Each bridge was scored in the following categories in addition to their load-bearing ability:
- Workmanship (neat, clean joints and finish)
- Creativity (structural form)
- Aesthetics (proportion, form, and appeal)
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Four GMS girls competed over the weekend in the 5th annual “Bridging the Gap” RooBuilders competition at UMKC. The competition is for middle and high school students who are interested in engineering and design. UMKC provided all of the construction materials which consisted of balsa wood sticks, glue, and a card sheet.
Each bridge was scored in the following categories in addition to their load-bearing ability:
Conn-West hosted a Math and Science family fun night last week. One of the stations families got to visit was all about creation with littleBits. The littleBits activities were arranged so that students and their families could collaborate on the invention and creation of a few pre-planned projects. Using the littleBits Steam Student set and guide, the families learned how littleBits work and created fun inventions like the art machined and throwing arm seen below!
While some students loved being able to go through the guide to read and build, many chose instead to jump right in to inventing their own creations. Sometimes the best plans come from no plan at all! Just check out this invention called the "Double Wheel Counter" from a 3rd grade student who had no problem tinkering around until she figured it out.
This was a creative and exciting way for students and their families to problem solve together. The littleBits Student Steam set comes with 8 different activities and all the bits to complete them. The first four are guided projects and the last 4 are open-ended projects, such as "Hack Your Classroom" where students must create something that helps them in the classroom. Giving our students opportunities like exploring littleBits is another way to increase their skills in problem solving.
All in all, families had a great time with littleBits and it was fun to see them work together to create!
In honor of the awesome work you all did for Hour of Code week, we have created a custom Grandview C-4 game to announce this year's champ!
Click below to play and find out who won.
What a perfect way to start off the Hour of Code week with a story about dedicated coders at Belvidere! The all girls coding club is under way and they are learning the basics behind coding and why it is important. The club consists of girls from Belvidere in graders 3-5 and they meet every other week to build up their coding skills.
They recently learned how to create algorithms to compose their very own songs. This was all done with OSMO Coding Jam. The girls went through a tutorial and learned how to code with different sound effects, drums, melody, and bass. Check out an example of one of the first coded songs!
These girls are learning that computer science is a path they can take and they can make a career out of it! That they can solve problems, and create new things just by knowing how to code. They are the first in the district to try out our new OSMO Coding kit!
Listen to more of their creations!
1. Song 1
2. Song 2
3. Song 3
4. Song 4
5. Song 5
6. Song 6
The half day in November at Grandview High School was anything but ordinary. Students arrived to music in the hallways and decorated classrooms. Excitement was in the air for what was going to be a fun, educational journey. The theme of the day? Passport to the Beyond. Assistant Principal Jamie Russell and Instructional Coach Cristin Blunt created four engaging, unique 1-hour activities for students to participate in all about traveling and studying the world. Each student was given a personalized passport to carry for the day and for each activity that students successfully completed, their passports were stamped.
The day’s activities consisted of:
Students are Belvidere in PE classes are dancing, jump roping, building obstacle courses, putting together a human skeleton puzzle, and more! All in one period! How are they doing so much in such a little amount of time? It is all thanks to John DeWitt, PE teacher, trying out the Goosechase app!
Coach DeWitt wanted to incoporate the use of iPads in his PE classes to create an activity that would allow his students to review and practice things they have done so far, but he wanted to accomplish this in a fun way! So he created a Goosechase hunt! Using Goosechase EDU, he create 15 different missions that his students could complete.
Students were put into 5 teams and given the challenge to complete as many missions within 30 minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the game, was declared the winner!
Students had to find a way to work together and show what they know as fast as they could! There were a lot of smiles and laughter going around this activity. Using this technology allowed students to review and practice, but also Coach DeWitt to assess his students' learning. Way to go Coach!
Cassandra Dolinar’s students are learning how to make change happen in a very real way. Mrs. Dolinar spent her summer attending various Problem-based Learning trainings and, ultimately, designed a real-world activity for the freshman in her health classes. It all started with a driving question “How can we make Grandview High School a healthy lifestyle school?”. For their final product, students were required to propose two changes, one physical and one emotional/healthy, to Grandview High School.
They were allowed to choose their groups and were given a choice on how to present their proposals, either a website or a sales pitch format. The proposal requirements were very hefty. Presentations had to include an accurate cost analysis of the proposed changes, blueprints, and, in some cases, reaching beyond the classroom walls to experts in the field, like those they met on a field trip to Kansas City Community Garden.
The PBL process allowed students not only to learn about healthy lifestyles, but also about professionalism, public speaking, building relationships (both in school and the community), and collaboration. Student presentations took place last week in front of several experts who volunteered their time throughout the district and community. Their ideas were great! Mrs. Dolinar is making some changes for next semester, but is ready to start planning her next "mini" PBL project for a unit on bullying. Way to go!
Studies show that writing can be a powerful tool in helping to improve reading skills. This is exactly why 6th grade Martin City Middle students in Mrs. Brown’s reading classes are creating their very own blogs. Using Kidblog, students have been tasked not only with demonstrating reading comprehension, but also creating organized, meaningful posts that engage and entice their audience to read the books.
After being introduced to the concept and purpose of blogging, students were unleashed to respond to their first blog post: "Why is writing online different than writing in private?" Students' heads were down as they furiously typed away on their laptops, eager to share their personal thoughts about the topic provided. For now they are blogging for their teacher, but in the future students will be able to read and respond to all of their 6th grade peers at Martin City (and, maybe, beyond!). Class wasn't even over before they were asking when they can blog again and if they can do it from home! What an awesome way to engage and encourage students in reading!
Reflecting with SAMR
First graders in Cindy Long's class at Martin City get to transform in to wizards of words! Mrs. Long was inspired after attending the Word Nerds session at C&I day and wanted to motivate her students. She decided to pair her idea with her student's use of OSMO Words. OSMO Words is a great technology tool that allows students to practice their spelling skills with challenges in the OSMO Words app.
When students go to this center, they get to transform into a wizard by putting on their wizard glasses before starting OSMO words activities.
Students were all smiles while they were wizards practicing their spelling. It goes to show that it isn't OSMO, the technology they were using, but Mrs. Long's idea that really will make an impact on their learning. Way to go Mrs. Long!
Reflecting with SAMR
Every year we continue to work and make improvements in how we manage our student iPads. Most of you may have noticed the changes with the iPad carts in your building this year. There were a few things that occurred in preparation for 2017-18 school year.
Most of the iPad carts in the buildings were re-imaged at the end of 2016-17 school year. And the rest of the student iPads, including carts used over the summer, were re-imaged after the completion of summer school. The re-image process wiped all student iPads clean and reinstalled all scoped apps from the previous school year.
A couple of things to keep in mind after iPads are re-imaged:
In addition to re-imaging iPads, all iPad 2’s in the building carts were replaced with iPad Air’s over the summer. Any apps that were installed in the old iPads were installed in the new iPads as well.
The iPad setup/reimage process has improved over the years and we try to make the process go as smoothly as possible. We will be going through the same process at the end of the year and we hope it will be easier and faster than last year.
5th Grade Science Teachers from all K-5 buildings recently participated in Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch training as a part of the district's goal of offering high quality STEM programing to every student in the Grandview C-4 School District. Teachers were introduced to the PLTW program and the modules they will be teaching by Technology Integration Specialist, Diane DeLaTorre, and PLTW Launch Lead Teacher, Tyler Stolberg (BV 5th Grade). Over the next few months K-2 teachers will also take part in similar training as they begin to incorporate PLTW Launch into their classrooms. Grandview C-4 is proud to be one of the few districts in the region to offer PLTW programing to all K-12 students. The district also plans to expand that programming to the Early Childhood level as soon as it becomes available. These programs offer our students a tremendous opportunity to see possibilities available to them at an early age.
Grandview C-4 PLTW Programming
If you were to walk into Samantha Dane’s classroom at Butcher-Greene, you would think students were taking a test. They were hunched over their MacBooks, focused and engaged, occasionally asking Mrs. Dane for help. But walk up closer and you would notice it was actually their first online collaboration project with Tyler Stolberg’s class at Belvidere.
Both 5th grade classes were working on an activity for PLTW Launch where students were asked to label the parts of the body that defends itself from infections and diseases in Google Draw. Each student from Dane’s class was partnered with a student from Stolberg’s class. These students had never met.
The purpose of the activity was to get students comfortable with collaborating online with each other and it was exciting, totally engaging, and also frustrating for students. Most 5th grade students have never had a project where they had to work on a project with someone that wasn’t even in the same room with them! Students had to figure out ways to communicate effectively with their partners in order to successfully complete the assignment. There were a lot of comments of “I don’t know what my partner is doing!” to “What is that picture my partner added to the assignment!” in which were great learning moments where Mrs. Dane would guide them to politely ask their partners to basic digital etiquette of showing them not to communicate in all capital letters.
For the first time doing a digital collaboration, these 5th grade students did great! Mrs. Dane and Mr. Stolberg plan on doing many more collaboration projects and the skills they are teaching their students are invaluable for college and potential careers in their future.
Reflecting with SAMR
GHS Creative Writing teacher, Diane Euston, is working hard to provide her students an authentic learning opportunity by creating blogs to showcase their writing. Students created Blogger accounts and will post each writing assignment they complete throughout the semester to their personal blogs in hopes to gain an authentic audience that will provide feedback and comments on their work. Several students are excited to share their blogs with the public and have already begun posting their writing. Check out these amazing GHS Creative Writing students and be sure to check back throughout the semester as they add more:
Why should your students blog?
Blogging is a powerful platform for students in any grade or class. Not only does it provide opportunities for regular writing practice, but it also creates a public portfolio that showcases students' growth over time while inviting feedback from people outside of the classroom. Additionally, blogging helps students to create a positive digital footprint that goes beyond their Instagram and Twitter accounts! Check out the infographic below for more reasons why student blogs are awesome.
Reflecting with SAMR
Kindergarten and 1st grade students share their knowledge on how to learn a new iPad app. Will you take their advice?
The Instructional Technology team is proud to announce their summer technology courses starting on August 9. To see a list of courses we are offering, click on SUMMER TECHNOLOGY COURSES to the left or go to MyLearningPlan. We hope to see you there!
Walking into the morning Art Club meeting at Meadowmere Elementary, you could immediately sense the energy in the room. I see students with their heads facing down, concentrating on their art projects below.
"What are you working on?" I asked.
"We are 3-D drawing our names!" a boy enthusiastically answered but didn't look up from his work. He was holding a 3-D pen and carefully drawing the base for his name plate.
Adryan Steinberg, art teacher, wanted her students to learn how to use 3-D pens to illustrate concepts. She wanted to start with an easier concept of drawing their names. And since the 3-D pens were new to her, she learned how to use them along with her students.
"It was a lot of trial and error at first, students were helping each other and helping me, it was amazing to see student persevere during this art project." Steinberg commented.
Take a look at the pen in action and listen to the excitement of the students.
The next step is to ask students to create a 3-D concept of their choice as this was just the first project with a 3-D pens.
Lots of teachers do great activities each year to celebrate Read Across America Day and Dr. Suess's birthday. While this event is generally focused on literacy, Jennifer Esfandiary and her 1st grade engineers at Meadowmere Elementary did an activity that illustrates just how well STEM activities fit with Reading.
Groups of students were tasked with working together to build as tall of a hat for The Cat in the Hat as possible. After identifying the problem, students worked through a form of the engineering design process to complete their task. Check out the process below.
Building a Prototype
As you can see from the above pictures and videos, these 1st grade students are excited about this problem solving activity and are able to articulate their thinking and learning.
As educators we know how reading can spark the imagination and tap into a child's natural curiosity. This is where STEM activities, like the one Mrs. Esfandiary and her 1st graders did, can take traditional reading education to the next level; incorporating problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and choice.
Another great example that some Grandview teachers have done is turning the traditional Three Little Pigs story into a science experiment by having student work in groups to build houses and test their durability against the power of the Big Bad Wolf.
In another example students at Belvidere designed contraptions to help the Three Billy Goats bypass the bridge in order to escape the clutches of the Troll.
Although the above examples come from our elementary schools, the possibilities for incorporating STEM activities into literacy education at all levels are pretty much limitless. All you need is curious and creative students ✔︎ a few cheap materials and/or technology ✔︎ and the willingness to give it a shot❓
Classrooms across Grandview C4 are embracing the concept of digital storytelling and it's not hard to see why. Digital storytelling allows for students to take ownership over their learning by creating a story that displays what they have learned. Take for example Ms. Miller’s 1st graders at Meadowmere who were asked to tell a story about an animal. They used Book Creator to draw pictures, add in photos, and to narrate their knowledge about an animal. In this one project, many standards were addressed as well as life long skills such as doing research, writing a script, and practicing their public speaking skills.
Down the street at Conn-West, Ms. Lininger’s 3rd Graders were asked to do a similar task. They completed their animal reports on Shadow Puppet EDU and you can see they had to carefully pick what pictures would make sense with their report. Click on the picture below to watch a student's report.
Digital storytelling can be used as a tool to empower students to be confident communicators and there are quite a few ways you can ask your student to digitally tell a story. Although there are hundreds of tools that we could ask our students to use, don’t forget that it's not about the tool, but it is about telling the story and demonstrating the learning.
Students in Mrs. Godwin’s class at GMS are meeting kids from all over the world without ever leaving the classroom. An awesome website, called PenPal Schools, makes finding a pen pal easier than ever and Mrs. Godwin’s students love it!
Every student is paired with a minimum of three people from over 170 countries to learn together and discuss the things that make their country, city, and culture unique. Together the students will go through a six-week course designed by PenPal Schools. Each week has a new theme, reading, and videos as well as questions to respond to generate conversations. All of the work is done by PenPal Schools, all you have to do is sign up your classes!
This is a great way to generate curiosity and inquiry among students and it has shown to have such an effect on Mrs. Godwin’s students as they worked through the World Explorer course. They pull up maps to find the location(s) of their pen pals in relation to Grandview and spend extra time researching the things that they don’t understand (this was particularly handy in the discussions about food)!
PenPal Schools is offered free of charge to low-income districts or teachers can pay the $25 course fee to sponsor another teacher’s class. What an easy way to give students an opportunity to learn and collaborate around the world!
Grandview High School English Teacher Diane Euston has a passion for local history that was born out of her childhood experiences exploring the historic neighborhood she grew up in. Recently she started a blog to write about and share that passion. The blog, entitled The New Santa Fe Trailer, focuses on local history, and the often forgotten regular people who made it. Since starting her blog last April Ms. Euston has had more than 30,000 views to her site. Now she would like to bring her love of local history and writing to Grandview High School Students. She is currently working with social studies teacher Mike Stringer on the development of a cross-curricular (social studies, ELA) seminar course on Kansas City area history that they hope to teach in the near future.
What makes blogging such a rewarding experience is the authentic audience it can reach. Blogging is a great activity that can be incorporated in classrooms at all levels. Teachers can use blogs to communicate with parents and students, or to provide resources for students in a flipped classroom. Students can blog as part of a class/group, or create their own blog for sharing their work on a platform that provides an authentic audience and space for authentic feedback. The blog can also serve as an electronic portfolio of a students writing/work. In short, blogs create a moderated online space for teachers and students to share ideas and feedback.
Blogging is one of the easiest and most effective ways to integrate technology into your curriculum. We have many teachers at many levels blogging, but we really want to encourage more teachers to do so. If you are interested in blogging in your classroom feel free to contact Mary Cordry (Secondary) or Diane DeLaTorre (Elementary) for support.
You can check out Diane Euston's Blog here.
You can check out examples of how teachers are using blogs at all levels here
Time is of the essence in Mrs. Harrell’s fourth grade class and she is encouraging her students to be in charge of their time. Mrs. Harrell was excited to try something new with her students, so she came up with a way for them to be in charge of their schedule; self-scheduling.
Here is how, it works. On Mondays she hands out the schedule for the week, with a list of MUST DO’s that they have to complete by the end of the week. These MUST DO’s have a suggested time frame of how long it should take them to complete that activity. Students need to decide when they will do these activities and write them down.
Students then log in to Google Classroom to get more information on their assignments such as the code for a Nearpod Lesson or a link to a Read Works article. As I walked around Mrs. Harrell’s classroom, I noticed students working independently, students helping out others who were having problems logging on, and students engaged in their Nearpod lessons and articles that tied into their reading and writing skills.
I asked several students how they decided to organize their days and got a wide variety of explanations. One student said they wanted to do the work they had to do first, to get it out of the way, then they could enjoy the work they wanted to do. Another student said just the opposite; they wanted to do the work they wanted to do first, then what they had to do.
There has been research that links time management to success later in life. A study from the University of Pennsylvania concludes that self-discipline, the driving force behind time management, is a better predictor of adolescents’ academic performance than IQ. See the report here. Mrs. Harrell’s students are getting a good framework on how to manage their time that could help them in the future.
This new system also gives her time to meet with a small group every day, flex group meetings to work on writing, and one-on-one conferencing with students to discuss grades or questions they may have about their work.
Students overall agreed that they liked this system, that it helps to keep them organized! Mrs. Harrell says that the students get a little better at organizing their time every week and the technology helps them to be a little more independent.
This past week, students at GMS had the chance to explore space in a fun new way. The student body was divided into boys and girls to see the new movie, Hidden Figures, and participate in a building-wide STEM Day.
In the morning, students were given their scenario. They were pioneers whose challenge was to colonize Mars through the completion of various activities necessary to sustain life on the new planet. The day consisted of five activities designed for students to problem-solve and collaborate while competing against the other teams. Teachers were provided a rubric to award points as students designed a water filter, constructed shelters, built a lookout tower, designed a working solar water heater, and created a system for lifting rocks to move them.
Many of the activities came with little to no instruction and left it up to the students to decide what the problem was and how to solve it. At some stations, students were given access to technology to research the problem, but were otherwise left to their imaginations to find a solution!
Each station lasted one hour for students to design, test, and redesign their creations. The students had a blast and got to show off their collaboration and problem-solving skills. Kudos to the entire staff who worked hard to pull off a fun, well-planned day, and to Ms. DeeAnn Moore for overseeing the entire event. Way to go, GMS!
Transforming teaching and learning with technology doesn't always require hands-on technology use. Sometimes it can be as simple as utilizing resources on the web that wouldn't otherwise be available. This is the case with Meadowmere teacher Andrea Carr and her Kindergarten students. Ms. Carr brings learning about nature and animals to life with the use of webcams that have been setup and shared by others around the world. While learning about animals Ms. Carr's students/Virtual Explorers have observed bears hibernating and eagles nesting, among others. As Ms. Carr puts it the webcams are, "just one more way to make our world come alive and experience it in the comfort of our classroom".
Webcams offer opportunities for teachers and students at all levels and content areas. Whether students are simply observing animals in their natural habitat, comparing regions and/or ecosystems, or even participating in a real life global study like this Monarch Butterfly project, webcams can be a great way to incorporate observation into a lesson or activity. In addition, bringing the real world into the classroom is a great way to make learning more relevant and engaging for students.
Webcams that can be utilized in the classroom are just a Google search away. Below are a few of the sites Ms. Carr and her Virtual Explorers use in the classroom.
Black Bear Lily’s Den near Ely, Minnesota.
Safe Haven, Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC Canada
LIVE CAM of bears at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park, Alaska
LIVE CAM of bears at Lower River, Katmai National Park, Alaska
EarthCam and Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford, South Carolina
Hopefully you heard the recent good news about the Meadowmere First Lego League team advancing to the regional championship tournament that will take place in January. We have all heard of Robodog and our amazing high school robotics team, but not as many realize that we have robotics teams at all levels and in most of our buildings. Here is a little more about the FIRST program and our Grandview teams.
The FIRST organization was founded in 1989 in an attempt boost the number of women and minorities who pursue careers in science and technology. There are currently four programs for K-12 students; FIRST Lego League Jr. (K-4), FIRST Lego League (4-8), FIRST Tech Challenge (7-12), and FIRST Robotics Competition (9-12). If you are interested in learning more about FIRST, check out this video on Dean Kamen, the organization's founder, that aired on CSB Sunday Morning last year.
In addition to our FIRST Robotics team, aka Robodog, each of our elementary schools and two middle schools have a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team. What is really great about the FLL program is that students not only get exposure to robotics and programing, they also are exposed to real world problems and a set of core values that drive the program. The FIRST organization describes FLL as;
Tommorrow's innovators practice imaginative thinking and teamwork. Guided by adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling, energy, etc., and are challenged to develop a solution. They also must design, build, program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.
Each Grandview team practices hard in the Fall and early winter before competing in a qualifier tournament. The competition is fierce and requires team members to work together to complete a series of robot challenges and present to a group of judges. Coaches are not allowed to assist in any way. Last year the teams at Meadowmere and Grandview Middle School became the first Grandview teams to ever advance to the Regional Championship. This year Meadowmere has done it again, and the GMS team competes in the final Qualifier event this weekend at Wyandotte High School. Please join me in congratulating Carrie McDonald, Jennifer Belk, and the Meadowmere team; wishing our GMS team good luck; and thanking all of our coaches for the endless hours of work that make this amazing program possible for our students.
Some FLL pictures from over the years
Preparing our students to create digital content is more important than ever in our classrooms as we at Grandview are committed to making learning more engaging, relevant, and meaningful. Students are pretty good when handed an iPad and asked to practice their skills on an app, but it takes learning to a whole new level when asking them to use an app to create something.
For example, take one of our amazing teachers Mary Thacker, 4th grade teacher at MM. She decided to give her students a chance to be content creators rather than content consumers. Students were learning about regions of the United States and were asked to create their own digital book describing different aspects of their region.
Mrs. Thacker gave her students time to learn and teach each other how to use the app, Book Creator, before they started working on their projects. Once students understood the app better, they dove right in on making their digital book. If you were to walk into this 4th grade classroom, you would have seen students engaged with this assignment, helping each other with questions about the process, and thinking critically about the content and design of their books. Students will eventually use these books to present their information.
The real question is why use Book Creator? Can’t students just write their information on paper? First, exposing our students to a variety of technologies throughout their education will help to prepare them for their future careers. Second, using technology like Book Creator allows students to do something that paper and pencil can’t… it can allow them to reach a global audience. The next assignment these students have to create a book, it will be more familiar, they can learn from their mistakes during the first assignment, and they can publish their books to a blog like Edublogs or Seesaw, or they could even submit their books to the iBooks store to become published. Students who know their books will be read by a more global audience will invest more into their books and they will be proud of it. That is a powerful and authentic learning experience for our students and we as teachers need to encourage our students to be content creators.
Ten sixth grade girls from Grandview Middle got the wonderful opportunity to participate in the first ever Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Junior held at UMKC with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher, DeeAnn Moore, along with girls their age from all over the region. The event was sponsored by major engineering firms from all over the nation, such as Garmin, Honeywell, Cerner, Google Fiber, and many more.
The purpose is to introduce young girls, grades 6 - 8, to engineering and to spark their interest in the field. The girls were paired with female engineering mentors from the Kansas City area based on their selected interests. They participated in discussions, did hands-on activities, and listened to local female engineers discuss their experiences. Check out this short video of one of our very own students who took second place in the Bridge Building contest!
This opportunity allowed the girls to experience a new career pathway, get introduced to the different PLTW offerings within the district, gain new experiences, and collaborate with new people!
Weekly updates on the great things being done by schools, teachers, and students in the Grandview School District. A great way for us to learn from each other!