March 28, 2012

Mrs. Wolinsky, thank you for letting us explore...

This time of year I try to fit in a unit on Creativity and Design in the 4th grade classes. I started the unit last week with an exploration of Lego Digital Designer. This is the first step of unit that is about exploration, self-discovery and creating using design tools. The next couple of weeks will be spent moving on to Scratch. Some of the students have been attending an after school class through Yarmouth Community Services with a more extended time to explore this theme. The students who have been in the after school class have been a stimulant to their classmates to explore and learn during our class periods. What did I hear from a student as they filed out of the lab? "Thank you Mrs. Wolinsky for letting us explore today!"

March 16, 2012

Yarmouth Media & Learning Day - March 16, 2012

Once again we organized an "unconference" for our spring professional development day that started with a keynote by Wes Fryer, followed by a selection of sessions by Wes and Yarmouth faculty. The site for the course is: Yarmouth Learning with Media Day. I created a summary of the feedback from the day which was very positive about the opportunity to work as a K12 faculty on enhancing the ways we use media, ourselves and with our students. 

March 11, 2012

Recent posts about iPads, Research & Apps

Chicago Public Schools implement iPads up through 5th grade
This post focuses on the new options for assessment that are possible with the camera and recording aspects of the iPad. The author describes the use of apps like:  Explain EverythingScreenChompReplayNote, and Educreations.

The 200 Best Apps for Special Education This is a downloadable booklet of apps that are selected from the many that have been designed for students receiving instructional support.

iPads in the Classroom – Lessons Learned...Lessons Shared
This is a blog devoted to the experiences of a 4th grade teacher moving from a few iPads in the classroom to 1:1.

The iPad as...
This a post with iPad apps organized by purpose e.g. iPad as reader, creator, etc.

What apps are they using in Auburn Kindergarten?
Mike Muir is writing frequently about the Auburn iPad project, including the first research based on delayed implementation of iPads in half of the Kindergarten classes.

March 10, 2012

Burlington 1:1 Summit - March 10, 2012

This summit was an "unconference" in the sense that presentations were by participants, not paid presenters. The Burlington, MA school system has been moving into mobile technology with 1:1 iPads in the high school this year, sets of iPads in the elementary schools and a review of options for the future for middle schools. Alice, Mike and I attended with Ben McNaboe (YHS class of 2011) to share our experience of 1:1 in our grades 7-12 for over ten years. Ben also presented his own session on how useful he finds an iPad to be in his freshman year of college. I attended a session with other elementary educators who are using iPads and we had a rousing lunchtime "smackdown" of app ideas.

This post from the BHS principal Patrick Larkin is a good synopsis of the philosophy and information that were shared at the summit. Burlington has many of the needed elements for moving forward with powerful learning through the use of iPads: strong administrative support and involvement, robust support for infrastructure, involved teachers developing online materials, interest in moving to a facilitated learning environment, student IT team to support teachers, supports and play a role in the new implementation.

March 1, 2012

Creativity & Design with Technology Class

We are halfway through a Community Services Class title "Creativity & Design with Technology" for 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. This is a class I have thought about offering for a long time as a way to explore creative options using technology in a more extended format than we have time for in the school day. There was a great deal of interest in the class and the original limit was extended from 12 to 15 to the current 17 participants (12 boys and 5 girls). I am maintaining a web page of the sessions that hopefully encourages students and families to continue to explore at home.The site link is:
and this is the content so far:
Session 1:
Download Lego Digital Designer - 

PBS Kids Lab - 
 Session 2:
Design a Comic Website - 
 Session 3: 
Download the Skitch program (mobile app too) - 
Drawing, snapshots and more.

PBS Kids Lab - 
 Sessions 4 & 5:
Download the Scratch program - 

To learn more about Scratch:

Cyberchase Inventor's Workshop -

I came across this site which has provided resources and inspiration for this course: It has been very helpful to have two YHS students 
help during each class session and a fourth grade student who attended Scratch camp at 
MIT last summer has been a guest teacher for the last two sessions. The experiences we
are having in this class will impact the "creativity & innovation" mini-units that I usually
teach in the spring to all grade levels.

Some other links that I hope to use for ideas to continue this into the future are: