Thursday, September 27, 2012

From the iPad of Melissa Moore...

Today my students used a smart device to travel to a Spanish speaking country. They toured this country on TourWrist or researched the country using the Internet. They are preparing to write a travel blog on their country on Friday. They will use Nicenet to complete the blog and then their next assignment will be to comment on each other's post in Spanish. Students were engaged and excited about learning.

Coach Schaefer was out with a sick child today, but he used Facetime to communicate with his class about their test in US History through film class. Volume is low, but you can tell that they kids enjoyed the review and we able to ask questions and interact with their teacher at home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Although many of you are Dropbox savvy and have been using it very effectively over the past few years, I have to admit that I have been forced into the Dropbox world in the past few days in order to collaborate effectively with a few small groups as well as provide a better way for teachers to access files that have been traditionally only on our teacher drive. The problem with the files only being on the teacher drive is obviously that teacher cannot access these files from outside of the building without an app like Log Me In. Numerous times I have stopped by the school and emailed teachers files or documents that they needed to work at a conference or at home. Ms. Gannon recently suggested that I use Dropbox to store the PLC and Lesson Plan documents so that they can be accessed by all where ever they are. Great idea, but the problem was I had never used Dropbox- AND my technology mentor, Mrs. Hogan, is more familiar with other applications and apps. SO, I had a new skill to learn. WOW, it was so easy!! I just downloaded the program, read the simple instructions, and presto- I sent out a link to the entire faculty! If I can do it, you can too!

Example of link and forms:

From the iPad of Coach Camper...

Coach Camper had his students complete technology based projects this week and the only restriction was that they could not use Power Point. He wanted them to explore other ways to present information. Here is a student's project on Cornelius Vanderbilt and his impact on the Industrial Revolution using the program Extranormal. Great project and idea.

From the iPad of Ben Rigsby...

The students completed Pod Casts that described them selves and critiqued thier photographs and editing. Cool project.

From the iPad of Bonnie Campbell...

Students in my class use the iPad to present on Continuity. They also use their iPad to take photos of class problems and notes and organize them for future reference.

From the iPad of Nick Smith...

Nick Smith just shared this app with me (a student shared it with him) and it is really good. OnLive is an app that allows you to use word, excel, and Power Point from your iPad for free. You go to and sign up. You then download the app to your iPad and it seems to give you the full versions of these programs for free. Great way to edit and work on documents on the go!

Friday, September 21, 2012

It is Friday!!! Time for the Friday Fun Fact  video. A special thanks to Mr. Rosentstiel, our AP Robotics Intergalactic Teacher, for helping with this video. We used and iMovie to create the Friday Fun Fact. Enjoy!

From the iPad of Coach Allen Skinner...

My classes watched a movie about Henry VIII today.  I didn't want them to spend time writing notes, so we "live-tweeted" the movie. My instructions were to "Tweet like you're watching the VMAs or an Alabama game." Go to twitter and search the hashtag in the subject bar.

This is a great idea! The Tweets are both appropriate and can be used to guide further discussion! Great job.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We made an app blog again! TourWrist featured Ms. Nowlin's photo on thier educational blog along with the Friday Fun Fact video for last week. This blog has great ideas of how to use TourWrist in the classroom and how to add to their collection. I think a TourWrist of our courtyard would be super cool!

Tweets from the Classrooms at HHS:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Homecoming Pep Rally Using iMovie

From the iPad of John Powers...

In Economics, my students used the “Show-Me” app on the iPad to do their presentation of a problem I assigned.  From the app, they e-mailed me their presentation.  They record not only their drawings but their voice as well.  This is one student’s preso.

From the iPad of Kelley Self...

I haven’t worked this hard since my first year teaching!  It’s a good hard, but I’ve definitely been challenged myself.  My students have also been challenged.  We started with one day for them to ‘play’ with the iPad and figure out how it works, get comfortable, even play some games if that is how they wanted to spend the time.  We then jumped in with meaningful work. 

Students were given a list of free apps that we would use in class.  They were told to get them prior to the first day they had their iPads….about half complied.  That is probably pretty typical for any task we give to students, so I wasn’t that surprised.  The students quickly found that the network is a little challenged when they are all on there, and so the download process when we wanted to get something new was quite slow.  The next lesson-related app I asked them to get got about 85% compliance on getting it ahead of time.  That is improvement.  I’m aiming for 100% on the next one!

I did not anticipate the learning curve on learning how to use the apps themselves.  I am now working that into my plan when we use something new, with the hope that by next semester, I will get kids who already know how to use some of these apps.  FYI:  I have not asked students to buy any app.  We have one that they really need, but it is a paid app.  We are working on making things work without it, but hope it ends up (soon) on a list of apps the school will buy for students.

It has been fascinating to gauge the comfort level of the students when working with technology.  Some are ready to dive off the high board; others will jump in from the side and paddle around and the water is fine.  Some are still sitting in the shallow end, while others are reluctant to leave the kiddie pool.  And there are still a few who are still looking for a parking place outside the pool.  J  The goal is that all will be comfortably and competently swimming in the deep end before they leave my class of course.  (Attribution of the high dive part of this analogy to Ms. Newell)

Some of the ways we have used the iPads so far in my lessons in my regular classes include:  teacher-controlled lessons using the Nearpod app; note-taking with a notes app; screen shots to capture a graphic in a lesson; creation of word clouds using a word cloud generator online; tweets which require the students to process information and reformulate it into a new thought using their past experience and application; use of an app which contains primary source documents; textbook reading online or through a reader program like iBooks or Adobe Reader, which allows for highlighting and cutting/pasting of text as needed; reading news and finding political cartoons through apps to complete a weekly current events assignment; collaboration and creation of a presentation for the class on a specific section of the text (interestingly, students were reluctant to try anything other than a “powerpoint” clone for this assignment, even when I gave them ideas of free presentation apps like Educreations, Show Me and Prezi); use of Moodle for getting and returning assignments (unfortunately we are challenged with this one – you can’t upload from the iPads without the $2.99 app – we are hobbling through some workaround solutions).

Students have also used them in class without a good purpose.  I just have to share my favorites of the 2 weeks:  1) Student (when asked to open Nearpod for a lesson):  Mrs. Self, my iPad isn’t charged.  Mrs. Self:  Why is that?  Student:  I’ve been downloading movies all day.  Mrs. Self:  Don’t do that again. ]  I laughed internally, and handed her my personal iPod touch so she could complete the lesson with the class.  She has been charged every other day.  2) My second favorite (while conducting a lesson in Nearpod):  Mrs. Self:  {Student name}, why aren’t you in the lesson?  Student:  I am.  Mrs. Self:  No, you aren’t.  The App shows me that you have left the App.  {General laughter in the classroom}.  Result:  Student re-entered the app and got on track.  These happened on different days, believe it or not!  J

These are just reflections from my regular classes.  In my AP class, we are flipping the class.  I have been working on recording my lectures and the students watch them as homework.  We then spend our class time working on simulations, games, research projects, collaboration and discussions of the material.  This has been great!  I have been killing myself trying to record everything, and have finally gotten wiser and spent some time with iTunesU finding lectures from college professors that provide the content we need to cover in an interesting and accurate way.  This has the students downloading a course from iTunesU this weekend, and it has a neat feature.  If you watch a video from a course on iTunesU, you can take notes right there in the app, and it marks where on the video you made the notes.  This will be an excellent tool for test preparation.  We have used Socrative for reading quizzes; I have recorded their participation using Pick Me!; almost all of that class has downloaded the paid student Moodle app – Mtouch+ - to make it easier to upload their work; we have taken screen shots; made and analyzed word clouds; used Twitter; used Nearpod; used primary source Apps; and created, analyzed and presented.  Their course textbook is read through the CourseSmart app.  We are busy, busy, busy!  That course has the best and fullest integration of the iPads into all they are doing as well.

My final thoughts at this point in our adventure:  Using this new tool has been fun and instructional for the students and me so far.  I am working hard on finding ways to engage them and keep them moving forward, especially the ones who would normally disengage.  I’m not using it perfectly at this point, but more and more of them are getting on board and I’m seeing more of them tuned in for longer periods of time with this personal device in their hands.  I’m so pleased with how these tools are helping reduce inequity in my classes.  Some of my students don’t have wifi at home, and have no computer in their household.  This is making it easier for them to complete assignments and connect to the world around them.  They might have to upload the work when they arrive at school in the morning, but all I have to do is make sure that I set due date/times to accommodate that need.  We have found a way to capture websites and text and save it for offline reading as well, again further reducing the gap between those who have more personal resources and those who don’t.  I am hopeful that we see quick feedback that this is also narrowing the gap in their learning.  That will probably take more than this school year to quantify, but I have high hopes for what this can do for all of our students.  Several students have already asked about buying their iPad at the end of the year – they are beginning to see this as an indispensable tool for their learning!

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's Friday, It's Homecoming, and It's CRAZY around Hoover High!

Due to technical difficulty with iNOW, the original FFF for today will be ready by next week. So I had to improvise. This week I videoed the studetns dressed up for homecoming and talked a little about the TourWrist app. There are a lot of features to this app that I did not discuss, so check it out!

Have a great weekend and Go BUCS!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

From the iPad of Amy Newell...

So – I’m tiptoeing into the world of technology J  My government kids are doing a jigsaw of pre-constitutional history. There’s TONS of information, but not enough time to cover it in a semester course. So, the kids are split into groups, with one section of material each. They are creating word clouds on their ipads today and posting them to edmodo so all of their classmates will have them as review. Students will present their word clouds to the class tomorrow J

Hoover Yearbook uses Scan Coded Cups as a Reminder about Ads

Download your Senior Ad Form from the Hoover High School homepage!

Don't know if you have ever checked out Mr. Rigsby's webpage, but it is a wonderful place to view the work of our Digital Photography and Advanced Digital Photography students.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

From the iPad of Martin Rushano...

Welcome to the first annual Punger Games!

The competition is as follows: Whoever can think up the best "PUNS" appropriately using the terms from chapter five on bisecting a triangle wins

If person A makes a pun and person B slams back with a better one, person B defeats person A and person A's district is removed from competition.  If person A's was better, person B is removed.  I am the judge of who "lives" or "dies"... wow, such power!  Judgments will be made based on the appropriate use of the term and, of course, it's humor.  Insulting another player means instant removal from the games.

Competition will be on the field of Edmodo. 

If we don't hear from you in two days, I will "force you out" by making a bad pun in your place (You KNOW I can do a bad pun). Your vocabulary list from chapter five is your cornucopia.  If things need to be "spiced up", I will call for a vocabulary feast using terms from other chapters.  Prizes are awarded to the survivor.  
Keep calm and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Martin Rushano, M. Ed., NBCT

From the iPad of Kristen Westwood...

Today and yesterday in my Pre-AP English 9 classes, instead of having a whole class discussion, I broke students into groups to provide literary responses through Collaborize Classroom.  Some students bought the app, which was .99 cents, and others were able to use the website.  All of my classes had previously signed up for a Collaborize Classroom account, so they were prepared. 

By having students respond through an online discussion board, they were able to voice their opinions without having to speak in a whole class discussion. Also, they were able to see a variety of different opinions and evaluate other students’ responses. 

The students were told to respond to 3 out of 5 questions and to comment on 1 other group’s response.  The students really enjoyed the activity and being able to use their technology; however, after getting feedback from students, they said responding to posts was difficult on their phones. I did have several students with iPads or other tablets, and those groups said it was much easier to respond.  Also, not all students had smartphones, which made it harder to complete the task.  Groups that had multiple devices were able to help each other out more with the task.


Monday, September 10, 2012

From the iPad of Danelle Rohwedder...
I'm excited about how I'm using Edmodo this year.  Edmodo is great not just for my own classroom, but for finding and connecting with other professionals as well.  I connected with Ms. Jaci Collins of Manitowok, WI, and we started a group for our upper-level French students entitled "WiscoBama Fran├žais."  Because HHS started mid August, we posted first.  My students wrote posts introducing themselves and talking about their classes, interests, and future goals.  We've been waiting anxiously for Ms. Collins's students to start school (they didn't start til after Labor Day) so they could post their replies.
And reply they did!  It was so exciting to read about her students, and I was admittedly and pleasantly surprised to find out how diverse her students are.  I loved the way her students had obviously read all of my students' posts to find the person most similar to them.  I will translate, but one of her students even exclaimed "OMG! We have so many similarities!"  I could feel the excitement jumping off the page.  Not only are her students culturally and ethnically diverse like mine, they all have some major goals for their futures.  It's good for my students to know there are other people out there who are like them. 
Their posts are full of personal, meaningful information that my students can connect with on a real level.  When it comes to best practices and language learning, that's the gold standard.  I can't wait to see what else happens with this group.  The next step?  Ms. Collins and I are talking about creating subgroups and uploading pictures for our students to discuss with each other.  It'll be good practice for their upcoming and ever-looming IB and AP assessments this Spring.

Mrs. Hogan visited Mr. Quattlebaum's class and the class was using Khan Academy to individualize their learning. Great job Mr. Quattlebaum.

From the iPad of Kelley Self...

We are analyzing the declaration of independence today in class and they have instructions to make two tweets – one a modern restatement of a grievance in the Declaration of Independence and the other a modern grievance with the current government.  Their hash tag is #HHSiGov.

Friday, September 7, 2012

It is Friday, but for once in my life I am not quite as excited that the weekend is coming. The energy and excitement at Hoover High is higher than I have ever seen! When I leave every afternoon I cannot help but to think about what exciting things I might see the next day in our classrooms. It is a great time to be a Hoover Buc.

Fun Fact Friday #4 is attached as usual, but first I wanted to share some absolutely awesome projects done by our students this week.

Shelly McBrayer made the following video using Movie Maker for her Marine Science Class. It is awesome. When we talked about the video she told me that she though that she retained so much more information when she used technology to complete projects. Way to go Shelly.

Mr. Jeff Johnson also had his physics classes complete a project entitled, "What is Physics and why do we need it?" Below are some of the projects that were turned in. Great job by all!

It is also G-Week here at Hoover High School. The events of the week were explained by our Head Athletic Trainer, Coach Brandon Sheppard. Thanks Gatorade!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

It is our belief that for the Engaged Learning Initiative to work at Hoover High School- collaboration is key. This collaboration has to take place at all levels, students, parents, teachers, staff, and administration. Celaboration has been evident over the past couple of weeks and below are some projects, emails, and tweets teacher have shared to highlight what is taking place in individual classrooms. We are all learning together!

Jill Westerlund demonstrates Making Robots at Hoover High School:

From the iPad of Janet Ort...

From the iPad of Kelley Self...

I was looking at some resources this afternoon for lessons with a colleague and we found some great activities, but they all required flash player which isn’t supported in the iPad browser.  I found a work-around.  There is an app called “iSwifter Games Browser” which will enable flash.  The free version limits you to 10 minutes of browsing a day, which might be enough time for some interactive activities that we want to use.  The downside is that if another teacher already had them use it, they might not have any time left available.  It is available for purchase for $4.99 for unlimited browsing and flash.  Just thought I’d throw this out there.  Don’t know if the school is planning on buying any apps for kids, and don’t know whether this would be the best expenditure for this application, but I was happy to see that there was an available workaround with flash as a possibility!

I have a few students who are getting iPads next week who I suspect don't have wifi at home. I have been trying to find ways for those students to get maximum benefit from these devices academically. I just found links this morning to two awesome sites. and  Both sites have a bookmarklet that will allow you to convert any website page to a format for offline reading.  The first one can convert to ePub format for opening in iBooks offline or to Mobi (in Kindle format). The second site will let you save a page as a PDF to open in any of the myriad of note apps available out there.  You have to follow instructions on the website for creating your bookmark on the iPad to make it work with a touch of a button, and you would want to show students how to do it too so it can work for them just as easily. They each require an edit to the bookmark so that it converts when you choose to bookmark a site. The clearest instructions on how to edit the bookmark are at joliprint. Once you know how to do it,it is easy to do it for the other site too.

Hope someone finds this's an exciting find for me!

Additional thoughts from Cindy Bond...

Carrie Busby and I used John Power's suggestion for this same issue today and it works with a free app download with no time limit. The app is rover education and the icon is a dog on a skateboard.  You simply go to your website and copy the link from the nav bar and then open the rover app and paste the link into rover's nav bar.  Of course it took us until the end of class to figure it out but it really works and it's free!

And from Jennifer McCollum...

Rover works well with some sites but not all.  It does not like our textbook website at all but works like a charm on other sites.

From the iPad of Todd Schaefer...

I wanted to share an app I have been told about.  I got this (and many other app suggestions) from my pastor’s wife.  She is a former HCS teacher and is currently a technology coach in the Mt. Brook system.  She is the one who told me about cloudon (if you attended any professional development day with me, I mentioned it.  If you don’t know cloudon, let me know and I will share.  It is AMAZING).

She is using an app with her teachers called Splashtop Whiteboard.  It allows them to control their computer via the ipad (much like our smart slates).  The difference is that it shows the desktop of your computer on your ipad, so you can manipulate it much easier. 

This is an expensive app (19.99).  I cannot vouch for the app, since I don’t use it and don’t plan to.  I can vouch for her, she has shared MANY amazing apps with me.  She knows what she is talking about.

Try it if you like.  Let me know how it works.

Tweets from today...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy iPad Day at Hoover High School! Our seniors are super excited here and cannot wait to get thier hands on thier devices.
Below is a video of students on Day 1. Wonder how these might change by the end of the year?

 Click here to watch video

We decided to hand out iPads through the student's English classes and I have included the directions below that we sent to teachers. As you can see we have planned for a help desk in A107, but to my knowledge, no student has been there yet. As we discussed earlier, they are such digital natives that they are just jumping right in and getting started!

Schedule for 12th grade iPad Distribution
The Library @ HHS, Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Step 1
·         Report to the area indicated by your name. 
·         Teachers must come to the library with their classes to help with the checkout process. 
·         Please come at the beginning of the period, unless otherwise noted.  
·         Please have your students bring their ID cards with them to the library.


Cooley circulation desk

S. Davis
Processing room

Haughery AV room

Circulation desk at 7:45

A Hamley
circulation desk

Processing room

AV room

circulation desk at 8:40

Processing room
at 8:40

AV room at 8:40

A Hamley
circulation desk

Processing room

AV room

Circulation desk at 9:35

Processing room
At 9:35

circulation desk

Processing room

S. Davis
AV room

Circulation desk at 10:30

Processing room at 10:30

circulation desk

S. Davis
Processing room

AV room

Circulation desk at 11:25

circulation desk

S. Davis
Processing room

AV room
circulation desk

S. Davis
Processing room

circulation desk

Step 2
Once students have been issued an iPad, the class should return to the classroom and complete the following steps:
·         Open iPad
·         Power on iPad
·         iPad will automatically connect to HCS-Guest in the school building when available
·         Open Safari web browser.  The first page will be
·         Enter group code ( HHS2013 ) and tap Next
·         Enter hoover\<userID> and password.  The backslash character is on the third keyboard on the iPad.  Tap Next
·         The screen will jump over to the settings page to Install the Profile.  Tap the Install button, then tap Install Now.
·         Tap Install on the warning screen, then Done on the Installed verification screen.
·         Following enrollment, any software from Hoover City Schools will pop up and attempt to install.

Students who cannot complete these steps should report to room A107 to receive tech assistance.

Wanted to share Tweets from today!