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!

#TechTakeout comes to Glen Lea

Wow! Today marks the fifth day of 5 and 5, the Tech Takeout crew went to 5 different schools in 5 days to work in different grade levels on different math and language arts skills. As a group we discussed the areas of need in each of the schools we visited. The teachers provided us with data explaining the needs of their students. Every school we made sure to focus on area of need for that particular grade level.



For the opening activity the students did a quick opening pre-assessment with Plickers. Plickers is a great student response system that takes the need of multiple devices out of the equation. As long as the teacher has a smart device that has the Plickers app loaded onto it they could use this platform in their classroom. The way students respond with this student response system is by holding a Plickers card, which can be printed from the Plickers website. One of our

favorite things about Plickers is that all of the cards look different. This keeps students from looking at a neighbor’s card to copy their answer. Mrs. Wright made a quick five question pre-assessment of various language arts skills. The students and teachers both had a great time participating in the Plickers activity.We were so lucky to visit Glen Lea Elementary today to work with the fifth grade. In every class we used different digital tools to hit different language arts skills that the students needed a little extra help with. We worked on inferencing, synonyms, main idea, and summarizing.

Julie Smith and Stephanie Wright worked on inferencing skills using real commercials. The students watched different popular commercials that did not use any dialog so it required the audience to use inferencing skills. While watching the commercials the students discussed how inferencing was used in the commercials. After the discussion the students made their own Comic Life that focused on inferencing. The students chose an emotion on which to focus and took a picture of themselves displaying that emotion. The trickiest part about making their Comic Life is that the students could not say what emotion they were displaying. Once all of the students finished their Comic Life they saved them as JPEGs and then uploaded them to a collaborative Padlet wall. The students did such a great job, and LOVED the activity!



Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea focused on main idea with their group. The students were given a short reading passage and were tasked with identifying the main idea. Once the students decided on the main idea they headed over to Bitstrips to show off their knowledge! The students created a one panel comic showing the main idea of their passage. When they finished their comic the students took a screenshot and saved it to their desktop. Mr. Covais created a Padlet wall for the students to share their work, so after the students took their screenshot they went to the Padlet wall for today. Padlet is such a great tool for sharing work! It is a digital collaborative corkboard. The students simply dragged their comic onto the Padlet wall to share their main idea with their classmates.

Karen Hues and Sarah Green had the students engaged in non fiction learning! Students used to read non fiction articles at different reading levels. Then they used Vocaroo to record themselves reading

their article to practice their fluency. After listening to the recording, they wrote a summary in TodaysMeet to share with the rest of their group. They were limited to 140 characters, so it was important to condense their article into a concise summary.





Jessica Robinson and Garry Marshall had a blast today with their students! Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Marshall focused on synonyms as well as inferencing. The students were given cards with an emotion listed. Once the students received their emotion card they started by taking a selfie using the Dell Webcam. After dragging their

image to their desktops they headed over to BigHuge Labs to make a trading card for their emotion. This is such a great web resource because it can easily be adapted to any content area. The students uploaded their picture and then typed sentences using at least one synonym describing their emotions. This activity was really useful because the students were able to work on multiple skills at the same time. The teacher can then print out all of the cards and use them as task cards in a center. Once the students finished their card they uploaded it to a collaborative Padlet wall.



#TechTakeout Attacks Math at Ashe!

Day 4 of our week long Tech Takeout extravaganza was AWESOME! We headed over to Arthur Ashe Elementary and focused on division, word problems, elapsed time, and line graphs in 5th grade. The students had a blast using a variety of technology while thinking critically. One more day left, and we are still excited! This has been an amazing week, and can’t wait to head to Glen Lea Elementary tomorrow!

For the opening activity Gina Browne had an amazing idea for a pre-assessment for how the students felt about math going into the day. The students used the word cloud feature on Once they typed in three adjectives describing how they felt, the students saved the word cloud to their desktop. They then headed over to a Padlet wall that Mrs. Browne created for each individual class so the students had an opportunity to see how everyone was feeling.

Gina Browne and Julie Smith used EdPuzzle for challenging word problem practice. EdPuzzle allows the teacher to find a video or upload their own video to the website. The teacher can crop the video, add a voice over and/or embed quiz questions. This program is great for a flipped classroom environment or even a great tool to use for centers/rotations. Students in this group viewed and worked on two different word problems involving fractions.Check it out:

Sarah Green and Karen Hues had the students use Google Maps to find how much time it takes to travel from Arthur Ashe Elementary School to a destination of their choice. Then they chose a starting time and calculated the elapsed time to find out what time they would arrive at their destination. They posted a screenshot of their travel route along with their elapsed time word problem on a padlet wall to share with their classmates.

Jessica Robinson and Stephanie Wright had their group using multiple online resources. Their students started out by choosing a vacation spot that interested them. They then accessed The Weather Channel website and recorded the high and low temperatures for the next five days at that vacation destination. After their data was collected they signed into their Google account and plugged in their data on a Google Sheet. After their data was recorded they created a line graph within Google Sheets. They personalized their graph and then copied into a group Google Presentation. After their resized their graph they used the image search feature and found a few key places at their vacation destination to add to their slides. Check out their great graphs!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea were training some future computer programmers using Scratch and MaKeyMaKeys. First, the students wrote division word problems and then headed over to the Scratch website. Next, the students selected two sprites to work with. The students programmed one of the sprites to state the word problem when the up key was pressed. We programmed the other sprite said the answer when the students pushed the down key. When the students finished programming they hooked up the MaKeyMaKeys to control what they had just programmed. An alligator clip was attached the the up arrow on the MaKeyMaKey and then another alligator clip was hooked the down arrow on the MaKeyMaKey. The students connected their last clip was to the ground, and they were almost good to go! The finishing touches were when we put Playdough on the other ends of the alligator clips. The students were completely blown away when they were controlling the computer with Playdough!

Gina Browne’s Slidely by Slidely Slideshow

#TechTakeout Takes On Highland Springs

Today was our third Tech Takeout this week! We are having a blast working with different schools and grade levels across the county. For our third adventure we trekked over to Highland Springs Elementary to work on word analysis skills. Each pair of ITRTs developed different hands on technology lessons to get the kids pumped to learn! Remember that we want all of you teachers to take anything we post and make it your own! Every Tech Takeout that we do utilizes a variety of tools and focuses on different skills. No matter what grade level you teach you can always find something useful! If you’re on Twitter follow our hashtag to keep up to date with everything we do. #TechTakeout

For the opening activity we had the students answer review questions in Quizziz. The students had a super fun time with the activity.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Stephanie Wright and Gina Browne focused on synonyms and antonyms using Nearpod. Students began by reviewing the definitions of synonyms and antonyms. A short video clip was linked into the presentation as additional review. Afterwards, the students used their own computers/ ipads to create t-charts of synonyms and antonyms. Multiple choice questions were also part of the presentation. The activity concluded with students creating their own synonyms and antonyms.
Examples of synonyms and antonyms they created:

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea used Padlet to play a Prefix and Suffix game. They provided the students with a Padlet wall for the students to use for the game. Every student was assigned a color for their words, the the students were challenged to type in as many words from a list of words with prefixes or suffixes. After about five minutes the students stopped typing their words. Once they had as many words as they could type in they started the game. The students took turns picking an opponent’s color, reading one of their words, and deciding if the word had a prefix or suffix. If the student was correct the word was moved to the prefix or suffix section. The person with the most words at the end left in their color was the winner!

The students had a blast constructing a menu for the “Delightful Deli” with Karen Hues and Sarah Green! The Delightful Deli is a delicious place for writers to select words with prefixes and suffixes to use in their writing. The students opened a Google Doc template with a plate of prefixes, suffixes, and root words, as well as a blank menu board for the specials of the day. With their partner, the students collaboratively worked on a Google Doc to type words with prefixes and suffixes on the menu board Google Drawing. Once the students typed their words on the menu, they used Vocaroo to recorded themselves reading the specials for the day and enticing hungry writers to visit the Delightful Deli.

The students that worked with Julie Smith and Jessica Robinson made affix movies! They did an app smash using DoodleBuddy and Shadow Puppet. The students used DoodleBuddy to write a word that has both a prefix and a suffix. They used stoplight color coding to show the prefix (green), root word (yellow), and suffix (red). Once the students completed two or three words in DoodleBuddy, they exported the pictures to the camera roll. The students then brought in the pictures into Shadow Puppet and recorded their voices explaining the the parts of the word. They also explained how the prefixes and suffixes changed the meaning of the root word.

Affixes from Julie on Vimeo.

#TechTakeout Crashes Crestview

The Tech Takeout crew is continuing our 5 Schools, 5 Days week long extravaganza of fun! Today was day two and it was a blast! We headed over to Crestview Elementary and focused on fractions in third grade.

Opening Activity: It is that time of year….REVIEW TIME! I know many of you have been using the student response system, Kahoot! Are you ready to change things up a bit?

Recently we tried out a similar student response system, Quizizz, and it proved to be a great alternative to Kahoot.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Sarah Green and Stephanie Wright led a group of fraction secret agents. The students used Pixie to decode a picture representing a fraction as well as one of the one of the addends. The students had to use their detective skills to decode the fractions and figure out the missing addend. This activity is great for critical thinking, adding fractions, and equivalent fractions! Once the students finished decoding, they created their own slide for other students to decode.

Julie Smith and Karen Hues used Pixie on the iPads to help make connections to fractions a real world experience. Students used the iPads and the app, Pixie, to create a digital book. The students drew the numerical representation of the fraction and then recorded their voice explaining the fraction. The students exported their Pixie slides as a movie to the camera roll and then uploaded them using the Google Work Collector.

Fractions Around Us from Julie on Vimeo.

Jessica Robinson and Gina Browne had students create word problems about Greece using fractions in Powerpoint. Students were provided a sample word problem and were taught how to animate the slide. After animating the slide, the students recorded their voices on an answer slide where they identified the numerator and denominator. After guided practice, students were challenged to create their own word problems about Greece. They had a variety of clipart to choose from and did a great job demonstrating understanding of how Powerpoint features worked while creating their awesome word problems!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea took fraction war and put a tech spin on it. The students were provided with fraction cards. Each pair of students opened a template on Google Slides and used this to display the fractions that they randomly chose. The students used the manipulatives on the bottom of the screen to prove which player won. Since the students were using Google Slides they were able to work simultaneously and collaboratively. This is a great way to take a simple idea and elevate it using technology. Check out some screenshots of student work, and make sure to click on the template link above and make a copy of the template that we used! Once the students finished playing war they logged into their Google accounts and one student from each pair started a new Google Drawing. The drawings were then shared with

From April 21, 2015

Crestview Elementary #TechTakeout by Slidely Slideshow

#TechTakeout Comes to Lakeside

This week is our 5 Schools, 5 Days with Tech Takeout. The Tech Takeout crew is going to a different school every day and working on specific skills with students. Today was our first day and we kicked off 5 Schools, 5 Days at Lakeside Elementary School. We were so excited to work with the fourth graders there on their geometry skills.

Opening Activity: It is that time of year….REVIEW TIME! I know many of you have been using the student response system, Kahoot! Are you ready to change things up a bit?

Recently we tried out a similar student response system, Quizizz, and it proved to be a great alternative to Kahoot.

For a more in depth look at Quizizz check out Julie Smith’s awesome blog post!

Jim Covais and Matt Caratachea had the students use iPads and the Educreations app to show off what they know about geometry. Using Educreations the students created riddles about different polygons. After choosing a particular polygon the students recorded themselves asking questions about their shape. These questions focused on the vocabulary that the students must know including angles, vertices, intersection, parallel, and perpendicular. Once the students had their questions recorded they found a picture of their polygon in the classroom and took a picture. They put the shape picture on a new slide in Educreations and recorded their voice saying the name of the polygon. Check out some of their work below:

Jessica Robinson and Julie Smith used Windows Movie Maker and the Dell Webcam to make geometric MOVEies. The fourth grade teachers at Lakeside Elementary really wanted a heavy focus on the vocabulary, so Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Smith wanted to get the students up and moving while showing off what they know. The students recorded videos of themselves acting out the important geometric vocabulary terms (point, line, line segment, ray, parallel lines and perpendicular/intersecting lines) using the Dell Webcam. Once the students had the different clips recorded they used Windows Movie Maker to put them together into a complete movie. These are great tools because not only were the movies fun to make, but they can be used to help the entire class review before their SOL test which is coming up quick!

Lakeside Geometry Movie from Jessica Robinson on Vimeo.

Sarah Green, Karen Hues, and Stephanie Wright had the students programming using Scratch for their station, and using the MaKeyMaKeys to control the programs the students made. The students used the X-Y grid backdrop on Scratch and programmed a sprite of their choosing to flip, slide, and turn over the X or Y axis. Once the students programmed their sprite to flip, slide, or turn they recorded their voice describing the transformation. While the students were coding they made sure to use the arrow keys to control their sprite. They did this because the students used the MaKeyMaKeys to control their sprite.

Julie Franklin led a station where the students created polygons using online geoboards. First the students went to Math Playground to create their multiple examples of polygons. Once the students created their polyon they saved them to their desktop and headed over to Szoter to label their polygons and create a collage with their images. The students had a blast making their polygons and smashing the pictures using the online photo editor Szoter.

ThingLink for Ancient Egypt

I had a blast co-teaching with Andrea Ferguson at Pinchbeck Elementary. Her second graders have been learning about ancient Egypt. She wanted her students to demonstrate their knowledge of ancient Egypt in a fun exciting way. During our planning meeting we decided to have the students make ThingLinks about ancient Egypt.

If you haven’t had a chance to use ThingLink you and your students are missing out. ThingLink allows you to upload a picture and add interactive touch points. When you hover over these touch points information and pictures pop up. This is really great for displaying information that the students know.

Mrs. Ferguson and I broke her lesson into two parts. The first part of the lesson the students found their own pictures using Britannica Image Quest through One Search. This was a great opportunity to teach students about safe search practices in a controlled environment. By using these services we knew all the pictures in the search would appropriate and of high quality.

Once Mrs. Ferguson’s class found an image they signed into ThingLink, uploaded their picture and got to work. The students added touch points for different facts. They were able to change the appearance of the touch points and move them around the image. When the students were done with their awesome creations, Mrs. Ferguson then posted the images to her blog for other students to see and use as a review.

Check out one of their awesome images below.

Book Trailers for “Holes”

I recently had the pleasure of co-teaching with Brooke Davis at Pinchbeck Elementary. Mrs. Davis’ 5th graders have been doing a novel study on the book “Holes” and wanted to do a culminating activity that was a bit different. During our planning meeting we decided to have the students make book trailers to get other students interested in reading “Holes”.

The students began by planning out what they wanted to show in the movie. They wanted to summarize the important parts but didn’t want to give too much away. Once the students planned, they then recorded clips using Dell Webcam Central on the laptops.

After all the clips were recorded Mrs. Davis’ 5th graders then began working in Windows Movie Maker to put it all together. The future filmmakers imported all of the clips added transitions some even added music to make the trailer intresting.

The trailers were then attached to QR codes. The hope is that the QR codes will be placed in the library, so other students can scan the code with their iPad and view the trailer.

It’s wonderful that the students enjoyed this book so much they wanted other students to read this book as well. They did such a great job on these trailers. I can’t be more proud of them. Check out one of their awesome trailers below.

Brooke, Aidan, Libbie Book Trailers from Brooke Davis on Vimeo.

What Frozen 2 Can Show Us About Teaching

I could almost hear to collective grown from parents as the news of Frozen 2 came out. The fear has set in. Just as “Let it Go” was fading from your brain, what new song will stuck in your head hours on end? The good folks at Disney are following a model that every teacher should be using. They used the data from the first movie to determine if there would be a second movie.

I know the moment we hear data, our teacher brain shuts down. We can sum up the reasons we don’t want to use data in just a few sentences.



“I didn’t get into teaching to fill out a spreadsheet.”
“I know what my kids need.”
“I know how to teach.”

It’s important to realize that data is a tool that we can use to effectively educate our students. The data lets us know what areas we need to remediate. Disney didn’t say to themselves “We just know people will like the movie so let’s make it.” They looked at the data from the first Frozen movie. Disney was able to see the popularity of the movie and which characters moviegoers enjoyed the best. From this data Disney then set forth to create Frozen 2. They will now be able to predict with some accuracy, that the second Frozen movie will be a success.

We think that we just know what our students need. Often times our memory fails us and we only remember the last time and not every other time. Keeping accurate data on our students allow us to see everything even when our brains fail. With data we are able to create customized lessons that fully address our student’s needs.

Collecting data can seem overwhelming, however there are a few tricks to make it easy for you. Below are just a few ways to collect data.

  • Use Flubaroo: Create an assessment in Google Forms and then use the addon Flubaroo to grade the assignment. Not only will the assignment be graded in just a few seconds but you will also get an item analysis. The item analysis allows you to see which concepts you may need to go over again.
  • Use Plickers: Plickers stands for paper clickers. You can ask multiple choice questions and have students choose an answer by holding up a sheet of paper. With just a scan of your smartphone you can see which students got the answer correct.
  • Use Exit Tickets: Just a simple quick question as the lesson is ending will give you plenty of data on a child.

Disney looks at the data before they create movies. This ensures that they produce movies that are successful and people will love. Data drives their business and they have been extremely successful. Data can drive our business of education as well. Using data to drive our instruction will ensure our students’ success.

#TechTakeout @ Baker Elementary

Friday the #TechTakeout crew had the great opportunity of taking over 4th grade at Baker Elementary School! Math has been one of the focus areas of the school so we decided to bring the math in our activities. We had such a great day filled with fun hands on technology infused stations.

The instructional technology team just received a bunch of new tools called MaKeyMakeys. Over the summer we will be able to spend more time with them to develop some rich curriculum connections. However, we have been doing our best to bring them into schools as soon as we can to get some hands on experiences rolling. Mrs. Hues brought the MaKeyMakeys to Baker today to have the kids work on measurement.

Mrs. Hues had the students use Scratch to interact with the MaKeyMaKeys. The students selected a background on Scratch and two sprites.

The students used the first sprite to act as the starting point. The students programmed the second sprite to move with the arrow keys. Each student was given a length either in inches or centimeters and they were challenged to move the second sprite that distance. In Scratch while programming you make items move in steps, so the students had to use estimation skills to reach their goal. When they finished the programming the students plugged the MaKeyMaKeys in to control their new Scratch game.

Mrs. Browne and Mr. Favale used a tool called Nearpod in their station. Nearpod is a great website that teachers can use to construct presentations or polls. Teachers can deliver instruction to students by pushing content out to multiple devices at once. Mr. Favale and Mrs. Browne controlled the presentations from a computer while students followed along on their own computer. The great thing about Nearpod is that students and teacher could also use any iOS device.

The students participated in an activity together covering various measurement topics. The students were answering questions on Nearpod, having conversations about measurement, and even drew pictures within Nearpod! Mr. Favale created the activity, but a great thing about Nearpod is that lessons that have already been created can be tweaked by teachers or you can create your own resources.

Ms. Wright and Mr. Clough used an awesome website called CheckThis for their activity. The students began the lesson by choosing items to weigh. Once the student selected their item they then used a balance to measure the mass of the item. After they knew the actual mass the students were ready to head over to CheckThis to make their own website!

Within CheckThis the students were able to take a picture of themselves holding their item. They then created a poll under the picture asking the weight of their item. At the bottom of each website the students took a second picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with the correct weight.

Mr. Clough and Ms. Wright made sure to grab the address of each website so that they can share them with the four teachers we worked with today. When the students visit the websites they can answer the question and then scroll down to see the correct answer.

Mr. Covais and Mr. Caratachea had the students using Google Earth to measure the perimeter of historical sites aligned with fourth grade SOLs. First the students opened up Google Earth. Once Google Earth was opened the students went to the student server where they could drag a .kmz file onto Google Earth to take them to specific places. The first place that we traveled to was Jamestown. After Jamestown was located the students used the ruler tool to measure the three sides of the Jamestown fort.

The students then added the length of the three sides and posted their findings on a collaborative Padlet Wall.

After the students posted to the Padlet wall for their group they were able to repeat the activity and measure Mount Vernon, St. John’s Church, and some groups even had time to measure Baker Elementary!

Click Here to download the files of the different locations we visited!

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Green’s groups started by signing into their Google accounts. They then opened a blank document in Google Drawing and worked to create their own Gallon Girl, Gallon Guy or Gallon Man! Students used the shape tool to create various representations for the gallon, quarts, pints and cups. Each child changed their shape colors and added a key to their drawing as well. Finally they used the webcam to take a selfie and insert their own image into their drawing.

Check out some of their creations:

Here are some pictures from our day at Baker Elementary: