Thursday, June 2, 2016

Science & STEM Classes Meet A NASA Engineer

Story Provided by +Kathy Hayman, 8th Grade Science Teacher, Middle School North

My Science and STEM classes recently had the opportunity to meet with a rocket propulsion engineer using Adobe Connect. Michele Beisler is a mechanical engineer at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/home/index.html

Students learned about rockets and physics applications through experiments, labs, and building and launching their own rockets. They watched videos and previewed information about Stennis, and learned about the rockets and rocket launches that take place at this location. 
During the discussion, students visited with Ms. Beisler about NASA, rockets, and her career as an engineer. They were excited to talk to her. The ability to see her made it a more personal experience. Using the Adobe Connect program to meet with Ms. Beisler was a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and interact with her in real-time. This experience has made me more excited about using technology in my classroom. It has allowed me to connect my students with people and events around the globe, and to show them that science is happening all around us.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Superhero Writers

Story provided by +Cheri Hargrave, Computer Teacher, Elementary School North


+Kori Tyler 5th grade ELA students were Superhero Writers today participating in an AMAZING RACE with +Kelly Collins 10th grade class at the HS.

The students used brainstorming skills as well as strategies for writing. They were able to apply techniques for writing as they wrote like superheroes!

Some of the stations included creating a Thesis statement, a Hook, Line, and Sinker (Introduction) and editing sentences. Students ended the race by dressing like a superhero and taking a picture!

Mrs. Collins said she was proud of her students ability to help instruct 5th graders and articulate with them the strategies for writing development. Mrs. Tyler was very excited that her students knew the writing strategies and were able to apply the skills they’ve been working on all year. Overall, both the students and teachers had a blast! They “wowed” us as they showed their “super” writing skills!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nutrition and Google Classroom

Story Provided by John Brown, Middle School South, Teacher/Coach


Recently at Middle School South, the boys’ and girls’ PE classes met in the library to have a lesson about proper nutrition and how it can affect the body. During this lesson the students worked in small groups using Google Classroom for much of the lesson.

We began by having each student complete a page in a shared Google Slide. On the slide they listed everything they ate and drank the day before. They then listed all of the physical activities they had participated in that day.

In the next part of the lesson we discussed the different parts of nutrition, what appropriate portions are for each nutrition group, and what can happen if we have excesses or deficiencies in any of those areas. Then we talked about what a calorie is and why we use that as a measure of the food we consume.

The third part of the lesson involved the students using websites and Google Apps to calculate their caloric intake from the previous day. They then calculated their caloric output based on their physical activities. The students then researched what caloric input/output should be for a person of their height, weight and age.

In the final part of the lesson the students had a discussion in Google Classroom about each other’s responses in the class presentation. This was the first time for many of the students to participate in an online discussion. The students were required to give feedback on at least two other students about the nutrition and exercise choices they had made. The students gave praise to those who made good choices and gave suggestions for better choices to those that didn’t. Finally, in the discussion some students noticed that they had common interests in the physical activities they enjoyed and they began setting up a times to meet at Eagle Point and other places to participate in those activities together.

The Middle School South PE teachers would like to thank +Alicia Brooks and +Stacy Pennington  for all their help with this lesson. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Google Classroom

Story Provided by +Jenny Royer, 4th Grade ELA Teacher, Elementary School South

We are in the process of reviewing for the STAAR test, which is not the most exciting thing for 4th graders or their teacher! At this point, we are reviewing all skills and vocabulary for the test. I decided to flip things around and let them become the teachers. 

I used a random group creator online to form four groups. Each group had to analyze their poem together, discussing the poetry terms we've learned this year. I created an assignment in Google Classroom that included Google Slides. 

Each group had to work together to create a slideshow to present the poem and five STAAR based questions to ask the class based on the poem. Once completed, each group presented their poems to the class, talked them through how to comprehend and pull out the key elements of the text, and discussed each of the questions with the class. 

Now instead of listening to me talk them through it all, they were able to show their own knowledge and become the teachers. Some of the groups finished early, so I was able to show them how to incorporate slide transitions and insert pictures from Google. Overall, this project was a win-win for all involved! They had "fun" while learning and I was able to hear them using the terminology that they needed to review.


Friday, March 11, 2016

CRAZY about Hangouts!

Story Provided by +Kristi Garrett , First Grade Teacher, Barbers Hill Primary School


My First Grade class has been able to use literacy through technology in a new and exciting way. On February 24th, National Read Aloud Day, my class read to a Kindergarten class in Crosby ISD using Google Hangouts. My students and Mrs. Hendry’s students were very engaged in the process and excited to see and hear one another. It was an amazing way to connect to another classroom in a different district and grade level. My students and I were so excited about this new opportunity that we wanted to utilize Hangouts more frequently.

To promote “Read Across America” on March 2nd, we used Google Calendar to set up our next Hangouts. That morning my students read to Mrs. Hendry’s Kindergarten class again. Then, later that day, Mrs. Rinando’s Eleventh grade Literature class at Barbers Hill High School read to my first graders. My students enjoyed hearing the older students read to them and were encouraged to continue their love for reading.
 
Not only did we use Google Hangouts for literacy, but we also did an interactive math activity with a first grade classroom in Goose Creek ISD. Being able to use Google Hangouts in the classroom has opened my eyes to the endless opportunities to connect with other teachers. It is not limited to just teachers around you but worldwide.
 
I am looking forward to upcoming Hangouts to further impact student learning through technology!




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

360° Camera Comes to Barbers Hill




We have recently acquired a Ricoh Theta S camera in the Technology Department. This new equipment allows us to capture images and video like never before. The interactive images are similar to Google Street View, allowing you to see a complete 360° view in one picture.

Please take time to visit our shared BHISD 360° Photos Google folder to see images from around the district and other interesting places. The link to the folder is goo.gl/Pdsjx4, or use the QR code below.



Check out this 360 view of the new Lloyd Kelley Multipurpose Facility @BHISD @coachwesterberg #BHISD360 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Friday, February 19, 2016

Genius Hour Awakens Interests

Story Provided by Amy McElroy, 5th Grade Teacher, Elementary School North

Enthusiasm for learning is alive and well at Barbers Hill Elementary North, as students pursue their fields of interest during a pilot program, Genius Hour. Initiated after students formed goals regarding their future careers, I met with parents to facilitate the pursuit of the students’ endeavors. Genius Hour meetings began with the 5th grade GT students in November of 2015. During these twice weekly meetings, students researched their career interests via Google Classroom and the Internet, and developed questions that resulted from the new knowledge that they had acquired. Thereafter, students interviewed experts in their field of interest to determine the answers to their questions.

One student met with a geologist, a resident of the community, and another met with a history teacher from the high school. Still others interviewed a golf coach, a baseball coach, a robotics instructor, a famed author, a journalist, an inventor, and an orthopedic surgeon. Such meetings not only developed the learning of the students exponentially, but also helped develop a stronger relationship between the community and our school district.

Perhaps the experience of two of the students, who employed technology during their interviews, can best epitomize the effectiveness of the program. Luke, an aspiring robotics engineer, met with Denise King of Barbers Hill High School and her robotics students. They showed him their robots, and he learned about what they did in a hands-on way. When Luke returned from his encounter, he was so excited, he went home and started constructing more robots. Better yet, he is looking forward now to going to a college like MIT to further pursue his interest.

Brooke spoke to the author of Sky Jumpers via a Google Hangout, and learned first-hand what it was like to be an author, and also learned about how pursuing your passion is what helps one become successful. She is now looking forward to no longer being an aspiring author, but a published one.

Still the students of Genius Hour have not yet completed their journey. The next step is to produce products of their choosing that will demonstrate what they have learned, and create presentations that they will use to teach others (parents, teachers, community) about their passion via a Genius Hour Fair. Thereafter, the sky is literally the limit.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Making AR Fun with Tablets!

Story provided by +Tara Franco, First Grade Teacher, Barbers Hill Primary Campus

In first grade, reading comprehension is very important. In order to help my students master that skill we utilize our tablets to take Accelerated Reader (AR) tests. Our campus does a great job of motivating the students with awesome prizes for reaching new goals. My class is extremely excited about the AR prizes so they try to take as many tests as possible.

My students are allowed to use the tablets during the technology portion of guided reading stations. Also, they are allowed to take AR tests when they finish an assignment early. The tablets have become an essential piece of our classroom.

I am so thankful to have the tablets because it helps my students not only get their AR points, but it gets them to love reading and have fun. All kids love technology! Any equipment they can use helps. So why not have them use the tablets to do something they might not otherwise enjoy. I want my students to leave first grade with a love of reading and technology!




Monday, February 1, 2016

Students Learning to Code

Story provided by +Cheri Hargrave, Computer Teacher, Elementary School North



December 7th-13th was the National Hour of Code Week. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Barbers Hill Elementary North was one of the schools that participated in the world wide event. I strongly believe that beginning in 2nd grade, coding should be taught right along with reading and writing. Almost everything we come in contact with on a daily basis is run off of a computer program.

Beginning to code at a young age gives students a basic understanding of how things work. Coding is spatial reasoning and critical thinking at it’s best. The students get so excited about completing each level. The immediate feedback is what makes it so engaging. They can see the product of their work and realize how a computer runs from a particular language. Students understand that the video games they play do not magically appear and that someone actually has a job that writes the programs that they use everyday.

The Forbes 400 of today are also those who were able to access education while young and apply their skills to the most scalable industries: technology, finance, and mass retail,” Rauh and Kaplan
write in their most recent student, “Family, Education, and Sources of Wealth Among the Richest Americans, 1982-2012.”

The student response is overwhelming. I have students stop me in the hall and tell me that they went home and finished several of the programs with their parents.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Response To Intervention Process Moving to Google Drive

Story Provided by +Jessica Ickes, Assistant Principal, Elementary School North



Response to Intervention (RTI) is a process where students are able to receive intervention outside the classroom, with specialists, in order to improve academics, behavior or even speech. There is an abundance of paperwork that is required for this process.

Many professionals collaborate on the paperwork for each student's RTI interventions. The collaborators could include a math/reading/speech interventionist, counselor, administrator, teacher(s), and even nurse. Each has their own forms to complete for each student and some forms require multiple people's input. In order to get everyone's information on the forms, they must be emailed out to several different people and then completed and returned by email to the administrator in charge of RTI. The administrator then saves the forms on the district internal servers.

Problems with this process - the district servers are accessible from the professional's home campus. This means they cannot work on forms from home. Because the servers capacity is limited, the student files are deleted at the end of each school year. If someone has a form open on their computer, it is not accessible for another person to open and add comments/suggestions to the form. The exchange of the many forms can get lost in the multitude of emails that an administrator receives each day.

Google Drive/Sheets can solve all of these problems! Google Drive can be accessed from anywhere with internet connection. School professionals can now work on the forms from home. The student files do not need to be deleted at the end of each school year. The people with access to the file can simply be changed to follow the student throughout their entire school career.

All collaborators can work on a form at the same time. There is even a chat box where collaborators can communicate in real time. Collaborators can also leave comments on the forms when needed. Emailing forms will not be a part of the process any longer. Changes to forms are automatically saved. Administrators can even set notifications to receive an email when the forms have been edited. Additionally, pictures of student work can be inserted into the student's spreadsheet as well.

Google Docs/Sheets will make the paperwork part of the RTI process much less time consuming and difficult for all
involved