Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Student Newspaper

The 5th graders who aren't in band come to library twice a week for enrichment activities. For the past few weeks we have been working on a student newspaper and today it finally went to press! The kids were thrilled to print, fold, and deliver them to the students and teachers in grades 3-5.

You can read it online here: DBS News - Issue 1

Saturday, November 10, 2018

VT Fest: Day 2

Day two at Vita-Learn's VT Fest started with a session by Rushton Hurley talking about taking your teaching to the next level.  In his presentation, Defining Amazing: Taking What You Do to the Next Level, Rushton talked about the value of increasing student engagement and authentic learning experiences. "When kids know others will see it, they want it to be good," he said."When they know just the teacher will see it, they want it to be good enough."  Rushton also pointed out that one way to increase greatness is to allow more time for teachers to creatively brainstorm together.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!  He is a very engaging speaker.  I signed up for his newsletter.  If you're interested in learning more about him and the projects he's involved in, check out his website

Rushton Hurley

I bought his books!  They will be in the DBS Professional Lending Library. Stop by to check them out for yourself. 

Next up: Google Tour Builder!  This is a cool tool that I've never played with before.  It's quick and easy to use and the presenter gave us several good ideas how to use it in school, such as creating a list of places you've been, or a 'tour" of the major battles in a war.  I made a quick tour of the Hartford School District.

I had a nice chat with a vendor there who had a 3D printer.  I've been fascinated by them for awhile now, so I was excited to see a session devoted to using 3D printers with elementary students.  The presenter showed us Tinkercad and talked about several projects she's done with elementary students, including an awesome collaboration project between kindergartners and 3rd graders.  Now I want a 3D printer!!  :)  Even without the printer I think we can put Tindercad to good use. Just the other day a 5th grade teacher came to me looking for such a project, and I know it will be helpful for my First Lego League team project as well.

Then it was time for lunch and a lunchtime keynote speech from Dan French, Vermont Secretary of Education.  He talked about the state of education in Vermont and urged creative collaboration throughout the state.

Thank goodness it's vegetarian!

VT Secretary of Education, Dan French
 After lunch I went to a super fun session called Using AR in the Classroom with Merge Cubes.  Merge Cubes were all the rage awhile back when Walmart was selling them for $1 each.  People were buying them by the shopping cart full!  I was not one of those people.  Oh well.  The presenter brought several Merge Cubes, including a DIY one, and he introduced us to a bunch of apps.  AR is pretty cool, but I wonder how long it will hold a student's attention.  I made a quick DIY one when I got home to show my kids and they were interested in the wow factor, but moved on quickly.  I'm curious to do more experimenting on how it can be used to extend learning.

Galactic Explorer shows you the whole galaxy in your hand. 

HoloGlobe shows you the Earth, in real time!

I spent some time in the Extended Learning area, playing with a Cricut vinyl cutter.  Check out this cool vinyl Karen put on her laptop!  When she opens the lid, the bulb "lights up."  I made a little decoration for my own laptop as well.

Laptop bling

Karen's bling is cooler, but I like my pink shiny too. 

We ended the day with big thanks all around, more raffle prizes awarded, and SNOW!  Eek!

I'm enjoying my weekend now, but looking forward to bringing some great ideas and cool tech to school next week.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

VT Fest: Day 1

It was a fun day at VT Fest today!  I attended a session on social media that got me thinking about a district plan.  I got to try Oculus Rift VR headset.  I've wanted to try one for ages and finally go to!  I attended a session where they talked about all the benefits (and risks) and all the different places you can "go" and things you can do.  At the end they asked if anyone wanted to try and my hand SHOT up!  I got to make a cool 3D piece of art, then view it from all angles.  I got to stand on a row boat and watch the Titanic go by.  I got to stand on the edge of a cliff and watch boulders fall down, over my head!!  It was very cool! I'd love to take my 1st graders on a VR trip through the arctic!

Drawing with Tilt Brush on the Oculus Rift
Definitely dorky looking from the outside, but so cool on the inside!

When I was done with that I went to the next room and decided to play with the Glowforge 3D laser printer.  I was super excited to make a #dbsreads sign. The Glowforge is cool, but I'm not sure we'd get a lot of value out of it at the elementary level. 

I wrote the words on a white board, then they took a picture of it, but a rectangle around it,
and programmed it to engrave the words and cut out the rectangle box.  

I love the result!

I went to a neat session about enabling student voice.  It was definitely aimed at MS/HS, but it was good to put some thought into the value of encouraging student voice in school.  I'd love to come up with ways to get more student voice in elementary school.
"Chalk Talk"

Overall a great session.  Thanks to VSLA's scholarship I'm able to attend today and tomorrow, AND stay at the Killington Grand Resort!  

Today I was joined by our 3rd grade team and one of the 2nd grade teachers as well.  It was nice to hang out with them and get to exchange ideas.  


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret

I just finished a fun book by Trudi Trueit. I loved both the story and the physical format. The pages are think and colorful, and the back matter contains true information about some of the tech in the story. If you like adventure, exploring, and cool tech, check out Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. It would make a great holiday gift! 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Another book fair is on the books!

Thank you all for a wonderful book fair!!! We got nearly 700 books into the hands of eager DBS readers and were able to fill all of the teacher wish lists, get some new books for the library, and donate a handful of books to The Haven. There's still time to order online if you missed the fun in person or want one of those popular books that sold out! The online fair is open until November 9th. (

Book fair was taking about 100% of my brain power this week. As fun as it was (and as much as I love the hugs and thanks and excited faces of the kiddos), it will be nice to get back to the regular routine next week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Scholastic eWallet

Hi parents! The book fair arrived today! Boxes and boxes of goodies we can't wait to unpack.

This year Scholastic is offering eWallet, an easier way for kids to buy books. Set up your account today so your kiddo will be ready when their class comes to the book fair. (all standard forms of payment still work as well)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Book Fair is Coming

Hi family and friends -- once again the Scholastic Book Fair will be at DBS the last week of October.  Just in time for parent conferences!  This year they have a new feature called eWallet that should make shopping easier for all.

Learn more and set up your account on our book fair web page: