Congratulations Meijer Great Choices Video Winners!

Thank you to everyone who faithfully voted for our student videos a few months ago.


“Be Yourself” took second place in the Promoting Character category.

IMG_6833“You are Special” took third place in the Celebrating Diversity category.

Each video won $200 for our technology classes. We are hoping to use the money towards buying a 3D printer! Thanks again for your support!

Coding:, Tickle, and Sphero

IMG_6772 IMG_6773Recently, the middle school students completed a coding unit in tech class. They began by working through a series of lessons at the website. (Note: teachers can set up a free account and assign the lessons to the students. They include video instructions, so students can independently work through the lessons at their own pace. Teachers do not need to be an expert at coding – I let students take ownership of their learning and help each other if they got stuck on a solution.)

IMG_6775 IMG_6776Once students had worked through lessons on, it was time to transfer those skills to programing to the Tickle app, which uses block coding similar to I sent up a series of challenges for the students work through to program a Sphero robotic ball.  Challenges included moving in a straight line to hit a target, drawing shapes, and programming a dance move.

IMG_6793 IMG_6792As students worked they needed to document their thought process through their failures and successes. They also had lots of fun!!

IMG_6789 IMG_6790At the end of each challenge, students were given a creative task where they came up with an idea for a related challenge and tried to program it. Finally, they wrote up a blog post which explained their thinking throughout the challenge and shared a screenshot of their solution. Here are a few links to examples of the student blogs:

Arianna example

Luke example

The final challenge required students to program through tunnels and barriers and then through a maze that they had designed. These activities required complex programing, but were lots of fun!

IMG_6796 IMG_6795Here is a link where you can purchase Sphero on Amazon. (We receive a small percentage of any purchases that helps buy technology that our students can use.)



Finalist in the Book Creator Comic Contest!


Congratulations to Luke, Tyler, and Jalon! We received word that their comic is one of 10 finalists in the Book Creator Comic Contest! The winner will be selected by Kevin Eastman, one of the co-creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Read more about the finalists in this post at the Book Creator Blog by clicking on the link below:

Comic book competition – here are the finalists!

The Book Creator team created this video version of the book which they posted on Youtube. Here is a link to the video. Note, this might be blocked at school.)

The Polluter

Also, congratulations to Camryn, Raven, and Rachel for receiving awards as highly commended entries in the contest!

National Park Superheroes Comic Collection

coverI’m very pleased to share that our National Park Superhero Comic Collection eBook is now available for free download on the iTunes Bookstore. Here is the link where you can download the eBook into the iBooks app onto your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac computer:

For other devices: If you do not have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, here are some other ways you can possibly open the books by using the links below.  On a PC computer, try using the Chrome browser with the Readium app to download/view the file.  If you have an Android phone, you might be able to use the ePub Reader app, or another app for ePub files.  (I have not tested this on an Android, so I cannot verify that this will work.) Here is the link to the epub file:  National Park Superheroes ePub

If you download the book, we’d love a rating or a comment!

The National Park Superhero Comic Collection began with students researching a national park and discovering a problem in the park. Then students designed a superhero who could solve the problem and planned a story that combined information with imagination. Students created their superheroes using a variety of drawing, avatar, and editing apps and combined them with photos or drawings. Some students used animated character apps to make video clips of their characters talking.  All the elements were combined using the new comic features in the Book Creator app. Finally, the students recorded the audio so you could hear each character talk. Here are examples of the pages that the students created:


blue moon droplet el zippo geyser man trench dude
This project involved a lot of work by the students over several weeks using a variety of technology skills, including research, story boarding, drawing, creating videos, building the book with photos, drawings, and text, and finally recording audio. The comics went through many revisions to perfect the blend of information and imagination. We used these comics to enter into the Book Creator Comic Contest.  We hope you enjoy our comics!

Please vote – Meijer Great Choices Film Festival

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 6.25.09 PM  3-1-16This year our Middle School students have created 4 outstanding videos to enter in the Meijer Great Choices Film Festival. We are asking everyone we know to support our entries by voting each day for our videos. You will need to create an account either using Facebook or with an email account to vote. Once that is done, it will literally take you seconds to vote each day!

Here are links to the videos:

Healthy Food Always Wins by by Jake, Luke, and Tyler

Take a Stroll to Help Achieve Your Goal by Kaitlyn, Raven, and Camryn

Be Yourself by by Arianna, Rachel, and Joslyn

You are Special by Jalon and Mitchell

The videos receiving the most votes in each category wins $500 dollars for their school. Second and third places earn $200 dollars. Last year our student videos took a first and third place earning $700 for our school and doubling our technology budget!

Thank you so much for your daily support!

PBS World Explorers Video Sketchnotes

IMG_6178IMG_6174As a part of our sketchnote unit, students watched videos from the PBS World Explorers Videos series and then selected one video to illustrate by creating a digital sketchnote. The sketchnote strategy is an excellent way to help students focus on, process, and remember content while watching media. Students created their sketchnotes using iPads while watching the video on computers in the computer lab (see photos above), but this could just as easily be done with the video playing for the entire class using a projector. Students used a variety of apps including:

Here are the sketchnotes that the students created:

Photo Jan 19, 2 39 19 PMPhoto Jan 15, 2 53 47 PM

Photo Jan 15, 2 45 49 PM Photo Jan 15, 2 51 35 PMPhoto Jan 19, 2 49 09 PM00G2v862RKkImGnwEFVy_image 3KWNFVhyQC2h1g9lTniv_image nbCqWFHvSX6j1MLNX0FH_image WkXRsNVMSeKwmOCVcBdS_imagekstdyp5OSMKxOY1RjDjw_imagePhoto Jan 19, 2 30 20 PMAll of the students are blogging their media projects this year using Kidblog. Students have posted their sketchnotes and their reflections on this unit here:

Here is the link to the PBS World Explorers Collection Videos. These colorful short videos are perfect to use with the sketchnote strategy.

We used my free iTunesU course Digital Sketchnotes for Visualizing Learning to help the students learn about what sketchnotes are and how to create them using drawing apps.You can also find more information about sketchnotes at my resource page:

Sketchnote Tools and Resources