Breakout EDU

This summer while attending ISTE, I learned about a cool new game for the classroom called Breakout EDU.  Here’s a short video about it.

Since receiving my kit, I’ve played it four times–twice with my college students and twice with fifth graders.  All ages loved it.  For the fifth grade game, I used an adaptation of two of the games on the site (  The game centered around missing iPads, and students had to use their knowledge of place value to decode the clues to find them.

There are many games already pre-made to use with the kits (for free) and I enjoy making them up too.  I’m looking forward to playing with some first graders on Halloween!

NASA Spacecraft Lands at Oak Grove

It’s easy to make it look like a spacecraft has landed near you!

NASA Spacecrafts visited Oak Grove in Mrs. Becker’s 5th Grade Science class last week.  Okay, so they didn’t actually visit for real, but virtually they did, thanks to the augmented reality iPad app called Spacecraft 3D.  This app allowed students to view 3D digital replicas of the spacecraft and explore them in the classroom environment.

Students blogged about their experience with this activity.  Check out their posts on their blogs.

Cross posted on the Oak Grove Digital Archive.

High Tech Snowmen at night

Students in Mrs. Osburn’s writing classes introduced their new class blogs with high tech snowmen! They created snowmen based on the book, Snowmen At Night, and wrote short blog posts about them. Then, they created QR Codes to attach to their snowmen. When parents came for the 5th Grade Music program, they were able to scan the QR codes, read the corresponding blog posts, and leave comments for the students.


Check out their blogs here:

Rotation 1

Rotation 2

Rotation 3

Would you please leave a few comments for these new bloggers?


Who’s New at the GeoZoo?

Students in Mrs. Sharp’s 5th Grade class created creatures using their geometry skills to populate “The Geo-zoo.”  Mrs. Sharp had done the activity years before using paper and shapes, but wanted to engage her students by using the iPads.  We quickly were able to transfer the activity to a digital one.

Last Year’s Paper Version

Digital Version

Thanks to the iPad apps Geoboard, Pic Collage, and Dropbox, students were able to complete a project based activity (that normally was done as a homework project) within one class period.  By the end of class time, Mrs. Sharp had a great understanding of her students’ strengths with Math SOL 5.13 (The student, using plane figures (square, rectangle, triangle, parallelogram, rhombus, and trapezoid), will develop definitions of these plane figures; and investigate and describe the results of combining and subdividing plane figures.)

Check out the process below:

The best part was that the students were completely engaged and absolutely loved their creations!  Many even posted them on their blogs :

Rock Star Laser Robot by Double O Cleo

The Triangle Vampire from by Minecraft02

Tari the Tri-con by I Love Lax

The Tri-Liger by Iron Claw

Here are few examples of their awesome work:

If you are interested in doing a similar activity with your class, here is our STEM (Children’s Engineering) design brief and a couple versions of rubrics.

Design Brief

Rubric 1

Rubric 2

Let me know how it goes! And…if you are at one of my schools, I’d love to come in to help! Ask me! :)


Stacking Oreos! (and graphing them too)

OreosA few weeks ago, students at Oak Grove and Clearbrook went Oreo crazy!  They brought in packages of the yummy cookies and tried to stack the tallest towers.  But it wasn’t just for fun…it was part of a global project with students all over the world participating!  You can learn more about the Oreo Project on Jen Wagner’s website.  This was the 12th year of the project, and this time 15,501 students participated from 719 different classes. 




IMG_0803After stacking oreos, different grade levels participated in different activities with the oreos, from science to math to writing.  Many classes created Excel Spreadsheets showing the average cookie stack, or the mode, median, mean, and range of the stacks.  They even used excel formulas for their calculations!  




 A few examples of their spreadsheets are shown below!

Mrs. Beir’s Class (Clearbrook — 3rd Grade)

Mrs. Hushour’s Class (Clearbrook — 3rd Grade)

Mrs. Bralley’s Class (Oak Grove — 3rd Grade)


Mrs. Sharp’s Block 1 Class (Oak Grove — 5th Grade)



Mrs. Sharp’s Block 2 Class (Oak Grove — 5th Grade)


Mrs. Mortez’s Block 1 Class (Oak Grove –5th Grade)

Mrs. Mortez’s Block 2 Class (Oak Grove — 5th Grade)

Mrs. Grave’s Class (Clearbrook — 5th Grade)

Mrs. Hudson’s Class (Clearbrook — 5th Grade)

Famous People Poetry Voicethread

First of all, I cannot take any credit for any aspect of this voicethread.  I did not help with it at all, but it’s so good, and such a great example, I have to share it!   It was done by Mrs. Hudson’s 5th Graders at Clearbrook.  They wrote poetry about a famous people and used voicethread to record their poems.  Mrs. Hudson taught a few students how to use Voicethread, and they helped their classmates record on one computer in the back of the room.  After everyone had recorded, they were able to post the final product on their class blog! What a great project, and what a great way to use technology in the classroom!

Blogging 5th Graders

Mrs.  Hudson’s and Mrs. Graves 5th grade classes at Clearbrook Elementary are blogging!  I’m so proud of the hard work both the teachers and the students are putting into this project!  The kids are very excited, especially about comments they’ve received from some college students in Alabama.   They worked really hard on writing posts about instruments to go with the sound unit they are studied in Science, and they are working on entries about their visit to Apple Ridge Farms.  If you have a few minutes to leave them some comments, they would love it!  It’s so motivating for them to know that their writing is read by a “real” audience!

Here are their blogs:

Mrs. Hudson

Mrs. Graves

I’ll keep them linked to this blog (on the right) in case you want to check back on them later in the year!

Online Testing Practice Sites

Just wanted to pass along a website that was mentioned for SOL practice in the 5th grade meeting yesterday.  It came from Mary Hollar at West Salem Elementary.  It’s called, and it has online review problems for Math…including a way to practice with a protractor and a ruler (be careful, though, since the cm ruler on this site starts at the end of the ruler).

There is also an entire page of links that Pam and I have put together to allow you to practice for SOL tests using computers, including released practice tests from prior years (they don’t look exactly like the test, but they are still good practice).  Take a look when you have a chance.  To find it, go to Your school’s homepage>Students>Links for Kids>Your Grade Level>Online Testing Practice or click here.

If you know of anything else that should be added to this page, please, please let me know.  The more ideas and resources we have, the better!! :)