Getting I.T. Right at CHES

May 28, 2014. Take a look at this sampling of a 2nd grader's Google Presentation from +Amanda Mitchell 's classroom. 

May 2, 2014.  IB Exhibition is just around the corner for 5th graders at CHE. Today Mrs. McMahan's class explored using Voki as a presentation tool.

April 15, 2014. Today 2nd graders in +Sam Soto's dual language class, +Michelle Schmitt's class, +Diana Fitzpatrick's class and +Amanda Mitchell's class logged into their Google accounts to begin creating Google Presentations. Students have been researching animals using a variety of print and online media made available by the CHE library. Their presentations will culminate their work in their IB Unit of Inquiry, Sharing the Planet, with a reading and writing focus of expository research.
TA TEKS: (1) Creativity and innovation. The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge and develop digital products. (3) Research and information fluency. The student acquires and evaluates digital content.

2nd graders work together to log into their Google accounts.

March 22, 2014. Caldwell Heights 5th graders collected measurement data using Lego robots that they built. Students build Lego robots on Friday mornings as a part of their science program with the assistance of their teachers +April Sweet , +Veronica Morin , +Melinda Graham and  +Kelly McMahan. Special assistance is offered by Bruce Perry, Jason Habingreither and Craig Herdman from National Instruments.

February 26, 2014. We love Smore! This was the response of Mrs. Urieta's 4th grade dual-language class as they created online flyers with the Smore website. Students worked with reading buddies to create a flyer summarizing and stating the theme for one of the legends or folktales they had read in class. As they worked, students were also able to ask and answer each other's questions using Today's Meet. Here they also posted reflections on their learning at the close of the lesson. Watch Mrs. Urieta's teacher website for links posting completed Smore flyers.

February 11, 2014. With the Winter Olympics right upon us, what better way to combine our sports interest with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math? Today we learned about STEM at the Olympics via connection with the Perot Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Mrs. Sweet's 5th grade class was selected as one of the discussion participants for this particular program.

January 21, 2014. We all probably remember the movie Avatar, but how many of us have actually created a talking avatar?  Today fifth grade students in Mrs. Graham's room used Voki Classroom to create customized avatars that spoke the words they wrote. Students used the program to create Vokis that would read aloud their persuasive letters.

Students create avatars to read their persuasive letters to their parents.

November 16, 2013. First grade students of +Mary Accurso , +Lynn Juhl+Michelle Mitchell+April Payne used Microsoft Word to create Happy Thanksgiving! messages.  Besides practicing logging on with their own accounts, they learned how to change font sizes, make capital letters, add punctuation, insert clipart, and print.

November 1, 2013.  We robot!  Do you robot?  Fifth graders at Caldwell Heights in the classes of +April Sweet , +Melinda Graham , +Kelly McMahan , and Veronica Morin programmed their NXT robots with sensors to turn when obstructed.  Watch the video to see how it works!

CHE 5th graders show their programmed robot

October 25, 2013.  What does that graph tell us?  Mrs. Accurso polled her first grade class on several questions to gather data that would then result in a graph.  Students used Promethean ActiVotes to choose their favorites on questions about colors, ice cream and animals.  Because the software automatically transfers the results to graphs, their data was quickly viewed for discussion.

While cows are not their favorite, Mrs. Accurso's class seems to prefer cats and hamsters.

October 15, 2013.  First Graders in Mrs. Juhl's and Mrs. Accurso's classes learned about keeping safe online.  The read aloud Faux Paw's Adventures in the Internet by Jacalyn S. Leavitt and Sally Shill Linford, teaches students to 1) keep their personal information safe, 2) keep away from Internet strangers, and 3) keep telling parents or a trusted adult about everything they encounter on the Internet, especially if it makes students feel uncomfortable.  These are great reminders for students and adults alike!

Mrs. Juhl's class talks about Faux Paw's big mistake on the Internet.

May 3, 2013.  Kindergarten students at Caldwell Heights were able to learn more about dinosaurs through Connect2Texas's collaboration with the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.  The program called Dinomite Dinosaurs allowed students to take a virtual walk through the museum's paleontology exhibit. The Texas Panhandle was once a marshy area, and their exhibit features a world-class emphasis on locally discovered reptiles and amphibians from the late Triassic era (225-200 million years ago) and mammals from the late Cenozoic era (10-1 million years ago).

A PPHM educator explains the differences between carnivore and herbivore teeth.

April 23, 2013.  As a part of their animal research project, 2nd grade students use PhotoStory to upload digital pictures of their individually chosen animals, add information, and design a movie-like presentation set to music.  The project culminates with a short movie that students can publish and share with their classmates and with others.

Students from Mrs. Mitchell's class add photos and text to their movies.

March 27, 2013.  Today third grade students in Mrs. Schmitt's class participated in a video conference with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in a program called 'Storm Chasing with Clink Pecos Perkins'.  Along with classes as far away as Georgia and Wisconsin, these third graders learned how tornadoes are formed, how to stay safe during a tornado, and viewed actual tornado video footage.

March 6, 2013.  Research can be especially fun when we get to choose.  Here second graders work on independent research projects finding information in online resources such as Kids Ifo Bits and PebbleGo as others in class use books from the library.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick guides a student in discovering new sources of information.

February 19, 2013.  We show what we know about presidents!  Mrs. Juhl's first grade class illustrates a musical rap about Presidents Washington and Lincoln to celebrate President's Day 2013.  Each member of the class illustrated a portion of the song detailing information about these famous men, then lined up to have their illustrations showing in time to the song while the document camera made a video of the process. 

Watch here to see the final production!  This class is proud.

February 13, 2013.  Here's a fun way to learn about animal adaptations--join Mrs. Kuiper's third grade class in their video conference with the Texas Wildlife Association.  Today students participated in "Animal Skull Investigation!", a presentation that allowed students the opportunity to investigate skulls of native Texas animals.  Discussion surrounded unique adaptive traits while students looked for clues to determine the identity and feeding habits of mysterious specimens.

January 22, 2012.  First graders in Mrs. Juhl's class used many skills to create new PowerPoint presentations.  Students will use their research and presentation skills throughout the coming semester to share information with their peers, their teacher, and their parents.
Technology Applications TEKS:
The student uses creative thinking and innovative processes to construct knowledge and develop digital products.
The student practices safe, responsible, legal, and ethical behavior while using digital tools and resources.
The student demonstrates knowledge and appropriate use of technology systems, concepts, and operations.

December 14, 2012. Even the zoo in Fort Worth, Texas, can become a part of our learning with video conferencing technology.  Today Caldwell Heights kindergarteners connected with the zoo to learn more about winter animals including reindeer and penguins.  A connection from RRISD Video Services to ESC XIII in Austin and on to Connect2Texas in Fort Worth made this learning opportunity possible.

Where are we? Where's the zoo?
Kindergarteners see live lessons from the zoo.

December 4, 2012. Fifth graders in Mrs. Graham's class began work on their online Animoto presentations in which they reflect on their learning throughout the year. Using a collection of photos their teacher took, students uploaded and captioned photos demonstrating their many learning activities and products.

Melinda Graham watches as students in her class upload photos to their individual presentations.

November 9, 2012.  Second grade classes have been reading about important people in biographies.  In Mrs. Hill's class, students wrote poems about either people from biographies or people who are important to them, modeling after The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. They illustrated their own poems and published their work in a paper slide video using a laptop and document camera.


  November 5, 2012. At the CHES Family Reading Campout, teachers shared with students and their families information about the many online research resources available at home.  Copies of the user names and passwords were given to visitors and are available through the campus librarian.

October 16, 2012.  Art students in Mrs. Smith's class created personalized sketch books using technology.  Mrs. Smith took digital portraits of her class, then students uploaded their photos to PIXLR, an online photo editing tool where they manipulated the photos to create just the look they wanted.  Printed copies of the edited photos were then glued to their sketch books.  Here, sketchbooks are displayed outside the school library.

October 9, 2012.  Portfolios are a great way to keep track of our accomplishments and growth.  CHE students in 3rd through 5th grades maintain their portfolios by saving electronic artifacts in their IB portfolio folders.  Later they link them to the PowerPoint portfolio that they began as third graders.  This way as fifth graders they can reflect on growth through the years.  Pictured below, a third grader in Mrs. Schmitt's class begins his ePorfolio setup by completing the About Me page and continues with a lesson on hyperlinking for the first artifact (a business advertisement) in the How We Organize Ourselves unit.

September 14, 2012. First graders in Mrs. Morin's dual-language class interact with online books during their center time.  This group listens to books from TumbleBooks, one of the many resouces provided for students by RRISD.  Passcodes for these resources are available for home use as well.  Watch your child's Wednesday folder for a list of the many resources and codes available for home use, or contat the school librarian.

May 4, 2012. Animals and their classifications--that's what we're researching in 2nd grade at CHES. After finding information about habitats, body coverings, life cycles, food/prey, defense mechanisms and other interestiong facts, students craft slide shows in Microsoft PowerPoint so that they can present their animal information to other students in the class.  In these photos students in Mrs. Miller's class learn to manipulate font colors and sizes, insert and manipulate photos, and change background colors to enhance the presentation.

April 27, 2012. We got the "dirt" on dirt!  Fourth graders at Caldwell Heights learned more about soil than most of us have ever known as Jeff Ferris from The Natural Gardener in Austin brought the stubject to life.  Using hands-on activities and technology presentation tools, Mr. Ferris provided classes with tales of sand, silt, clay, organic materials, and ant heads exploding from exposure to fungus! All of this was a part of the fourth grade IB unit that included science TEK 4.7 that learners will "examine properties of soils, including color and texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of plants."  To learn more about soils and plants, Mr. Ferris refers us to the Austin gardening education site

Mr. Ferris shows students how nematodes in the soil appear under magnification.

April 4, 2012. We like math!  Mrs. Amanda Mitchell's second grade class created a paper slide video to show just how much they do love math. Using the song, "Music with Mar: We Like Math" from Discovery Education Streaming, students drew pictures to illustrate the concepts in each line of the song.  After practicing in what order their paper slides (drawings) would be displayed, the illustrated song was video recorded using a document camera and a laptop.  What a fun way to share this second grade class's love of math with the school and community!

March 30, 2012.   At Caldwell Heights Elementary student portfolios are a tool to collect, assess, and reflect on student learning, all tightly interwoven with the six transdisciplinary themes of the PYP program. These e-portfolios are collections of student work representing a selection of products that represent specific student performance.  Here students in Ms. Ramirez's third grade class learn to hyperlink artifacts of their learning including poems and heritage dolls to their e-portfolios.

Learning to hyperlink from student e-portfolio pages to corresponding products of student work.

March 6, 2012.  Media literacy TEKS ask second graders to use comprehension skills to analyze how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in various forms to impact meaning. Second grade students in Mrs. Hill's class use the PBS Kids website to first learn about facts and opinions, and then to create comics and movies that demonstrate how they can use words, images, graphics, and sounds to persuade.

Creating a comic

Movies are created, can be viewed full-screen, and can even be emailed to a friend.

Students partner to create a movie.

February 3, 2012.  As an IB candidate campus, Caldwell Heights collaborates with other IB and IB candidate campuses.  Today all of the 5th grade classes from Caldwell Heights Elementary gathered for a Skype call to Chandler Oaks Elementary also in Round Rock.  Chandler Oaks students explained how the building and processes in their school gave them the "green school" designation.  Caldwell students were able to ask questions to further their research about energy and alternative energy sources.  View a part of their conversations in the video below.

January 6, 2012. Fifth grade students at Caldwell Heights used, an online technology skills and curriculum integration learning website, to get a hands-on view of using visual mapping software.  Students individually logged onto the website to visit two interactive modules plus a quiz.  Afterward students in each class collaborated to create a visual map on the Promethean board (interactive whiteboard) with Inspiration software as a tool to review their science lessons about types of energy.

Students learned to use the software with

Students in Ms. Sweat's class create a visual map about types of energy.

December 2, 2011.  Mrs. Rivas's second grade students at Caldwell Heights used the recording feature of Promethean ActivInspire with their ActivPanel to demonstrate math strategies.  Here one student (no voice) shows how a question that their teacher wrote about their class and Mrs. Lara's second grade class on-the-fly can be solved.  The videos can be uploaded to TeacherWebs as demonstrations or archived in student portfolios as a form of assessment to show understanding.

Mrs. Rivas emails these short videos in a weekly communication with parents so that they can see what students are learning in class. This video (with sound) demonstrates strategies students use to count money.

November 15, 2011.  LoggerLites provide animated real-time displays as they interface with software while students explore scientific concepts.  CHE 5th graders made predictions about which container--a paper cup, a styrofoam cup, a plastic cup, or an aluminum can--would keep the temperature of a specific amount of water and ice cold for the longest time. Students logged their predictions, tested the starting temperature of the ice and water in each of the cups, then waited to test their predictions at set time intervals.

November 8, 2011.  Second grade students at Caldwell Heights concluded their unit "How We Express Ourselves" with presentations the children produced and filmed using Flip Video cameras.  Throughout the thematic unit students learned about children around the world, concentrating on personal and national celebrations.  Videos were a part of the summative presentations and classes shared their videos with each other, reflecting on what they learned, what surprised them, and lingering questions.

April 14, 2011.  Excited first graders watch as incubated chicken eggs hatch in their own classrooms.  Each first grade class at CHE gets a hands-on experience with the downy chicks from egg to fluff.  Here students monitor an egg as it hatches in Mrs. Glaser's room.  The class document camera focuses on the eggs inside the warm incubator while the projector brings it to life on-screen for everyone to view in real time.  First come sounds of silence as students watch and wait, then a squeal goes up as a chick flops its tired head out of the egg, and next we hear the sound of a faint peep.  With the document camera, Mrs. Glaser is able to record the entire process to upload to her TeacherWeb so that students can share this experience with their families.

The first egg hatches
Students are able to watch from their desks.
Downy chicks make their home in a warm cardboard box for everyone to see.
March 25, 2011.  CHE loves robotics!  Fifth grade students learn the principles of Lego NXT robotics each Friday morning this spring.  Using D-Teach lessons that strive to make science, technology, engineering, and math education fun and exciting, students have innovative learning opportunities.  The students are engaged in hands-on problem-solving lessons integrated into the curriculum that may inspire them to become the engineers of tomorrow. Robotics instruction is lead by 5th grade teachers and Bruce Perry from National Instruments.

Designing a robot that will move soda cans to a recycling area.

February 18, 2011.  Students in Mrs. Graham's 5th grade class record scientific data using Logger Lites.  Logger Lites are science tools used with a computer software interface that help students make predictions, test their predictions, and evaluate their assumptions.  Animated real-time displays allow learners to visualize with live readouts.  Here a group of fifth graders is testing the temperature of ice water.  They also tested the temperature of boiling water, discovering that even when water is at a full boil, the temperature does not continue to rise above 100°C.

Caldwell Heights 5th Grade Scientists

January 26, 2011.  Fourth and fifth grade students work with Caldwell Heights librarian Miss Gardner to create a video book trailer for The Halelujah Flight a Bluebonnet Award nominated book by Phil Bildner.  Today the students collaborated with the New York author through Skype to gather ideas and communicate their plan.  Students will storyboard their ideas during weekly meetings and email Mr. Bildner with their questions during the coming weeks.  A follow-up Skype call with the author is planned in four weeks.  The author plans to post the final product on his web page and present it with Miss Gardner at the Texas Library Association conference in Austin this year.

4th and 5th graders from Caldwell Heights speak with author Phil Bildner via Skype.

Students were able to directly ask the author about his ideas for their video book trailer.

December 8, 2010.  Ms. Grigg's third graders use the Promethean board during their daily problem solving for math.  Ms. Griggs gives students 10 minutes to solve the daily problem independently, then they talk as a class about their problem solving strategies.  Here, the teacher demonstrates the strategy she used to order the numbers from least to greatest.

December 7, 2010.  Fourth grade students in Ms. Johnson's class use classroom laptops seamlessly as a part of the writing process.  Collaborating as they write, revise, edit, and publish their stories, these learners enjoy the creative process.

November 18, 2010.  Ms Rivas’s first grade class used TI-10 calculators to learn about math rules.  Using the classroom document camera and projector to demonstrate how to program the calculator, each student in the dual language class was successful creating a “doubling machine” for this lesson.  They were able to calculate the double then of any number they entered.

November 15, 2010Third graders in Mrs. Gonzalez's class used the book Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard to compare and contrast characters.  Mrs. Gonzalez used the document camera and projector enabling all students in the class to view each page of the book clearly as they created their own Venn diagrams as graphic organizers. 

November 3, 2010Ms. Guevara, Caldwell Heights Counselor, used the Promethean board in 3rd-5th grade classrooms to survey student attitudes and beliefs.  Data collected using interactive voting devices will help Ms. Guevara to tailor information and activities in her visits with classrooms throughout the year, making it specific to the needs and interests of the students in each grade level and class.  The newest Promethean boards, ActivExpressions, and document cameras in 4th grade classrooms were provided by the T3 Grant (Target Tech in Texas).

Third graders used ActiVotes to express their beliefs, opinions, and attitudes about the topic of bullying.

October 22, 2010.  Students in Mrs. McMahan's 2nd grade class used Caldwell Heights's online resources in the classroom to research their chosen topics.  Some used BookFlix, Gale Kids InfoBits, and PebbleGo to find information on their topics of interest.  Engaged by the graphic and audio formats of these grade-level appropriate sources, students were able to learn more about the research process.

2nd graders use CHES online resources to find information.