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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Whale Dilemma

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The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein
In the book, "The Boy and the Whale" by Mordicai Gerstein a young boy from a fishing family has a difficult decision to make. Read the story and watch the video below to see the true life story that inspired the fiction book. The Boy and the Whale is a Chickadee Nominee.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Therapy Dogs

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Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari is the latest Chickadee nominee we are reading at South School. It introduces students to the concept of therapy dogs and encourages them to read aloud to their pets. "Therapy dogs can be used in classrooms and libraries to foster a love of reading. Therapy dogs provide a "pawsitive" association with reading, and especially with reading aloud, since child readers are neither judged on nor corrected for mispronunciation."

To learn more about therapy dogs visit

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Brain Pop and Duolingo

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Students can now access Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr in their Clever accounts. Teachers also have the ability to assign videos to their classes along with other activities. The teacher dashboard allows you to see student scores on quizzes. You can look for lesson plans that relate to Brain Pop videos in Brain Pop Educators, LINK. Brain Pop videos can be searched by standard, grade level, and subject. If you need help doing any of the above or would like support the first time you roll this out in the classroom, please schedule a time to meet with me.
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Duolingo is a free foreign language app for all ages. Teachers can create accounts, set up classrooms, and add students. Use this as an option in your Language Arts classroom for students who have completed their work or as a rotation during center time. Lessons are audio driven so headphones are needed. The teacher dashboard will allow you to create assignments and monitor student progress. Please let me know if you need help with this or if you would like to explore further. LINK

Monday, December 3, 2018

Code Folders

Code for Kids

Each year
 in December we celebrate Computer Science Education Week by participating in coding activities during IT classes. Hour of Code is an international effort to get kids creating computer code and many of the resources we use come from Students in grades one through five have a code folder on their home screen. Even though these apps look like games and kids have a lot of fun using them, they are in fact learning some great skills.
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Hour of Code LINK
“The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.”

This year students in grades 3-5 had a great time creating dance routines with Dance Party

Here are some other programs we used:

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First and Second Grade

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Third and Fourth Grade

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Fifth Grade
Swift Playgrounds

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We read, How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funke to all students in grades 1-5. This simple book provided a basic overview of how code works and introduced us to sequences, loops, and conditionals. 

If you would like more information about code or would like to collaborate on more coding projects please stop by.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Student Reading Folders

Student reading folders can be a source for free reading materials and for classroom research. Many online libraries provide opportunities for unlimited numbers of students to read the same book so they are also great for small group reading. Some digital libraries include digital as well as audio books. Folders should include the following:
For information on how to create a classroom account you can watch the "Getting Started" video. LINK

You can also learn how to create a student quiz (multiple choice or true and false) to check for understanding, create a collection of books and use the student reading logs. 

Storyline Online Free, No Login

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Storynory Free, No Login

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Destiny Discover Our South School library collection of digital books as well as access to the online library catalog and personal account information. Students (and teachers) can put books on hold here and see what they have out. 

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Video Sources

Kids love to watch videos, and if videos are carefully selected, children are closely monitored, and screen time is used sparingly, videos can be entertaining and educational. Watch together as a family, follow up with a discussion, and you’ve changed a passive activity to a fun family event. For guidelines on screen time for kids visit,

YouTube for Kids

This is an app you can install on your iPad or iPhone. It is geared for kids up to second grade. You can limit age level to preschool or school age, turn the searching option on or off, set a passcode, and monitor history. Recommended channels: Piano Guys, National Geographic Kids, PBS Kids, Peg & Cat, All Things Animal, Crash Course Kids, Big Wide World.

Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr.
We purchase this educational video resource for classroom instruction and as a student
resource. Parents can login at home using RSU13South for the Username and learn for
the password. There’s a featured video everyday. Kids can watch it and take a quiz after to
see what they learned.

YouTube You can learn about everything under the sun on YouTube which is
good and bad. Children should be very cautious when using YouTube or they may
stumble onto content that is not appropriate. We teach our students to 1) Only go
on the internet with an adult, 2) Stick to sites that are just right for kids, 3) Only talk to
people that you know. You can restrict searches by clicking on your profile, scrolling to
the bottom and selecting “Activate Restricted Mode”. Create “Playlists” of content that
you want your kids to be able to watch by clicking on the + button just under the video.

Search for appropriate content by searching for reputable channels and subscribing.
Here are some recommendations: Ted-Ed, Cartooning 4 Kids, Patty Palmer (Deep
Space Sparkle), San Diego Zoo, Flocabulary, Sick Science, Crash Course Kids,
Smart Girls.

Create Your Own Video
In a world where videos are such a powerful tool to communicate and learn,
it only makes sense that we know how to make our own. These are a few video apps
we used this year.

Adobe Spark Video
Spark Video is not a tool designed for kids but it is super easy to use and
very intuitive. Kids can create slides using their own illustrations and photos or images
they get from the internet (as long as they are choosing sites they have permission to
use for photos). Each slide can be narrated, text can be added, as well as theme music.
Videos have a very professional look to them with little effort or special tools. Spark
Video can be used online through a browser or on a tablet or iPad.

Stop Motion Studio Pro
This is an app we purchased for South School students in grades 3-5
but it could be used with younger students as well. If you want to create Gumby or
claymation style videos, this is the app you need. Our students creates simple
2 dimensional characters from paperand shot their footage from above, moving
characters and settings in small increments. With the paid version you can add theme
music and sound effects as well as narrate with
your voice.

Toontastic is a fun animation app that lets kids choose premade settings
and characters and compose their own stories. If you have a creative child that just
wants to tell their imaginative stories without the fuss of creating characters and
settings this is your app. Characters can be customized. Stories are told through
audio narration, not text.

If your children are making video creations, remind them not to
include any personal information in their work. We teach them not to
share their full names, birthdates, addresses, personal photos, email
addresses, phone numbers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Teachable Moment- Cinco De Mayo

From Pebble Go

Holidays provide wonderful opportunities to model use of websites and databases. Consider asking your students questions about Cinco de Mayo and modeling how to search for the answers using KEYWORDS and RESULTS PAGES. 

Use links from the learning commons website to go to places that South School students are familiar with. LINK You will find articles in Britannica and Pebble Go as well as Brain Pop Jr. (the video is about Mexico but mentions Cinco de Mayo). If you need help getting to Britannica, Brain Pop, or Pebble Go, please let me know.
From Brain Pop Jr.

From Britannica

You may also want to consider creating a free PBS Media account. PBS is a respected educational resource and PBS Media is specifically designed to provide teachers with videos, lesson plans and activities. For Cinco de Mayo, they provide a short video describing the holiday as well as word finds for Kindergarten through Grade 3. You can search their database by keywords or by standard. If you need help with locating these materials or setting up an account, please let me know.

Sample Questions:
  1. What country celebrates Cinco de Mayo? (Mexico)
  2. What does Cinco de Mayo mean? (fifth of May)
  3. How do Mexican people celebrate Cinco de Mayo? (parades, dancing, food)
  4. Why do Mexican people celebrate Cinco de Mayo? (victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla)