Skype and Dr. Seuss

Yesterday Mrs. Hay from Holiday Heights and Mrs. Farrrow from Snow Heights did a Skype connection to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The teachers collaborated together before the event and had each student paired with another student from the different classroom using a word family word. Each student then drew their picture and on the day of the connection they listened to hear the rhyming word of their drawn word. What great fun and engagment as the students learned about connecting and collaborating with others.

Binion Elementary and 20,000 other students in Texas connect with Barbara Bush

This photo was taken immediately following our question opportunity with Mrs. Bush

This photo was taken immediately following our question opportunity with Mrs. Bush

On February 3, 2010 Jack C. Binion Elementary School joined in a state-wide visit with Mrs. Barbara Bush. Fifth grade students as well as students from two fourth grade classes attended the connection. Registering teachers were asked to submit questions for Mrs. Bush. To our surprise, one of our questions was chosen. One of our fourth grade bilingual students had the honor of asking “Other than your husband and your son, which president do you most admire and why?”. Mrs. Bush was quite diplomatic and said that all presidents have their good qualities and she could simply not select just one. We learned about life in the White House, what it is like to be followed by the media and also received some good advice for teens and tweens. What an exciting distance learning connection….meeting a living legend.

Region 11 Distance Learning Conference

Birdville ITS and Distance Learning Facilitators learned about engagement, encouragement and excitement in the area of Distance Learning at the conference yesterday at Region 11.  We were encouraged and engaged in learning through the use of video conferencing from web2.o tools to the higher end of video conferencing equipment. 

Our goal in the Instructional Technology Department is to encourage the use of digital tool in the area of Teaching and Learning. 
Listening to Ben Micaelsen keynote was a moving experience for me. He motivated the educators in the room to encourage students and make a difference in the lives of others around you.  He was a great presentor and our students in Birdville would benefit from hearing from him on the theme of giving back to our world.  I will find out the information about how to connect our students with him.  If you are interested in having him connect in with your school lets get busy making that happen.

Dwight Goodwin and Tiffany Bingham enhanced the conference by skyping into CFT and having participants connect with Principal Sabrina Lindsey and VP Cheryl Schwaebler.    All you need is Skype, webcam, collaborators and the learning is on.  Our own Suzanne Foxworth did a session of podcasts.   Thanks to our great presentors from within the district.

Teela Watson did a session on 12 Successful Technology Projects.  How do you see Birdville participating and getting on board with those projects?  How would you implement those projects within Birdville ? 

Please take the time to post what you gleamed from the conference and what you will bring back to our district and implement this year?

Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate

This year Birdville ITS Department with Distance Learning will focus on Teaching and Learning with connecting students and staff to teaching and learning events that will engage and excite in a safe and caring environment.  Our three words to guide us are connect, communicate, and collaborate. 

We have new Distance Learning Faciliators that we would love  to welcome to the world of Distance Learning.

Cindy Bailey-  Hardeman

Tiffany Bingham and Katherine Wallace – CFT

Thuyvan Bui- North Richland Middle

Jace Daily- Haltom High

Lynda Pelletier-Foster Village

Lynnette Piland-  Porter

Dani Webb – North Oaks Middle

Suzanne Stutheit- Birdville Elementary

Our Distance Learning Facilitators are on each campus and are always connecting our students to the experts and the global community  for collaborations.

Story Window….Writing instruction at its best!

Author, Chris Espinosa, recently tackled a new challenge.  Experienced at teaching writing workshops to third and fourth grade students, “Uncle Chris” had never attempted to teach two classes at the same time…one of which is not in the buiding!  Watuaga Elementary School librarian, Stephanie Green, convinced Uncle Chris to give distance learning a try.  Mr. Espinosa taught three sections of creative writing to third grade students live at Watauga and via distance learning at Jack Binion Elementary School.  The connection consisted of three sessions and was totally interactive.  The kids were totally engaged and loved the writing process.


Fifth grade students at Jack Binion Elementary School connected to the Texas Wildlife Association to do a little ASI….animal skull investigation.  By examining the skulls of various Texas animals, the students were able to visually determine the adaptations that these animals have undergone to survive in their habitat.  Where else can a student see a snake skull and one that belongs to a bobcat except through distance learning?

5th Grade CPS at Binion

Mr. Winan\'s class uses the CPS unit to compete in the 5th grade science reviewTo review for the science TAKS, our fifth grade teacher connects with another fifth grade teacher in the school down the street.  They incorporate the classroom performance system and play jeopardy class to class.  The students take turns justifying and explaining their answers.  This connection has been going on for 6 weeks on a weekly basis.  The students are engaged and report who “won” each week.  Next year we hope to make this a yearlong connection using Skype and web cams.

Solar Max Traveling with Third Graders

\" Put on your gas masks around the gaseous planets.\"  

Solar Max is traveling again with our third graders in Birdville.   This video conference is a great learning experience for our students and the teachers that hook up and make the trip.  Solar Max leaves the earth and takes our students on a journey asking them questions about each planet as they fly by.  On our trip Solar Max  receives instruction from Admiral Take-Off to launch a probe on a secret planet.  The students must use their knowledge to decide what they will need in order to launch the probe on that planet.  Visit our Solar Max Page to see pictures and videos. 

Solar Max Needs to Hear From His Travelers 

Solar Max travelers Solar Max would like to hear from you about your learning adventure.  Please take a few moments to leave a comment about you journey.  Tell Solar Max what your favorite part of the trip.  What was something that you thought was very interesting? 

A New Year 2009


As we start the new year I would really like to challenge our Distance Learning Facilitators and teachers  to create collaborations. 
In December Holiday Heights 3rd Grade Teachers took on a challenge and collaborated with a Decatur Elementary School.  Each class redesigned Santa’s much needed outfit.  Each student designed a new outfit and wrote a descriptive paper using measurement and mathematical shapes that they had just finished learning in the math curriculum.  Each class had a participating class in Decatur that was designing and writing their papers for Holiday Heights Classes.  The classes exchanged writings and each student drew  from another students writings the way they were told to design the new outfit through the writings. 

On the day of the connections Holiday Height’s Students shared with  student at Decatur  the drawings and showed how they had perceived the writings via the document camera.  The original was shown.  Teachers and students could tell when the writing had been well written because the drawings were almost identical.  Students learned how important details and specifics were to their writings.  Teachers said that it was a learning experiences for them and their students because they could see the development of writing skills of peers. 

Teacher said they would do it all again! 

One young student at Holiday Heights had gone to the school in Decatur last year.  He got to see friends and his last year teacher.  He was excited to see old friends. 

So the challenge is to see what collaborations we can have students do this year!  Share your experiences with us through the blog.