Parent Blog

Tis’ the Season for CODE!!!

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Tis’ the Season for CODE!!!

K-3 Students are gearing up for lots of computer programming!  In late November, part of December and January all Country Elementary and Farley Hill  students will be learning how to code!  We are participating in CODE.ORG‘s 3rd annual Hour of Code.  Last year hundreds of organizations (including Facebook, Microsoft, Instagram, Pinterest, and more) joined together to create fun introductions to computer programming for students.  I have a page on my website with additional tutorials for coding:  This is also where students can log in to their individual classes to get credit for their coding.  This will begin after Thanksgiving for most classes.

This year the tutorials include many more tutorials and a sequel to last year’s MINECRAFT!  The students are so very excited about it (especially Minecraft!)  The Kindergarten students will participate as well.  They will start with tutorials like Angry Birds, which is a nice introduction to coding.


This year, we are using PAIR PROGRAMMING!  One student serves as the driver and the other student serves as the navigator.  This effective system allows for an amazing collaborative experience!

Check out this awesome video to see what PAIR PROGRAMMING IS ALL ABOUT!

Take time as a family to learn how computers work!

Some amazing articles about coding!

code 2016

4-C Fall News

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4-C Fall News


4-C is the technology class for all students in K-3.  Our lessons and projects focus on 4 key components: Creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.  We are also focused the ISTE standards.  View the Standards

  • We are always in BETA and are updating and creating NEW VERSIONS!
  • Encourage: questioning and curiosity!
  • We need to celebrate original thought and innovation!
  • Don’t be afraid to fail!  Model this with your kids.  LEARN WITH YOUR KIDS!

Kindergarten is focused on learning all about creativity and critical thinking right now.  We are learning about the 3D printer, how to answer questions to eliminate answers to get to the important answers, effective problem solving and much more!

First Grade is learning about Google Slides, Google Classroom and the 3d Printer.  We are learning how to navigate Google Drive and use the apps to show what we are learning.  In November we will work on using Google to research.  We began using Google’s Read&Write App.  Students can use speech to text to create a piece of writing and also have websites read to them.  It is an awesome tool!

2nd and 3rd grade created Google Sites.  They are working on including student projects, pictures of proud work, research and reflections throughout the year.  Learning to create a website is an incredibly helpful skill.

We are also using the apps: Wevideo to create educational videos.  Students created fun little trailers to put on their websites. We plan to use this same program to create reflections, book talks and more.

Google Classroom

First through third grade is using Google Classroom to do assignments.  This is a wonderful tool to help both student and teacher organize and communicate.







Chromecast Fun!  

We use Chromecast and big displays to encourage collaboration and communication in class.  The old days of students staring at screens in the computer labs like zombies is over.   I love to hear kids working together in their teams asking questions, problem solving as they cast to the screen.  They also use the screen to reteach or ask questions with their groups.  It is so inspiring!

2nd and 3rd grade students Participate in “Suggestions and Edits” Students take turns casting to the display to get suggestions and edits from their team.  They recently used the Chromecasts to help each other edit their “all about me” pages for their websites.  One at a time they shared their page while everyone gave suggestions and edits.  True teamwork!




Here is a great video that is a great video that explains how working together on projects can inspire learning!

Tech-Tastic Summer Activities!

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There are many amazing tech experiences for K-3 students online.  The summer is a perfect time to learn with your child online.  Learn to code!  Create a video or slide presentation about a favorite topic.

Check out Country Elementary’s 4 C’s Lab!

(Click the picture to see more photos!)

4 c

Spend your Summer exploring the 4 C’s!

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Camp Google!


Camp Google is a “free summer camp that gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. Led by experts, the activities have been designed to encourage kids to ask questions, setting them on a lifelong journey of exploration and discovery.”  Camp Google helps students scientific topics and places such as the bottom of the ocean and outer space!


Camp Wonderopolis!


I love “Camp Wonderopolis”  Wonderopolis is a website that focuses on “I wonder” questions.  It is a nice way to learn about real world topics and make connections to classroom topics and teachable moments during the day.  I know that kids ask questions all day long.  Now they can have a fun place to go to explore educational topics they “wonder” about!

Learn to Code as a Family!


Tynker offers coding courses for all grade levels and interest levels.

codeorg is an amazing coding instructional website for everyone in the family.  They even have wonderful courses for early readers.  Top tech gurus and celebrities teamed up to create these lessons to encourage coding.  I recommend setting goals to complete courses as a family throughout the Summer!

Maker Camp by: GoogleMaker-Camp-logo_sansRobot

Maker Camp is designed to get more kids interested in “making more.”  Maker Camp is an awesome collection of project tutorials by, for, and with the kids who are making the world of the future.  Get involved and get start creating!


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2nd and 3rd grade students have been taking the MAP test during the month of January during their tech time, but we plan to get back to business in February!  In February we plan to:

  • use Google Docs and Slides for project
  • Explore Project Based Learning using Chromebooks
  • Learn how to share and work together with other students when creating new projects
  • Researching using online resources and tools
  • Sharing projects using student blogs

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.00.28 PM

Many students continue to participate in the “Hour of Code” both at school and at home.  The Kindergarten and Kinder Ready students had a blast coding coding with the Angry Birds and beginning levels of drag and drop coding.  First grade continues to learn how to code using’s tutorials.   The 1st – 3rd grade students work at their own pace to complete tutorials featuring Minecraft, Starwars, Gumball and more!  Coding teaches us all about computational thinking and perseverance.  These skills are so important and will help students actually perform better in most subjects in school.

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During the month of February K-1 Students will continue to perfect their ability to use their Chromebooks independently.  Student are really loving using the Chrome OS.  It has been a very positive experience so far.


Kindergarten will be logging in to their Google Accounts independently for the first time!  They begin to learn about:

  • Using Google Docs to write a sentence and insert a photo
  • Using Audio, Video and Photos for classroom projects
  • Sending a Gmail to another student
  • memorizing their email and password
  • and much more!


In February, First Grade will learn how to:

  • Use Google for research and find information
  • Use Audio, Video and Photos for classroom projects
  • memorize their email and password
  • use basic keyboarding and shortcuts to make the Chrome OS even easier to use
  • and much more!



The students used Google MAPs to explore the White House, Pinckney and more!  We also learned how to use the “parachute guy.”  (Tip: click on the “earth” mode to make your map look more realistic)flying_man We dropped him inside of the White House!  This tool is amazing because students can explore the world without leaving their seat.  It is a free tool to use from Google.  

We talked about how “in the old days” people would put giant paper maps on the wall and put push pins where they visited or wanted to visit.  Students can do the same thing when they are logged into their school Google accounts!  Use your custom maps to: Create a journal of traveling, make plans for the future or have fun touring famous buildings and places around the world – FOR FREE!

Hour of Code 2015

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In December and January all Country Elementary and Farley Hill  students will be learning how to code!  We are participating in CODE.ORG‘s 3rd annual Hour of Code.  Last year hundreds of organizations (including Facebook, Microsoft, Instagram, Pinterest, and more) joined together to create fun introductions to computer programming for students.  Country students are in their 2nd/3rd year and we are so pumped that Farley Hill students are joining in on the fun this year!  I have a page on my website with additional tutorials for coding:

              XHcyLAJG3f9zOnidoYfAgjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVvK0kTmF0xjctABnaLJIm9   minecraft-code

This year the tutorials include STAR WARS and MINECRAFT!  The kids are so very excited about it (especially Minecraft!)  The Kindergarten students will participate as well.  They will start with the Angry Birds tutorial, which is a nice introduction to coding.

Check out this video to learn about Country Elementary’s experience last year.  We presented our video and presentation at the school board meeting.  12 Country Elementary students used iPads to teach each school board member the basics of computer programming.

Last year across the world kids learned to code!

I could go on and on about the importance of learning to program a computer, but the short videos below do a much better job explaining!

One more thing: Students will bring home log-in information in December so that they can code at home.  The login will keep track of how many lines of code your child has completed and help them save their progress.

Check out to see all the different lessons, tutorials and more!


Here are a few more  articles and resources about why learning to code is so important!

Check out this infographic about how computer programming empowers kids! (Click twice to enlarge)teachkidstocodegif

Chromebooks and GAFE

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What is a Chromebook?


2nd and 3rd Grade

After a few weeks of MAP testing during their weekly tech class time, 2nd and 3rd grade students finally were able to dive into the new Chromebooks!

  • Students logged into their new blogs and completed their first post!  Now they will practice commenting on each other’s posts.  They learned how to create an avatar as well.  We’ll post their blogs for parent viewing soon!
  • Students are working on memorizing their Google Logins as well.
  • We began learning about Google Drive and Google Apps.
    • Google Drawing: This app is great for creating diagrams for school projects, labeling, creating original artwork, and more!)
    • Google Docs: This is where students can do daily classroom writing workshop and response to prompts from their teachers.  Students can also do collaborative writing with peers.
    • No need to print because they can just “share” projects with their teachers!
  • Students learned about the rules and procedures when checking out the Chromebooks.  Caring for our technology equipment is very important.  Below is a copy of the rules we follow when checking out the carts and using the Chromebooks in the classroom: Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 7.49.06 PM

1st Grade Students are working very hard to log-in to their Google accounts independently.  Classes are working on publishing class books using Google Drawing and Google Slides.  It is a fun project and we weill share when the books are finished.  In addition to using their Chromebooks for RAZ-Kids and Xtra math in their own individual classrooms, they are quickly becoming expert Chromebook users!

Kindergarten students are working on navigating the new Chromebook keyboard and touchpad.  Dragging and dropping using a touch pad can be a tricky skill! Online educational activities often require arrow keys and basic keyboarding skills.  We are working on scrolling up/down with two fingers and moving the cursor with only one finger.  Below is a quick 7 second video showing how to use 2 fingers to drag/drop:


Fall Technology Adventures!

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We are having a blast in technology class!  Now that we are finally wrapping up MAP testing, the 2nd and 3rd grade classes will starting to use their Google accounts in full force!  We will cover Digital Citizenship before we start sharing online.  Here are a few of the resources we will use to teach about being safe online.

  • Below is a link to the video we will watch from Brain POP:

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 8.33.09 PM

  •  We will also talk about the “THINK” poster!



Sharing is wonderful and connecting with other learners is an important part of growing as learners.  It is important to remind young students about the friendly and appropriate ways to share online.  Starting these habits and lessons early are KEY!

Below is an overview of the Fall months in Technology Class for second and third grade students:

  • Students will continue to learn how to use the Chromebooks.
  • 2nd and 3rd grade students will create a blog to share writing, photos of school projects, etc.
  • We will learn how to use Google Docs, Forms, Google Presentation, Gmail, Google Drawing, and more!  These tools and apps are part of the Google Apps for Education.
  • Learning about computer programming and why it is essential for jobs they will have in the future.
  • Students will reading and write code this year.  We will build on the coding lessons from last year.
  • We will begin learning about key concepts in computer programming.  This includes computational thinking, algorithms, and how learning to code can help you think through problems more efficiently.
  • Introduction to robotics and how apps can be used to program robots for different tasks.


First Grade students will learn how to log-in to their School Google Accts in October.  It will take some practice, but they will be experts in no time!

  • In addition to all the awesome computer programming and coding  First graders will:
    • Learn about Google tools and Apps.
    • Use Google Apps to create writing pieces and shared drawings.
    • Work together with classmates to create fun interactive projects using Google Presentation and Youtube.

Kindergarten Students are working hard learning to use our new Chromebooks.

  • They are learning to scroll using arrow keys and two fingers
  • navigate/move the pointer/cursor around using one finger
  • Learning/locating the Chromebook keys that we use often (including reload, volume, full screen, arrow keys, CTRL etc.)
  • Click to see larger photo of our Chromebook keyboard:


  • Kinders are also working on navigating my website.
  • We play learning games that reinforce Common Core Standards
  • We practice how to safely care for a Chromebook and put it away in the charging cart.
  • We are also practicing to close browser windows using “CTRL-W”
  • We will also learn about computer programming and coding.

See my next post all about CHROMEBOOKS for more information about why Google Chromebooks are so GREAT for kids, teachers and our schools.  Here is a short video about Chromebooks:


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If you are looking for a fun online activity to do as a family… Check out Wonderopolis!  This website offers amazing resources for teachers, students and families.  It pretty much focuses on “I wonder” questions.  It is a nice way to learn about real world topics and make connections to classroom topics and teachable moments during the day.  I know that kids ask questions all day long.  Now they can have a fun place to go to explore educational topics they “wonder” about!

Right now Wonderopolis is featuring a SUMMER CAMP!  It is a fun camp of activities.  Register your child today!

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Some great features:

  • It highlights important vocabulary in the text for readers to focus on – GREAT for developing vocabulary and improving non fiction reading skills
  • It has a “listen” button if you want it read to you.
  • There are videos for each “I wonder” topic
  • There are quizzes for each topic
  • Makes important connections to real world topics
  • Incorporates hands on activities such as science experiments or crafts
  • Students can suggest new “I wonder” questions for the website to feature and vote for other topics as well


Technical “Yays!”

  • It is available on most all devices including iPad and Android
  • Wonderopolis is pretty active on Twitter.  They tweet great ideas for classroom/home.  Be sure to tweet out some fun stuff you do with your kids and they will almost always respond.


March is Reading Month

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March is one of my favorite months at school because it is READING MONTH!  This post will focus on some SUPER reading websites that focus on reading.  There are so many online resources for reading.  These are just a few of the many reading resources available for K-3 readers.



starfallStarfall is a great free website for students (grades K-2).  There is also a paid version of this website available called, “”  The paid version includes many more ebooks and a variety of math and reading activities.  The kids love this website!







SuperWhy offers reading games that focus on alphabet skills, word families, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary.  My favorite activity is the SUPER READERS’ CHALLENGE!








Wordgirl is an amazing resource for strengthening vocabulary skills.  The site offers fun activities, games and stories.  WordGirl’s goal is to enrich young audiences’ vocabulary, close the gap for those who do not grow up in language-rich environments and instill a love of language and foster better reading comprehension.”






Oxford Owl Reading has 250 free ebooks. They offer activities and games to help your child with his/her reading at home.  You’ll also find advice from educational experts on many areas including  phonics  and how to help struggling readers.






Storyline Online is a collection of video recordings of children’s stories read by famous actors and actresses.    There are also additional online and offline activities for young readers.  The site is sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild.







images-5Funbrain offers free online books for all kinds of readers.  Titles include, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”  They also offer games and interactive activities.








link_family_logo_bigThis is an oldie but a goodie!  Between the Lions is perfect for Kindergarten & 1st grade  readers.  This site has a variety of activities that strengthen phonemic awareness, fluency, letter ID/Sounds, and vocabulary.  The story section will expose young readers to a variety of texts and new genres.

Happy Reading Month!

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DisneyEvery year we celebrate reading during the month of March!  This year’s theme is focused around Disney.  Walt Disney was a forward thinker and always kept “moving forward!”  I encourage students to follow his example.  Explore, be curious, and be creative!  It is exciting to think how technology will change during your child’s lifetime.  My goal is inspire them to want to learn new things and to continue to learn after they leave my class.

Google Chrome App Store

The 2nd and 3rd grade students learned how to use Chrome’s educational app store.  The Chrome App Store has many wonderful (and free!) apps for math, reading, writing, creativity, coding, typing and more.  The children also learned to customize their Chrome accounts’ themes and avatar.

How to Log in At Home

  • Go to (preferably on Chrome’s browser)
  • Each child’s login is his/her email address.  This consists of the following:
    • If your child’s name is “John Smith” and they graduate in 2025
    • his/her email address would be
    •  Password is your child’s student number.

Search Google for your favorite author!  Here is an example of a perfect author website for you  and your children to explore:



Robert Munsch is a fantastic author for elementary age children.  His website has audio recordings of him reading his own books.  They are great for practicing listening comprehension with K-3 students. Some of our favorites include, “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Five Below Zero.

I’ll post more author websites, activities and games in my next post 🙂  Happy Reading!!!!