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!