Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hour of Code!

How do computers work?  Since students are unable to see the millions of lines of code that make up every program on their computer, it's easy to believe it's simply magic that makes it work.  The Hour of Code is a global movement aimed at teaching kids from 4 - 104 the basics of coding.  This year, the Hour of Code will reach tens of millions of people.  The students in Lori Keller's fourth grade classroom participated this year. According to her:
The kids had a great time on They learned to add characters, voice, and animation to different scenes.  We loved the Hour of Code!
Anyone can learn to code through a variety of programs online. Visit our student  webpage and click on Hour of Code to explore some of these resources.

What do you see?

In first grade, Mrs. Patterson's class is observing objects in the day and night sky.  They are using the Stellarium planetarium program to further their understanding.  Students could find the sun's location in "real time," as well as go back in time to preview the night sky on previous days. It's a fun, informative way to interact with objects in the night sky.

It's called a cell?

The first grade students in Mrs. Fuch's class learned about Excel. They were very excited to learn that the "boxes" were called cells.  In the course of one lesson, they learned how to enter information into Excel, shade boxes, and add patterns to other boxes.

Students are learning about different ways to add, including facts that are doubles (6+6) and facts that are doubles plus 2 (6+8).  According to Mrs. Fuchs,
The original lesson said to write a number line on the board and put check above the numbers that were the sums for doubles facts, "x's" for the sum of double plus 2 facts.  I decided to do the number line in Excel, shade the boxes for the sum of doubles and add a pattern to the sums of the plus 2 facts.  We will discuss the number patterns we see to make a connection for computational fluency using these two comparisons.  
Mrs. Fuch's students are learning how to harness technology to further their understanding in math.  Awesome!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Giggling Through Poetry

Fourth grade students used several different technologies to encourage her students' appreciation of poetry.  Her students received an email with instructions for a poetry assignment from her.  They viewed and read poems on the website  After spending time perusing many poems, the students chose two poems they liked best. They had to determine if their selections were lyrical or free verse and then type a brief summary about each poem.  These summaries were shared on Google Drive so others could read them.   According to Mrs. Scott,
The kids enjoyed reading the responses written by their peers and seeing if they chose similar poems as their favorites. 
Exploring poetry through technology enhances the students' engagement and allows them to share their learning.  Way to go, fourth grade!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Third Grade Communicates Electronically

Mrs. Plowman and Valerie Rollans worked with Mrs. Plowman's third grade students to teach them how to use their district email accounts.  According to Mrs. Plowman:
My students were so excited today to feel like such older kids to have an email account. They were talking all morning today and saying, "At 11:00 we get our email!" Of course, the first people they emailed were myself and Ms. Rollans. I enjoyed seeing their excitement and independence at being able to communicate with technology. When we returned to the room, they told me, "Check your email! How many did you get?" The messages were so sweet and conveyed their genuine appreciation at being able to do this. I also communicated with their parents that they received their email accounts. I hope this helps with communication among all.
We are so proud of our third grades as they practice their writing skills in an authentic situation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Missions, Presidios, & Early Towns

Fourth graders recently completed a web quest over missions, presidios, and early towns in social studies.  This was an interesting way to learn facts about early settlement in Texas.  Thanks Mrs. Williamson for sharing this activity with us.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Future Advertising Executives?

Advertising Executives?

Fifth grade students worked in small groups to bring history alive by becoming advertisers for one of the 13 original colonies of the United States. Students had to analyze information from the textbook to determine the pros and cons of moving to the colony to which they were assigned.

McKade, Jacob, Trevor and Justin from Ms. Eskridge’s
homeroom working together to design a commercial for colonial Massachusetts.

Groups of fifth graders had to collaborate to create a billboard and a commercial to complete an “advertising campaign” to convince their classmates to want to move to their colony. Students in Ms. Eskridge’s and Mrs. Reynold’s homerooms used the Google App called “WeVideo” to record, compile, edit and present their projects to the class. We had to learn not only how to use the app itself, but also how to troubleshoot microphone/ camera issues!

Eliana, Gaby, Shreya, Naya and Natalie from
Mrs. Reynold’s homeroom use the WeVideo app 
out in the hallway to record their commercial!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Learning Together Is Better In Round Rock

"Wait, I think you click here to insert the picture."  Second grade has been learning about the history and importance of Round Rock, Texas.  After researching Round Rock through the official Round Rock website and watching videos about the history of Round Rock, the students created a brochure about the city.

The best part of the brochure creation was that students partnered up to create it.  The student and their partner each used one computer and helped remind the other about facts they have learned in addition to what steps were needed to create the brochure in Publisher. The conversations we heard among the students showed the depth of their involvement.  We were very impressed with our hard working second graders!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Texas Our Texas

"I found a picture of a mocking bird! Did you know it's the state bird?"  Our first grade students were so excited to get to use Publisher to create a brochure about Texas.  They found clip art relating to Texas then inserted and re-sized the pictures. They also included several facts about Texas they had researched.

Way to go, first grade!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The World Would Be a Better Place...

Have you thought about what you can do to make the world a better place?  Fourth grade is contemplating how they can impact the world in a positive way.  They are using Google Docs to create new written pieces and share their ideas with their classmates and teacher.  They can choose to enter the PTA Reflections contest with their master pieces.

We hope they discover that the world will be a better place if we can all share our ideas in a productive, safe manner.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fourth grade collaborating in Social Studies

Welcome to our second student blogger!  Connor is in Mrs. Germany's class. In Mrs. Platte's class the students worked in groups to learn about Native American tribes.  Connor documented their work through pictures and captions. Enjoy!

Today we worked on a project about Native Americans in S.S. and printing out pictures. Everyone worked on a different project.

We worked on a work sheet using a website on the internet.

We had fun working in groups and using google chrome’s drive

Monday, October 6, 2014

Fourth grader tells us how she uses technology in her life.

This year, we are starting a technology blogging club where students can write about how they use technology in their lives.  The goal is to allow our students to analyze their own technology use and connect with the world outside of our campus in an authentic way.  Our first entry is from Baovy, a fourth grader in Mr. Bilski's class.  Below are her words:

Hi my name is Baovy and I am going to tell you about how we use technology in our life.My mom works with a computer as a job.And my teacher uses the internet to show us learning videos. We use the computer to play learning games. Then we can do things for fun like playing games.

Friday, October 3, 2014

No More Boring Morning Routines

The whiteboard assignments greeting students every morning--simple and impersonal but the only way teachers had to communicate those important morning jobs and information.  But one fifth grade teacher has found a way to break that cycle!  Lori Corbett writes the following about her class:
When the students enter the classroom, they read my daily  Edmodo post/message on the screen. The messages may contain things happening that particular day, journal response topics, as well as directions for them to complete. The kids later type their responses  after logging into their Edmodo accounts during the school day or when they get home. They seem to enjoy seeing how their peers responded.
Students are able to interact with Miss Corbett and each other in a way they couldn't before technology came along. By using Edmodo, Miss Corbett's students are seeing how people can collaborate in a business setting and helping each other to seek first to understand and then be understood.  Way to go Miss. Corbett's class for such amazing work!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Building Writers: I don't have to retype it all?

"How do I make an exclamation mark?"  Excellent question!  First grade learned how to manipulate MS Word to help in the editing process of their writing. The students explored the keyboard and learned how to make capital letters, question marks, and exclamation marks in an authentic writing situation. They were delighted when they discovered that they could save their work so they could edit it later. We worked on re-reading our stories and going back in and adding words to make sure the sentences made sense.  The students synergized and showed their neighbor each new amazing discovery they made.  Congratulations first grade on becoming better writers.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What would you do if you made the news? Fourth grade thinks about it

Mrs. Scott's fourth grade students used Padlet, an online brainstorming tool to answer that very question.  Read about all about how Mrs. Scott is incorporating technology to do amazing things in her classroom!

I posed a question to my students on the
Along with the question was an example for the students to know the proper way to type their response to my question. The kids really like choosing where they will type their responses as well as viewing what others have typed. 

One of the jobs in my classroom is the TECH KID. 
The Tech Kid of the Day is in charge of showing their peers as well as any visitors that enter our classroom during the day the padlet, as well as informing the visitors how to type their responses. 

It was exciting to see all of the responses from the assistant principals who chose to come to my classroom as they were visited our campus for the Assistant Principals' Meeting last Tuesday.

Here is the padlet that I created:

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Grade Scientists

Did you know that scientists use tools to study the world around them? They ask questions and run experiments to find out the answers.  There are many famous scientists too!  Mrs. Patterson's first grade class is learning about scientists and what scientists do.  When they came into the computer lab, they used Kidspiration to write about what they have learned.  They were able to find pictures to represent ideas and then write about those pictures. The students also learned how to print their mind maps.  We had a great time using our laptops to show what they learned.

Difficult Tasks in Kindergarten

Mrs. Woodfin's kindergarten learned one of the hardest computer skills they will learn all year long last week. They learned how to log in.  The students had to learn how to make a large V with their fingers to hit Ctrl and Alt at the same time and then practice hitting Delete at the same time.  They worked very hard to understand what a username and a password was and then where to put each in as they logged in.  They practiced patience and used that patience as Mrs. Woodfin and Mrs. Rollans helped individual students. They then had to practice more patience as the computers logged them in.  Way to go Mrs. Woodfin's kindergarten classroom for learning such an important and difficult task!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Show Me Where You Found That

First graders in Mrs. Glaspie's class learned about giving credit where credit is due.
Students have been researching the animal of their choice on and will produce a report on this animal.  So that the reader will be aware of where the information came from, students made sure to go to PebbleGo and print the website citation for use in their report.
Way to be good digital citizens, first grade!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Share!

Fourth graders have had a lot of practice sharing this Google, that is.  They started the year becoming familiar with Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and all it can do.  Once they mastered the creation of products (docs and presentations for example) of their own, they began sharing documents with their teachers, a small group and even their whole class!

In Mrs. Scott's class, a group of students used the comments feature in to peer edit their writing.  This allowed them to type their writing assignment in a Google Doc, share it with the teacher and another student, then have a running copy of comments on the writing.  A couple of students even shared it with their parents who then gave their input as well.

Example of Narrative by S. Ganesh

Another example of sharing came from the writing classes as students were asked to read a play and a non-fiction text then use a Venn Diagram (again in Google) to compare/contrast them.

Literary and Information Texts
Venn Diagram

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Showing Equal Parts in First Grade

Mrs. Fuchs' first graders incorporated math, writing and technology into one lesson when they created shapes with equal parts in MS Word then described them in writing.  Well done, first grade!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Google it up!

In second grade, students study communities.  They learn about the wants/needs, producers/consumers and goods/services that go into building a successful community for people to work in, live in and enjoy.  After learning and discussing, students were asked to put their knowledge to use by working in a small group to create their own community.

Once they had decided on what would be a part of their community, they drew it out then used their information to create a Google Presentation to promote their community.  Here are a couple of examples from Mrs. Reyes' class:

Tell Me About Texas

Students in Mrs. Fuchs' first grade class combined research with media literacy when they created a brochure in MS Publisher to tell folks about how great Texas is.  Here are a couple of examples:

Let's Learn About Native Americans

Students spent two weeks researching five of the different Native American regions in groups.  They researched information and created craft projects that depicted the Native Americans in their region of study.  As a final produce, students worked with their teachers to record a final research report using a program called PhotoStory.  Here are finished products from Mrs. Young's and Mrs. Bond's classes:

Mrs. Young

Mrs. Bond

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hanging Out with Illustrator Rafael Rosado

Illustrator Rafael Rosado was scheduled to visit Blackland Prairie on January 28th, but weather forced him to reschedule.  Because he lives in outside of Texas and couldn't rearrange his schedule to return to visit us, he joined us this week via a Google Hangout.

Mr. Rosado is the illustrator of the Texas Bluebonnet third place book, Giants Beware.  During the hangout, Mr. Rosado showed third and fourth grade students how he creates his drawings and gave them step-by-step instructions on how to draw, Claudette, his main character from Giants Beware!  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hanging Out with Connected Classrooms

Mrs. Masters' 5th grade class was recently chosen to participate in a Connected Classrooms Google Hangout with The Wilderness Classroom.

During this Hangout, students were joined by Dave and Amy Freeman, wilderness explorers and dogsled guides, from their home in the Northern tundra of Minnesota.  The Freeman's took the students through an introduction of what it takes to be a dogsled guide, how to prepare for a trek, prepping the dogs, how the dogs live, and more!  Mr. Freeman will finish up with a virtual dogsled ride using Google Glass.
Source:  The EdReach Network.

Because they were chosen as participants, Mrs. Masters' class had the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters and, the case of the Google Glass demo, experience the virtual field trip first hand.  Connected Classrooms is a Google+ Community that organizes virtual field trips (VFT) and makes them available to classrooms throughout the world.
Here is the link for this VFT - Connected Classrooms:  Dogsledding Through Glass with the Wilderness Classroom.

We look forward finding more VFT's for our students to participate in...thanks to Mrs. Masters' class for showing us how easy and fun VFT's are!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who's your favorite author?

Fourth graders here at Blackland Prairie can tell you all about their favorite author after completing research about them.  After choosing their author, students used Google Drawing and the research tool in Google to find 5 facts, a photo, and at least 3 books written by the author.  What made this so easy is that the research tool is to the right of the drawing page.  This tool not only makes it easy to find a picture or information, but it will also cite the information so students learn about giving credit when using somebody else's information.

Here are a some of the finished products...

By Julian

By Jacob

By Annabelle
Well done, fourth grade!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mrs. Young's SMARTies

Mrs. Young's class learned about fractions and poetry today using the SMART Board.  SMART Boards are interactive white boards that allow students to be active participants in the lesson.  The students had fun moving items in the interactive games and "writing" on the board with the integrated pens.