News from the iLab
Trinity Valley School: March 2018
Family Blogging Challenge for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade Families
The students would love for you to read what they've written and leave comments for them. Visit the blog page on TVS TechnoWizards and click on your child's teacher's name. You do not need a password to leave a comment. Posts and comments are moderated so they will be approved as soon as possible.
Digital safety and literacy are woven into our lessons in the iLab. Keeping private information private is critical and students know they should never share last names, phone numbers, addresses. It's also important to know what to write for an online audience; being considerate and polite builds a strong digital citizen.
When you leave comments, we ask that you avoid writing information that would identify your child by last name. For example, in the name section of the comment, write your first name only or your "child's name's" mom/dad/aunt etc (i.e. David's mom).
We look forward to receiving comments! Feel free to share the blog links with the extended family. Just remind them not to use last names!
Keep up with the iLab
TVS TechnoWizards has been created for you and your children. Many new links have been added to reinforce content areas in all grades. Please be aware that not all links will work on an iPad but all should work on a laptop or desktop computer.
Our newest robot, Cubetto, arrived recently and the kindergarteners were the first to try it out. "Unplugged" coding activities provide real hands-on learning of how something moves when specific directions are given. It's also a great way to "debug" if something doesn't work the way we thought it would! These types of activities are excellent for computational thinking and it's so much fun listening to the students as they problem solve how to get from one point to another. You can read more about Cubetto and the Kindergarteners by clicking here.
In addition to unplugged activities, the children have also been using Code.org to practice drag and drop programming through a variety of puzzles. Students log in by finding their name and then choosing the picture that has been assigned to them. There is a link on the coding page of TVS TechnoWizards if your child would like to practice at home.
The children also had the opportunity to build on the Lego Wall. Walk by sometime and see their creations. A couple of second graders built the American flag but everything else is from the kindergarteners!
Our first graders have been busy with all kinds of activities incorporating technology!
I've enjoyed working with Sra. Ross on a couple of Spanish projects with the children. One was "En mi mochila tengo..." - In my backpack, I have . . . For the backpack project, the children used Seesaw to take a photo and narrate in Spanish. In the second project, we used the Book Creator app to make a class ePub book of the children describing an animal using vocabulary they have learned with Sra. Ross. Click here for more information about the backpack project and here to read about the making of ¿Qué animal es? (where you'll also find links to the ePub books that can be downloaded to an iOS device into iBooks).
For the above projects, we had several students as well as teachers who were out sick so not all children and/or classes were able to complete everything!
An early start to Seuss Week involved coming up with an algorithm to move Thing 2 to Thing 1, an activity in Seesaw. It was an easy "maze" for the students but the purpose was to provide the opportunity to practice determining and following the steps in an algorithm.
Who doesn't love robots? The second graders certainly had fun building some out of common items found around the house! Their challenge was to think of a task they would like a robot to perform and then create a prototype. My mother even helped with the project by quilting six cute robot wall hangings to provide inspiration! Be sure to read If I Only Had a Robot for more information.
As a culmination to the homophone spelling units, two of the classes used the Book Creator app to write and illustrate a wonderful book of homophones. If you have an iOS device with the iBooks app, be sure to download the books. Click here to find the book links with instructions on how to download. These were also saved as videos in case you don't have an iPad or iPhone.
Recently, we discussed a book called 21 Elephants and Still Standing. It's about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the worries from the public about whether or not the bridge was truly strong enough. To prove that the bridge was safe, P.T. Barnum guided his 21 elephants across the it. The students were challenged work in table groups to build a bridge using a limited amount of supplies and tape. It had to support 21 small circus animals. We went through the design process before building. It's great to be able to sketch designs directly on the tables. Then, the groups took a photo of their bridge, uploaded it to Seesaw, and told about their design. I loved what one group said, "First we messed up then we succeeded." What an important concept to learn - it really is okay for something NOT to work the first time. That's how we learn!
Do you know about the Sphero SPRK+ robots? The students worked in groups as they used the Sphero EDU app to program the small robot spheres to perform a series of challenges that increased in difficulty. This app uses a drag and drop block interface. Several students said that they have their own Sphero or Ollie and their app only drives the robots. The EDU app provides a higher level of computational thinking for them. The final challenge for the day was to program Sphero to roll in a square shape around the perimeter of a carpet square. No one achieved it but some came close! Talk about adding math to the mixture! We learned that the degree of an angle is important in determining the type of turn Sphero will make. More exploration time to come!
Look for completed class ePub books to be posted in the near future. The students wrote their own version of I Wish that I Had Duck Feet, by Dr. Seuss. So much creativity in what they wrote!
This is the video that introduced Genius Hour to the students.
Be sure to read these blog posts to learn more about our Genius Hour.
Thank you so much for your support of Genius Hour. I have an idea that there were trips to the store or digging through cabinets and pantries to find materials. You are truly appreciated!
It's hard raising children in today's world when digital devices make connecting quick and easy, and everything is accessible! However, establishing guidelines for responsible technology use is important for the overall health of young people. Balance is needed and below are some resources that may be beneficial in helping maintain this.
- Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in their Digital World by Devorah Heitner
- 10 Lessons for Parents Raising Children in a Digital World - a blog post reviewing the above book
- Raising Digital Natives - a website by Devorah Heitner with lots of information for parents
- How to Reconnect our Digitally Distracted Kids - an article by Tom Kersting, author of the book, Disconnected: How to Reconnect our Digitally Distracted Kids.
- iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs to Know about Selfies, Sexting, Gaming, and Growing Up by Janelle B. Hoffman - Janelle's website has a wealth of information for families with children of all ages, including a sample contract that parents can create for their family.
- Common Sense Media - This site offers excellent reviews for apps, games, websites, movies, and more.