St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School Celebrates International Dot Day

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St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School celebrated International Dot Day the week of September 14. We started with a school wide celebration beginning at flag salute, and activities continued throughout the week in various classrooms as we celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration right here at SSEDS.
As described on The Dot Club website, “International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.
Each year on International Dot Day the inspiration continues. What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming teaching and learning around the world as people of all ages re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all they do.”
The highlight of the week was forming a dot as a school community and then move into the number 60. Moving forward to 60 is this year’s school theme. Furthermore, the character trait of the month is Creativity from our Cloud9World literacy based character strength building program, which sets the tone for the rest of the year!

Westward Expansion G5

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Grade 5 explored the Westward Expansion during Social Studies and reported back to the rest of the class. The teacher gave students an objective sheet including a Driving Question and parameters. The students came up with ways they would like to present the information to the rest of the class. Depending on the tool they wanted to use, they formed their groups. This was an excellent way to give the students a choice and have them engaged in their research and presentations. We were so proud of the different and creative ways these students shared their information. Some students chose #ThinglinkApp as the best way to represent their findings, others created a poster, yet others made newspapers in #PagesApp, or presentations in #KeynoteApp and one group created a skit. Above are some different outcomes.

BobbleHead Biographies

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During Library time with Mrs. Bulkley, our third graders researched biographies using PebbleGo, created a BobbleHead in the BobbleHeadApp, and then recorded their script in ChatterKidApp. Finally, they compiled their BobbleHeads in a book using the BookCreatorApp.

Connecticut Colony Commercial

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In Grade 5 English class, Mrs. Webster’s students researched, collaborated, and created commercials for the original Thirteen Colonies. Students discovered all about the thirteen colonies in Social Studies with Mrs. Basañez. They applied their knowledge to the rubric/parameters set in English class http://sseds.us/infomercial. Students were invited to #AppSmash. #VideoScribeApp, #DoinkGreenScreenApp, and #iMovieApp were used to produce the videos below. 

Library and Technology Integration

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The library specialist, Mrs. Bulkley, read 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde with Grade 3. While she read the story, students picked their favorite character and sketched it on a piece of paper. Next, students wrote a follow up to the last chapter in the book and how their character would react. They took a picture of their sketch, imported it in the Explain Everything App, and recorded their follow up. Below are two examples; one of them got so into her character she even recorded some of it in Spanish. Students wanted to add their videos to their digital portfolios via Blogger Jr., as they are so proud of their creation!

Integration of Technology in Art Class

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Students in grade 3 learned all about Georges Rouault, a French Artist. They then created their own version. Enjoy this student’s explanation. They use the Camera App, the Strip Design App, and Easy Blogger to post it to their Digital Portfolio in Blogger.

‘Lucky 13’ Game Plan – The Thirteen Colonies

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Three groups of 5 children will brainstorm, and then create a “game”, digital or hands-on, to teach one of the regions of the 13 colonies to each other and to the cyber world through their blog.

The teacher supplied the students with The Thirteen Colonies Game Plan and a Rubric for the Lucky 13 Game Plan.

Below is the result of one of those games, which was created on an iPad using Keynote. This team’s creativity used the original game of Headbands concept, as well as a traditional board game. The online and interactive part added a new and innovative twist.


Genius Hour: Live, Laugh, Learn! Part 1

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The opportunity lent itself, for me to explore Genius Hour with one group of our fifth graders. Given the liberty to do whatever I wanted with this group, I chose to give some of the learning back to the students after researching  Genius Hour. What is Genius Hour? During genius hour students empower themselves by exploring their own passions. In education the talk is about creativity, and you might have heard of 20% time. A.J. Juliana explains and gives valuable links in his Edutopia post sseds.us/edu20. After researching, I created the following presentation/lesson plan for my first class in Genius Hour: Live, Laugh, Learn! We will meet once every two weeks for an hour for the rest of the school year.


After finding out what we were going to spend the rest of the year doing in this hour, students took an active part in naming the class. Genius Hour: Live, Laugh, Learn! became their choice. I provided students with some websites like https://diy.org/ and http://wonderopolis.org/, so they could explore and find their topic. The parameters we set were that the driving question cannot be ‘google-able’, and research has to be factual. Additionally, they need to identify who their audience is, and finally they will share their project online. I shared a Google Form(http://sseds.us/jbiwt) with my group of students they had to complete before the next session.


Looking at some of their responses to the form, I felt students needed some more brainstorming ideas From an amazing site of resources put together by Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) about Genius Hour resources, I found Brainstorming Questions if Students are Stuck! Now students were ready to create their Personal Learning Plan. The enthusiasm, motivation, and grateful attitude of students makes me believe we are on the right track! The students are in charge of their learning, and will problem solve creatively. I can’t wait to see what comes next!