The Jackson Five said it well when they sang, “ABC is like 1, 2, 3!”
James Hill Elementary has gone through many changes in the last school year. In this post we celebrate Digital Literacy, and continue to celebrate our progress with integrating technology into classrooms. As a tech coach, it has been truly amazing to see how the staff and students have used technology for exploration, refreshment and to ignite their passions. From using their projector; to iPads; to creating iMovies; to networking with colleagues at Tech Lunches on Fridays, we have hit every letter of the alphabet.
So if you only have 2 minutes, check out my homemade YouTube video made through iMovie. Grab a seat for 2 minutes and enjoy “The Digital Literacy ABC’s of James Hill Elementary” at http://bit.ly/DigitalLiteracyABCs
A – Apps
Apps have been a part of our school now for just a year, as we got our new iPads in the Spring of last year. Some of our students have challenges that make it very difficult to speak and present their learning to their teacher and classmates. Mrs. Laird and Mrs. Biddle have been working with students to create their own presentations using the iPad app “Pictello” which allows the students to add photos and text and have the text spoken for them by the app. This is yet another way that technology can enhance the learning experience for our students. Our Special Needs District program also uses apps to assist in learning.
B – Buddies
Buddies are important for helping the integration of technology into our classrooms. Either the little or big buddies learn a Digital Literacy skill and then teaches the other buddy that skill. A great example is Mrs. Giddings and Mrs. Peck’s class buddied up to hone their skills by using literacy and numeracy apps on the iPads. Another example (without technology) is Mrs. Hobbs’ class also buddied up with grade 9 students from Mrs. Gill’s class from Langley Secondary a couple times. In one session, they played the salmon game and learned more about the salmon life cycle. Buddies are a great way to build skills in so many areas for both the big and little buddies!
Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Kazakoff’s classroom website is an excellent example of how class websites can be used to communicate encouragement, classroom activities and more! Check out their website. In addition to websites at a recent in-service Pro-D, Ms. Juzkow and Ms. McColl were learning together how to create blogs.
D – Document Camera
Currently we have one document camera to share between 2 to 3 teachers at the school. They are used regularly and are a great asset to many teachers for displaying, showcasing and teaching lessons. An example would be Mrs. Peck’s Grade 1 class recently have been working on geometric shapes and discovery, by using elastics on the geo boards. In addition, the students have used document cameras to present their findings to their peers.
E – Mr. Etheridge
Mr. Etheridge was at our school for many years and retired in December. He drove a vision into our school to keep our technology up to date and thriving. Without his vision and his drive we would not have the technology we have today. He has left an astounding legacy at our school. To him we are grateful. Check out his letter to our school family.
In December, when Mr. Etheridge retired, there was a retirement iMovie that was created for him called “The Mystery of the Missing Letters”. If you are interested in viewing the video come visit.
G – Google
Most classes in the school, if not all have used Google to research and find information. Mr. Maines’ classes learned how to drop documents through Google Apps through Google Drive. With the influence of West Langley Elementary – Shawn Davids, Lexi Leguidden and Victoria Olson - and Lochiel Schools – Sarban Sangha and Lorrie Burnham - using Google Apps for Education, we are so excited at James Hill to learn more about Google and we intend to use the apps more in the coming years.
H – Happy PAC
If it wasn’t for the PAC’s support and help we would not have the technology we have currently. Their support to help and assist in the funding of projects has been amazing. They paid for half of our iPads, and also contributed MacBooks to our staff and COWS (Computers on Wheels) when we needed them.
I – Informational iMovies
Using our MacBooks to create Word Processing documents is an important skill. We have also used our MacBooks to create informational iMovies. One example is students in Mr. Maines’ class have been using technology to document their learning in the areas of Reading and Writing. The students had to design an interview that found a way to tease key parts of a book reflection out of their interviewee. They wrote the script, practiced it, and recorded it with video cameras. They then transferred the video to the laptops and edited the interview on iMovie. After all of this effort, they came away with a great video archive of their reading and writing that goes well beyond surface level knowledge. There are always wonderful things you can do with iMovie software and/or the iMovie app!
Thanks to some great dance YouTube videos we have been able to dance up a storm in different classes. Rumor has it that Mr. SIdhu’s, Mrs. Rahal’s, Ms. Hall’s and Mrs. Woelders’ classes have all be dancing it up to some great dance videos. Check them out!
K – Kidblog
Ms. Meiners used Kidblog this year to let the kids explore showcasing their ideas. Kidblog is a great way to get kids blogging in secure and safe for only students, parents and the teacher to see. We are so excited about blogging and we hope to use blogging more next school year.
L – Library Online
There are many resources online to find information and Ms. Hall’s class took time to do research on World Book Online. Students were learning from Ms. Hall how to research using World Book, but this is a whole lot different than our days at school with these books. Remember the days of the bookshelf of encyclopaedias (and the salespeople that used to come by the house)? Through a district license, we can now access all this information plus videos, images, and activities that are safe and updated regularly online using World Book for Kids.
There are countless other classrooms, such as Mrs. Lambert’s and Mr. Lee's class who have taken the time to use online resources.
M – Minecraft (Mathcraft)
In the Fall, Sheena Gervan – our Library Tech at the time – worked with students at lunch hour to work with iPads. One thing they did was create using Minecraft. Minecraft – which some students call it Mathcraft – is a wonderful tool that can be used to enhance learning on Math concepts and other curricular topics. I have also worked with Minecraft in my class, please check our YouTube channel out, as there will be more examples in the coming weeks.
Free the Children and Run for Water are two fundraising campaigns we have helped through our school. The first, was led by Mrs. Giddings, who went to Africa last summer and created a slideshow through iPhoto to share with the rest of the school. I absolutely love the soundtrack that was found from the YouTube tracks! Check out her slideshow through YouTube at http://bit.ly/MrsGiddingsiPhotoSlideshow. If it wasn’t for technology as a medium, it would have been challenging to communicate the heartfelt message to our students, staff and parents the importance of helping those in need.
O – Own Domain Name
In the Fall, we decided to buy our own domain name. We used Wordpress as the platform, and created a website that would communicate our school vision and passion. I had the privilege to build and structure the website, which was tons of fun. Come check out our website.
P – Virtual Playground
Our PAC is currently fundraising for new playground equipment. My students in my class were learning about Perimeter and Area last term, so the class designed playground platforms using particular dimensions for perimeter and area. They then used manipulatives (math blocks) and used this to guide the process on the Minecraft apps on our iPads. Students are now calling this “Mathcraft”. You can check out their playgrounds: http://bit.ly/mathcraftplaygrounds.
Q – QR Codes
QR Codes are always so fun to work with. Ms. Anderson’s students had to take their iPads, find the QR code in the hallways and then collaborate with each other to solve their numeracy problems. A great way to get kids moving, connecting with each other, and learning!
There are about 5 classes now with the Reflector Software. This software by Air Squirrel was installed on our MacBooks, then the software allows for our iPads to be projected onto the classroom screen. You can have multiple iPads showing, unlike Apple TV. We have enjoyed using this software to demonstrate activities (i.e. as in the YouTube video) and use it as a document camera. The example in the YouTube video, is of a presenter who came in to show students how to create a Ukrainian Easter Egg. She wanted the students to see the details of her drawing an eight pointed star. She used Reflector to show her working on an egg. It was fantastic.
S – Super Staff
Our staff continues to learn, and work together to help each other. All staff have been a part of the use of Digital Literacy in the classroom and we look forward to the journey ahead.
We started Tech Lunches on Friday with inspiration from Ms. Hall. We were also inspired by Kat Mulski at Alex Hope Elementary and how she has worked with staff for over 2 years on Thursdays after school. We have talked about everything from apps; to Word Processing on Microsoft Word; websites to use; Outlook; Reflector software and more!
U – Using Technology
We also have Smart Boards in two of our classes, as well as a third that is rolled. We have projectors in every classroom, a few that are mounted. In addition, we have 30 iPads that are shared between 300 students. The Resource Room also has a handful of iPads and iPad Minis they use with their students. We have one cart of cows that are very popular, and recently we bought touch screen cameras to assist in videoing kids. It is an exciting time here at James Hill!
V – Virtual
Moving from physical to virtual can be challenging and we have moved into virtual communication to present our information to our community. Since January, we now have a Twitter feed and Facebook page. Please come check them out.
W –Mr. Wejr
In January Mr. Wejr joined our school family. His positive vision and energy for community, education and connection has been apparent since his arrival. As per the YouTube video, you can see that Mr. Wejr joins in all the activities of the school. You can see him regularly interacting with the kids and staff, as well as virtually through Social Media outlets. If you are interested in learning more about his philosophy and who he is check out his blog.
Y – YouTube
We recently had a inservice Pro-D day where Mrs. Takasaki and Mrs. Peck used YouTube to teach about Ready to Read. We have used YouTube to showcase our school and The Digital Literacy ABC’s of James Hill is a good example of how we are proud of the staff, students and parents that make our community amazing! Feel free to check out our channel.
Z – Zip File
Whether it is transferring movies, report cards or documents, zip files are important to us!
It’s been such a wonderful journey filled with amazement, and one that I am very grateful to be part of. Thanks for joining me in the review of our year . . . in an alphabet kind of way!