Friday, December 20, 2013

Flipping Science

Sixth Grade Science Teachers, Ms. Black, Ms. Engelke, and Ms. Rodriguez are flipping science all around.  Instead of doing traditional homework at home, students are answering questions about a Google presentation, or watching a short video and having online discussions about what they are viewing.  This type of work is typically done during the class day taking up valuable class time.  Now that the time is freed up, sixth grade science has been able to work more one on one with students as well as they've had more time to provide real experiences for the kids with extra lab experiments. 

Here is an example of a video that a student might have to watch for their "homework".  On the teacher's Moodle Course, the student would have some type of short assignment to insure that he watched the video and was prepared to follow up on that learning in class the next day.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DMS Robotics Takes on Regional Tournament

On December 7th, the Deerpark Robotics Team took on 21 other teams in the Westwood First Lego League Qualifier Tournament.  The students competed in the four areas of teamwork, robot design and programming, research project, and head to head robot matches against other teams.  In an amazing showing, the team brought home Deerpark's very first 1st place award in robot design.  They were 4th place in the head to head robot matches, and were named the third best team overall in the entire competition.  These students have put in collectively over 300 hours of work on their robot, their research, and programming and deserve every kudos given to them.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

S'more Advertisements for Texas

Ms. Pennington and Ms. Forbes' classes worked on advertisements using a tool called Smore which helps students create beautiful online posters.  The assignment was to entice others to come to Texas, present the requirements for the land, and describe what Texas was like.  Students were able to create these beautiful digital flyers with ease.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pazos' Mrs. Pratchett Project

In Ms. Pazos' class, students read "The Great Mouse Plot" by Roald Dahl.  Students wrote similies, metaphors, and examples of imagery on post-it notes about Mrs. Pratchett.  The post-it notes were put on a mini size Mrs. Pratchett poster.  The class then spent the next three days working on a Blendspace, a digital place to store content, about Mrs. Pratchett.  Students used pictures from Google and Flickr, YouTube Videos, text and quizzes to teacher their audience about Mrs. Pratchett using similes, metaphors, and imagery.  Students shared their Blendspace with Mrs. Pazos using a Google form.  From there, students completed the assignment by making a QR code of their Blendspace and posting it in the hall.  Students utilized their school issued Gmail accounts to get the templates, Google Turn in Form, and directions for this project.  
Project Rubric/Instructions

Pages like these were hung in the hallway with the QR code linking to the student's project

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Going Google with DBQ's

Ms. Forbes and Ms. Pennington have been having students write their Document Based Questions (DBQ's) using their student Google Accounts.  It has changed the way teachers work with students and the grading process dramatically.  

Ms. Forbes was able to make comments on a child's paper giving him immediate feedback about what he could improve upon in his writing.  

Ms. Pennington commented on how easy her papers were to grade since the kids didn't have to print anything and all she had to do was log on to a computer to review their writing.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Students in Ms. Pennington's US History Classes have been working on utilizing a tool called PowToon to create a more entertaining type of presentation.  The assignment was to create a presentation describing various battles and figureheads of the American Revolution.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just Hanging Out

As part of the First Lego League requirements for this year, teams must research a problem that occurs because of Natural Disasters, and then come up with an innovative solution to solve that problem.  In the process, students research various solutions already in place, the reference many sources such as books, websites, videos, and they also speak with experts that can help them with the development of their solution.  This year's team researched floods and came up with a solution for people stuck in their cars during a flood that is similar to the flotation devices in the seat cushions of airplanes.  As a part of their research process, they spoke with a UPS pilot, Jim Crowley, living in the DFW area.  In order to have an authentic conversation with Mr. Crowley, the kids utilized Google Hangouts to ask questions and clarify some of their research.  He was able to ask them more about their project as well. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

iPads and Auditory Impaired Students

Our deaf population students on campus are very visual learners.  Ms. Pickens has been utilizing iPads for her students to take notes and write in their agenda.  Her sixth grade students have been using them to take pictures of things then compare/contrast and to sequence activities.  One activity they are doing is teaching their teacher how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which will them be recorded on the iPad.  After that, the students will write about how to make the sandwich.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mimio Teach in Language Arts

After seeing how teachers in our math classes were using their Mimio Teach Interactive boards, students in Ms. Weigand's classes started using the Mimio Teach to annotate on passages.  Ms. Weigand finds that this is a more interactive and engaging environment for her students to learn new skills.  

Ms. Weigand was so excited about using her Mimio that she started teaching other teachers how to use their Mimio's as well! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Face to Face Tutorials

Ms. Cowan, one of our Auditory Impaired Teachers, has been utilizing Face Time and texting with her auditory impaired students to answer homework questions.  This is an excellent use of technology because students may need to see the sign for a concept to have a better understanding of content that they are struggling with.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Ms. Mallonee is working on meeting students where they are by posting bonus questions, and online tutorial help using Instagram.  So many students are on this tool these days that she is working on ways to meet the masses in a fun and engaging ways.  From voting on the best project, to showing examples of how to solve an equation, Ms. Mallonee is truly using social media to benefit her students.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Outsiders Gallery Walk

Students scanning QR codes with their phones to learn more about
automobiles in the late 1960's.  
Our seventh grade ELA students will start reading The Outsiders in the next few weeks.  To focus on the setting in The Outsiders, Ms. Lott and Ms. Lafond worked on The Outsiders Gallery Walk.  They utilized YouTubeTimeMachine to find various video clips from the time period and attached them to poster advertisements of various fashion products, movies, technology using QR codes.  Students could walk through the gallery and scan the QR code with their phones to see a video of the actual advertisement.  Students also took a Socrative Quiz on some of the slang that was used in the book as well as viewed a ThingLink that focused on the popular musicians and actors of the time.  Students could listen to the over powering screams at a Beatles Concert, or find out a little more about what kind of music Elvis Presley sang.  Music from the late 1960's was playing on the speakers, while an episode of Mr. Ed was playing on the projector.  Students also could use their phones to take pictures with "Greasers" in a photo booth.  Seventh grade students were really getting a feel for the time period, some of the slang, and truly seeing how the cost of things then and now have changed.  They also saw how some of the fashion has changed, while things like converse and plaid shirts are things they would wear today.  Ms. Lott and Ms. Lafond provided an amazing learning opportunity for students utilizing many various technology tools.  
Students took a Socrative Quiz on 1960's Slang

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Area and Geocaching

Mr. Teal's classes worked used our GPS devices to describe the resulting effects on perimeter and area when dimensions of a shape are changed proportionally.  

Students had to mark off a rectangular area of approximately 4 yards by 3 yards.  They used cones to mark each of the four corners.  They then used the GPS tracking devices to calculate the area of the rectangle.  They had to double all of the dimensions of the rectangle.  After marking their double dimensions, the used the GPS tracking devices to measure and calculate the area of the new larger rectangle.  They used their calculations and divided the area of their second rectangle by the area of the first rectangle to determine the correlations between the two.  Students then had to describe their findings, and answer some other critical thinking questions.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Creating Soundtracks in Audacity

Theatre students in Ms. Ruiz De Chavez's classes used Audacity, a free audio editing program to create their own soundtracks to their pantomime unit.  Students can edit multiple audio tracks, change the speed, cut, and copy parts of the audio.  Below are some examples of what students created by mashing together different tracks.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Plate Tectonics in Google Earth

What better way to learn about convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries than by looking at images in Google Earth?  Mrs. DeLaGarza's classes explored how to navigate Google Earth, how to measure and how to create their very own placemark in Google Earth.  When they were finished they started looking at a Google Earth file that showed the various types of plate boundaries and answered some questions about land features that were near all of the different types of plate boundaries.  To quote Ms. DeLaGarza, "I could use Google Earth to teach this entire unit on Plate Tectonics!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DMS Robotics Takes Home Teamwork Trophy

This weekend, Westlake High School hosted the Central Texas Invitational First Lego League Tournament where Deerpark's robotics team, The Epic Rainbow Bosses competed among sixty other teams in robot design and programming, presenting a research project, core values, and a point value on how well their robot autonomously completed various missions that had to do with the theme, Senior Solutions.  

This video is a celebration of our entire season.  
Students created the song "I'm Epic and I know It" 
as a parody and all other music is used with permission from BMI

The Epic Rainbow Bosses researched Macular Degeneration and through interviews with Optometrists, community members, grandparents, research in books, videos and the web, came up with a solution to prevent seniors from getting age related Macular Degeneration.  
The robotics team shined and were considered for an overall award, innovation, programming, gracious professionalism, teamwork, inspiration, research, and presentation award.   There were only two awards that they were not considered for in each of their judging rooms!  In the end, they brought home the Teamwork trophy that we will proudly display in a trophy case on campus.  

The day before the tournament  DMS teachers showcased their Epic Rainbow Team Spirit by wearing tie dye and rainbow shirts!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Townsend's Class Goes SMART

Ms. Townsend's class recently received a Smart Interactive board, and she did not waste any time getting her kids out of their seats and interacting with this new technology.  Ms. Townsend had her students play a game where they threw a ball at the Smart Interactive Board.  When the ball hit the board, a random word would pop up and the students would have to decide if that word was a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb.  They are working on their sentence structure and improving their writing and applied the skills from the game into their own writing. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Digital Creativity in Texas History

Students in Ms. Forbes, Mr. Richardson, and Mr. Waddell's classes were asked to do an Early Statehood Jigsaw Project.  They had to create a presentation that explains the cause and effect of various events that occured in Texas in it's infancy.  Students were given options to create their presentation digitally, in any form that they would like.  The teachers suggested, Prezi, Videos, and paper slideshows, but were open to creative ideas from the kids.  These teachers celebrated the 21st century skill of creativity.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Avoiding Germs with Google Hangouts

The Deerpark Robotics team has been working extremely hard practicing 10 hours a week for the up coming Central Texas Invitational Tournament.  When one of our lead programmers came down sick and had to miss a major meeting, the team used Google Hangouts to video conference with him during the meeting.  Other team members worked with him on his program by showing him the screen and discussing changes that needed to be made, and then showing him the test runs with the robot. 

The team even had a little fun by putting "extra's" on their faces as they were talking!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Remind 101

DMS teachers have been using an amazing tool called Remind 101 to communicate with students in a safe and secure matter.  

First a teacher sets up an account and creates a class.  She then gives a code to students and parents that they can text to a specific number to be enrolled in the class.  Teachers can schedule reminders about upcoming assignments, last minute schedule changes, and anything else she might need to remind students about.  The teacher's phone number is kept private, and the students are listed by their name in her class list and not their phone number.  This help keeps both teacher and student information private between the two parties.  

Ms. Evans uses Remind 101 with volleyball and basketball teams.  She plans on using it with her track and soccer students as well.  She loves that she can send out reminders and her parents and students love that they get information in a way that digital learners are use to receiving information, via text!   

Ms. Asha uses Remind 101 to remind students of materials that they need to bring to their art classes, or when assignments are due.  She loves having this type of communication with students.  

I use Remind 101 with the DMS Robotics team and parents.  I can easily send out a quick reminder about our practices without students/parents ever knowing my phone number.  We also use Remind 101 with our staff.  For instance, if the network is down at school, and e-mail would note be an effective way to communicate, I can send out a Remind 101 to our staff letting them know what is going on.  It is a great resource.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

7 Principles of Government

Ms. Huffman's classes made animotos on the 7 principles of government.  Check out some of the examples below