Stop Motion Science

8Science students collaborated in the creation of a LEGO Stop Motion Video to demonstrate their understanding of substances and different types of Elements. They created a story line that included MONATOMIC ELEMENTS, DIATOMIC COMPOUND and TRIATOMIC COMPOUNDS!

New Blakers!

Welcome Dash and Dot! AfterSchool Coding Club members are test-driving the new robots which will soon be integrated into the Science curriculum.

Digital Learning Day 6th Discussion Panel

Medfield School District held its 3rd annual Digital Learning Day Conference filled with over 60 workshops for K-12 teachers in district and from schools out-of-district. Wellesley 6th Grade teachers joined Blake's 6th teachers and students for a discussion on their initial year of having 1:1 iPads in the classroom.

A Shout Out to Medfield HS/MS Student Volunteers

Our Digital Learning Day Conference wouldn't have been possible without the support of our wonderful Medfield HS Students and Blake MS students. This photo was taken at the beginning of the day, during a briefing with Neal Sonnenbergy (HS Tech Integration Specialist)

Look out for these future App Developers

This group of Blake MS girls are entered into the Global Competition, Technovation to design a mobile app that solves a community/social issue. Wish them Luck! The final pitch is on May 1st @ Microsoft NERD Center!

Took the Show on the Road

Blake MS Principal Nat Vaughn and 8Science Teacher Jason Heim presented about the Blake iPad Initiative at the LearnLaunch Conference, Harvard Business School.

Green Screen App Smashing

At our final EdTechTeacher Workshop, 6th/7th Grade Teachers explored their creative side by layering green screen videos over images for engaging instructional videos. It was total fun!

Convert Smells to Energy = Smellergy!

Nicolina is changing the world one nose at a time! Her entry was clearly on track with dreaming, designing, and delivering an energy-saving idea into the Blake Energy Invention Contest!

Sometimes the Ideas start here

Planning and drawing out a story board before the creation of an Explain Everything project is an essential step in the process!


#advise4yourdevice: I forgot my passcode..SOS!

With our Bring Your Own iPad program at Blake MS, understanding how to manage your personal iPad has been another layer of learning for students and teachers. Of course, it is based on perspective as to whether that is a positive or not. Either way.. everyone benefits from understanding how to set up their devices to take advantage of some its built-in features.

One situation that occurs far too common is the ummm... I forgot my passcode. Typically, you will end up with the DISABLED screen if attempted too many times.  Basically, you are forced to restore your iPad, which could possibly mean losing some of your school work from the Explain Everything and Notability apps if you have not backed up your work to Google Drive.

This is where the Find My Phone app and an iCloud account can be a life-saver! It does the obvious by locating a missing device on a map. But, by putting your device in Lost Mode using a computer or another the Find My Phone app on another iOS device, it will lock your screen w/ new four-digit passcode that you set and lets you display a custom message, etc. 

1. Set up a free iCloud account using your Apple ID.
    Tap on Settings

2. Install the Find My Phone app.
3. Sign into the Find My iPhone app with your iCloud App.

Now you are set up! How does this work if I forget my iPad or misplace it?You should put it into Lost Mode immediately using Find My iPhone.
  • Access the Find MY iPhone app on another iOS device and sign into your iCloud/Apple ID Account.
  • OR you can go to the website: to sign into iCloud/Account.
  • Turn on Lost Mode and set your passcode.
  • Go to your locked iPad and try the new passcode you set.
  • Viola.. you should be back in business!
  • The only glitch is that your iPad must be online (connected to the Internet) for this to work.
More information..tap here


Digital Notes on a Friday! DC Trip, Google Hangouts, App Updates & more.

Happy Friday--Here are a few tech updates to keep you in the loop!

Borrowing Devices
In the past couple of weeks, many poor iPad screens have been shattered. Luckily, extra iPads are available for students to borrow until they get a replacement, if available. I ask that students do use a passcode or install apps under their own Apple ID. All apps are installed that are needed or please see me.  Also, try to return the device as soon as possible and don't forget the charger too! Thanks!

Washington DC trip.
Generally, parents and well, anyone can follow along Blake's 8th Grade Washington DC field trip on Twitter using the #blakeindc hashtag. This year.. we're also going to try to have them 
Google Hangout into Blake each day to talk about their trip-in-progress and for the students at Blake to be able to ask questions. I will try to record this so it's available to watch at a later time too. Stay tuned!

Also, we can’t let the 8th Grade have all the fun! The LMC will be offering a few Makerspace challenges throughout the week to introduce and let students explore the Makey Makey kit, Osmo Masterpiece and Dash and Dot Robot and--Teachers, feel free to take on the challenges too!

Google Updates:
Make sure you update your Google Docs and Slides apps.. you are now able to add images to both! In Slides, users can add shapes and create/edit tables!.

Paper Fifty Three App Update:
This drawing app has an update called Think Kit. Visual Learners will love the ability to draw using all the tools for free, to create diagrams, and the new fill and cut & rearrange feature.

That’s all for now- Happy Weekend!


Digital Notes: Teacher Appreciation Week Edition

This Friday’s Digital Notes topic is all about you— Teachers! As Teacher Appreciation Week flew by.., you could follow or go check out two twitter hashtags, #thankateacher and #teacherappreciationweek  for lots of positive messages!

Google is also thanking teachers with new features in Google Classroom app.
Teachers can now:
  • Create, edit and delete assignments on the go using the Google Classroom app for iOS
  • View, grade and return students’ completed assignments
  • Exchange comments privately with students about their work to provide constructive criticism and other helpful feedback.
  • Read More 
For some free Professional Development, Google Education on Air is hosting an online event that is actually happening as we speak -live all today and tomorrow. Check it out if you get a chance.
Teachers can also earn PDPs for watching- Here's how!

Apple has a list of apps that are discounted by 50%. So, Blake is going to #thankateacher by taking advantage of the sale and purchase the Book Creator App for all teachers and students! You’ll be able to create your own digital books on the iPad. Stay tuned for more info. *If you already have the app, please reply to this email.

Nearpod is also celebrating teachers by offering 10 lessons free for downloading. 

Making Connections: It’s a First!
This coming Monday, a few of our 6th grade students are participating in a Google Hangout discussion with 6th graders from Wellesley Middle School. They’ll talk and share their thoughts about learning with the iPad in the first year! We’re going to try to broadcast it as a live event which also enables us to record it to watch later. Blake teachers, you'll probably receive an email on Monday with a link to watch it.  Scheduled for Monday, May 11 @11:45-12:06 (during 6th grade advisory)- tune in if you have a chance!

Technovation Team Update
Last Friday, our two Technovation Teams, Appily Ever After and Totally Apptastic competed in the final Pitch Night at the Microsoft NERD Center. Each team had to presubmit a Pitch video, Demo video, Business Plan, Logo, and screenshots and code of their app Prototype. Six teams were selected by judges to pitch and two more teams were voted in by the audience.  As they announced the teams… both of ours were thrilled to be the two voted in— meaning they had to give their business pitch in front of 200+ people. While they did not win the event itself, our teams placed in the top 9 of 40 MS/HS Teams! We left feeling truly proud of the teamwork, determination and enthusiasm that went into the app development over a course of 3 months! Thanks to those who followed and cheered us on! Andevery girl on the team asked if we can do it again next year.

** Breaking News:  Yesterday Technovation announced its Semi- Finalist! OpportuniTEENS was selected in the Middle School US/Canada Division! I believe they move to the Finalist round to select the team who will compete in San Francisco on the Global Stage! This means there is another round of judging to select 6 HS teams and 4 MS teams to head to San Francisco for the World Pitch Event where 1 HS and 1 MS team will win $10k!


Last Friday's Digital Notes- May 1

Right before vacation, I intended to email the Digital Notes out, (but figured it was vacation week), so instead you can find it as the previous post or click here to read about some iPad updates, free online Google PD event happening soon, and the beginning of our Shout Out Showcase!

On Thursday, Discovery Education held a live online event to discuss the ConnectEd initiative launched by President Obama in June 2013 to ensure all students have access to the best technology in schools & libraries and learning experiences that prepare them for college and career. A 6th grader from Bennett Middle School in Maryland did a fabulous job hosting the event with President Obama!  Watch the recording here (it begins about 22 minutes in)- there were technical difficulties initially. Or check out the tweets.

* Looks like they hold other events.. for STEM/NASA and such so check their website/ hashtag #ofthepeople often (

QR codes bring Poetry to the Hallways!
To be or not to Be! Elise Malone’s 6th graders are bringing poetry to the hallways of Blake! Each student chose one of their very own penned poems to record and publish to their classroom’s YouTube Channel. They used that link to the video of their poem to create a QR poster  to share! The poster was made first by creating the QR code and then, importing the image into Notability. Please encourage your students to check them out! (You’ll need a QR Reader app).

Professional Development = Coding + Modern Learner
In our final Advanced iPad workshop, EdTechTeacher Greg Kulowiec’s main thread throughout was to think about the ‘modern learner’ and to have us as teachers revisit or experience what new learning feels like- you know, to get us out of our comfort zone and to focus on problem-solving and collaboration (insert coding)! Our task was to first create or find a representative image of the modern learner, bring that into Scratch Jr. (a very basic, free coding app for k-3 students) and code the characters to present our ideas. 

Check out your colleagues' interpretation of the Modern Learner coded on Scratch Jr.
via this YouTube Playlist.

* Greg introduced the ‘thinking’ around coding with an unplugged-Stack the Cups activity
Our Teachers needed many redos until their "robot" completed the code correctly.

Helpful Tips for Some Commonly Asked Questions:
Setting the Default Apps with Google on the iPad

Hope you enjoyed this past week's notes!


Digital Notes on Friday, April 17th (delayed)

Here's a semi-weekly technology update from Blake MS featuring the latest app updates, new professional development events, google and iPad tips, Coming Attractions and a new Shout Out Showcase to share what's happening in your classrooms!

Updates to your iPad
iOS 8.3
  • Adds a lot of image faces with better organization, skin tone modifiers, and a bunch of flag, phone, computer, and watch Emoji. 
  • Siri has gained some new languages, plus the ability to make phone calls using the speakerphone.
  • Passbook now separates Apple Pay credit cards from other Passes. 
  • iMessage has the option that will allow you to separate messages from friends from messages from strangers. 
  • And one of my favorite new features removes the annoying requirement to enter your Apple ID password when you are downloading free apps!
Google Docs- this update brings editing to TABLES!
Explain Everything-the update includes new features of flipping objects and auto-group option in Draw, Shape and Text Tools pop-out menu.

*if students are not able to update due to lack of storage, please visit the Spring Cleaning Tips.

Professional Development Opp
Education on Air is a two- day online event, May 8th and 9th by Google for Educators with keynote speakers and topics such as, empowering student learning, digital storytelling, collaboration, digital citizenship and much more. Sign up today!

Wanted: Notability is seeking Beta-Testers!We are looking for beta testers that are willing to consistently test our new features and give constructive feedback as often as possible. Click Here

Shout Out Showcase #1
Introducing a new feature to give you a peek into the classrooms for grades 6th - 8th.
The first thing you'll notice is many of our student creations incorporated the use of a green screen (green table cloths) and two apps: TouchCast or DoINK.  

Mr. Heim's 8th Grade Science class found it worked perfectly to bring in actual footage, graphs, maps and facts into their Plate Tectonics research. Mrs. Alland's 6th Social Socials class were put to the task of creating an Infomercial on a specific cause/issue. Students were able to change the background image to reflect their message as they were presented as a team! And lastly, Mr. Gavaghan's 7th English students created a story trailer to show the changes the main character goes throughout the novel.

 Mme. Buckman's and Mme. Wellings' French classes also loved two apps: VoiceThread and Explain Everything that capture audio recordings of students speaking french! Listen into conversations about their favorite breakfast foods and watch their animated presentations to demonstrate a culmination of their learning this year!

SMORE- is a website where you can create digital flyers. When Mrs. Gumas' 7th Math class began their unit on percentages, she was looking for a tool that would let her create her own weekly advertisement or flyer to help students apply those skills to real-life situations. did the trick! She included her own videos, images and linked directly to their google spreadsheet for recording and submitting answers. **The free version limits you to five. But, that just may be enough! Check out her the Now and Then Flyer!

Emaze- calls itself the next generations' online presentation tool! Accessible via the web on any device, users can select from several professional templates to create slideshows, video presentations and 3D presentations.Give it a try and let me know your feedback! Click Here!

Coming Attractions
With our discussions about Student Digital Portfolios as a school, I held two workshops on how to setup and use Youtube with students and how to develop their digital portfolio using Google Sites. I know some teachers were not able to attend and asked for tutorials and resources. Stay tuned, as those are in progress and will be shared shortly!

Be sure to visit next Friday for more digital notes!