CovaisTech Roundup Episode 1

Round UpI find it hard sometimes splitting my time between four schools. When you only see a staff once a week it’s difficult to tell them about new ideas or lessons they can do in their classroom. That’s the main reason why I maintain this blog. As much as I put into the blog it doesn’t convey everything that I want. I started to think about it and I think I found a way to fill that gap somewhat.

Every month or so I’m going to make a short video talking about some of the lessons I’ve done. This will hopefully give you some ideas for you to use in your classroom. I’m calling it CovaisTech Roundup because, why not? My thinking is if you don’t have any time to read the blog you can watch a short video.

The videos will be posted to my YouTube channel, Vimeo and the blog. The only downside right now is that you have to see my face. I’m aware that my face is best for radio, that is why I’m currently in talks with Ryan Gosling to start hosting. By talks I mean I’m sending a bunch of unanswered tweets.


Hour of Code – December 5th – 11th!

The Hour of Code week is coming up December 5 – 11! The hope is you take one hour out of that week to do a coding activity. A ton of activities can be found on’s Hour of Code page. The hour of code is great because it is a self contained lesson that will be finished in an hour or less. You don’t have to worry about students not finishing their work or having to extend the lesson into another subject.

What is the Hour of Code?
Just as the name states, it’s an hour of coding for your students. Students can choose from a few different lessons. Each lesson lasts no more than an hour. Students watch a short video and then follow an interactive tutorial. At the end of the tutorial students will have a playable game that they created. One of my favorites is having students complete a Flappy Bird game.

Are my students too young to code?
Nope! The interactive tutorials are great for any elementary age child, even pre-readers!

Do I have to make an account?
Nope! You can go through all of the tutorials without signing in. You can create accounts for your students to save their work but it’s not required!

How do I get my students excited about the Hour of Code?
Check out’s YouTube Channel. You’ll find a bunch of short videos that explain the Hour of Code and why coding is important.

I’m ready to go beyond the Hour of Code. What do I do now?
Check out henriCode! We have great lesson starters to get your class coding with the curriculum!

If you’re ready to get started let me know! I would love to help you get you rolling!

Sound Patterns!

I recently had a planning meeting with Mrs. Grigg at Ratcliffe Elementary. We were talking about patterns in math and we were both over doing the same old thing with her 5th graders. Mrs. Grigg and I started planning it out and we decided to do patterns with sound. We figured not only would this be covering our math SOL but we could use this as a little preview for the sound SOL in science.

We started off by showing the students this example.

After the class determined what type of pattern this was Mrs. Grigg and I showed the students the pattern visually.

Now was the time for each student to create their own sound pattern. Before the lesson I pulled a sound pack from for the students to use. You can download the sound pack here for free. The students had a blast picking out the right sounds to make their patterns. It was most definitely loud at times, but every student was engaged.

Once the students created their video, they uploaded it to a shared google folder. Now other students can watch their classmates’ videos and figure out the pattern. Mrs. Grigg can use this later on as a quick 5 minute review before or after a lesson. Check out one of the examples below!

Coding Geography

Geography can be difficult for second graders, specifically where they are in relation to the rest of the world. Many students mix up the county, state, country, and continent. Ms. Jackson and I discussed this in our planning meeting and quickly got to work designing a lesson that would help her students at Glen Lea Elementary.

We started off by showing the second graders their school on Google Earth. We then zoomed out until we could see the outline of Henrico County, then Virginia, United States and finally North America. At each point we stopped, talked about the shape of each and where the school was located. This gave more context than to just say “We live in Virginia.”

After our exploration in Google Earth we decided to make a quick little Scratch program to reinforce the concept. Students programmed their character to move across the screen while saying where they live. The character started off saying, I live in Henrico, then I live in Virginia, and so on until they reached North America. Check out one of the examples below.

What to do something similar? Sign up and let’s get planning!

GoTemp! = Go Fun!

Happy Friday! Second graders at Longdale are studying temperature changes, so this was a perfect opportunity to experiment with the GoTemps! With the changing weather temperatures, we were able to talk about hot vs. cold and how it feels when the temperature outside changes.

Next up, it was time for a little experiment. The classes have been discussing the differences between Fahrenheit and Celsius as well as boiling and freezing points of water. To practice our observation skills, we set up three glasses of water: hot, room temperature, and ice cold.
Second graders made predictions about the temperature of the water and recorded. Then, we plugged in the GoTemps and started collecting data! It was so cool to see how the temperatures of the water glasses changed and we were even able to see the temps on the same graph.


For the second part of the lesson, we broke into groups and tested the temperatures of our hands. Again, second graders made predictions, keeping in mind that normal body temperature is about 98*. These results were even more fun to see!

GoTemps are a great way to see temperature changes in real life. This lesson can be used with animal adaptations and even graphing!