#Transform: Let’s Read Together!

This lesson was created to have an interactive way for first grade students to practice cvc words (and more!) in Fundations.


This series of activities uses SMART notebook and Fundations resources.  

  1. I used the sound cards from Fundations in a SMART notebook file so the students would be using familiar materials.
  2. Based on the vowel sounds we are covering, I recorded my voice asking the students to spell specific words.  They drag the cards (which duplicate) to the answer section and check their answer.
  3. This can be used to cover all topics in fundations as cards will just need to be added with new topics.  

Students are able to manipulate sound cards and work together to practice their phonics skills in each unit.

For more information contact: Stacey Cummings

#CanYouDigIt: Using VR to transform your classroom

Identify the effects of erosion in different environments and prototype solutions that address erosion problems on our campus

The third grade study of erosion introduced the students to the main culprits of erosion; wind, water, and weather and then presented them with an opportunity to explore examples of erosion across the United States.  With the use of the VR goggles and the Discovery VR app the students travel to Muir Woods, Half Moon Bay, and the Mendenhall Glacier. The students then turned their attention to identifying and prototyping solutions to erosion problems on the Lower School campus.  

For more information contact: Patrick Murray

#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

#Pear (Deck) It Up with Google Slides

Wishing you could make your lesson more interactive? Here’s the perfect pear.

“Welcome back to school everyone. We’re going to start of the school year by reading off some classroom expectations. After that, we’ll learn about the parts of the cello and how we should take care of the instrument.”

Not the most exciting lesson, eh? Enter Google Slides and PearDeck. I was looking for a way to make the beginning of the year content a bit more engaging and interactive for my students, and this combination seemed like a great way to do so. Although the original reason for trying out PearDeck was for the beginning of the year, I think that many teachers would find this program extremely useful at any point throughout the school year, not only to keep their students involved in the learning process, but also to assess what they have retained.

Here are some examples of some Pear Deck templates that I have used so far this year:

There’s many more templates for interactive slides that are already made. All you need to do is customize it to your needs.

Here’s a video to demonstrate what the Pear Deck Add-On has to offer:

For more information about how to start using Pear Deck go here!

For more information contact: Jenna Girone Virgilio

#ClickHere: Thinglink for International Book Selection

Looking to add more Interactivity in your Classroom? UsE Thinglink TO maKe a regular lesson into an interactive one.


Every month at Riverdale we celebrate a different countries represented within our community.  I wanted to find a way to represent the spotlight books of the month using my interactive whiteboard while making it interesting for the children.  I used Thinglink, a web based program to create this interactive map. The map spotlighted, Haiti, London, Russia, Dominican Republic, Israel, China, Nigeria and Ghana.  Each button pressed revealed a book from that country. Then the book when pressed revealed a summary. The children loved pressing the map and loved the books that were spotlighted.

For more information contact: Cydney Johnson

#ISPY: Library Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a way to Introduce new students, faculty and staff to An important space and its available resources? You might want to try a Scavenger Hunt.
               Evolution of the Scavenger Hunt Map

Library Map process

Canva was initially used to create map, but proved to be time consuming due to learning curve.  Hence, a hand drawn map was created – process attached. Team names were added to the maps to prevent overcrowding at the respective locations

Other elements of the scavenger hunt

QR CodesQR Codes A-F” were added so that students could follow a “route” which prevented them all starting at the same spot. Each QR Code also had QR Code Blurbs, descriptions of the library locations teams visited. Tokens, photo representations of the Team names were placed at each location.  Teams had to collect the token to “prove” they had visited the location.


  • The map was detailed and easy to follow.
  • The kids understood the symbolism of the Team names (Falcon, falcon, quill, and owl)  


  • I should have been more explicit about the activity NOT being a race.
  • I should have allowed students to keep maps for future use.  However, I think I probably would have seen the maps scattered all over campus.
  • The map was too detailed for the scope of the project.

Project Notes:

I am happy things went smoothly and students genuinely had a great time.  The, “This was SO much fun!” statement made my day.

However, in the course of having a great time I know that not all the groups actually READ the information contained in the QR Codes. To avoid this in the future I will:

  • Make it abundantly clear that the activity is NOT a race, and  
  • Create/include a knowledge check to ensure that students walk away meeting all the “Desired Results” for what they will “know” and “be able to do.”

Additionally, I am happy that students felt comfortable expressing themselves during the question and answer period.  Afterwards, one student asked if she could make a suggestion. The student thought the activity would have been more meaningful if the QR codes were on the books and part of the hunt was to locate the books.  I agree!!! This idea had been considered, but was not implemented given time constraints. However, some classes (that did not participate during orientation) may do the hunt during Home Base. That is an opportunity to implement that idea along with the inclusion of a knowledge check, or at the very least a more robust question and answer period.

Overall, this was a fun project and I liked using the tech (QR Monkey) I learned in camp.  I am currently contemplating a phase two.

Phase 2 could look something like:

  1. Have teachers actually do the scavenger hunt.
    1. NOTE: One new teacher actually DID the hunt. Feedback was that the hunt was helpful as a new teacher and knowing where he could find things.
  2. Frame the QR Codes around the library and present the information is a more user/reader friendly format, eg. infographic format OR have a tablet that has the library catalog AND the QR Codes on it.
  3. Make sure to include having participant FIND an item in the respective sections.
  4. Advertise the QR Codes on the NEW Library website – maybe. 
For more information contact: Tracy Smith

#CodingCulturalCompetency: Conversations about Equity and Social Justice can go beyond Humanities

How can educators use the principles of coding and its attention to detail to help students be more culturally competent?

As technology continues to be a booming industry there has been an increase in the idea that students need to learn how to code. Coding is a world where meticulous structure creates limitless design.

How can we expect to have less bias design if these topics aren’t discussed?

Here are 3 easy tips:

  • Show examples of women who code

  • Talk about representation if your focus is game design

  • Show examples of bad design


#ScanHere: Deeper learning through the use of QR codes


Looking for a way to have purposeful use of your school’s 1 to 1 environment? Do you think your classroom tech is limiting your opportunity for kinesthetic learning?

I think QR codes might be the piece you’ve been missing. Most classrooms and school buildings are inundated with posters of historical figures or inspirational quotes, the QR code allows for deeper learning to commence beyond a mere glance at a poster. A QR code is simply a code that a phone or tablet can scan using the camera that leads to something else whether that be a video, document, website, or picture. Think of it as the hipster of hyperlinks. Use this site to make your next qr code.

See some examples below for inspiration.

#I Can(va) Do That: Graphic design with no InDesign



Are you tired of scrolling through Google images looking for the perfect infographic for tomorrow’s lesson?

Are your event flyers sad Microsoft Word templates? No time to master the Adobe Creative Suite? Well it’s time to turn those I can’t dos into. I Can(va) dos. Jokes aside Canva is an awesome FREE graphic design tool that uses user friendly drag and drop actions to create graphic design masterpieces. Check out this short video tutorial to learn more…

Made with Canva:

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