Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hour of Code!

Laurel Mountain students did a fabulous job of coding during the Hour of Code event! Everyone celebrated Computer Science Education Week by programming, solving coding puzzles, or writing code.

Mr. Jurecka introduced Lightbot to students using the library's iPads during his library lessons. TAG teachers Mrs. Shrull and Mrs. Ferriola incorporated coding and introduced binary into their Hour of Code lessons. Even Kindergarten participated by using iPads to solve coding puzzles using Lightbot, Kodable, and the Foos!

Way to go, Lions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Second Grade Goes Google

LME's second graders are so excited to start using their Google Accounts! 

The students have learned a LOT in the last few weeks. They know:
  • how to log into their accounts
  • what services come with their accounts
  • what Drive is and why it's useful
  • how to organize files in Drive
  • where to find files that someone shares with them
  • how to create a document in Docs
  • how to use the tools in Docs
  • how to add new fonts
  • how to properly log out of a shared computer
Whew! That's a lot to learn, and they've done a fantastic job of catching on! We can't wait to see how these new Google accounts will be used in their lessons. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Stop Motion Animation

Recently Mrs. Trejo's Treefrogs completed an interest survey, and many of the Treefrogs are interested in making movies. Mrs. Trejo, Mrs. Kownacki and Mrs. Sara Richards helped the Treefrogs create some stop-motion animated movies using our Next Gen iPads and the Lego Movie Maker app.

The students were given two choices for movie topics: converting fractions to mixed numbers or showing the effects of weathering and erosion. They were given one hour and some playdoh, and worked with partners to create a masterpiece.

The final products were great! The students were really creative and focused on their projects. When the movies were completed, we were able to upload them from the iPads to the students' Google Drive folders for easy sharing.

Way to go, Treefrogs, and thank you to Mrs. Trejo and Mrs. Kownacki for taking a risk and trying something new and out of the box!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Enrichment Clusters - Full of Technology!

Every year, LME students are asked about their interests and passions so that we can incorporate those things into our lessons and activities. This Schoowide Enrichment Model is one of the best things about Laurel Mountain. Inevitably, those interest surveys show a huge amount of students who love to learn about and with technology!

Enrichment Clusters, which happen each Friday, are one part of the SEM model. For our 4th and 5th graders, those clusters have begun! The students are so excited to attend their cluster meetings each Friday morning.

Take a look at these Enrichment Cluster topics. So many of them will use technology, even if it's not included in the description, because LME students and staff do an excellent job of using technology as a learning tool!

Join us on December 12 for our Showcase, where you can see the amazing products our students produce during these Enrichment Clusters!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Google Classroom Takes Off!

Over the summer Google launched a new tool called Google Classroom, which enables teachers and students to seamlessly share documents and communicate digitally. Many of our teachers have decided to take the plunge and try it out with their students!

Mr. Hance was an early adopter, and he and his 5th grade students have figured out the intricacies of being a Google Classroom. He is doing a great job of getting other teachers interested and helping them learn how to get started!

Mrs. Shrull has begun using Google Classroom with her TAG students as well. She gives her students choices on how to turn in their assignments (handwritten or digital, or a combination of both), and is experimenting with how this new tool can help them be more efficient and productive.

Be on the lookout for more LME teachers and students connecting digitally via Google Classroom!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

LME is Going Next Gen!

Laurel Mountain is excited to be participating in RRISD's Next Gen Classroom Pilot initiative! Third grade teacher Alyssa Smith, along with our librarian, David Jurecka, received a cart full of iPad Air devices to use with LME students.

Mrs. Smith's Sleuths are using the iPads daily in all areas of the curriculum. In her classroom, there is a 1:1 ratio of devices per student. The Sleuths have learned the basics of how to use their devices and are quickly becoming experts!

Learning camera basics by taking selfies!

Mr. Jurecka has received a touchscreen LCD monitor to use with students and during his lessons. In addition, the library has a large number of iPads which ALL Laurel Mountain students will be able to use!

Our LME teachers are even going Next Gen with their meetings. We are all learning together!

LME Teachers are Next Gen ready!

We are very excited to help the district further this initiative. Stay tuned for more information on how LME is going Next Gen!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to School and Taking Off with Technology!

Our students are back to school and getting ready for a fantastic year full of technology! The first two weeks we have been focusing on learning the expectations and Acceptable Use policies for using technology at LME. During these discussions we have been talking about how to take care of equipment, staying safe online, and being respectful digital citizens.

The Lions are excited and ready to get going with technology!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mr. Hance's Paperless Classroom

5th graders in Mr. Hance's math and science class have truly gone digital! Almost all assignments are created, shared and graded through Google Drive. Mr. Hance uses the Doctopus extension to help him make this possible.

The students write and submit weekly status reports on their projects and classwork via Drive. They collaborate with each other to complete assignments. The students even take Samsung tablets or netbooks out into the preserve to document their learning, and upload their work to Drive once they are back in wi-fi range. (We are hoping to install outdoor wi-fi in the near future to make this use of technology more seamless)

Soon, the students will submit reports for peer review. Peer review will take place via Google Forms, where the students will fill out a rubric created as a form and submit it so the author can view the critiques from his or her peers.

Mr. Hance and his students have fully embraced the Google way of life!

Monday, March 31, 2014

2nd and 3rd Graders Shone at Enrichment Cluster Showcase

Last week was the culmination of our latest round of enrichment clusters, and the students showed off some fantastic work! Many of these clusters utilized technology, even when the topic of their cluster wasn't necessarily technology-oriented. Check out some of these clusters:

  • "Take One" - these students created awesome videos on the subjects of their choice. 
  • "The Great Minecraft Experiment" - the "crafters" worked together to bring to life a town full of beautiful buildings.
  • "Sports Galore" - while learning about and playing fun sports (including Quidditch!), students created a video about their experiences.
  • "Flying Lion Travel Agency" - this cluster made some professional-looking documents for their agency and did a significant amount of online research.
  • "Creative Coding" - these students learned about computer programming and used Scratch to create their own games and other interesting products.
  • "Friendship Bracelet Rainbow Looming" - the students in this cluster taught themselves some new and creative ways to make friendship bracelets by watching videos online.
  • "LEGOsmiths" - in this cluster, students used a computer to design their lego creation before creating it. 
We are very proud of our students' work. Great job, Lions!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Composing Music Digitally

Ms. Marshall's music classes often use technology in their music lessons, and today was no different! Second graders took advantage of our enrichment lab to create musical compositions that looked incredibly professional.

Students used Music Ace to transcribe their original compositions (with lyrics included!) into a digital format. The results were fantastic!

Great job, musicians! And thank you, Mrs. Marshall, for getting I.T. right!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Markle's Monarchs Show Off Their Water Cycle Knowledge

Mrs. Markle's 3rd grade class has been studying the water cycle, and as an end-of-unit project the students were asked to represent their knowledge in any way they chose. Many of her students decided to use technology as a tool to accomplish this task!

Monarchs Hard at Work

The Monarchs are really great with technology, as they use it during their lessons quite often, so it was no surprise to see such great student work. Some Monarchs decided to use Prezi, which is a great alternative to PowerPoint. Others chose to use their Google Drives to create Presentations, and one creative young man made a stop-motion animation to illustrate the water cycle!

Working with Prezi

Way to go, Monarchs!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thank You PTA!

The PTA here at Laurel Mountain is incredibly supportive of our staff, students, and our mission and we are so thankful for their hard work!

This year RRISD enabled Google Apps for Education accounts for all students in grades 2-5, and our teachers and students have been learning how to use all the amazing features of these accounts. They are creating some fantastic products!

Second grade was at a disadvantage because of a lack of access to technology. While grades 3-5 here at LME have 48 laptops per grade level to use on a daily basis, 2nd graders only had 15. They do use a computer lab, but it's so much more effective to integrate technology within your classroom.

PTA stepped up to the plate and funded an entire cart of 24 brand new laptops for our 2nd grade students! It was quite an expensive purchase, but our students are SO worth it!

Thank you, PTA, for recognizing the need for more technology and for making it happen for our kids!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

First Lego League Success!

This year we had 8 teams participate in the First LEGO League tournaments that took place before the winter break. 

These teams are made up of 4th and 5th grade students. The teams competed in four different areas: Robot Mission, Research Project, Robot Design and Core Values.

The teams were: LEGO Lions, Team Hicks, Golden Hawks, LME LEGO Legends, Tornado Rescue Squad, Untitled Won, Firebolt and Boss Builders.

  • Four teams (LEGO Lions, Golden Hawks, LME LEGO Legends and Boss Builders) received an invitation to participate in the regional tournament on March 8, 2014. About one third of all teams that participated were invited, so LME did better than the average.
  • LEGO Lions placed 1st in Robot Mission and 3rd in the Research Project.
  • Team Hicks placed 2nd in the Research Project.
  • The Chairman's Award is the most prized award representing best overall performance. Golden Hawks won second place Chairman's Award. (Teams that win the Chairman's Award are not eligible to place in any of the four component awards - robot performance, research project, robot design, or core values.)
  • LME LEGO Legends placed 2nd in Core Values.
  • Team Firebolt placed 2nd in Robot Mission and Robot Design.
  • Boss Builders placed 1st in Robot Design.

All teams did a great job participating in the tournaments and appeared to have a great time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LME Pilots MinecraftEdu

Minecraft is a very popular game nowadays with people of all ages, but it seems to really have caught hold with many of the kids here at Laurel Mountain. LME students are excited to be part of a district pilot of MinecraftEdu, which is a version of Minecraft for use in schools!

One of the 2nd/3rd grade enrichment clusters is the basis for this pilot. They will be working together to create a fantastic product for the enrichment showcase.

For more information about this pilot, check out the LionCrafting blog.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Enrichment Clusters for 2nd and 3rd Graders - So Much Technology!

Tomorrow morning LME's second and third graders are set to begin their enrichment clusters, which will meet each Friday morning during the months of January and February. The clusters are based on student interest, and students get to choose which cluster they'd like to attend.

Check out these exciting technology-oriented sessions!

  • Take One!: Does putting a camera in your hands put a smile on your face?  Do you dream of directing your own movies?  Or perhaps you are a budding young actor who comes “alive” in front of a camera?  Do you enjoy experimenting with new computer programs?  If so, join me as we explore Movie Maker and the art of cinematography!
  • The Great Minecraft Experiment: Are you a fan of Minecraft? Do you love creating awesome structures, mining for diamonds, or defeating creepers? Minecraft can be used in lots of different ways! In the Minecraft cluster, we will work together to plan, design and build some amazing things. Grab your diamond pickax and join us!
  • Creative Coding: Are you creative? Do you like to make games, stories or animation? Then this cluster is for you! Learn how to use computers to code games, interactive stories and animation! With your imagination the possibilities are endless!!

What's really great about enrichment clusters at LME is that even those groups whose topics aren't technology-related still find effective and interesting ways to integrate and use technology! Skyping with community members, using the internet for research, traveling the world with Google Maps and Google Earth, and digitally designing Lego creations are just a few of the things in store for our students.  

Stay tuned for more information about our newest clusters and the ways LME gets I.T. right!

For more information about LME's Enrichment Clusters and the School-wide Enrichment Model, see 
Mrs. Levitan's SEM blog or the LME SEM webpage.