• SM TK Grade - Sarah Goodin

    Posted by Lawrence Black on 3/15/2018

    Today we had the pleasure of watching Sarah Goodin greet her TK students and start the morning routine. Sarah began the day with a student leader who took the class through the different morning components - date, weather, etc. As a part of her daily morning routine, Sarah uses technology to get her students involved whole-body in learning. We observed the TK students engaging in an ABC dance video, working their way through the alphabet while listening to a fun song and watching the characters act out the movements.



    Sarah’s TK students also enjoy getting some exercise and brain breaks using Zumba. Using her Apple TV, Sarah connects to GoNoodle and displays it on the TV. Students get an opportunity to move around and dance, so they can settle in and focus on their next chunk of learning. Sarah’s students demonstrated their Zumba practice for us. The students particularly loved the points feature they received after each song ended. They eagerly asked Sarah to “play another one,” so they could earn more points.

    Sarah responded to our two questions regarding technology use in her classroom:

    1. 21st Century Learning includes using technology as an integral part of instruction to increase student engagement and enhance learning. In what ways are you integrating technology into your curriculum/pedagogy?

    I use technology in my classroom every morning as an essential part of my morning routine. Using my dvd player and tv I am able to display our ABC dance video. Getting my students moving, singing and learning all at the same time is an ideal way to start the day. Using this multi-sensory method allows students to use all their senses and become active learners. It's fun too!


    I also take full advantage of Apple Tv and use GoNoodle to get those wiggles out! Being able to airplay Zumba and other fun brain breaks is fast, easy and highly effective.


    Another technology piece I have incorporated into my classroom is using WIFI to connect to my bluetooth speaker. It makes playing music so easy. I just connect my phone to my speaker and all my songs are in one place ready to go. It's great during rest time too! I use it to listen to relaxing music as a way to teach students how to be mindful of their own bodies and settle into a mindful place as they rest. Once we are all done resting I can then quickly switch from music to an audiobook using my audible app. I love having it all in one place!  


    1. What goals do you have to enhance 21st Century Learning in your classroom?

    I would like to use my airplay more to showcase student work. I think my students would enjoy seeing their own work on the big screen!


    Another part of 21st Century Learning is trying to counteract the need for everything to be instant. I think our students are used to getting everything right away so teaching patience is key. Yes..I do have a song for that! Setting up a growth mindset within my classroom helps show students that its okay to make mistakes and we just try again. I always remind my class that we all make mistakes and we just keep trying. I'm pretty sure there's a song for that too! ;)


    The beauty of watching 4 and 5 year olds in a classroom setting is that they still have a tremendous amount of imagination, innocence and love of all things learning. Sarah’s TK students love to interact with fun, engaging songs and to incorporate whole-body movement with learning. We plan to visit her room to get in on their Zumba action again soon!

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  • LV 6th Grade - Katie Boss

    Posted by Lawrence Black on 1/8/2018


    Today, we visited Katie Boss’s sixth grade classroom at Loma Vista to watch a math lesson in action. Katie taught CPM lesson 5.3.2. Students were tasked with answering the following question: Can all shapes be rearranged to make rectangles?


    Katie posted 3 goals on the board for student work:

    • Can I work with my team to solve the problem?
    • Did we use Desmos and figure out how to make a rectangle?
    • Did we visually represent our process (or processes)?







    Students were seated in table groups, and each group was assigned a different shape. Using Desmos (https://www.desmos.com/), a website of digital math tools, students worked on creating rectangles out of the shape they were assigned. Katie chose to use Desmos because it mimics the interface of the SBAC. Students first worked on their shape independently at their table groups. Then, they shared their process with one another. Katie asked them to create a process poster to show each of the steps they used in creating each of their rectangles. Throughout the process, Katie asked students to share their work via Apple TV. She went from group to group and mirrored her iPad to project student work onto the television.

    Katie allowed students to work wherever they want in the classroom. Much like we saw in the primary grades, these 6th graders loved to work on the floor and spread out! Students in Katie’s class use technology on a regular basis. They navigated the Desmos website today like old pros even though it was the first time they had used it.




    Katie responded to two questions that we asked her regarding her use of technology in the classroom:


    • 21st Century Learning includes using technology as an integral part of instruction to increase student engagement and enhance learning. In what ways are you integrating technology into your curriculum/pedagogy?


    Daily we use the iPad/Apple TV. Almost every lesson I do is with the Apple TV. It makes so much sense to show what you are working on, as well as project ideas/videos/etc on the screen. I also use it to display student work as well. Any time I can find a video or picture to hook the kids or enhance their understanding of a topic, I use that as well.


    We also use the Chromebooks daily in various ways:

    • My students use Epic! Books. This is an awesome, huge extensive library online.  It has both non-fiction and fiction books. Many books are AR. Currently my students are into the audiobooks.
    • CPM online textbook:  We look at the lessons online, and use our notebooks.  There are built in links to Desmos to practice their shape manipulation or construction of area models.
    • Google Classroom: We assign work on Google classroom (anything from a question of the day to writing assignments). It's a good place to store student   work, and quickly see who has completed their work.
    • Google Docs, Presentations, etc:  My students often use these tools to create presentations or final products of work.


    • What goals do you have to enhance 21st Century Learning in your classroom?


    21st century skills aren't only about technology use. We have plenty of that. It also incorporates some of the following, which I try to incorporate daily:

    • Collaboration & teamwork: My students are in teams. We work hard on getting along, setting goals on how to be better teammates, and working successfully together. We use a lot of Toolbox as well as team points and teamwork strategies as we are learning.
    • Creativity & Imagination: I constantly am asking them to create visual representations of their work in all subject areas.  It allows their creative side to come out and they can deepen their understanding and learning when they express their knowledge in a different way. (comic strips, presentations, posters, slideshows, drawings, etc...)
    • Critical Thinking: We try to dive deep into almost every lesson we teach.  It's not good enough for me that my students tell me an answer, but they have to prove it.  We try to get into the deeper DOK level questions, not just the surface level ones where they can find it in the book or solve easily, but the ones that are more deeper thinking, that need more dialogue and discussion between teammates.
    • Problem Solving: We solve problems daily. Not only in math, but in life.  One of our school rules is: "I solve problems." So we are consistently looking at how we can do something differently. How we can take care of others and ourselves by working together to fix something. We also are working a lot with growth mindset. We know that through our mistakes we learn. Errors are stepping stones to more great things. It gives us a chance to reflect on what we know, and what we need to know to solve a problem. In our class "the power of yet" is very important. If you don't have it "yet,” it's alright. Let's try to figure out how we can get us there, and what steps we need to take to accomplish our goals and whatever else we may want to do!


    It was great to see Katie’s students’ using technology with such ease! They loved the hands-on aspect of this lesson.


     We really appreciate the fact that Katie let us capture this time in her classroom!






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  • LT 1st Grade - Lauren Jolly

    Posted by Lawrence Black on 12/5/2017

    Today we had the pleasure of visiting Lauren Jolly who teaches 1st grade at La Tercera. Lauren and her students were working on Reader’s Workshop. Students were seated on the carpet learning a reading strategy. Lauren read a big book, and collectively they looked for words in which they could “crash sounds together” to read. Students identified words such as “peanut,” and Lauren used TPR (Total Physical Response) to teach them how to take apart the word.


    Students loved this strategy, and when she was finished reading, she dismissed students to get to work in various spaces around the room.


    One thing to note about Lauren’s room is that she highly values student choice of seating. She provides flexible seating opportunities for students, and students frequently choose options such as sitting on a big ball, the floor, or a raised table with stools from which to do their work. Lauren’s students use technology on a daily basis individually, in partners and for accessing reading materials or watching a lesson mirrored via the television. Even at 1st grade, these students are tech savvy!


    Lauren responded to two questions that we asked her regarding her use of technology in the classroom:


    1. 21st Century Learning includes using technology as an integral part of instruction to increase student engagement and enhance learning. In what ways are you integrating technology into your curriculum/pedagogy?


    I work hard to make the use of technology in the classroom as seamless as possible. I want students to understand that technology is a tool for their learning that they can interact with, create on and make meaning with. Students may gain new information on a science topic by participating in a digital read aloud using a video or book on Epic or kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos/ while stopping to draw an important part. They might also read a new text at their reading level using RazKids and give a partner a book talk about it using ChatterPix. Additionally, students collaborate to co-author a story using their own drawings and voice using Educreations or record something they are proud of in their digital portfolio for their whole learning community to see using Seesaw. Even a digital whiteboard sometimes raises engagement and efficiency of a small group lesson. I try to allow for as much student choice a possible with the tools they use.


    2. What goals do you have to enhance 21st Century Learning in your classroom?


    I would also like to integrate more digital texts into my mini-lessons so that students have a more seamless transition to the devices. I would also like to find and participate in more virtual field trips using Google Cardboard or the National Geographic ViewMaster to bring students into new environments. Lastly, I would also like to engage more with Coding.


    Lauren’s classroom clearly exemplifies 21st Century Learning! We look forward to seeing more of the great things she is doing in her classroom this year! Thanks for letting us visit!


    Your Technology and Curriculum Directors plan to visit classrooms across the district and ask these same questions in an effort to gauge where you are on the 21st Century Learning continuum and what needs you may have going forward. We are here to support you!


    If you want to be our next spotlight teacher, reach out and let us know! Otherwise, we will come and find you! ;-)

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