Last Friday I had the opportunity to try out an idea in my math class that I have never done before. As with anything new, there was a sense of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety. I had decided to turn my math class into a variation of an “Ed Camp.” An “Ed Camp” is an “Un-Conference” in which the attendees select the topics learned.
On Wednesday I had my students fill the whiteboard with ideas they wanted to learn. They picked from three categories. The first category was “Review Material” which included anything from the past that may be a struggle. The second category was “Current” which included anything dealing with algebra, expressions, and equations, which is our current unit. The third category was the “Wild Card” in which students could put anything involving math. This included problem-solving activities like chess and math concepts that we have not learned yet but are found on the math screener.
Once the students came up with the list of ideas, I took the ideas and created a menu of options and guidelines for the day (Pictured Below). Since I had so many suggestions I relied on two students lead an extra session. They did great!
The day was a success! Students filled out a brief survey at the end left some awesome feedback! Not a single student rated the day less than a 7 out of 10. Students left comments such as… “Yes, I liked that there was a variety of things to learn.” “Yes, Because it gave us a chance to learn about new things.” “Yes, because we got to choose what we needed and wanted to learn.”
It seems that my students want this to happen on a regular basis, if not every week! I cannot wait to try it again and continue to grow this activity in my room!
Learners at Blue Ball Elementary in Eastern Lancaster County School District were recently given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a Google pilot program for new technology. Mr. Adam Geiman, former Blue Ball Elementary teacher and current ELANCO elementary technology coach, applied to the Google Expeditions Augmented Reality Pioneer Program, which allows Google to visit a school and present new technology to the students. Out of thousands of applications, Blue Ball Elementary was selected as a participant.
Google visited Blue Ball Elementary on January 31, 2018. Students and teachers in grades 2 through 6 experienced Google Expeditions, which transported them from the limits of the solar system to the depths of the Caribbean through virtual reality field trips. Teachers led the field trips, created by Google, through the use of a guided lesson plan and content-related notes on a tablet. Students used virtual reality goggles and monopod to travel to places they may never have experienced in their lifetime. The teachers, who had volunteered for this opportunity, were excited at the potential applications for their classrooms through this new technology. Mr. Arena a 4th grade teacher at Blue Ball says, “This new technology is a fantastic educational tool which helps create excitement and engagement for a vast amount of topics.”The district welcomed technology coaches from other area school districts to observe this pilot program. Many left with new ideas to bring back to their schools. “I loved seeing the excitement in each student and hearing the wows over and over again from class after class. Students were wowed by what they saw and experienced! Talk about bringing the real world into today’s classrooms. These expeditions provide students with virtual opportunities to travel to places they might never have the experience to see in reality” says Ken Zimmerman, Instructional Technology Specialist at Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13.
The learners were thrilled at the chance to travel into the solar system, go under the blue waters of the Caribbean, observe volcanoes, visit historical monuments as they learned about the American Revolution, watch dinosaurs in their natural habitat, and fly through the clouds. “My experience using virtual reality was breathtaking. When I was standing on hot lava looking at an erupting volcano, I knew that I was part of something special! This revolutionary technology has enhanced my learning beyond extent. Being able to explore where George Washington once stood without getting out of my seat is unimaginable. With virtual reality my learning has become more fun and impactful” says Jackson Custer, a 5th grader at Blue Ball Elementary.The visit from Google enhanced and contributed to the district’s global initiative.
Google is not yet done at Blue Ball Elementary. The innovative tech company plans to revisit Blue Ball Elementary later in the school year to pilot yet another new technology program – augmented reality. Stay tuned for another update!
We have a NEW research database available on the Elanco Gateway page for students and teachers called Kids InfoBits. Kids InfoBits is a “content-rich, easy-to-use digital resource featuring age-appropriate, reliable, curriculum-related content covering a broad range of educational topics. It is continuously updated and provides interesting and important facts with connections to current and past events. Indexed, searchable content along with more than 13,000 images, over 1,700 kid-friendly charts, graphs, and nearly 600 high-quality educational videos are provided from resources including books, magazines, and news periodicals.”
Great resource for K-5
Leveled Reference Content
Book, Magazine, News Articles
Sources are Cited for you!
Translates articles to other languages
Integrates with Google Classroom
Save to Google Drive
Annotate features within the articles.
Watch the video below to learn more about the basics of Kids InfoBits.
Kids InfoBits Tutorial
Kid InfoBits- How to use the Tools
If you have any questions about Kids InfoBits you may contact your building librarians, or myself.
Seesaw just released a new Activities feature. Now you can easily create and share activities for your students to complete in Seesaw. Get inspired with grade-level specific activities from our library, or create your own! Learn how with this video! Make sure to check out these helpful videos along with the other tutorials and resources about Seesaw that are on the ElemTech Blog!
Through the use of CultureGrams, our students can travel to exquisite places in the world, researching new cultures, languages, foods, and customs. CultureGrams is a searchable database containing concise, reliable, and up-to-date cultural information on more than 200 countries, all 13 Canadian provinces, and territories, and each U.S. state.
This database provides online resources including a worldwide photo gallery, slideshows, video clips, famous people collection, recipe collection, and sortable, create-your-own data tables of selected information. This is a great primary source database used in World Languages, Family and Consumer Science (FCS), Social Studies, and English departments.
Students who learned about water in Africa, selected a video in CultureGrams to learn more about how water is collected. Using a video like the one below levels the playing field for many of your students and allows them to fill in gaps in their learning.
If you need any help with using CultureGrams in your classroom please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
BrainPOP is a great educational tool to help engage & motivate student learning independently, in small groups, and within the direct instruction. Investigate the multitude of topics/units in Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Health, Arts & Music, and Engineering/Tech. Students learn through video lessons and take quizzes to capture their learning. There are games as well as teacher resources to access. The next slide will give you an overview of what BrainPOP is capable of doing within the classroom. There is no need to use the BrainPOP app because BrainPop Jr and BrainPop are both mobile friendly. BrainPOP ESL is coming next to Mobile! Click on the above Going Mobile link in order to see which features are enabled in the mobile environment.
Today I start another journey in my career as a teacher. For thirteen years I have spent August like all teachers do, setting up a classroom, organizing supplies, and reading up on all of my new students. This August, I am embarking on a new journey as an Instructional Technology Coach at Elanco School District. Teaching and technology have always been a passion of mine. I am excited to start this new role. I am working with the most amazing and talented group of K-6 teachers at three different elementary schools.
I have come to learn that when something is a passion it doesn’t matter what role you take that passion doesn’t wane. For my former students if you are nervous about starting this year in a new grade or a new school Mr. Geiman is nervous right with you. Many of your teachers will be feeling the same way as well. With our common understanding, we will all get through this year with patience and perseverance. Just keep reminding yourself that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
I can’t wait for this year to start and look forward to working with all of you.
Join this webinar to learn how 4th grade teachers in Eastern Lancaster Elementary School District in rural Pennsylvania are taking their students around the world virtually using Google Expeditions and the Global Connections Framework to instill empathy, understanding, and deeper learning outcomes.
Unbounded Classroom explores the potential of using cutting edge technology to remove the boundaries of the classroom without ever leaving the school building. Students interact and experience a variety of diverse cultures and geographic locations within their own classrooms and globally, via virtual reality. These experiences engage students with their peers, with the curriculum, and with the global community. This webinar will introduce the global connections framework and how to implement virtual reality in K-12 classrooms. Presenters are Mr. Adam Geiman and Mr. Drew Arena, 4th Grade Teachers, Blue Ball Elementary.
Amazing things are happening at Blue Ball Elementary! It’s official Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman went to Washington DC to present Unbounded Classroom! After Mr. Geiman presented at KINBERCON2017 Unbounded Classroom was invited to present at the Internet2 Global Summit in Washington DC. When Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman first wrote their VR grant their goal was to take their students and their work beyond the classroom. They wanted their students to understand that they are part of a globally connected world with different cultures, people, and topography.
Since the start of Unbounded Classroom, their classes have connected with 21+ different countries from around the globe through their student blogs. Now Unbounded Classroom has surpassed their expectations. Not only has VR and blogging taken them beyond their classroom walls it has taken them to Pittsburgh and Washington DC where they have had the opportunity to present how they are using their global connections framework to incorporate virtual reality in their classrooms to level the playing field for their students.
Mr. Arena & Mr. Geiman presenting at Internet2 Global Summit
They were honored and grateful for the opportunity to present at Internet2 Global Summit! From their presentation, at the Internet2 Global Summit, Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman were asked to host a webinar on Unbounded Classroom through KINBER on May 31st from 3:30-4:30. Look for the upcoming link and information about the Unbounded Classroom Webinar.
Just announced: “the launch of Make-a-Movie, the newest addition to our suite of creation tools. Make-a-Movie empowers teachers and students to make their own BrainPOP-style movies, building scenes with images from our library or their own drawings. Moviemakers can then record narration, manipulate backgrounds, add cool transitions, and begin with a letter the way BrainPOP movies do.” – from BrainPop.com