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Educational Technology

Virtual Field Trip for 3rd and 4th grade Classrooms

Students in grades 3-4 will join Ed Venture and other members of the Global Pathfinder Squad (GPS) as they help conduct a scientific investigation at the GTM Research Reserve. Students have the opportunity to choose Ed’s Path and help him along the way, while Florida Science and ELA standards are addressed.

This is the first in a series of Interactive Virtual Field Trips created by the St. Johns County School District Media Services and Instructional Technology Department. SJCSD 3rd and 4th grade teachers are encouraged to clickhere to choose a time slot. More details will be sent to teachers the first week of December.


Free STEM Resources for Teachers

Hot Wheels is currently developing an educational curriculum that utilizes Hot Wheels products and aligns with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Speedometry is a free curriculum targeting fourth grade students. Teachers can apply to receive a free kit that will include the following items:


-40 Hot Wheels® diecast cars
-16 orange loops
-16 track clamps
-64 track connectors
-100+ feet of orange track

Click here to apply for the free resources and to access the curriculum materials.

Classroom Transitions Made Easy!

One of the best parts of my job is getting to observe innovative teachers in action. Last week while visiting Mrs. Blanton’s 2nd grade classroom at South Woods Elementary, I was impressed with her creative use of the interval timer app, Gymboss.

Gymboss is an app to help schedule interval trainings during cardio workouts. The app allows the user to create a custom number of rounds, and choose the amount of time between each round.

How can this be useful in the classroom? Mrs. Blanton uses the interval timer to schedule rounds for the Scoot game, as well as transitioning between literacy and other content centers. This frees up time for her to assist students who need more support, and to monitor student engagement.

So simple, and effective!

WorldBook Online

This year WorldBook Online has been purchased for all St. Johns County Schools. This is a great resource for student research projects, map skills, and creating timelines.

WorldBook Online Atlas feature has a great collection of maps. Students can use these to learn about cities, landforms, climate, and industry for continents, countries, and states. Another great feature is the MyResearch section, where students (or teachers) can create an account for students to easily save books and articles that they find while searching WorldBook Online. The research section also features a Citation Builder, which makes it easy for students to cite their sources in either MLA or APA style.

Blogging in the Classroom

SJCSD teachers have the opportunity to facilitate class/student created blogs through WordPress. Other blog programs such as Blogger and Kid Blog are NOT permitted for use with students in St. Johns County. To get started, place a WebDesk Ticket and click websites in the dropdown menu. From there, choose the classroom blogs option.

Here are some safety concerns outlined in our AUP…

  • Student web pages which profile a student are prohibited. No web page shall contain a student’s phone number, address, e‐mail address, opinions, or other personal information.
  • Students may create “content” pages, under their instructor’s supervision, pertaining to class, events, or activity. All content should be created for educational purposes.

Now for the fun part! Classroom blogs can be used for so many purposes in the classroom…displaying student work, book clubs, educational debates, publishing writing, and reading responses. Additionally there are some great plugins or widgets that you can add to your WordPress classroom blog to make it more engaging for students.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Voki– Add a Voki talking avatar to your blog. Your Voki can provide blog post instructions to students, compliment students on their positive interactions with other students, and keep students motivated while writing.

BlogPoll– Add a poll widget to your blog to help spark an educational debate.


My Story- Book Maker Free for a Limited Time!

Update: My Story-Book Maker is not free anymore, however it is still a great app!! My Story-Book Maker is free for a limited time!! This is a great app that allows students to write books, draw pictures and create audio recordings. This could be used with many content areas and standards in the classroom. One great feature is that the app allows multiple author accounts, which is great for classrooms that only have a few iPads.

National Geographic Science Textbook is Live!

SJCSD elementary teachers should now be able to access current class rosters and teacher account information in NG Connect. Your site administrator will be emailing teacher and student login info tomorrow. For those who had an account last year, your login information is the same. You will be able to view your current roster and student password information after logging in.

Our goal this year is to automatically upload student and teacher updates from eSchool Plus each week. Teachers will no longer need to complete surveys to add or transfer students. Our SJCSD Student Information Systems Support Team have worked all summer to make this possible :).

Technology Grant Opportunity!!!

SJCSD teachers have the opportunity to apply for a technology grant through Technology Education Resource and Redesign  Alliance, Inc. (TERRA) .

TERRA’s Mini-Grants are intended to support school-based projects in Pre-K through 12 that are consistent with TERRA’s mission, and have a positive impact on education by using technology. These grants should fund initiatives that utilize technology in a new and innovative way or sustainability initiatives seeking to encourage and support creative, local environmental education and stewardship activities.

Grant Deadline: October 3rd

Click Here for more information about this grant! Our Instructional Technology department would be happy to assist you in writing this grant. Please contact us if you have any questions.

No Clickers, No iPad…No Problem!

Plickers is a new alternative to clickers and other web-based student response systems. With Plickers, teachers only need one device, including any IOS or Android phone/tablet. Students receive paper codes, similar to QR Codes. They are able to answer any multiple choice question (a,b,c,d) and the data is saved on the teacher device. We tested this out, and were amazed at how well Plickers worked. The only downside, is the lack of reports, but the website says that this is a feature that is on the way. This is a game changer for collecting feedback in our classrooms! To learn more, check out this video to see Plickers in action.

EdCamp Citrus…Come Join an “Unconference”!

Come enjoy a day with innovative teachers from across the State of Florida area and beyond. Arrive with an idea for a session that you would like to lead or with the anticipation of a full day of learning. A session might be a discussion about best practices, a collaborative presentation with multiple facilitators or explore a technology tool useful in the classroom.

Click here for more details about EdCamp Citrus. What is an EdCamp? Click here to find out more!

We hope to see you there!