Friday, February 26, 2016

Introducing: TedED Club at Green Valley Elementary

AL Elliott contributed to the Tech Coach Times (Sara Carpenter's blog) about his recent creation of the TEDEd Club at Green Valley Elementary. 

Computer Science in the Middle School Classrooms

The middle school computer science teachers are a close group of innovative teachers that are transforming student learning.

Angie Mangina, Berry Middle
Vinny Chiaramonte, Bumpus Middle
Cindi Morris, Simmons Middle

We asked Mr. Chiaramonte to contribute to the blog today to share what is happening in the middle school computer science classrooms. 

  • Learning what binary is, how to convert it into decimal numbers and characters to decode messages as well as reverse conversion of decimal numbers to binary.

  • Learning and applying computational thinking and the CSP 7 Big Ideas in unplugged and plugged activities.
  • Use "binary magic" to introduce how binary works.

  • Utilizing ComputerCraft in MinecraftEdu. Students are programming "turtles" essentially little robots using a visual programming language to solve puzzles and complete syntax exercises. They can also use the turtles to mine and build for them by using the programs they create. 

  • Once they get a handle on how the visual language works we want to build on that and move them into a non-native version of lua language using the code editor. 

  • The next step we see in the vision for MS CS is to have students begin scripting in Python using Lua as a springboard. 

  • Here are some pictures a screencast and a link to Mr. Chiaramonte's blog

Thursday, February 25, 2016

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be...

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be...

This past Friday, Brock's Gap Intermediate held a career and college exploration day. There were 47 speakers and 8 different colleges represented. Students got to explore the careers of 5 different speakers. Categories of professions ranged from business, medical, educational, law, public services and entrepreneurs. It was a wonderful day where students were able to interact, ask questions and find out more about a career or college they may be interested in. The HCS tech coaches asked students, What is a Coach?

Counselors, Terri Coleman and Nicole Carlisle planned a wonderful day.




SPOTLIGHT on HHS Computer Science Teacher

NPR’s WBHM recently visited Hoover High School to speak with Jill Westerlund about her partnership with to bring Computer Science to students across Alabama. 

Check out her interview and the blog she regularly contributes to on the power of Computer Science. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bring computer science into your classroom has partnered with A+ Education Partnership in Alabama to bring computer science to your students, at all K-12 levels.

You don’t need any prior exposure to computer science to participate. If you’re curious about technology and want the skills to teach computer science to your students, you’ll get everything you need with high-quality professional learning — at no cost to you or your school.

Elementary school teachers:

  • Teach fun, short courses that students love
  • 1-day workshops prepare you to start teaching right away
  • Open to K-5 educators in any district (including librarians, tech ed specialists, etc.)

High school teachers:

  • Teach AP Computer Science Principles, a project-based, year-long computer science course that focuses on how technology is transforming our world
  • Open to high school teachers of all backgrounds

Computer science is a foundation for success in any future career

This is a chance to lead your school and give your students a head start.

Hadi Partovi

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Dr. Rapp's 4th Graders at GWIN are explaining Newton's Three Laws in Google Draw

A Minion Reasons to Morph- Computer Science at Hoover High

Hoover High teacher, Jill Westerlund, is nationally recognized for her innovation in the Computer Science field. Westerlund contributes regularly to a blog dedicated to the strategies of Computer Science in education. 

Today's post highlights Jill's students as they write pseudo code for polymorphism. Visit the blog to read how students worked with code and minions to plan a massive MORPH. 

Celebrating Digital Learning Day with Video Game Design

5th grade enrichment students at Brock's Gap Intermediate have been participating in a video game design unit using the app Pixel Press FloorsStudents have walked through the engineering design process (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test) and created games for a specific audience. During the process, students interviewed peers in their identified audience to find out what elements they preferred in a video game.

Students then honed their skills in accuracy and precision while drawing out the three levels of their game on special gaming graph paper. They used an iPad to "capture" their drawn game, and edited the game using the design elements in the Pixel Press app. After students had designed and edited their own games, they participated in a beta testing session among classmates to provide each other with feedback about their games. Students will use this feedback to make further adjustments to their games before publishing them in the Pixel Press Arcade for kids all over the world to play!

Emily Waymire and Jo Michoudet are the enrichment teachers at Brock's Gap Intermediate.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Peer Conferencing Gone Google

Chris Carey's 7th grade language arts students are learning a new way to hold peer conferences and no talking is involved! Peer conferences going on in an almost silent classroom? Yup, that's exactly what I saw in Mr. Carey's classroom. The process goes something like this. The kids write drafts of short stories in Google Docs. They then share their stories with their peers who use the "commenting" feature built into Google Docs to leave feedback on specific parts of the writing. For instance, if the author has written a powerful intro sentence that successfully draws the reading into the story, the person reviewing can highlight the sentence and right in the margin, leave the author some purposeful feedback regarding that sentence. Or they could spot a grammatical mistake and offer suggestions for corrections. This process of reviewing another's work with focus on giving constructive, meaningful feedback is incredibly rich and offers students the opportunity to practice and hone valuable communication and critical thinking skills that will be useful throughout their lives. For the reviewer, they must apply what they've learned about the writing process, think critically about what they are reading and communicate clearly with the author to help him/her reflect upon the writing. For the author, this sort of authentic feedback challenges them to grow their skills, to reflect on their work and to be open to the ideas of others as they relate to their work. It also encourages them to refine their communication skills as they dialogue with their partner. In life, we are all givers and receivers of feedback and Mr. Carey's activity is going to help his students tremendously as they develop their writing and communication skills as well as covering some of the key ISTE Standards for Students.

Mr. Carey's Classroom at Berry Middle School

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gathering EKG Data on Chromebooks

Amber Lewis' Anatomy classes will use Labquest devices and Chromebooks to conduct an EKG right in the classroom! Students will analyze data about their heart rates and rhythms. Students will first take resting heart rates, then exercise a bit to note changes in the data. Real-time sensor data is shown as a graph, a meter, or a table to accommodate different learning styles. All group members can analyze the data on their Chromebooks. The app for the data analysis is free in the Chrome web store. EKG sensors measure the electrical signals produced during muscle contractions.
Spain Park science teacher Amber Lewis shows EKG results to Cameron McKinley, Spain Park Technology Integration Coach

Merge Multiple Docs Into One PDF

Ever need to print or combine a bunch of different documents and wish they were all in one document? There is a way to do this using PDF Mergy which is a website. You can add up to 50 files at one time from your computer or  Google Drive and merge them into one PDF. It does the conversion for you so you can add a combination of file types as well as multi page docs. You can then save the one merged doc to your computer or Google Drive.

Explain Everything and Chess

Mrs. Shackelford's 2nd grade class at Trace has been studying chess for the last few weeks. After learning so many new skills, the students were ready to share with the world. They created an Explain Everything video demonstrating how to play chess complete with the proper names of the pieces. (Unfortunately this tech coach called the knight a horsey and it got a few groans. Thanks to their video, I now know better!)

I love this project for so many reasons: 

  • The students are taking ownership of their own learning and sharing for a real audience - you!!!
  • The students were their worst critics. After watching the movie, many wanted to rerecord. I can't think of a better way of teaching drafting scripts, writing scripts, and writing again...and again...and again to get ideas across to the audience. 
I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did! Way to go, Mrs. Shackelford's Class!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

edcamp BIRMINGHAM: April 23 Registration Open NOW

"Edcamp is free, democratic, participant-driven professional development for teachers." Do not miss being part of this event! Be prepared to not only learn, but to share what you know! Let me know if you have any questions! Hope you can join us!

Trace Crossings Elementary

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Digital Learning Day: February 17

Digital Learning Day is just 12 days away!

Digital Learning Day is February 17th, 2016.


Twitter: @OfficialDLDay

Facebook: Digital Learning Day

Check out Hoover High's Plan

The HCSELI Team would like to invite you to join us for Digital Learning Day on February 17th, 2016. Digital Learning Day is set to be an impactful day of digital creativity, collaboration and innovation for our students and teachers! 

There are two ways you can get involved:
  •     Adding a classroom, library, school, district, or statewide activity to the official interactive map:
  •     Sign up to celebrate LIVE with Digital Learning Day 1 with emcee Rafranz Davis and educators throughout the day: DLD 2016 Live.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Student Stock Traders at SMS

6th grade students at Simmons Middle School are learning all about the stock market in their social studies classes through a great ONLINE simulation called Student Stock Trader. This FREE site allows teachers to easily set up classes (students join with a code, so there's no need to enter each student & no personal student info is needed). Each student gets a fixed amount of money to invest and build their own portfolio of real stocks. They spend time researching companies and stock performance, analyzing trends, buying, selling and learning through real market data how the stock market really works. And for some added fun, the site provides a "leaderboard" for the students to have some friendly competition with their peers and teachers. It's extremely engaging and because the market data used in the simulation is real, the kids can check on their stocks throughout the day and see how quickly the market can change. It's fun, engaging and teaching the students some valuable lessons on the complex systems that make up our economy.

Give Me a K-E-L-L-I

Kelli Lane was recently nominated to be recognized as one of the "Next Generation Leaders in School Technology,” which is a new program developed and co-sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and EdScoop. Kelli  is one of three finalists in Alabama, and one of twenty-nine in the nation who made the final cut.

Kelli brings a high level of excitement and passion to whatever she does. She is able to advance the use of technology while making it clear that the main goal is to serve students.

The winners of the 2016 "Next Generation Leaders" will be selected based on votes and will be officially announced at the CoSN 2016 Annual Conference.  Be sure to vote for Kelli!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    Juice! Not just for Breakfast anymore!

Hoover high has added some additional counter seating in the cafeteria that has become very popular with students.  Not only are the tall seats comfortable but the counters have multiple chargers so students can "juice" up their phones and chromebooks.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Got Data? ISTE Standards for Student #4

This year, our schools have been focusing on a deeper integration of the ISTE Standards for Students . Below is a post from tech coach, Karen Darroch. She unpacks Standard 4 and provides examples for each elementary grade level. 

Got Data?

ISTE Student Standard 4 covers critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. This standard includes the collection and analyzing of data using appropriate tools and resources. This week we will take a look at the math standard that covers data collection and add a couple of technology resources available for your students to create graphs.

Kindergarten - Grade level does not have a specific standard for graphs. Here is analyzing shapes: Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices or “corners”), and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length). [K-G4]

1st Grade - Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another. [1-MD4]

Gynzy - Chartmaker
Gynzy - Diagrams
(Please let me know if you would like the graphing app for free!)

2nd Grade - Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph. (See Appendix A, Table 1.) [2-MD10]

Gynzy - Bar Graphs
Gynzy - Diagrams
Website: Create a Graph
(Please let me know if you would like the graphing app for free!)

3rd Grade - Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. [3-MD3]

Gynzy - Bar Graphs
Gynzy - Diagrams
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

4th Grade - Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. [4-MD4]

Gynzy - Line Plot
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

5th Grade - Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Use operations on fractions for this grade to solve problems involving information presented in line plots. [5-MD2]

Gynzy - Line Plot
Website: Create a Graph
Use Google Sheets to Create Graphs

Exciting news for Computer Science!


3 years ago, we launched with a video, starring people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg inspiring students to learn computer science. Since then, hundreds of thousands of educators like yourself, along with 100 cities and districts, 18 states, and even 7 entire nationshave embraced CS in grades K-12!

Today, the White House added its support to this grassroots movement, announcing a plan to help every student in America’s public schools learn CS, especially girls and underrepresented students of color. This is a big deal. This “CS for All” initiative proposes $4 billion in funding and additional support for training teachers to bring computer science to students. Watch the president’s full remarks here.

We couldn’t be happier about the bipartisan support for computer science, and we need your help to show the local support for this movement:

Post to Twitter: I’m helping bring computer science to students in my classroom and community. #CSforAll @codeorg
Post to Twitter: The one thing Republicans and Democrats agree on: every student should have a chance to learn to code. #CSforAll

Take the next step to spread computer science in your school: If you’ve tried only an Hour of Code, take it further! We offer computer science curriculum as well as professional learning workshops, free of cost, to help existing teachers integrate computer science at any grade. The courses and workshops get rave reviews from educators, please check them out:

If there isn’t a workshop in your region, check out the 3rd party options. Or write a letter to your school or district, urging them to offer computer science.