Tech Takeout: Measurement Mania!

Saturday, March 28, 2015


The Tech Takeout crew had the great opportunity of taking over 4th grade at Baker Elementary School this past Friday! Math has been one of the focus areas of the school so the 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. Hughes 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 the 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 Virginia 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 they 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!

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Green’s group 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:

Multiplication Mentors: Be Appy Monday

Monday, March 23, 2015


This month I have been working with a 3rd grade teacher who is working on a project for our county's yearly technology competition. She named her project Multiplication Mentors. Certain multiplication facts can be tricky for students this age to master and she wanted her students to come up with their own creative ways to remember products to facts that lack a certain "trick". 

The project started with students researching the hardest facts for kids their age to master. They found interesting information such as: males are faster at solving multiplication facts but tend to be less accurate. After a day of research, students self-selected a partner and decided on one fact that they could teach another student their age in an innovative way.



Students devised a plan of action with their partner of how they would creatively teach another student their fact. Ideas included but weren't limited to a poem, digital poster, movie, song/rap, or a comic strip. They were offered the following choices of digital platforms to carry out their plan: Pixie, Comic Life, Powerpoint, Google Presentation/Movenote, or the apps, Video Star, TeleStory or Pic&Vid Stitch.

Once students finished their creation, we uploaded their work to Vimeo and compiled all of the projects into this Symbaloo that was posted on a page on the teacher's blog:



A small group of students got together and created digital flashcards using Funnelbrain and embedded the cards underneath the Symbaloo. This made an excellent practice site for those hard to master facts!






My FAVORITE project from above is one that I want to highlight for Tech with Jen's Be Appy Monday link-up.






Two girls from this class wanted to teach 12x8 by singing a song. They re-wrote the lyrics to the popular Frozen song, Let it Go, and used the FREE app, Video Star, to film themselves singing. This app is only for lip syncing so we had to get creative! We imported the Let it Go instrumental version into Video Star and the girls sang their song. Next, we uploaded their video through Google Drive to a laptop and pulled it into Windows Movie Maker. There, they recorded a voice over and  published their movie! They girls absolutely LOVED and were so PROUD of their video.

Be sure to check out some other apps in the link-up and feel free to link up a post of your own!


An InLinkz Link-up

Also, if you didn't enter my MYSTERY BOX giveaway, be sure to scroll down to the next post or click {HERE}.

Mystery Box Giveaway

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Attention Techie Teacher followers! I have a box filled with some pretty COOL "teacher stuff" that is burning a hole in my dining room table :) This box is ready to ship out to one of YOU! Simply enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. The winner will be selected this Thursday. As always, THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING :)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

EdPuzzle...LOVE THIS!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

My co-worker, Gina Browne from 2 Talented Teachers, introduced me to this AMAZING site called EdPuzzle this week. "EDpuzzle is an incredible-easy-to-use video platform that helps teachers save time, boost classroom engagement and improve student learning through video lessons. EDpuzzle also collects data as students watch and interact with the video. Best of all, it’s completely free!"

You can use ANY video from YouTube, Khan Academy, Learn Zillion, etc. as well as upload your own videos. You can do several things with the video you select:

• Crop the video, use only what you need for your lesson. 
• Record your voice on top of it to explain it in your own personal way, add clarifications, a warm introduction, you name it. 
• Add quizzes along the video and check if your students truly understand the lesson.

Here is an example of a video I pulled and it already marked questions (that were editable) for me! Each time you see a green question mark that means the movie stops and asks a question to see if the students are comprehending what they are viewing:


Here is an example of one of the questions:


I LOVE how EdPuzzle will give a student report at the end. You can even download and print a CSV file of your data!


Perhaps my FAVORITE aspect of this site is that you can embed your video lesson into your classroom blog or website. You can also send out just a link:


Students can login with Edmodo, Google or an EdPuzzle account. If you opt to have them sign up for an Ed Puzzle account, they do not have to provide an email address...just first name, a username and a password!

Do you use EdPuzzle in your classroom?

Pocket Zoo App: Research for Primary Grades

Monday, March 16, 2015

Recently I was working with a first grade teacher who wanted to submit a Henrico 21 lesson to our county's technology competition we have every year. The competition grades lessons and projects based on four categories: Research and Information Fluency, Communication and Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Creativity and Innovation. Research and Information Fluency is always the hardest one for kindergarten and 1st grade to master. We always use sites like Pebblo Go that will read information out loud as well as getting an older class to come in and help the kiddos "research" a topic by using a kid-friendly search engine. However, we wanted to add an element to this category. You may have seen a recent post of mine last week entitled The Wonderful Wacky Zoo. If you haven't, go check it out real quickly and come back!

Well, this is the lesson that we wanted to beef up our research process. Students were investigating the basic needs of mammals as well as exploring their different types of habitats. After research, students worked in small groups to create a hybrid mammal of their choice and had to come up with a creative name, state the type of habitat it would need to live in in order to survive as well has mention the type of food it would eat. To help with this research component, students not only used Pebble Go but they also used this AWESOME (it is FREE) app called, Pocket Zoo. I know I have blogged about this app before but I just had to do another post, especially since it is Tech with Jen's Be Appy Monday!

Pocket Zoo  is basically a portable zoo for kids (and those of us adults who absolutely love animals)! It contains a TON of animal photos, videos, sound bytes, fun facts and LIVE animal cams. Check it out:

Here is the map that first pops up when you launch the app. You can see at the bottom how easy it would be for little kids to navigate around to the different sections. A TON of animals are included in this one FREE app...gotta love it!
When you tap on an animal it will give you a colorful picture of that animal as well as fun facts. Unfortunately the app does not read the facts aloud.

When you tap on "videos", many different videos of the animal pop up:


The student favorite is obviously the live webcams and I have to say, in my experience, they work quite well:

This app really helped out that first grade class with their research. Even if students couldn't read the fun facts, they were still able to use their inferring skills to learn more about an animal's habitat, body type and foods they eat by using the pictures, videos and webcams.

If you teach younger kids about habitats and animals and do not have this app, definitely download it ASAP :) It would also be fun to use it as a writing station to help spark ideas: "If you were a giraffe, how would your life be different?"

Check out some other cool apps you could use in your classroom and link up your ideas too!


Pet Linky: Free Apps about PETS! & *$225 Giveaway*

Sunday, March 15, 2015


I'm linking up with A Parade of Furry Friends hosted by the fabulous bloggers in the image above. Thank you Julie from A First for Everything for doing such an incredible job organizing this linky party!



I was always "that" teacher who worked morning and night, 7 days a week. I would be one of the first teachers to arrive at school and one of the last to leave yet always felt like there was more to do! It took me years to understand that ALL teachers feel this way and that you have to cut off your work life somewhere. So, a little less than four years ago I set out to get a puppy to make me come home at a decent hour and understand that "family" should always be a priority.



Riley, also known as Rye Man, Buddy, Ree, Little Bunny, Little Mongrel..., was my answer to ending those laborious hours in my classroom. After spending DAYS looking for the cutest little pup on the internet, I finally found HIM in Tennessee. So I drove south to pick him up from his owners who met me in a Walmart parking lot. It was sketchy alright but it was the BEST exchange I have ever made. This picture was taken as soon as he was handed over!





I just couldn't resist this little face!







Needless to say, this ball of fur became my buddy, my love, my best friend. I was told he would grow to be about 15 pounds, but the little shrimp has maxed out at a whopping 8 pounds. He also lost all of his marble colors and is now "that" little white dog. I wouldn't trade him for the world.


About two years after Riley and I united, I met my husband. Talk about two worlds colliding! The laid-back outdoors man and the high-energy princess fell in love.... His 90 pound Red-Bone Hound and my 8 pound Morkie became brothers.




I never in a million years thought I would own a BIG dog, let alone love a big dog with all of my heart. Well, Rusty did the trick. His long, silky ears and calm, sweet nature just won me over.







Riley had to learn several things quickly: #1: Sharing mama's attention. #2: Maneuvering in-between a big dog's legs with commendable speed and precision. #3: Eating his food as soon as it hits his dog bowl. #smalldogproblems Don't let this fool you. Little Rye Man RULES the roost in our household. Poor Rusty gets bones taken away right underneath of him, his big boy bed gets taken over by the little puff ball, and he has to sleep on the floor while King of the Castle sleeps in a nice, plush king bed. #bigdogproblems






Yes, the polar opposite pups are best buddies. Even though they act like nagging brothers all of the time sometimes, I don't know what they would do without each other. I don't know what I would do without them!








Like their matching dog bowls??



So, what does this post have to do with education? Nothing really. It was a chance for me to show off my four-legged friends. However, I was thinking about how much kids L-O-V-E cute, furry pals. Book Fairs always sell out of those sweet puppy/kitty posters, my students always circled the Scholastic items in the monthly flyers that had something to do with pets, my puppy stickers were always most popular, and children always want "that" teacher who has a class pet in their classroom...they are naturally drawn to cute animals! Therefore, since I am "The Techie Teacher", I wanted to share a few apps centered around PETS!





First up Puppy TapTap (Free). This is a puzzle game that you can select three different levels to solve. The pictures are ADORABLE!!









Next is Puppy Dog Sitter (Free). Students can dress up, feed, walk, care for and play with a new pup. The free app has just one pet while the paid version has several.







Talking Tom (Free) is a fun one! "Tom" becomes your pet cat who responds to your touch and repeats everything you say in a funny way!








Feed the Hamster (Free) is a physics based game that has 60 exciting levels to play!






My Virtual Hamster  (Free) is the perfect game for kids. It includes educational mini games with positive affirmation to develop their counting, memory, reflexes, coordination and motor skills.








Finally, make your pet come alive with a talking app like YakIt or Chatterpix. Take a picture of your pet, add a talking mouth and record what you think they would say if they could talk. This is a GREAT lesson for teaching "Voice". Check out an example I made using YakIt:


Untitled from Julie on Vimeo.

Do you teach your students tally marks? If so, be sure to download my Doggone Delicious Tallies Powerpoint that is FREE today only :) Thanks for following!


Be sure you enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win a gift card...we have $225.00 worth of gift cards to giveaway!!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wonderful Wacky Zoo Project

Wednesday, March 11, 2015



It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a Meglatond?  What?  Yes!  A first grade class I have been working with has created a Wonderful Wacky Zoo...a place where the most magnificent mammals on earth are gathered to stimulate your imagination. First graders have been working collaboratively to investigate the basic needs of mammals as well as exploring their different types of habitats.  These mammals have different physical characteristics and we sorted them with the categories of body, habitat, food, and life cycle. Students worked in groups to create a hybrid mammal of their choice (based on their research using Pebble Go and a variety of zoo Webcams) and illustrated their creation through Pixie, Drawing Box app, or paper and crayons. They turned their artistic creation into a movie that explains the two animals that make up their new creature, the habitat it lives in and the food it eats. The entire class worked hard creating a class zoo map which was constructed in Pixie using basic map symbols in a map legend. We combined all student work into a Thinglink to bring you this digital zoo.

 Take a chance and step into a world where your imagination has the opportunity to run wild with the mammals of our wacky zoo!

We would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment about Mrs. Rama's Wonderful Wacky Zoo by clicking {HERE} and leaving a comment at the end of her post!