Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Technology and Art

Technology and Art at Chandler Oaks Elementary

Art is something that most students enjoy.   But at COES, Mrs Lanahan is helping students to push the creative envelope.  Encouraging students to be creative by combining photoshop elements and traditional art resulted in some really interesting pieces of artwork. Students took digital photos of themselves, which were then altered using photoshop to create a video game character.  The final digital character was placed in a setting created with traditional paint and mixed media.  It’s not just the older students that are having fun with technology. 2nd graders have also explored a variety of digital self portraits using a variety of tools in tux paint.  Even younger students in Kindergarten have been  learning about the wide variety of fonts that can be used to make their name and describing words look like art by using a simple word document.  Art is always about creativity but using technology to develop that creativity is not limited just to the art itself.  Most recently, Mrs Lanahan was using a google hangout to share her skill with the potters wheel with collaboration of Angie Bell and her artists at Forest North Elementary. Students from another school watched her throw a clay bowl using the potters wheel and FNE students were able to get their questions answered in real time.  Way better than just a movie.  The clay pots were then decorated and sold at the Empty Bowl Fundraiser to help local families in need. Mrs Lanahan is also responsible for the Techno Art club where students have made stop motion movies using frames, powerpoint and digital cameras.

Techno Art Movie created by students using Frames (TM)

Art work done by 2nd grade using Tux Paint

Way to go, Mrs Lanahan and the Cheetahs at COES!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Using technology to help deepen understanding of math concepts.

Technology helps our students understand difficult concepts…and share what they have learned!

We often think of technology as being really cool, fun and often more as “play” than work.  What we don’t always realize is that technology is also opening up new ways to learn for those who struggle with a particular concept.   

2nd graders in Mrs. McNair's classroom enjoy learning about math concepts. 
Learning to understand the concept of subtraction when using large numbers is easy for some students, but for many, it is a difficult concept and it takes practice. Mrs McNair is using the math view in Kidspiration to help students grasp the concept and to be able to explain their understanding of the concept

On their first attempt with the software, they learned to create a chart to show the hundred, tens and ones - then manipulate the virtual base 10 blocks on the screen to show their understanding of the math problem on the board.   

It didn’t take long for them to realize that there were multiple ways to solve a math problem and they eagerly shared what they were learning with their partners. The software allows them to color the blocks, to move the blocks around, to separate and regroup the blocks and to show them with or without labelled columns.  Practice makes perfect… and when the practice is engaging,  it’s much easier to become a great math student.   This will be an ongoing project so watch for more on this in upcoming weeks.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Grade: Understanding personal and cultural events of families in "Who We Are"

First Grade has been learning about personal and cultural events in their “Who We Are” unit. Throughout the unit of inquiry, students examined the personal and cultural events of families. Through comparison, students also explored customs and celebrations in each other’s families and families around the world.
Various learning experiences helped the students make connections to gain intercultural understanding and respect. Here are a few of the wonderful opportunities the students had the opportunity to engage in:
·         “Long ago, people found a way to light the darkness . . . Light was so important in their lives that they came to use it in worship and in celebrations” (from “Celebrations of Light” by Nancy Luenn).
o    Students had the opportunity to explore holidays that shared a common element . . . LIGHT!!! The students were able to select the holiday they wanted to inquire into (from a list). They then went to the teacher responsible for that holiday, learned more about it and then returned to their class to share their knowledge with their classmates.
Students who chose to go to Ms. Fitch’s class learned about the Japanese festival “Obon Matsuri.” This is a festival that honors the dead; each student created a lantern to honor a loved one, keeping in line with an Obon Matsuri tradition.

o    Students also had the opportunity to learn about traditions from community members. The volunteers who agreed to speak with the children shared how their culture has impacted the traditions that they have in their family, as well as challenges and/or positive ways their culture/ traditions have changed.

Volunteer speaker shares the traditions from her culture (Chile) with Frist Grade students.

Throughout the exploration of this unit of inquiry, the students were asked to consider what they were learning from multiple perspectives. This is a powerful tool for learning about other people and cultures; thus helping students gain an understanding that the importance of family and community beliefs, customs, language, and traditions are universal. Way to go First Grade!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Poetry Slam.......Students explore and present wide variety of poetry

Third graders at COES elementary school rock! Their poetry slam on Thursday evening was amazing.  After studying poetry in music and the regular classroom, they performed a wide range of poetry for parents and teachers.  Each class set up their own “Poetry Café” .  Poetry recited included everything from their own poetry, limericks and funny rhymes to the classics and even included a selection from Hamlet.   Each grade had their own MC who kept the show moving with some adlibs and a lot of laughter and fun.  Parents and students enjoyed the performances and the cozy atmosphere with plenty of hot chocolate.  A Spanish song sung by all participants rounded off the evening in each poetry café proving there are no limits to this group of international learners.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Hour of Code

Kids love to play games.... and computer games are no exception.

So it's hardly surprising that our students (and the parent  volunteers)  had so much fun at the "Hour of Coding" event on Monday. As educators, we know that we want our students to learn how to think logically, how to solve problems and how to stick with a project until they are finished without simply giving up because it's too hard.  During the Hour of Code activities, students developed those very skills while playing computer games.   They had to figure out how to make the Angry Bird get through the maze to the pig or they had work out how to allow the zombie to get to the sunflower despite the obstacles in his path. If they didn't get it right, they simply had to "debug" their program and run it again.  And they kept at it until they got it right.  They worked together, helping each other and in pairs when necessary.  In fact, they were having so much fun that our "Hour of Code" turned into more than an hour... and many of the students were making plans to continue at home.

Anyone can access the Hour of code.org activities and have fun learning the basic concepts.  We're hoping that there will be enough interest to start a technology club after the Winter Break.

Students can still sign up through the link on the COES website for the Thursday event.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Jumping right into coding.... and having fun

How do you teach a group of 5th graders about computer coding and how to write code?   Not an easy task for even the most experienced of teachers!!!!

Mrs. Walker's 5th graders at COES today jumped right in using their Samsung Notes and an app callled Lightbot One Hour coding.  There are lots of programs and apps out there that will help to make this easier but Mrs. Walker's behind the scenes research in deciding which one to select paid off.  It seems that the students really enjoyed the chance  to make a robot walk around, turn corners and jump up and down steps.   While playing, they were learning some important concepts.  A computer will only do what it is told to do, and you cannot skip a single step or instruction if you want it to work well.  Paying attention to details and thinking a problem through from start to finish are definitely skills we want our students to develop... and judging by their engagement, it seems like a little time for fun is just the way to get started.  Check out more fun ways to learn about coding at hourofcode.com.

Monday, October 6, 2014

5th grade use technology to learn about the past

Mrs. Birrel's 5th grade class are engaged in learning about the tools and technology from the past. They are learning how the past has influenced the present by using computers to view photos of medical and other equipment from the 19th and 20th Centuries. Working together in small groups, they are able to talk about the old fashioned equipment and compare it with the tools and technology of today and realize that what we have today has evolved from the things that were used in the past.