Tech Takeout goes to Shady Grove!

Last Friday at Shady Grove the Tech Takeout Crew went to Shady Grove to work with around 160 4th grade students for our first Tech Takeout of the 2016-2017 school year! Tech Takeout is when a group of ITRTs travel to different elementary schools once a month to teach a technology infused lesson. This group was born from the guiding principle that we become better educators working together rather than being alone.

We take a concept of the teacher’s choosing. We then design 4 stations that use 21st century skills and technology to teach the material in a meaningful way. #TechTakeout takes the fear out of new technology and empowers teachers.

We had a blast talking about text features, summarizing, vocabulary and context clues. Tech takeout sessions were started with a Nearpod on Main idea

Mrs. Browne and Mrs. Robinson’s groups worked on summarizing and finding the main idea. Students started by reading a short passage about astronauts in space. After summarizing and identifying the main idea students accessed StoryBoard That from their school’s server shortcuts. Students worked to create a 3 panel comic strip about the main idea. They then used the snipping tool to take a screenshot of their comic. Finally, they uploaded their finished product to a Padlet wall so they could see each other’s work.

Mr. Covais and Ms. Aquilina worked with students to make trailers for popular picture books. Students read a book then made a short video explaining the main idea of the book, using Dell Webcam Central. The students then took the video and uploaded it to a shared Google Folder. Now students from all over the school can watch the book trailers and see if they want to read the book! This is such an easy way to not only work on main idea, but to also connect with other grade levels.

Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Caratachea worked with National Geographic and Google Slides today at Shady Grove! The students accessed the Google Slides Template through the student server. The first slide on the Google Slides had a link to National Geographic which the students clicked to access a magazine. The students worked in pairs after signing into Google to work collaboratively on their Google Slide. Each group worked together to track down the different text features such as Headings, Title, Bold Words, and so much more!

Mrs. Green and Mr. Favale had a great time teaching students how to understand unfamiliar vocabulary words. We started off by giving students an appropriate grade level article obtained from Newsela about using drones to understand tornadoes. The students chose a word in the article that they felt was important to the story and they didn’t hear very often. The students used context clues to first write the word to be defined. Next they listed some characteristics and provided some examples and non-examples that corresponded with the main word. If we had more time we would use Popplet, but unfortunately we were stretched for time and skipped this step. The students then showcased their work by creating an awesome short movie using a movie web tool called Wevideo. Students clicked the Google button on Wevideo then signed into Google and away they went to create. Students are able to save their work in Wevideo and continue editing at a later date. Here is an awesome example completed in a very short amount of time.


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.

Tech Takeout at Dumbarton

Today 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.

Mrs. Smith and Ms. Wright’s group opened a blank Pixie document, opened the the Activity Folder→ Math Activity Folder→ Small Grid. They 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.

Tech Takeout focuses on 4th grade math skills at Donahoe ES

Today at Donahoe we focused 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 greaterl. 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 it 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 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!

Venue Tablet Pilot

Mrs. O’Connor’s first graders are piloting a set of Venue Tablets for the next two weeks and were excited to get started right away! They logged in with there HCPS usernames and passwords and were very patient as these new devices connected to the network. Once the students were logged in, they found the internet browser and navigated to PebbleGo. Can’t wait to see what these students do with these devices over the next few weeks.



Circuit Nearpod and Makey Makey fun

Fourth grade students at Tuckahoe have been having fun learning about circuits using Nearpod and Makey Makeys. The teachers loved how they could control the students’ computers using Nearpod and collect formative data on what the students knew about the circuits. Students enjoyed drawing circuits and seeing how their classmates drawings differed from their own.

At the end of the lesson, the entire class participated in playing Pacman using the Makey Makeys to create a closed circuit. They discussed conductors and insulators and then found objects around the room to experiment with.

Tech Takeout focuses on Vocabulary skills at Chamberlayne ES

Last Friday we 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 took to 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