Jan 14, 2015

2014 Projects

Now that we have launched into 2015, let's take a look at some of the awesome projects we worked on during 2014 at MCS. These are just a few pieces of work that have been accomplished on the iPads so far this school year! 

Personal Advertisements

Students in both 1st and 5th grade used Pages this fall to create personal advertisements about themselves. Students in 1st grade collected pictures that described who they are and inserted them into pages where they resized and printed them to add to a poster. Students in 5th grade used Pages in a more advanced way to create a creative and colorful background including a border, added text boxes, shapes, pictures and stylized their advertisement. These have been included in students' ePortfolios and really show what creative work these students can accomplish! 


Students in grades 4-5 have been using a new classroom management system that was introduced at MSD last year called Schoology. They have been using Schoology to share items with teachers, complete tests and quizzes based on information taught in class and so much more! We look forward to using Schoology even more with our students as the year continues. 


Students in grades 1-5 have been using IXL to practice math. This program allows students to work at their own pace and also allows teachers to closely monitor student progress. Students each have their own username and password and can log into IXL through an app, downloaded to all school iPads, or through a link on the Media Center website. Students will use IXL throughout the year to practice math skills they have been introduced to in class.

Google Drive

Students in grades 3-5 have been working with the Google Drive app to enhance their experience with digital portfolios. Students have been logging into the Google Drive app with school issued usernames and passwords and using it to view and drop items into their Information, Communication and Technology ePortfolios. This is a very exciting transition for students and teachers alike as using Google Drive for students' ePortfolios will simplify and expand the use of them.

Book Creator

Students in grade 4 work on a project each year based on the book, In November by Cythia Rylant. Students choose a month they are passionate about and using the iPad app, Book Creator, write their own book. This year students took the assignment even further by creating their own illustrations using an app called Art Set, something they use frequently in art class, and embedded them into their books. These books have been printed, but can also be shared digitally.

Colony Projects

Students in grade 5 learn about United States history and focus much of their time on colonization. This year students are creating either a non-fiction brochure about a colony of their choice using a brochure template in Pages on the iPad, or a non-fiction Keynote presentation using the Keynote app on their iPads. Students have the ability to customize their brochure or Keynote and are working hard through the second quarter to make their presentations professional.

Research Projects

Students in grades 3 are learning about the 50 states. Each student has chosen a particular state to focus on and will be creating a presentation to share what they learn. Students were introduced to a research database called Culture Grams, linked to the Media Center website. In this database students can access information about the states history, geography, population, culture and much more! Students had a great time exploring the different features of Culture Grams, such as pictures, read-aloud text and bird songs! Look for 3rd grade state presentations coming soon! 

Acrostic Poems

Students in grades 3-4 worked with Pages in the fall to create acrostic poems. Students in 3rd grade really get a feel for how the Pages app works through this project. They wrote a poem about themselves and edited the font, size, color and style of their words. Students in 4th grade, being more experienced with Pages, wrote a poem about their field trip to Lost River or Mt. Willard and, after editing the text to a professional degree, added a picture of the location they visited. 

Word Clouds 

Students in grades 3-5 have used Word Clouds, an app created by ABC-Ya to build themed clouds of words on particular topics such as attributes about themselves, digital citizenship, cyberbullying, what they are thankful for and more. Students have also used Word Clouds in Spanish to practice thier vocabulary! 

Practice Using Apps!

Students throughout MCS have been using the iPads to practice skills or facts they have learned in class with carefully selected educational apps. Some of these practice apps include: 

  • Wet, Dry, Try to practice Handwriting without Tears Skills 
  • Raz Kids to practice reading and comprehension
  • Splash Math to practice math facts
  • Spelling City to practice vocabulary words
  • Stack the States to practice US geography
  • Wordly Wise Flashcards to practice vocabulary 
  • and so many more! 

Sep 16, 2014

New Apps for 2014-2015!

Below are a list of new apps we plan to use in the 2014-2015 school year. We are especially excited to be partnering with Schoology, an online learning system, to help individualize our students' learning. 


Schoology is a learning management system for K-12 schools and higher education institutions focused on collaboration, that allows users to create, manage, and share academic content.


Catalist Digital 

Catalist Digital gives you access to your school’s digital audiobook library from a computer or mobile device, so you can listen anytime, anywhere. Each student has their own login username and password. 

IXL Mobile App 

IXL provides comprehensive, standards-aligned math and language arts practice for K–12. 

A+ Spelling 

An individualized app that allows teachers or students to create spelling lists. Spelling words can be practiced in a variety of ways and teachers can track student progress. 

Wordly Wise App 

Students can practice and track their progress with over 3,000 vocabulary words to help build their vocabulary on an individualized basis. 

Sep 15, 2014

iPads 1:1 in 3rd-5th Grade

Students in grades 3-5 have received their personal iPads for the 2014-2015 school year. Every class came to the Media Center where they were given a presentation by Mrs. Greenbaum on using their school iPads responsibly, respectfully and safely. After discussing topics such as iPad care, favorite apps, digital natives and lessons learned from previous years, students were each handed their iPad and asked to practice some basic skills such as making a folder and organizing their apps. Students were very excited to be given the chance to use an iPad to enhance their learning once again! 

During the MCS Open House, students in grade 3 will be joining their parents for a short presentation on using iPads at school. Students in grade 4 and 5 will be invited to a presentation about iPads transitioning from home to school during the 2014-2015 school year. We look forward to seeing the students and parents during Open House on September 16th! 

Feb 13, 2014

4th Grade iPads going Home.

The 4th Grade Team has moved forward to having the students take the iPads home for Homework purposes Monday to Thursday starting in March 2014.

 The 4th Grade Team has been meeting with the Technology/Media Team regularly throughout the year and took a 1/2 day in January to finalize plans for students taking the iPads home. This will be the second year that these students have had iPads in their classroom. With the focus on math and reading skills and the increased use of the iPads in the classroom, taking the iPads home to continue working on these skills is a natural progression.

Additionally, the team has worked closely with Ms. Maroon and Mrs. Fullerton in setting up their classrooms in Schoology. Schoology is an online classroom management system. Our first steps with Schoology will be to use this online format for reading journals. Currently students have a binder that they share with their teachers each day.  Other homework will include work on math with IXL which allows our teachers to follow student's math progress; other math homework will include practicing on various math apps. Students will be able to read on their iPads as well using the Raz Kids app which also allows teachers to follow the individual progress of each student. Students will also use the iCal app on their iPad app to keep track of homework and classroom events.

The iPads will have the school issued Apps on them and the downloading of personal Apps is disabled. Parents have also received information on how they can filter the internet using OpenDNS either on the iPad or on their home network.

There will be a parent meeting on Feb 18th before the Unit B night. The meeting will be in the Media Center at 6 pm.

You can read the full letter we sent home to parents here

Jan 17, 2014

iPad Projects Galore!

2014 finds the MCS students using iPads for all kinds of special projects. Below is some information about a few of the projects currently being worked in.

Raz-Kids Reading:

Students all over the school and across all grade levels are using Raz-Kids as an independent reading choice. They are also using it with teachers and specialist to focus on specific skills. Raz Kids has recently updated their app and website to include even more features for students and teachers. Students can now record themselves reading from within the app and send their recordings to their teachers using a simple, but safe, username and password system. Teachers can listen to their students read after school hours if they don't get a chance to read with them during the school day. Also, teachers have more options when generating class and student reports. Raz Kids has been a great addition to the already highly individualized reading curriculum that is in place at MCS. 

State Projects:

Students in 3rd grade have been using the iPads during the past few weeks to complete a project about a specific state. Students used the iPads to conduct online research with Culture Grams, a digital resource linked to the Media Center homepage. They also used it to keep notes, write paragraphs, locate pictures associated with their state, write captions to go along with their pictures and create a short presentation using Keynote. Students will be sharing all of their hard work with the whole school during the 3rd grade led Together Assembly on January 24th. 

Book Creator Books:

4th graders are currently using Book Creator, an app that allows students to create simple and creative books. They will be "published" using iBooks and will also be printed as a hard copy. Mrs. McKinley begins this project by connecting to the book, In November, by Cynthia Rylant. Students then use the iPads to create a graphic organizer using the app Inspiration to start the process of writing about their own favorite months. Once the graphic organizers are complete, students will begin writing in Book Creator. 4th graders in Mrs. McKinley's class will continue to add to these books, including both hand-drawn and digital illustrations and an author page, to be shared later in the year. 

Colony Posters:

Students in Ms. Anderson's 5th grade class are taking on a new challenge this year. Instead of using the desktop computers to create a Colony Poster, an annual project that helps students learn about the 13 colonies, they will be using the Pages app on the iPad. Each student was assigned a colony to research and will find information about their colonies using both print and digital resources. Then students will put their information together on the iPads and create an individualized, creative, and factual poster about their colonies. These posters will be printed directly from the iPads and will be on display later in the year. 

These are just a few of the projects currently being conducted using the iPads as a resource. Check back later for even more information about school projects with iPads as they will be going on all year! 

Nov 19, 2013

New Non-Fiction eBooks for 3rd and 4th Graders

This month students in 3rd and 4th grade have received the following non-fiction titles on their iPads to be read in iBooks. These high quality non-fiction titles are great for independent or group reading and will also help support classroom curriculum.  



In addition to these non-fiction titles, student have also been using Raz-Kids, a personalized reading app that allows students to listen to, read and answer questions about leveled books. Students will also be using iBooks to read whole class novels such as Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardiner and Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare. 

Thanks to digital resources, such as eBooks and audio books, there are now more ways to enjoy reading! 

Oct 11, 2013

iOS6 ------> iOS7

Below is a video explaining the update from iOS6 to iOS7. The interface is slightly different and there are some new features we are excited to share with our students. We plan to update all the iPads at MCS, including those involved in the pilot, by the end of the month. Hopefully the students will adapt to the new operating system and use their digital native skills to enhance their iPad usage. For more information on iOS7, you can visit Apple's iOS7 webpage: http://www.apple.com/ios/

Sep 10, 2013

A New Year With iPads!

September finds the tech and media department, as well as classroom teachers, specialists and administrators, gearing up for another year in the1:1 iPad program. This year students in 3rd grade are all receiving an individual iPad to use in class, just as the 3rd grade class did in 2012-2013. In addition 4th graders are, "moving up," from 3rd grade with their iPads to continue using in the upcoming year. 

Before really jumping in with iPad work, the 3rd graders were given an introduction by Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Greenbaum, on being a Digital Native, iPad care, iPad hardware, and basic software usage. Students were eager to get tapping, swyping and working with their new technology tools! In addition, students in 4th grade were given a review on iPad Care, and were also asked to reflect on their 3rd grade experience using the iPad. Many students spoke about the apps they used as tools to write, define words, research, map out states, and practice math facts. They also discussed what they could do to be more successful this year, such as working out everyday problems with hardware and shutting down apps, keeping a charged battery and knowing how to move between apps. Mrs. Greenbaum also asked them to organize documents, photos and presentations from their 3rd grade year to accommodate for more organization in the year to come. 

In a presentation to be given directly before the MCS open house, 3rd and 4th grade parents will hear about the continuation of the  1:1 program, and learn about Digital Natives, student use during last year and the upcoming year, as well as the "nuts and bolts," of the iPad Agreement. 

It is wonderful to have the technology tools back in the hands of the students. We all look forward to moving forward into a new year with the 1:1 iPad Program. 

Apr 10, 2013

School Board Presentation Well Received

The presentation and explanation of the iPad Pilot's progress was well received at last night's school board meeting. Thank you to all who attended and participated. It was encouraging and rewarding to parent, staff and community support while at the same time being able to alleviate some fears and misconceptions. We appreciate their valuable input and this post is a direct result to one of their constructive suggestions to share more about what is happening within the pilot. All in all we came away feeling they understood that technology does not drive teaching but offers students more exciting self-driven learning opportunities. 

Download or view the summary/packet that summarizes our pilot.

Did you miss the presentation on what the 3rd grade has been doing with their iPads? View the 5 minute presentation here: 

Apr 5, 2013

MCS Book Creators!

If I could name one app the 'MCS APP OF THE YEAR', I would choose Book Creator. This app, developed by Red Jumper, provides an easy and motivating interface for students to write and illustrate their own books. Students in grades K-5 have been using Book Creator this year for a variety of projects. In first grade, students used Book Creator to write a book about the 100th day of school and another class wrote about their favorite book. Students in 2nd grade wrote
books about a fictional character that was inspired by an author, Ryan Higgins, who visited MCS in the winter. Students in 3rd grade will be writing short stories about endangered animals using Book Creator later in the year. Students in 4th grade wrote books about their favorite month, inspired by the book, In November, by Cythnia Rylant. Specific students in 5th grade have been using Book Creator to work on personal projects. We also plan to use Book Creator for projects throughout the rest of the school year. The possibilities are endless! 

Book Creator uses a simple format to insert new books (the universal '+' sign). Students can then insert text and images to create their book. Once a book is started, students are able to return to the book and edit spelling, grammar, font, color, images, number of pages, title, and a whole lot more! This app also allows for easy exporting, and can be sent to Dropbox, iTunes or even iBooks where the book is formatted into a digital book that can be viewed on the iPad. Book Creator also has a microphone embedded into the app so the student can record (or practice!) reading their books aloud. This recording is transferred in the exportation of the book into iBooks, so students can listen to, and share, an audio version of their books. In addition to being available in multiple digital formats, Book Creator also allows you to print a PDF version of your book, in three different layouts. This has been a great tool for teachers of younger children, as they are able to physically hold and read their books once they are completed.  

This app is the number one book creator app in 54 countries, and it's easy to see why! The ability to differentiate between grades, topics and levels of functionality, and availability of materials is miraculous. I hope to work with teachers and students to create more books in the future!