Monday, November 21, 2016

Thank you for our technology!

The Fuller Meadow and Howe Manning students, teachers and staff would like to give a BIG thank you to our administrators, school committee, families, and Middleton residents for supporting the use of technology in our classrooms.

With the increase of technological devices and programs over the last three years, our teachers are redefining the classroom and access to information.  Our students are reaching levels that take them beyond the school building and transports them worldwide.  They are making connections, collaborating and thinking critically.

We are so fortunate to have a computer lab and technology teacher who works with each of our students weekly, a Digital Learning Specialist to support staff and students with the use of technology and integrating it into our curriculum, an IT staff who is always helpful and reliable, and a Director of Digital Learning for connecting the Tri-Town with a strong vision for technology integration.  I especially want to thank our teachers for continuously striving to learn about the use of technology and how it benefits them and their students.  They take risks daily and I'm proud of them.

Thank you!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BrainPop Training

BrainPop Conference
Saturday, November 6, 2016

I had the opportunity to attend a BrainPop training this weekend with my Tri-Town colleagues, Samantha Kosakowski and Paula Klipfel.  This is the first step to becoming a Certified BrainPop Educator.  We are interested in this certification because each of our schools has a BrainPop subscription and we would like to help our teachers and students use all of the features of this program.

We were amazed by all of the features that BrainPop has to offer.

What is BrainPop?  (Source)  
BrainPop is a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12 (ages 6 to 17), together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, mathematics, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music.

BrainPOP Jr. provides curriculum-based content geared specifically for K-3 students. The site offers a growing library of movies and interactive features across six subjects: science, health, writing, reading, social studies, and math.

Features of BrainPop

Make-a-Map is BrainPOP’s newest tool for concept mapping. Concept mapping gives students the chance to transform information into knowledge by making meaningful connections between their thoughts and ideas using BrainPOP images, keywords, and movie clips as resources to get them started.  

You’ve probably seen first-hand how absorbing digital games can be for young minds. What if you could re-create that level of engagement in the classroom? By bringing the world of game-based learning into education – through GameUp – we’re doing just that.  Educational games add a new way to captivate students and help them learn in a manner that’s meaningful for them.

Quality Learning Games - 
  • Motivate and provide goals
  • Encourage participation
  • Foster creative, interactive problem-solving
  • Strengthen critical and systems thinking
  • Pose adaptive challenges
  • Spark inquiry
  • Require very little prep by busy teachers

After each BrainPop video, students can take a quiz with related questions.  Teachers can also use "Quiz Mixer" to create their own quizzes. Questions can be reorganized, customized, and crafted with multiple choice and open response questions.

Primary Sources  (Source)
BrainPop features archival newspapers, essays, documents, photographs and video clips related to BrainPOP topics to help students experience the history they’re learning about. New primary sources are added every week, providing students with a new way to hone their literacy skills across different disciplines and media.

The auto-graded Challenge measures students’ understanding of the topic at hand with a series of relevant tasks that emphasize cognitive skills. 

The materials and resources that BrainPop offers is amazing.  The support for Educators can be found on their web page.  There is a training link, lesson plans for standards based lessons across the curriculum.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Howe Manning and Fuller Meadow meet through Google Hangouts

Students in Ms. Nardone's 3rd grade class had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Kennedy's 2nd grade students by using Google Hangouts.  The students discussed the Global Read Aloud book, The BFG by Roald Dahl.

Several of the 3rd grade students had Mrs. Kennedy for 2nd grade so the students were ecstatic to see her again.  They could barely stay in their seats when they saw her and some familiar faces in her class.  How fun it was for them to reconnect.

The students spent their time discussing the book.  The 2nd graders wrote great questions to ask the 3rd graders.  These included:

- What are the giant's character traits?
- What are Sophie's character traits?
- Do you think the giant to get you?
- What is your favorite part of the book?
- How many dreams do you think the BFG has?
- How do you think the BFG keeps track of the dreams?