Affixes @ Chamberlayne

Last Friday The Tech Takeout Crew spent the day working with 4th grade at Chamberlayne Elementary. The teachers wanted us to focus on vocabulary, specifically affixes (prefixes, root words and suffixes). We find that affixes is a weak skill across the board in grades 3-5 so we were excited to come up with some “techie” activities that would make this challenging skill fun and exciting.

To kick off our hour session, we launched a NotebookCast board.This new tool is still in Beta and is a FREE online collaborative board. NotebookCast has the teacher create a free account. You create a virtual board that you share out with students via a link. Students click the link, enter a “nickname” and click submit. I LOVE how the tool automatically inputs the board code so the students don’t have to type it in.

We had created THESE images in PowerPoint and saved them as jpegs to import into our board. Students saw the changes instantly/in real-time as we deleted and added new images to discuss. They used the chat feature to talk about possible definitions of the words I posted to the board. Next, we broke the words down together as we called on students individually to “stoplight” our words. We circled the prefix in green (this starts our word), underlined the root words in yellow and boxed our suffixes in red (this ends our word). The PRS letters serve as a visual to remind students the ORDER of the parts of the words which happen to be in alphabetical order: Prefix, Root Word, Suffix.


Would we use Notebook Cast again? Well, that’s great question. We ran into the issue of the site only accepting a certain amount of users. Oh well, you live and learn. We ended up partnering the kids and it worked fine. Would have we have liked all of the kids to have been on interacting? Of course. However, like all classroom teachers, we had to adapt. Notebook Cast might be a better tool to use with smaller groups.
After our warm up, we broke the students up into small groups to work on a mini digital project with the ITRTs.

Julie Smith and Gina Browne’s group used Scratch and the MaKey-MaKey to code a word that had a prefix, root word and suffix. Check out the final product in action:

The led from the pencil is a conductor which made the MaKey-MaKey work!

If you are interested in trying this out with your students, click {HERE} for the directions. You can still carry this out if you don’t have access to MaKey-MaKeys. Just use the arrows on your computer 🙂

Mrs. Green and Mrs. Robinson’s groups jumped on Nearpod and interacted together dissecting prefix, suffix and root words. Nearpod is an interactive tool that engages students, assesses their understanding and inspires success! When the teacher launches Nearpod as a live presentation the students are then given a code to “join” that Nearpod presentation. Today students reviewed five prefixes and five suffixes. They created their own words using the drawing tool within Nearpod, they watched short review clips online and even played two interactive games embedded into their lesson. Finally before finishing students were given words with both prefixes and suffixes and asked to circle the prefix, underline the root word and box in the suffix. The student’s favorite part was how Mrs. Green and Mrs. Robinson were able to control their computers!

Mr. Covais’ groups used Dell Webcam Central and Movie Maker to make some videos about prefixes and root words. Students chose a word and identified the prefix and root word. After the identification they worked with partners to discuss how they would act out the prefix and the root word. The students recorded their acting in Dell Webcam Central in two short clips. The partners then took the clips and put them into Movie Maker in the form of an addition problem. Best part of all, the teacher can now use these short videos for review in class.

Students had so much fun making these videos. Check out a this awesome student example!

Acting out Prefixes from Jim Covais on Vimeo.

Want to do this activity?

Click the link below to get everything you need to get started!
Prefix Movie Folder

Mrs. Hues and Mr. Caratachea had a blast making raps with their groups! Different students approached the activity in a couple of different ways. Some students wrote a rap about prefixes and suffixes, while others just wrote a rap. No matter what the students chose to write their rap about they typed up their lyrics in Microsoft Word and highlighted all of the words using prefixes or suffixes. Once the students had their raps ready to go they went to an online drum machine to make their beats. We chose this particular drum machine because it is super easy to use. Students don’t need to have any prior knowledge on music production to quickly get the hang of using this tool. After the beats were made the students needed to record their track. We used Audacity to record the beat and then recorded their vocals on another track. Audacity is a great tool for simple multi or single track recording. The kids had some pretty serious rhymes going on! Check it out!

Example 1
Example 2

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The Brain Experience


I have had SO much fun working with Mr. Vanlandingham’s 2nd grade class at Mehfoud Elementary. Mehfoud is a MindUp school which means students “learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success.”

Mr. Van’s class has been researching the different parts of the brain and their functions. They wanted to create a collaborative movie to bring awareness to others in their school and community about the responsibilities of the different parts of the brain. I love this project SO much because it was truly an authentic, student led experience from start to finish!

Students worked in small groups to create informative movies about a part of the brain they wanted to explore. Students used the augmented reality app, Augmenter, to explore parts of the brain. This app is AMAZING. The free version comes with 13 different models while the paid version has over 300 models.  To complete this project we only needed the free version since the brain was one of the 13! Students scanned the AR trigger image and a brain popped up. We had a blast dissecting the different parts of the brain and taking pictures of each other holding the hippocampus, dendrites, amygdala, etc.IMG_3212

These pictures were used in their iPad videos. Each group was given free range to choose an app that would best help them with their video creation. Some of the apps we used were Chatterkid, YakIt Kids, and Stage.

After the different movie segments were created, we held a competition! Mr. Vandlandingham had his students open a blank Pixie file and design what they thought would make an excellent cover for their class movie. Students had to come up with a creative title that would represent the main idea/purpose of their movie as well as make the slide visually appealing. We had them save their creation as a jpeg and upload their image to {THIS} Dotstorming board. Dotstorming allowed the students to vote on their favorite image. Hence, THE BRAIN EXPERIENCE was born:


The last step to this project was working as a class to compile the images and video clips to make one big movie using Movie Maker. This movie will be shown on morning announcements and tweeted out to Goldie Hawn, the founder of Mind Up!


The Brain Experience from Julie on Vimeo.


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Valentine Haikus

Mrs. Fugate’s 2nd graders at Mehfoud Elementary have been studying poetry. In honor of Valentine’s Day we created Valentine Haiku poems using Read, Write, Think’s Theme Poems generator.

When you launch the website you are asked to select a theme. For this activity we clicked on the Celebrations folder. Then we clicked on the heart theme.

Next, you will be prompted to list words or phrases that remind you of a heart. This brainstroming is so nice to help students form their ideas!

The next screen has you title and write a poem about any topic of your choice. The words that you listed on the previous screen show up to help you write your poem. This is so nice for students that have a hard time thinking about what to write!

Finally, your poem turns into a PDF that you can print:

Mrs. Fugate’s kiddos did such an incredible job with today’s activity…



It was GREAT practice for identifying syllables in words for the 5-7-5 haiku poem structure. We taught the students to put their hand under their chin, say a word and the amount of times their chin hit their hand was the amount of syllables in their word.


After students typed their poems, we took a screenshot of their heart-shaped poem. Then they uploaded their poems to this Padlet board for their classmates to read their poems:

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Bowling with Fractions

I am so excited! The latest episode of Math on the Spot has been uploaded to the blog. This time the Elementary ITRTs participated in a bowling competition at Bowl America. Each team bowled a round, figured out the fraction of pins they knocked down and then added their total to their partner’s total in hopes that their fraction would be greater than the other team’s fraction! They also worked with improper fractions as well as mixed numbers.

Don’t forget each episode has a “Spot Check” for your students to complete either before, during or after the video!

We really are having a blast traveling around Henrico creating these resources for you to use with your students. Don’t forget there are three older episodes already up on the blog. These include a lesson on probability at Sweet Frog, elapsed time at the UCI bike races and cupcake baking with arrays.  I’d love to come in and help you use these resources in your classroom! You can sign up on my blog 🙂

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Sequencing Snowmen


Mrs. Ives’ 4th graders have been working on sequencing in their writing. Last week each student wrote a 5 paragraph “How to Build a Snowman” paper by going through the steps of the writing process. Today I got to help them “publish” their work!


Originally I wanted to use the free app, 1-2-3 Kids Fun Snowman for the students to designed their own snowman from scratch; however, it was acting up (I think the company needs to send out an update) so we had to lean on our handy Doodle Buddy app. Doodle Buddy has a ton of different backgrounds, one of which is a snowman! Students set their background to be the snowman and used the drawing tool to add their name as well as a few decorations. They saved their creation to the camera roll and then I showed them how to edit their image within the camera app. Many were turned sideways so they had to re-position their snowman. We also cropped out the right hand side of the picture to center our snowman.


I loved how Mrs. Ives learned along with her students!



Next, we imported the snowman into Photospeak to make it come alive. I chose this app because the class had to record themsleves reading their 5 paragraph paper and Photospeak doesn’t have a recording time limit.


Snowmen Sequencing from Julie on Vimeo.




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What’s the MATTER? 3 Levels of Lesson Ideas

Today I worked in 3 different 3rd grade classrooms at the same school and all of the teachers requested to cover how molecules behave differently in solids, liquids and gases. I didn’t want to do the same lesson all three times because I wanted to show these teachers different digital tools so they could share what we did with their team. Of course we had to use the iPads for these lessons 🙂 One class has had a lot of experience with iPads so we carried out an ADVANCED lesson. One class has used the iPads a few times this year so we carried out an INTERMEDIATE lesson. The third class had not used the iPads in school this year so we carried out a BEGINNER lesson…


Erin from the blog, Technology Erintegration, and I were bouncing some ideas about these matter lessons involving iPads and I told her that I wanted to somehow make the molecules in each state of matter move. She suggested to use a stop motion app…BRILLIANT. Within a few days, Erin put together {THIS} awesome iPad resource and sent it my way.

The trick to stop motion is to take A LOT (hundreds) of pictures, move your objects ever so slightly and have A LOT of patience. You will notice in the class movie below the groups who took their time and the groups who thought they could beat the system by taking less than 100 photos. Ha! Overall, I was truly impressed how the students made the molecules in a solid keep their shape, molecules in a liquid take on the shape of the container they are in as well as POUR and molecules in a gas float around and take the entire shape of the container.

Check out their videos:

Matter from Julie on Vimeo.

This app smash used the free apps Doodle Buddy and FaceTalker. Students scanned a QR code that took them to a matter template that I had created in PowerPoint, saved as a jpeg and uploaded to Comemories. They saved the template to their camera roll and imported it as a background in Doodle Buddy. Next, students used the smiley face emojis to stamp out the molecules in solids, liquids and gases, drew arrows to show movement and saved that to the camera roll. We then imported the Doodle Buddy creation into the app, FaceTalker, replaced the scientist’s head with our own head and then recorded our explanation. Check out some of their creations:

Thayer’s Matter from Julie on Vimeo.

If you are not fully comfortable with using iPads yet, then this beginner lesson would be for you! Students can either find an image of the molecules in the 3 states of matter, take a picture of an image or you can preload one into a Google folder or Comemories site and then create a QR code for students to scan. We used Chatterkid to make the picture come alive and talk. Chatterkid does such a great job walking students (and teacher) through step by step of the process! Check out the class movie:

Matter from Julie on Vimeo.

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Today Mrs. Newsome at HSES invited me to her classroom to introduce her kindergartners to some new apps they could use during their word study center. We went over a few of the apps that are on our image and then I showed them how to use the Sticky app to type out words in their sorts. Typing is always a slow process for the little ones but I was truly amazed how quickly her kiddos caught on. It may have helped that I was only working with 4 at a time 😛

Edward, one of her students, was ROLLING with adding “tr” digraph words to his sticky board. Digraphs do not come easy to children at this age (in my experience). I was able to take Edward to the next level during our 15 minute rotation and show him how to import his digraph sticky creation into Shadow Puppet and create a movie. We love using Shadow Puppet to show one to one correspondence in math and/or tracking words for reading. Edward added a title, his name, a little background music and recorded himself introducing his topic and reading aloud his words. As he read, he tapped the word on the screen to make a “star” quickly appear and then disappear to show his word recognition skills. After viewing the movie, Mrs. Newsome and I could tell that Edward has the “tr” digraph down but needs to work on VCe words. He froze when he came to the word “trace” and you will hear me whisper the word to him. Technology activities can tell you so much about a child’s strengths and weaknesses, not just quizzes and tests! Overall I was super impressed with Edward’s abilities to make such a high quality product in 15 minutes. He is now going to teach the others in his class how to smash these two apps together to make a movie.

Digraphs from Julie on Vimeo.

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Word Problems: Addition with Regrouping

I had a blast with Ms. Hazelgrove and her 2nd graders today as we created math word problems involving addition with regrouping.

Before I came in, Ms. Hazelgrove had her students write a snow themed math word problem that involved addition with regrouping in their math journals. This saved us so much time because the kids had a vision and got straight to the creation piece! Using the iPads, students navigated to the Doodle Buddy app, chose a winter themed background, wrote their addition problem and then solved it. They saved their image to the camera roll and imported it into the app, FaceTalker. FaceTalker is a new app for me and it worked beautifully! FaceTalker is a lot like Chatterkid and YakIt; however, you can cut out a face to put on a background. The best part is, FaceTalker doesn’t have a recording time limit! Oh yeah, it is free too! I’m looking forward to using this app in the future: turn yourself into an Ancient Egyptian and tell about the civilization, turn yourself into a white tailed deer and tell about the lifecycle, turn yourself into a character in a book and do a summary….so many options! Our last step had students record themselves reading their math word problem and teach the viewer how to solve the problem.

Check out their adorable creations:

Hazelgrove’s Word Problems from Julie on Vimeo.

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MakerFest Day @ Kaechele Elementary

Shannon Hyman, Kaechele Elementary’s librarian, invited #TechTakeout to her AMAZING MakerFest Day to run ten different stations. Each one of the stations highlighted a tool that the students would have access to in the Kaechele Makerspace located in the library. Every 4th and 5th grade student had the opportunity to attend the event and learn about each tool. The students had about 5-8 minutes at each station since we wanted everyone to get a chance to see everything. This was enough time to introduce the tool, but in some cases the students had a hands-on experience. Judging from what the students were saying throughout the day, when we return from winter break they will be rushing to the library to work with all of the new tools!

Mr. Covais had a blast working with littleBits! “littleBits is a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that empower you to invent anything, from your own remote controlled car, to a smart home device. The Bits snap together with magnets, no soldering, no wiring, no programming needed.” – The littleBits Website. Students can construct circuits using littleBits in no time! There are several different kits that are available, and at Kaechele the students have four different kits to build with: the base kit, premium kit, deluxe kit, and the gizmos and gadgets kit. Each kit comes with a booklet containing various ideas of things that can be constructed using the littleBits. The booklets only use the littleBits in that particular kit, so they won’t include any design ideas that aren’t possible to make. The students were amazed at how simple it was to create the circuits and they were already coming up with new ideas using the different combinations of Bits in the different kits.
Mr. Caratachea introduced the 3Doodler. This is an amazing tool that the students can use to bring anything they can think of to life in three dimensions. The idea behind it combines 3D printing and a hot glue gun. When using the 3Doodler you have to load the colored filament in the back of the pen. There are two speeds that the pen can extrude the filament, fast and slow. The pen can also be set to extrude filament continuously or only when the operator is holding the button. Depending on the type of doodling you are doing all of these settings can be helpful. The first thing that was discussed with the students was safety. Since this 3D pen melts the filament, the tip of it gets pretty hot! Each student that attended the MakerFest knows never to touch the end of the 3Doodler. Drawing in 3D isn’t as easy as it sounds and will require a little practice. Luckily there are templates that come with the 3Doodler and even more online that can be printed out. These templates are great because it makes drawing with the 3Doodler as easy as tracing on paper. There are even step by step guides that can be printed out to help the artists make their creations. Two of the crowd favorites were the step by step instructions for animals and of course Star Wars characters.
Mrs. Hues’ station got students drawing using Masterpiece with Osmo. Osmo features a clip on piece with a mirror that attaches to an iPad where the camera is located so that the camera looks down at the table where students are working. With Masterpiece, students select a picture from the gallery and it appears on the iPad. Using paper and markers on the table, students look up at the iPad to trace the red lines. When they are finished and look down at their paper, they will see their masterpiece!
from Karen Hues on Vimeo

They equally enjoyed problem solving with Newton. Using a whiteboard, dry erase markers, and an eraser, students created paths for the bouncy balls to follow to try to get them to hit the targets and complete the challenge. There are many different levels to play and even more to be unlocked!

Mrs. Browne was in charge of the Osmo Words, Tangrams and Numbers.  Osmo Words allowed students to compete against each other in game mode to spell out images displayed on the ipad. Each student was assigned either red or blue letter tiles and they raced each other to find the most correct letters to earn the points.
Osmo Tangrams challenged the students to complete an animal puzzle using tangram pieces. The image was displayed in shadow format and the students had to use spatial relations to figure out where the pieces went. Each time a correct tangram was placed, the tangrams on the ipad lit up to let the student know they had the correct location.
For Osmo Numbers, the students used number tiles to match up to the number displayed on the ipad. The tiles included dots and digits. They added by putting more tiles and subtracted by removing tiles.

Out of all three Osmo apps, the students really enjoyed Osmo Words because of the competition element. They liked having to guess the word associated with the picture, which sometimes wasn’t as straightforward as they thought.

Mrs. Robinson made some Hollywood quality movies with the students using Stop Motion Studio. Stop Motion Studio is an easy to use app that can help you create professional looking videos. Their favorite part was the playback video at the end that shows the development of their creation in a fast-motion video. The video can be saved to the camera roll and shared out.
Mrs. Smith was in charge of the MaKey MaKey station.

Three MaKey MaKeys were set up to operate some winter themed games. One game was the Synonym and Antonym Christmas Tree. Second grade students at Mehfoud Elementary had decorated a Christmas tree with foil wrapped ornaments that had two words written on each. The set of words were either synonyms or antonyms. They had also used Scratch to program responses when the Christmas tree ornaments are touched. If you touch a pair of synonyms, you hear the students yell SYNONYMS and the Christmas tree in Scratch does a little dance. If you touch a pair of antonyms, you hear the students yell ANTONYMS and the tree in Scratch turns upside down. The Kaechele students thought it was so cool that 2nd graders had created this game and they enjoyed practicing synonyms and antonyms in a HANDS ON way.

Also set up were two computers with THIS skiing game. The object of the game is to get the skier from the top of the hill to the bottom of hill without running into trees. You also have to build a snowman by collecting snowman parts along the way. Students used the MaKey MaKeys as the controllers that were hooked up to PlayDough. Jessica Robinson had the clever idea to use holiday cookie cutters to cut out shapes so we had stars and gingerbread men acting as the left and right arrow keys. Such a cute idea!

The best part about this station was when the students figured out that they could create a circuit together so more than one student could operate the MaKey-MaKey! As long has they were holding hands/arms of the person who was grounded to the main cord connected to the MaKey-MaKey, they could touch the PlayDough and make the skier move 🙂

Mrs. Green‘s station got students very excited about taking their coding knowledge to the next step with Scratch. Last week they participated in the Hour of Code on and learned the basics of coding. Scratch allows students to use their own creativity to code games and activities. They were shown the basics of Scratch and all of the options. Then they had the opportunity to play games that were created by other students to support the classroom curriculum as well as games created by experts. The students left the station talking about the games they were going to start creating and how they were going to make their own controllers using the Makey Makeys.Jon Wirsing manned the Tinkercad station. Tinkercad is a very powerful online 3D modeling website. The best thing about Tinkercad is that it is very child friendly. With practice students in elementary school can design their own three dimensional objects that can then be printed with a 3D printer. This website is free of charge! The students simply login with their Google accounts and they are ready to go. Working in a 3D workspace can definitely be tricky, so the students will be starting small and working their way to more complex designs. This type of tool can be extremely valuable in the classroom because some students, especially visual learners, will be able to take an abstract idea they study in school and make it a tangible object.

The 3D printing station was lead by a 4th grade student, Aiden. Aiden’s family donated their old 3D printer to Kaechele, so it was only fitting that he was the person explaining what the students can do with a 3D printer. Our Instructional Technology department here in Henrico County has been working with our 3D printer that we purchased with a grant from The Henrico Education Foundation, so we are familiar with integrating the idea of 3D printing and design into the classroom curriculum. Aiden explained to his fellow students the process of 3D printing and how sometimes things don’t always turn out the way that you expect them to turn out. 3D printing is a great tool for the trial and error process, which is an idea that makers truly embody. The students at Kaechele will use Tinkercad to design their very own 3D objects and be able to print them right at school!

Mrs. Gebhard, the library assistant, was in charge of the sewing machine. Sewing is a very important life skill that these lucky students will be able to say they possess after elementary school. Mrs. Gebhard showed the students how to operate the sewing machine, and also how to troubleshoot when issues arise. While showing the students she focused on safety and the importance of being extremely careful while using this great tool. The students who are interested in using the sewing machine are also going to receive more in depth training by a volunteer from Jo-Ann Fabric. Once the students know how to safely and properly use the sewing machine they will be able to use it in Makerspace.

Check out all of the fun we had at MakerFest Day:

MakerFest 2015 from Julie on Vimeo.

We think EVERY school needs a MakerFest Day!

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Making Predictions iPad Activity

Mrs. Riddell’s 1st grade class at Glen Allen Elementary has been working on the reading skill, Making Predictions. Today we did a fun activity using the website, Epic, and the iPad app, Doodle Buddy.

Ocoverriginally Mrs. Riddell and I had planned on using a Tumblebook about snowmen. However, we couldn’t find any on Tumblebooks! Therefore, I looked into Epic, a free website for educators, and found the cutest story called Snow Party. Epic does not read the book aloud so we did the reading.



Half way through the book, the snowmen, women and children were preparing for their snow party and had a gift to open. We paused the read aloud right there:


Next, students launched Doodle Buddy on their iPads and selected the “crystal ball” (really it is a snow-globe) to be their background. I passed out some stylus pens and they went to town drawing what they predicted was in the snowman’s box inside of the crystal ball. Once finished, students saved their drawing to the camera roll and submitted their work through the Work Collector. We all gathered on the carpet and projected everyone’s work on the screen to share. There were some really clever predictions: ice cream cone, snow, scarf, hat, ice shoes, party supplies, snow cone…..

Check out their drawings:

We had the MOST fun revealing the answer at the end of the lesson. Before Mrs. Riddell and I continued reading the story, we explained that it is OKAY to be incorrect when making predictions…that is part of the fun!

Snow Party ends with the snowmen and women celebrating and opening the present which releases snow butterflies into the sky. Not one of us (even the adults!) had a prediction that was correct which made us all laugh hysterically! Snow butterflies? Reeeeally? Well, that is something we will never forget!

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