FTEdTech Kids

Connecting Parents to Our 21st Century Classrooms

SPECIAL FOCUS: 4Cs & 21st Century Learning

March 2017 Highlights Below

  • What are the 4Cs and Why They are Important
  • Digital Citizenship - Children and Social Media
  • Collaboration - JES 3rd Grade Entrepreneurs
  • Communication - MES 5th Grade Spanish Students, MES 1st Grade Robot How To & JES 4th Grade Decoding Messages
  • Creativity - JES 2nd Graders Invent with LittleBits, MES Kindergartners in Music & WES 5th Grade Videos and Virtual Reality
  • Critical Thinking - WES 2nd Grade Plants Research, JES Kindergarten Forces and Interactions

What are the 4Cs and Why are they Important?

Here in Fort Thomas Schools, we are working to make sure that all of our students have access to an education that will, as Mr. Kirchner says "prepare them for their future and not our past". In order to do that, we are taking a close look at work done by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and the emphasis on the 4Cs: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. As the P21 documentation points out, the 4Cs "are the building blocks to 21st Century learning and citizenship."

Check out the video below for an overview of the 4Cs and how technology plays a role in helping students develop those skills.
What are the 4Cs?

Focus on Digital Citizenship

Children and Communicating with Social Media

If you are the parent of an elementary student in 4th or 5th grade your kids are likely asking you to create accounts for them in different applications or games so they can communicate with their peers either on their personal device or maybe school device. Kids are curious about sharing on everything from YouTube, to Snapchat and Instagram to coding sites like Hopscotch.

For parents, it can be difficult to know when to say yes to a child's requests for social media and gaming accounts because each child is different and children may be engaging in different ways on each site. Obviously, this is a family decision, but there are guidelines that may help.

Guidelines for Creating Social Media Accounts for Children

As a general rule of thumb, we remind children that if they are under 13 they should not be creating accounts for any site or application without first discussing the need for the account with a trusted adult.

We do this in part because of COPPA and the need to protect children from sites that might be collecting their private information to sell to 3rd parties. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) imposes certain restrictions on the information websites and applications geared towards children is allowed to collect. If a site is COPPA compliant, then we can feel more confident in using that site.

Before working with your child to create an account on any site, it would be good practice to do these things:
  • If a site says that it is intended for people only above the age of 13 (or 18) please take that under consideration when trying to decide to set up an account.
  • Create an account for yourself in the application and practice using it - look for ads that might be inappropriate, see if you start getting spam email, check to see what kind of content you might get from strangers
  • Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings and how to lock your account down to the most strict privacy
  • Check reviews on places like Common Sense Media these reviews are pretty honest since they often come from experts, parents and children
  • read through the Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions. While reading, check to see how the site handles "3rd party sites". It might be good practice to avoid signing your child up for sites that say they may share private information with 3rd Parties. You will occasionally find that some sites, especially gaming sites, will sell or share information like email addresses, thus opening your student up to receiving all kinds of weird spam.
  • Consider using your email address to set up the account so you get the notifications
  • Review your child's account with them and talk about what is and is not appropriate

Reviews of Popular Social Media Sites

Check out reviews and info for some of the sites your children might be asking about:

Resources for more info

4Cs: Collaboration

Collaborating as Entrepreneurs for the Sesquicentennial

In an awesome example of collaboration, the JES 3rd grade classes have been working to develop souvenirs that can be sold as part of this summer's sesquicentennial. Proceeds will go to a local fundraising effort of the students' choice.

The project kicked off with a visit from city Renaissance Manger, Debbie Buckley and History Committee Chair, Chuck Keller, who walked the kids through the motto, important symbols and some of the big events they could look forward to as part of the celebration.

In their classes, with the guidance of Mrs. Kaufman, Mrs. Shadwell and Mrs. Snider, students brainstormed and came to a consensus on the type of souvenir they wanted to sell, worked in groups to design products, then collected market research using a Google form from other kids at Johnson.

Students are making use of digital notebooks, graphic design tools, and have even written commercials and jingles in collaboration with their music teacher Alyssa Vanderpool.

Look for some presale information soon!
Teddy Bears Commerical

Caught Collaborating around the Buildings

4Cs: Communication

Making Global Connections

At Moyer 5th Graders in Mrs. McClamrock's class are getting the opportunity to use their learning in a real way through ePals.

As Mrs. McClamrock shared: In 5th grade Spanish, we wrote a letter about Fort Thomas to a class in Zaragoza, Spain, using ePals. We described the Tower at Tower Park, the KY derby, and March Madness. They wrote to us in return about bridges in their city built by the Romans, the Festivals of Pilar, and their love of soccer.

We then exchanged individual letters. Our students described their age, what they look like, and their personality in Spanish. Our Spanish Pen Pals wrote back individual letters to the 5th graders. These letters were more advanced than ours, but they were writing from the Spanish equivalent of a Language Arts class. The students at Moyer are using their Spanish skills in the real world, interpreting the letters as best they can and trying to figure out how to respond. It has been eye-opening to them that the Spanish they know can already be put to use outside of the classroom and it has encouraged them to revisit old vocabulary as well as learn new words. Also, the cultural aspect intrigues them as well. The Spaniards don't really know about March Madness? They have a parade where they get chased by people in silly costumes?? Their curiosity has been especially piqued by this project and I can't teach them fast enough! Our time in Spanish is flying.

Communicating Sequences

MES first graders in Ms. Wind's class have been busy building robots and documenting their steps.

According to Ms. Wind "First grade made robots at home and took pictures of the building process on their iPads. The students used those photos to create a video in Puppet Edu that sequenced the steps they took to build them. We used temporal words to reinforce the order of events."

Students were able to upload their work to their Seesaw accounts to share with their families. Check out this student made example!
Robot Video

Decoding Secret Messages

In order to study waves and their applications, JES fourth graders in Mrs. Booth's Science classes worked in small groups with either a Dash robot, Ozobot, or LittleBits kit to create a message in code.

Students had to reason through a binary substitution strategy using different arrays, code the robot to create the message they wanted, then write directions so that another group could decipher the message.

As part of the exercise, they reflected on the effectiveness of the communication and also considered which forms of communication were easiest to understand - those that used light, sound or motion.

The 4th graders were demonstrating high levels of critical thinking throughout each step of this process and were also learning a lot about effective communication and collaboration.

Check out the video below to get an idea of how it worked for the students decoding.
4th Grade Code

4Cs: Creativity

Lighting it up with the Littlebits Challenge

In a real show of creative thinking, Ms. Leftin's JES second graders worked together to take the LittleBits Make it Glow Challenge.

LittleBits are an award winning STEM tool that are described as a "electronic building blocks for creating inventions". As part of the challenge, Ms. Leftin's class got to learn a little about how circuits work to make light and then worked together to come up with a creative way to show their learning.

The class used a variety of tools including: cardboard, tape, original designed stickers and even recycled fruit cup domes. Their attention to detail was pretty incredible.

Don't miss their published work on the LittleBits website!

Making Green Screen Magic

Mrs. Scaggs' MES kindergartners have been busy learning about all about tempo.

In class students are demonstrating their understanding of the terms "Allegro", "Moderato" and "Largo", by creating a video in the app Draw and Tell where they choose an animal to represent the word and show the pacing. As a whole group, they are combining those videos with music that shows the tempo with the green screen.

Check out the video below to see what they've done.

Creating with Video and Virtual Reality

Students in Ms. Schuman's WES fifth grade Language Arts classes are demonstrating their understanding of characters and plot in a variety of ways with video, and even recreating scenes with details in a new Virtual Reality (VR) app called CoSpaces. With the VR app, students can share links to their work with a person using a smartphone and the work can be viewed using a VR viewer like Google Cardboard.

Ms. Schuman is publishing student work on her website. You can see some great videos about Tuck Everlasting and student created virtual reality for the Birchbark House.

Students in Ms. Schuman's class were excited to share screenshots of their work. Check out the gallery below.

4Cs: Critical Thinking

Researching in the 21st Century

WES second graders in Ms. LaMantia's class are demonstrating advanced research skills by independently researching with databases and a digital interactive notebook.

Students learned how to log into Schoology, download a PowerPoint presentation notebook, and save their work to their cloud storage. They are using resources like Epic and PebbleGo to learn about the parts of the plant, and are keeping their notes in their PowerPoint notebook.

Later, they will be using these notebooks to keep track of data for an experiment on plant growth so that they can make a claim about what plants need to grow.

These are all very advanced skills, and the second graders are showing mastery of the tools!

Forces and Interactions with Dash Robots

Down in Mrs. Mills' half day JES Kindergarten, students learned all about Pushes and Pulls with the help of "The Dash" - a Dash robot with a bulldozer attachment. As a group students made predictions about how far the robot could push a car using the speed of the robot and the weight of the car as variables.

Mrs. Mills and Mrs. Grimme helped the students keep track of their data on sheets and discussed their predictions before they tested Dash with three different kinds of cars. The students were able to see that no matter how heavy the car, it would roll further if the speed was faster.
Kindergarten: Forces and Interaction