Thursday, January 26, 2017

Teague Elementary School: Prodigy from Their Prospective

When the Ed Tech Team visited Teague Elementary school earlier this school year we noticed that students were actively engaged in math concepts through using Prodigy.  We recently asked Jessica Gutierrez, 5th-grade teacher at Teague Elementary School, to tell us a little bit more about Prodigy from her perspective and from her students' vantage.

We appreciate the guest blogging of Jessica Gutierrez:

      As far as my perspective, I started using Prodigy last year as a way to try to get my students excited about practicing math.  From the start, the students have loved working with it.  They love that they get to create their own character and choose different worlds to go into.  It's a lot like a fantasy type video game.  

     What I like is that I can set up the practice to mirror what  I am currently working on in class and alter the questions.  If we haven't reached a certain part of that lesson, I can just click off that particular piece until I can cover it.  It also has an assessment feature so I can get an idea of how they are performing on a certain piece and the students don't even know they are being tested, they just think it's part of the game, which helps ease the stress of the students.  Everything is aligned with Common Core standards and it does provide extra practice in areas that are always kind of weak, like using number lines or working with missing digits in a problem.  Areas that I wish were a bit better are that it doesn't allow for a lot of individual work, it's set up pretty much whole class.  The initial set up is easy, but you do have to make sure that the students write down their username and password as you cannot set that up for them.  It is easy to find it once they set themselves up though.  I use Prodigy mostly as a free time choice, rainy day schedule activity or as a reward for hard work on something, like a benchmark. 

Jessica, thank you for sharing how you are using technology to make a #impact in your classroom!

Friday, January 20, 2017

3D Printing in Mrs. Shoaf's Class

Herndon Barstow shows off their creativity with new technology

The 6th-grade students in Mrs. Shoaf’s class at Herndon Barstow have been given the opportunity to explore the world of 3D printing.  Thanks to 2 projects funded through DonorsChoose.Org, the students have daily access to a 3D printer and a variety of colorful filaments at their disposal.  The students began their journey into 3D printing by becoming familiar with the machine and how it works.  Then they were each able to print an educational 3D object created by a 3rd person using a website called Pinshape.

Students were hooked and soon discovered that they could create their own projects using a free web-based program called Tinkercad.  The students began their journey into a 3D design by using the 3D modeling lessons that are provided free by the website.  Once students had completed just a few simple lessons they felt ready to start tinkering themselves.  They created Christmas ornaments during art and then used their newfound knowledge to help their 2nd-grade tech buddies create ornaments as well.

Most recently the 6th-grade students applied their knowledge of 3D design to create rectangular prisms that were proportionate, requiring them to apply their knowledge of ratios and proportional reasoning.  In a single lesson, they learned how to design a rectangular prism, find the length, width, and height in millimeters, and then create the second prism with the same proportions.  Their designs were then printed.  They saw the immediate real life application of this skill and enjoyed working with models of the shapes instead of trying to visualize them on paper. 

The use of 3D technology has opened doors for these students to explore and grow in ways that were previously outside their grasp.  There is 100 percent engagement when the students are taught utilizing this 3D technology.  It is a welcome addition to the educational setting.