Monday, May 7, 2018

CCSD Bright Spot: 5th Graders Create YouTube Style How-To Videos Using WeVideo

When Technology Teacher Jen Sevy from Fox Hollow Elementary kept hearing her 5th grade students explain how they learned to do things they weren't sure how to do she kept hearing the same answer: YouTube! Apparently, when students are at home and want to learn how to make slime or win at a video game, they look it up. 

This gave her the idea to have her students become the creators of YouTube style videos to teach each other how to do something to show their expertise in a creative way. Mrs. Sevy took advantage of some of our district's WeVideo licenses, and had students use the green-screen feature to make their videos come alive. Check out the video below to learn more and hear from students about the process: 

If you are a Cherry Creek teacher interested in learning more about bringing WeVideo to your classroom, Email Kris Edwards to get more information. 

Click on the links below to see some of the how-to videos created by Mrs. Sevy's students: 


How to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide Integers

How to Draw a Cupcake

How to Shoot and Dribble a Basketball

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

CCSD Bright Spot: Hands-On Learning: Stop Motion Science

At Smoky Hill High School, Biology teacher Shannon Burbano is helping her
Biology students solidify connections to content by using a hands-on approach to learning.

Instead of just reading about the phases of the cell cycle, Shannon asked her students to create stop-motion videos to show the phases. The energy in the room during this project was infectious. Students were focused and excited about learning, and were eager to share not only what they learned, but how much they enjoyed the option of learning through doing, not just reading, about scientific concepts. 

Students used modeling clay to create the cells, then took pictures with their class Chromebooks and a Chrome App called Stop Motion Animator. The completed videos were uploaded to Google Drive, where students could turn them in via Schoology. Watch the video below to hear more about this project!

If you are interested in learning more about using Stop Motion Animator, click here to view a YouTube video that will teach you, step-by-step, how to use this Chrome App. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

CCSD Bright Spot: Breakout EDU: Student Edition
Many of us are familiar by now with Breakout EDU.  If you aren't, check out the Bright Spots about Breakout EDU in the elementary classroom and in a high school journalism class.

Traditionally, teachers find Breakouts or create their own and present them to students to help them learn about a topic before a unit starts, to reinforce information learned, or as a team-building activity, to name a few. But how about having students create Breakouts for their peers?

This is exactly the task assigned to students by Librarian Dr. Michael Stanley and 8th Grade Reading Teacher Andrew Jinkens of Liberty Middle School. Students were learning about Utopian societies through reading, and were asked to create Breakouts for their peers to solve.

Check out the video below to learn more about this project:

For more information about Breakout EDU, please check out the following resources: 
Breakout EDU- Official Site
Introducing Breakout EDU- from James Sanders
Breakout EDU- from Rachel Porter

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A New Way to Drive Google Slides

There's a new way to remotely "drive" Google Slide presentations and it's a game changer when it comes to mobility.  I'm hoping word has made its way around regarding these new possibilities, but just in case here are the resources you'll need to get going.  It's as simple as installing a new Chrome extension and accessing/bookmarking a website on your phone and/or computer.  That's pretty much it.

The extension: Search the Google Web Store for Remote for Slides.  (Here's a link to share, if needed.)  Once the extension is installed on your Chrome browser open a Google Slide deck and locate the "Present with Remote" button in the upper right hand corner of the screen:

Click on that button to start the remote "driving" process.

Next, visit  This can be accessed via a bookmark on a machine, tablet, or a mobile device.  In other words, anything with a web browser.  The site will ask for a unique six digit code for the slide deck.  That can be viewed on any slide within the presentation.  When the cursor reaches the lower left hand quadrant of a slide this menu pops up along the bottom of the slide:

Click on "Show ID & Start Remote", type in the six digit code at on the device which will be driving, and you should be good to go.  The presenter on the driving device has access to buttons which will allow easy navigation to the previous or the next slide within the deck.  Notice the useful running timer in the lower right hand corner of the screen as well.

In the upper right hand corner is a toggle for the presenter to access slide notes.  Here's a look at the screen with the notes option engaged:

NOTE: For those of us accustomed to using the "Esc" key to exit traditional present mode and to get back to edit mode, that will not work after the "Present with Remote" option is engaged.  Users, however, may get out of remote mode (if they choose) with the button on the far right hand side of the menu here:

But, as far as I've seen so far, to be able to go back and edit a slide the tab will need to be closed and opened again in edit mode.  This is the one and only "challenge" I have noticed with this new tool.

Thank you to Henry Lim for creating these new possibilities for Google Slide users.  Everyone I have shown it to has been excited and found it very easy to use.

Happy New Year everyone and please drive (your Google Slide decks) safely.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bright Spot: Energy Sources + Fantasy Football = High Rigor and Engagement

How do you get middle school students excited about learning about different types of energy? Make it a challenge! Tim Duggan, a 7th Grade Extended Core teacher at Sky Vista Middle School, found his students talking about Fantasy Football, and decided that he could use this strong student interest to his advantage. So he had the students learn about different types of energy through a Fantasy Football lens.  

His students formed teams, then had a draft day where the teams chose the form of energy that they wanted to study and debate about.  They even studied about types of energy that weren’t the ones they chose so they could be more successful in their debates. The students had a great time with this project, and many of them attributed this to the freedom, choices, and sense of friendly competition they had while working to beat the other teams.

To get the students more interested in their research, Mr. Duggan invited two experts into his classroom so the students could ask questions. One of the experts joined in person, while the other joined through Skype. Watch the video below to learn more about Sky Vista’s Energy Fantasy Football Project.

If you would like more information about finding an expert to Skype with your class, check out Skype in the Classroom, which is holding their annual Skype-a-Thon on November 28-29. If you are a Cherry Creek teacher, log in to, click the MyProductivity tab, then the Microsoft Educator Community tile. Click Sign In and click Office 365. Then click Skype in the Classroom and find the Skype in the Classroom opportunity that is right for you and your students!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CCSD Bright Spot: Changing Mathematical Mindsets

In Donna Boucher's Math Coach's Corner Blog, she compares learning your ABCs to your 123s, in that when people say they aren't good at math, others may laugh, or even agree that they aren't either, and that's socially acceptable. But if someone says they are not good at reading, the reaction is much different. 

I know that I, for one, used to be the one who said that I just wasn't good at math. I truly believed it. Then I had a teacher who helped me develop a growth mindset in math. I didn't know that terminology at the time, but I did know that I finally understood number concepts and started feeling more confident in my mathematical abilities. When I started working more closely with our district's Elementary Math Coordinators, Sheila Messmer and Jen Overley, I learned that huge strides are being made in Cherry Creek School toward helping students develop positive mathematical mindsets. Check out my video below to learn more...

For more information about Mathematical Mindsets, check out videos from 
Jo Boaler on YouTube and Stanford University's youcubed site.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Summer Learning Opportunities 2017

If you are searching for opportunities to brush up on your technology integration skills and learn about new ways to be innovative with technology, here are some conferences and classes to think about attending/taking over the summer...

CCSD SLA- (Cherry Creek's Summer Learning Academy) June 5-9, ISF (Instructional Support Facility) and Thunder Ridge Middle School

This is a conference for CCSD educators with sessions taught by Cherry Creek teachers, coaches, and leaders. Sessions focus on English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English Language Acquisition, Technology, and World Language.   

InnEdCO-  June 12-15, Keystone, CO

InnEdCO stands for Innovative Education Colorado. The goal of the conference is "to help teachers integrate technology tools with 21st Century skills, into all content areas." It's always a great conference for teachers, tech. coordinators, and district leaders. You'll see several CCSD presenters here as well.

BLC- Building Learning Communities- July 20-22, Boston, MA
If you have ever heard Alan November speak, or have read one of his books, you know why this conference is a recommended one. There will be multiple, excellent keynotes including Rob Evans and Christy LaPaglia, and, as usual, Alan November will serve as the host of the conference. This conference focuses on creating and enhancing relationships for more meaningful teaching and learning enhanced by technology.

Schoology NEXT- July 23-26, Chicago, IL

If you are already a power user of Schoology or if you are just getting started in using this great learning management system, this is a fantastic conference! One of the highlights of the conference is learning about upcoming additions and improvements to Schoology before anyone else, and I can tell you there are some great upgrades coming! Tracks for breakout sessions will include:
  • Visionary Leadership
  • Assessments, Data, and Informed Decision-Making
  • Innovative Instructional Practices
  • Inside Schoology

There are many online courses 
being offered this spring and summer through eNet Learning Online. These courses can be taken for graduate credit, but every participant will receive CEU credits. Some of the courses offered include Designing Blended Learning, Curate, Collaborate, and Create: A Wealth of Resources, and Creativity in the Mobile Classroom. Click here to learn more about the courses offered. 

Dominican University Online
Are you switching grade levels or content areas next year? Do you want to integrate more technology with your curriculum next year but have trouble finding the time to plan and do your research? If what you need is time, and you want to earn credit for it, then check out the Dominican University Online course, Maximize Student Success Through Enhanced Instructional Design. Through this course, you can earn up to 6 credits this summer doing what you already do, planning to help engage all learners in your classroom.

Hopefully you have found something here to pique your interest and save yourself from boredom during the summer months. If your summer is already full of travel and family time, stay tuned to learn about more learning opportunities when we return in August.


If you are interested in learning more about Blended Learning, iLearnCollaborative is a great choice. Courses are online, so you can work on your skills from the comfort of home, on the beach, at the pool, at your in-law's house... and earn credits. Colorado educators get a special discount. Click here to get more information about the discounted prices.

ISTE- June 25-28, San Antonio, TX

The International Society of Education (ISTE) is hosting their annual conference in San Antonio June 25-28. With over 1,000 sessions and 15,000 educators, this conference brings like-minded educators together from all over the world. Keynote speakers include Jenny Magiera, Jad Abumrad, and Reshma Saujani.