Thursday, February 28, 2013

Using the Document Camera in Science

Question:  What are the two substances that make the study of matter in third grade a lot of fun? 
Answer:  vinegar and baking soda
Mrs. Jordan's class has been learning about physical and chemical changes while they have been studying the topic of matter.  Today we did an experiment together. 
Is air heavier than carbon dioxide?
Make a prediction.  The tally of predictions was pretty even before we started this lab.
We used the scientific method as we conducted this experiment.  The students brought their notebooks and I created a Task Card to include the vocabulary, materials and procedure.  There was a great discussion as we began this lab.  Using the document camera is a great way for all students to witness a whole class experiment.  We also used the iPad as a document camera by using the camera and projecting the students' work via aiplay on the smartboard.

Click below to see a video demonstration of this experiment. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Colonial Regions

Fifth Graders working in groups in Mrs. Madden's class had a busy week researching The Colonial Regions.  I really enjoyed watching the dynamics of each group.  The boardrooms of many high level corporations would have been impressed watching the deliberations and collaborations of each group as they worked together. Students used the fifth grade portal to gather research on their region.  Portaportal is a FREE site that lets you list specific links in an organized way.  Click on the link below to view the grade 5 portal.
 Each student researched their specific topic and then created their slide in educreations.  Students took screenshots and we then emailed the pictures.  The final part was compiling each group's work onto one ipad and importing them into educreations.  Click on each project below to view the final results.
**Tech Tip:  An easy way to have students find a web site on the iPad is to make it an app on the iPad.
1.  Go to the website.
2.  Click on the send arrow 
3.  Click on Add to Home Screen
4.  This will add an app for the website on your screen.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidential Apps

Happy Presidents' Day!
February is the month we honor our presidents.  The Third Grade has begun a research report on a president.  Our librarian, Mrs. DeFrank, has gathered all the library resources for the classrooms.  Our school has an extensive collection of nonfiction books.  This research project has always been a learning adventure full of finding new facts and all the excitement to share their new knowledge.  During this month you hear a lot of "Did you know...?" around the room.

Did you know Grover Cleveland was the only president elected to two nonconsecutive terms?
Did you know that the S in Harry S Truman doesn't stand for anything?
Did you know that Dwight D. Eisenhower was the only president to serve in WWI and WWII?
Did you know that James Carter was the first president born in a hospital?

Can you name all six U.S. Presidents whose first name was James?
Can you name the four presidents born in Massachusetts?
(answers at the end of this post)
Our iPads have some FREE apps the students have been exploring.  Be sure to check them out.

Students in Mrs. Rec's class were the first reviewers of these Presidential apps.
Zach:  We are learning about the presidents and you learn some cool facts.
Skyla:  It's fun.  It teaches facts about the presidents.
Camilla:  I want this app because it's a really fun game and I have stack the states and why not try it.
Jake:  I like learning about the presidents that I don't know. It is fun because it is a game.
Caitlin:  I like how we are learning about presidents but are still having fun.
Jack:  This app is very fun.  It is a good app because we are studying presidents.

 Happy Presidents' Day Answers:
Can you name all six U.S. Presidents whose first name was James?
#4 James Madison
#5 James Monroe
#11 James Polk
#15 James Buchanan
#20 James Garfield
#39 James Carter

The Four Presidents born in Massachusetts:

#2  John Adams,
#6  John Quincy Adams
#35  John F. Kennedy,
#41  George H W. Bush

Friday, February 15, 2013


Happy 100th day!
Steward School celebrated the 100th day of school on Wednesday and Fuller Meadow School in Middleton celebrated today.  (Really, it was their 101st day)
The students in Mrs. O'Brien's class and Mrs. Corliss's class visited these "senior citzens" via Skype.  Miss Klipfel (how does one's daughter get to be older than you?) is a First Grade teacher in Middleton and we arranged a time for our meeting.   We signed on to Skype and the visit began.  The students were very excited about the event.  "Granny Klipfel's" students were dressed as 100 year olds.  They looked marvelous for their age.  They slowly hobbled to the computer, turned up their hearing aids (remember their age) and shared the details of their outfits.  There were many antique shawls, canes, and glasses in view.  Thank you Miss Klipfel and class for sharing your day with us.   We wish you good health for the next 100 years!

Steward students Skype on the big screen in the library.

Mrs. O'Brien's class ended our visit with a little song.
Check out "Granny Klipfel's" blog by clicking below for more fun information on their day as 100 year olds.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What is a Noun?

Writers at Work!
Students is Mrs. Corliss's class became Noun Detectives this week.  Each student wrote a thick sentence and created a picture in educreations on the iPad.  We compiled each page on to one iPad and made a lesson all about nouns.  Can you find the nouns before we show them to you? 
A fun site for practicing nouns is ABCya!  Click on the picture below to visit this site.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Mrs. O'Brien's Class says
Happy Valentine's Day to you! 
Mrs. O"Brien's class has been very busy this month in writing.  They began the week by reading the book Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat.

Their next task was to write their own poetry.  Kindergarteners writing is so exciting to watch.

It was then time to write their own Roses are Red poems. 
We finished this project by taking pictures holding the new poems and recorded the students reading these Valentine Wishes to everyone.  Enjoy the day.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Behind the Scenes

What happens when you're not looking?
I love touring factories, baseball parks, and watching TV shows being recorded. There is something exciting about all the backstage happenings.  It makes you feel like you are in on the secret. 
Last month my son and daughter in law were lucky enough to be contestants for Couples Week on the TV show Wheel of Fortune in Los Angeles and I got to go!  We had so much fun. 
Thoughts from the experience: My hands never hurt so much from clapping;  It was hard having to keep quiet when you knew the puzzle;  We watched 5 episodes taped in one day; Contestants have hair and makeup refreshened after every puzzle;  And yes, Vanna White is beautiful!  I have always thought she had a great job:  Looking pretty, fancy clothes, meeting new people, and she loves what she does.
Well, I love what I do too!
This week a lot of behind the scenes work is taking place in our district with the iPads.  I have spent 2 days in Middleton and 2 days in Topsfield working with a team from both towns.  We have been restoring iPads to factory settings, updating the profiles, changing the profiles, researching apps, adding free apps, and buying paid apps for our iPads.  While that may sound fairly straightforward, there was a lot we had to learn to make that happen.  Using Apple Configurator with its own little quirky ways took some time to understand.  I had visited Dan Callahan and Dennis Villano at Pine Glen Elementary School in Burlington and they really gave me a great start on managing the iPad carts.  The key component was to be sure to allow apps to be downloaded in the profile.  Easy to fix with a click of the apply button and a little fairy dust.  "Be patient" were key words.
We are now very happy with the newest setups.  Keep checking back to see what is happening at our schools.  New Apps to Explore!
Final Thoughts on my job:  Vanna and I have a lot in common:  Looking pretty (at least the first graders said so), fancy clothes (I wore some of my best Minnie Mouse jewelry), meeting new people (the tech team was a lot of fun), and I do love what I do!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

21st Century Learners Study Africa

How Can We Help Students Excel in the 21st Century?

The Extended Studies Sub-Group of Proctor School's School Council has been reading 21st Century Skills by Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel which outlines the skills needed for students to excel in the 21st century.  At the same time I have been working with a group of sixth graders on a project that has all the elements outlined in this book. 

Take a look at Part 2: What Are 21st Century Skills?
Chapter 3 Learning and Innovation Skills: Learning to Create Together
  • Learning to Learn and Innovate
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Creativity and Innovation
The sixth graders in Ms. Strobl's and Mrs. DeOreo's classes were given the assignment to research issues in Africa.  They worked in groups of three and used the iPads to research their topic.  After gathering the information they were given the task of becoming experts on their topic in order to teach it to others.  They used the app educreations as their platform of instruction.  Collaboratively they worked and assembled their finished product.  I am so proud of the effort everyone put into this assignment.
The people of Africa face many challenges and struggles.  For many, even daily life is difficult. 
  • Describe the problem.
  • Why is it a problem?
  • Where is Africa is this issue most commonly faced?  Include a map.
  • What are some causes?
  • What are the solutions to this problem?
  • What is the greater impact on the world?
  • How can we help? 
Here are their amazing completed projects:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Elements of a Fairy Tale

The elements of a Fairy Tale explained by Mrs. Mack & Mrs. Dunn's First Grade Class.
If you are looking for a website that reads Fairy Tales and has some extras, click on the link below to go to Leaping Match


An Original Fairy Tale

First Graders in Mrs. Truhart's class wrote and illustrated their very own Fairy Tale. 
It was a wonderful collaborative experience watching the parts come together to create the whole.  The students worked together in the classroom and each wrote one sentence as part of their original Fairy Tale.  When we used the app, educreations each student typed their sentence and added their name and page number.  They then went on to illustrate their sentence.  In our next sitting all the individual pages were added on one iPad and each student recorded their page.
 "Quiet on the set," were the words of the day.
We hope you enjoy The Dragon in the Castle written and illustrated by Mrs. Truhart's First Graders.  Be prepared for a twist on the normal ending of a Fairy Tale.