Friday, December 19, 2014

Deerpark Robotics Takes 3rd Overall

Deerpark's Robotics Team, The Epic Rainbow Radioactive Flying Squirrels, recently competed in the Central Texas First Lego League Competition.  Students spend a semester working on a project based research project, building and designing a robot made out of Legos and programming their robot to do various "missions" on a field mat.  Teams in all of Central Texas compete for an invitation to the the Central Texas Invitational Tournament and Deerpark was offered one of the coveted spots.  In the end, The Epic Rainbow Radioactive Flying Squirrels were awarded 3rd Place Overall in their tournament.  


Friday, December 12, 2014

Deerpark Hour of Code

Deerpark Middle School recently participated in the Hour of Code.  A group of students in the Teen Tech Advisory Team got together and worked on lessons to teach each zone class an hour of code.  Students coded their own beats, made dancing monsters, and even programmed lights that would be displaced on one of the Christmas Trees at the Whitehouse!  Some students even coded their own Flappy Bird and Angry Birds games.  Students in Ms. Pikas' zone, worked on more challenging coding, while students in Mr. Widis and Ms. Rathburn's classes worked on more advanced coding with Scratch and Java.  Overall, almost every student on our campus was exposed to coding this week.  It was really amazing.  

The Teen Tech Advisory Team is working on collecting all of the beats that students coded and creating a single Deerpark beat in Audacity.  Look for more posts with their completed project!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Code Like a Girl

On Wednesday's Deerpark's Code Like a Girl Club meets in the library.  The girls have coded avatars, and at our last meeting, they created beats using the website Made With Code.  When the girls were asked why they wanted to come to Code Like a Girl, the answers ranged from wanting to meet more friends to learning how to program.  Here are some examples of the beats that were created at the last meeting.  

The next meeting will be Wednesday, 11/05/14.  Join us to learn some more creative programming


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mystery Hangout

Mrs. Pazos' Zone class will be starting a collaborative blogging activity with two other schools from Canada and Houston, Texas.  So the students could get to know a little bit more about each other, they had a mystery Google Hangout with the school from Canada.  Each student had a job from documenting the hangout, to looking through atlases, to searching Google Earth on the library iPads.  Each class was only allowed to ask yes or no questions to find out more about the location of the other class.  Based on their answers, runners would relay the information to the researchers, who would send back follow up questions to ask.  In the end, both classes figured out the other class' mystery location.  It was a wonderful lesson in geography and research.  

The students will continue to collaborate together through blogging after reading the same book.  Look for posts in the future highlighting some of their blog posts!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Applying" Flowboard to Colleges

Ms. Pikas' Next Generation Digital Classroom is researching college tuition and creating a function to represent the cost per credit hour.  The experience is reinforcing concepts of finding slope, and applying algebraic functions to real world learning.  Students are using their iPads to create a Flowboard multimedia presentation including a graph of their function, a video advertisement for their college, and pictures of their work.  

Flowboard is an iPad app that allows students to add images, videos, text into a beautiful presentation.  Students ended up with a link to their presentation that they turned in through their Google Classroom.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Connected Educator Olympics

Your DMS teachers have started working on becoming more connected with other teachers globally for the month of October.  They are using #ceolympics and making graphics, signing up for twitter, and retweeting resources.  Our FCC teacher is working to show off work from our Functional Communications Class, while Mr. Garcia has been sharing his favorite tools on Twitter.  

Our campus earns points for various tasks that allow our teachers to connect with others while learning new tools.  

Updates to follow on our progress!  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Deerpark Robotics: Building More Than Just Robots

I am on my 9th season and 14th First Lego League team for the 2014-2015 school year.  I started back in 2006, as a science teacher, because students from my feeder elementary school had done First Lego League, and they wanted to keep doing the program in middle school.  Little did I know, that moment would change my life forever.  Our first tournament was in a music building at The University of Texas.  It was magical, thirty teams from central Texas competing for the most lucrative prize of all, trophies made completely out of Legos.  It was seriously cool.  I set our goals pretty low, "Let's learn something new, and have fun!"  Little did I know, that my team who came up with a way to save the Alamo using Nano Technology, would be able to answer difficult questions from real engineers and educators.  They knew things I didn't even realize that they knew!  It was a proud moment for me as a coach.  From that moment on, I never looked back, I was a robotics coach, and I always will be.  We ended up taking home one of those amazing Lego Trophies for that research project too!  That was the cherry on top of a very sweet cake.  

Throughout the years, I've coached teams that were good, bad, inspiring, and just plain amazing.  But my very favorite part of coaching comes from seeing a kid who never speaks, grow to be comfortable presenting their research in front of experts, or eloquently discussing their program strategy with engineers.  Patience is needed to observe this sweet moment of growth, but it is worth every long evening, every Saturday, and every moment away from my own family.  

This year, I was able to experience my "proud coach" feeling much earlier in the season.  I have three veterans, and one of them was running for President of the club.  When this kid walked into the doors of robotics his first year at Deerpark Middle School, he was quiet and timid.  He was always a grounded student, and has rightfully earned the nickname "The Voice of Reason" in the chaos of meetings. He kept me organized and on task.  This year, this student let me know, he wanted to run for president.  As he gave his speech, I saw the certainty in him that I sometimes have to wait entire season to see in students.  He spoke in front of the entire group with confidence and grace, and although his competition was fierce, he was voted as our 2014-2015 robotics president.  

Building robots with Legos is always a cool thing, but building up students is even cooler.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Art in the 21st Century

Ms. Stoeffler, Deerpark's new art teacher, is having students explore different art mediums by having them try their hand at drawing with a 3D pen.  

Students practiced writing their names in cursive, creating jewelry, and tracing the Golden Gate Bridge to turn it into a 3D model.  

We are excited to see the amazing products that students design with our new 3D pens!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Going Great with Google Classroom

Mrs. Pikas' classes are using their Next Generation Classroom iPads to turn in class work.  Google Classroom helps teachers and students stay organized in Google Drive.  Students can turn in homework, and teachers can easily grade and give meaningful feedback on assignments.  Everything is contained in one very organized folder. 

What the teachers say, "I love Google Classroom, I don't have to take papers home anymore!"  

What the students say, "Google Classroom keeps me organized and helps me keep up with my work!"  

Teachers can easily insert videos, files, presentations, and announcements.  Students can comment, turn in supplemental assignments.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Out on Leave

Mrs. Sieber will be on leave from March 9th-August 2014, check back in September for more posts.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Poetry in a Digital World

Mrs. Margulies' classes worked on a poetry unit where students had to collaborate on a Google Website about poetry.  Students had to analyze poems, create an anti bullying poem, upload a "Who I Am and Who I Want to Be Poem", and collaborate on a Poetry Slam.  Using their student Google accounts, multiple students were able to edit and work on their website at the same time.  Students utilized YouTube to share their videos and embed them on their websites.  

Georgia's Poetry Slam

Kevin's Poetry Slam

(note some videos are not viewable to the public for privacy reasons)

Jake's Classic Poetry Website

Friday, January 24, 2014

Monologing with WeVideo

Students in Mrs. Ruiz de Chavez's classes had to create monologue try out videos for an upcoming theatrical production.  Students had to find a piece to perform and video record themselves performing it.   Students used an online program called WeVideo  to create their monologues.  They could choose from various themes that would automatically enhance their video by adding film effects and music.  Once completed, the students saved their video in Google Drive and shared their piece with their teacher.  Mrs. RDC could view the monologue try outs in the comfort of her own home reserving more class time for instruction.  

WeVideo is a wonderful online tool where students can create videos in a cloud environment, put themes and music to their videos, and record themselves using a webcam feature in the software.  Students at DMS use this application with their RRISD Google accounts to make sharing easy with teachers.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shakespeare Meets the Modern Age of Technology

Students in Ms. Ruiz De Chavez's classes worked on a Shakespearean research project and presentation using Google Presentations.  Students collaborated in pairs and worked together on one presentation using their Google Accounts.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Going Google with Persuasive Presentations

Mr. Garcia's classes had to create persuasive presentations using Google Presentations.  As students worked on their assignment, Mr. Gracia was able to give feedback through comments on each slide.  Some comments might encourage the group of students that their work is moving in the right direction, while other comments could give them a different word choice, or clarify the assignment.  

Because this presentation was done in a Google Presentation, groups of students were able to simultaneously collaborate on the presentation.  They could work on it at home since it was stored in the cloud.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Engaging Girls In Engineering

During excursion time, a new program encouraging female students to participate in robotics has emerged.  By the time middle school comes around, many female students can be moved away from robotics and engineering because they are unaware of the creativity and innovation that is involved.  Often times, when we speak about engineering we talk in terms of math and science, but we forget about the other aspects, creativity, innovation.  To give girls a safe place to be themselves and utilize their math, science, creativity and innovation skills, a girls robotics class was created for excursion days.  Female students are working on creating a robot that emulates the characteristics of an animal.  Some students are using directions, while others are building from their knowledge of what an animal looks like.  On the February early release day, the girls will be programming their robots to perform a task, and in March, they will be showing off their robots and programs to a female engineer.  This program was funded by grant money provided by the A+ teacher grant for 2013-2014.