Friday, October 18, 2013

Kindergarten Loves KidPix!

Mrs. Miranda's Moonbeams recently visited the computer lab to learn how to create awesome pictures with a tool called KidPix.

First, the students had to learn how to log on to the computer. Pushing Ctrl, Alt, and Delete at the same time with little hands can be difficult! We use shiny star stickers on the keyboards to help the students learn where those keys are located.

We introduced the pencil tool, which lets you draw freely with the mouse, and showed the students how to change colors. We also demonstrated the stamp tool to place pictures onto the screen. After the quick introduction, the students were able to experiment with the program.

Exploring KidPix

Students worked together to show their discoveries and to teach each other the new things they figured out. By the time the Moonbeams were finished with their lab time, some students had created amazing pictures with backgrounds, stickers and stamps, and hand-drawn pictures.

Sharing New Ideas

Way to go, Moonbeams!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Student Interest Survey Results: Tech Is IN!

All LME students recently participated in a survey to find out what each child's interests and talents might be. Laurel Mountain's innovative SEM program uses the results from these surveys to create Enrichment Clusters, during which students and teachers work together to explore a particular topic of study. Classroom teachers also use the survey information to help design lessons that integrate student interest.

One thing was clear from the results: technology and computers are very popular! "Creating Video Games" was one of the top interests in each grade level.

Our 4th and 5th graders will began clusters last Friday, and there are several technology-oriented ones we are excited about:

  • Into the Wild: Citizen Scientists cluster is using Samsung Galaxy tablets and several "citizen science" apps to observe and document wildlife in our outdoor preserve.
  • LME Computer Institute students delve into the worlds of hardware and software.
  • Web..Web..Websites! cluster will learn webmaster and HTML skills and create their very own websites.
  • "Scratch" the Surface - Making Computer Games You Can Play will use Scratch 2.0 to create their very own games.
  • 3,2,1 Action! cluster will use flipcams and video editing tools to create their own movies!
  • POWERPoint students will get techy with Powerpoint and Prezi and make amazing presentations. 

Be on the lookout for ways LME gets I.T. right in these enrichment clusters!

For more information about the Student Enrichment Model, please visit the SEM blog.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Smart Sleuths Create Video Games

Mrs. Smith's 3rd grade Smart Sleuths spent a Friday enrichment session learning how to create a video game with Scratch 2.0. Using a kid-friendly programming language created by MIT, the students made a game called "Feed the Shark"!

In the game, a fish falls from the top of the ocean. The player uses the arrow buttons to move a shark back and forth across the screen to eat the falling fish. When the fish is eaten, the player receives a point. If the fish reaches the ocean floor, the game is over.

Students learned to create and import sprites and program those sprites to move and interact with each other. This required some deep thinking and problem solving! The Sleuths worked together to make their games work and were proud of their finished product.

If you want to learn more about Scratch, visit the site and take a look at what you can do!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

LME Students are Going Google!

This year, Round Rock ISD issued Google Apps for Education accounts to each student in 2nd through 12th grade. Laurel Mountain students have been learning about and exploring their new Google tools!

Students received lessons on using and customizing Gmail, along with some etiquette rules on how and when to email others. Many teachers and staff members have received email messages from LME students!

Many classes are learning how to organize their Drives with folders and naming conventions so their files are easier to locate and share. Teachers and students are collaborating on projects and documents relating to what they're learning. Ms. Holzinger's 4th grade class, for instance, is working on Google Presentations that demonstrate what they've learned about the regions of Texas.

LME students are very excited to use this new tool!