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Sunday, November 23, 2014

BB&N Robotics Team Update

A big congratulations to the BB&N Robotics team, who competed yesterday at North Andover High School against 21 other teams. Our Knights made it all the way to the finals and were runners up! This is the first year of the team and they did such a wonderful job!!! 
-Katrina Fuller

Need to Explain Everything? Part II

Last week’s news update shared examples of the videos that Kelsey and Christine created using Explain Everything (if you haven’t checked out their videos yet, then you should do that!). Since the last news update, I’ve heard from several other teachers about the technology that they are using in their classrooms, specifically in regards to creating instructional videos. This seems to be a hot topic right now and something that many people are interested in experimenting with. Mariah has been using instructional videos with a flipped classroom model for three years, pairing videos from other sources with her own videos. Students in her classes are used to watching instructional videos; she assigns the video and follow-up questions for homework at least once per month. Mariah has experience using the (free!) screencast-o-matic software and she’s also exploring using Camtasia (BB&N purchases a license for this software). Currently, Mariah is working on creating a library of videos (on Google sites) that the math department can utilize and share with each other, seen here in its early stages.

Rosario also uses Explain Everything, as well as Camtasia, Screecast-o-matic, and Powtoon to create instructional videos for her classes, something she has been doing since last year and loves. The videos that Rosario creates often explain a grammar point, give instruction on homework, provide an explanation of a group project, or explain how to use a particular tool. She posts all of her instructional videos to the class Haiku page and has found it to be very helpful for giving instructions. Feel free to check out Rosario’s Haiku pages, found here and here, but also available through your own Haiku page. She has posted tutorials that she created using Camtasia, Powtoon, Screecast-o-matic, and Explain Everything, so you are easily able to compare these technologies. Seriously, check out some of this- you get the gist of it, even if you don’t understand Spanish. Here are some YouTube videos: here and here and here

If you are also using any of these technologies and would like to share your experiences, let me know! If you are looking to bounce some ideas around and talk to an expert, feel free to see Mariah, Rosario, Kelsey, Christine, or Megan! Megan also wants to remind everyone that she’s here to help you with the technology you use or would like to try in your classroom. One of her favorite parts of her job is being able to connect the dots and help teachers connect with one another about how they are using technology. She always wants to hear about these wonderful ways of using technology to enhance the student experience, then help teachers connect with one another to further their own learning. To see what’s going on across all campuses in regards to technology, continue to check out this tech blog.

Speaking about cool uses of technology in the classroom, have you heard about Poll Everywhere? Al uses this technology on a regular basis in his classroom as a tool for quick formative assessments. Al started using this software a few years ago and has found it to be incredibly helpful in quickly assessing the learning within the classroom, allowing him to decide whether or not he needs to re-teach a topic or can move on to the next topic. If you are looking for a quick way to get an immediate and anonymous answer from every student in the class, ask Al about his experiences with Poll Everywhere!

-Katrina Fuller

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Upper School Student Robotics Club

Three cheers for the new team on campus this year- the Robotics Team! Mike Bernstein kindly offered to coach the team this year and has been spending many hours working with our students getting ready for the upcoming competition. Students are excited to try out their new robot at their first VEX Robotics competition at North Andover HS on Saturday, November 22. For more information about the VEX Robotics Program or to check out a brief description of this year's Skyrise game, go to the Web site here: or watch the brief video describing the game's objectives at:

Seriously, you should watch this video... the game involves alliances, autonomous periods, driver-controlled periods, building skyrises, blocking opponents, taking out enemy robots, strategizing, and lots of things that only the robotics students will understand!

-Katrina Fuller

Need to Explain Everything? Part I

Need to Explain Everything? The math department is exploring ways to create a flipped classroom and is quickly becoming experts in making their own tutorial videos. Kelsey created her first videos (using Explain Everything) last year and used them as part of her final exam review days, though she’s now beginning to use them more frequently with her classes. Here is one of her final exam review videos... warning, this is a long one!

After seeing how successful these videos can be, Christine created her first video last week for her Algebra II class. If you also use Explain Everything, please let me know, as I'd love to see how other people are using this technology with their classes. If you have questions, see Kelsey or Christine for a quick tutorial!

-Katrina Fuller

Thursday, November 6, 2014

iPads in the Forensics Classroom

At BB&N, juniors and seniors are able to take Forensics, a lab-based course that stresses the importance of applying scientific principles to law. Students learn the methodology needed to evaluate a crime scene, the proper lab mechanics needed to evaluate evidence, and how to compare samples that are both known and unknown. Procedures in collecting and interpreting criminal evidence are examined and modeled. The students gain a basic understanding of forensic science and how it is used in criminal cases. Forensic experiments include drug analysis, blood typing, hair and fiber analysis, gunshot residue tests, and fingerprint identification.

The Forensics teacher Lisa Conway was awarded a launch grant which allows her to explore the use of iPads in the science classroom.  She is developing curriculum and lesson plans that will allow students to fully integrate iPads into her Forensics and Principles of Chemistry classes.  This week students in Ms. Conway's Forensics class are completing their first crime scene assessment, using the iPads to create accompanying diagrams.   They are using the Magic CSI app to sketch the crime scene.