C-L-A-YMATION NATION in 6th Grade Art

Mrs. Delaney's Art Students are collaborating in their first Claymation Productions!

First Graders and iPads, I think so!

Mrs. Herring's class researched their wonderings using the Pebble Go database on the iPad.

Blake's 6th Grade Teachers get a FaceLift!

While they piloted the Nexus 10 Tablet this past year, there was much excitement about switching to the iPad for 2014-15 school year!

8th Grade Teachers stop for a Group Selfie

The 8th Grade team has led the way with the successful implementation of 1:1 iPads at Blake MS. Next year, look out! We will be full scale 1:1 with the 6th and 7th grade too! We have to mention Beth Holland (in the photo)from EdTechTeacher who was a big help in providing valuable professional development.

8th Grade iBook Math Authors

Blake was fortunate to be the recipient of some wonderful Coalition grants. With the funding for Mac Minis, students were able to take their creations off their iPad and create an interactive Math book using iBook Authors.

3rd Graders Bring Life to Horrible Harry Characters

In preparation for author Suzy Kline's visit, Mr. Kuehl's class create an Augmented Reality project by drawing each character and using the Aurasma iPad app to trigger the image to a video of themselves describing their favorite character.

Medfield's Adminstrators Retreat

The great minds of Medfield's Administrators collaborate and listen in preparing for the upcoming school year!


We'll Go Somewhere Where There's CLAYMATION!

Wallace and Gromit, The California Raisins, oh no and can't forget Mr. Bill... Claymation has a long history dating back to 1897!  Like anything, it has evolved over time especially with the insert of a mobile device, the iPad. Let's take a peek into Mrs. Delaney's 6th Grade Art Class to see how it's changed!

By the time I came into the Art room, the process was already in midstream. Students were grouped together to work as a production team. Most of the work began earlier with developing an idea or story line with characters, dialogue, props and scenes.

The next step was to storyboard those ideas into scenes including the mapping out the details of character movements and actions and any props needed. 

Third, the group had to create the characters from clay, find props and paint the background scene on cardboard.  They also had to figure out how to make the movements happen- what wires or tools were needed to make the changes in expression or how the character moved on camera. The iPad became a useful reference tool during this part of the process.

 Fourth, time to shoot and record the video! This required ultimate teamwork in communicating, assigning roles, and executing the plan!  All with fun too!

The students used a  Stop Motion App  (free version) to snap incremental photos of their story.
But, there was still production left on recording voice overs or adding music, 
or adding title and credit slides.
This is where iMovie comes in for a little appsmashing!

Once those Claymation projects are finalized, 
come back as I'll post them here with 
great anticipation!

My brief experience in the 6th grade Art class, left me
saying.. Wow, This class was full of engaged, creative, motivated learners!
Sign me up! I want to be in that class!


New! Parent Workshop Series: All About Google

Our parent community has asked! And we're responding! As important as it is to provide professional development and support to staff and training to students, do not forgot one other key component.. PARENTS! Just think.. with Medfield's move to a digital world of communication, workflow and creation to prepare students with 21st Century Skills, parents not only need to be informed, but also educated with what we're asking students to do in our schools!

This October, Blake MS has begun to offer Friday Parent Workshops. We launched with our Google Series of 3 workshops: Understanding Google Apps for Ed/ Gmail for the Medfield District, Google Calendars in the Classroom and now, Google Drive as the new Workflow.

Our first two workshops had a great turnout with 25+ parents participating. However, if you were not able to attend or missed out, links to the presentations are found at the top of this website. Also, our third workshop of the series is being held this Friday on Halloween. Please note, that the location has changed to the Blake's computer lab (see info on invite below).

This Google Drive workshop will focus learning Google Drive on the computer, please do bring your iPad with the following apps installed: Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Click on the image below for a list of direct links to the iTunes Store.

A quick note those who attended the Google Calendar Session-  We spent time learning about having your child share their homework calendar with you (if s/he is recording HW on Google Cal) and subscribing to the Cluster Calendars (particularly the 7th grade cluster cals). You'll find that there is an issue that needs to be resolved on our end in order for this to happen. A Google Admin setting needs to be changed to give you access to seeing the details of the calendar instead of busy/available. Please stay tuned as this may take a day or two.

* We're also in the process of hopefully getting the district calendar to be shared as a google cal through the district website too-- which will allow you to subscribe to it.

Any questions, comments, do not hesitate to contact me! dhorvath@email.medfield.net


CaptureBlake- our new photo-sharing community blog!

October is Connected Educator's Month.... but what about including how we as educators can connect with our students too? At Blake MS, we launched a new blog called CaptureBlake. The idea behind it is to take advantage of everyone's access to a mobile camera & use it to capture life as a Blaker! It works like this..students & staff receive a daily email with the photo prompt for that day.

Here is our Photo Challenge List for October!

(Shoutout to 8th Graders Tatum and Anna for their contributions to the List!)

Of course, there are a few basic rules:
  • You can take pictures of yourself, pets or your family, objects, scenery or draw /create your own image.  Think about using fun photo apps to add filters, make a collage, add stamps and text,cartoons, etc.
  • This should be your own work and not a copyrighted image from the internet.
  • Your photo should be school appropriate.
  • You can submit only one photo per day.
Students and staff submit their photos to an email address that posts directly to the CaptureBlake blog as a draft. They include the name of the day's photo challenge, a title and their first name /grade.  With the blogger app on my iPad, it makes the process easy to approve and publish the photo entries as they come in!

Hoping there will be a growing- interest as everyone becomes more familiar with this new project and just think, we'll have a photo album of the year by June!

**My Favorite free Photo Editing Apps:
Photo Editor by Aviary

*FYI: Many free photo apps have in-app purchasing for additional features or are ad-supported until you upgrade.

The above pics were created on the computer w/ picmonkey.com and canva.com 
Feel free to leave the name of your favorite photo apps in the comments below.


Follow our Journey through HASHTAGS!

Blake MS has caught Twitter Fever! A big push has come from the principal, Nat Vaughn (@nat_vaughn) who encourages teachers to use it to share their students' work and experiences, for connecting with other educators professionally and to help build a school community.

It's been a wonderful way to share the many fieldtrips students take to places like Boston, Washington DC, and ... the 7th Grades' week-long trip to Lake George called Nature's Classroom.

All you have to do is follow the #blakeatNC
and see all the laughs and smiles!


"I Survived Tech Bootcamp Day!" said every 6th-7th Grade Blaker!

With the 6th and 7th graders now entering in the 1:1 iPad journey,their teachers thought the best course of action was to designate one full "Tech Bootcamp" day during these early weeks --making sure everyone had their iPads setup correctly and taking time to introduce their new workflows and apps. 

A side note: You might be thinking, well what does #HackersWednesday and #TechAttack really mean? One thing you'll notice about Blake MS is that we have caught #hashtag fever-- and decided to give these days a fun #hashtag name! The students love it.  There was so much excitement before the day even began!

This is how it worked:

The students were in groupings by advisories and rotated through the different sessions/periods for the entire day. Some of the sessions were as follows:

1. Calendar/Agenda- 7th grade is using the Sunrise Calendar app to share a cluster calendar of special events, long-term projects & tests,  and students can also record  their homework assignments here.

2. Google Drive- Introducing the idea of using cloud-based storage tied to their school google accounts where it becomes a main workflow of receiving resources and assignments from their teachers and turning in their work through shared folders.

3. Explain Everything- Probably the best app in terms of versatility and creations with the ability to screencast, draw, record and explain everything! Students received a redemption code to be able to purchase the app.

4. iPad Setup/Nearpod- The iPad offers so many wonderful built-in features that were introduced during this session along with a scavenger hunt to test their skills. Then students experience an app that allows for teachers to take over their screens with Nearpod. Nearpod is basically a way to engage students through an interactive lesson.

5. Evernote-Evernote will be used as the student's notebooks. Each student setup an account using their School Google Account, created a notebook and shared it with that teacher. The teacher now has access to 'looking' into the students' notebooks to see if they have the correct notes or it may be a place where they complete an assignment. One nice feature of Evernote is that it is both an app and a website. 

6. Gmail/ Google Keep: With Medfield becoming a Google Apps For Education district, all of the middle school and high school students have their own accounts for use of gmail too. In this session, students learned how to create a contact list of their teachers, search the directory and send an email. Then Google Keep was introduced to 6th Graders as their 'agenda book'. This will become the place where they record their homework through photos, lists, and text.

Below are a  few of the session presentations. As a parent of a Blake 6th or 7th grader, you may find helpful.

Mrs. Ruminski's Fire it Up Animoto to start her session.
Before diving into Gmail and Google Keep.

Mrs. Donovan asked students to spill the beans and 
explain everything! This screencasting app is one of the most
versatile apps in creating, recording, drawing.. and so on.
During this session, Mrs. Donovan gave a brief introduction to 
the functions of the app.

Mr. Gavaghan is one of our ultimate Google Drive teachers.  I would say the
English teachers in general are big fans of GD! In his session, he walks the
students through creating and organizing a folder system for getting
and turning in work.

While students are somewhat iPad-savvy, we did spend time in the settings
to take advantage of functions like text-to-speech or how to set up your
device so it functions like a champ and doesn't get in your way!

Overall, it was a hugely successful day. The students learned new things as well as the
teachers too.  Any teacher or staff members that felt they could benefit from one or more of 
the sessions were welcome to join in! 

Listen in to a few student reflections about the Tech day.

I have a feeling that this will definitely become a new tradition at Blake!