Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hour of Code

This is my favorite time of the year! Welcome to the Hour of Code. For the second year in a row, all Pond Cove students and staff will learn/practice coding. We are using a variety of tool to teach this important skill. As we move through the 21st century, the need for computer programmers and coders is increasing. The jobs of the future will involve more and more programming and engineering.

All students in Kindergarten through 3 grade are starting their coding sessions with some non-tech coding. We are using a lesson from During this lesson, students program a "robot" (their teacher) to arrange a stack of cups in a certain pattern. It is a great introductory lesson to coding. For the full lesson please follow the link below. During our Coder Express night this year we will have a non-tech coding station that will feature this activity. Have your students/children try to code you!

Kindergarten students are using the free app Kodable. It is a great introductory coding app. Students need to save a group of fuzzballs that are stranded on another planet. Click the icon to download the app.

First-grade students are trying the new free app The Foos. In this app, students use fun creatures to learn to code. Click the icon to download the app.

Second-grade students are using the free app Scratch Jr. This is the iPad version of the amazing computer program Scratch. We have been using the website to teach students the app. Students have also been trying to solve the challenge of making a character move across the screen. Think you can do it? Click the icon to download the app.

Third-grade students are working with the latest version of the free app LightBot. This year's version features a purple Lightbot in an attempt to appeal to more girls. It has been a big hit so far. This app starts to introduce the concepts of Procedures. This is a great way for students to be introduced to more complex coding. Click the icon to download the app.

Fourth-grade students are doing all of their coding at We have created log-ins, focusing on digital citizenship and avoiding the over-share. Students can choose from Minecraft or Star Wars coding, or can even create snowflakes with Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Give it a try at your home by clicking the icon to the left.

All of our coding prepares us for our favorite event of the year: The Coder Express! This night is a chance for all students and their families to dress in pajamas, come to the Pond Cove Cafeteria from 6-7 pm and have Cookies, Hot Chocolate, and Coding. Students will teach their families what they have learned and by the end of the evening, all attendees will know how to code. If you would like to join us this year, please fill out the survey (linked below) or visit our website
As always if you have any questions please let me know. Happy Coding and I will see you at the 2nd annual Coder Express!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Raising 21st Century Learners

Thursday, October 29th, was the first parent tech night of the year. Our main focus was Raising 21st Century Learners. We spent time discussing the 4 C's of 21st Century learning (Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking), and in particular, the recent Halloween Candy Survey created by 2nd-grade students. Through the appropriately modeled use of Twitter, second-grade students were able to collect 615 responses. We then analyzed those responses and small groups created "I noticed" charts to share with the full class. 

Our night also included a discussion about the new iCan iPad curriculum that is being implemented throughout Pond Cove. This curriculum relies heavily on iCan statements, as well as iPad-iquette. The theme throughout is that during the school day our iPads are for learning and creating.
Finally, our night concluded with a discussion about digital citizenship and the amazing resource, Common Sense Media. We reviewed the messages that all students are receiving from staff regarding digital citizenship. We also talked about how to use Common Sense Media at home with your children to review games and movies, checking for age appropriateness.

If you would like to see any of the information supplied that night, please click on the link below to see the slideshow presentation. As always if you have any questions, please contact me through email or Twitter (@PondCoveTech)

Raising 21st Century Learners

Up next in November: App Spotlight and the CODER EXPRESS!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spotlight App for October

This year I will be starting a new series of Blog Posts concerning a different spotlight App every few weeks. At Pond Cove, we now have 2:1 iPads in every classroom. Our folders include ELA, Math, Math Tools, Google, Coding, Testing, and my personal favorite Creation.

One of my favorite apps in the Creation folder is ToonTastic. ToonTastic is an awesome digital storytelling app, free on the app store, which has recently been purchased by Google. With the purchase, all of the best features of ToonTastic are now free!

ToonTastic is a wonderful integration app for all subjects. In writing, it helps students to review key terms like conflict, and resolution. In Science, students can explain key concepts like this video about momentum. In Social Studies, students can use the History Characters, or even create their own, to help explain important figures or events throughout time.

Please comment or email with any questions or thoughts. The first November spotlight app will be Skoolbo.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome to a New Year!

Pond Cove families,
Welcome back to another great year! To our new kindergarten families Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! I am so excited to be back for another year as the Technology Integrator here at Pond Cove. It is my job to make sure that Technology is used educationally and safely by all students K-4. We are looking forward to a year where all classes will have 10+ iPads to use to create projects for all subject areas. The Pond Cove Computer Lab has undergone a transformation and is now the new Creation Station. There are still 24 Apple computers, but we have added room to work collaboratively as well as a 3D printer! I can't wait for students and teachers to start to use this space, and for all of you to see it at our open house: September 24th from 6-7. In the meantime if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email or call. Thanks and have a great year.

Tom Charltray

Monday, March 23, 2015

4th Grade Pond Cove eTeam

4th graders at Pond Cove were given the chance last week to apply for the new and improved Pond Cove eTeam. 40 4th graders (35% of the grade level) applied, and I am happy to say, they were all accepted! We have divided them into three teams: Blue, Green, and Orange. We will meet twice a week during lunch. Teams will be working on an eTeam blog, answering teacher emails, creating tutorials, and researching some of the latest tech topics that are influencing the elementary education world. Our blog is still under construction but is ready for viewers. We will be posting the agenda and notes from each meeting, as well as keeping our notes for teacher emails posted for all to see. Follow the link below to see our beginning stages.