Wednesday, May 9, 2018

3D Printers in Elementary Classrooms

Our school district, MSAD6, has been blessed with donations of 3D printers from The Perloff Family Foundation. We are lucky enough to have a 3D printer in all six of our elementary schools along with some at our middle and high schools. We have been working diligently on finding ways to incorporate the printers into our standards based curriculum since my schools received the printers in December. One easy way to start incorporating the printers is through science in all of the elementary classrooms and possibly math in the upper elementary curriculum.

David and Sandy Perloff have shared slideshows including project ideas that some other area elementary schools have tried. One project that stood out to my teachers was the Bubble Wands. The experiment process known to most as The Scientific Method is a process that is embedded in many of the science standards students must obtain. I created a Book Creator Experiment Journal to make it easy for teachers and students to incorporate 3D print design into an experiment process journal for students. This way 3D printing enhances their experiment and along with the design process helps enhance the learning experience for the students.

Below are some Perloff Slideshow Ideas for Elementary Classrooms:

K-12 Projects:
2D to 3D:
Bubble Wands:
Fidget Cars: 

These are Finder specific:
Low Profile Spool Holders:
Optimizing Adhesion:
Changing Filament:

One of my teachers, Rachel Johns, was very excited about the Bubble Wand experiment and she jumped right in after I airdropped the journal I created in Book Creator from my iPad to her iPad. Below is a video that explains the process and capturing the journey her students took. I visited to help in the classroom once the students got to the last page of the journal, Challenge: Design your own bubble wand. Beyond that Rachel led her students through the process.

Rachel also created a wonderful teacher guide for teachers to follow when they try this project in their own classrooms...

Another popular 3D printing project is student created avatars for students to use to track their learning on a progression chart or board.

Christmas Ornaments are made the same way as the avatars and was the first design we had the students create for the 3D printer along with a first grade class having students create Kissing Hands to go along with the book. For 1st grade we had the students draw on an image of a hand that was airdropped to them and opened in a white board app.
Video of 2nd Grade Students Making their Avatars

Steps for Turning a 2D Image into a 3D Print

1. Draw with black marker on white paper or use any tool on an iPad that will allow students to draw or import shapes in black on a white background. Google Slides has a lot of shapes for students to use. Students also enjoy using Book Creator, but there are less shapes to choose from.

2. If students drew on paper they will need to take a picture of their drawing. If students drew on an iPad they will need to take a screenshot in order to crop off anything that does not belong in the print and to save the creation to their camera roll.

3. Students need to airdrop the image to their classroom teacher or students can upload the image to Google Drive or Seesaw. Airdropping the image is the fastest option, but the teacher needs to be
available to accept the airdrop on their laptop.

4. The teacher will grab the image from their downloads, if airdropped, or find the jpeg/pic on their computer and drag the image onto the bed of the printer in the Flashpoint software. (If you need the software I can put it on your laptop for you or you can download it from here.)

5. The software will pop up a menu after you drag the image to be printed onto the bed.

6. Change the settings for the Base Thickness depending whether or not you want it to print a plate. (0 for Bubble Wands because you do not want a plate. 0.5 is good if you want a base or plate for your print.)

7. Click OK and then you may want to resize the image on the bed. I usually like to have at least two full squares empty all the way around the print. The smaller the print the faster it will be done, but you don't want it too small.

8. Once you have resized the image you can click print. (On the pop up window make sure that Flashforge Finder is selected for the machine type and I usually choose low resolution for a quicker print.)

9. Click OK and rename the item to be printed and then click save.

10. You will get a message in the upper right hand corner stating how long the print will take. If it is too long you can go back and make some adjustments. After you plug your computer into the printer using the blue chord you can click print. (Sometimes a message for connecting will pop up. Click the blue connect button and printing should begin.)

11. To start another print go up to the file menu at the top and click on it. Then you can click New Project and the bed will be cleared for your next print.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Green Screens Rock and What I Have Learned the Last Two Years

Last school year (16-17) I purchased a green screen, some high powered magnets, an iPad stand, a mini microphone, and the Green Screen by DoInk iOS app with the $50 all teachers in our district get to spend. Some of my classroom teachers allowed me to try my purchases out with their students. We did things like student planet reports, fables, weather stories, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales. Students recorded in small groups and individually. Since I was the only one who had the app and the equipment for my three schools it was unfortunately not feasible for students to create on their own.

The purchased equipment worked well. I did not iron my screen and probably should have, but it worked good enough for what we were doing. There is a trick to using the high powered magnets because if they become unwrapped from the screen and stick to the whiteboard, they are very difficult to get off the board. I usually slide a thin piece of paper under the magnet and then pull away holding both sides of the paper. The paper doesn't usually rip. Hahaha...

Then we get to this school year and the Green Screen app has been purchased and uploaded to all grades' 2-5 iPads. We are a 1:1 iPad district so that is a lot of purchased apps, but so worth it! We purchased two apps this school year, Green Screen and Book Creator. This has been a game changer because now the students are empowered to create! All classroom teachers, including grades K/1, have the app as well.

At the beginning of this school year I put up green screens using bulletin board paper. The bulletin board paper works very well and is easy to put up for a permanent location, however the location is key. One of the boards I put up is in a high traffic area and at bus dismissal students line up along that particular wall. As students walk by with their back packs, no matter how careful they were, the backpacks would inadvertently rub against the paper and create small tares. The shadow from the tares would sometimes show up on the finished green screen projects.

I would suggest if you need a quick green screen, bulletin board paper is an easy solution, but take care to choose where you place a bulletin board green screen.

Fortunately my principal gave me the go ahead to purchase paint for new green screens.

I found a list of suggested paint colors on the DoInk website under Frequently Asked Questions. I ended up purchasing Gamma Sector Green at Home Depot for $18. The Disney label has been removed, but the paint was still in Home Depot's system. I taped off any edge with Frog Tape that needed to be crisp, otherwise I cut in with a paint brush when I ran along other edges. I used a roller to apply the paint to the walls and not only did the screen work perfectly yesterday but also the three screens throughout the building have added a fun punch of color.

I guess word has spread throughout the school because students walk up to me and ask if I really painted the walls. So cute! I plan to paint two more screens at another one of my schools.

For one of my screens I had an outlet to deal with so I used some green felt and taped it to the outlet. That way if someone needs to use the outlet, they can and that too worked perfectly. I could not make out the spot where the felt existed on my test recording.

Using some sort of a stand works best when recording for green screen creations because even a little movement makes it look like the student is floating around due to the back drop being stationary. So unless you are shooting for a floating scene, and I have seen purposeful uses, a stand is best. Sometimes it is not feasible to purchase a stand, so in my graphic to the right you will see a few ways my students and I have gotten inventive. My goal is to have teachers and students not need me to be a part of their projects, even though movie making is one of my FAVORITE parts of my technology coaching job.

Microphones are also a good tool to have. I don't always use them and most of the time the audio is fine, but the further away the iPad is away from the subject, you have quiet spoken students, or other noises in the school, the harder it is to hear the student on the finished project. With my $50 this school year I purchased a new microphone and a couple stands. See the
picture to the left for more details. As you can see in the pic above, the chord length is quite short on the microphone I purchased last year.

The desktop stand on the top left of my recent purchases worked really well yesterday for a Valentine's Day project. We were able to quickly switch out student iPads. I also bought this stand to record towards the floor for small green screen projects. I have yet to try it out for that purpose as I only received these three items on Monday, but my plan is to use small rectangular shaped pieces of neon green felt to create puppet type green screen projects.

The sound of my new microphone was perfect and the cord was very long. It comes with a few different size chords so you can switch them out depending on your needs. I would like to get a few more microphones so that classroom teachers have access to them. Right now the microphones travel with me to my different schools.

Here are some of my students' projects...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Smashing Zookazam with Green Screen by DoInk: Celebrating Classroom Teachers Series

I recently saw on Twitter a fabulous project of a student talking about an animal while being recorded using the Zookazam iOS App. With the augmented reality of Zookazam students are able to have an animal sit in their lap while they are recorded talking about their animal. I sent out an email asking my teachers if anyone wanted to try this project with their students and as a result I have several classes scheduled to do this project. This article will  highlight what we did in the first two classes that have finished their projects.

What we did...

1. Ms. Nason and Mr. Hulit were excited to try this project so I sent them a list of the animals that are available in the app. (dove, eagle, hawk, parrot, great white shark, hammerhead, stingray, seahorse, gorilla, polar bear, deer, horse, lion, panda, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, zebra, hippo, humpback whale, killer whale, dolphin, octopus, frog, ant, butterfly, ladybug, praying mantis, scorpion, tarantula, chameleon, crocodile, sea turtle, cat, and 10 dinosaurs)

2. Ms. Nason and Mr. Hulit had their students pick an animal and research some facts about their animal. The students filled in a worksheet to keep track of what they found.

3. The Zookazam app is 99¢. We do not have it in our budget to download the app on student iPads this school year so for the recording part, I recorded the students in front of the green screen using my iPad. Hopefully we can make Zookazam available to students next year either on student iPads or at least classroom teacher iPads.

4. Once every student had the chance to be recorded we met as a whole group so that the students could learn how to use Green Screen by DoInk ($2.99). Also a paid app, but well worth the money. DoInk is available to all of our students grades 2-5.

5. I sent the students their videos via airdrop.

6. Once every student had their video on their iPad, I showed them how to get an image on Safari and how to use Green Screen by DoInk to add a nice background to their video.

Student Examples...

Additional Resources...
How to Use Green Screen by DoInk
What is DoInk?
Tech Tips for Green Screen by DoInk

Friday, January 12, 2018

Green Screen in 2nd Grade: Celebrating Classroom Teachers Series

The plan of this article series is to celebrate how my classroom teachers are integrating technology into our district curriculum. There are many awesome teachers in our school district doing great things in our 1:1 iPad classrooms. The first article of the series is inspired by a lesson that I assisted in yesterday.

Mrs. Semple, a 2nd grade classroom teacher at Edna Libby, wanted her students to learn how to use Green Screen by DoInk. So for the first lesson we decided to create a whole group video. In the future we will have another lesson where students will create their own videos on their iPads.

What we did:
1. Mrs. Semple had her students practice reading a reader's theater fluently before we had the whole group lesson. (When students know that they are going to be recorded they tend to be motivated to practice reading.)
2. Once the students were ready we met as a whole group. I showed the class a video (the first 6ish minutes) I created with students last year using a green screen plus explained the green screen process and tips. Other video examples... Kindergarten1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 5th grade
3. The classroom teacher picked one group to read their piece in front of the green screen while the classroom teacher recorded the readers. The rest of the students watched the reader's theater.


4. We went back to the classroom and Mrs. Semple projected her iPad on the whiteboard so that we could do the rest of the project as a whole class.
5. We used Safari to save some background pictures to the photo library on the iPad. We then had students recall the settings or key points of the story that would make a good background. Mrs. Semple searched for the images and then saved them to the iPad camera roll.
6. With my assistance Mrs. Semple modeled how to add the video and photos in the green screen app. I also showed them how to resize the video so that the parts of the video that did not have green in the background was no longer visible. We added several backgrounds so I also showed the class how to trim an item to make it easier to add a new item, in this case an image. Video can also be trimmed as well.
7. Mrs. Semple saved the finished video, airdropped it to the four student readers in the video, and then those students uploaded the video to their Seesaw account. Mrs. Semple plans to finish up with the other two groups soon.

I love love love that students were able to add the videos to their Seesaw portfolio so that parents can see the learning that is taking place in the classroom.

Additional Resources:
How To: DoInk Green Screen

Using "Green Screen" iPad app by Do Ink (Screen Cast Tutorial)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Synergy Resources

With an introduction of a new system to any institute there is always a huge learning curve. We, the tech team, have been working hard to make it as smooth of a transition as possible for our students, guardians, and staff. Here are some useful tutorial videos and resources to help us on our journey of working with Synergy.

For Guardians and Students:


For Staff:

Links to Synergy -
Login for Students and Guardians or for Staff
Information about Edupoint and Synergy

Thursday, August 31, 2017

BE Engaged! 2017-2018 iOS Apps

MSAD 6 Tech Coaches created an iPad App guide for the 2017-2018 school year using Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. (View the guide at the end of this article.) These approved apps, along with a few other Apps, will be in the Self Service App for students to install on their individual iPads. The Self Service App icon is displayed to the right of this text. Please contact your tech coach to learn how these fabulous Apps can help increase engagement in the classroom.

Three Apps to make sure to use, since we paid for them, are:

Book Creator: (Book Creator now has a web version as well.)

DoInk Green Screen:

Explain Everything:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Students Creating Digital Board Games Using Pic Collage

I can't take the credit for this idea... the credit goes to ERINtegration for coming up with the idea, and my coworker Laurie Delaney for making me aware of the idea. The purpose of this article is to share with you a video tutorial on how to create one yourself or with students. It would also be a fun rainy day project at home for parents and their children.

Video Tutorial

Beyond the normal board games that you may think of, students could take the project a step further to "show what they know" for any standard or create an interesting book report. Students examples below from Mrs. Lucy's 5th grade class and Mrs. Fries' 4th grade class.

Or Fun Basic Games...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Blip Your Badge

I visited Kelsey O'Neil's room (Grade 1) yesterday and I noticed an awesome flowchart for SeeSaw on her wall. We started talking about how we all have such wonderful tools in our classroom, but with such a large district it is hard to share. The tech coaches are hoping to make that easier for all of you. I recently emailed you all about a resource called Blip Your Badge that the tech coaches created, however links work just as well to access the resource boards. (Bookmark them.) Below you will find the links to several tech topics. Each topic is loaded with links to video tutorials for teachers and students, flowcharts, and printable instructions. Please make use of this valuable resource and if you have something in your classroom that other teachers could use, please email it to me. We will update this resource frequently.

Also Suzanna Stevens (Grade 2) is creating a resource for teachers as a project for her master program.

Nicole Gleason
Technology Coach SAD#6
BlogWebsite, and Wiki
George E Jack, Steep Falls, and Edna Libby

In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but
what you have taught them to do for themselves that 
will make them successful human beings. 
Ann Landers

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Breakout EDU in the Elementary Classroom

Have you heard of an Escape Room? If not, it is a room where you have to solve riddles, puzzles, and mysteries in order to "break" out of the room. Breakout EDU has brought a similar scenario to classrooms. The classroom teacher uses a kit with a variety of locks to create a similar situation for their students, except the students are trying to "break" into a box. The website has a bunch of team building mysteries or classroom teachers can create their own. The clues can be related to content that has been taught in class as well as the team building experience. Breakout EDU also has a digital version available.

Here is a video of some of my students "breaking out".