Friday, September 8, 2017

Read&Write is a Google Chrome Extension, or add-on, that facilitates text accessibility for a variety of learners in many ways. By using Read&Write, students can have digital text highlighted and read to them through a device's speakers or with headphones. Additionally, Read&Write allows students to dictate their writing, giving them the ability to compose in ways that are appropriate for their ability. Read&Write is automatically installed on all APS Google Accounts. In order to access it, you need to be using Google Chrome as your browser.

To access Read&Write, open up a Google Doc and click on the purple puzzle piece (see below).

Honestly, the best way to get used to Read&Write is to use it. We suggest introducing it to your students and just letting them play. If you want to try using Read&Write, get in touch with the Digital Learning Coach at your school and they will be happy to help you!

From Read&Write for Google Chrome: Wonderfully intuitive and easy-to-use, Read&Write for Google Chrome™ provides personalized support to make documents, web pages and common file types in Google Drive (including: Google Docs, PDF, ePub & Kes) more accessible. It’s designed to help everyone engage with digital content in a way that suits his/her abilities and learning styles.

Read&Write offers a range of powerful support tools to help you gain confidence with reading, writing, studying and research, including: 

  • Text-to-speech to hear words, passages, or whole documents read aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting 
  • Text and picture dictionaries to see the meaning of words explained 
  • With speech-to-text, dictate words to assist with writing, proofreading & studying 
  • Word prediction offers suggestions for the current or next word as you type 
  • Collect highlights from text in documents or the web for summarizing and research 
  • Create and listen to voice notes directly inside of Google Docs 
  • Simplify and summarize text on web pages to remove ads and other copy that can be distracting
~ posted written by Chris Gosselin, Sanborn Elementary, DLC

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Students are challenged to create a launch pod for and egg to be propelled across the football field.  Using a giant slingshot the pods must fly through the uprights and land safely protecting their egg passenger.  Supplies are limited to challenge the students to build and create structure with supporting pieces that absorb and deflect force from the crash.  Prior to this project students studied crumple zone physics and used the same concepts to design a car.

  • 50x- Popsicle Sticks
  • 1x- cup of Foam Peanuts
  • 2x- rubber bands
  • 2x- note cards
  • 1x- 5”x7” piece of cardboard


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Grade 5 students explore coding and making using our BeeBots.  Students used their Chromebooks to write a retelling of a classic fairytale.  They created scenery and costumes for their BeeBots.  The students then programmed their Beebots to retell their assigned fairy tale.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grade 5 students read a fiction article in StoryWorks about a poisonous duck. In this article the duck was not real but have very realistic characteristics.  The students were given the task of creating a fiction animal that could be real.  They worked together to research animals (habitat, food, characteristics, etc) using their Chromebooks. Using their research, the students created a realistic but fictional animal.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

You're never too early to start coding. Mr. Harkins visits Shawsheen preschool with beebots.  The students practice and letter recognition counting colors all while doing basic coding skills. And having fun. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ms. Siviski’s class have been learning about degrees and how they are used to measure angles in math. To help them further understand these concepts, the students are programming robots! The robots they are using are called Spheros. They are small spherical balls that can be programmed with a Chromebook or an iPad using a block programming language. After a brief introduction on how to program the Spheros the students started to use their math skills to move Sphero! Working in small groups, students were given different challenges for Sphero to complete.  In order to complete the challenge Sphero must be programmed correctly using commands the robot understands (Roll, Change Speed, Heading, Degrees, Spin, etc.). Each of the commands has additional variables that must be programmed properly, such as, the correct number of degrees when turning. The final challenge will be for students to figure out how to “go bowling” with Sphero. The catch? Sphero will not be able to go down a traditional straight lane, it will have to navigate an obstacle course to knock down the pins!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Whether you are using Google Docs or Google Slides both teachers and students can easily insert images into their work. Instead of sending students out on a Google Image Search or uploading pictures from another device, students can stay within their documents to find media that adds to their creation. From slide-based presentations on sustainable fishing to feature articles that use maps to complement their writing, the easy image insert option will come in handy when exploring any topic.

How-To Insert Images in Google Docs and Google Slides

In the screenshot below you’ll see the menu bar in a Google Doc. At the top of the screen you have the option to Insert and choose to add an image to your page.
There are lots of options for bringing images into your document. The last option on the right-hand side of the screen says “Search.” With the Search option you can find images that are labeled for reuse with modification. When you click on the image it will add it to your document.

I hope this quick tip will come in handy next time you are creating a template to share with students in Google Classroom or sending students off to create a product that demonstrates their understanding. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Six Ways to do more through Digital Learning
  • Allocate time for students to practice their technology literacy skills during class. 
  • Encourage student to use devices (laptops, iPads, etc) for problem-solving and critical-thinking activities. 
  • Have students use technology outside the classroom to solve real world problems. 
  • Support this by providing continuous access to digital devices.
  • Design student-centered, integrated curriculum units that use devices seamlessly. 
  • Adapt your use of classroom devices based on the newest software applications and research on teaching, learning and standards-based curriculum. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

What is Personalize Learning? 

“Tailoring learning for each student’s strengths, needs and interests–including enabling student voice and choice in what, how, when and where they learn–to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.”  (definition from INACOL)

The purpose of personalized learning is to open student pathways and encourage student voice and choice in their education. Differentiation is a key part of personalized learning, and it is essential in education. In personalized learning environments, educators seek to meet each student within their own zone of proximal development. Without personalization, there is a gap between the individual student, their learning, and the support they need to succeed in a way that makes sense to his/her interests.

The shift toward personalization changes the dynamic between the teacher and student. Educators take on new roles as mentors, coaches and facilitators, and power and control shifts to the students. By giving students ownership over their learning and grounding learning in their interests and passions, they feel valued, motivated and in control.

Need help introducing and enhancing personalized learning practices in your classroom? Take some tips from members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools—a coalition of forward-thinking districts throughout the country. 
Start Here...

  • Provide alternative assessment opportunities that let students show their content understanding in nontraditional ways.
  • Emphasize experiential learning, student involvement, and student solving real-world issues. Have students set individual goals within the classroom curriculum. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

7th Grade Doherty students: Steven Zhang, Davis Blanch, Lucas Bacchi, Chad Cao under the guidance of Barbara Murray: Digital Learning Specialist & Stephen Chinosi: Director of Strategic Innovation took part in the OPTIMUS PRIME Challenge. 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center invites students in grades 3-12 to take part in the OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC). Participants are challenged to help raise awareness and understanding of NASA technologies and their many benefits to our everyday lives. Our students have created a robot,the redesigned Rocker Bogie made to help people transport heavy loads or carry supplies, such as water, long distances. It uses the mechanics of the All-terrain wheelchair, designed by an MIT engineer Amos Winter, to move itself forward. The passenger can use their own strength to power the bot by using the hand cranks. By doing this they are able to help the bot move without using too much of the energy. In addition to the hand cranks, the Rocker  has installed motors which can help the person move the Rocker Bogie up hills and over rough terrains, when the hand cranks cannot provide enough power.