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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox is taking shape.

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.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kahoot! and other games in the curriculum

Playing a Kahoot! game is a very popular MS classroom activity. Students and teachers create games in world languages, music and science. Kahoot! is a web-based tool that allows asking a consecutive, quiz-show type questions using a game-based format. Students respond by joining a game through a unique number using any mobile device.

A list of other teacher's favorite classroom games:
  • Quizlet Live - create a collaborative classroom game
  • Socrative is a student response system that works across all devices. Teachers can ask a number of different question types and gather student data for formative assessment.
  • TinyTap - create fun games, personalized puzzles, question and answer activities, turn reading a book into an interactive activity, make a tappable sound boards.
  • Quia - an online platform to create quizzes, games, and assignments online. There are wide range of games: flashcards, matching, challenge board, hangman, rags to riches, pop-ups and more. Examples of student created 7th grade games in history:

Explore the use of Sketchup in Latin

In the 8th grade Latin classroom, Tony Breen uses Sketchup to expose his students to multiple aspects of architectural construction and lets them get a glimpse into the various phases of the building process.

Sketchup Assignment:
Construct a monument (temple/victory column/arch etc.) to commemorate one of the following:
  • Religion 
  • Janus Mars V esta 
  • Historical Personae 
  • Cincinnatus
  • Constantine the Great Hadrian
  • Horatius
  • M. Agrippa
  • P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus Romulus
Incorporate a decorative element or elements which indicate some aspect(s) of the god/goddess or which refere to an episode of the character’s achievements. Somewhere on the monument indicate a likely date for its dedication (e.g. a cornerstone).

Prepare a short report (5 or 6 sentences) describing the story of the monument: to whom is it dedicated? What are its dimensions? What specific motifs does it include (types of column etc.)? Any symbolism in the monument?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Creative use of Voki in the Spanish Classroom

Margaret Hardy, MS Spanish teacher, had a special assignment for her 7th grade students. They were asked to create a mystery Voki avatar. The identity of each avatar (the student's name) would be kept a secret, but the avatars would describe personal information about a student: is it a boy or a girl, height, hair and eye color, home town, siblings, hobbies....

In class, it's a listening comprehension activity. As each avatar speaks, students listen to guess it's identity The game is not over until all the facts are recalled and the avatar's identity is revealed.

Videoconferencing with the school in Morocco

An 8th grade Arabic class partners with a school in Morocco. Through several video-conferencing sessions (using Skype) the students learn about each other’s cultures. Later in the semester the class will write a play in Arabic, while the school in Morocco writes a play in English. Students will exchange plays and perform them for each other via video-conference.

Creating a Timeline in the Latin American Classroom

Seventh graders used our new maker-space to create Latin American timelines. These multi-colored timelines cover their country’s history from colonization through modern times and have the following requirements:
  • The timeline must be to scale 
  • The timeline must have a key to show scale measurements 
  • Years should be listed on the timeline at regular intervals 
  • A list of 15-20 important dates in the history of your country must be included
  • Include extras to enhance your timeline’s appearance (drawings, pictures, etc.)

Made with Padlet

QR Codes Book Display in Middle School LLC

Want to find good books to read over break? The Library Learning Commons (LLC) faculty has created QR code book displays in the first floor foyer window display. QR codes consist of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by the QR reader app on a smart phone or iPad. A QR code is really just a website URL, but it allows phones, iPads, and other mobile devices to easily pull up the website by scanning it with the camera, rather than needing to type in a long URL. This makes it easier to bring a visitor to a website to get more info.

To read the QR codes:

Coding with Scratch in 8th Grade Math

Inspired by an array of digital screens projecting an interactive pattern simulation during our field trip to the Museum of Science this fall, MS math teacher Randi Currier, challenged 8th grade students to use the Scratch coding environment to create their own interactive art exhibits. Their task was to incorporate geometric concepts, such as angle measurements in relation to number of sides. Students applied coding skills of program structure, variable declaration, iteration and conditionals to create their exhibits. They brainstormed ideas of what makes an interactive exhibit engaging: 
  • Interesting visual effects 
  • Variables with sliders 
  • Color 
  • Sound 
  • Random elements 
  • Immediate feedback 

Below are the top five exhibits, voted by the students:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Student Ingenuity on Display at Upper School STEM Fair

When Lily Druker '18 and Ali Plump '18 assumed leadership roles in the Upper School GAINS club (Girls Advancing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) they knew they would be overseeing a fascinating variety of innovative ideas. Impressed with the energy and commitment they witnessed, the two decided that the entire school needed to get involved.

"We just wanted to come up a fun way to share all of these great student ideas with the community, but we didn't want to make it a stressful thing," says Plump. "So we came up with an optional fair that anyone could get involved with and bring their projects or ideas to the table."
The result? Nearly 40 students volunteered to present. And on a Friday afternoon in later winter the Upper School community room was packed with students and faculty alike, eagerly checking out the myriad concepts on display.
Among the many exhibitions were homemade Van der Graaf generators (capable of creating a visible electrical charge), cathode ray tubes, models of energy efficient smart homes, space telescopes, chemically altered "healthy" caramel, software designed to cater course curriculums to specific student learning styles, and many more interesting projects.
Click here for a gallery of images from the STEM fair.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Top 10 Tech Tips for Power Users

  1. Use canned responses in Gmail.
  2. Use voice dictation in Google Docs.
  3. Use priority in-box with unread, starred, everything else in Gmail. Unread or star emails that need more action later.
  4. Use reminders in Google calendar as to-do list.
  5. Set up VIP contacts in iPhone for notifications of important emails.
  6. Save your iPhone voicemail by emailing them to yourself.
  7. Set up a hot corner on your mac to lock it when you walk away.
  8. Enable 2-step verification to log into Google.
  9. Use a password manager like DashLane to save unique passwords for every website.
  10. Command-tab to switch between applications on a Mac if you are multi-tasking.

To view more tips, please visit our Tech Tips web page.