Kindergartners and Laptops

  This year, we have two teachers working collaboratively with their Kindergarten classes. This enables them to provide more flexibility in grouping and differentiation. They wanted to keep the group together for their tech integration activities, but the labs could not accommodate such a large group.

Computer Dad RyanWhat a perfect use for our mobile labs!  We have 2 “computer dads” who come in and roll the carts in, get the laptops set up and logged in (later in the year the students will be logging in themselves and opening the application for the session). 

Computer Dad Avi

The teachers love having the laptops in the rooms!They can introduce the activity on their projector and large screen. They can divide the group into two rooms, enabling the teachers and helpers to circulate and get to the students as they need help, because there is more space.

We are excited to see how our technology skills grow in kindergarten using the mobile laptops. Check back for more reports on what these kids are doing.

                               Kid Pix Candy House                      

Taking pictures with our Macs

After a quick hour and half drive from Austin to SA, we arrived at Janice’s room, she is watching the UStream from the Bloggers Cafe.

We all decided to learn how to take photos with our macs..It’s so easy, just open PhotoBooth from our Applications folder in our Mac Hard Drive, aim and click the red button to shoot the photo.

Here are the results




Margie (me)

Too much fun!!

Heading out to register, meet others and eat…

Off to NECC

Just fixin’ to get in the car and pick up Debbie and Linda, 2 CTCs from our district, and drive on down the road to NECC.

I read Janice’s Texas Malahini blog, and love the idea of taking pictures with our Macs!!

Our district will be adding Macs to the PCs the students are using, in order to develop versatility and an understanding of both platforms. Not to mention the multi media things that macs do so much easier than pcs.

So each of the CTCs received macbooks a month ago. I will be taking mine to NECC for blogging, photo ops and whatever else arises.

My conference planner is packed with several sessions for each time slot (lots of yellow triangles with exclamation points in them)…I know from past experience that the BYOL and Model Lessons fill up quickly, so I have alternative choices for those times.

Looking forward to lots of learning..

Headin’ out the door



K5Tech Podcasts

Today I am in an exciting workshop presented by Janice Friesen and Debbie Smith on podcasting. We have learned to create podcasts and post them. We are working on pcs (not macs) we are having to do some fancy footwork, but it is working.

   We got a nice treat for attending! All of us received an Olympus Digital Voice recorder to use in our podcasting endeavors. They are very cool, they have a usb plug built in  and just plug right in to any usb port on any pc.

So, I have created a Podcasting blog separate from this one, but the link to our Podcast site will be on the right in my Blogroll.

And here’s the link to my K5Tech Podcasts page

The Art Teacher From the Black Lagoon

At the beginning of school, we read The Teacher from the Black Lagoonby Mike Thaler.  The children enjoyed the book so much that we also read The Nurse from the Black Lagoon, The Principal from the Black Lagoon, The Librarian from the Black Lagoon, The Lunch Lady from the Black Lagoon and The Gym Teacher from the Black Lagoon. We even found out that there is The Music Teacher from the Black Lagoon.  But there is not an Art Teacher from the Black Lagoon.  So we decided to write our own.  We hope you enjoy our book

Can you believe we wrote an email to the author Mike Thaler and he wrote us back?!  Here’s what he said:

Dear Kelly,

Great job! I hope you made a copy for your school

library. All the books are available from Don Callen

at 1-866-324-8426. The newest is “The Vice

Principal”. Keep the kids writing.



Mrs. Roquemore’s Readers Theater  I Bet I Can ibetican.wav



Creating Google Maps with 5th Graders

Well.. we (Valley View 5th Grade Students, Nancy Darling, 5th grade teacher, and I) did it. It took a little longer than we planned, but the end product is  a Google Earth map with detail or marker boxes about the world’s biomes, created by these 5th graders.

We all learned quite a bit in the process. Nancy and I learned what to add and leave out next year.

The students, judging from the refelctions they emailed to us using their ePals accounts learned quite a bit also. The information they gave us on what they learned, liked, and didn’t like will be helpful in plans for next year.

I’ll be doing a presententation on the nuts and bolts of this project at TCEA during the Tuesday TATN  (Technology Applications Teacher Network) session at 1:30 called Google Maps-A 5th Grader Can Do This!

During our time in this project, I was often struck with what a middle or high school student could do with these tools.

Here is the link to the wiki that has our Biomes Research Wiki and the link to our Biomes KMZ file.

Playing with uploading Web 2.0 videos

I discovered One True Media when I came across a global project called Voices of the World.

The projects posted on the Voices of the World site were very inspiring and most were done using the One True Media site.
This multimedia project sharing site caught my attention, so I decided to put something together using it. I didn’t have a lot of time, and look forward to exploring the additional features of the site more.

So here is a sample One True Media file I created using a video clip from their site, some photos from my files, and some music from my files…this site has a lot of possibilities.

View this montage created at One True Media
My Montage 1/3/08

Clicking on this thumbnail to view it will open up my little Montage from the One True Media site.

I’m working on figuring out how to embed it into my blog so the viewer opens up from here…

Anyway, One True Media may be worth looking at to upload class multi media projects…

 Embedding an mpg file (PhotoStory Movie)bandt.wmv  Be sure to save it as a .wmv or .file. Upload the file.

Embedding podcasts : Click the link for the I Bet I Can Story ibetican.wav  Upload your audio file.

VisuWords + Wireless Laptops = Engaged Learners

dscf1986.JPG  As a result of the 2006 bond election, the district was able to replace our obsolete Win 98 desktops with laptops.  Each 5th grade classroom ended up with 6 wireless laptops. The hall containing 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade is also wired for wireless access.  This year, the teachers are able to enjoy using their technology very flexibly, resulting in more frequent lessons and activities that more totally engage learners.

Here’s an example of a vocabulary study. The students needed to familiarize themselves with certain vocabulary in order to gain better comprehesion during a novel study. 

The teacher, Mrs. Nancy Darling, who has tech tools and is not afraid to use them,  had each group of students get a wireless laptop, and open up VisuWords, an online Graphic Dictionary.

 dscf1983.JPG  She, and the other 5th grade teachers, who also have enough laptops for each group, assign a Geek-a-Day. This gives the term “Geek” whole new, positive, connontations. The Geek gets to operate the mouse and run the laptop for the group for that day, when the class is engaged in group work. 

This system breeds collaboration, conversation, negotiation, patience, and understanding among the group. Every person in the group will be the Geek, so everyone understands what it feels like when the other 3-4 group members are all telling them what to click at the same time. Likewise, everyone at the table has their time as a participant, not the Geek, so they all know what it feels like to figure out how to offer help with naviagation, and how to wait for the Geek to navigate and click through sites. 

visuwords1.JPG  Their task  in this activity was to look up certain vocabulary words, write definitions, synonyms, antonyms and use the word in a sentence. 

visuwords2.JPG  The students were able to work around an “XLM Load Failed” message, which I need to look into, to complete the activity. The wow factor of VisuWords was quite motivating, as was the wireless laptop use, which is what many of these students are used to using at home.

dscf1980.JPG The total engagment of every student in the class speaks for the value of using tech tools in the classroom. As you could probably guess, asking students to complete this task with individual dictionaries would definitely have about 25% of them frequently off task. I was in the classroom for this lesson, and the teacher did not have to privide redirection to any student during the course of the activity.


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This Is Us

dscf1978.JPGdscf1979.JPG  This is our Eanes ISD Campus Technology Coordinators group.

We meet at least once a month to attempt solve all the problems of the EISD Tech World.  We have quite a bit of fun, sometimes lose our focus, but generally manage to take care of everything we set out to do.

We have found Google Docs to be the most useful way to manage our communication. We use the docs for posting our agenda and note taking. We useGoogle Spreadsheets to collect information for items we need to purchase, work that needs to be done, image information and updates, and any other collection of information that we all need to put in one place. 

Here’s who we are:

Paula Murray is our Director of Instructional Technology. She tries to corral this herd of cats on a regular basis….we try to cooperate.

  Joel Adkins is the CTC for Westlake High School. To me this is an uncomprehensibly huge job. However, he is so good at it that he was named TCEA CTC of the Year last February. His blog is the Twain Blog:

Marianna Husain and Reba Goodman are the CTCs at Westridge Middle School and Hill Country Middle School.  Marianna also does a very popular summer camp for 5th-8th graders called Camp Wired, in which kids have opportunities to learn Flash, movie creating, web site development, and cartoon creation.

The elementary school CTCs are Linda Schaffner at Eanes Elementary, Janice Friesen at Barton Creek Elementary (her blog is Texas Malahini ), Sandy Medina at Bridge Point Elementary, Carl Hooker at Forest Trail Elementary, Debbie Smith at Cedar Creek Elementary, and me (not pictured because I’m taking the picture), Margie Brown at Valley View Elementary (this is my blog).

I appreciate this group. We frequently email and call each other for hardware trouble shooting, sharing tips and tricks for application and software problems, emotional support, humor, discussions about programs and peripherials, and any other thing that may come up. They are my support network.

They are my comrades in the trenches.

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New Mobile Lab and 4th Grade Pictographs with Publisher

dscf1974.JPG    Our new mobile lab took it’s maiden voyage with Mrs. Alter’s 4th grade math class last Tuesday.

After the oohs and aahs from the kids, who were used to using the older Dell Latitude c640’s (which are still perfectly good machines), we got down to business.

 dscf1972.JPGMrs. Alter had planned a graphing activity over a 3 day period. The students collected data from their second grade buddies. Then brought it back to the classroom and used it to construct their graphs.  They recorded the data in their math journals, with the graphing vocabulary they were learning.

pictograph-temp.jpg  The students used a Publisher Graph template that Mrs. Alter had created, placed in the Student Shared folder, and had the students drag to their desktops. They immediately renamed it, and saved it to their home folder.

 They first reviewed text properties, and creating appropriate titles for graphs. They typed their title in the text box and chose font, size and color.

The second day, after reviewing basic graphing concepts, students got their laptops and learned how to locate and place clip art into their graphs.  This took some time to search for clip art that they felt represented what they were graphing.

Some students used the same symbol, some chose different ones.

The third day brought students realizing that they had to somehow symbolize only 1 person, since the key stood for 2 people for each symbol. Watching them teach each other how to crop a symbol, and calculate when they needed to do this was exciting. It was kids using their math, what they new about graphics, and their teamwork skills. There were plenty of examples of engaged learners throughout this whole project. Two samples of their completed graphs are below.

 pictograph-baseball-teams.jpg                                          pictograpcats.jpg


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