Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Collaborating with Google Presentations

Sixth grade students in Ms. Bridgers' science classes at New Century Middle School used Google Presentations to collaboratively create a presentation about selected Biomes. One student created the presentation and shared it with the other group members. Each group member could then work on his/her part of the presentation.

Good Classroom Practice: Appoint one person on each team as the project manager. The project manager should be the one that creates the beginning project and shares it with all team members. The project manager ensures that the design is coherent and all requirements of the project have been included in the final product. I always like to stress that the project manager is not the one that does all the work.

I had the opportunity to visit this classroom during some of the presentations. Ms. Bridgers had her students present to the class. Students should be given time to present because it encourages them to develop their speaking skills which is important for any career path. Ms. Bridgers also facilitated active listening skills by sharing a note template through Google Drive. 

Good Classroom Practice: Encourage active listening by creating a template in Google Drive and sharing it with all students. Students can use this template to take notes as student groups are presenting. Don't forget to remind your students to make of copy of your template before taking notes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No Clickers? No Problem!

No Clickers? No Problem!
Try Plickers a New Tool for Student Engagement!

   Plickers is a digital tool that works a lot like clickers or responders. Although, an actual clicker/responder is not needed for student response. Each student is assigned a card with a Plicker code that contains answer choices A-D.  A student's answer choice will be determined by the direction in which the card is held. 

Sample Plicker Bar Graph Response
Sample Plicker Card

   Plickers are an inexpensive alternative to student clickers/responders, and work in much the same way. After each student response is recorded by the teacher scanning the room with a mobile device, a bar graph of student response data will be given. Plickers are a fantastic way to assess student understanding of a given topic in a fast, easy, and inexpensive way!

~Deanna Spizzirri

Friday, April 25, 2014

Promoting Student Voice with Chromebooks

One huge benefit we've found in deploying Chromebooks on a large scale is that they are so much easier to manage than any other device we've used in the past (PC's, Macs, iPads, etc.).  One of the excellent features of Google Apps Admin is the ability to easily create a district-specific App Store within the larger Chrome Web Store Environment (if you'd like to read more on how to do this, click here for a tutorial).  Our store is called "Moore@School".

The way we set up our Chromebooks for app downloads is in two tiers- staff and students:  
Staff:  Any staff member has full rights to view and download ANY app from the wider Chrome Web Store.

Students:  All students can VIEW apps on the wider Chrome Web Store and have access to download and install any apps within our "Moore@School" store.

So how do we promote more student voice within our district?  Well, we give all students an opportunity to request an app to be placed within the Moore@School store. All students have to do is go to this page and fill out this form to request an app to be loaded.  I get a notification of the request, download and test the app, then approve or deny it.  Once it is approved, I email the student back to thank them and let them know of it's approval, then push it out to our web store.  This entire process- from my email dinging with a notification to the app showing up for download in the web store takes less than 5 minutes.

We've seen great benefits from this already!  The students are doing an outstanding job of providing sound reasoning and justification for their app choices.  Here are just a few excerpts from apps that were requested and approved:

App Request:  Caret  (Requestor: Garret K)

"This app is a text editor. I am trying to write html and javascript code on my chromebook but the text app has a very hard to use interface and doesn's make a whole lot of since. After every opening tag it adds a two space indention that you have to remove to had a closing tag to keep your text aligned. I'm on the search for the best text editing app on the web store."

App Request:  Cacoo  (Requestor:  Cheyenne)

"I think cacoo should be add to Moore County Schools because it is a app that would help us in math and science and reading. Cacoo can help us in science because we are learning about plants. In reading we do flow charts that help us draw conclusions It can help us in math because we plot coordinates on a coordinates plane. It can help us in social studies because we do timelines. Thank you for taking our suggestion."

App Request:  (Requestor:  Brittany)

"I believe students of Moore County Schools should be able to access the app I believe this because it’s a very useful and educational app. The 6th-8th grade students of Highfalls Elementary School are working on learning graphing and calculating functions. In this utility you are able to use exponents which would be very useful for the upcoming years. The reviews on this app are “excellent graphing utility” and ”quite amazing”. can help us in many ways such as with completing tasks. Also, it allows easy work formation, and allows you to plot and design your own graphical unit. It has more functions that are still new to the app and it is easily used. By having this tool we would be able to use less paper by graphing parallelograms, trapezoids, and polygons through the app. Thank you for considering my suggestion."

If you're interested in seeing how our app list has grown, check out this page and scroll to the embedded G Doc toward the bottom.

We've been able to be responsive to student needs, have been exposed to a lot of great new apps, and students are able to have a positive impact on the rest of the students in our county- a true win for increased student voice!

Teacher Feature

For this week's Teacher Feature I would like to recognize science teacher Randy Brady from North Moore High School in Robbins, NC.

Mr. Brady is a veteran in the science department at North Moore and has incorporated technology into his lessons for years.  As a technology "go-to" at NM for years, Mr. Brady has been leading the way with the 1:1 Chromebook Digital Conversion.  Mr. Brady has really taken advantage of the students in his class having access to digital technology by using web tools such as Kahoot!, Discovery Education and the Google Suite of tools (Docs, Forms, Presentations, Spreadsheets, etc.).

One of Mr. Brady's favorite tools is Discovery Education.  Using the Writing Prompt Builder tool within Discovery Education, Mr. Brady is able to share video clips with students.  Students then watch the videos at their own pace and then explain their understanding by responding to questions he provides about the video.  This increases content knowledge while increasing students communication skills through writing/typing.

I want to thank Mr. Randy Brady for being a leader in Moore County Schools and the North Moore community throughout the entire Digital Conversion process.  His enthusiasm for learning is contagious and helps calm the nerves of those fearful of digital learning.  If you would like to contact Mr. Brady click here.


Tyler Callahan

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Students at Elise Middle School Show Off Their Chormebook Skills!


   As students and teachers continue to explore the possibilities with the Chromebook, they will find many ways it can be used to enhance instruction! Mrs. Reynold's 7th graders at Elise Middle School, were instructed to develop a product, and make a video commercial. To create their video, Mrs. Reynolds' students used WeVideo, where they were able to edit and add effects. 

   Click on the links below to check out some stellar student work with WeVideo!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Promote Student Literacy Collaboration with Subtext!

Do you:
  • Want FREE articles and books for your students?
  • Want to start student online literature groups, or book clubs?
  • Want to not worry about misplaced, or lost school books?
With, various types of literacy collaboration are possible!! 

Tips for Teachers:
  • Works with your account
  • Works with the app Diigo, which allows for online highlighting, note-taking, and communication between readers.
  • Material on, compliments any content area!
Happy reading!
~ Deanna Spizzirri

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

6 Quick and Easy Ideas to use Fresh-Out-of-the-Box Chromebooks

So you've gotten a class set of Chromebooks. Now what?  

Check out 6 easy ideas you can take and use with students while your laptops still have that new Chromebook smell:

1. Research and Note-Taking with Google Docs:  Students research topic(s) and record notes into Google Doc to share with others or save for themselves.

2. Vocabulary Work:  Students create a Google Doc of words and research definitions, record in own words, and insert visual representations for each word.

3. Create and Share with Drawings:  Using Google Drawings, students create posters, flyers, handouts, signs, etc.  Can do solo or invite group members to a shared document.

4. Jigsaw with Google Presentations:  In small or large groups, one student creates a Google Presentation and shares with other members.  Each member is then assigned one piece of the larger puzzle to create a new slide to report back what they learned.

5. Quick Feedback / Backchannel TodaysMeet:  Create a chat room and allow students to use space to respond to questions, reflect on presentations or videos as a group, or stage lively debates.

6. Play, Explore, and Create: Allow students to explore web apps for music/video/animation production.  Great ones to play with that are easy to get rolling:  uJam, Wevideo, Animoto, Picmonkey, and Voki.