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.