Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Celebrating Earth Day in Digital Learning at the Little School

Earth Day is an opportunity to make a commitment to learning more about the environment and how you can help to protect it. The students at the Little School have participated in many projects in Digital Learning that have helped increase their knowledge of our planet.


Grade 5 has been learning about the effects of invasive species on our environment. Invasive species are capable of causing extinction of native plants and animals.  Students completed research on an invasive species strand using school/library databases as well as government sites.  They then created "wanted" posters displaying the dangers of the species on local environments.





Grade 4 has been working on the First Lego Jr Mission Moon robotics challenge.  Though their focus has been on colonizing the moon, they studied clean energy when learning about building solar panels using their Lego sets.  The students made great connections for the need to conserve our Earth's natural resources.




Grade 3 has discovered strategies for caring for our world's greatest natural resource; the ocean.  Students participated in a live documentary with Discovery Education on the impact of plastics on the planet.  Students have also done a live Skype with Iain Kerr the chief executive officer of Ocean Alliance to learn about their recent ocean research expeditions. The students were excited to learn about, "Snotbot" a drone that allows researchers a non invasive way to learn about the whales.


After a biography research unit on people who make a difference, first and second graders had the opportunity to do a live Skype with world-renowned conservationist and scientist Jane Goodall. Not only did students learn about Jane's work with chimpanzees but they also discovered ways that they can make a difference by helping people, animals and habitat's through Jane's organization, Roots and Shoots geared to inspiring kids help the environment.



Kindergartners studying the life cycle of plants have programmed Bee-bots to follow the steps of a seed blooming into a plant. They have built their own "plants" in the Makerspace and then labeled the parts in a class e-book.  They completed the digital learning unit with stop motion videos.  

 






Thursday, April 25, 2019

Designs On Digital Learning In North Reading Week Of 4.22.19-4.26.19










Week Of 4.22.19-4.26.19
Welcome to “Designs On Digital Learning” for the week of April 22nd. Please follow @digitalhornets on Twitter and click subscribe to get our updates on Youtube.

Final Week Of April Tech Buzz Sessions
Two very cool new Tech Buzz Professional Development sessions will be offered as April comes to a close. On April 25th Kathy Dasho will be doing a session on “Creating A Quiz In PlusPortals”  and Helen Kelley will be presenting her “Makerspace Session 2” offering on April 30th. Please check the Digital Learning Blog for remaining sessions and please sign up on My Learning Plan.

MassCUE Conference Deadline Extended Till April 30th
The deadline for submitting proposals to the Fall MassCUE conference has been extended to April 30th. Consider submitting a proposal to Massachusetts largest educational technology conference and share the amazing work you do in the classroom! If you have any questions please let me know.

MS/HS MAPLE Learning Tour
On April 29th North Reading Middle and High School will be hosting a learning tour to share some of their work in the area of Personalized Learning. Great opportunity to share with other MAPLE districts our work in strategic areas.

Stair Climbing Robot in High School Robotics
Students in the Robotics program at North Reading High School have been developing some great ideas. Tyler Bellevance Brandon DeCleene have been working on a prototype for a stair climbing robot. Check out the video to see their progress.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Designs On Digital Learning: Week Of 4.8.19-4.12.19






Welcome to the Week Of April 8th in Digital Learning In North Reading. As we move into spring we have a several exciting topics this week. I will include important links and notes in the video description.

Parent University Update
Parent University on April 6th Clips from the Sessions on Social Media and the 1:1 Learning Program will be available on the blog in the coming week.

April Tech Buzz Professional Development Week Of April 8th

On April 10th Jim Sgroi will will provide a professional development session on the use UDL strategies to move away from traditional presentations from 2:30-3:30 in the Media Center classroom at the MS/HS. On April 11th Chris Lindsay will be doing a training on QR codes in the classroom at 3:15 at the Batchelder school and also on April 11th Kathy Dasho will have her session on the use of video in the classroom for teachers from 2:30-3:30 in room 110 at the high school. Please consult this link for all upcoming sessions. bit.ly/techbuzzsessions

Digital Learning Work In Elementary Schools This Week

Hood Digital Learning
       5th Grade will be creating instructional videos to teach 4th graders about figurative language using WeVideo.
        First Graders will be creating Earth Day Celebration Videos to teach others how we can protect our planet.
       Fourth graders will be creating Book Trailers using iMovie


Batch Digital Learning
       Grade 1 - Mammal Research Project - Students will be using PebbleGo for research, coming to the Makerspace to create a habitat for their mammal and creating an eBook using Book Creator for a culminating project.
       Grade 2 - Biography Project - Students are using Google Docs and iPad apps like ChatterKids, PicCollage, and Seesaw to showcase what they have learned about an important figure in history.
       Grade 3 - Pilgrim Project - Students are creating the scenery and script for a stop motion animation about their voyage on the Mayflower or their life in Plymouth.
       Grade 4 - Students are completing a Scratch practice project and will then use Scratch to program characters to share what they've learned about a National Park.
       Grade 5 - Explorers Project - Students completed online research using the library databases and are now using the information to create interactive maps using Google Tour Builder


Little Digital Learning

       Fifth grade students will be beginning computer based MCAS testing on April 9th.
       Fourth grade students will be working on building their moon bases as a part of their FIRST Lego league Mission Moon robotics teams. 
       Grade 3 is completing a Makerspace challenge that follows up on their most recent unit, Forces In Our Environment.
        Mrs. Reed's class and Ms. Barrett's class will be participating in a live SKYPE call with world renowned scientist and conservationist, Jane Goodall.

North Reading Public Schools Receives Citation For Participation In First STEM Week
 This week the NRPS received a citation from the Governor's office for our STEM event during the STEM Week In October. The North Reading Public Schools “STEAM Night” event was a huge success and collaboration of STEAM focused curriculum areas. We look forward to putting on a similar event in the coming fall.

Donation of Robotics Tables To High School Robotics Program
The Digital Learning and Entrepreneurship department was the recent recipient of 3 robotics building tables which can be used in the Robotics courses to support building robotics. A large thank you to the Reading/North Reading Chamber of Commerce for this donations and the work of Lisa Eagan who has been a great collaborator with the schools.

#STEAMCS Chat on Twitter   4/10/19
On Wednesday night I will be hosting a Twitter chat on STEAM and Computer Science topics. Please use the #STEAMCS hashtag to follow along or participate. It is a great opportunity to share resources, learning experiences and stay connected with the most relevant conversations in education.




Monday, April 1, 2019

Designs On Digital Learning Week Of 4.1.19-4.5.19 Spring Into Spring





Week Of 4.1.19-4.5.19
Welcome to “Designs On Digital Learning” for the week of April 1st. Please follow @digitalhornets on Twitter and click subscribe to get our updates on Youtube.

Welcome to the Week Of April 1st in Digital Learning In North Reading. As we move into spring we have a several exciting topics this week. I will include important links and notes in the video description.

Preparation for Parent University
This week we are finalizing preparations for Parent University on Saturday. I am presenting a session which provides a detailed overview of the 1:1 program and other Digital Learning presentations will include Website Design and Development with Kathy Dasho and an Elementary presentation on Digital Learning by Christine Lindsay. Superintendent Bernard does a fantastic job with this event and it is a must see and attend! Register here: https://sites.google.com/a/nrpsk12.org/parent-university-2018/

April 29th MAPLE Learning Tour
We are currently in preparation for our upcoming learning tour in which we will be sharing North Readings work with personalized learning across a range of MS and HS classrooms. This tour will feature our work with our 1:1 program as well as our work expanding personalized learning strategies and STEAM program development.

Tech Buzz Professional Development
Sessions For April
The first week of April will feature a session from Sam Anthony at the Hood School on Digitizing the Daily 5. A session in which Sam will be providing resources and tools to support student engagement in core subject areas with digital tools. This will be on April 1st.  Helen Kelley will be holding a Makerspace 1 session at the Little School on April 3rd in which she will support the creation of maker-space lessons and resources. These sessions are always open to teachers from all schools to attend and please sign up in My Learning Plan.

Computer Based MCAS Testing At The High School
Last week the high school 10th graders were part of a highly successful computer based testing experience. The Digital Learning team and High School Staff and Administration have a lot to be proud of as we implemented this new testing requirement seamlessly within the school. Many thanks to all that supported this project.


Tech Alliance Student Tech Program
Students are working on developing a “Stair Climbing” robot project and will look forward to presenting their project at an upcoming technology conference in the fall. Students are also exploring the Unity Game Programming Engine to create their own games. Keep an eye out for videos exploring these topics in the near future.

Digital Learning Blog
The March post to the Digital Learning blog was made by Christine Lindsay at the Batchelder School who has written about the implementation of the 3D printer at the school Makerspace and some of the students projects they have worked on. Find the article here: https://northreadingdigitallearning.blogspot.com/2019/03/3d-printing-at-ld-batchelder-school.html


Monday, March 25, 2019

3D Printing at The L.D. Batchelder School

With the help of the Batch BPO, we were so excited to add a 3D printer to the Batch Makerspace (Imagination Studio) last year. Students have been thrilled about this addition to the space and they love walking by and seeing their original creations coming to life on the 3D printer.


This winter all fourth graders at The Batch had the opportunity to design an original keychain/bag tag to be printed on the 3D printer. They started by learning the features of Tinkercad, an online 3D design and modeling tool. This was a great way for students to apply what they have learned about three-dimensional shapes during math instruction.


Once they were comfortable manipulating and joining shapes, students applied these newly honed skills to their original creation. As you can see from the picture below, students impressed us with their creativity and their designing skills.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Classroom Management in a 1:1 Environment

As many of you know, our 9th grade students will be receiving Chromebooks on January 24th and 25th as part of the district’s ongoing 1:1 initiative. In preparation for this event, the Digital Learning Team will not only continue to support teacher experiences with the 1:1 program, but we will also provide support through instructional coaching and the use of digital tools as well as offering Tech buzz Professional Development in relation to these devices and Personalized Learning. We would also like to take this opportunity to discuss the influence this will have on the classroom environment and recommend some tips and tricks in order to help maintain and promote efficient classroom management.

Although you may be familiar with Chromebooks in the classroom already through the use of carts or the library, once the students have their own devices, you may want to take the time to remind them of the acceptable use policy. This will set the tone in regards to teacher expectations of device use in the classroom. Once a well defined classroom policy and procedure have been established, it will help with managing the student’s accountability more consistently and lower the risk of misuse because they will know what is expected of them and more importantly, they will know the consequences if misuse occurs. Policies can range from which websites students are allowed to use during class to making sure their devices are ready for class use (ie. batteries are fully charged). Whatever the rules are, teachers should write them with the intention of enforcing them. Consistency with the rules will foster good student device practices.

Movement is another strategy teachers can utilize to help support and sustain student accountability. Circulating around the classroom or work area enables the teacher to better monitor their students when using their devices and it will often keep them on task as they know they are being observed at any time. When students are working with their devices in groups, try to cluster the desks together in a way where their screens are always facing out and not to a wall. This will allow teachers to monitor the device screens more conveniently as they are moving around.

When it comes to devices in the classroom, I think Julie Davis says it best, “Being a strict disciplinarian regarding technology does not mean you aren't a fun or good teacher. It means that expectations are there. Be honest with your students, discuss with them why you have the rules you have. Have them dialogue with you about ways that might help them be less distracted. Remember that you have a responsibility for teaching them good digital citizenship skills. Every moment is a teachable moment, every teacher should be teaching their students how to harness and expand the power in their hands in productive ways (Davis, 2015).”

If you would like more information in regards to strategies for a 1:1 environment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Digital Learning Team.

Davis, Julie. “Classroom Management Tips for the Technology Rich Classroom.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 19 Feb. 2015, www.edutopia.org/discussion/classroom-management-tips-technology-rich-classroom.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

December Digital Learning at the E.E Little School




Computer Science Education week is an annual program designed to inspire students to take an interest in computer science.  The students at the E.E Little School participated in an Hour of Code.  Each grade level had the opportunity to learn to code through games and activities on the Hour of Code website.  Students and families also worked together to complete a bingo card of at home coding activities. 






Digital citizenship is a theme that is revisited in every project that we do throughout the year, but each fall we spend some time reviewing how to be a good citizen in school, our community and online.  Each grade level focuses on a unique activity.  Grade 5 students used the knowledge that they learned from k-4 to make citizenship bookmarks for the younger students.  Students must research, plan and create a bookmark using Google tools.  The completed bookmarks are then displayed and voted upon.  The winning bookmarks are printed and used by the Little School students each week when they visit the library.  




Our #Getintobooks activity is in full swing at the Little School.  Students are discovering creative ways to put themselves into a book.  This experience is allowing them to discover new books in the library, use digital photography skills such as green screening and forced perspective as well as summarizing stories to share on Twitter. 






Monday, December 3, 2018

Batchelder 5th Grade Digital Learning Classes & WIDA ACCESS For ELL Testing Preparation

Michael Callahan - K12 Digital Learning Specialist Blog Update

Hello,

For those of you who don’t know me yet, I am Michael Callahan, one of the District’s K12 Digital Learning Specialists. I began my K12 career with North Reading Public Schools last year after a number of years supporting Higher Education institutions in Educational Technology roles. With a successful last year, I am excited to see what this year brings . Already the last few months have been full of excitement and have been a great time for new initiatives and planning for the future.

 Let’s take a look at what’s been happening so far:

Batchelder 5th Grade Digital Learning Classes:
Let’s Put Together Computers! 

In October, the Batchelder’s 5th grade students learned how to put together all the major parts of a desktop computer. They were given mice, monitors, keyboards, power cords and USB cables. As a class, we learned about the different pieces, how everything connected, and some of the common areas for major trouble. This was an excellent learning opportunity for the students, as most are all familiar with how to use a desktop computer, but not necessarily how things connect and interact. Even the co-teachers were excited for the students and the value of the lesson; “I thought the idea and practicality of today's DL lesson was great! I wish someone had taught me all of that stuff a long time ago” said Lori Johnson, fifth grade teacher.

Fall Makerspace Challenge 

Batchelder students participated in the Fall Makerspace Challenge. Created by Ms. Nancy Boudreau, first grade teacher, students took the role of farmers trying to get their giant pumpkins into their trucks and trailers for the fair. In this challenge, students had to design and build a machine or system to raise the pumpkin safely off the ground and up to a specific height. It was truly amazing to see all the different ideas among the classes and how groups would approach the task from completely different angles but ultimately came out successful. These types of challenges push the students to think in a variety of different ways as well as allow students to use a variety of skills including executive functioning, analytical thinking, communication, time management, collaboration, and design skills.


 Image provided by Mrs. Borek. https://twitter.com/TinaBorek/status/1053833383288147968


District Wide Initiatives: 

WIDA ACCESS For ELL Testing Preparation 

With district wide testing beginning in January, the last few months have been full of planning and development. Our top priority in supporting our students as they begin testing has been ensuring a smooth and seamless experience. That means organizing and coordinating a number of district technologies, as well as collaborating with a number of district staff including Barbara Fitzgerald, District ELL Coordinator, Daniel Downs, Director of Digital Learning, Nicholas Langford, Network Administrator, and Nan Cook, Data Manager, to ensure our students have exactly what they need.

I am extremely excited to see where this year takes me in support of our students. All the projects, Makerspace Challenges, and district initiatives we support make my role as a K-12 Digital Learning Specialist a varied and ever changing role that I enjoy and find rewarding.

Thank you,
Michael Callahan

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The L.D. Batchelder Imagination Studio

Chris Lindsay
Digital Learning Specialist, L.D. Batchelder School, North Reading Public Schools



The L.D. Batchelder School's Makerspace (named The Imagination Studio by a fifth grade student) officially opened in the fall of 2017. This initiative was spearheaded by a team of Batch teachers, who are passionate about the maker movement and bringing additional engineering challenges to our students. They, along with all the faculty members, feel it is so important to prepare children for their future careers by giving them additional opportunities to think outside the box, to work as a team, and to experience the engineering design process, as they attempt to solve real world problems. We are so appreciative of the Batch BPO for funding many items, such as the 3D printer, in this space.

During the current school year every K-5 student will have the opportunity to experience at least three different challenges in The Imagination Studio during their weekly Digital Learning time. The first challenge took place in October. Ms. Nancy Boudreau, first grade teacher, came up with a real world problem relating to giant pumpkin contests. The challenge was to design a lift for the farmers to get their giant pumpkins to the fair. Here are two designs created by 2nd and 3rd grade students:



This was not an easy challenge. Teams needed to use the design thinking process, as they brainstormed with their partner. They developed a prototype, tested this prototype and made improvements to their design. The classroom teachers and I were so impressed with the creativity and the perseverance that the students demonstrated. With every challenge, students are becoming more confident and capable and we look forward to seeing their original designs during the winter and spring challenges.





Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mrs. Jolibert's Academic Biology class investigating how glucose is used to make energy during cellular respiration through clay modeling.


Mrs. Jolibert's Academic Biology class investigating how glucose is used to make energy during cellular respiration through clay modeling. #Science #FutureReady #SkillsForTomorrow