Blogging at Student Led Conferences

Early Childhood students (K-1) have been blogging all year and were able to amaze their parents with their newly learned skills during student led conferences.  Our Kindergarten and first grade students blog on the iPads using an app called Easy Blog Jr and can blog 100% independently.  Be sure to check out your child’s blog via the links on the right hand side of this blog or via your child’s teacher blog.

Balancing Screen Time for You AND Your Child

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.28.56 PMParents ask me all of the time how much is too much screen time for their kids.  Even as a technology coach I sometimes find myself asking the same question.

Parents often also comment on how other parents are always on their screen as well.  What impact does this have on our children’s desire for screen time?

In comes, Common Sense Media, the one stop resource for parents and educators around everything media and tech.  Video games, movies, apps and more are reviewed and analyzed and can easily be searched.   Plus there are great articles written for parents about this big question of balance.  Earlier this month they published a very informative blog post: Be a Role Model: Find Find a Healthy Balance with Media and Technology.  It’s a great read, I highly recommend it to you!  Here are the “5 Ways to Find a Healthy Balance of Media and Technology” offered in the article.

Be a role model.

Start good habits early.

Use media together.

Keep distractions to a minimum.

Turn off work. “

Coding in After School Activties

“Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States and former Google executive, wants every child to be able to code.  That’s a sweeping but practical vision. If we’re teaching students the languages of letters and numbers to be able to speak, understand, and impact this world — math, science, technology, and code must be part of that knowledge. If we want students to be able to understand the technology that they use every day, then we need to start providing those building blocks from an early age.

The ability to code enables young people to become creators rather than consumers. Students with this creative capacity and technical literacy will hold the power in the future. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs, and, as some teenagers and younger students have shown us, they are already the entrepreneurs of today.”

Many first through third graders are busy learning to code in our after school activities season 2.  The kids are using apps such as Scratch Jr. and Bee-Bots on the iPads. Creating their own movies and moving the Bee Bot through a series of screens with code is so engaging and rewarding for students!   Students are also learning to program the robot Bee-Bots to count by fives and go through wood mazes!

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Here is a screen shot of some great coding apps that your children may want to explore further at home.

Coding Apps

Hour of Code

The entire elementary school, PK3-5th grade, participated in Hour of Code over the last week.

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The goal is for 100,000,000 students worldwide to have tried coding by the end of 2014!  We are well on our way of meeting that goal!



Diana Stepner, Pearson summarizes the necessity of teaching coding in school beautifully in her blog post, Why the Future will be Made by Creators, not Consumers.  ”The ability to code enables young people to become creators rather than consumers. Students with this creative capacity and technical literacy will hold the power in the future. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs, and, as some teenagers and younger students have shown us, they are already the entrepreneurs of today.”

Every student in PK3-1 were engaged, used problem solving skills, collaborated with peers and had a lot of fun.  A few kiddos really have a knack for coding and would love to continue at home.  If your child brings coding up to you at home, contact your child’s teacher to get their login information.  Enjoy this slideshow of early childhood kids trying their hand at coding!

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Our Community – Kindergarten

All of our Kindergarten classes have been learning about their community.  They began by learning about their classroom community, the other Kindergarten classroom communities and then larger school community.  In integrated arts and music they have even worked on the larger community of their neighborhoods.

A great way to use technology in education is to make a final project or reflection.  Some students smashed many apps together to make posters to hang around the school with their understanding about the community and others made their neighborhood artwork come to life.

Apps used:

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 12.51.08 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 12.48.44 PM Poster: Draw and Tell, Pic Collage

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Puppet Movies – Camera Roll, Puppet Pals



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Click here to view a sample Puppet Pals Movie

PK3 Students Share Their Feelings

IMG_7991Even our youngest students can create on the iPads.  Our PK3 students have been learning about their feelings.  They are able to share their feelings and even express when they may feel a certain way.

We asked the kids to pick a place in the classroom and tell us how they feel when in the area in PK3LA and asked kids to pick an feeling card and tell us when they feel that way in PK3JW.  IMG_7994

Then we took a few minutes to create puppet shows using the app Puppet Pals, to express these feelings.  A few are showcased below; they are absolutely adorable and document the children’s learning beautifully.


App Smashing

One important way we use the iPads in early childhood classrooms at SAS is to reflect upon our learning.  This past week 1EG was finishing off their community building social studies projects.  We captured the kids reflections to the question, “How did working together on this project help build a stronger community?” by smashing two apps on the iPad together, PicCollage and ChatterKid.  In PicCollage the students made a collage of pictures and text about the classroom project that they had been a part of.  And then in ChatterKid they answered the reflection question by adding their voice and making their mouth move.  It was a lot of fun and ended the unit in a very reflective way!

*Note, if you can’t see the above video try a different browser*

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QR Codes Explained

What are QR codes?
Watch this brief two minute video to see what they are all about.

When QR codes are read, they take you directly to a website or URL that is associated with that QR code.

How does a QR code work?
Hold your iPad or Smart device up to a QR code with a QR reader app (Qrafter Pro on school iPads) open.  Press scan.  The reader will take you to the URL that is associated with that QR code.

How do I get an URL of my child’s work, an image or video?
-Use dropbox
-Use Flickr
-Use google drive
-Find another way to host the media

How can I make a QR code?
Use a QR code creator.  My favorite on the computer is  Or use QRafter Pro on an iPad/smart phone.  Just copy and paste in a URL, then download the QR code image.  From there you can print or email it.

What age students can use QR codes?
Any age….PK3 students will love hearing the beep and seeing the image or video appear just as much as the first graders!

What can I do at home to support my child’s learning with QR codes?
-While on vacation have your child write, draw and record their voice explaining their favorite part of the trip. Turn it into a QR code and share with family near and far.
-Make QR codes to practice sight words, math facts, or passport club information.
-Make a QR code scavenger hunt to teach family members vocabulary words around the house.

Happy Scanning!


Traveling Teddy Bears

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 9.21.02 PMThe traveling Teddy Bears will be visiting SAS soon!  My friend, Pana (KA-2 IT Integration Specialist at Taipei American School in Taipei, Taiwan), is behind the fun and learning.  “Teddy and Freddy want to see what children are learning in classes around the world. They are both packed and ready for a global adventure. In each class they visit, they will get to see what they are learning about and the children will blog about things they do with Teddy and Freddy here on the Traveling Teddy Bears blog. Classes will get to learn about countries Teddy and Freddy have visited by reading the blog and potentially Skyping with classes that have already had them visit. They will also have to try to learn something about where they are sending their bear next so they can help pack appropriately! Follow both Teddy and Freddy on Twitter using #globaledted and #globaledfred!” (

iPad License to Drive

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 7.16.05 PMEvery K and 1st grade class started off this year with a fun, interactive lesson on rules for iPad usage at school.  We are so lucky to have so much access to iPads in the EC department and  want to make sure that our youngest students appreciate and understand how to appropriately use an iPad for learning and creating.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 8.23.08 PMDo you have rules for iPad usage at home too?  If not I encourage you to check out ours here and come up with some appropriate rules at home too.  With the number one rule being: Ask permission to use the iPad.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 8.23.29 PMEach Kindergarten student learned about the iPad rules and 1st grade classrooms created their own rules.  All classes took their friends picture with the iPad, wirelessly sent the picture to my computer and we printed individual licenses.  These will be great reminders of the rules for keeping our iPads safe!

If we teach today's students as we taught yesterdays, we rob them of tomorrow! ~John Dewey