Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Learner Science IPad Survey!

Mrs. Kindred and Mr. Chamakala surveyed several CMS North students to see what they felt about using iPads in Science Class!


Brandon C:

Favorite Subject: Science
Favorite Food: Donuts

What do you like most about using the iPads in Science:
 I enjoy the ability for every student to have an iPad so everyone can work at their own pace. Also, it gives us the ability to have access to the internet when they need it and the teacher allows it.

Coolest lesson you have been able to complete so far with the iPads in Science:
A drought Google presentation with out science tables. We were able to look at all types of droughts and give a presentation.

Online Science book: yay or nay?
I would like to have access to Science books online because it would allow us to do our school work outside of class anywhere.


Avery H
Favorite Subject: Science
Favorite Food: Sushi

What do you like most about using the iPads in Science:
I love that we all have a personal iPad! We mostly use them to do web quest. Web quest are online scavenger hunts, I love doing web quest on our own iPads because we get to go at our own pace.

Coolest lesson you have been able to complete so far with the iPads in Science:
The aquifer web quest. In this lesson we were assigned different websites and we were suppose to answer the questions after the interactive educannon (video). I like this because it was interactive.

Online Science book: yay or nay?
My favorite science app is an app that shows you the starts where ever you are throughout the day.


Katie S
Favorite Subject: Science
Favorite Food: Mexican

What do you like most about using the iPads in Science:
I like that it give us an opportunity to expand our education. Also, being able to have access to the internet helps us with a question we may have.

Coolest lesson you have been able to complete so far with the iPads in Science:
I like all of the Web quest we have done because we get to move at our own pace.

Online Science book: yay or nay?
Yay, because when we have homework we can just go online and read out textbook to help us out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

iPads in Mrs. Park's class

Last six weeks, the science teachers all received a class set of iPads to use to access their online textbooks and enhance learning opportunities. Mrs. Park is currently using them with her 6th grade GT Science classes to facilitate an at-your-own pace unit about the metric system. Learners are able to access a Google doc which guides them step by step through the learning process, including links to videos and other instructional material.  The iPads help with differentiation and flexibility, allowing  them to be mobile, review material as needed, access a variety of tools and support, and empower the learner with choice. She has designed this learning experience to utilize both the virtual and physical space of her classroom, including hands on activities. She can't wait for the kids to have their own iPads in a few months which will help make these experiences even more flexible and efficient.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cool New Apps for iOS 8 (FREE)

Post-it Plus By 3M Company

This new free app for iOS 8 allows you to snap a picture of a group of post it notes you have written and save them on your device.  Once on your phone, you can rotate, arrange, and group them in different ways.  This is the perfect app for anyone who uses Post-it Notes!

Get the app!

SwiftKey Keyboard by SwiftKey

iOS8 allows the use of third-party keyboards.  SwiftKey is a great new keyboard for your iOS device.  It features a powerful predictive engine that quickly learns your typing habits.  It also includes a slick swipe typing system.

Get the app!

Pocket: Save Articles and Videos to View Later by Read It Later, Inc

Keep track of the interesting things you find without emailling yourself or letting tabs pile up in your browser.  You can save articles, videos, recipes, webpages and more.  Once you have added it to Pocket, you can even access it offline!

Get the app!

Monday, October 6, 2014

North Plugged In Returns!

Welcome to North Plugged In, a blog for parents of learners at Coppell Middle School North.

The goal of this blog is to keep you informed about technology use at CMSN.

The blog will be updated weekly.  Posts will vary in content from the following categories:

  • Apps for Parents - app recommendations for parents
  • Learner Perspectiveguest posts or interviews with CMS North learners
  • Quick Bytesinfo about all things technology in CISD and for parents at home
  • Tales from the Classrooma place where North educators can share what they are doing in their classrooms
More content coming soon.  We hope to add these sections in the near future!
  • Tweeter of the Week - follow a different CMS North learner each week as they tweet from our school account about their learning journey
  • Technology Help Center - answers to frequently asked questions and "how to" documents/videos for parents 

Be sure to stop by every Wednesday for new content!  If you would like to be notified via email when a new post is available, please sign up using the “follow by email” box on the right side.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Perspective of a 6th grader

Zack, 6th grade

Favorite food: pizza

Favorite class: P.E.

Question: What are the benefits of using technology in school everyday?
"It saves time to go on a website instead of one person downloading it the second we need it. Now we all have  the apps we need."

Question: What are some things you would like to do it you had your own school iPad?
"Use Baiboard to do my work for math and look up a county in World Cultures. In Science, you could look up the first law of motion."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mr. Lotspeich Dreams of 1:1

Mr. Lotspeich, the choir director, shared the following:

Students use iPads to view examples of "Multi-Tracking", rehearse parts for their own performance, and record themselves singing a three part piece of music (turned into YouTube video). Students (individually) sing through three different parts with a metronome. The students then edit these videos together and it creates digital harmony in three parts! This type of recording (music making) is called "Multi-Tracking".

If we were 1:1, I could have done several small projects throughout the year with sight-reading examples, and with more time we could record an entire song rather than a small chunk.

iPads would also eliminate the need for paper copies of music, everything could be put into digital PDF and we would save on paper!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interview with a 7th Grader

Katie, 7th grade
Favorite food: cheesy pretzels
Favorite class: Science

Question: How could you see yourself using iPads in school if we were to go 1: 1?
I can keep my personal and school life on separate devices.

Question: What's your favorite app to use in school?
I use Edmodo app all the time. If I'm in a class and I have finished all my work, I can pull up the app and access all my homework for the day.

 Question: What are some things you would like to do if you had your own school iPad?
If I had my own iPad, then everyone would have the same access to the same technology. That way no one would be left out because they can't afford a device. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Understanding Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use

Check out this wealth of resources to help us understand copyright laws, creative commons, and fair use policies.

Thank you to the creator, Joyce Valenza, for this amazing resource.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ms. Sokolosky Dreams of 1:1

Maddie Sokolosky, Algebra teacher and Math coach, shared the following:

In our quadratics unit in Algebra 1, learners are asked to take pictures of parabolas that they see outside of school. These pictures can come from inside their house or from around town, wherever they go! Once the learners have their pictures taken, we use the iPad app called Interactive Axes to lay a coordinate grid over the picture. Using the app Show Me, the learners are then able to create a short instructional video including all the key characteristics of their parabolas. The learners use these same pictures to find the equations of their parabolas. The iPads allow us to use Desmos, a digital graphing calculator, to draw conclusions about quadratic transformations. The learners are able to see any number of parabolas on the screen at one time, all in different colors, and be able to differentiate between the equation and the resulting graph. Throughout the inquiry-based lesson, learners take screen-shots on their iPad and record their findings using the Pic Collage App.

If we were a 1:1 iPad school, the learners would be able to take the pictures of the parabolas that they find around Coppell using their individual school iPad. There would be no transferring of pictures from cell phone to iPad or email to iPad. This would make the process of uploading the picture into Interactive Axes and saving it in Show Me so much easier! Every learner would have the required apps already downloaded on their individual iPad and would be able to do this process at home, not taking away from class time. In the second activity mentioned, the learners would be able to save pictures of their graphs made on their iPads from Desmos, directly in their Camera Roll on the iPad, which could be referenced at any time as part of the learner's notes. Class time would not be wasted erasing all the pictures and work from one class period to another and learners would be able to save all their work!  It would be very beneficial for every learner to have his/her own device that can be taken home at the end of each school day to use to complete in-class assignments or projects as well as to be used as a digital binder for organizational purposes! Imagine what it would be like if everything for all classes was stored in just one place and always available! Class time is not wasted sharing devices among learners, the device can travel between home and school, and finally, the child has the ability to keep a digital portfolio of everything he/she has learned throughout the year!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mrs. Williams Dreams of 1:1

Laura Williams, 6th grade Science teacher, shared the following:

We do labs on a regular basis in science.  The students work collaboratively in groups but each child turns in their own assignment.  It takes a lot of paper to make the copies for each child.  Also, some students don’t write as quickly as others and they get behind writing down the answers and then they aren’t able to participate in the group discussion.  Some students also do not want to share their ideas so they write down answers on their own without letting the group know their thoughts.

If we were one to one, I could transfer all of my labs to google templates and share it with each child.  This would allow them to truly collaborate together.  The template would allow each student to type their ideas on the lab template at the same time, but not over each others entries.  I would be able to tell which child typed what, to make sure each child’s ideas were being written down.

Another benefit is that it allows students to receive immediate visual and verbal feedback on their data and responses.  Students have different learning styles and some need to “see” as well hear what feedback and directions I have for them.  They can access the documents at anytime from anywhere as long as they can get on their google account.  This allows them to look back over their work, reflect and self-correct.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Thoughts of a 6th Grader

Joey, 6th grade
Favorite food: Brownies
Favorite class: Social studies

Question: How could you see yourself using iPads in school if we were to go 1: to: 1?
I can use and research right at my fingertips, blog, and get the work done that needs to be done and try challenging myself. 

Question: What's your favorite app to use in school?
For school iPads, I like to play pre algebra games like inequality football. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cool Utility Apps


 Giant Timer for iPad
Because who doesn't need a giant timer app every now and then?

Adobe Reader
Use this app to type or write on any PDF files - including adding your digital signature so that you don't have to print documents in order to sign them!

This is our favorite QR code scanner! You barely have to hold your device camera over the code for it to scan.  No more trying to perfectly hold your device steady at just the right angle!  Get the iOS app

Self Timer Camera
Now your whole family can be included in the pictures your take with your phone.  Just set the camera timer, walk away and join the group, and the phone will snap your photo for you!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mr. Timm Dreams of 1:1

Brian Timm, 7th grade Math teacher, shared the following:

For my geometry unit, my learners have a class set of iPads.  I've used a flipped-mastery model for this unit, which means each student must demonstrate mastery of the concept before moving on to the next one.  Their lecture and instruction are online, as well as their practice.  Once they're comfortable, they attempt a mastery challenge and then create a blog post on the concept.  Since the iPads are still shared and do not stay with the students, they're mostly used for them to consume the videos, practice, etc.  Learners do create some pictures, but most of what they do for the unit is not created by them.

If we were a 1:1 iPad school, the unit would shift to a more learner-created unit.  Their products to demonstrate mastery of a concept could be a video tutorial that they create, teaching the concept back.  Since they would be able to have their iPad with them at all times, I would not have to worry about them using each other's material.  I'll know that their content is their creation.  Their math blogs could include these tutorials created by the learner, essentially creating their own online textbook.  Since these would be posted on their blogs, this form of a textbook can stay with them throughout their schooling.  Learners would have a voice, quite literally, in their own instruction.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Interview with a 7th Grader

Vinny, 7th grade
Favorite food: Nutella
Favorite class: language arts

Question: What's your favorite app to use in school?
Usually when I'm studying I use a flash card app to study vocabulary. It not only saves paper and trees, but it's easier and efficient.

Question: What are the benefits for using technology in school every day?
In 2014, more and more technology is being used for many different things.  From using a Skype app to talk to your boss or going on to google docs to work on a project. Most jobs use iPads and if we learn how to use them like that in school, it will benefit us later on.

Question: What are some things you would like to do if you had your own school iPad?
Not only could I work on homework, a teacher could send a google document to everyone and they could look at their iPad.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Photo Apps for Families

Check out some of these awesome photo apps that you can use with your family!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coach McDaniel Dreams of 1:1

Michael McDaniel, 6th grade Social Studies teacher and coach, shared the following:

My GT learners recently learned about the Middle Passage of the Atlantic Slave Trade.  Studying the history and economics of slavery, they created sensory figures as they imagined the life of a slave.  They also created diagrams of the Triangular Trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas to show the economics of slavery.

The activity itself could be improved through the use of technology by allowing a sensory figure and the diagram to be created on an app that has more options for those students who don't like to draw.  But the real benefit of 1:1 would be the apps that allowed the students to share their work to create a more comprehensive understanding of slavery.  For example: The students could each pick a part of the slave's experience and create a Google Drawing for their section of the story (slave ship, plantation work, slave market, etc.) and combine them into a single collaborative piece with Meograph.com that could then be shared with non-GT students who could use the mapping function of Meograph to see the slave character's journey.  Using Shadowpuppet, the non-GT learners could narrate over the Meograph and explain where each sensory figure is in the Atlantic Slave Trade process.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Managing Distractibility in the Classroom

The following presentation is from one of our recent parent workshops.  

First, managing distractions in the classroom is not new and technology is just a different type of a distraction.  Teachers have always had to have plan to address the distractions through different methods regardless of the technology.  We polled a handful of teachers and they shared some of these strategies that are specific to technology and device use in the classroom.

  • Establishing procedures - educators begin the process of establishing expectations, class norms, and procedures from the moment that learners enter their classroom for the first time.  This is fundamental to good classroom management.
  • The stoplight - Two different examples of device stoplights are given here.  Many times we, as educators, know when we are transitioning between different segments of the lesson and know our own expectations of learners within those different segments.  The stoplight helps us to communicate to learners what type of personal device management is expected of them during various activities.
  • Active monitoring & engaging lesson design - By pairing an engaging lesson design with active monitoring, learners are more likely to stay involved in their learning and less likely to be distracted.
  • "Apples up" or "pac-man your mac" - These are both ways that educators communicate with learners that they need to focus their attention on the teacher instead of their device for the moment.  By flipping the iPad over or lower the screen on the mac, classwork can be briefly paused without losing any information or connection.
  • In plain sight - one of the best management techniques for personal technology, such as learners' cell phones is to ask them to put it on their desk each day during class.  With the device out in the open, it is less likely that learners will attempt to sneak in a text or two and if they do grab their phone (assuming it is not a time for personal technology use) it will be obvious to the educator.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Apps for Managing Chores

There are several recommended apps for chore management - some that will make chore tracking FUN for your kids!

Check out this site to learn about 5 different apps that offer different features like earning stars to cash in for rewards or "leveling-up" (video game style).

These apps are not all free.  There are free chore apps available in the iTunes store.  This list was selected because the rating of each app in the iTunes store is high.

If you try one out and love it, please leave a comment below to let other parents know what has worked for you and your family :)

5 iOS Apps that Make Chores Fun

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mrs. Hawkins and Ms. McMeen Dream of 1:1

Donna Hawkins and Kristen McMeen, 6th grade Math teachers, shared the following:

During a one-to-one pilot for 6th grade standard math we were able to see our learners grow and deepen their understanding in unexpected ways. A snapshot of one class period with one-to-one technology shows our learners engaged in experiences that allow them to research information, generate new ideas, collaborate with peers, and use critical thinking skills.

In a recent lesson, students traveled around the room and worked in partners to write inequalities from given situations. For instance, "A child must be over 3 ft. tall to ride the roller coaster." Learners used an interactive whiteboard application, Baiboard, to show that this is written x > 3 in mathematics. Using this application partner pairs can see each other's work, discuss their answers, and get instant feedback from their teachers before they move on. We were able to instantly see if our students had any misconceptions and get them back on the right track. Our learners then created their own inequality situations, which they posted to the educational platform Edmodo. Students interacted by solving each other's problems in the comments section of their posts.

Throughout the one-to-one technology pilot our learners kept track of their progress by using the application Blogger. We posted screenshots of their work and wrote short entries about their understanding of the material. As educators, we were able to decide if our learners were able to move on the next day or if we needed to slow down our instruction for their benefit. We shared blog links with our learners' parents so that they could easily keep track of our progress.

We feel that the use of technology as a tool in our classroom allowed for our students to be innovative and helped prepare them for a future that is sure to require untold amounts of technological skills. We were able to better understand what our students truly knew and identify when additional instruction was necessary. The one-to-one technology pilot showed us that the sky is the limit for our learners.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perspective of an 8th Grade Learner

Marc, 8th grade
Favorite food: Chicken nuggets
Favorite class: geometry

Question: How could you see yourself using iPads in school if we were to go 1:1?
I could see myself taking notes or filming the lesson. Researching for a project, playing games or reading. 

Question: What's your favorite app to use in school?
Educreations, Edmodo, iMovie, Google Drive, QR Scanner

Question: What are the benefits of using technology in school everyday?
The benefits of technology are for researching and creating projects. Sharing work and working together. Its really organized. It makes grading really easy for teachers as well. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Technology Misuse Plan

We listen to you!  One thing we have been hearing is that learners that are misusing their technology are not being held accountable.  We have worked with all educators and educators and our leadership team to develop our new technology misuse plan.  We are currently planning an implementation pilot before a complete implementation next school year.

Friday, April 11, 2014


SymbalooEDU is both a web tool and an app.  You can put all of your most used sites in one place for quick access.  You can even set the page you create as your homepage in your browser so that every time you go to the Internet, your most commonly used sites are right there at your fingertips.

We asked Brittany Reese, our local theatre teacher and Symbaloo advocate why she loves Symbaloo.  Here is what she said...

"The Need for Symbaloo - As a working mom, I always feel like I am juggling a million things.  One of the most difficult areas for me is keeping up with the technology websites for myself, a teacher, and my two elementary-aged children.  Check the portal, do RAZ Kids,  IXL, PebbleGo, Super Hyper Spider Typer, Fun Brain, Math Lingo, Funschool, and Edmodo, just to name a few.  How can any one person remember all of this?  The answer- Symbaloo!  Symbaloo is a organizational home page that has links to all the websites you need.  Add a site once, and then every time you open the internet, Symbaloo has it right there!  No more searching for links!  No more juggling technology!  This technology application  changed my life for the better!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mrs. Randall Dreams of 1:1

Marsha Randall, 7th grade Language Arts teacher, shared the following:

We recently completed a Hero's Journey group project. In groups, the students were creating a digital portfolio that contained one activity completed by each member, plus an activity completed as a group, so a minimum of 5 activities total. We were only able to get hold of the library Macs occasionally, and even then, we were sharing with another class. Each class had about 10-13 Macs, which meant that each group had 1 or 2. Students were having to look over each other's shoulders to collaborate on the portfolio and to check one another's work on individual activities.

If we were a 1:1 school, students could have been on the site for the portfolio and the activities at the same time, completing, collaborating on and correcting the work as a group, instead of individually on one or two devices. Students were frustrated at only having a few devices, and I was frustrated having to keep track of who had which device when and whose turn it was to have more than one device.  Students would also have the ability to work at home on their own device, instead of having to share with family members, who might also have work to do.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Perspective of a 6th Grade Learner

Anna, 6th grade
Favorite food: corn
Favorite class: math

Question: How could you see yourself using iPads in school if we were to go 1: 1?
"I would love to use iPads 1 to 1 because we could access Edmodo, and Safari all the time for research and to see what we need for homework. 

Question: What's your favorite app to use in school?
"My favorite app to use for learning purposes is Educreations. I like how you can video your work and if you forget it, go back and watch it."

Question: What are the benefits of using technology in school everyday?
Some benefits are that you don't have to worry about losing or ruining homework done on paper. With technology you can save it to your drive. 

Question: What are some things you would like to do it you had your own school iPad?
I would like to add apps that could help me with my research and classes. It would be easier than going to safari, or even using research books. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Trello - Get organized!

Trello is both a website and an app (iOS & Android) that will allow your to get organized - collaboratively!

Read one dad's account of his family uses Trello stay organized by clicking here.

Want a cool idea for using Trello?  Sign up each member of your family with a Trello account. Then you can assign task "cards" to any member and see their progress or their notes!  Each member can have personal to-do boards as well as share boards with their whole family.

Visit the site.

Take a tour of Trello to learn about all the features.

Get the iOS app here.

Get the Android app here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ms. Bottom Dreams of 1:1

Julie Bottom is a veteran at North who teaches 8th grade Social Studies. She shared the following:

I've seen a lot of changes in 16 years of teaching.  When I started we had overhead projectors and vis-a-vis markers.  If you wanted to be super fancy you used colored vis-a-vis markers!  I visited a school where they had 1:1 iPad implementation last year, and I admit that I was initially skeptical.  However, I was so impressed by what I saw.   I spoke to a shaggy-haired 8th grade student, and he told me that the best thing about having his iPad is that he never loses his work anymore.  He said in the past his work would be in his locker, his backpack, or at home.  He said he could never find anything, but now he always has it with him. I can say without hesitation that giving kids quick access to databases, educational games, recording apps, and document sharing is a benefit to my students, and it's why I'm dreaming of 1:1.

In the following she shares some of the activities and tasks from her classes this year:
1.) Recently the students have read primary and secondary sources about the Mexican-American War, Transcendentalists, and reformers.  I made a class set and the students recorded their analysis on paper that they turned in to me.
2.) My students are expected to write down their agendas every day so they can keep up with due dates.

In comparison, if we were a 1:1 iPad school:

1.) Every learner could have pulled up the primary and secondary sources on their device.  They could each highlight them, record their thoughts using audio apps, and submitted them electronically.

2.) My students could add due dates to calendar apps, they could take a picture of the agenda and store it on the camera roll, or they could write the agenda down in the notes app.  This would allow them to access their due dates in one place.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What app do you use the most?

Katie tells us a little about what app she uses the most and why she likes it!

Monday, March 31, 2014

More content coming soon!

This blog will be updated (pretty much) daily beginning on Monday, March 31st.  Here is the tentative schedule:

  • Mondays: Info about our Student Tweeter of the Week!
  • Tuesdays: Quick Bytes - info about all things technology in CISD and for parents at home!
  • Wednesdays: The Learner Persepctive - guest posts or interviews with CMS North learners
  • Thursdays: Dreams of 1:1 - a place where North educators can share what they are doing in their classrooms and their thoughts about a 1:1 environment
  • Fridays: Apps for Parents!

You can check back as frequently as you would like or subscribe to receive email updates by entering your email address in the box on the right!

Don't forget to check our Twitter for Parents page for great ways to use your personal Twitter account!

Also, check out the tab called Tweeter of the Week to follow a different CMS North learner each week as they tweet from our school account about their learning journey!

Twitter for Parents

Parents:  check out the Twitter feed below.  These are tweets that some of our staff have found on Twitter that we thought might be interesting or useful for you.

Make sure after you sign up to follow @northlearners, @cmsnorth, and @coppellisd.

Other great people/organizations to follow:

NASA Education @nasaedu
How Stuff Works @howstuffworks

Tweeter of the Week

This week's Tweeter of the Week is Maddy S.  She will be tweeting out about her learning journey this week.

If you have a Twitter account, you can log in and follow her at @northlearners