Technology 6

June 15, 2013

Below are the completed video projects for sixth grade's first venture into movie making. The purpose of this project was not only to gain experience with taking photos with the iPads, exporting to DropBox, and working in the Windows Movie Maker Live application. It was also to have students demonstrate their understanding of a science concept (in this case, acids and bases) and its relevance to their lives. I always remind them of Albert Einstein's words, "You don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." No offense to grandmothers of the world, but what this means is that students need to be able to communicate clearly and that is not possible without fully understanding the concepts and processes they are trying to explain. Science is not about memorizing a list of facts or vocabulary words, but it is understanding the real life application of the concepts that are presented and discovered. It is exploring and analyzing and reaching conclusions. Although our first video projects may be a little rough around the edges, there were many skills developed and I hope we can expand upon those skills next year.

Student gmail accounts will be turned off for the summer and restarted when the new school year begins. Don't forget about your access to Type to Learn 4 to practice keyboarding skills over the summer. Check out keyboarding skills information page for steps to download the program. User names and passwords match those for eduGlogster. Have a safe and happy summer!


April 15, 2013

Update on the Acid and Base project:
Teams should have a completed script and have printed two copies. Each group is going back to our "recording" station and using Audacity to create an MP3 of their narrations. These audio clips will be added to Windows Movie Maker and then adjusted to correspond to the images already saved there. Then they will add a title and closing credits.

They have also begun to write up their roller coaster project following these guidelines. In addition to the roller coaster write up and video project, we will also be having discussions on cyberbullying and appropriate online behavior.

March 18, 2013

As we come to the end of the third quarter, I would like to re-cap what sixth grade has been working on, even though it is all accessible on the cougartech webmix.

We started the quarter learning using our iPads to take a photo of an object in the computer lab, and then insert that photo into an app called Bamboo Paper. This allowed the photo to be labeled according to project directions. Students then needed to move the photo to a designated location in the class Dropbox. This is an important skill for working with the iPads in school as work must be moved to a cloud location, in our case Dropbox, and then from there into a network location. I moved all the photos from the Dropbox folder into the network location so students could access them. They then reviewed the skill of creating a Google doc, inserting an image, and sharing the doc with the teacher. The details of this assignment are found in Storytelling 1 - Snap, Drop, and Share.

In Storytelling 2 - Three Best Things, students told a story of what they liked about their school, without revealing personal information. For some who dawdled in entering their photo choices, they had to pick from what I had already uploaded. And the Hurricane Sandy post was used as a peer editing activity where students had to check one small part of another's post against the list of requirements, and then pass the torch to another student who would do the same. I was happy to see that some took their role as peer editor seriously and put constructive comments for a classmate, but others used the same lack of care they took with composing their own.

Gk8tKfxKNnNYwFjQlpr2Wi9nXI_E7oWwHJp3UBTpGX8.jpgAs the quarter comes to an end we are developing Storytelling 3 - Acids and Bases, which will actually be completed in fourth quarter. The reason students needed to be able to manipulate photos with the iPad was to complete this activity where they actually create a video explaining what they learned about acids and bases in science class, and document the steps of their lab investigation. Currently they are working as a team to develop their script. Then we will use the photos they took and create a narrated video of the lab investigation. Being able to explain and share what you have learned is an important way of assessing real understanding of a topic.

January 28, 2013

Second quarter re-cap:

I had originally planned 4 assignments would be included in this quarter but because of holidays and a one-week shorter marking period plans were adjusted. The three assignments included Charting 1, Charting 2, and Charting 3 from the cougartech webmix. In the first assignment I walked the students through the process of creating a pie chart with real data from the mile run fitness test. We completed on chart together and then I showed them how to do data substitution with just a few clicks to create and entirely new chart. They followed this process for all the grades and most did quite well following the pattern.

gr6 chart.JPGIn the second charting assignment students were assigned a grade and a particular event and followed the same charting procedure, but this time using a Google spreadsheet. The same tools were available but in different locations, and so they needed to investigate the editing options to discover the choices they needed to make. The document needed to be shared according to directions in the checklist.

Finally students saved the pie chart as an image and embedded it into a blog post in which they explained the purpose of the testing and what their individual chart showed. I actually gave them a paragraph to use rather than start from scratch and all they had to do was substitute their own data. One item that caused an issue for some is the fact that class blogmeister will not display and https link, and so In Red I had on the directions to remove the "s" from https, but in some cases it was to no avail. The links that appear to be gibberish are the ones that were not inserted without the "s".

The assignment that was not included in this quarter was actually the one that was finished first. That was the post on Hurricane Sandy. When I got to look at the actual writing that was posted, rather than just track students down who needed to finish, I saw that we needed so review some writing skills (as well as directions of course) and I had planned some time for peer editing and revision, but the clock ran out. We will be making corrections in order to have our best work posted for the world to see, and revised posts will be re-published and be included in the third quarter grade. Coming up in quarter three will be reviewing important concepts of digital citizenship, web literacy and cyberbullying, as well as a science/tech project to create a multimedia presentation using photos taken during completion of a science experiment in the lab.

December 13, 2012

Time for an update on the grade 6 technology scene.

In the first quarter students reviewed formatting in MS Word, created a glog to review those design tools and embedded that glog into a blog post to share with the world. They also organized their network folder and practiced using Google docs, sharing docs, and sending an email with an attachment. There is a Q1 tile on the 6th grade tab of the cougartech webmix where these assignment descriptions are still available. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit their students' posts and leave comments for them. They are always thrilled with comments on their work and often check out how many "reads" they have accumulated on a post. At this time 112 countries have visited our class blog as well as almost every state. If you do leave a comment, please do not compromise your child's anonymity. You can sign it Mom, Dad, Mrs. J,, etc.
pk pie.JPG

At the beginning of quarter 2 students wrote a "Sandy Story" to summarize the hurricane that caused us to begin the second quarter a week late. They needed to write 3 paragraphs: one to give basic storm facts, one to tell of personal experiences, and one to wrap up thoughts on the storm. Full assignment explanation was found here. I had several open lab times to help students who might have any difficulties in completion, including inserting the image.

Recently we have been working on using Excel to develop pie charts and then apply the same skill in a Google spreadsheet. Charting assignment 1 was creating pie charts to represent the actual results of this year's mile run fitness test for OLPH students. Charting assignment 2 was being responsible for charting one other event for one grade but this time using a Google spreadsheet. The functions are the same but the formatting options may be located in a different area. I am stressing to students that they need to be able to "teach themselves" by exploring the available options rather than simply saying "How do I do this?" or "Where do I find that?" If there are tool tips and drop down menus, they need to know that it is possible to find what they need with a bit of searching. This is learning how to learn, an important life skill. Finally Charting assignment 3 will involve publishing the chart from the Google spreadsheet into a blog post to summarize and display the activity results.

September 11, 2012

The first assignment of the year, Digital Space 1, has been scored and grades recorded. I insert comments and scores on the document it self and re-save it to their folders. We are almost completely paperless in our computer lab, so they will not bring papers home to sign. Most of our project work will be in digital spaces so parents can easily compare a student's finished product with the assignment checklist. Should there ever be a reason you want to see the actual scored document feel free to contact me and I will send you a pdf copy of what is in the student folder.

Students did well on the first assignment and now we are moving dot day.JPGto assignment 2 and 3. Digital Space 2 will have them organizing their network folder. File and folder organization and clean up is important to the stress free saving and retrieving of our files throughout the year. For students new to our school who do not have previous work in their network folders there will be an adjusted assignment. We also discussed International Dot Day, a celebration of confidence and creativity, and used digital tools to create a "dot" to represent the mark we leave on the world. We will be displaying that dot and accompanying thoughts in the Digital Space 3 assignment.

We are waiting on Mr. Reese's approval of our adjust electronics policy and our new Google Apps policy and once that approval is received and the online policies updated I will be sending the necessary signature forms. Thanks for your patience with this.

September 4, 2012

Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year and many new opportunities to develop 21st century technology skills. Today was our second technology class for sixth grade. We jumped right in this year with a review of word processing skills using Digital Space 1. This brushes up skills in MS Word such as text boxes, formatting text, and inserting page borders. It also gave everyone a chance to remember how to save their work correctly into their own network space. We will branch out to review our other digital spaces such as EDUGlogster, the blog, the class wikispace, and the Discovery Streaming Student Center during this quarter. These are all tools that can be used in many curriculum areas to enhance the experience and facilitate collaboration and thinking skills.

We have not reviewed our school's Acceptable Use Policy but that will take place soon and then you will receive forms to complete acknowledging awareness of a variety of technology policies at our school. We are working also on opening up the Google Apps for Education to our sixth graders this year. Stay tuned for upcoming information on that topic. I am trying to get all policies updated and posted in an easy to access format.

Everyone indicated today that they were sure they had completed the first assignment and so I will be checking those this week. If there was free time in the last few minutes the students were encouraged to revisit their blog page or do some typing games. We need a lot of work in keyboarding skills and yet it is not something that fits into our schedule easily so this year we will be offering students the chance to work in school and at home on a program that charts their progress. Although tough screens are all around us, I believe that improving keyboarding skills will still be a skill students will be thankful to have in the future. But this time it will be their choice to work on that skill at home, though there will be no contests or prizes, just the satisfaction of improving in speed and accuracy. I will post more information once the program is ready to be used.
Be sure to check out the class tab on the courgartech webmix to see current assignments, visit student blog pages, and access other useful links. I will be posting all class information here rather than on schoolnotes, and just using schoolnotes to send out the message that this site has been updated.

April 16, 2012

Looking back at quarter 3:
During the third marking period we focused on using Excel to create charts. The data used came from the President's Physical Fitness Challenge events conducted during gym class. In the first assignment I walked the students through creating a pie chart from the data for a particular grade's mile run event. They learned how to format the pie chart and then how to use an Excel feature to copy that chart and make a data substitution without having to re-do the chart. Everyone charted the mile run events following this procedure. Students then were assigned a particular event for one grade which they were responsible to chart. The simplest thing to do was to copy an existing chart and again use the Excel feature for substituting data. To conclude work with the fitness tests, students took a snip of their chart and I uploaded each image to Flickr. With the link to their images, students embedded an explanation of the project and the image of their chart for all to see. The checklists for all these events can be found on the Grade 6 tab of the cougartech webmix. The other short assignment for the quarter was completing a document of information for Trekking the Planet, to become familiar with the journey of 2 people traveling the globe for 14 months to share experiences with students and promote geographic awareness. Students watched several short video clips and for each one entered one new fact they had learned from the video. I hope to revisit the journey of the travelers during the 4th quarter and use the modules they are sharing to increase geo-literacy.

Another topic during quarter three was bullying/cyberbullying. We did an in-depth look at the experiences of one student in the video "Let's Fight It Together" and also heard from the other characters regarding their perception of the "incident". We talked about ways to deal with such situations whether you are the victim or a bystander. In quarter 4 we will continue with Digital Citizenship and eventually write a blog post to summarize key take-aways from our discussion.

Looking ahead to quarter 4:
In addition to revisiting Internet Safety, students will be completing an activity to tie in with the Roller Coaster physics project in science.

February 17, 2012

Yikes! Is it really the middle of February? Lots of catch up to do!
First a recap of quarter two:

Sixth graders spent the bulk of the quarter working on the two ancient Egypt projects. The King Tut Interview assignment, known as Peek Into the Past 1, consisted of two parts. The research was worth 25 points and the actual posted interview was worth 75 points. Each of those 2 parts was entered as a separate grade in my grade book, but was given to Mrs. Reese as a total out of 100. We originally estimated that the Egypt projects would be finished before Christmas, but I ended up doing a lot of re-teaching and reviewing because so many people were not following the format in the example. The other project was a glog based on information about an assigned Egyptian god or goddess, Peek Into the Past 2. I would say that in both of these assignments the major issue is not following directions. At one point I had students write their names on the Smart board after putting the checklist on the left of their screens and the finished project on the right of the screen, and going down the list item by item to be sure it was finished. The name was an indication that the checklist had been gone over thoroughly. Well, I thought it would help them catch errors but it did not work as well as I had planned. Something as simple as checking to see if you had linked the assignment to the post before publishing was still overlooked. But we will continue to forge ahead and hopefully this will improve. The glog grade was also passed on to Mrs. Reese and the two grades will be incorporated into social studies for the third quarter in whichever manner she decides.

The third project, Peek Into the Past 3, was simply taking the finished glog and embedding it into the blog post to share with the world. This was pretty much a no-brainer as I did everything with them step by step on the embedding. The only part left for them to complete was writing three sentences about the purpose of the project and linking to the full size view of the glog. This grade did not get passed on to Mrs. Reese as it was strictly a tech activity. Students should have scored very well on that assignment, but again, not looking at the directions (or listening to me say them as well) cost some points.

We are now in the third quarter and focusing on Excel charts. Each year the sixth grade students learn to create pie charts in Microsoft Excel and we take on the responsibility of creating visual representations of the fitness levels of grades 2 through 8 in the fitness testing done in gym class. We went through the process together using the Mile Run data. After completing one chart together, it was a matter of substituting the data and churning out the other grades' charts for the Mile Run using some features in Excel. This is Charting 1 and I will be checking that starting next week. (Trying to catch up after being away for four days this past week!.) The Charting 2 assignment has each student doing the same procedure but being responsible for charting one event for one grade. Each student is the only one providing that particular chart. I am hoping that those charts can be embedded on their blog page to share; however I have not decided how best to display those results. In the past we had printed them all out and hung them on the wall, but our lab is almost completely "paperless" this year as we are staying with digital formats of projects. It is also important that they realize they are creating something that will be shared with others, and not simply doing it for a grade.

After that we move on to some in depth work in the 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship which will also incorporate Internet safety topics. We will also be logging into the Student Center of Discovery Education and completing assignments in that digital space. More to follow on that topic. Hopefully you are accessing the cougartech webmix from home and seeing the assignment activities posted in the tiles there.

November 16, 2011

First quarter wrap-up:
We completed four "digital space" assignments. We started close to home and became familiar with saving to our network folder, a process that looks just a little different now that we are using Windows 7 instead of Windows XP, Of course Windows 7 has been around a bit.( Windows 8 is on the horizon, but that is another story.) We moved onto an extension of our classroom space known as a glog. Each student has an EDUGlogster log in and we had an activity to refresh our skill with the tools used in creating a digital poster. The next space we tackled was our blog. Students created their first post of the year on Seven Random Facts about themselves. This is an opening year activity done by a number of schools who use the Classblogmeister blogging platform. From their we branched out to communicate with students in other schools by learning correct procedure for commenting on a post and providing a link back to our own.

We are now into the second quarter and will be working on some new projects. To correlate with the sixth grade study of ancient Egypt students will be taking on the role of interviewer and talking to none other than King Tut. Yes, he has come back for a day and is willing to answer our questions. The students have found out some interesting information about his life and will be posting their interview with the boy king soon. They will also be using their glogging skills to create a digital poster about one of the Egyptian gods or goddesses. In addition we will be branching out to other digital spaces, specifically our class wikispace (which is not public, but only visible to our class) and the Discovery Streaming Student Center, where students will have a log in to access teacher created assignments and view Discovery videos that tie in with their curriculum.

The last part of my message is in "hieroglyphics" below. Can you read it?

September 13, 2011

external image manga.PNGToday was our first technology class in the new computer lab. We took a look not only at the new space but also the new computer equipment we will have available this year. From Smart Boards, to classroom response systems, to new PCs and new laptops, as well as a new version of Microsoft Office, there is a lot to learn about and a lot to use as tools in all areas of the curriculum. We are fortunate to have such great resources at our disposal.

We tried out the new network log on procedure, reviewed our blog log ins, and also took a look at the CougarTech webmix, which I hope will save us time as we access various Internet sites. Next week we will also test out our EDUGlogster and wikispace accounts, and soon our Discovery Streaming log ins.

Parents, please be sure to complete both sides of the signature form sent home today. I apologize that the form was too close to the edge when copied. Here is a Google Doc version for easier viewing. The line for email indicates a parent/guardian email address to be used so that Discovery Education can send their official notice that your child has access to their site. It will not be shared or used for any other purpose. This notification goes out whenever a student is under the age of 13, even though no personal information on the student is publicly available. Forms need to be returned to the homeroom no later than Monday, September 19. Thanks!