links to tags

Filter by: Tech in the Classroom        Launch Projects

Monday, February 13, 2017

Organizing your Desktop

A clean, organized desktop can make our day go smoothly.
Here is a link to a handy, step-by-step guide to organizing your desktop.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Take a deep breath. Play. Learn.


Being in the moment requires a quality of attention that engages all our senses. Last night we witnessed this quality of deep attention and focus as the Patriots and the Falcons faced off for the Super Bowl. Players have to attend with all their senses indeed their whole bodies as they play. Indeed they most likely enter a state of "flow" (see mihaly csikszentmihalyi's work) during play. And some athletes choose to take a few minutes to attend to themselves in-between play as well as we see LeBron James above.

This quality of deep engagement and attending to the world outside oneself or within oneself is related to mindfulness. But of course the image of football players is far from the image of mindfulness that most of us have come to accept. Mindfulness conjures up an image of a person meditating in a beautiful setting unlike LeBron above who is taking time to breathe amidst the high level intensity and noise of an arena.

Mindful attention is being present in the moment with all our senses. Mindful attention is slowing down enough to breathe deeply and engage with the world in which we find ourselves be it a sports arena, a sports field, an indoor classroom or a beautiful setting like an empty beach.

Research shows this kind of engagement with all our senses can in fact facilitate learning.
"According to the researchers, it is easier to learn vocabulary if the brain can link a given word with different sensory perceptions." Read more

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Slo-Mo Feature of Phone Camera

This "telephone" I carry around in my pocket has amazing features. The slow-motion capture is pretty cool! Have you tried it?


Friday, January 27, 2017

3rd Graders Explore Electricity

The 3rd-grade science class visits the Makerspace to meet the challenge of designing an electrical path to light an LED.  The design process follows an iterative procedure beginning with a pencil drawing, proceeding to blue tape, and finally using copper tape for the final design.

Reflecting on the process, students add to their science journals
Laying down the copper tape.

The Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox is taking shape.

Mitre Cutting the sandbox sides. 
Working through a school funded Launch Grant, Lower School science teacher Ms. Derrien has teamed up with Technology Specialist, Tony Cai and Makerspace Mentor, Joseph Heitzman to bring an augmented reality (AR) sandbox to the Lower School campus. Stay tuned as this project is built completely from scratch.
Gluing and nailing the sandbox together
Cutting the metal supports to size

Friday, January 13, 2017

This image above is inspired by an image from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation's 
Mindfull Bells Sounds page.
Thich or Thầy in Vietnamese refers to teacher.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a teacher, a peace activist, a poet and writer
who continues to teach about the importance of living in the present moment.

Thich Naht Hanh was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize by MLK, his close friend.
In honor of MLK let us take a moment to 

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Makey Makey Learns a New Language!

In the 7th Grade Science classroom students designed an interactive object using a MakeyMakey kit. Students were asked to create different locations on the object, where by touching will complete a circuit and produce distinct sentences in the language they are currently studying at the Middle School. 

Made with Padlet

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Digital Literacy for Digital Natives

Do young people need to learn digital literacy? Young people after all are facile with devices and technology. Where is the necessity with digital literacy? This article draws a necessary distinction between facility with social media skills and digital literacy. The author, Clifford L. Green of writes: "
Social media skills are vastly different than digital literacy skills such as proficiency in keyboarding, spreadsheets, database, and word processing. These are basic skills necessary for success, and unfortunately those that are sorely lacking. Schools increasingly report the lack of these skills is creating a barrier to student academic performance ...Read More

3Doodle in the 8th Grade Art and Tech Class

In the 8th Grade Stephanie Moon's Art and Tech Class students are exploring 3D Printing Pen and are giving an Art Challenge to design a 3-dimensional "drawing" that communicates a personal and social message to the viewer through the use one of the following concepts:
  • merging multiple images to create symbolic meaning
  • words as visual forms to communicate meaning
  • a close examination to make us more aware of something

Made with Padlet

Use of Padlet at the Middle School

Padlet is a virtual wall, it works like an online sheet of paper where students and teachers can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page and from any device. Key features include customizing the wall and the background; choosing how the posts appear on the wall; setting up privacy settings

At the MS teachers use Padlet in Advisory as a way of getting feedback about various units. For example, here is the teacher feedback on 7th Grade Orientation 2016-2017

Students in Sasha's Bergmann Dinnerware and Wheel classes uploaded their photos and inspiring quotes to the class Padlets Dinnerware Hump Mold Set Project and Wheel: Cylinder Project

More Ideas for using Padlet in the Classroom:
  • Use it as a portfolio to share with parents. Snap pictures of student work and share them.
  • Have students sort pictures on Padlet to classify them 
  • Use it as a class back channel and have discussions on it.
  • Have students work a problem, and snap a picture of how they worked it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

6th Graders Share & Provide Feedback on Their Scratch Challenge

2nd Grade Robot Day

Using Scratch and Legos, 2nd graders design, build and program their own robotic creations.

Prototyping Phase - 4th graders design think their own generator.

Algebra 2 Class Uses Online Tool to Visualize Equations

Upper School math students use old-school blue/red 3D glasses to see GeoGebra in 3D. GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematic manipulation application that allows students to visually explore geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus equations. Here's a photo of Christine Oulton's Algebra 2 class using the 3d glasses:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What is Gerrymandering and who was Gerry?

On NPR’s Fresh Air program: Understanding Congressional Gerrymandering, author David Daley discussed this key question:

"When President Obama won re-election in 2012 and a Democratic tide gave the party a big majority in the Senate, why did the House of Representatives remain firmly in Republican hands? The result was even more striking since voters cast 1.3 million more ballots for Democratic House candidates than Republican ones".

Building off of a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics lesson, students in Randi Currier's 8th Grade Math class discovered a major factor behind the House of Representatives’ incongruous outcome: Gerrymandering.

They masterfully led a discussion about the brilliant Republican strategy, operation RedMap, following the 2010 census. Using the architectural software SketchandCalc, students calculated ratios to objectively evaluate the likelihood that a district had been gerrymandered. They learned the layout of their own Congressional district, how districts are often manipulated, the effect of technology on re-districting, and various relevant analytical ratios. 

Randi Currier's most valuable take aways from the lesson: "Exemplars for us all, they thrived on data-driven, respectful, productive discussions around a hot political topic".

 If you see one of them, ask them who Gerry was!

Gerrymandering Scoring PDF

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MS D.I.Y. Zone is Now Open for Students

The new D.I.Y Zone at the Middle School is now open for students use. D.I.Y. Zone (Design Inspiring Youth) is a program designed to encourage our middle school students to design, create, and innovate using a variety of tools in our new Makerspace.

This promotional video was created by Kelley Schultheis. Kelley is a MS science teacher. Kelley is also helping with setting up and coordinating all maker space activities at the MS

Interactive Digital Displays at the Middle School

Middle School campus has 3 Interactive Digital Display Boards. We are excited about the new ways of sharing updates, announcements and projects with our community. To create these great looking, dynamic and interactive digital displays we use a web based management tool, Rise Vision.

MS Digital Displays:
  • Terrace Level - general information, schedule, announcements, updates
  • 1st Floor 7th Grade Foyer - September & October presentations
    • Wellness Collaborative Week with Will Slotnick 
    • Banned Books by LLC 
    • Arts for Social Change Elective : Save the Turtles by Guerilla Artists 
    • Andrea Pinkney, Visiting Author by LLC
  • 2nd Floor 8th Grade Foyer - an opportunity to "display" / share current/past work/project: 
    • Arts (Quarterly)
    • Winterfest (December) 
    • Film night (January) 
    • Festival Play (end of April, May) 
    • Spring Concert (May) 
    • Musical (May) 
The morning of October 31st MS digital screens were haunted!  ....  I love remixing scratch programs. In Halloween spirit, I remixed A Song for Halloween. I've added backdrops of the MS images to create a haunted ghost effect in the school!

Full length quicktime played on all the screens

Halloween breakfast sponsored by MS parents 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sound Art Installation Community Project

Roundware app
During three weeks in October, students in Stephanie's Moon Art & Technology elective class at the Middle School worked with visiting artist Halsey Burgund to create a local installation of audio art, "4 Corners & 4 Questions." You can experience this virtual installation on our Middle School campus! Just download the Roundware app from the iTunes store; then when you are on campus, click on LISTEN or click on SPEAK if you would like to participate in answering any of the 4 prompts. Enjoy the experience!

This exploratory project enabled students to learn about the concept of sound art, and to be introduced to the work of Halsey Burgund who is a sound artist in the Boston area exploring the richness of sound as an art form and combining this medium with technological tools to create installation experiences. He works with several institutions including Harvard University, the Museum of Science in Boston, Miami Art Week, and the MIT Media Lab, to name a few. He has also programmed his own phone app (Roundware) which enables the audience to both contribute their voices to the work as well as to experience it. Here are a few other samples of Halsey's work:

At BB&N, the Art and Tech class was introduced to Halsey’s Artistic Process:
  1. Brainstorming a Theme 
  2. Selecting Music, Voices, Ambient Noise 
    1. collecting/creating sounds 
    2. editing sounds 
    3. creating ambient layer 
  3. Assembling the sound booth to collect student voices 
  4. Using Roundware (

The 4 Corners & 4 Questions are now part of the MS grounds virtual installation:
  1. Laughter - Try to make me laugh, tell a joke (as you enter the school) 
  2. Song - Sing a part of your favorite song (by the new sports shed) 
  3. Encouragement/motivation - Say something to makes someone's day better (in the back by the science building) 
  4. Venting - What's bugging you? (on the way to the carriage house)

Collecting the sounds using sound booth on the MS campus

Testing installation with Halsey

Saturday, October 29, 2016

BB&N's Open House ~ 10/29/16

Students, parents, and teachers share our school with prospective families.,.

Friday, October 28, 2016

MS English Launch Grant Project - Year 2

Middle School teacher Betsy Canaday did a launch grant during the 2015-2016 school year to explore ways technology can help students understand the complexity of the characterization in one of the novels within the curriculum. This novel, The Outsiders, is a story about high schoolers in the 50's. Ms. Canaday wanted students to explore physical and emotional characterization in today's tech setting, using social media and online communication. Her original project blog post is here.

I asked Betsy to reflect on her experience doing The Outsiders project again this year " The Outsiders project was even better the second year. The modification of using Google Doc to create the page template was much easier. It made for a seamless way for students to share with each other and me. I was really pleased that Zoe and Ethan joined in to do this project, too. They reported that it went really well - tons of fun for the kids. Next thing we need to focus on is how to improve the writing portion of the project. Below are the published flipbook projects"

Interactive Pumpkin Display in Middle School Library

Every Friday approximately twenty four students get together for lunch at the Library Learning Commons. They are the students in the Middle School Literary Club. They talk about favorite books, play trivia games, talk about movies and read during lunch.  They also share treats for dessert. Sometimes they also create media projects like the one below. In this interactive Halloween Pumpkin display studnets used Make Makey to create an interactive audio experience. They recorded scary passages from the books. A quick video below captures the feel of this exhibit!


7th grade Country Research Project

Second session of the Library Learning Commons Information Literacy Curriculum corresponds to beginning of country research project for the 7th graders. During the library classes students are introduced to the  Latin American Research Page and all the digital and print resources available for their project.  

In class they have an opportunity to learn:
  • how to access and use the MS library website and catalog
  • how to cite sources properly
  • review Academic Honesty Policy and copyright law
  • watch: how not to plagiarism video and copyright tutorial
  • build a bibliography using Easybib including the following resources:
  1. print source (
  2. website using webpath express
  3. online (electronic) database article

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Museum of Science Field Trip

Early in October, 7th grade students & advisors went on a new field trip to the Museum of Science, a new initiative funded through the Urban Connections Grants program and lead by Kelley Schultheis, MS Science Teacher and Gus Means, MS Math Teacher. The goal of this grant is to develop science understanding while also building community, both within the Middle School and between the three campuses. Field trips to the museum are the first step to allow students to work with their homerooms and develop problem-solving and collaborative skills.

Here is the short video created by Ms. Schultheis, an overview of the trip we showed the students before the field trip of what they would do at the museum:

Klikaklu - Scavenger and treasure Hunt app can be downloaded from the iTunes store

Middle School GPS Haiku Site

For the last two years the "Middle School GPS" Haiku site has become a fundamental way by which Middle School faculty share information and organize faculty resources at the school. All MS teachers are able to create and update any page on the GPS site. A short list of things you can find out using GPS site:
  • Important logistical updates for the week 
  • Upcoming faculty meetings 
  • MS admission visitors 
  • Reminders/looking ahead 
  • Schedules and duties 
  • Important Forms and Links 
  • PD opportunities 

Here is a short video featuring Beth Brooks, MS Librarian using MS GPS

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Podcasting Blog Post

Podcasts are becoming popular. From Sports to fashion there are podcasts on practically most topics. Students here are creating their podcasts. Here are the 3 main steps to creating a podcast.

Krina Patel
Upper School Technology Integration Mentor
Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
80 Gerry's Landing Road
Cambridge, MA 02138