Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Skype-a-Thon 2016

Students at my school traveled 8,161 virtual miles during Skype-a-Thon 2016!  We made nine connections with people in four different states!

I love Skype because it allows our students to have experiences they would not otherwise have.  They love connecting with people who live in different parts of the world and learning about how their lives are the same, but different.  Mystery Location Skype, Mystery Number Skype, and Mystery Animal Skype provide students with an opportunity to practice critical thinking skills. 

Here are the connections that we made!

1. A fourth grade gifted class played Mystery Number Skype with a third grade class from a nearby school.

2. A third grade class shared their favorite books with a first grade class from a nearby school.

3. A second grade class learned about dinosaurs in Denali National Park from one of their park rangers.

4. Our technology club Skyped with Microsoft Sales Director Damon Fitzgerald.  The students played Mystery Skype to determine his location and he told students about some new Microsoft products.

5. A fourth grade gifted class played Mystery Number Skype with a third grade class from a nearby school.

6. A third grade class Skyped with Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft.  The students told him about our school, how we use Microsoft products, and their favorite books. 

7. A kindergarten class played Mystery Animal Skype with a second grade class from a nearby school.

8. A second grade class played Mystery Animal Skype with a second grade class from a nearby school.

9. A third grade class played Mystery Number Skype with a third grade class from a nearby school.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Microsoft Store Field Trip


We recently took our fourth and fifth grade technology club students on a field trip to the Microsoft store at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta!  During our visit, students participated in a program to learn about coding.  This trip would not have been possible without my district's technology project specialist and my Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Southeast Region lead, Sandi Adams, who connected me with the store.  The store employees were very helpful in planning our trip.  They designed the experience to teach students about coding and also various Microsoft products.


Before we disembarked the bus, Sandi gave all of our students purple OneNote Avenger capes!  The students loved being Microsoft superheroes.  This also made it easier to keep track of the kids in the mall!  When we arrived in the store, Microsoft Community Development Specialist Katia greeted us and led the students to tables with Surface tablets.  She told the students they would be learning how to code a video game using Touch Develop.  Katia led the students through the first few exercises but after that let them work at their own pace.  There were videos within the site for students to watch if they were confused.  Katia and another Microsoft employee, Ronald, were available to help students also.


After students had successfully programmed the game, Katia and Ronald allowed students time to explore several Microsoft products, including Minecraft EDU, Xbox and Kinect, the Fresh Paint app, and Surface tablets.


Our field trip inspired many of our students to continue learning more about coding using Touch Develop.  Several of our students even plan to use this site to create a game to enter into our district technology fair.  We are so thankful to Microsoft for allowing us the opportunity to visit their Atlanta store!