Grade 5 Transition & Experimenting

Even though we are a school of only ~2000 students, we still have three separate divisions. Our middle and high school are (literally) on top of each other but our elementary school is a separate building. Our middle school counselor has created a Buddy Program to help the grade 5 students transition from elementary to middle school. Each Grade 5 student is paired with a grade 6 “Buddy.” I think this is a great idea so when she approached me to help her brainstorm ways for the students to be in touch over the summer, I was all-in!

Our middle and high schools started using Edmodo this year. We have our own school domain and many teachers have been effectively using it to communicate with their students. Since the grade 5 students will need an Edmodo account for next year, we decided that it would be better to use a platform that they will need next year instead of having them sign up for something they will only use once. The counselor set up an Edmodo group and gave the group code to the grade 6 students (who immediately started posting, welcoming their buddies). Over the summer, she will monitor the group to make sure that students are being kind and respectful to each other.

Edmodo buddy group

Getting the grade 5 students signed up with a slightly bigger challenge. Edmodo does not allow you to batch sign-up students. We wanted students to have the responsibility and experience of signing themselves up. Not all students have a device at school. SO…I downloaded the free 30-day trial of Camtasia and did a little messing around. I had never made a screen-cast before but it only took me two tries to get what I wanted (although I went incognito the first time, I forgot to remove the bookmarks bar). Camtasia was super easy to use and I really liked exploring! I just wish it wasn’t quite so expensive. 😉

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Just my honest opinion & experience.

iPad Tips & Tricks

Based on the feedback we received from our staff, we decided to officially start our professional development with ‘iPad Basics’ or as we called it, ‘iPad Tips & Tricks.’ The goal of the PD was to get teachers comfortable with their iPads so that they could become more confident and start experimenting with them in their classrooms. Because we know our teachers are not all at the same place, we created 3 levels of the training. We are offering the sessions on three consecutive Mondays and you can read more about the planning process here.

The three of us split up the presentations…and I was the lucky one selected to do level 3. Although I was not confident to begin with (I don’t have nearly as much experience with iPads as my two colleagues), I’m glad that I had the opportunity to take on the challenge. I learned a lot in the process and even found the Reflector App…which just might be my new favorite discovery. A few notes about the creation of the presentation:

*I took a lot of screen shots on the iPad and edited them with ArtStudio before uploading them to Google Drive using the iPad app.
*I made all the videos using Reflector.
*I used Google Drive & a Presentation to store the pictures and create the presentation.
*I used a Google Form to collect feedback from the staff that attended my session.

Voilà my level 3 iPad Tips & Tricks! Would love any feedback 🙂