Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kindergarten gets Google-y!

Kindergarten began using their Google accounts in STEAM class recently.  We got over a few early challenges with logging on and the reward was huge!  Now they are experts at creating and sharing with Google Docs.   They are getting ready for the next few years here when they will be using their Google accounts to work on their school work and communicate with their teachers.  I think they are ready for sharing, collaborating, and creating in the digital age.  I'm so very proud of their accomplishments.  When they completed their projects, they were given time to present to their class on the big projector.  Here are some photos of those presentations.  

4th grade, the Thinkery and Robotics!

4th graders recently completed their Robotics projects with the help from the Thinkery!  Their task was to research an animal (real or imaginary) and find attributes of that animal.  They then learned about that animal's habitat.  They built their robots to resemble the animal and created a habitat (out of recycled cardboard and other things) where their robots could move.  They programmed their robots to interact with their habitat.  This project really integrated the (steAm) Art part of our class as well as logical thinking.  It's so wonderful to see them engage both types of thinking at once!  The presentation day, we invited Kindergarten to come in and see what 4th grade had achieved.   Our collaboration with the Thinkery made this project possible!  They helped to provide us with kits, curriculum help, hands-on help (huge!!!!), and technical problem solving.  They continue to be such a valued partner in education!  Here are some photos of the process and the final showcase party with Kindergarten.

Very decorated robots!

So many robots!

Programming takes tenacity!

The creative process at work.

Very serious habitat work going on here!

Programming to make the robot come alive!

Not so serious habitat work going on!

We love programming!!!!

So proud of the finished project!

Adding all the essential details to the habitat.

4th and Kinder make great partners!

This Kinder student said he was so happy to finally be able to touch this project!

Robots rule!

We love our robot!

Robots with mustaches!

Better hold onto it, that robot might fly away!

Hanging with Kinder makes our showcase fun!

Lots of hard work makes it fun to show off!

Kindergartners can't wait for 4th grade now!

1st graders become Google experts!

First grade has been learning about their Google accounts and how to best use them.  They are turning into quite the publishers!  There are many steps necessary before they are ready to publish their first writing project.  They have to learn how to unlock the computer, how to log on to their grade level desktop, how to open a web browser, and how to sign on to their Google account.  Once they get through all of these steps, their natural creativity is unleashed!  They learned how to start a new project and choose the font type, color, and size.  Each day had a different writing prompt.  They also learned how to do a safe search for images that correspond to their writing and insert them into the written words.  For this project we used Google Slides and Google Docs.  When they finished their presentations, they gave their projects a title and shared them back to their teachers and myself.  This prepares them for the next few years when they will be using their Google accounts to collaborate on projects and communicate with their teachers.  Go, first graders!  You are ready!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday Projects

Each year at UTES we are tasked with working on an Innovation Challenge.  This is something that is new, research based, and brings a new dimension to the classroom learning.  This year, my Innovation Challenge is to start Friday Technology projects.  This spring semester every Friday 3rd-5th grade is given time to work on the project of their choice.  They are given a list from which to choose, but also they are free to come up with their own idea and get it approved.  The idea is that they can pick something we have already done in class that interests them and go to a deeper level with that project.  Sometimes they are learning beyond what I even know and teaching me new things!  Some of the projects that have been chosen are:
Scratch programming
Digital Storytelling
Stop Motion Animation
Video Star (making a music video)
Research projects with digital presentation
Drone Making

The students can work on some of these projects individually, but most of them take a group effort.  They are allowed to choose their own groups for this based on interest.  It's nice to see that the project seems to be driving the groups, not just friendships.  So students are working in groups other than their main social group.  The result of these projects will be showcased at the end of year showcase event for all special areas.  I'm very excited to see what they create!

This student is working on coding using

These students are working on an iMovie.

She is working on creating a circuit loop with copper tape.

These girls are working on their Claymation project!

They are doing Stop Motion Animation with Legos.

They are working on a music video using Video Star!

Caught mid air while filming an iMovie!

Getting the shot just right for stop motion animation!

Making a music video that is full of fabulous!

Claymation in progress!

Stop Motion animation takes a lot of tenacity!

A very dramatic scene in the iMovie!

Making a music video requires lots of dancing!