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Friday, November 20, 2015

Chromebooks in Choir

Middle school student at Bumpus and Berry use Google Classroom to practice their music. When the choir directors have to be away and you still want your sub to have the students practice, students use their headphones, Chromebooks and music to work on their parts.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Veteran's Day with Technology

Last Tuesday I was asked to help out with a special surprise for one child at Riverchase. Every year Riverchase has a big assembly to celebrate veterans and what they do for our country. Each grade level prepares something to contribute including poetry, art work, and research on the different branches. Mrs. Tanner, the counselor at Riverchase, wanted the program to include a veteran to share with the students. As a surprise she arranged an overseas service man to call during the program using Google Hangouts. The serviceman, Lt. Rutland, currently stationed in Cuba has two children at Riverchase. As a surprise Mrs. Tanner asked fifth grade child to interview an overseas serviceman but did not tell him it would be his dad. Parker did a great job asking many questions about what it is like to be a serviceman and having to serve in Cuba away from his family.

Technology at its best - connecting us to places and people from around the world.


Lego Robots, Programming & Challenges, Oh My!

Getting ready to attempt the "Homing Pigeon," 
where the robot has to travel to the
black line, turn 180 degrees
and return to start.












8th Grade Computer Science Students at Simmons Middle School spent the week facing a myriad of challenges designed by their teacher Cindi Morris to test their robot building AND programming skills as a culmination of their LEGO robotics unit. They worked as 3-4 person teams to build LEGO Ev3 robots containing specific characteristics, sensors and parts with the goal of competing against the other teams in a sort-of classroom robot Olympics. I know what you are thinking... "Lego robots? How complicated and technical can those really be?" Well, visit this link and you can see a sampling of what these 3rd generation Lego Robots can do. Mrs. Morris, designed several unique challenges for the robots to complete from "Running the Bases" where the robot had to move around all the bases of a baseball diamond using its color sensor to "Curling," a challenge where the robot had to push a tennis ball to a precise mark on a target. Each challenge presented an opportunity for the students to apply their programming skills and accomplish the task with bragging rights on the line. Each team got 3 attempts at each challenge and there were lots of successes...and failures. Many wrote programs that had their robots moving too fast, turning too sharply or not responding appropriately to obstacles, leading the teams to problem solve and refine their programs. They all discovered the unique complexities of programming robots and realized that in order for success to be had, embracing failure is a key to learning, growing and moving forward. But regardless of their outcome at a specific challenge, they all learned a great deal about programming, innovating, problem-solving, failure and perseverance. To check out more of what the students had to do for this activity, visit their class blog.
These two are programming their robot after an
unsuccessful attempt at the Curling Challenge.

Maker's Studio and Trace Crossings


I was visiting a fourth grade classroom at Trace today and ran into a great kid named William. William and his friend Angel were researching how to create a synthesizer with Little Bits in after-school care. With the help of Dana Joyner, Trace's STEAM Facilitator, William and Angel created a speaker system for a mini iPad. He was willing to demonstrate how loud it amplified with the Whip and Nae Nae. He was right...it can amplify pretty loudly! :)  

I was very impressed because this project was something William had a passion for-music- and was able to make it come to fruition with the Maker's Studio. Mrs. Joyner wasn't in the studio when he took me down to see his creation, and you could tell he knew the studio was there for him. A piece was missing from his creation, and he went over to the extra pieces, carefully looked around to find what he needed, and returned it to the proper place when he was done. 

Way to go, Trace & Mrs. Joyner! I can't wait to see what William and the many other Trace kids make next!





Hour of Code


Hour of Code Is Coming!

Hour of Code week is coming up December 7-13. This year the Hoover City Schools Foundation is sponsoring Hour of Code by providing iCode stickers to every student who completes Hour of Code. If you haven't already, please click the link below and sign up your classroom. Code.org added two fun coding activities centered around Minecraft and Star Wars. This will be exciting for your students! 








Thank you Hoover City Schools Foundation for your support!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Professional Development at your convenience
candy and pd is a win-win situation


Hoover High regularly provides teacher led professional learning opportunities.  Tuesday the 17th teachers were invited to come during their planning period and participate in a variety of interesting and informative sessions.  This is peer to peer professional development that has the added value of being teacher tested and offered at a time that does not require teachers to worry about rearranging their after school schedule .The presenters  and the sessions they led were:


1st Period (Presenter-Amy Tew): Grammarly and Paper Rater in the English Classroom (also could be used in history and possibly science)

2nd Period (Presenter- Laine Lamborne): Google Translate and voice typing to assist ELL students

3rd Period (Presenter: Danelle Cash): Oral Presentations using Mic Note

5th Period (A-B; Presenter- Jack Letson):Google Forms for Assessment

5th Period (C-D; Presenter- Jack Letson):Google Forms for Assessment

6th Period (Presenter- Reed Lochamy: Using Google Forms to share examples and samples of students’ work

7th Period (Presenter- Jack Letson in Community Room): Google Forms for Assessment

7th Period (Presenter: Reed Lochamy) Using Socrative for formative assessment and to provide direct feedback to students

PollEverywhere and Google Slides Join Up

PollEverywhere and Google Slides Join Up

PollEverywhere is a tool many teachers have used in the past to quickly assess what their students understand. Now it can be added directly into a Google Slide (as an extension) so teachers can quickly poll students while presenting using Slides! Download and check it out!

Polling in Google Slides Extension
Poll Everywhere Website
Information about Google Slides polling - create and embed live polls

Friday, November 13, 2015

This Little Piggy Went to Google

 Mrs. Sanford and Mrs. Hawkins' at Rocky Ridge Elementary said their little Kindergartners minds have been hard at work! They just finished their first project-based learning and it turned out SO well! During whole group they discussed the different parts of the farm, then were separated into teams based on what they wanted to know about the farm.  They "researched" and talked about what they already knew,and used picture books for facts. The next day, their book buddies came with their Chromebooks to help research and write 3 facts about the farm animals.  The last portion (before the tech) was putting together the dioramas!  "They had access to all my books for ideas, but they didn't get help from me....they created these completely on their own!" said Sanford. "It was incredible to watch!" she exclaimed.  The teachers created a Google Classroom and sent the presentation out to each child. The students then typed on their own using what they had written during the research time.  The students had so much fun learning about the farm!   EXAMPLE


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hour of Code is Coming!

The Hour of Code is near! Today we received the email below explaining this year's theme; Star Wars! 

Code.org has a brand new tutorial for the Hour of Code 2015, in partnership with Disney and Lucasfilm — featuring Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Work with Rey to guide the new droid, BB-8, through a mission. Then, join Leia to create and share your own game in a galaxy far, far away.

Try an early preview of Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code

Students will learn to write JavaScript to power their games. For younger learners, a tablet-friendly, drag-and-drop version will be available in the next few weeks. You can also check out other options for all ages. And stay tuned… more tutorials are coming soon.

Prizes for every educator — and a behind-the-scenes “Making of Star Wars” experience

There are 80,000 Hour of Code events signed up worldwide. Help your students join in on this record-breaking event! One Hour of Code can be enough to inspire the course of their lives. Join in
  • Every organizer worldwide will receive a gift card to Amazon, iTunes or Windows Store.
  • One school in every US state will win $10,000 worth of technology for your school.
  • One lucky classroom will win an exclusive, behind-the-scenes “Making of Star Wars” experience with the visual effects team who worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
  • 100 participating classrooms will win a BB-8 droid robots that students can program.
I couldn’t be more excited to share Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code with you today. Code your own game, share it, and tell us what you think. 
Hadi Partovi,
Founder, Code.org

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



Molly McCormick presenting Google extensions


Hoover High teacher and ELI facilitator Molly McCormick is presenting at the 47th Annual Fall Conference of the Alabama Reading Association.  Molly and a classmate created a manuscript for a university level reading class she was taking and her professor was impressed enough to ask the two to present at the conference.  Molly will explain and elaborate on google chrome extensions that help struggling readers and students with dyslexia.  She will demonstrate extensions that include, announcify,speakit, readability, open dyslexic,turn the lights off, BeeLine,Clearly and many more.  The manuscript that she help create is also being considered for publication in a reading journal.  We wish her good luck and are thankful for all she does for Hoover High School.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Theater Collaboration brings World War I to Life



Spain Park Advanced Theater learned more about World War I than most students do while working tirelessly on the student created one-act, Pals, that deals with the cost of the First World War. The students wrote the script, composed the music, designed and created the costumes, learned a difficult Yorkshire accent and spent numerous hours on this production that will compete at the Trumbauer district competition. Students used Google Docs to collaborate on the script. Senior Joseph McKinley even created authentic pins for the uniform hats using 3D modeling and printing learned in Engineering Academy at Spain Park. Click the link to learn a little about the production from this student produced video which gives a glimpse into the process. 

Scene from the one act

Cast receives notes from theater teacher Eric St John


Friday, November 6, 2015

Google Tour Maker-A powerful new tool

Google has created an awesome new tool called Tour Builder. Think Google Slides+Google Maps/Earth w/videos, text and pics. It's simple to use and gives you the opportunity to create and tell a story, rich with images, text and YouTube videos that are tied to places. Since we are working hard to find ways to encourage students to create authentic products that can be shared and viewed globally, Tour Builder fills a niche with application across all subjects. It could be used to tell the story in a novel-a "book report," document a vacation, field trip, historical event(s), news story, etc. Tour Builder fits perfectly with any story that has a component involving geography and it's easy-of-use makes it extremely accessible. It's a winner and hopefully it's here to stay. To see are really cool example, check out this tour looking at coral reefs using Google Street View UNDERWATER!  

Can Your Notebook Fly?

YES! Two teachers at Rocky Ridge Elementary are using Virtual Notebooks.  Check out this resource that the teachers are using to enhance student learning.

  • 4th Grade Daniel Schaeffel- "We have been using an interactive virtual notebook in place of a paper and pencil notebook. So far they have a section that is reflections about the task of the day, and a section where the students answer essential questions, take notes, insert drawings, create data tables, and insert graphs. I plan to also add a vocabulary section. This is working out great! I have access to their notebooks any time, and so do they. I do not have a stack of notebooks to flip through, there is no need to copy materials, and the students enjoy the lack of paper and pencil. I can also give quick feedback and comments through Google Sheets. They can also give each other feedback and comments, since everyone's notebooks are in a shared folder. Example
  • 5th Grade Mike Herring-  My students are now keeping a Digital Math Notebook in Google Drive for all of their daily classwork as well as weekly Problem Solving. There is also a Goals setting tab. Example




Tuesday, November 3, 2015



Sign Your Work

In Kevin Butler’s freshman engineering classes students are working on templates that they will use the rest of the time that they are in the engineering academy. Students build the templates and create designs that represent their brand for presenting their CAD projects.  This approach lends a very professional look to their work. They learn to use canvas and SolidWorks as freshmen and  that , for most of them ,is the foundation of what will be four impressive years in the Hoover High Engineering Academy.