Friday, May 5, 2017

Exploring with Google Earth

Earlier in the year our 6th Graders used Google Maps to chart routes of Early Migrations to the Americas in Social Studies.  Students utilized tools of Google Maps to draw lines representing migration paths and measured distances of each migration path.

Students are now learning a different way to view the world digitally using the new web based version of Google Earth in 6th Grade Computer Literacy.  Google Earth is a massive database with billions of images representing the world's natural features, roads, topography and landmarks often in 3D.  Students are looking up where they live, historic places, and natural wonders of the world.

Another new feature of Google Earth is called Voyager.  Voyager has hundreds of of "journeys" with  categories such as travel, nature, culture and history.  Each Voyage takes you to different places in the world and has cards narrating each place.  Our students have been going to "Searching for Sharks in Street View" which enables them to "swim" under water with sharks and learn about different kinds of sharks, their characteristics and where they live.  Other Voyages include "Africa's Wildlife", "Explore London", "Museums around the World" to name a few.  The list is continually growing so checking back is worthwhile.

This new version of Google Earth was released on April 18th so our next step is to see how this tool might compliment many of the things we are teaching already in Science, Social Studies and beyond!  Below is a link if you'd like to give it a try. 

Please note, you must use Google Chrome as your browser.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Schoology Professional Development

On Monday, March 13th Richmond Middle School Teachers spent part of their professional development day working with Schoology Trainer Sarah Viner.  This year is the second year both RMS and Hanover High School have been using Schoology as our course management system.  

Now that we’ve been using Schoology for a while, teachers were wanting to bring in a professional trainer to help us use some of the more advanced features of Schoology.  With some grant funded assistance from Amy Tarallo, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, we were able to have a Schoology Trainer onsite at RMS for a day!

Schoology has many features beyond simply posting and collecting assignments and one we’ve been interested in is the Portfolio Feature.  Ms. Viner showed us different ways students can create portfolios from any of their subjects and how the portfolios stay with them and their Schoology accounts all the way through high school.  

Ms. Viner’s presentation also focused on creating assignment rubrics in Schoology and how mastery of core competencies can be incorporated into a rubric.  We feel very fortunate to have had a day with Ms. Viner and will continue to look for ways to effectively use Schoology.

Friday, February 17, 2017

StoryboardThat Columbian Exchange!

6th Grade Students have been learning about the Columbian Exchange in 6th Grade Social Studies Class with Ms. Fisher.  Each student was assigned an item and asked to research the following questions:

  1. Where did the plant/animal/disease/people come from originally, and how did it/ they move from Old World to New World, or vice versa?
  2. What impact did the spread of this plant/animal/disease/people have on the history, culture and economy of the places to which it spread?
  3. How does the exchange of this product continue to be present in our world today?

As a culminating project of their research, students created digital storyboards using “”.  Storyboards are a great way for students to creatively share their academic research using backgrounds, characters, maps and drawings to help tell the story of their exchange item.  Below are some project examples:

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

6th Grade Students Create Movies to Share their Knowledge of RMS

With the school year more than half over, students in Mr. Warren's 6th Grade Computer Literacy Class recently created iMovie's about RMS for students that will attend RMS next year.  Topics included:

  • How to be Successful at RMS
  • Favorite things about RMS
  • RMS Electives
Movies were 45-120 seconds in length, so students had to carefully plan their content to be brief, engaging and to the point.  The project also gave students a chance to be creative and let their personalities shine through and it also provided an opportunity to create a professional piece of work and practice sound digital citizenship.  Our hope is to select the top two or three movies and share them with 5th Graders who will be attending RMS next year.  

Students brought a wide variety of iMoive experience coming into the project.  Most students had some experience and some students were highly proficient using iMovie.  Aside from sharing their wisdom and experience at RMS with their audience, students learned a solid foundation of basic iMovie skills like adding, cutting and rearranging video clips, adding headings, creating transitions, adding music and utilizing sound effects.

As students continue at RMS and beyond, they will have a number of projects and opportunities to use these multi-media skills for other classes.  We're also hoping the 5th Graders learn more about RMS too!

The pictures below are links to project samples...


Friday, January 13, 2017

Music Studio

The new year brings new opportunities and this week I’ve been working with our music teacher, Mr. Hall to get our new music studio ready to go for next quarter.  We’ve been loading software on computers setting up keyboards, mixing boxes and headphones for each station.

This new elective is called Music Studio and the startup equipment was funded by a grant from the Friends of Hanover Norwich Schools.  The course will focus on beat creation, song production and learning how to mix sounds.

We’ll be using Presonus Studio One 3 Pro, a complete Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), which is an incredibly intuitive interface. It is my hope that students will see the joy of making original music and explore the possibilities this technology makes available to us.

Mr. Hall setting up for Music Studio

Friday, December 16, 2016

Learning with Online Collaboration

A few years ago a class could not easily work online together.  At best attachments and revisions would be sent back and forth by email and one person would try to organize all of the pieces.  Today, we almost take our ability to collaborate online for granted.  Students seamlessly create webpages that combined with others create informative websites that enhance their learning and the learning of others in their class.

Take the seventh grade unit on studying different stream organisms and how they relate.  Each student is assigned an organism to study and creates a webpage that illustrates essential characteristics, movements, predators and prey of their organism. Each page must have pictures, video and a chart showing how their organism relates to others.  All the webpages combined create a RMS Field Guide Website for each class.

Click here to view a sample class field guide.

Creating a class website makes it easier for students to share information and learn from eachother because all of the information is in one easily accessible place.  They also have the benefit of video which helps prepare students for when the actually go to the stream to observe different organisms.  Before, making website for this project students used to make posters and would walk around the classroom to learn about the organisms.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week of Code!

To celebrate National Computer Science Week, Richmond Middle School Students have been participating in the Hour of Code which is an annual event designed to introduce students all over the world to computer science and “to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics.”

Each day of the week, coding events were held in the RMS Lobby during lunch for all grades.  
Monday: Students had an opportunity to use iPads to program “Ollie” and “Dot” robots through mazes.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Students worked through coding challenges on the and Scratch websites.
Thursday: Art Teacher Luke Eastman demonstrated how to program and print using a 3D printer.
Friday:  Hanover High School Student Morgan Meliment shared an app he developed to help improve scores in an app called “Dotts”.

Our goal was to have every student participate in at least an hour of programming.  Thanks to all for a great week!