Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Engaging Students using Kahoot!

Story provided by +Vanessa Simon, Second Grade Teacher, Barbers Hill Elementary School North 

Using the Kahoot app on our Nexus tablets, my students were fully engaged in a grammar review lesson. I immediately saw the need for a quick re-teach. Afterwards, students were successful, while being very competitive, identifying and applying different parts of speech. 
I did not have to create the quiz, although I could have. In fact there were many age appropriate ones already available.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Google Hangout Overview

Are you new to Google Hangout or want to know more? Take a few minutes to watch this video created by +Sebastian Lopez, Jr. using PowToon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Google Classroom, Choir and MP3 Files

Story provided by Susannah Moorman, Choir, Barbers Hill High School

Using Google Classroom has made learning choir music much more efficient!

For one assignment, I had the students record a small portion [the main melody] of a piece of music and submit it using Google Classroom. These recordings enabled me to hear, and therefore correct, any problem areas in the music. 

One evening I posted a new singing assignment at home from my phone. The assignment went from 'idea' to 'posted' in minutes. In fact, one student was online and posted a question almost immediately! I was amazed. 

We are also using MP3 files for students to use while rehearsing their singing parts for class and for our competition music. This has saved both time and money, as we no longer make CD's for students to use at home or in class. 

Thanks, Google Classroom for making my teaching streamlined and more efficient!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Google Mystery Hangout - Geography Style!

Story provided by +Kelly Koonce, Third Grade Teacher, Elementary School North

Our class put our geography skills to work as we "hung out" with a mystery class from California! During the Hangout, each class took turns asking yes or no questions using geography skills. We asked where the mystery class was located in relation to the oceans, other neighboring states and countries, and nearby mountain ranges. Even without a working microphone, the other class improvised and wrote their questions to us on paper. Each class was able to successfully guess the location of the other and the kids had a blast!

The students absolutely loved meeting another third grade class from different state and it was the perfect way to put our geography skills to use in an authentic way. It was very easy to set up and it took very little time to prepare the students for it. I'm looking forward to using Google Hangouts to meet with other classes around the nation and discuss everything from reading to math!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Engaging Students in Mathematics through Google Classroom and Beyond!

Story provided by +Christy Stewart, Elementary Math Specialist, Barbers Hill Elementary South

Google Classroom has given me a different way to approach individualized instruction for my elementary math students, grades 2-5. This on-line container allowed me to create announcements, assignments, and add a multitude of resources that engaged my students as they work to obtain mastery performance on their specified goals. 
We have used Google Slides to create personalized "Road Maps" where each student has rated themselves on targeted goals that are scaffold to obtain grade level student expectations. These "Road Maps" keep the learner focused and accountable as they progress toward their goal. It keeps me focused on the individual goals for many students that expand across four grade levels. Periodically, or as the student's performance level increases, the student's will review their "Road Map" and adjust their rating to reflect their current level of performance. This self-reflective formative assessment tool has helped to create a sense of ownership in my student's learning. 

Google Slides has been beneficial in not only creating the student's "Road Maps", but it has also been an efficient way to share graphic organizers to support vocabulary development. The Frayer Model is a common template that has the student unfold distinguishing characteristics that revolve around specified mathematical vocabulary. My students have enjoyed learning how to use the Research tools to collect examples and non-examples of the specified vocabulary words. In a most recent lesson, my fifth grade students were working to master the different ways to represent positive rational numbers through the thousandths place. They were given four vocabulary words to focus on as they created a slide for each word. After they created their Google Slide, they were to use their examples and non-examples to support them as they distinguished the similarities and differences between expanded form and expanded notation. The research tool even gave them a glimpse at a future vocabulary word, Scientific Notation. 
Many of the students were able to apply their knowledge of the base ten numeration system and make connections to expanded form and expanded notation. This lesson had each learner connecting mathematical vocabulary to various content standards, as well as process standards, that were acquired through the support of technology, the use of place value dice to create numbers in two of the three forms, and the opportunity to organize the information into another thinking map, a tree map. Google Classroom made putting these essential components of the learning process together efficiently, and in a manner that engaged the learner. My third and fourth graders did a similar lesson, but the place value was adjusted to meet the needs of their grade level student expectations. Fourth grade was asked to type their responses to four or more six digit numbers, and then submit their work to me through Google Classroom. This work was graded and returned to the student for them to reflect on their learning. If they improved in their learning, feeling more confident, and proving that through their score on the assignment, I asked them to adjust their "Road Map" rating accordingly. 

Numbers and Operations is the primary focus for grades K-3, 4 being a transition year to algebraic thinking. My students have been given multiple opportunities to create numbers using base ten blocks, and represent their models in different ways, demonstrating mastery of the exchange process of the base ten system. After proving their mastery at this skill they were asked to create a pictorial model for the various ways using place value stamps. During this lesson they were given many opportunities to loop back to practice counting on, and then given the opportunity to use on-line base ten materials to create numbers. These math tools were easy for the students to find and accessible for them at school and home. They enjoyed the different learning modalities to practice this critical concept. I have many more visions of how Google Classroom can be used to enhance my student's learning through a variety of learning experiences, and self- reflective opportunities. I can't wait to try them! 

It has been amazing to watch them grow mathematically and as active participants who want to go above and beyond! The list could go on and on, as to how Google Classroom has been helpful to my students and I. I have been able to make this the "one stop shopping" experience, having all web links, downloads, and other resources available for through their Google Classroom. This also gives those who have access to the internet at home the opportunity to practice math in an engaging manner. 

I look forward to seeing how their on-line portfolio continues to grow, not only in quantity, but in quality, as the year progresses!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Amazing Chromebook Challenge

Story provided by +Brittany Wood, Science Teacher, Middle School South

As 6th Graders, my Science classes were the first group of students to be exposed to all the wonderful things that Google has to offer. Though the learning curve was steep, we faced the challenges day by day together, and by the end of the year, I had a classroom full of Google Pros! 

When I learned that I would be moving to 7th Grade with this group of students, I was thrilled! Not only did I get another year with some awesome kids, but I was going to be ahead of the Google Game! I knew the students I had last year would be familiar with Google apps, but I also knew that they had had a lot of time off (and did a lot of sleeping) and would definitely need a "refresher." It was because of this that I started thinking of quick ways to get the student's hands back on Chromebooks and into multiple Google apps without spending entire class periods talking about something that they already knew. On the opposite side of that thought, I did not want to spend entire class periods explaining the apps because they didn't remember how to use them. 

So was created the "Chromebook Challenge." The challenges were composed of instructions that I had "hidden" throughout the Google applications. Instructions would lead the students to open different apps, edit documents, then share these documents with myself and/or their classmates. Some challenges were group tasks, some were individual. In a matter of 10 minutes, students were logging into Chromebooks, locating documents, editing, and sharing them. The challenges were made into races, and the first three people to successfully complete and share their documents would receive a prize. 

At the end of three challenges, my students had used Classroom, Docs, Forms, and Slides quickly and efficiently. They had so much fun doing them, and it didn't take up much class time at all! This was a wonderful activity for the first week back-to-school to get my students using Google again. I will definitely be using these challenges for many years!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chromebook Cart in Action

Story provided by Suzanne Cofresi, 5th Grade ELA, Elementary School South

Our campus has recently been given a great technology gift—a chargeable cart with a classroom set of Chromebooks loaded with Google apps! By checking the cart out of the library for classroom use, teachers are able to provide students with a one to one computer experience to supplement classroom instruction.

To help prepare teachers for ways to use the Chromebooks in our classroom, several of our teachers presented idea sessions prior to the start of school. One of the sessions was presented by 4th grade teacher, +Jenny Royer. Jenny is part of the "Goo Crew" - a group of teachers who present technology ideas to other teachers.

As a result of the idea sharing, I decided to create Interactive Response Logs through Google Classroom to assess understanding of literature and provide a means for students to communicate with me, individually, in a back and forth online format. I have always enjoyed sharing thoughts with my students regarding the books they are reading through Reading Response Logs. Students would respond to a question regarding their book, describe character traits and decisions made by characters in their book, compare/contrast characters or free write about their book in their Language Arts folder. I would then collect the folders and make comments or perhaps respond with a question to their response.

With Google Classroom on the Chromebooks, students are able to complete their book responses by typing in their thoughts and answers and I am able to easily reply back. We continue this back and forth response log about the books that they read throughout the year. Google Classroom provides a much more interactive experience for students and a much simpler, more engaging means for me to communicate with my students.

Students are eager to respond online and I have even had students log into Google at home to add to their Response Log, without ever being assigned this as a homework assignment. The students LOVE this format of Reader Response Logs and can't wait to log into the Response Log in Google in order to view my response back to them! Definitely a win-win!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Goo Crew

Story provided by +Katie Russell, Director of Technology

Goo Crew
Noun, often attributive | goo kru

Definition of GOO CREW

1. a: an innovative and exciting group of BHISD teachers
    b: carries the banner for Google and its transformational qualities in the classroom
    c: trainer/helper of fellow teachers on their campus

2. a: a number of people who are connected by one shared activity, interest, or
        quality, i.e. Google in the Classroom
    b: reaching a desired outcome of SUCCESS!

With so many of our teachers using and embracing the value of Google Apps for Education in Barbers Hill ISD, we wanted to form a Goo Crew to assist with even more sharing and teaching about how to use Google, tablets and Chromebooks in the classroom.

We have 22 teachers from across the district that have agreed to be a part of this select crew as they have shown innovative ideas and a great effort in learning and using GAFE.  These teachers from each campus are making strides each day to share how Google and Google devices are helping their students become more successful and well rounded.  This group of teachers challenge themselves to learn more and more so they can pass along what they learn to others.

The Goo Crew assisted the tech team in leading summer staff development and continue to model great teaching strategies in the classroom.  This great group of teachers help us to keep our pulse on the needs and wants of the campuses. We are always looking for innovative ideas to better serve in the areas of professional development, software and hardware. Student success is always first on our list!
We appreciate all they have done and look forward to all they will do for our teachers and most especially our students! Thank you GOO CREW!!

Our GOO GREW members are +Kelly Collins+Amy Cox+Sarah Mcdonald+Jason West+Ms. Vincent+Melissa Castillo, +Suzy McDonald+Deleta Barlow+Jennifer Sandlin+Hannah Arnold+Teeya Thornton+Brittany Wood+Shawnda Jackson+Brandi Greathouse+Cheri Hargrave+Kelly Koonce+Juanita Hatfield+Jenny Royer+Vicky Moye+Laura Kelley and +Lisa Kana.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Classroom Transformation

Provided by +Ashli Bertrand, High School

I decided to do something different this year in my psychology and sociology classes. I spent a morning with +Suzie Wilburn in the technology department for a technology integration professional development credit. She mentioned something about a Google Classroom training that she was conducting online and told me about some of the cool things that can be done in the class using it.

I was intrigued and asked if I could get the information from her class. I went through the information, searched the internet, and even ordered some books about using Google Classroom. I decided to give it a try this year. This was the best decision that I have ever made in my 21 years of teaching. Since all of our students are wired to technology, I figured that the best thing for me to do as a teacher is to jump on board.

Using Google Classroom has kept me from having to stand in the line at the copy machine every morning. It has eliminated the use of paper in my classroom, and the students love it. It has worked really well for me since I have 3 students in DAEP. I am able to communicate with them, and their assignments are there for them each time they log in. It has also eliminated students coming to me and saying that they know they turned in an assignment, and I must have lost it. There is a trail for every assignment that a student does on Google Classroom. I even missed 3 days of school with a sick child and was able to log on to the classroom during each class period to communicate with my students and answer questions. Most of their quizzes and tests can now be graded by the add-on app called Flubaroo. This is amazing because I am able to spend less time grading and more time finding creative assignments that my students can do in class.

One of the most amazing things that I love about Google Classroom is that it is portable. No matter where I am, I can access it and grade papers, post announcements, or add assignments to my class. The students also like this because they have their phones readily accessible and have access to our classroom. When they are sick, they do not get behind in class because they can log on and see what is happening for the day. I encourage everyone to explore Google Classroom. It has been a huge blessing for myself and all of my students!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Online Assignments Improve Classroom Flow and Provide Instant Student Feedback

Story provided by +Kelly Melancon, BHHS CTE Instructor/Yearbook Advisor

I have found that using +Skyward, Inc. to gauge success in my classroom has made a huge difference for my students. It has also given me the opportunity to spend less time grading papers and allowed more time for planning quality instruction.

Teachers have the ability to create online assignments in Skyward. These assignments include items such as daily assessments, quizzes, reviews and tests. The assignments can be scheduled by class period, date, and time.

This gives me the ability to have students take the assessment, and upon submission, it is graded and automatically entered in the grade book. The students know immediately the grade they received and at the teacher’s discretion can view the questions they answered both correctly and/or incorrectly.  Teachers can choose to show the correct answers to the problems as well. This allows for immediate feedback for both the student and teacher. I know immediately if there is something I need to offer more instruction on so that my students have a better understanding of the concept.

This great tool has also dramatically reduced the need for making copies and printing in my room. Skyward Online Assessments along with +Google for Education have provided a much more efficient and “greenlearning environment in my classroom!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tablet Integration in Pre-K using My Sight Words App

As told by Lisa Kana, Pre-K, BH Kindergarten Center

I started by looking for an app that could help my students with sight words.  I found several, but My Sight Words app is the most user-friendly and can help differentiate sight words for my students.  The best part of this app is that you don’t only have to use it for sight words, it can be used for letter identification, letter sounds, phonics, dictation sentences, etc.  You are able to use this app to differentiate for your students.

Sight words: You can create a personalized list of sight words for each student in your class. Your lists can be any length - from 3 to 25+ words.

Letter Identification and Sounds:
You can create a personalized list for each student in your class by using the record feature - this is the best!  I had students all working on different letters, so I personalized the letters needed for each student.  Some students were working on letter sounds.  I simply recorded myself saying the letter - which also included the names of the letters.

You can use the record feature to record whatever you need in class.  Blends, digraphs, word families….the list is endless.
I used the record feature to record words and a dictation sentence that I wanted my students to listen to and write down.

I highly recommend this app!  I have used it in many different ways in my pre-k class!  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

A giant thank you to our amazing teachers! The ability to change the lives of students requires a special touch. Using technology to flatten the gap makes a difference daily.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Eagles Collaborating Across BHISD

As told by +Kori Tyler, ELA, Elementary School North

Exciting news! EAGLES are collaborating across the district in ELA! 5th graders at both Elementary North and South have been working on expository writing and were able to structure body paragraphs, as well as introduction and conclusions, using frogs and fish!

Students at the North campus used Google Docs to share with high school students who are providing useful feedback and editing suggestions with their Chromebooks, to help our EAGLES SOAR.

BHEN 5th grade students will cap off their lesson with a Google Hangout which includes discussing writing with freshman and sophomore students at BHHS.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Claymation and Elementary Students

Story provided by +Mandy Andrews and +Michelle Johnson  

Fifth grade students at both the North and South Elementary are integrating art and technology as they harken back to the days of Gumby and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  New technology makes claymation an easy and fun activity that encourages creativity, problem solving, and pride.

Students first create a story line, backdrop, and clay characters.  Then, using the Stop Motion Studio app, they take a series of still pictures while moving the characters slightly between each shot.  When put together, the still shots become animated and create a film.

“It was so fun to watch the pictures turn into videos,” fifth grader Cadence said.

Students are entering the classroom ready to work and excited about the project.

“It was a difficult challenge,” fifth grader Timothy said, “but it was fun because we got to use clay.”

Art teachers Mandy Andrews and +Michelle Johnson are enjoying leading the students as they collaborate and create creative final products.

“The kids were so excited about the lesson,” Andrews said.  “After the first day in class they were meeting me in the halls asking when they could come back!”

Stop Motion Studio can not only be used to animate clay objects, but also paperclips, buttons, and any number of objects.  Howcast.com provides a series of Youtube videos that offer easy to follow instructions on claymation.  When used along with the app, these how-tos provide a spring board for creating videos both in the classroom and at home. 
“It was so cool!” fifth grader Thomas said.  “I got the app at my house!”

This fun and creative lesson is not only teaching the students about art and technology, but they are also gaining a sense of accomplishment.

“The best part is watching the kids’ faces as they see their final product,” Johnson said. “They are amazed at their own work and you can see the pride in their eyes.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Talk, Read, Talk, Write with Tablets!

As told by Lillian Pope, Elementary School North, Third Grade

Our campus has spent time creating a culture of reading in all content areas. One approach we are trying to become really good at is Talk, Read, Talk, Write (TRTW). I can’t even begin to describe the impact this process has when it becomes a part of your instructional routine! The great thing is that Nancy Motley, the brain behind this method, will be here this summer to provide training on this gift to literacy instruction!

One of the steps in TRTW is Talk #2 which happens after the kids have read the text. The talk in this step is focused on processing the text and preparing the kids for the Write component. I have made a habit of providing questions and stems for students to use as a guide. I started talking with some coworkers and they mentioned the use of QR codes! The light bulb went off and I decided to create QR codes with the questions and stems that I wanted the students to use to help them process the text. Let me tell you that engagement is through the roof! What’s even better is that I've embedded some reminders in the QR codes that deal with management and motivation!

So here’s the best part, aside from my kiddos heightened ability to think through texts…all of my tablets already have a QR reader as one of the apps! They just came that way! Now you don’t have to be an expert on TRTW to use QR codes in the classroom. You don’t even have to know how to make your own codes. All you really need to be able to do is Google it! I have found so many sources for QR codes. We've used some to research Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and even Dr. Seuss!

For more info on the Talk, Read, Talk, Write training, scan away!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tablets, Audio Recorder and Small Groups

As told by Kelly Koonce, Barbers Hill Elementary North, Third Grade

It is around this time of year that I begin to utilize stations more frequently in my classroom. With students working in stations around the room, they are more actively engaged and it allows me the freedom to work with individual students or small groups as needed. Although I love having the time with my small groups, I sometimes wished  I could still “teach” to the students who are participating in stations away from me. The Audio Recorder app lets me do just that!

With the audio recorder, I can record myself for a short period of time and send the recording out to my tablets for the students to listen to. I can record myself giving directions for a station so the students can have a reminder if needed or I can record an actual short lesson that the kids listen to and follow along with. I can also use this app to create my own books on “tape” for the students to read along with.  The versatility is great!

This app actually gives me the capability to be in two places at once!

Friday, January 30, 2015

BHISD Technology LinkedIn Lunch and Learn

BHISD Technology recently had the honor of hosting a LinkedIn Lunch & Learn featuring Jake Russell. Jake is a 2011 Baylor graduate and is employed by Magnolia Realty as featured on HGTV "Fixer Upper". Jake has built a network of thousands of direct connections and a global network of over 20 million connections using LinkedIn.

The focus of this session was to demonstrate how LinkedIn can directly increase the effectiveness and bottom line of community businesses. Jake recently published an article, How to List 2.9 Million in 3 Months. It is a great read!

The event was attended by over 30 participants that had many intriguing questions during and after the presentation. Jake was able to apply the benefits of LinkedIn to everyday situations.

This was another great opportunity to strengthen the bond between our schools and local businesses.

Monday, January 26, 2015

BHISD Technology and WCCCC Lunch & Learn held November 20, 2014

BHISD Technology Department recently hosted a Lunch & Learn for the West Chambers County Chamber of Commerce to introduce the benefits of Google for Work. Many community businesses attended for what was the first of many presentations to support our local business community! +Katie Russell welcomed the group of 18 and discussed the advantages of using Google for Work. +Suzie Wilburn followed with a presentation of Google Docs and Slides, discussing the time saving solutions those apps offer. +Kim Muldrow then covered the wide variety of organizational options available in Google Calendar. A short lesson on Google Forms and Sheets by Katie closed the session with a great round of questions and answers.