In late September, students from Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in grades 6-12 participate in week-long intensives. These intensives take students all over Colorado, the country and the city and involve various themes. One of the themes of the week was “Tinkering with Time” in which students wrote, filmed, and edited a stop motion movie similar to the Lego Movie or as some of us may remember, Gumby.
What did the students do?
Students spent two days story boarding and designing their sets and setup for capturing images. Students spent Wednesday filming, some students taking almost 2000 pictures using iMotion or Hue HD webcams and Animation Studio. Thursday was spent editing using district-provided subscriptions to WeVideo, Adobe Premier and iMotion. Most of the materials used were purchased from student fees, direct donations and mill-levy funded devices like iPads and WeVideo subscriptions from the Educational Technology department.
Students describe the experience…
Students culminated the week by watching their videos on the big screen at the Lyric Cinema in old town Fort Collins. Each student was asked to discuss what they learned, what they liked and what they would do differently in the future.
Colton: “proud of doing something different” (than a normal school day)
Damacio: “I enjoyed story boarding and preparing for the project most”
Miller: “if I could change one thing it would be to be more patient, subtle movements would have made a more fluid animation”
Joe Gawronski (Polaris principal) stated he “think(s) the best part is watching a sixth grader work with a sophomore.
Kevin Denton (Polaris science teacher) enjoyed “watching people push themselves. It was a really difficult, slow project and I am proud of everyone’s efforts.”
Where can I watch the final products?
Student videos were posted to a YouTube playlist that is available here. Please feel free to leave comments for students.
Please contact an EdTech facilitator if you are interested in recreating this experience with your students.
EcoWeek & Science Probes
Fifth grade students from across Poudre School District are using the tools of the professionals. EdTech has purchased kits to use when you attend EcoWeek. EdTech has 4 kits (2 weather, 1 energy and 1 water) that can be used with students of all ages.
Each kit comes with customizable activities designed to reinforce the 5th grade science content standards.
Weather & Water kits address standards such as:
- Analyze and interpret data identifying ways Earth’s surface is constantly changing through a variety of processes and forces such as plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, solar influences, climate, and human activity
Energy Kit will address standards such as:
- Show that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which current can pass
- Develop and communicate a scientific explanation addressing a question of local relevance about resources generated by the sun or Earth.
What we can do with students…
The typical lesson flow is as follows
- Planning with EdTech to customize your activities
- EdTech will visit your site and set up a GPS/Science probe course in your schoolyard
- EdTech will travel to EcoWeek and set up the GPS and Science probe course
- EdTech can revisit data with students once back in your classroom, comparing the schoolyard and mountainous data sets.
How to reserve kits
Follow these simple instructions to reserve using the PSD Curriculum/FOSS library system.
Join other PSD Teachers at the International Society for Technology in Education Conference in Denver!
Attend ISTE2016 with PSD
An amazing opportunity to connect, be inspired and inspire others is coming to Denver Colorado this summer! Join many other PSD educators and attend ISTE2016. Choose from over 1,000 sessions to attend, connect with professionals, and ask questions of vendors.
Learn more by checking out the ISTE Conference website and grab the app for your iOS device or Android device here. In my experience the app is much easier to browse sessions and decide which day/sessions to attend.
Interested in Attending?
The PSD Educational Technology department is covering the cost of registration for two representatives from each school to attend 1 day of ISTE! If you are interested in this opportunity, please speak with your principal and ask them to contact Kim Lodge (490-3096) to submit names of those who will be attending ISTE2016. Check Avatar for professional development offerings for attending ISTE and contributing to a collaborative note-taking community.
Colorado Represents Educational Technology
Teachers, EdTech Facilitators and administrators from across Poudre School District will be presenting unique ideas to the international community at ISTE2016. Look for presentations from Sarah Weeks, Tracey Winey, Kim McMonagle, Mike Foster and Heather Crosser at ISTE2016.
You’ll also want to check out the ISTE Playground which will showcase Colorado schools, including schools from Poudre School District. Contact Kim McMonagle if you are interested in curating a display with students that highlights digital age teaching and learning that is happening in your classroom. The ISTE Playground will take place on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 from 9am-1pm.
As an added benefit to our Colorado attendees, Innovative Educators Colorado (InnEdCO) will be providing tickets to attend the Colorado Rockies vs. Toronto Blue Jays on June 28th, 2016. Check out InnEdCO and follow them on Twitter: @InnEdCO.
Why I am Attending?
As a member of the EdTech team for Poudre School District I am fortunate to attend conferences, learn and connect from some of the best minds in the country. This conference will expose me to an international network of professionals, and I am interested in gaining that perspective.
Many of the sessions I plan to attend will revolve around a few themes. Those themes include Project Based Learning (PBL); the use and creation of virtual reality (VR) as well as science instruction and how technology can enhance instructional strategies and student achievement.
Lastly, I am attending to connect with fellow PSD educators and administrators. I look forward to asking tough questions and challenging our current state of technology integration in classrooms.
Need more information?
Please contact the EdTech facilitator who partners with your school. You can find that information on the contact page at edtech.psdschools.org.
#edtech #edreform #renewableenergy
Students in elementary and middle school science classes across Poudre School District have been usingprobes and sensors. These sensors enable teachers and students to collect authentic data on computers for deep and detailed analysis. The data collected is accurate and better demonstrates to students how scientists perform and analyze similar experiments in the real world.
Students at Dunn, Bennett, and McGraw elementary schools are using GPS units to find weather investigation stations in the wilderness. Students are collecting data and making conclusions based on that data. Rather than doing a lab that mimics being outside, studying weather, students are actually going out and collecting the data themselves.
Middle School students at Lesher and Cache la Poudre have been investigating the factors that affect wind and solar power generation. The data they collected ranges from how the blade angle on a wind turbine can affect the energy output, to how the distance from a light source changes effectiveness of a solar panel. Teachers are making instructions interactive and easy to follow using allows for more open-ended inquiry investigations and student-driven learning.
If you are interested in checking out science probes and getting help with their use in your classroom contact the Ed Tech team. Elementary teachers it is no too late to sign up in Avatar for the Elementary Vernier training on Nov 9 (4th grade) and 10 (3rd and 5th grade).
Some music students at Fort Collins High School performed an original song in an original way earlier this month. Adam McBride, from the Ed Tech team, visited John Hermanson’s Beginning Music Theory classroom and helped them convert an entire staircase into a working piano. Using a Makey Makey circuit kit, a computer with some drum beats, and a strategy about who would play which part, the students used the staircase piano to play an original composition they had written for Mr. Hermanson’s class.
The students worked hard and collaborated throughout the composition process. They were able to apply some engineering skills to create an instrument they could all play at the same time. Congratulations to these students for creating a great piece of music, and sharing it with the world in a unique way!
#CSEdWeek #edtech #edapps
As part of Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14, you and your students can participate in the “Hour of Code”. The Hour of Code is a one hour introduction to computer science. It’s designed to make coding feel more accessible to anyone, at any age level, and teach the basics. Learning how to code can be a valuable resource in today’s information economy.
Here are some resources to get you started in participating in an Hour of Code the week of December 8th.
These are just a few resources to get you started. Feel free to contact anyone on the PSD Instructional Technology team to get more information or help setting up your own “Hour of Code”!
#innedco #edtech #techtips
Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the technology resources PSD has to offer. In this screencast, we show where some commonly used resources can be found on the Poudre School District website.
#innedco #littrips #edtech
Language arts teachers wanting to increase engagement and encourage discussion of book projects can use or create Google Lit Trips. Using Google Earth, students can combine multiple resources – like pictures, URLs, and videos – into placemarks. The placemarks that the students create become a tour through places in a book, which the students can present to the class. Check out this podcast made by PSD’s Ara McKelvey about students making their own Google Lit Trips at Fossil Ridge High School, a great example of using Google Lit Trips in the classroom.
Pre-made Lit trips are available for free download from Jerome Burg’s site, Google Lit Trips. Here’s a video showcasing Jerome Burg as a Microsoft Education Award recipient in 2010. Mr. Burg goes on to explain why he created the Lit Trips website, which is now a 501c non-profit organization.