Stop Motion Science

8Science students collaborated in the creation of a LEGO Stop Motion Video to demonstrate their understanding of substances and different types of Elements. They created a story line that included MONATOMIC ELEMENTS, DIATOMIC COMPOUND and TRIATOMIC COMPOUNDS!

New Blakers!

Welcome Dash and Dot! AfterSchool Coding Club members are test-driving the new robots which will soon be integrated into the Science curriculum.

Digital Learning Day 6th Discussion Panel

Medfield School District held its 3rd annual Digital Learning Day Conference filled with over 60 workshops for K-12 teachers in district and from schools out-of-district. Wellesley 6th Grade teachers joined Blake's 6th teachers and students for a discussion on their initial year of having 1:1 iPads in the classroom.

A Shout Out to Medfield HS/MS Student Volunteers

Our Digital Learning Day Conference wouldn't have been possible without the support of our wonderful Medfield HS Students and Blake MS students. This photo was taken at the beginning of the day, during a briefing with Neal Sonnenbergy (HS Tech Integration Specialist)

Look out for these future App Developers

This group of Blake MS girls are entered into the Global Competition, Technovation to design a mobile app that solves a community/social issue. Wish them Luck! The final pitch is on May 1st @ Microsoft NERD Center!

Took the Show on the Road

Blake MS Principal Nat Vaughn and 8Science Teacher Jason Heim presented about the Blake iPad Initiative at the LearnLaunch Conference, Harvard Business School.

Green Screen App Smashing

At our final EdTechTeacher Workshop, 6th/7th Grade Teachers explored their creative side by layering green screen videos over images for engaging instructional videos. It was total fun!

Convert Smells to Energy = Smellergy!

Nicolina is changing the world one nose at a time! Her entry was clearly on track with dreaming, designing, and delivering an energy-saving idea into the Blake Energy Invention Contest!

Sometimes the Ideas start here

Planning and drawing out a story board before the creation of an Explain Everything project is an essential step in the process!


Swiping Holiday Cheer

With the arrival of new iPads at Wheelock School right before the holiday break, Mrs. Sheehan was eager to try out a simple festive activity to introduce iPads to her third graders.  We thought this clever, simple idea from a Czech Republic class (discovered through their posting/sharing via Google + ) would be perfect! Click here to view

Here's the Holiday Recipe:
Preparation- gathered 13 iPads & installed the Crayola: Paint & Create app
+ Introduced the Activity by watching the Czech Republic's class video and discussing what was their message and how did they create it. What could our simple Holiday Message be?

+ Demonstrated a quick tutorial on the how-to's of the Crayola app and saving the image to the camera roll. Also identified some iPad rules (stays on the table or rug-flat surface, only work in that app, etc.)

+ Paired the students up to share an iPad. It worked out nicely because there were 2 pairs of partners at each table. One set of partners would design the letters to the first word and the other set of partners designed the second word.

+When finished, each table had a chance to come to the rug where they would "perform" their message (swiping through the images in the camera roll) to music (while video recording from above).

+The end product of curating all videos was done using PlayPicPost (paid) app or you could use the Video Collage to then push to YouTube or Vimeo or save to the camera roll to upload anywhere else.

Without further ado...... Mrs. Sheehan's class presents: Swiping Holiday Cheer!

I can not even begin to tell you how thrilled these third graders
were in having the chance to integrate and create with the iPads.
It was so much fun being apart of their experience.

On the teacher end and reflecting back, this was an effective and
appropriate initial activity with not too many steps to complete, sharing and
working together with others, and learning the basics of the iPad all wrapped up in one.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea- +Tomáš Kováč

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays!


Good Night iPad- a Must-See

For all of our iPad-multiple device families!
Watch the updated version of Good Night Moon...

Of course it's available as an app too!


Being Thankful for..

In the spirit of Thanksgiving,
Principal, Nat Vaughn asks the Blake Middle School staff to take time, to reflect and
to share their thankful thoughts with each other and the student body.

We'd also like to share a few of those thoughts with you
and to wish everyone a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving!


Parent iPad Highlight Sessions

As Blake MS launched the BYOiPad model this year, it's been a goal for us to have continual communication with the parent community and to offer opportunities for us to highlight student learning and work with the iPad being a new tool for many students and teachers.  Also, the sessions are open for discussions and Q & A between parents, teachers and students.

Our first round of Parent Highlight Sessions began on November 7 and 
November 7 @ 12:30 and November 12 @ 6pm

 All Grade 8 parents/guardians were invited to attend our iPad Highlights Information Sessions. 
Teachers across clusters as well as a handful of students demonstrated their work and explained how certain apps are integrated into classroom instruction.  View the presentation below.

Also, a few of our teachers were asked to select their own favorite app 'starting lineup'.
Click on the hotspots to view each of their homescreens with further examples
of student work and notes.

Any questions or comments? Any apps we forgot?
Please feel free to leave comments below.


Cómo se utilza Padlet?

8th Graders in Maura Batts' Spanish Class just finished a quiz. With time left in the period, she set up a Padlet wall for students to practice answering casual conversation questions. Students quickly went to the Padlet link on their iPad, tapped the screen and added their responses.

Padlet is basically a virtual sticky note board accessed via web--working across any device.  What typically would be an paper and pencil task, can now be collaborative, shared collection of responses in one place, which can then be incorporated into a website or saved as a PDF!

Students are also able to respond to each other or add as many notes as they like with images, videos and/or text.  The teacher has the options to moderate posts and control who has access it. This is a quick, easy way for World Language teachers and others can get feedback about homework, assessments, a lesson, or use for reflections, etc. In fact, Blake's Middle School Principal, +Nat Vaughn found by integrating it into faculty meetings as the "parking lot" of staff questions and comments, he's able to demonstrate how a web-based tool can enhance learning and discussion. With this "student" experience, a few teachers took this back to their classroom to give it a try!

Echar un vistazo a las respuestas de los estudiantes Maura Batts'!

Created with Padlet

Thank goodness for Google Translater in my Chrome browser or iPad app... I only understand a little bit of Francáis, and none of Spanish!  If you have used Padlet or other similar collaborative tools, please share in the comments below.


Early transformation of the Russian Icon project!

Eighth grade begins the shift in the Massachusetts' Social Studies Curriculum Frameworks towards learning about World History. Medfield students begin their year examining Russian civilization. This includes a visit to the Museum of Russian Icons located in Clinton, Ma. to help students understand the role that icons played in the lives of Russians.

In years past,  the assignment was for students to bring their worksheet and a pencil to complete a scavenger hunt while touring the museum.  This year, with iPads in hand, they could capture their "answers" and easily refer back to the powerpoint slideshow  (which was accessible on their device) as a reference for more information.

 In addition, students were now able to capture their experience by snapping photos and videos which were incorporated in their follow-up collaborative group project.  The project had to include at least 5 of 11 images stating the significant fact of each. Students were given leeway to use any of the following apps:  TouchCast, Telligami , Explain Everything or any combination to produce their project and share it with their teacher via Google Drive/ email the link.

These are a few fantastic examples:

With the TouchCast app, Py and Joe pulled in their videos & pics while recording their
video of themselves (reading from a built-in app prompter).  Other elements can be pulled into the app too such as twitter feeds, webpages, and more offering a real 'newscaster' production.

Telligami has really caught the attention of our 8th graders as
most are hesitant to record and listen to their own voices or see themselves in a video.
(Who can blame them, I am the same exact way!) Telligami's avatar 
option has been a wonderful work around /alternative!
(For other Talking Avatar apps: Click Here)

These are also examples of how learning is being transformed across that SAMR model line to more of a modification and redefinition use of technology than purely substitution. Bravo!

Thanks to 8th graders and to our Social Studies teachers, Mrs. McClelland, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Taliaferro for sharing their work and projects.


Sand and Water Lab Remix!

This is the remix.. of Science.

The 8th Graders in +Jason Heim's Science Class covered the usual Sand and Water lab to learn about volume and density. With the options that the iPad offers, students put a touch of creativity to demonstrate their learning.

First up, students write a rap. Yes, a rap song to explain the steps to calculate the volume of sand and water. They took advantage of the Apple's Garageband app going FREE, wrote their lyrics and mixed up a fly beat to deliver their fresh Science rhyme!  Take a listen.

While another student chose to animate her narration of the Science lab using the Telligami app.
The Telligami apps lets you create an avatar, select a scene and add dialogue by recording your voice or typing in text.  If you notice, her scene is an actual photo of the experiment from class. How cool is that !

Creativity is one of those skills that is best developed with exploration.  Combine it with the learning objectives and the opportunities the iPad brings, you'll get these surprising results!


Medfield Goes Google Apps!

With the expansion of Medfield's mobile devices, the decision to go Google Apps for Education (GAFE) only made sense.  Google Apps allows school districts to create and manage teacher and student accounts to include their use of Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Site. More importantly, GAFE moves us to cloud-based solutions giving everyone more flexibility in accessing their files, sharing, and keeping track of homework, events, etc. through the google calendar from anywhere- on any device or internet-connection.

With the rollout of the 8th grade iPad and 9th BYOD initiatives and preparation for the 6th grade Koala cluster's Nexus Tablet pilot,  both teachers and students have received training in logging into their accounts and understanding how Google Apps plays a role in shifting to new ways of communication, workflow, and collaboration on the devices and via the web. 

Below Edudemic has informative blogposts on how to effectively integrate Google Apps into the classroom:  

FYI: GAFE is not intended only for students using mobile devices, all 6th graders -12th graders will have GAFE accounts within the next weeks. Any questions, please contact your school's principal.


iPad Distribution we go!

Doors open for students on September 3rd! 

This year brings excitement in the expansion of the 8th iPad 1:1 pilot when it goes full scale to every 8th grader.  The initiative also moved towards a Bring Your Own Device model with options for Lease-to-Own and district devices available for any family with financial need. 

See documentation on the Launching iPads page

For families who chose the Lease-to-Own option, Blake MS offered three iPad Distribution Sessions for families to pick-up their iPads and to receive setup instruction prior to the start of school year in August.
  • Returned signed AUP and recorded the device's serial number
  • Connected to the school WIFI 
  • Logged into new Google Apps for Ed. account 
  • Created a non-credit card iTunes account to be used for school purposes only 
  • Downloaded a list of Starter Apps
Starter App List for the iPad Classroom

Below is a core list of apps students should install for the first week of school. Most of the apps are free. Explain Everything is the only paid app in which the district will provide a redemption code for students to download the app during the first week.

App Function Notes
Cloud Storage and Sharing of Files Students will use Dropbox to share files with teachers and other students.  
Evernote Note-taking Students will use this as their primary notetaking tool across classes.
Nearpod Interactive Multimedia Presentations Students will be further engaged in teacher-directed presentation activities by responding to poll questions, submitting drawings and taking informal assessments.
Google Drive Cloud File Storage,
Online, Collaborative Word Processing, Presentations and more.
Students will access Google Drive via a school GMail account and will use to create, store and share files.
Explain Everything* A screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool that lets you record, annotate, animate, narrate & more. * This is a paid app which the District will provide for all students. Further instructions will be provided on how to download on the first day of school.
SkitchAnnotation and drawing app that supplements Evernote.Students will markup and annotate PDFs, images, maps, etc and send directly to Evernote.

Note for apps:
Once downloaded, please do not log-in or create accounts for these apps; this will be done at school.

Tips for being successful with the iPad:

  • Make sure your iPad is in your backpack in the morning when coming to school
  • Always bring your iPad fully charged to school; we recommend charging it at night when you are sleeping.
  • All your school related apps should be on the Home Screen of your iPad; all personal items should remain on other screens.
  • Your iPad should be in a case whenever it is in school
  • iPads should not be left in an unlocked locker or any unsupervised area; when in school your iPads should be stored in a locked locker.
  • iPads should not be used in gym, bathroom, halls, locker room, & lunchroom.
  • Make sure ‘Find my iPad’ is on.  This will allow your ipad to be located in case it is misplaced or stolen.   
  • Go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>Find My iPad> On
As students set up a number of different accounts, understanding how to create a secure password will be important. Check out the following slideshow & click here for more tips.
How to Create (use use) Strong & Unique Passwords from ConnectSafely

The session ended with devices ready-to-go for the first day! Nat Vaughn, Blake MS Principal left families with the message of feeling comfortable reaching out for support.. from your peers, teachers, technology department and your administrators at any time. And, here we go!


Fall in Line New Teachers for Technology Boot Camp!

All new teachers to Medfield participate in our Mentor and Induction Program for their first year. The program, developed by Kim Cave is designed to introduce new teachers to the culture of the schools, provide information about the professional assignment, and to provide continuous, non-evaluative collegial support throughout the first year in the district.

Prior to the first day of school, new teachers meet with district and building administrators. District administrators provide the district overview, a bus tour of the town and a cook-out social. Building administrators help acclimate new teachers to the building, provide information necessary for a successful first day, first week and beyond, as well as introducing new teachers to their colleagues.
That's not all.. for the first time, Medfield included a Technology Boot Camp as apart of those initial induction days.  Neal Sonnenberg and Diane Horvath, Technology Integration Specialist (TIS) led the 2 hour training session of learning how to log into the network, basic First Class email tutorials, Google Apps for Ed, School Dude technology-ticketing management system, Aesop for absence reporting and simply getting to your new technology besties, Neal & Diane!

The new group of teachers were so appreciative of the detailed instruction and in making sure they were able to access and log into all the essential technology tools. Now they'll be able to concentrate more on learning their new role and preparing for those first days of school. The Tech Boot Camp concluded their initial two-day induction as we wished them a wonderful school year! 


Missed the Connected Learning Webinar? Catch the Recording Here!

If you missed the Connected Learning webinar:  Planning For Effective Teaching & Learning with Mobile Devices featuring our own Jason Heim as a guest speaker, here is the webinar recording below.

Watch live streaming video from connectedlearningtv at

Stay Tuned for the Preparing Parents for Mobile Learning Webinar on Aug. 21st @4pm PST as our own Blake MS Principal, Nat Vaughn joins the panel of guest speakers such as Patrick Larkin, Carl Hooker and Scott Meech. Click here for more information.


A Parent's Guide to 21st Century Skills

Too many times than not, administrators and educators throw around educational jargon that we assume everyone understands. As technology gains ever more importance and impacts our teaching and learning to prepare students for life, the term 21st Century Skills is alway mentioned-- that may leave you asking:

           What exactly are 21st Century Skills?  

Written as a Parent Guide, Edutopia explains the term, really concept as students develop through elementary, middle school and high school and offers tips to develop these skills at home. 
Take a look!


Connected Learning Webinar Series featuring... Mr. Vaughn & Mr. Heim!

EdTechTeacher provides the Medfield Public Schools with some highly effective year-long professional development courses in mobile learning and Teaching in the 21st Century.  They also offer a number of free online webinars for anyone to join in and learn! 

An upcoming webinar series, Preparing for a Year of Mobile Learning is scheduled for August. We are very honored and proud to have our own Blake MS Principal, Nat Vaughn and 8th Grade Science teacher, Jason Heim to be guest speakers in two of the webinars.

Be sure to mark your calenders for:

       Aug. 7th Planning for Effective Teaching and Learning with Tablets @4pm PST
                     Guest Speakers: Tom Daccord, Suzy Brooks, Todd Curtis and Jason Heim
                     - Click Here For More Information

       Aug. 21st Preparing Parents for Mobile Learning @4pm PST
                      Guest Speakers: Patrick Larkin, Carl Hooker, Nat Vaughn, and Scott Meech
                      -Click Here for More Information

 Check out the Connected Learning Website for other events & 
ways to join the conversation!
Connected Learning


What? I have to get my iPad License?

The basic iPad Driver's License test certainly came as a big surprise to Medfield's Students with moderate disabilities who are attending the Summer School program. In fact, they were surprised to see a box of iPads being delivered to their classroom today!  

  For these last three weeks of Summer School, we will spend time covering basic iPad skills and previewing how iPads can be integrated into their learning for daily organization, writing and publishing of their work.

For our first week, you know the best place to start is at the beginning... with the basics. While most students have iPads at home, many have primarily used the iPad for entertainment purposes. When asked today, " What do you do on your iPad?" Every response was.. "I play games-like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja"!  This, obviously was pretty much expected.  But, students also expressed a lot of "I already know how to use my iPad!"  

That's where the test comes in! 

View, print or share the driver's test-part 1 below that identify the basic skills covered and the importance of identifying a few rules of safety & responsibility too.

Needless to say, we have some newbie iPad Drivers on the road! Give a big Shout Out to all of our students who passed their iPad test today with flying colors!  
Tune in next week for our Week 2 update when the next road test challenges students to start recording events in iCal and learn how to blog about their current events using the  Kidblog app!

*The idea of the iPad License came from Suzy Brooks, a 3rd grade teacher in Falmouth, MA. Please visit her Third Graders, Dreaming Big classroom blog for this and other innovative iPad ideas.


Free Summer Technology Ideas for Teens

Hi Blake Middle Schoolers,
(aka Blakers)

What?  Summer just started and you're bored already?!

Well look no further.. 
Apple and Google are hosting a free opportunities to learn 
digital filmmaking, DIY projects,and field trips! 

Check them out!
Apple Summer Filmmaking Camps
Learn how to shoot your own footage & create your own song to produce your
very own film. This free workshop, held at Apple Retail Stores, spans three days and ends with campers debuting their masterpieces at the Apple Camp Film Festival. 

Click on the image below for more info.

Designed on Tactilize (view online)

Free Virtual Summer Camp for Teens
July 8th - August 16th
Join the virtual camp to build some awesome DIY projects and share with other teens 
in the Google+ Community. Every morning a new project is posted, join the Maker Camps Hangout in the afternoon for tips & tricks, and explore with Friday's Field trips.

More Info & Sign Up for Maker Camp Here

 Google's Field Trip App
Google is offering free admission to a long list of museums and zoos 
mostly in the San Francisco and Washington DC area. All you have to 
do is download their Field Trip app. How easy is that!

Check our this iPad app guide for coding, creating, crafting, building and more!

There you have it... how could you possibly be bored now!
Also if you know of any other free summer activities (technology or non-tech)
please feel free to leave a comment to share with others.

Happy Summer!


The iPads take a road trip to Medfield's Elementary Schools

Photo courtesy of Mr. Heim
While the 8th Graders were off to visit NYC/Washington DC, their iPads stayed behind and took a little trip themselves. Some of the elementary school teachers have been asking if they could experience teaching with the iPads too.  And...what better timing than to have a set of 25 iPads head over to Mrs. Lowerre's and Mrs. Cowell's fifth grade classrooms for a 1:1 experience at Dale Street School and a small set of 6 iPads to Mrs. Colatoni's and Mrs. Ravinski's first grade classrooms at Memorial and  Mr. Kuehl's third grade classroom at Wheelock.

Planning for iPad Integration
In each of those classrooms, the plan was to identify a curriculum project where  technology could offer a twist in enhancing or redefining the task. After determining the project, the discussion evolved into answering the question: What do we want student to be able to do?  Students should be able to show and talk about their work through illustrations, incorporate audio or video recordings, and type text and to share the presentation through their classroom's blog or website. We decided that the combination of a drawing and screencasting app would result in just that--a new, creative way for students to demonstrate their learning by adding the components animation, narration, and annotation to their illustrations!  Lastly, we scheduled blocks of time throughout the week as the project was broken down into two parts: drawing and animating/publishing to include classroom support.  

Check out their projects:

Mrs. Lowerre's 5th graders blast off into an animated Voyage of the Planets!

Designed on Tactilize (view online)

Mrs. Cowell's 5th graders developed into fabulous Poets 
using the TypeDrawing App, Sketchbook Express and Explain Everything.

Designed on Tactilize (view online)

Designed on Tactilize (view online)

Mr. Kuehl's 3rd graders presented a variety of food chains across different habitats.

Mrs. Ravinski's 1st graders created a BUZZ in sharing their Honey Bee expertise.

Mrs. Colatoni's 1st graders celebrated the American Patriotic Symbols!

By the end of the week, the teachers and support staff reflected on the process and product.

Some Key Take-Aways
  • Throughout the entire process, the teachers were impressed with the level of sustained engagement, problem-solving, and creativity during those times- by all students especially those students who typically struggle academically or with work perseverance.
  •  Students, particularly first graders quickly learned and understood the multiple steps to create the animations and the navigation of the iPad. Unbelievably!
  • The planning process of story boarding their slides for illustrations and written script and rehearsing their scripts as homework for fluency and expression made a significant difference in how students approached their projects and the amount of time to complete.
  • In the past, elementary teachers, primarily K-3 would send their students to the computer lab for technology projects. However, even without WiFi, the iPads enabled students a chance to remain in their classrooms, at their desks or move around to a more conducive workplace to record their project. 
  • The real challenges were on in finding apps that did not require an internet connection, but more around figuring out the best workflow for organizing & merging projects into one presentation, exporting as a movie and uploading into a shared dropbox, and identifying the best Web 2.0 tools for hosting/showcasing the students' work (ie. Flickr, Tactilize, Vimeo, Youtube) were the bigger challenge. This was more on the teacher end of it. However, maybe next time integrating these challenges for fifth graders to learn how to problem-solve using a variety of tools. 
Overall, as this was a first experience for both teachers, students and myself, the iPad as a portable, creativity-publishing tool truly pushed students' higher-order thinking and not to mention, increased their own personal technology skills and their enjoyment in the entire learning process. Since then, students have been asking, "When can you bring the iPads back to my classroom?"  Hopefully, soon!


iCal & the 8th Grader

One of the first significant differences the iPad has made in the school life of an 8th grader is in learning organization and time management skills using the iCal app in place of a paper agenda book.

Just think... No longer are there torn or missing pages from the agenda.  No longer is their agenda misplaced or found crumbled and shoved into a backpack. In fact, with the combination of syncing Google Cal with iCal, the star cluster teachers make it pretty hard for students NOT to know about assignments and their due dates. The star cluster teachers actually created a shared calendar with every single 8th grader.  Now, the teachers can post long term assignments, field trips, reminders and much more on all calendars with a tap of a sync button. They can also be mindful in planning around each others testing dates and big project deadlines too.

Believe me, this doesn't let the students off the hook for maintaining their own calendars. The responsibility still remains theirs for adding daily homework events and any other important information. The school also encourages families to set up their own shared calendar for after school sports, family events, and their scheduling needs.

Leave it up to students to figure out additional ways to make the calendar their 'own". One of the teachers discovered that some students were 'checking off' finished assignments with hearts!  (Click on the above screenshot of an actual 8th grade iCal to biggify.)  This student was using the Emoji keyboard to type in the HEARTS! Clever!

Other students take advantage of the camera app to snap a photo of the assignments written on the board to then later add to their iCal.  This is particularly helpful as an accomodation for students who struggle with writing or have motor skill deficits to keep up with the pace of the class.  Multiple calendars can also be created and color coded to easily distinguish between them. Events can have alerts and visual reminders set up for deadlines. These simple features are really beneficial to all users!

More information on iCal tips and tricks, try the following resources:
Keyboard Fun in a Nutshell
Syncing Google Cal with iCal
Setting up the Emoji Keyboard on your iPad
5 Superb iCal Tips to increase your Productivity
Video Tutorials of a variety of iCal tricks
iPad Basics for Everyday Tasks

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment.


Slow Motion Science

Let's face it- there is nothing that can replace a student conducting their own hands-on Science experiments!
This pretty much still holds true in a 1:1 iPad environment.  In fact, the iPad actually takes the back seat and serves a very different purpose in these situations. Plus, you only need ONE!

Enter into Mr. Heim's 8th Science Class.
His students usually work in partners for experiments. However, the Flame Test is the one test that requires more safety procedures to be in place. Therefore, Mr. Heim takes the lead in conducting the only experiment which means most students will have to watch from a safe distance.  Can you imagine being the student sitting in the back of the class? Maybe you were absent that day?  Or the experiment happens so fast that you missed the most important part?  

Well, Mr. Heim discovered a solution to these challenges. He simply found a stand to hold his device near the experiment and the Slo Pro iPad app to record & replay the entire process in slow motion as many times as needed. 

Watch the video below to join his class in action.

*You will also notice students then documented the results by hand-drawing a chart and explaining their observations in the Explain Everything app. This makes it possible for students to later return to their own audio-visual recording of the results.   Think of how beneficial is it to be able to watch and listen to your own explanation at any time too?

Without further ado...The Flame Test!

Let's take this one step further... 
Do you think all of the Science classes had the same experience?  
Reached the same results? 
Drew the same conclusions? 

Maybe. Maybe not.
Mr. Heim now has the ability to share each recording
with each class to draw their own conclusions.

 My conclusion:  Science in slow motion can be a powerful tool!