#Paper?: Going “copyless” in the classroom

Trying to keep your classrooms and book bag free of paper? Maybe have all work be distributed and submitted digitally


To maintain a sustainable planet, I am keeping my classrooms free of paper. My goal was to have all paper-based work distributed digitally and submitted digitally. The added benefit to this was that I would be able to provide feedback to my students more easily and quickly.

To start, I had my workflow set up from day one for each of my classes. Each Schoology page was prepared so that the very first handout, the first assignment and the first worksheets were ready to be viewed and submitted on the first day. I also prepared, borrowed and edited various instructions for how the students should manage my copy-free classroom. See screenshots below.

So, how has it gone after one quarter? A great success! In the first week, I did make some copies for students in case they didn’t have their computers with them for whatever reason, but it ended up that I did not have to use them – saving them for scrap paper. Since September, I have only printed out forty sheets of paper for student use for a lab where they needed to record data around chemicals that would not have been good for their laptops if spilled. It also took a week or two to get every student submitting their work properly, i.e. uploaded to Schoology and not simply shared with me or uploaded as an unreadable link.

The main obstacle that remains for my upper school students is the use of Kami on their (mostly) Apple MacBooks. The easiest way to make drawings and fill in charts of data on a pdf would be with a stylus which is not an option here. They manage, but it is difficult.

I am quite pleased and hope to remain “copyless” for years to come.

For more information contact: Alan Pike

#MathWhiz: Geogebra for Graphing

Have students understand transformations using geogebra and having the visual impact of the movement of the graph to help them see stretches and shifts


I have used geogebra with both my algebra1 and 2 classes. Normally I use desmos, but I would have to do a screen capture and transport the image to smartnotes. Using geogebra allows me to do the graphing directly in the document so that the downloaded file incorporates  said models. The students find the technology useful and clear. What I find really fantastic about geogebra is looking at how the equation of the graph changes concurrently with moving the graph. Highlight the graph and move it, and watch the numbers change. This is very powerful for the students to see. It emphasizes the opposite change horizontally and the intuitive vertical change.

For more information contact: Nicole Sin Quee

#SaveTrees: The Copyless Math Classroom

Purpose: To develop routine practices for the students when completing homework assignments electronically, possibly leading us to go paperless.


The goal is to develop routine practices for the students when completing homework assignments electronically, possibly leading us to go paperless.  Assignments are consistently posted in Schoology. The majority of assignments for math are “handouts”, which in the past has added up to many reams of paper over the course of the year–as well as rather full notebooks.  Students are expected to rename the assignment, organize it in the appropriate folder in Drive, complete it using Kami, and submit it using Schoology. In addition, students are expected to self-correct assignments during class and save the corrected version in Drive.  Students were directly instructed on how to create and organize their math course folder in Drive, along with unit assignment folders. These procedures were modeled for the students at the very beginning of the year. I am able to see their work prior to class and provide various levels of feedback.  This also gives me to opportunity to observe individual student’s work or some trends within the class as a whole.

Algebra IH – correct interpretation of the instructions:

Algebra IH – somewhat common incorrect interpretation of the instructions:

After the initial adjustment period at the beginning of the year, the majority of students have successfully transitioned to this new system for submitting homework.  There have been a few students that are somewhat inconsistent with submitting assignments prior to class, despite having completed it electronically. Also, there have been a couple of students that have expressed a strong preference for completing hard copies and handwriting assignments.  For those students, once they had given the original plan a chance, a modified plan has been put in place.

Students have been provided with direct feedback (rubric) regarding how well they have met the expectations regarding the assignments and the organization in Drive.  This will occur twice per semester. The students also completed a survey providing feedback.

In addition to the benefits already mentioned, I have found that students have been much more responsible about maintaining a functional Chromebook; for example, making sure it is charged for class, resolving tech issues asap, and replacing a broken or missing stylus.  The improved maintenance of the Chromebooks has allowed for other class activities that involve the use of the Chromebooks to run much more smoothly and spontaneously. For example, my Algebra IH students explored linear equations using Geogebra when I introduced parallel and perpendicular lines.  They were able to discover what was needed for lines to be parallel or perpendicular, rather than be told or spend much more time trying to complete a series of constructions by hand. This class also created projects using My Simple Show following our study of motion problems, compound inequalities, and absolute value equations/inequalities.  The creation of the projects only required one class period and one night’s worth of homework time. Both the creation of and the viewing of the projects was extremely enjoyable. In Math 7, we’ve used the Chromebooks to complete a review Kahoot and a more artistic homework assignment that was perfectly suited for Kami. I have many other projects in store for the remainder of the year.

Algebra IH – My Simple Show Project

Math 7 – FACEing Math Assignment:

For more information contact: Lisa Verrastro

#BookCreator: Service Learning Project in Spanish II

Students in Spanish II teach the community about service learning opportunities using Book Creator.


In Spanish II students researched service learning opportunities that they are interested in. They put together promotional books in order to inform others about the service learning opportunity they are interested in engaging in. They thought about why they want to contribute and how this will benefit them. The books were written in Spanish following specific grammar guidelines from Spanish II. They used regular verbs, verbs like Gustar, ser, estar, haber, and direct object pronouns. They combined the grammar topics and what they had learned about service learning in the class and through research to create the books. They followed a guideline of questions to answer as well.

They all have access to the library they are able to read each other’s books, ask questions, and partner up if necessary. They are also able to share their books with other members of the community and the books will serve as a resource for students in Spanish class who engage with service learning in the future. Later in the year they will actually do the service learning project they wrote about and the second part of the project will be a reflection, which will be included in the book.

For more information contact: Miriam Piña

#Explore: OTW to the Library

Making the library a physical and digital place to visit.

The RCS library is a main hub of activity for the Hill campus.  It is a collaborative space that serves the diverse needs of its community members.  It’s a meeting place, a workspace, and a space where people go to find answers. By design, the library layout sparks, fosters, and helps develop ideas to inspire further curiosity.  The purpose of my Summer Camp Pedagogy and Technology experience is to visually create displays that speak to the “successful” library visit. Through posters, visitors are directed to library resources and gently reminded of library etiquette that mindfully respects the space and others within the space.

“The Perfect Library Visit”

RCS Hill Campus Library

“[C]uriosity is more likely to flourish when kids are free
 to pursue their own interests alongside supportive adults 
who offer well-timed nudges to guide their explorations 
and keep their curiosity alive.” Bryan Goodwin

One of the important takeaways from Summer Pedagogy and Technology Camp was the importance of establishing classroom norms.  As a librarian, my classroom is the library. Over the course of the tech camp week, we reflected on class norms and classroom management.  It became evident that clearly defining the purpose of the library collaboration space and the effective use of the space would be useful in the user experience.

Although we published a dynamic new library website, local, non-digital reminders about the resources in the library collaboration spaces are appropriate.  Signage advertising writing and math help was always present, but only select users knew about the other resources we share in support of their work. At minimum, we provide comfortable spaces, laptops, and even pencils and pens, all in the interest of “Accomplishing Your Goals @ the RCS Library!”


Goodwin, Bryan.  Out of Curiosity: Restoring the Power of Hungry Minds for Better Schools, Workplaces, and Lives (McREL International, 2018).  

“Bryan Goodwin says that children’s inborn curiosity will be nurtured or extinguished, depending on the learning experiences they have.”

For more information contact: LaShawn Ross

#Robots: Sphero is My Hero

Teaching block coding and reviewing adding integers. Sixth graders used Sphero to add integers on a number line.
Underlying skills included listening, reading, 
and following directions.

The sixth graders spent the first two days learning how to aim the Sphero and exploring how to give it commands. (In the future, I will make the daily goal more explicit. In addition, I want to formalize that every student get a chance to control the Sphero.) On the third day, the teams set up their number lines and programmed the Sphero to add integers. They were asked to video this last task. 

Here are the directions I used this year. I am 90% sure no one practiced giving directions (w/o the robot). I was almost always busy getting Spheros connected.

For more information contact: Terry Colliton


#SimplenotSimple: Try using MySimpleShow

Students used My Simple Show to create explainer videos on their Novel Engineering project where they engaged in the design engineering process after reading Maniac Magee.


Students used My Simple Show (MSS)  to reflect and share about their Novel Engineering Project where they constructed a solution to a problem one or more of the character in Maniac Magee faced. Some of the problems students came up with were homelessness, poor living conditions, and drunk driving. Students worked in groups to write a script where they reflected on how they came up with their solution and what the most challenging and rewarding part of the project was. After creating their MSS, students shared their videos with one another. This was the final reflection piece in the Novel Engineering Unit for all of fifth grade so most of the fifth grade students were able to create a MSS video.

Video Example 1

Video Example 2

Video Example 3

For more information contact: Jessica Pak

#Namaste: Yoga with Padlet

Looking for a new way to present your syllabus to your Students?


I printed out QR codes and placed them around the room. When students arrived I asked them to scan the code, type in the password to join, and answer “reflection question 1” on the Padlet.

Reflection question 1: What do you already know about yoga?


We then reviewed class expectations and moved on to the next question.

Reflection question 2: What made you choose this course?


Students then watched two YouTube videos showing two variations of advanced yoga flow.

I then asked them questions about what they saw: What makes for a good yoga practice? What is necessary to perform at this level? How is the practitioner breathing? Why is the breath important? What poses do you recognize?

We then looked at a snapshot of the poses for the month of September.

Lastly, I asked students to think about what they wanted to get out of the class and what they looked forward to most. Reflection question 4.

Overall they enjoyed the use of QR codes (some of them were new to it) and answering live questions on Padlet. They also were more open and honest about answering since the responses were anonymous.

Use Case:

(1) To provide an interactive syllabus using Padlet where students can explore, reflect, watch, and learn. (2) To build excitement and curiosity of what’s to come.

For more information contact: Manisha Doran

#BITEME: Sinking our teeth into transferable skills

Sometimes we can get lost in the day to day routine and “coverage” of topics and forget about our opportunity to impact students’ overall development. Below, I share a Shark Tank-style project done in Spanish IV that combines the technology unit with persuasive and entrepreneurial skill development.

With this project, students work in groups to come up with an invention that can help address a need in a community.

They work together to design a prototype and convince a panel of “investors” (teachers) that their idea is the most valuable and needed.

They are graded on: how well their invention addresses the needs of a community, how well thought out their prototype (details), the delivery of their presentation, how much they contribute to the group’s success, and how well they answer questions from the panel.

Click here for an example.

For more information contact: Jannely Almonte Ortiz

#SpheroinScience: Creating and interpreting motion graphs through basic coding

Using Sphero, students can manipulate speed, distance and time variables, and analyze distance-time graphs using the Sphero sensor data.

Step 1: Set up your area

Step 2: Code the sphero to perform desired motion

Step 3: Run code and iterate.

I have found teaching 8th graders about distance, speed and time can sometimes be a little lackluster. We give them scenarios about a car moving at a x speed, for y time, and ask them to find the distance traveled. To make this topic more hands-on and accessible, I had students learn basic block coding using Sphero. The Sphero executed programmed motions such as rolling 1.0 meters, turning around and returning to its starting position but in half the time.

After students became comfortable with having the Sphero complete simple motion tasks, they were given various distance-time graphs, and were tasked with replicating these graphs using the Sphero. The sensor data built in to the Sphero allowed them to collect the information required, and students learned to interpret different types of motion on these graphs.

Students spent about 6 class periods using the Sphero, and as homework, they were asked to complete problems that required them to apply the relationship between distance, speed and time that they were learning through the Sphero. While I did not change the learning outcomes in this unit, I did notice an increase in the level of engagement, and an improvement in students’ intuitive understanding of motion.

For more information contact: Shabari Lasrado