Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Day Freebies!

It is almost the time...Election Day!  Our kiddos are getting so excited about "voting" tomorrow.  We have set-up our electronic polling stations and have our stickers printed.  We are officially...ready to roll!

We made our ballot using Google Forms 

and augmented these adorable TpT "I Voted" stickers with Aurasma. (Download the Aurasma app and follow "AugmentingSTEM" to see the flag come to life!)

Please feel free to copy any and all!  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Math on the Move (Solving for a Determined Variable)

For the past 8 or 9 years, I have spent my time after hours helping students prepare the math section of the ACT.  Each year I analyze the released tests and update my prep workbook to reflect questions most frequently asked.  I LoVe doing this!  To me, working math problems and seeing trends is so much fun, but it dawned on me that not everyone feels the same:) After talking with a non-math Discovery Educator friend who was hired to teach a prep class with no resource materials, I realized that there is a definite need for ready-to-go lessons.  So, I am in the process of developing all of my tutoring materials into content that can be used during the school day in a traditional classroom.  Since my natural inclination as an educator is to get students up and out of their desks while working, I thought that an ACT Prep Class should be no exception.  Here is a quick 5 question check for solving for a determined variable (Interactive ClassFlow Version) involving combining like terms and distributing...basic stuff for sure, but perfect for older students that may have forgotten over time.  Print out the handouts and place them around the classroom. Students will complete a gallery walk and solve each problem on notebook paper.  After all of the questions are finished, students may check their answers with the key provided.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Augment Your Review Stations with Aurasma

Last week, I tried Augmenting Algebra with Aurasma and it went just...okay. On several occasions, we found that the wrong answer popped up on the screen when the review cards were scanned.  We could remove the card and try again and most of the time that resolved the issue; however the bigger problem stemmed from the way that the cards were created.  I had made all of the question cards using the same font, identical backgrounds, and very similar layouts.  The only variation on the review cards were the actual questions themselves.  The difference was so slight, that the Aurasma app had a difficulty in distinguishing between the cards. Determined to make this work, I came home and revised the activity by adding variety to each card using shapes at different points along the border.

I uploaded the new images to Aurasma and we tried it again.  Problem solved!  Now, when the review cards are scanned the correct answer shows up every time!  Since these are perfect for self-checking stations and the kids loved it, I will definitely do it again.  To make it easier, I saved blank cards with the new border art as a template.  Now, all I need to do is add the questions.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Engaging Readers and Building Vocabulary Through Augmented Reality

One of my greatest desires is to help students make sense of unfamiliar text and vocabulary. So, it only makes sense to couple augmented and virtual reality resources with an upcoming unit on informational text to serve as a hook on which to hang new information.  Just recently, our ELA Coordinator found an article on Gentle Giants from Readworks and that was all I needed to have a jumping off point for AR/VR integration.  I pulled Discovery's 360 video on the whale shark, the featured figure in the article, and paired the video with our VR Viewmasters to create an immersive experience.  (Note: The 360 feature only works when viewed through the YouTube app, but a VR viewer is not necessary to see the 360 effects.)  I ran the article through LessonWriter to get vocabulary and literacy activities to use in the writing activities and created three stickers for a small group station (two of the whale shark and one of a hammerhead).  I augmented the stickers using Giphy and Aurasma and used them to help students better understand the passage.

The augmented pictures are amazingly cool! First time viewers always look under the iPad to try to determine what is happening:) However, the best part for me was previewing the images with a second grader.  I asked if he knew what a hammerhead shark was...of course, he knew. "What about a whale shark?"  Well, yes to that too!  Realizing that I was dealing with an advanced friend, I asked him if he knew what zooplankton was (a word which appeared in the Readworks article). Finally, I had stumped him!

We scanned the sticker showing a whale shark eating.  (You can view the augmented content by creating an Aurasma account and scanning the QR Code pictured on the left.)  When the short video had finished, I asked him if he had any idea what zooplankton were now.  His response, "I think that zooplankton are tiny creatures that whale sharks eat."  Yes! Bingo! You got it!!!  Now, while I cannot swear that the video I attached to the feeding whale shark gif shows zooplakton (sorry,  if they are not), the idea was to translate unfamiliar vocabulary into a pictorial representation that my young friends would understand and worked!  The complete lesson includes vocabulary, reflection questions and small group activities. For student notebooks, I reduced the size of a QuiverVision coloring sheet of a great white shark to fit 4 on a page and asked the students to research and compare the whale shark with the great white and hammerhead by using a Venn Diagram.

 Here is a link to the printables and the complete lesson plan

Monday, October 24, 2016

Giddy Over Giphy

Do you ever stumble upon something that is probably old, but to you it is brand new...never before dreamed or imagined...and you go nuts over just thinking about how your students will react?  Well, that was definitely me last night.  In fact, I woke up this morning realizing that I had dreamed about sharing my new find with the kiddos.  If you have read this blog for any length of time, you already know that I am infatuated with augmenting my world.  Seeing an inanimate object come to life through the use of an app is so fascinating to me and witnessing this used with students brings me great joy every time.
I was playing around with an idea for a new virtual field trip and exploring possibilities for augmented writing prompts when I found Giphy, a website where you can find and create animated images.  Paired with Aurasma, you have an image that can be placed in a student's writing journal to serve as a writing prompt.  When the student scans the picture with the Aurasma app, the animated image created with Giphy comes to life on the screen!
So, here is how it works:
Step 1: On Giphy, select create.

Step 2: Find a video that you would like to transform into an animated image and paste the URL of into the prompt on Giphy.

Step 3: Choose the start and end time for your animation.

Step 4: Scroll down and select create gif.

Step 5: Download your animated gif by clicking the advanced tab and choosing download.  I used the downloaded file as the animation for an Aurasma trigger for our interactive student notebooks (I'll post details soon).

Here is my gif...ready to pair with an article from Readworks on these Gentle Giants.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Augmenting Algebra

I am so excited to have the opportunity to create math experiences again for the first time in 2 years. For the past 4 weeks, I have worked with a group of students on mastering Algebra I content for the (Texas) STAAR EOC.  Each weekend I spend an afternoon, sitting on the couch cranking out new lessons for these awesome kiddos and hoping that I find an approach to help them understand and remember the content.  Once a week tutoring is tough and many struggle to recall my name, much less the math that we covered, so I find myself spiraling the activities to highlight the topics from past weeks.  This weekend was no exception.  Tomorrow I will try something new to me and hopefully something the students will think is cool...self-checking math stations using Aurasma (inspired by Heidi Samuelson at SwampFrogsFirst). Aurasma has been around a while, but I have honestly never tried it for something like this.

To view this creation, download the free app, Aurasma, and create an account (no's free!)

Scan the QR code to follow my channel.

Now, you are ready to see my augmented content.  Here is a card from my complete lesson that is available at no cost on TpT and ClassFlow.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Growing Better Writers Through Blogging

Today, we picked up on a project that we started last year...blogging.  I am thrilled to say that as I watched the lesson unfold, I saw real learning happening for our sixth grade students.  According to last year's teacher, the hardest part of blogging for our young writers was providing quality comments.  So, where did we start today?  You guessed it, with commenting.

Our Grade 6 teacher, Mrs. Downs, created her own post using only a graphic image and invited the students to share their thoughts.  No guidelines were stipulated regarding the length of the post nor were reminders given about sentence structure.  The directions...look at the image and comment.

The students' writing began to flood the screen.  From short posts to creative rhymes, student personalities began to shine through with each entry made.

The most beautiful part however, was that students provided the material for the day's lesson on grammar, syntax, and quality writing.  Take, for example, these 3 comments to one student's response:

"Do the comments make sense grammatically?  Is punctuation missing?  Should sentences begin with a capital letter?"  As Mrs. Downs, asked probing questions while reviewing the students' first attempt, we could see light bulbs coming on across the room, as well as, the strong desire to correct mistakes made.  After Mrs. Downs invited the young writers to edit and revise, the students' comments became more thoughtful...more conversational...more grammatically correct!

Are they perfect?  No, but we are not looking for perfection; we are looking for growth.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Engaging Learners in Virtual Tours with ClassFlow

I am not sure why I am so enamored with virtual tours, but I have been hooked since Google's visit last year when they came to share Google Expeditions with our 5th and 6th grade students. Maybe it is because it is so easy to get the students engaged in a virtual tour...maybe it is because the students can explore places they have never been...maybe it is because virtual tours not only provide learners with a visual experience, but also an auditory and kinesthetic one, as well.  Based upon my one day experience with Google Expeditions, I can tell you that I am so excited about their recent release for iOS devices.  With their teaching notes, question prompts, and gyroscope compatible pictures for students, it is so easy to integrate Expeditions into the curriculum.  In fact, I invested in 25 ViewMasters and an equal number of iPods in early summer, because I am convinced that this type of learning activity is a game changer for our student population who have limited experiences outside of their own neighborhoods. I feel that if I can take students around the world through interactive pictures, a wealth of opportunities will be unlocked for our students to associate mental pictures with words they read and hear, thus expanding their background knowledge, but not every location is available through Expeditions.

Enter ClassFlow.  About a month ago, I started using ClassFlow, a free online presentation system kind of like an interactive whiteboard, but with built-in assessments, assignment creator, badging, and interactivity tools.  In ClassFlow, there are 2 slide decks available, one on the teacher side (the things that will show up in the front of the room through the projector) and one on the student side (the things that will show up on the students' devices). The 2 slide decks do not have to match and therefore allow for the creation of the customized virtual tour complete with teacher notes and talking points!!!  By embedding links to 360 degree videos and photos on the student side, virtual tours can be built with images with which students can interact.  By including teacher notes or questions on the teacher side of the slide deck, lessons aligned to content standards can be developed with questions or facts designed to keep class discussions on topic.

I shared my first tour, Regions of Texas, with 4th grade students last week.  It was so rewarding as a teacher to hear the students oohs and aahs as they saw the different pictures appear on their devices and honestly, in my 16 years of teaching, I have never introduced something to students that resulted in a similar response.  They were so excited to share what they were seeing with classmates as they moved the images around on their screen that on more than one occasion the teacher turned to apologize to me for the noise.  I assured her, no apologies were needed.  I love to hear engaged students excitedly talking about content!  Next stop...the White House.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action: Welcome, News Crew

What a start to the new year!  It honestly has been a whirlwind of great fun.  Just last week, we celebrated International Dot Day, built amazingly awesome marble runs, made liquid nitrogen ice cream, and were featured on the news!!!

CBS 19, a local news station, visited one of the schools with which I work to see how teachers and students are using augmented reality to bring learning to life with Osmo.
Osmo, one of my favorite tools to use in K - 2 classrooms, gets results by providing practice opportunities for students in spelling and numeracy and challenges student thinking through the coding and tangrams apps.

The students and teachers love it!  Osmo is perfect for center rotations and with its 7 different apps, students are always excited to use it.
See our story here.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Giving Students Out of This World Experiences with Augmented and Virtual Realities Using Quiver Vision, Osmo, zSpace, and ClassFlow

School has been in session just 3 weeks in our district and already our students are immersed in augmented and virtual realities. These technologies are impacting student learning in classrooms around the globe, so why not in a tiny town in Texas? Experiencing augmented or virtual reality makes you feel as though you have stepped into a Harry Potter movie with paper coming to life and images literally popping out of the computer screen. How fun, right? It doesn't have to cost a ton of money or be "something else" we do. It truly fits naturally into our classrooms to support student learning.

We are using coloring pages by Quiver Vision, formerly known as ColAR, as writing prompts, STEM starters, and review pages in our interactive notebooks. The kids are always delighted when they scan their customized images to see their work come to life with music,movement, and interactive features.  We re-size the images so that time is spent less on coloring and more on guiding students through the writing and design process.

Inspired by Andrea Beatty's book, Rosie Revere, we were challenged to create our own Eggs-eptional Flying Machine

We are also using Osmo, a device that attaches to an iPad, takes interaction to a whole new level. LoVe!!! In this gamified application,  students use included tiles to practice spelling words, acquire new vocabulary, reinforce math skills, expand spatial awareness, learn coding, explore STEM concepts, and make works of art…all while “playing”.  

Literally, we CaNNoT get EnOUgH of Mo! Students love it and the academic benefits have helped students of all abilities exceed academic expectations in spelling and math.  

Finally, to see graphics jump out of a computer and into the space in front of your face, you must see zSpace! Loaded with hundreds of lesson plans and labs for math and science, this equipment allows students to interact with models in way that would have otherwise been cost prohibitive.  From frog dissections to exploration of the human brain, learning environments are transformed by these highly engaging student experiences.

AR Circuits
Regardless of budget, teachers and students can experience augmented reality.  Inexpensive apps like AR Circuits and AR Flashcards (for addition, letter recognition, space, and more) can be used to create a whole different experience for students.  Place the apps' free images into an interactive presentation software such as ClassFlow or print tangible cards using copy paper and you will immediately see increased excitement and engagement in classroom learning stations.  Pick up a copy of Moonbot Studio’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore or borrow that Guinness Book of World Records (years 2013, 2014, or 2015) from your local library to augment your reading nook. Add a VR ViewMaster to a learning center along with some of your favorite VR apps and students are immediately immersed in another culture, habitat, or experience.
With augmented and virtual realities you can do things that you’ve never done and see things that you never thought possible. The ideas are endless and, with this still new technology, the possibilities are great.  It will be interesting to see which augmented application will be developed next to positively impact teaching and learning.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

6 Reasons I Love ClassFlow

It's official....summer is over for students and teachers in East Texas!  We are headed back to school tomorrow with new friends to meet and fresh opportunities to make a lasting difference.  In preparation for the new year, I have hit the Target Dollar Spot more than one should, bought my Heidi Swapp light box, and taken a deep dive into Promethean's ClassFlow.

For me, ClassFlow is a keeper (and not just because I saw my favorite teacher, Ron Clark, using it at ISTE 2016)!  It is truly an all-in-one solution.  From presentation station to interactive student response cards, ClassFlow has it all.  I've practiced using it this summer alongside a few of my teacher besties and we all agree...we have a serious case of #ClassFlowLuv!!!

Here are a few of the things that I love most:
1.  It is possible to have both teacher AND student cards.  So, one card can be displayed on the board and another card can be sent directly to the student device.  This allows students to refer to the image displayed by the teacher while interacting with information unique to the device that they are using.  So, in my STEM Nametag Challenge lesson, I was able to explain the engineering design process while students thought through how they would complete the design process template.

2.  And when I say unique, I mean that you can literally differentiate student assignments using ClassFlow.  Groups can be pre-set and when student cards are distributed during the presentation of the lesson, assignments that have been selected based upon student needs are sent directly to participants.  Since it is digital, you have electronic documentation of differentiation for all students.

3. ClassFlow makes it easy to consistently monitor the quality of student participation and performance with real time polling options available.  Simply with a click of a button you can ask students different types of questions like true/false, Likert scale, text or number answers, and even creative response allowing students to draw or capture an image!!!!

4.  Whether using a poll on the fly or integrating planned assessments within the web tool, ClassFlow allows you to systematically gather input from students to monitor comprehension and adjust instruction as needed.  No more going 50+ places to provided varied student assessments. With ClassFlow, it is all available in one spot!

5.  Since ClassFlow is web-based, teachers and students can be anywhere and still access instruction. Just this morning, I sat in a McDonald's in Louisiana and tutored a student in Texas using ClassFlow!!! We saw the same images.  I got real-time feedback.  I was able to help as needed and guide him through tough concepts...while working 212 miles away.  I love this, because I have struggled for years with being able to teach multiple students who were out with prolonged absences due to medical issues.  I could figure out how to present one sided lessons, but other than utilizing the speaker on my phone or a service for which I had to pay, I couldn't figure out how to get real-time feedback from my students.  With ClassFlow...problem solved!

6.  Finally, I like that ClassFlow has a Marketplace with a plethora of awesome lessons searchable by topic or standard making it unnecessary to reinvent the wheel as we give ClassFlow a try!

Friday, August 5, 2016

STEM Quick Challenge: Design a Nametag

What a summer! The past few months have been packed with conferences and presentations focused on STEM in Elementary, STEM in Middle School, and now, STEM is for Everyone.  I have definitely stayed busy, but it has been so much fun prepping, planning, and sharing my passion with others!
When I present, I like to start off with some type of introduction and a name tent so that everyone can get to know one, with the many days of STEM trainings, I thought that it would be fun to include a quick challenge to get everyone comfortable and creating from the very beginning.  I developed 2 versions of a STEM Quick Challenge: Design a for STEM teachers and one for teachers new to STEM.
Needless to say, we had so much fun collaborating and thinking through how we would accomplish the task and with a roomful of teachers, we had no shortage of creativity!
I used resources which were readily available: white and colored copy paper, markers, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, pom poms, glue sticks, tape, paper brads, and markers.  For the "new to STEM" challenge, I added conductive tape (left over from my paper circuitry project), LED lights, and watch batteries to the more advanced version.
Here is the printable version of both challenges!  Enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Augmented Reality App Giveaway at ISTE 2016

I am so excited to be part of the Creativity Playground (ToDaY from 3 - 4PM...Concourse E!!!) at #ISTE2016. I am sharing how I use some of my favorite augmented reality tools like Quiver, BlippAR, AugThat, AR Circuits, AR Flashcards, and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.  From writing prompts to science applications, you can do it all with #AR.  Whether you are at #ISTE2016 or #NotatISTE16, you can still enter to win 1 of 20 promo codes for these awesome apps to use in your classroom!!! Then, join in the #AR4Learning Chat on Twitter...the talk is all about augmented reality every Thursday night:)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Melted Snowman

I was recently asked about the recipe for slime I made while studying non-Newtonian fluids and chemical engineering (more on that later).  I thought it might be easier to show you how we made it rather than attempt to explain it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How Do Your Students Know What They Know and When Do They Know It?

     How do you know what your students know?  When do you know it? What do you do once you realize that there are gaps in the learning? During my first few years of teaching I would be so disappointed on the day of the test, because I thought that my kiddos had a good grasp on the content only to see assessments roll in with incorrect answers or answers at all on some of the questions.  I knew that I needed to change something and so did my students.
     15 years later after much growth in my profession, my burning questions have grown to include 'How do my students know what they know and when do they know it?'.  I feel strongly that students must be given the opportunity to evaluate their own knowledge in a non-punitive assessment, so that they can discover where their gaps are prior to the day of the test.
     Attached is my presentation on ways to Check for Understanding presented at Marshall ISD's Destination Success Conference.  The ideas go beyond the 3 question quiz, the use of Socrative, Plickers, Google Forms, and Kahoot, all of which are wonderful tools; here I share quick and easy activites that can be incorporated into your classroom tomorrow.  I have blogged about many of these strategies over the years and have included the tag "check for understanding" on all of the posts related to the presentation.  So, if you are looking to add a little twist to your daily warm-ups or exit tickets, you are in the right place!

Have Students Show What They Know with Educreations

     Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time, knows that I love my iPads due to the creativity that the devices allow students to show.  I am passionate about students creating content rather than just consuming it and the more innovative that they can be while demonstrating their knowledge, the more I love it!  Educreations allows for just is like a blank sheet of paper just waiting for the artist to begin.
     In this project, students show what they know and help others in the process.  The details below include a task, a tutorial, and a rubric for the creation of math videos using the screen recorder.  In this activity, students will assume the role of an online course developer and create a screencast using Educreations, an app that is easy to use and 100% reliable in uploading and sharing work.

Overview: "For the past nine years the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group have taken a look at the state of online learning in the United States. The 2011 survey reveals that the number of students learning online has now surpassed six million, with nearly one-third of all students in higher education taking at least one online course.  Last year’s annual survey revealed the largest ever year-to-year increase in online enrollment since the study began eight years ago." - Going the Distance  

 "Online learning has numerous benefits, including expanding course offerings, customizing and personalizing learning, giving struggling students a second chance to master a subject through online credit recovery when they fall behind, and providing a rigorous, interactive learning model. Online learning is providing the content and integration of digital tools for portable and mobile learning opportunities." - iNACOL 

Your task is to assume the role of an online course developer and create a screencast using the Educreations app for our online course resources.  The Screencast Tutorial that follows details your task and provides information on how to use the app.  You will upload your completed project via the submission form posted.  




Feel free to borrow, edit, and use with your students:)