Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Post: Author’s Purpose Slideshow Lesson Reflection

Author’s Purpose Slideshow Lesson Reflection

After reading two different selections on the musician Ray Charles, we had a class discussion on the author’s purpose of the selections. On was an autobiography and the other was a biography. We determined that the autobiography was written more to express and the biography more to inform. This lead to a discussion about the other purposes authors write.

I gave the students instruction on how to use google presentations and taught them how to share with each other. The task was to create a slideshow that highlighted each of the different purposes that authors write and provide five examples from things that we have read this year.

I felt that this was a really cool way to reinforce author’s purpose. I saw the kids really getting into creating their slides. I even heard someone say “ this is so fun.”

I learned so much from doing this and am already trying to find other ways to include similar projects in my class.

Greg Kramer
6th Grade Teacher
Crow Elementary

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5th Graders Spice up Writing with Sensory Words

Students in Mrs. Richardson's fifth grade class at Corey Elementary School learned how to turn mundane writing into interesting pieces that capture readers' attention, like transforming a plain vanilla ice-cream scoop into a delicious, fudge-covered sundae with sprinkles!

After a class discussion on using the five senses to describe a common event, students then used iPads to access (the district's recommended and supported blogging platform) to create original blog posts describing a night at the movies. They flavored their writing with sensory descriptions, then published their posts for the class. They finished up by commenting on each other's posts, providing constructive feedback and encouraging words. Students love feedback from their peers!

Here's a small sample of some of their awesome writing (first drafts):

As I enter the theater a rush of cold air slaps me. The scent of buttery popcorn is delightful. I watch as tons of people wait in plush chairs at the front desk for the movie to start. As my friend and I enter the movie theater we can hear children munching on crunchy popcorn, and light chatter before the film starts. (by Sofia M.)

My best friend and I get out of the car, so the ice underneath our feet breaks with a crash. Our shoes are soaked in frigid waters, when we move away our feet freeze or at least it feels like it. When we get inside an aroma of buttery popcorn attacks me. The line is full of cold, waiting people loudly saying how come they have to wait in such a long line.  (by Amber B.)

On an awesome Friday night me and my mom are going to see The Amazing Spider man 2. I felt so optimistic it was such a lure to me and everybody. Once we got in line I can smell the aroma of sweet candy and buttery popcorn popping in the machine. (by Victor B.)

Now that students know how to use Kidblog, they can post all kinds of things in their classes- including their digital works they create using iPads. Hats off to Mrs. Richardson for providing such opportunities!

On a side note, the class began their science review for the STAAR test as I was packing up. Mrs. Richardson used Kahoot! to motivate and engage students- the faster you answer, the more points you get! I stuck around just long enough to play a few rounds. After sweating it out, I now have evidence that I am smarter than at least some 5th graders (good thing I taught junior high science for all those years, sorry Victor!):

Monday, April 21, 2014

Media Fair Showcase

Our Media Fair Showcase is Monday, April 28, from 6-8 pm. This is an exciting night where you can see all of the winning projects from this year's submissions. We hope you can join us!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teacher Appreciation!

Teachers from the new 8th grade required CTHEI course were recognized for their Media Fair participation during a recent training session. All 8th graders district-wide participate in CTHEI (Career, Technology, and Higher Education Investigations).  CTHEI is a technology embedded course that will provide students with opportunities to develop technology skills they will use throughout high school and into college and career while actively investigating their career options for the upcoming years in high school and beyond. CTHEI is a joint venture between the Instructional Technology Department and the Career and Technical Education Department.
Tammy Fiset, Bailey JH and Kristen Newcomb, Ousley JH
Tommy Thompson, Gunn JH, Maurine Gill, Young JH and Lynn Jenning, Workman JH

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Giving 3rd Graders a Place to Publish

Recently, Julie Lee, third grade teacher at Corey Elementary, began a series of technology integrated lessons with her language arts students. In order for students to share their work with their peers and get their feedback, it was important to give students a place to publish their work- but it needed to be in a safe and protected environment.

Kidblog ( is the answer! This district-supported platform allows students to post text, images, and web widgets into posts. Then students can comment on each other's posts to provide feedback. And this is all done in a "walled garden" environment that is safe and secure- no one can view or comment on posts unless they are logged in! And the teacher can even limit posting/commenting so that the teacher must first approve everything before it appears to others.

Mrs. Lee's class is working on inferencing. They are using an iPad app (Pic Collage) to create a collage around a central theme. They will publish this for their peers in Kidblog; other students will then use their observation and inferencing skills to infer the central theme (posted as collaborative replies in Kidblog). These 8-9 year-olds are learning so many technology skills while still being focused on the language arts TEKS! You can read Mrs. Lee's own blog post about this activity here.

We applaud Mrs. Lee for giving students an awesome opportunity to create and collaborate! Want to see some student samples? Check back here soon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sam Houston High School Math Intervention Day

Our guest post today is by Kellye Vandergriff, Instructional Coach at Sam Houston High School
Sam Houston High School students participated in a virtual math competition on Tuesday, April 1 as part of an intervention/enrichment day on campus. Students competed against one another in individual classrooms by answering specifically designed quiz questions via a QR code reader to earn points for their teams. Each team's correct answer tally was compiled virtually to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Included in the competition were all Algebra 1 students, as well as Pre-AP Geometry students. All students were involved in a day of interventions and enrichment. The innovatively designed competition was a first for our students and proved to be a unique experience for all!

Geometry Teacher Greg Peters demonstrates math concepts with his students

Monday, April 7, 2014

Technology Fun at Larson Elementary

Larson Elementary third graders in Mrs. Long and Mrs. Casale's classes had fun reviewing vocabulary from Charlotte's Web using the iPad app, Doodle Buddy, and the website, Kahoot! Before I arrived, the teachers reviewed the vocabulary with the students and assigned each of them a word to work on during the Doodle Buddy part. It was so fun to watch the students explore Doodle Buddy and decide how to illustrate their words through a drawing or by uploading a picture they took with the iPad. Students then shared their vocabulary projects with the entire class as one final review before playing the review game on Kahoot!

Students continued using the iPads to answer the questions on the quiz I created on Kahoot! and showed that they had a good understanding of the words being reviewed. I enjoyed working with the teachers and students with this technology integration activity and cannot wait to visit them again. (One student has already suggested to his teacher that we do this every Friday!)