moving past it.  There are over 600 lessons in Typing Jungle.  Students will complete 126 lessons.

The fourth graders will tackle the third model in Digital Passport. This module is called Share Jumper. It is a video game based website that reviews what information is not safe to share online.  When students complete all three levels, they earn a badge.

The third graders will review what constitutes personal information.  They will understand that a small section of personal information is not safe to share online without their parents’ permission.  Students will demonstrate their understanding by dragging the images of different types of personal information into the safe to share column or the not safe to share column on the Google Drawing posted in Google Classroom.  The image below shows the correct response.

As I predicted, some 5th graders cannot wait for next week’s opportunity to continue Typing Club, while some are dreading the torture. I know there is a huge controversy concerning the need for students to learn to touch type, but it is one of the Texas Technology TEKS for 3rd-5th grade.  I think it is important for students to at least be exposed to it.

Some of the 4th graders struggled with the Share Jumper module in Digital Passport because they are gamer challenged liked me.  I have a hard time getting my fingers to click the right keys while jumping and moving to the right or left. It was super simple for some, and very frustrating for others, but they all persevered and successfully completed the module.

I am very impressed with how quickly the 3rd graders have caught on to completing assignments in Google Classroom. Most of the students do not even have to grab their headphone bag to complete the assignment.  Students also quickly caught on to why some of their personal information should remain private online.


More Cospaces, Twalkers and Personal vs Private

Last week left 5th graders begging for more time with Cospaces, so this week they will be given the task to create a virtual space: zoo, museum, art gallery, etc. in their small groups.

The third graders will understand the difference between personal and private information when posting anything online.  Students will watch the Brain Pop video titled “Information Privacy.”  They will log in to Google Classroom and complete the activity Personal vs Privacy. Students will drag the image to the correct column. An image of the activity is posted below:

Fourth graders will sign in to Google Classroom and complete the activity from Digital Passport called Twalkers. After completing the module, students will screen capture the certificate and turn it in to Google Classroom.

I made some changes to the 3rd grade expectations last week due to another quick activity that needed to be assigned.  This year, White Oak Primary and Intermediate students will have the opportunity to participate in UIL events.  The coordinator for our campus asked me to create a form to gage interest.  I created the form in Google Forms and posted it as an assignment in Google Classroom.  Due to the fact that 3rd graders are new to Google Classroom, I decided to split the lesson for them in to two separate weeks.  This week they completed the UIL Interest Form and watched the Brain Pop video together as a class.  Next week we will review the need to keep some personal information private before completing the Google Drawing.

Cospaces, Licenses, and Passwords

This week we are very fortunate to have Jaime Donally, the author of “Learning Transported” and host of the ARVRinEDU website visit a 5th grade class to demonstrate using Cospaces for creating augmented and virtual reality.  Under her skillful leadership, students will be creating their own virtual environments on ipads borrowed from another teacher.  I will follow her example to teach the other 4 classes of 5th graders how to log in and create using Cospaces.

Third graders will be introduced to the unit on Digital Citizenship by watching the Who’s Driving? video.  After the video, students will discuss why it is important for people to have a license before driving a car.  Students will understand that a drivers license represents that the license holder has demonstrated they know the rules of the road and know how to be safe while driving a car.  After discovering the internet was initially called the “Information Superhighway”, students will relate how the internet can also pose dangers.  Those dangers require them to learn the “rules of the internet” to keep themselves and others safe. Students will sign in to Google Classroom and post a comment about one danger they may face on the internet. After completing the unit on Digital Citizenship, students will take a test to earn their web license.

Fourth graders will complete the Common Sense Digital Passport module called Password Protect.  The module takes them through the process to complete a strong password.  After completing the activity, students will screen capture the certificate and turn it in to Google Classroom.

WHAT A WEEK!  The 5th graders have been TOTALLY ENGAGED with Cospaces!  Their excitement and enjoyment have been amazing and inspirational!  I was a little concerned about following in Jaime Donally’s footsteps to engage with the other 5th grade classes.  I chose to have them sign in and create on the macbooks instead of borrowing ipads.  After the initial class, I also let them tell me how they wanted to be grouped.  I have been BLOWN AWAY by their creativity.  Here are just a few scenes:

The 5th grade social studies teacher, April McFall, is interested in creating a lesson plan for students to create a historical event using Cospaces.  I am currently using the free trial, which will expire October 19th.  I plan to write a grant through the White Oak Education Foundation to get a subscription for the year.


Who’s Driving?

The 4th and 5th graders will be taking their license test to renew their web license this week.  The test consists of 20 questions posted on a Google Form.  They will access it through a link in Google Classroom.  Students must score 100 percent to get their license back.  If they miss any questions, they may retake the quiz as often as needed.  Students receive initial instructions for being a good digital citizen while in the 3rd grade.  They then earn their web license by passing the web license test.  Licenses are taken up at the end of their 3rd and 4th grade year.   Before taking the quiz, students will participate in a discussion about the necessity for understanding the rules for being a good digital citizen.  Students will watch the video posted below and discuss these topics:

Is there anything in the video that concerns you?

Why is it a concern?

What needs to happen so there is no concern?

How does the video relate to you and your web license?

What dangers can be avoided by knowing the “rules of the road” for internet safety?

The 3rd graders will learn how to screen capture their screen (Command, Shift, 3) or a part of their screen (Command, Shift 4) and turn it in using Google Classroom.

The video ended up being the perfect tool to create a discussion of the importance of understanding the “rules of the road” in order to be safe while using the internet.  I have decided to use this video next week when I introduce the topic of Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety to the 3rd graders.  Most of the students were successful in renewing their web license during the class period.  I continued to use the small group method of instruction for the 3rd graders in teaching them how to create a screen capture and turn it in using Google Classroom.  I split the class into three small groups.



MakerSpace Magic

This week the 3rd graders will be introduced to our MakerSpace, while the 4th and 5th graders will review the organizational changes in the room and be reminded of the expectations for this activity. All students will sign in to Google Classroom, if for no other reason than getting in the habit of typing in their gmail address and password and signing out. In Google Classroom, students will find the three basic ways to engage with MakerSpace: (1) Creating something in the physical world using items from the MakerSpace Consumable crates and paper station, (2) creating something with MakerSpace activities that include hot wheels, cubelets, snap circuits, playdoh, cup stacking, marble maze, legos, and battery-powered car tracks, and (3) creating on their computer using Tuxpaint, Tinkercad for 3d printing models, animations, along with many other options. There are slides in the TechNeckSites site that contain how-to videos for origami, coding, circuits, crochet, and movie making.  Students will understand the expectation that they need to leave the room the way they found it before lining up to leave.

Students showed a great deal of responsibility in leaving the computer lab the way they found it after their time at the MakerSpace.  I adjusted my lesson plan with the 3rd graders by calling two students at a time to work with me on logging in to Google Classroom, completing the assignment, and then logging out.  I believe the time they are spending in small groups to learn the procedures for using Google Classroom is going to pay HUGH dividends the rest of the year.  I also changed the consequence for not logging out of Google Classroom.  One of my primary frustrations last year was having students fail to log out of Google Classroom.  I would stop everyone to remind them multiple times.  I began giving discipline marks.  Nothing seemed to work.  This year I told them if they are not responsible enough to follow the procedure, they will not have the privilege of going to MakerSpace or having free time on their computer.  I have been AMAZED at how effective that consequence has been.  After much consideration, I have decided to change the consequence.  If a student fails to sign out of Google Classroom, they will have to use their free time or miss some time in the MakerSpace to practice logging in and signing out ten times.  Below are scenes showing the variety of activities students were engaged in.  Click on the image to see a clearer view.

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