Thursday, May 24, 2018


Image result for engineering design process
Students in Mrs. Nussbaum’s grade 5 class at South were having a problem in their classroom - each student had a blue plastic pencil bin on their table, but bins kept tipping over and spilling items everywhere. After working through in an-class design challenge and reviewing the steps of the design process, students moved on to creating their own solution to this problem. As students presented their finished work to the class, each student reflected on what worked well and how they refined their idea. The article below was written by grade 5 student Liam Bennett.

For our recent homework assignment in technology/engineering, my fellow students and I were tasked with making changes to our pencil boxes and nametags. We had worked with the engineering process in school for the past few days and this would be the “big project.” We could only use materials that we would be able to find in our own home, materials like cardboard, duct tape, felt, and the like. For my project, I used packaging tape to attach my nametags to my pencil case to balance it, primarily, but when I did that, I realized that I could put more school materials in the space created by the nametags.

Many students used their imaginations to the maximum and realized that there was a problem and so they got the materials to fix it. “It was too slippery, it tipped over too easily, and the pencils fell out too easily.” Many students, including the interviewee Gabriel Vignon-Villani, found problems and fixed them. Gabi’s design looks like a plane, with a handle/tail, and wings/supports, along with a lid and rubber band landing gear.


















Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With the help of some fourth grade partners, grades K and 1 at South have been exploring coding and programming. Using Code Mouse, a programmable robot mouse (who loves to get to a piece of cheese!), the students have been developing their sequencing skills, building problem solving techniques and learning to persevere when things don’t always work the first time. The fourth graders did some training first and then took the lead in working with small groups of younger students to help them guide their exploration of coding. Everyone is looking forward to working together again soon!

Friday, March 2, 2018


Bancroft: 5th grade Library Assistant's performance of
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish for Dr. Seuss' birthday.  



Thursday, February 15, 2018

One of the great features of using Google Chrome is the ability to add extensions to your browser. Extensions are small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser. Below is a list of some of my favorite extensions and a brief description of how the extension can be used.
  • Tab Resize - this extension allows the user to split their screen to allow multiple browsing windows to be visible at the same time. You can make a 1x2, 2x1 or a 2x2 with up to four different screens split at one time. The most recent update has even created keyboard shortcuts to open the desired browsing set up immediately. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Screencastify - Screencastify is a great video screen capture program. You can record all screen activity inside a tab or on the desktop, including audio. This allows you to easily create a screencast for video tutorials, record presentations, or model instruction. Here is a link to the webstore
  • Make Gif - Make Gif is a fun and simple tool to create gifs. You can use any html 5 video to create a gif and it even has a button added to Youtube for simple gif creation. Here is a a link to the webstore.
  • Awesome Screenshot - Awesome Screenshot is a user friendly tool you can use to capture all or part of a webpage or screenshot. You can add comments, annotations, blur parts you don't want to be seen and share it with other people.  Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Kami - Kami is a great tool that allows you to annotate over a pdf. You can share and collaborate with other users. This is a great tool to share out with students and have them annotate over a pdf - highlight vocabulary, identify context clues, etc. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Boomerang - If you are like me, you use e-mail to send yourself reminders of tasks you need to complete. However, I hate to have unread e-mails in my mail, so I use Boomerang to schedule a later time I want an e-mail to show up in my mailbox. I also use it when I think of an e-mail that needs sent at a specific time to schedule that e-mail to go out at the desired moment. I can set the e-mail to be sent in a matter of hours, days, weeks, or a specific time. Here is a link to the webstore.
  • Easy Auto Refresh - This extension allows you to set a refresh timer for any tab you have open. It's great when coupled with the interact feature in Hapara. If you are trying to monitor your students set Easy Auto Refresh to the time your desire and the screen will automatically refresh on it's own. There are several other options under the advanced feature as well. Here is a link to the webstore.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Students in grades 1 and 5 at South School have been pairing up to work on All About Me books on the iPads. Using the Book Creator app, these writing buddies have been adding words, sentences, illustrations and author photos to create wonderful books about the first graders. Informational writing in a unit of study in the writing curriculum for both grade levels, so all students are meeting writing goals while creating bonds with their partners. Students in both grades are enthusiastic about working with their buddy and often greet each other in hallways and on the playground.