Techapalooza: Elementary Tech Conference


Want to rock out your classroom with incredible technology instruction? Want to experience cool collaborative vibes with other amazing educators? Well tune up your axe, grab your glow sticks, and head to Techapalooza! Techapalooza will be THE place to get some funky fresh technology ideas to jam out to with your students. This is the perfect opportunity to start your year cranked up to the max. Be at Deep Run High School Thursday, August 11th from 8:30-3:00.

Register at using your HCPS issued username and password. To access the registration system you will need be connected via Ethernet or HCPS staff wireless within any Henrico County building. Use the following information to help you locate the session when registering, SRN 20163092401

Don’t forget to consider presenting your knowledge of 21st century skills. Complete this lesson proposal by June 3rd.

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Tech Takeout Serves Dumbarton: Measurement

Last Friday the #TechTakeout crew headed to Dumbarton Elementary to hang out with their AMAZING 5th graders. We started out by introducing the students and their teachers to Nearpod. Mrs. Hues led the students through a Measurement Nearpod. She was able to control their computers and send them lots of practice items straight to their screens. Students were able to practice measuring length by using a virtual ruler. They also used an interactive website where they selected the appropriate unit to measure with and estimated to measure the object on their screens.

Mr. Favale and Mr. Clough’s group used the website to create comics using math vocabulary terms. When the students launched the site they were prompted to create a settings for the comic. They were encouraged to make their comic all about circles. Students created scenes that incorporated specific circles such as a baseball field, pizza parlor, classroom and park. Students added speech bubbles and had their comic characters talk about key terms like diameter, chord, circumference and radius. Students then took screenshots of their comics and uploaded them to a CoMemories site.

Mrs. Hues, Mrs. Green and Mrs. Robinson’s group used the website Build with Chrome to create their own closed structures using legos. They used various colored legos to create virtual masterpieces. Then they used the snipping tool to take a screenshot of their creation, used the pen tool to add their perimeter and area and finally they added their images to a Padlet wall to share with each other.

Mr. Caratachea, Mr. Covais and Mrs. Browne’s group used the Dell Web Cam to take pictures of various classroom objects they had measured. They saved their images and then launched ABCYa Talkify. Students uploaded their images, added a mouth and then recorded themselves sharing their measurements in both centimeters and millimeters.

2 from Jim Covais on Vimeo.

I worked with Ms. Wright and our group opened a blank Pixie document, opened the the Activity Folder→ Math Activity Folder→ Small Grid. Students used the paint can tool to create a closed figure. They saved the figure as a jpeg and then used the paintbrush tool to help them solve for the area and perimeter of their figure in square units. Next they used CheckThis to create interactive websites that their peers could view and vote to select correct answers. They uploaded their Pixie image to the website and created two polling questions. You can check out their websites by clicking {HERE}.

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Author’s Purpose iPad Activity



Today I had a blast hanging out with Mrs. Waite and her 3rd graders as we used the iPads for an Author’s Purpose lesson. We collaborated with Mrs. Harris, the librarian, who graciously hosted us in the library and helped pull persuasive books.




First, students scanned a QR code that took them to THIS  pie template I created and dropped in Google Drive. They saved it to their camera roll and imported it as a background in PicCollage. Next, students added their name to the bottom right corner of their screen. If I were to do this lesson again, I would have them add their name to the bottom LEFT. The PicCollage watermark covered up their name once they saved. Then the fun and thinking began!



Students went on a picture hunt to take pictures of different books/sources that were examples of persuading, informing and entertaining.




We showed them how to use the editing tool within PicCollage to cut out the extra space around the books. Once the image was edited, students simply pinched their pictures and added them to the correct piece of PIE.



Persuasive books are very challenging for students (it was hard for me too!) to pick out among the hundreds of books in the library. It helped tremendously that Mrs. Harris had pulled a few and set them out on a table.



The students found themselves walking to the nonfiction side of the library to take pictures of books that INFORM.




Books that ENTERTAIN were all over the place!

Once students had decorated their pie, they saved their work and submitted it to The Work Collector.

Check out their PIE Posters:

At the end of the lesson Mrs. Waite mentioned that even the younger grade levels could do a similar activity but sort books by fiction vs. nonfiction. I LOVE this idea! Students could draw a T-Chart and label it in Doodle Buddy, save and pull it in as a background in PicCollage!

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Autism Awareness

April is Autism Awareness month! I had the honor of observing Deanna Pollard, Mehfoud Elementary’s OUTSTANDING librarian, today who has been teaching all of the children at Mehfoud about autism. This subject can be very tricky to discuss with the little ones but her mini lesson was absolutely fabulous. I loved how she approached the topic, shared movie clips, talked about tablets being an avenue for nonverbal children to communicate and wrapped up the lesson by having the students complete an exit TWEET.

I learned that in 2015 Sesame Street introduced a new character who has autism, Julia. Where have IIII been the past year??? There are a ton of awesome videos that teach others about the challenges people with autism face on a daily basis. Deanna showed the kids two of those videos.

Check out her lesson:

Autism Awareness from Julie on Vimeo.

If you are interested in carrying out a similar lesson, here are the resources Deanna used:

First video that was shown about Julia:

Second video that was shown about Thomas:

The book that was displayed next to the questions can:

HERE are the practice pages.

You can grab the Tweet Exit Card by clicking the image below:


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3rd Grade Probability

Today I worked with some 3rd grade classes at Highland Springs Elementary on the basics of probability.

We kicked off the lesson by giving every student an iPad to use with this Nearpod presentation I made below:

After interacting with the probability Nearpod, students put their knowledge of probability to the test! They scanned a QR code that took them to {THIS} Comemories site that I had preloaded with different probability templates. Students chose their favorite color background and saved the template to the camera roll.

Next, we launched the app, Doodle Buddy, and brought the Comemories template in as the background. Students read the sentence at the top of their template and had to make a picture representation to match the probability description using the stamp tools. This was a lot harder for them than it looked. They used the pencil tool to write their name at the top.

Students submitted their work to The Work Collector and we projected their creations on the board for everyone to read and decide if the sentence matched what was represented in the stamps they chose to use. We had some really good conversations about some of the pictures and students seemed to walk away with a better understanding of probability!

Here are a few of their images that MATCH their probability description.

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Tech Takeout Serves 4th Grade Math Review

Last Wednesday Tech Takeout visited Donahoe to focus on different math skills and had A BLAST! Stephanie Wright, the ITRT at Donahoe, met with the Title I math teacher to see which areas were in most need for 4th grade math. The Tech Takeout crew headed over to Donahoe to work on comparing numbers, rounding, graphing, fractions, and other great math concepts.

Stephanie kicked off the lesson with a Kahoot to get everyone’s math mind going. Kahoot is a great tool that teachers can easily integrate into their lessons because not only are Kahoots simple to make, but there are also a TON of teacher made Kahoots available to use!

Mr. Caratachea and Mrs. Green gave their groups a Google Slide template to compare numbers. They used a random number generator to choose two numbers to compare. Then the students used the snipping tool to take a snip of their numbers and put them on a slide. To show the inequalities the students took pictures within Google Slides using their arms to show which number was greater. Finally the students added some personalization to their slideshow with background colors and animations. The students did an amazing job!!

Mrs. Hues & Mrs. Robinson had their students make a copy of “On Target With Decimals” in Google Slides. Students logged into Google and made a copy of the presentation so they could edit the slides to demonstrate their understanding of place value, rounding, comparing and ordering, and adding and subtracting decimals. The students were excited to see pictures of actual items on the shelves at Target!

Jim Covais and Julie Smith had their group use Scratch to program a sprite to move across a number line of decimals between 0 and 1. Students created their own background in which they had to generate their own number line with the drawing tools and divide it into fractional parts. They also were given a decimal card in which they had to correctly identify their decimal’s location on their number line and mark it with a hash mark. Students used the coding blocks to make their sprite move to different parts of the number line in which a recording of their voice saying the decimal’s name was included. Furthermore, students got practice typing the word form of their decimals into the speech bubble that they programmed to pop up. If you are interested in carrying out this same lesson with your students then click {HERE} for the step by step directions.

Check out these student examples:

Ms. Wright used the online collaborative tool, Padlet, to compare fractions. Students picked fractions that were prepared ahead of time and then went to THIS site to  work with digital manipulative fraction tiles. The students ordered the fractions so that they were easily compared. Once the students had everything in order they took a screenshot using the snipping tool and went to Padlet. Each student posted their fractions to share with their classmates. Check out some of their work below!

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Magnetism Animations

Jessica Robinson showed me this AWESOME lesson that she got from David Clough that she carried out with 2nd graders who were studying magnetism. I was SO excited when 2nd grade teacher, Amber Fugate from Mehfoud Elementary, signed up to do a lesson on magnets because I have been dying to try this out with a class!

We used ABCya Animate for this activity. Students used the text tool to add their title and name. They choose a character and drew them holding either a horseshoe, U-shaped, rod or bar magnet. They labeled the poles N (north) and S(south). Next they had to find 5 objects, two that were magnetic and three that were non-magnetic. We used the “copy frame” tool to animate the magnet attracting their magnetic objects.

The students submitted their work to the Work Collector and we added the gifs to this Google presentation. Check it out:

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Water Piano: Practicing PITCH

Pitch Perfect Water Piano from Julie on Vimeo.

Students in Ms. Taylor’s 5th grade class at Highland Spring Elementary have been learning all about sound. Today her students explored and researched different kinds of pitch and why different pitches occur.

One small group decided to make a water piano out of glasses, water and a MaKey-MaKey. We programmed different pitches to sound in Scratch when the water in each glass was tapped. Each glass contained a different amount of liquid.

Here is their Scratch creation (click the green flag and press one of the arrow keys or space bar)

As you can see in the video at the beginning of this post, the students had a blast figuring out which glass of water would have the highest pitch (the one with the least amount of water) and which glass had the lowest pitch (the one with the most amount of water). When the glasses are full, the vibrations have more water to travel through.  This slows down the vibrations and creates a lower pitch.  Lots of critical thinking and problem solving was involved but I don’t think these students will ever forget this concept. I know I won’t!

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Telling Time

First graders in Ms. Borres’ class at Highland Spring Elementary have been learning how to tell time. Today we did a mini app smash using the apps Schoolkit Math and YakIt Kids.

Students used the clock tool in Schoolkit Math to make a clock state a certain time to the closest hour. Children who needed an extra “boost” were asked to make their time to the half hour. Students at this age easily get the hands of the clock mixed up. Therefore, we used the highlighting tool to color code the hands of the clock and made a key. (Ex. pink=H (hour), blue=M(minute)). Then they used the pencil tool to write the time. We took a screenshot and then imported their creation into YakIt to come alive and talk.

Check out some of their movies:

Telling Time from Julie on Vimeo.

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If I were President…

Mrs. Hollins’ kindergarten students have been learning about the two presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Today students created “If I were President…” videos using the iPads.

qrFirst, students used my favorite QR scanner app, i-nigma, to scan a QR code we projected on the board to take them to a Comemories site that had four different pictures of the two presidents.

The students chose which picture they wanted to serve as “their body” and saved it to the camera roll.


Next, students went to the FaceTalker app (FREE!) and took a selfie. We walked through the steps to add their selfie as a face to their president’s body. Mrs. Hollins’ kindergartners recorded themselves finishing the sentence “If I were president I….”.

Afterwards, students submitted their movies to my Work Collector. Check it out:

If I was President… from Julie on Vimeo.

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