Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Introducing WHMN News

The students at Fuller Meadow School and Howe Manning School have the amazing opportunity to participate in an after-school program called "Exploration Station."  There are many classes offered - from cooking and art to coding robots.

 I have the pleasure of organizing, facilitating and working with Howe Manning students in our first WHMN News Crew for our 4th-6th grade students.  Being the Digital Learning Specialist for my district, I have the experience of using a green screen with students.  We create digital projects to enhance their curriculum.  In our News Crew, we are using this technology to focus on stories that interest our students.

Students do research about a topic of interest and state the "WHY" of their story.  Then, they create a storyboard for filming, then finally film their segment.  Our news show is shown on Friday mornings in all classes at Howe Manning.

Watch the video below of our broadcasts.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel - "WHMN News - Howe Manning School"

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Holiday Videos for our schools

Each year, my colleague Barbara Deeley, approaches me with an idea to create a holiday video with the staff at Howe Manning School.  This annual tradition brings our school community together.  On the day before our winter vacation, all of our students gather together for a holiday sing-along then watch the video.

Howe Manning Sing-Along

Check out our Howe Manning 2017 Holiday Video:

Fuller Meadow Sing-Along

The staff and students at Fuller Meadow School got into the spirit as well!  We had our annual sing-along and then the staff participated in our first "Silly Sweater Runway Contest."

Congrats to our winners (and judges)!

Check out their video "Let Us Go."

FUller Meadow Holiday Video 2017 from Dierdre Baker on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Wonder" project in 4th Grade

Students in Mrs. Deeley's 4th grade class showed their learning about the book Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio.  Mrs. Deeley read the book aloud to her students and some amazing discussions.  I had the pleasure of working with the students to create a book trailer in iMovie.

Students chose a section of the book that they wanted to tell about, then created a storyboard drawing to depict their scene.

They worked together to pick the action, background, and visual that they wanted to convey.  We used a green screen and the app "Do Ink" for some of the scenes.  We added all of the pictures and videos to iMovie to create the trailer.

Watch our Wonder movie trailer...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving in 1st Grade

It was a digital day in Mrs. Scharffenberg's 1st grade class.

To start the day off, students listened to a book digitally - Turkey Trouble by Wendi J Silvano.  Afterward, they discussed main character, setting, and conflict.

Digital book
Then, the students played a Kahoot! game with questions about Turkey Trouble by Wendi J Silvano.  They worked in partners and learned the importance of working together.


The Kindergarten students in our school worked with their family to create a "Turkey in Disguise" project.  These disguises ranged from a princess turkey to a Tom Brady turkey.  Students in Mrs. Scharffenberg took a "Turkey Walk" to view the projects and get some ideas for their project.

Turkey Walk

After the Turkey Walk, students worked on an activity in Seesaw Digital Portfolio.  Mrs. Scharffenberg shared a picture of a turkey and students used the drawing tool to disguise their turkey.  They recorded their voice on their turkey to explain the disguise.  These projects will be shared with their family.

Seesaw Digital Portfolio

Sample of the Seesaw activity

What a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving vacation. Students were engaged, collaborated, created and played!  Thank you Mrs. Scharffenberg for making learning fun!

Thank you to Sara Malchow for creating this lesson for our students to enjoy! (Source)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Turkey disguises using Seesaw

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Halligan's class had fun with turkeys this holiday season.  They worked at home with their family to create a disguise for their turkey.  They ranged from a princess to Tom Brady.

Students took a picture of their turkey, then recorded their voice to tell us what the disguise is.  They loved sharing their turkey.  Parents now have the opportunity to listen to their child as they share their turkey disguise.

Mrs. Halligan works with students on Seesaw

I love working with students!

Tom Brady Turkey

Dinosaur Turkey

Click HERE for link.

Friday, November 17, 2017

STEAM - Geometric String Art Installation

Fourth grade students recently took part in an exciting extension of a string art project they did in Artovation Class with their amazing art teacher Catie Nasser. Each class worked to create a giant geometric string art installation outside on the ground of the Howe Manning School.

Mrs. Nasser - Artovation Teacher

Two classes started the installation by measuring a diameter of 24ft. and created a circle. Each stake that they pounded into the ground was measured accurately from the center of the circle and the radius was 12ft.  Every student had the opportunity to do the measuring and to pound in the wooden stakes.

Four classes worked on adding the string to the circumference of the circle.  Each class added a different color string.  They collaborated on the stringing and worked together by passing the string to each other in "bucket brigade" style.

Day 1 Tape - Pink Tape

Day 2 Tape - Orange Tape

Day 3 Tape - Blue Tape

Day 4 Tape - Green Tape

Watch the progress...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Google Hangout in 1st Grade

Students in Mrs. Scharffenberg's 1st grade class had a chance to meet students in Dyersberg, Tennessee.  Through Google Hangouts, two teachers were able to break down their classroom walls to have their students meet each other.  These teachers and students are participating in "The Global Read Aloud" where they read the same book and discuss it with each other.  The book that they discussed was "Whoever You Are" by Mem Fox.

Before the Hangout, Mrs. Scharffenberg read the book aloud to her students.  They discussed the similarities and differences in the book, then the things that we all in common and those things that make us different.

At the beginning of the Google Hangout, students went back and forth asking each other questions about their school, town and state.  Then, they asked each other questions about the book.

What is the Global Read Aloud?
The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. While there are official tools you can use such as Skype, Twitter, WriteAbout or Edmodo, you choose the tools that will make the most sense for you. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year. (Source)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Breakout EDU

Students in 6th grade had a special visitor last week.  Dr. Carreiro came to their classroom to help them with with a great game called "Breakout EDU."

What is BreakoutEDU?

BreakoutEDU is a game that will have your students thinking critically, problem-solving, troubleshooting, working collaboratively and having so much fun they won't even realize how much they are using their brains!  (Source)

To begin, Dr. Carreiro spoke with the students to interest them in the activity.  She had them discussing the tasks and the expected behavior during the game.

Then, students began the game "Weather Wizard".  Their tasks included math with temperature, finding clues with hidden messages on snowflakes, solving a puzzle on an iPad, figuring out a pattern, finding a missing word in a poem, using a QR code for seasons, and finding a key in severe weather images.

The best part of Breakout EDU is that students work collaboratively to solve the activities.  Each student had a strength and they used those strengths to unlock each key to get to the box.

After the students unlocked all of the keys and got their prizes, they debriefed with me and Dr. Carreiro.  We discussed the tasks, their difficulties, strengths and weaknesses, and the need for rules.  The students are excited to create their own Breakout EDU.

Thank you Dr. Carreiro for joining us at Howe Manning and bringing Breakout EDU!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Chromebooks in 2nd Grade

Second grade students are very fortunate to have access to Chromebooks in their classroom.  Our lessons are infused with technological programs for every subject.  Students are even adding their work to a digital portfolio for parents to see.

Chromebooks for math - 
Students practice math skills with the program iXL and they reach further with TenMarks where they can receive tips and video tutorials.

Chromebooks for reading - 
Students use the program "Raz Kids" to access books on their personal reading level. As their reading level increases, they are able to access more books.

Chromebooks for their digital portfolio to capture student learning in any form - 

The program "Seesaw" empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school. Students can “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links.

Students can also import directly from most popular apps, including Google apps like Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drawing and more! (Source)

Second graders are practicing, extending, sharing, problem solving, collaborating, searching, learning, and reaching beyond their classroom walls and Chromebooks make this all possible.

Thank you to everyone who makes having technology in our classrooms possible!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Seesaw for Apple Tasting

Kindergarteners learn all about apples

Kindergarten  students at Fuller Meadow School learned all about apples today.  They went apple picking in the morning and participated in some exploration activities featuring apples.

Students in Mrs. Halligan's class were given the task of measuring apples, weighing them and seeing if they sink or float.  They even had a taste test between green, yellow and red apples to see which one was their favorite.

Students used the program "Seesaw" to draw their favorite apple.  Check out their work.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Digital Learning in Middleton

The 2017-2018 School Year has begun!  As the Digital Learning Specialist for the Middleton School district, I have the amazing opportunity to work with students and teachers in Pre-K through 6th grade. I serve as the instructional technology coach and information specialist for both Fuller Meadow School and Howe Manning School.  I am looking forward to a great school year!

Watch the video below for a glimpse at Digital Learning in Middleton.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Genius Hour

What is Genius Hour?

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.  (Source)

Students in 6th grade participated in Genius Hour this term.

Students explored a topic that they were interested in.  They could work independently or with a partner.  The requirement was to choose at least three components on this Hyperdoc.  They had to create a Google Site to put all of their information on.

Click on the image below to see a student's Passion Project for India.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Innovation and Design in 2nd Grade

I had the opportunity to collaborate on a project with our ELA/Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Melissa Bettencourt and second grade teachers Kristen LeVangie and Stacey Begin to plan an “Innovation and Design” project in 2nd Grade Social Studies.  The title of the project is “Mississippi River Flotilla Project”.

Second graders learn world and United States history, geography, economics, and government by studying more about who Americans are and where they came from. They explore their own family’s history and learn about distinctive achievements, customs, events, places, or landmarks from long ago and from around the world. The chief purpose of the grade 2 curriculum is to help students understand that American citizenship embraces all kinds of people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and national origin. American students come from all countries and continents in the world. A history and social science curriculum should help students acquire a common understanding of American history, its political principles, and its system of government in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and civic life.

Assignment to students -

To build a transportation barge that will carry cargo on the Mississippi River. 

You are an engineer that works for a company that makes copper pans. The company makes the copper pans in Minnesota then ships them by barge down the Mississippi to New Orleans, LA where they are loaded onto a ship and shipped to China to be sold. The company wants to be able to put a lot of Copper pans on a barge at the same time. 

Your challenge is going to build a barge that will carry the most copper pans down the flowing Mississippi River without sinking or getting stuck.

Brainstorming and Designing

Students worked in groups to brainstorm different ideas for the design of their boat.  

Building the Boat

Students worked in groups to design and build their  boat.  They stayed within their budget when buying supplies.

Testing the Structure

Each boat was tested by travelling down the “Mississippi River” (in a metal gutter) carrying pennies that represents copper pans. 

Final Videos

Presenting to the Middleton School Committee

Eight students from Mrs. LeVangie's and Mrs. Begin's class had the opportunity to share their experience from this project.  Our superintendent Scott Morrison asked them several questions about the boat building experience.  They had some great answers.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Butterfly Life Cycle

Students in 2nd grade learned about life cycles by raising their own Painted Lady Butterfly.  They received the eggs and each adopted their own to nurture into an adult butterfly.  They took pictures of each stage and captured it with photography.

While the butterflies cycled through the stages, the students researched the science of metamorphosis.
During this research, students were also learning about nonfiction text features.  They used their nonfiction butterfly books to identify the different features.

After all of the research was completed, students took their information  and wrote their own nonfiction book using the features that they learned about.  They chose to use the iPad app "Book Creator" to create their book.

Cait is recording her book
Releasing the Butterflies

Book Creator project:

Massachusetts Common Core Standards
2nd Grade

RI.2.5  Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

W.2.2  Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

W.2.6  With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

SL.2.5  Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Masconomet Graduation 2017

Every year on the first Friday of June, we educators get to see our hard work and dedication pay off. Tri-town, teachers, principals and superintendent have the amazing opportunity to walk in the graduation of Masconomet High School. This year, our Middleton Masco seniors had their Preschool, Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 6th grade, reading teachers and elementary principal there to cheer them on! We get to see how intricate this puzzle of education is. We think about these kids forever! AND, they genuinely feel the same way about us! Here's to the Masconomet Class of 2017!