A Google Hangout with the Kindergarten

Our two kindergarten classes are currently studying the Arctic and Antarctic. Students posted questions on a bulletin board in their classroom and we have been working together to find answers.

I introduced the kindergarten to the concept of doing research. I am calling it “guided research.” We are using the resources we have available through our library. Thanks to AC Librarian, Judy VanAlstyne, there is an excellent selection of kid friendly online encyclopedias available for us to use.

Kid Friendly encyclopedias:

I wasn’t able to make it in to school one day this week, so I decided to work from home. I checked to see  if AC kindergarten teacher, Amy Mealey, who I collaborate with regularly, would be willing to try an experiment.  I wanted to continue to work with her class by using a Google Hangout.

The lesson went pretty well. The kids were able to ask questions and I was able to show them my screen as we did our research. Classroom management was a bit hard from a computer screen, but the kids seemed to have fun. I would absolutely do this again and recommend it to anyone who is in a similar situation.

Here is a short clip of what it looked like. Unfortunately the audio didn’t record due the fact that Jing only records the microphone input. I plan to test out ScreenFlow4 for future screen recordings. Look for a post about it sometime in the next few weeks.  Sorry, the audio didn’t record.

As always, questions, thoughts or suggestions are always appreciated.

Our new STEM program at Allendale Columbia School

I started Tech Tuesday’s last year at Allendale Columbia School as a way to share and learn how teachers are using technology in the classroom and connect our school community. We had our first Tech. Tuesday of this school year on September 27th (It was actually a Thursday due to some scheduling issues). Our first session featured a group that is new to our school. We have been calling them the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) team.

Our long time lower school science teacher retired late this summer. Lower School Head, John Sullivan decided to hire a group called Vista Teach to take over the science program. They had been doing robotics summer camps at our school this year. Their camp attendance was outstanding and the program was innovative and fun. They incorporate robotics at all levels but will continue to cover life sciences that have been traditionally taught in our science program.

This Tech. Tuesday took a fieldtrip to the STEM classroom to see firsthand what our students in grades 1st through 5th will learn about in science this year.

Click here for a 360 tour of the classroom space and here for the other side of the classroom.

They have simple robots for our youngest students to use. They look like bees (beebots).

The students are asked to program these simple robots to do a variety of tasks. It’s amazing that kids as young as 1st grade can get involved in that type of thinking, planning and programming.

The other side of the classroom is set up with a full lego robotics competition table.

Click here for a 360 tour

There are laptops set up for students to use as they program their robots to do a variety of tasks. Students are given goals, not templates in order to complete the assignments. This kind of open ended activity emphasizes divergent thinking. All in all it was a great overview of how robotics fits into their program. It’s awesome that we now get to offer these opportunities to our students as part of their everyday science curriculum!

An Interview With Martha Bjorklund

Awesome interview with Allendale Columbia School, Enrichment Specialist, Martha Bjorklund, by Amy Bonner


I am honored to introduce Martha Bjorklund to the blog-o-sphere! She works as our Enrichment Specialist in Lower School at Allendale Columbia School. We have been planning a collaboration for about a month now. On Monday I had the pleasure of filming and photographing the work of her First Grade enrichment students as they read, illustrated, and acted out a play about being active and healthy.

ArtwithmsB: Will you tell my audience about your role as the Enrichment Specialist?

Mrs. Bjorklund:  I work with teachers and students from Nursery to Fifth Grade in the Lower School.  I write curriculum to support classroom projects, and I work with lots of students daily on a variety of topics.

ArtwithmsB: What kinds of opportunities have you had this year in your new role?

Mrs. Bjorklund: I have had many great opportunities this year doing a variety of projects…

View original post 484 more words

AC Bloggers


I just wanted to take a moment to recognize my fellow Allendale Columbia School bloggers. These are the teachers who are reflecting, writing, and sharing what is happening in their classroom with the world. It takes a brave soul to put yourself out there into that big crazy world called the web. It takes an even braver soul to share your work, practice, classroom, lessons, and reflections. I look around at what is happening in my fellow teachers classrooms and wish that each one of them had a blog.

Señora Brown (@lindseybbrown)
She presented at this weeks Tech Tuesday about her use of the blog as a classroom tool. I really enjoyed hearing about her use of the blog to (unintentionally) teach. She assigns a project for Spanish pronouns, which she explains better than I could…

Students in sexto learned hand motions to remind them of the meanings of Spanish…

View original post 447 more words

Tech. Tuesday’s at Allendale Columbia School

Recently at Allendale Columbia School, in Rochester, NY, we started hosting bi-weekly Tech. Tuesday presentations for our faculty and staff delivered by our faculty and staff. The concept is to promote the technology use currently going on within our school building. There are three reasons for this. First, for teachers to see how their colleagues are using technology. Second, to build momentum and get other less tech. savvy teachers interested in using technology in their classroom (the snowball affect). Third, just to get our faculty sharing about what is going on within the walls of our school. Presenters will  use a style called “Ingite”. Using this format, presenters give 5 minute presentations with 20 Power Point slides running on autoplay at 15 seconds per slide. Using this format will optimize information and time in a meaningful way for attendees without taking too much from already busy schedules.

Leah Daniels is our resident School Psychologist.
AIMS Web – AIMSweb is a data collection tool that we are currently using in the Lower School and may be looking to expand into the higher grades in the future.  This software allows staff to quickly and easily benchmark student performance in the areas of reading, writing and math at three points during the year.  AIMSweb will then analyze and provide data about student, classroom, and grade wide progress, in an effort to guide instruction and intervention.

Amy Bonner is an Upper and Middle School Art Teacher.
Amy presented on technology used in her stop motion animation unit for 8th grade. Instead of using a Keynote, Amy chose to make an iMovie video detailing what she does with her students. Students can create their projects using different mediums. Our middle school has a 1:1 iPad program, so students were able to experiment with both iMacs in our new Digital Art Lab and their iPad. Here is a list of the different tools Amy utilized for this project. As you will see almost all of the software is free!

SAM Animation program from Tufts University
Animation HD for iPad . There is a free lite version as well as a $1.99 paid version
iMovie, comes installed free on every Mac.
She also used Jing Screencasting software. There is both a free and paid version.