Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Loftis' Ladybugs Combine Service Learning and Technology

     Mrs. Loftis' students wrote letters to soldiers currently serving in the military as part of a service learning project.  Service learning combines educational goals with worthwhile projects in the community.  Students learn that they can help impact their community in beneficial ways and also that the skills they are learning daily are applicable to the real world.
     The second graders came to the lab and used the skills they have been practicing in Word to create letters to the soldiers. They practiced with capital letters, punctuation, the tab key, and inserting clip art while remembering letter writing conventions, such as the use of "Dear Soldiers," and a closing. 
     Please enjoy these two samples.  All of the letters were fabulous and I am sure that the soldiers will be very glad to receive the letters!

Newton's Nightingales Practice Publisher!

Mrs. Newton's students tackled Publisher this week!  They learned how to open a Publisher template for a greeting card, then modify the template. The students practiced typing in a greeting to their parents and manipulating the graphics. Students applied what they have learned about clip art in Microsoft Word and Kidspiration to change the size and orientation of the clip art in the cards. Some of the students also learned how to change the clip art to another picture. 

I am very impressed with how the students are beginning to transfer their knowledge of one program to another program.  We hope the parents enjoy the cards; their students had a lot of fun creating them!  Please enjoy these three sample pages. All of the cards were fabulous, but for space reasons we could only display three of them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fry's Fish Blog about Fish Tales!

Miss Fry is having her students blog about self-selected reading books in her TeacherWeb home page.  This encourages students to think deeper about the books they are reading and make connections between different books they are reading as well as connections to their own lives. It also introduces students to books they might not have read otherwise. Check it out and see if you aren't interested in reading some of what the kids are reading now!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Forest Creek First Lego League Team "The Lord of the Legos" Competes

Forest Creek's First Lego League Team "The Lord of the Legos" competed in the FLL Team Competition at Westwood High School on Saturday, Nov. 13th.  We are so proud of all ten members of our team.  Our team competed against 18 other elementary and middle school teams.  This year, our team consisted of seven fourth graders and three fifth graders. Altogether, they spent more than 50 hours of their own time after school and during recess preparing for our competition.

Our team was divided into three parts, a build team, a programming team, and a research team.  These students had to learn how to build a robot, how to program it using the lego programning language, and research the self-selected topic of ADHD. 

The team was led by Rodger Schorr, a mentor from National Instruments.  Kirstie Ginapp and Valerie Rollans were the school sponsors. Without the support of these teachers, our team would not have been possible. 

We would also like to thank Elizabeth Fry, a fourth grade teacher at Forest Creek, for coming to the competition on Saturday to cheer our team on.  It was wonderful having another teacher take such an interest in our hard work.

Thanks to all of the students who competed in the First Lego League competition.  We are so proud of you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Forest Creek Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders Blog about Bluebonnet

Mariah Smith, the librarian at Forest Creek Elementary has had students blogging about Bluebonnet books for the last three years. Before blogging, students are required to read the entire book and then post their opinion about the book.  According to Ms. Smith, "A meaningful blog will include a variety of opinions and a rich discussion of a topic."  Through this blog, students are able to share their opinions about the Bluebonnet contenders with others in our school.  Congratulations to Ms. Smith for incorporating this interactive technology into the Bluebonnet Book program!  Visit the blog here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whitfield's Munchkins are Writers!

Have you ever thought your kids were too little or too young to start using the computer for anything but games?  At Forest Creek, our kindergarten students start producing work on the computers almost as soon as school starts! Mr. Whitfield has taught his students to use Microsoft Word already.  They have learned to type their names, using the shift key to make capital letters and create a numbered list.  They are practicing writing their sight words and writing sentences with capitals and punctuation.  We are so proud of our kindergarten writers.

Heinzen's Honey Bees are Web 2.0 Denizens

Web 2.0 sites are websites that promote information sharing, user-centered design, and collaboration on the web.  Typically, Web 2.0 sites help users create new products or information, rather than simply consuming information.  Our first graders are delving into this world of creation on the website!

Mrs. Heinzen's class has used two different Web 2.0 tools recently to enhance her classroom.  Her students created a class diamante poem using Read Write Think's interactive diamante poem tool.  Her students also created individual online stories and printed them using Scholastic's Story Starter tool. They were so excited to share their writings with each other and others in our school.

We are so proud of our digital natives as they safely explore how the web can help them become better students!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kaynes' Kinkajous are Digital Authors

Stephanie Kaynes is a third grade teacher.  Her students are also using laptops, along with weekly computer lab time to become stronger writers.  According to Ms. Kaynes, "In my class we are focusing on using technology in our Writers Workshop.  I’m a member of a group of teachers in the Central Texas area who are consultants for the National Writing Project which is the only federally funded writing program in the United States. This group, called Digital Is, focuses on using technology as much as possible in our Writers Worskhop. Right now my class is adding writing pieces to a class Wiki in which each student has a page. In the near future my class will start to respond to each other’s writing on the discussion tab of their Wiki page. My goal is that through response and reflection of their own writing, as well as their peers, they in turn will become stronger writers."

Bartholomew's Bats are Blogging!

Mrs. Bartholomew reports they are using laptops in their classroom to blog.  She says "We are doing a class blog which is part of our webpage (my blog).  The children have been sharing their favorite and most effective multiplication strategies on our blog and responding to each other ( a little).  My goal is for them to communicate with each other through the blog as well as posting their own thoughts.  We will be having a new question or topic posted on our blog every couple weeks.  Parents and others are welcome to post a comment as well."

I am so impressed with all the web 2.0 tools are students are using!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sanders' Bugs are Buzzing about Technology!

Mrs. Sanders' kindergarten students are using technology every day in their classroom.  She received one of the new document cameras at the beginning of the year.  She is learning how to use the new document camera so she can teach the rest of the kindergarten teachers how to use it once they receive theirs.  So far, they have used it to zoom in up close on a variety of leaves and discussed the similarities and differences they saw and they have used it to share student work, such as solving problems with cubes during math. 

Mrs. Sanders also uses educational videos related to the curriculum, asking questions before, during and after the video.  She is proud to report that her students have used interactive writing to write posts on her class blog.

Jezisek's Yellow Jackets are movie makers!

Last year, PTA purchased flip cams for every grade level.  Teachers will receive training on integrating this technology into their classroom this fall.  Mrs. Jezisek's students have gotten a head start on making movies already though.  Each student creates a Fall Conference PowerPoint that details areas of strength as well as things the students would like to learn this year. The students picked one of their writing assignments they had published in class and Mrs. Jezisek taped them as they read it.  The students then learned how to insert the video into their PowerPoint. What a fabulous use of technology!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kirby's Koalas are blogging!

According to Merriam-Webster, a blog is "a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections and comments."  Mrs. Kirby's class is using the class website as a forum to reflect on articles they have been reading.  Students are blogging their reading reflections.  In addition to writing their own thoughts and opinions about what they have read, students can see the opinions of their peers.  It has the added bonus of allowing parents to observe the class "discussion," which can stimulate a continuation of the topic at home.  By using the interactive aspects of the web, Mrs. Kirby is deepening her students understanding of what they are reading as well as teaching them twenty-first century technology skills. Her students are doing a great job of combining technology into their learning!

If you are interested in seeing what fourth graders are blogging about, you can check out Mrs. Kirby's webpage at http://teacherweb.com/TX/ForestCreekElementary/Kirby/newsflash.aspx and click on Koala Blog.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mirasole's Marvelous Monkeys Are Learning Excel

Ms. Mirasole's first grade class is learning the basics of Excel.  This week, we learned all about opening a spreadsheet, the word "cell", how to use the fill tool, and how to save to their network drive.  The students created a graph about life in a fish bowl.  This is the introductory lesson into Excel. Throughout the year, we will continue to explore Excel and learn more about it's features, including using the Graphing tool.  I believe that giving students fun experiences in Excel will reduce future fear of that program.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Amazing Technology Integration is Happening at Forest Creek!

How often have we thought that kids seem to "get" technology so easily?  They seem to be better at using technology than many adults.  But using a Game Boy does not necessarily translate to being able to use technology effectively in our daily jobs and every day life.  Technology education cannot happen in a vacuum though; it should be embedded into every aspect of learning for it to be truly effective.

This year, we want to showcase how Forest Creek is accomplishing our 21st century educational goals incorporating technology into all aspects of learning. Every three weeks, we will spotlight one class that is integrating technology into their curriculum.  Check back often to see what is happening right here!