How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Part 2

In the last post I talked about the first session that I taught called Digital Creations. If you didn’t read that one check it out. I have a few ideas on how you can use Photoshop and Premiere Pro in your classroom.

The second session that I taught was called the 3Cs. The Cs stand for create, code, and critically think. This was by far my favorite one to teach. The entire class was dedicated to students working on their final projects. They were tasked to code a video game, design a usable controller for the game, and design and print a 3D logo for their game. Let’s break down how they completed each part of this project.

Video Game:

The students used Scratch to code their video games. For most of the class this was their first time using the program. For those of you who may not know, Scratch is a website where students can code a program. Instead of having to know a specific language, students just drag connecting blocks into a work space.

To get the students ready to code I first had them do the Hour of Code and then use the Scratch cards. Click Here for a detailed how to get started guide. From there the students let their imaginations run wild.

Check out this gallery of fun games the students created.


The students used a MaKey MaKey to design the controllers for their games. What I like most about the MaKey MaKey students are able to use a variety of materials for their interface. Here’s a picture of one of the controllers:

What to know more about the MaKey MaKey? Check out this video:


The students designed their 3D logo in Tinkercad. Tinkercad is a powerful, free website where students are able to design 3D shapes. After the students designed their logo, we then printed their creation using the Cube 3D printer. Check out one of their awesome creations below.

Want to try out something similar? Contact me and let’s get planning!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Part 1

I hope that you had a fun relaxing break! I’m beyond excited about this new school year. I’m ready to plan great lessons with you and try out some new tools!

During my break I taught two summer enrichment sessions. I had a BLAST! It was astonishing to see what the students were able to produce. The students did such a wonderful job I just had to share it.

The first class I taught was called Digital Creations. Here students learned how to use Photoshop and Premiere Pro, a powerful video editing program. The students learned so much in these two weeks. I was amazed at the end of the session of what the students were able to create.

Check out this picture and short video some students created in the class.

In this video students explain need to know facts about Minecraft.

In order to create this video these students had to do a few steps. First they shot the video of themselves. Then they photoshopped all of those images so that there was no background. Finally the they put the video along with the images in Premiere Pro. They then had to place and images on the video at the correct time and move the images off at the correct time. Awesome!

Now the question is what practical application does this have in your classroom? Let’s break it down by program.


  • Have the students Photoshop their face onto a historic picture and write about it. This not only ties in the social studies but also writing. This would be something the students could work on during their literacy stations.
  • Photoshop a crazy picture and then write about it. Maybe have a giant cat running through a city. Task the students with writing what happens while the cat is there. This would be a great time for students to work on descriptive writing.
  • Have the students create a collage of many different pictures to demonstrate their understanding of a concept.
  • Have the students create persuasive posters. Have them image they are living in the time of Jamestown. They have to convince people to come to the New World.

Premiere Pro:

  • Have the students create book trailers where pictures from the book come across the screen. The students can make it appear as if they are coming from the book. This will get other students interested and make them want to read.
  • The student can make a video showing different math facts. They can have different pictures representing their facts come across the screen.
  • Students can interview historical figures.

These are just a few of the ideas that you could do in your classroom. If you want to try out any of these contact me and let’s get planning!

Next blog post I’ll tell you all about the second session.

Bringing the Creativity to Carver

Today the #TechTakeout crew went over to Carver Elementary to work with some amazing kindergarten students and teachers! We had a blast working on some Math skills on both iPads and computers. As a group we made sure to focus on particular skills that the students had trouble with throughout the year. Even though we were working on tough concepts for kindergartners such as money and fractions the students were engaged and having a blast the entire time!

We kicked off the day with a great game of Kahoot! The game focused on fractions and money and really got the kids pumped to start the lesson. All of the students were cheering for their friends when they got the right answer. Kahoot is a great tool because it is so easy to differentiate for the younger grades. Today we only let the students choose from two answer choices since they are younger.

Julie Smith and Jessica Robinson helped the students to review the fractions ½ and ¼. The students started by creating a farm fraction scene using the app Farmyard. Students were encouraged to make equal groups using the animal stamps to represent ½ and then make a second scene with four animals to represent ¼. They saved their scenes to the camera roll and imported them into the app, Educreations. Students used Educreations to record and annotate their explanations of their fraction scenes. Mooooooooooooo!


Sarah Green and Stephanie Wright helped students review money by making movies. First, they took pictures of the coins and then used the Shadow Puppets app to add labels to each picture. Finally, they recorded themselves talking about each coin to make a movie.

Tech takeout from Sarah Green on Vimeo.

Gina Browne and Karen Hues used the iPad app 30 Hands to create food fractions. The students uploaded pictures of different foods from the camera roll. There were three pictures of each food item: the first picture was the whole food, the second picture was the food cut in half, and in the third picture the food was cut into fourths. Once imported into 30 Hands, they used the drawing tool to write “one” on the whole, “½” on the halves, and “¼” on the fourths. The students then recorded their voices describing their food fractions. The three slides were combined and exported as a movie.

Fraction Foods from Karen Hues on Vimeo.

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea turned their group of students into computer programmers! When most people think of computer programmers a kindergarten student is not typically the first thing that comes to mind, but these kindergarten students were disproving that all day! The students used both Scratch and Makey Makeys to make money actually speak.

First, the students went to the Scratch website and the students added the event “when spacebar is pressed.” Next, they added the command to make a sound. They students had a great time recording their voices explaining which coin they had and how much it was worth. We then added the Makey Makeys into the mix. The students took a coin and connected it to their own Makey Makey and then connected a ground wire to the earth section of the Makey Makey. When the students touched their coin their computer said, “I am a quarter and I’m worth 25 cents.”

Henrico 21 is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the BIG day! Come join us at Glen Allen High School for the Student 21 Fair and Henrico 21 Awards Ceremony!

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Coding in the Classroom

There are some amazing things your students can do with coding in the classroom. If you are unfamiliar with coding it’s essentially writing a computer program. I know what you’re thinking, “Really? I don’t have time for this….”

There are many real benefits to coding in the elementary classroom. Coding helps with problem solving skills and logical reasoning. Let’s be honest, it’s these types of questions that our students miss most on the SOLs. Coding also doesn’t have to be taught in isolation. We can teach our students to code while still teaching our core curriculum.

The question is where do you start, because it can seem so overwhelming. I put together a website that walks you through getting your students started with coding. The website takes you through the free available resources so your students will be coding in no time.

From kindergarten to fifth grade every student can start to code. Check out the website and get started today!