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HeathcoteTech has moved! Scarsdale students are now building blogs on the CampusPress platform. CampusPress is a managed service that uses...

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hour of Code

Coding is a popular activity and skill. The “Hour of Code” is an international program aimed at sparking interest in computer science and the concept of coding. The “Hour of Code” week is December 7-13 and encourages teachers and students to try coding, with the tagline “an hour of code for every student.”

Here at Heathcote coding isn’t an hour, or a week. We’ve been using coding platforms for the past few weeks, as we did last year, and plan on to continue well beyond the “Hour of Code.”  Coding is available, and used, throughout the year.

Since this week is the “Hour of Code” week I wanted to share our approach as well as the resources we have available to students. We have multiple avenues for student coding experiences:

Friday, November 20, 2015

New App = New Learning

by Ms. Boyer

I introduced Padlet to my 5th graders this week. I really didn’t know much about Padlet but thought it had the “cool factor” and would prove to be a very interesting way for my students to share their new investigations of non-fiction. I set up our collaborative group in Padlet, made a WELCOME page with a few notes for students to read with links to follow, and sent each student a note (in their google drive) introducing our new adventure.  I knew I didn’t know everything there was to know about this new app, but I do know 5th graders and I draw comfort from the fact that whatever I don’t know, they will figure out in a fraction of the time it would take me to resolve any issue.  Ten year olds are not intimidated, they are intuitive.

It’s been two days since Padlet became a new buzz word in our classroom and I’ve experienced a few F.A.I.L.s (First Attempts In Learning) but each hiccup was quickly resolved because my students possess two qualities that big businesses look for in their prospective employees; they are skilled problem solvers and they are digitally literate. Digital literacy is a fairly new term that marries the two words, digital and literacy.  Yet it is so much more than just the words; it’s a way of life, a way of interacting with the world, a way of solving problems and communicating.  In my 5th grade classroom, it’s me being comfortable with the fact that I will never know as much as my students; I teach them, they teach me. We raise the bar everyday.  

Padlet has proven to be an effective collaborative learning tool thus far. My students have now created shared Padlets as reading partners and are busy linking additional media to inform their learning. In a brief check-in ‘round the room the consensus was that we should continue to use Padlet, that it was easy to take notes on and it was a good way to organize thinking to share with a group. And so we shall...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

3rd Grade Google Slide: The Year Long Reflection

The Project:

Using Google Slides 3rd grade students will create a 13 slide presentation, one month at a time, over the entire school year.

The Why?

It is never too early to start building a digital portfolio and not every portfolio will look the same. But one great way to show true growth and progress is not to publish the best of the best, as most portfolios tend to be, but rather show real, individual progress and growth though the eyes, and words, of the students themselves. It's important for students to think about, and voice, the things that stand out to them the most, their "a-ha" moments of clarity, their personal triumphs. It is also important for students to keep a record of such things and look back on them. It's one thing for us as teachers to say "you've come so far" but it's far more powerful for the student to look at a body of work and say "this is how I've grown."

The How?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Parent Coffee - Twitter!

Once again Mr. Casal will be talking Twitter during a Parent Coffee session. Last year was his first year at Heathcote and the first annual "Twitter @HeathcoteSchool Parent Coffee" was held. As a school community Heathcote has made amazing strides in using social media, Twitter in particular, to create a vibrant, transparent learning community that puts the awesome work of our students at the forefront.

It is now time time for the 2nd annual "Twitter @HeathcoteSchool Parent Coffee!"

This is the agenda, with associated links to resources, for the event...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Addressing Twitter concerns...

I am often asked about social media’s role in education, Twitter in particular. These questions are often brought about by parent concerns, which often mirror the initial concerns of teachers.

When addressing parent concerns I approach it just as I do with teachers:

  1. concerns are normal
  2. I’m happy we are discussing concerns as opposed to flat out rejecting the concept
  3. concerns are a learning process for me as much as for those bringing them to me, as they help me reflect on my practice as well as see what I do through an external lens

I have written many things in the past about social media in schools but there are always new questions that aren’t addressed by old posts.

This post looks at the two most recent concerns I’ve received:

  1. There is a time stamp if you follow it. One can piece together a class schedule.
  2. Why are teachers stopping instruction to take photos?

Let me address each of these one at a time…

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tweeters @HeathcoteSchool!

I think it is important to promote, and celebrate colleagues. Especially when they step out of their comfort zone and embrace new challenges.

When I joined the staff at Heathcote Elementary School last year only a handful of teachers had Twitter accounts. And those that had accounts used them mostly for tweeting a picture of the whiteboard with the homework written on it.

When I interviewed for the job I expressed my passion for Twitter in schools and I was given full support by our principal, Ms. Stile, to push it as a school-wide initiative.

And my new colleagues were awesome. They jumped in full force.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Student portfolio sites - Site Maps

All 4th and 5th graders are given web spaces to create, and curate, their own digital portfolios.

These sites are built, and maintained, by the students using Google Sites. These sites are initially only visible to the student and their teacher.

The goal of student portfolio sites is to give students a space to develop on their own, creating their own digital presence and self-directed portfolio, that they can then use throughout their years in Scarsdale. This website stays with them as long as they are students in Scarsdale, and can eventually be transferred to a personal account so students can keep, forever, a catalog of all the work they are proud of.

The first step in building anything is the blueprint...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Open House 2015

Welcome parents!

Tonight is Open House, feel free to stop by the Computer Lab and say hello.

If we don't get the chance to meet face-to-face, here is a quick over view of what we do with technology here at Heathcote...

And a short introduction video you may remember from last year, but is still relevant...

Looking forward to another great year.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A reflection & look ahead

As the 2015-2016 school year rapidly approaches I realize I neglected to post a few things at the end of the year. The first being a Capstone recap, which I am working on. The second, a reflection.

This is a quick look back on 2014-2015 as the sun sets on summer and dawn of a new school year approaches...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Heathcote's Chickens!

Every year the 1st Graders get eggs and learn about the process of chickens hatching.

We are live streaming the eggs and the hatching process!

Point of reference, some seem to have hatched a few days early, which is why some of these live feeds have more chicks then eggs, and others more eggs then chicks.

Enjoy watching the process...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Update

It has been many moons since the HeathcoteTech blog has been updated. And that is a good thing!

The lab has been cranking. Students are in most hours of the day. iPads are being checked out, MacBooks are being borrowed, Chromebooks are running full steam. It's been a great few months, students learning and creating amazing things.

Here is a quick rundown of what's been going on in the lab since February:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3rd Grade Information Books - Ms. Mangan

This post is a work in progress as students finish & tweak their animated books

The following items are animated books created using Google Slides with Ms. Mangan's class:

The third graders created Information Books as a part of our non-fiction reading and writing units.  They started with an "expert" topic, one they already knew a lot about. This topic required little to no research, simply background knowledge.  After the students chose a topic they began developing chapter ideas, elaborating on those ideas and accompanying them with non-fiction text features. The kids worked on several drafts making edits and revisions. Each chapter was placed in a logical order, for some students paragraphs were developed and for all students the writing was organized with topic sentences and supporting details. 

Next came the publishing portion of the project. With support from Mr. Casal, the students used Google Presentation to create slides to display their information. This was a wonderful learning experience. Everything from typing text to inserting photographs to creating transitions was taught and then put to practice.  In the end the third graders created a comprehensive non-fiction information book that can be enjoyed for years to come and across the globe because of its final form, Google Presentation. - @LindsayCMangan

The books...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Internet Research - a 5th Grade homework assignment

5th graders,

When using the internet to research information I think it is important to keep Abraham Lincoln in mind....

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chrome's multiple users update

Yesterday Google updated Chrome.

One of the best features of Chrome is the ability to multiple Google accounts logged in simultaneously (previous tutorial post here)

The feature is still there, Google just tweaked the visual...

You no longer see the icons like this:

It now looks like this:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

iMovies on paper with Aurasma

One of my pet peeves is the traditional bulletin board. As a technology teacher I feel the traditional paper stapled to cork board is counter intuitive to what students do in the lab.

Paper bulletin board are fine for certain things, but if students are creating animations or layered presentations or movies how do you do their work justice by printing a still image and putting it on a board. How do you honor and celebrate their work beyond simply unloading to YouTube or blogging about it? How do you showcase their work in the hallway without losing any of their awesome?

Augmented reality.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Toy Hacking Workshop

Toy Hacking Workshop

Have you ever played with a Transformer?  The folks who designed that line of toys were geniuses!  Create one toy that actually becomes another toy entirely – so clever.  What would you create if you were a toy designer? 

Ms. Y and I designed a workshop titled, Toymakers and Tinkerers 101.  The goal is for the children to create a new toy entirely.  They are taking apart old toys and turning them into new creations. When kids learn how to make their own toys or inventions it leads to a shift from being a consumer of technology to a creator of technology.  This is an empowering process!

As the children delve into the take-apart sessions of this workshop, we have begun discussions around PARTS and PURPOSES.  They are examining gears, axels, levers, switches and circuits to see how the different parts of a toy actually work together to create the one thing that children love to play with.  What makes the car move forwards and back? What makes the action figure speak? What materials are used to amplify sound? How does the battery make the truck move? These are only a few of the questions that the 5th graders are asking and answering while problem solving, iterating and creating.