UYN – Use Your NetSmartz!

This is our 3rd week of school and the students are ready to start blogging and exploring other web-based platforms. To prepare for our online activity, we have been using to learn about digital citizenship, netiquette, and online safety. Our first two visits to the computer lab were spent exploring the Netsmartz website which has great videos and activities that are geared toward a younger audience. Today we watched “Router’s Birthday Surprise” and reviewed all of the safety rules that we have learned. We ended our lesson by signing an internet safety pledge. We are ready to be safe online and offline! This afternoon the students wrote their first blog post. Many of them wrote about what they have learned. Please visit our student blogs HERE. They did a great job for first time bloggers!

IMG_20140904_140029The videos and activities are fun and engaging so it makes learning about online safety fun!

2014-09-10 09.01.18Watching “Router’s Birthday Surprise”

2014-09-10 09.34.00Making our learning and thinking visible.

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2014-09-10 09.32.52Signing the Internet Safety Pledge.

UYN – Use Your Netsmartz!

Back to School Skype Session with Critterkins!

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photo credit: Ginny Limer

It’s only the 3rd day of school and we have already Skyped with Critterkins author Jena Ball. Marty Keltz also joined in on the fun. Ms. Ball read the touching story of Ricky Bobby’s rescue and how his new owner made him a special cart because his back legs don’t work. We also talked about how to take care of dogs and how to be kind to them. We are looking forward to more skype sessions and learning how to be a great authors and artists like Jena Ball!







Surprise Skype Session

airman GarlandToday we had a surprise Skype call from Simone’s brother Airman Jason Garland! She was so excited to see her brother who is in the Air Force and stationed in Alaska. We learned a lot of interesting facts about his job and Alaska:

1. Spring is coming to Alaska – the temperature got UP to 35 degrees today (in Texas is was in the 90′s).

2. Alaska is 3 hours behind our time.

3. Airman Garland carries a gun, but is not allowed to use it unless absolutely necessary.

4. He goes to shooting practice every week.

5. The food is good in Alaska.

6. He does not get to choose where he is stationed. He has to go where the Air Force tells him.

7. He does not fly airplanes, but he helps protect those who do.

8. When you salute, you wait 3 seconds after a superior officer salutes you to take your hand down.

9. Airman Garland has homework too!

10. Airman Garland plans to be in the Air Force for 20 years.

Thank you so much for teaching us about your job and protecting our country!

Zoo Websites

We had such a great time at the zoo yesterday! We saw lots of different animals and their habitats.  Now it’s your job to come up with a NEW animal for the Fort Worth Zoo!

Here are some other zoo websites to visit.  Is there an  animal that you would like to see at the Fort Worth Zoo?

This is the first step of your research project: Make a list of 4-5 animals that you would like to see at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Don’t forget to write which zoo you found the animal so you can return for more research later.


Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Brookfield Zoo

St. Louis Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Cincinnati Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Houston Zoo


We Won a GoNoodle Prize Package!

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A few weeks ago our school was introduced to GoNoodle, a fabulous site for brain breaks. My class started using it immediately. I posted some pictures and videos on my Pinterest page and Twitter, and guess what?  We won their #GoNoodleMadness contest!

Brain breaks are an important part of our daily classroom routine. They allow us to recharge and relax so we can focus and be in control. Every morning we start our day using Airtime to breathe and learn geography. We are tracking our “destinations” on a class map.


We like the active dancing and running breaks to keep us going during our long morning block, and after lunch we use Flow to regain focus, calm down, and relax.

Today our prize pack arrived just before PE, so we waited until the end of the day to open it.

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We were excited to find stickers, pencils, posters, a bag, a headband, a wristband, and a BASKETBALL! Fun stuff!

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Thank you GoNoodle!


Thank You Notes to Molly the Fire Safety Dog

molly fire dog

Today I received a very nice email from firefighter Dayna and Molly the Fire Safety Dog! In January we Skyped with Dayna and Molly and learned all about fire safety and service dogs. After our Skype we took time to write thank you notes telling them how much we enjoyed our session and reflecting on what we learned.

Technology is such an important part of our lives, but there is nothing like getting a real piece of mail delivered to your mailbox. Taking the time to thank someone for something nice they have done can seem like a small thing, but it really means a lot! Kind words and and a simple thank-you costs us nothing, but are priceless to the person receiving them!

Here is what Firefighter Dayna said in her email:

Dear Mrs. Morgan and all the wonderful students at Sycamore Elementary-
Thank you SO MUCH for the pawsome thank you notes. Your note and pictures ROCKED!
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate them and how happy they made me! 
Today I put a picture of each of them on my Facebook page so everyone can see them!
Mrs. Morgan, we loved your note too and the “Sycamore Superstar” cling! We are going to hang the cling on a window in a clubhouse!
Thanks again, you guys! You rock!
Molly the Fire Safety Dog


Screenfree Genius Hour


geniushour10 For the past the few months we have had a “Genius Hour” time about once a week. The students like to explore new apps or do research on our class iPads. Some of the students bring in their own devices to share their favorite apps and games with their friends.  This week we did a SCREENFREE Genius Hour.  Some students brought their own items like playdough, cars, and games. Other students used materials in the classroom. It was a lot of fun working together and exploring new things.

Some of the kids had never used K’nex and were having a hard time figuring out how to get the wheels to stay in place. We Googled images of “K’Nex Cars” and found a very simple one to copy. The students sifted through a pile of random K’Nex and figured how to make the same car! They even added seats and people!




Two students had fun creating a city with legos!



Other students enjoyed creating with playdough, marshmallows,and toothpicks.





Several friends had fun making a tunnel out of cardboard tubes for their cars. Next time, they will make a plan and have all the materials on hand that they will need!



My favorite part of the day was when Simone said: “Mrs. Morgan, I hate to say this, but I think I like Screenfree Genius Hour better!”


Chromville, Augmented Reality, Writing, and Skype!

During a recent Twitter chat, I learned about a new augmented reality app called Chromville. A group of very creative people in Spain have come up with an imaginary world that you can bring to life using this iOS and Android app!

While visiting their website,, to print the coloring sheets, the students enjoyed reading about the villages and selecting their favorite character to color and experience in 3D. We are now diligently working on stories to go with our characters. Stay tuned….we will be posting them on our Kidblogs soon!

2014-03-25 09.07.38The app brings the coloring sheet to life. The animated characters and scenery are inspiring!

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As an added bonus, the students were able to Skype with the Chromville creators all the way from Spain! We were able to ask questions and learn more about the magical world and how it was created! We learned that artists and programmers must work together to create the 3D animation, come up with the stories, and make the app. Some of the students also shared their ideas for the stories they are working on.

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2014-04-02 08.23.54The Chromville geniuses have also designed a line of augmented reality t-shirts that they demonstrated for us.                             This is a Power Ranger!

chromville selfieWe even got to take “selfie” with them!

Thank you, Chromville!

Author Skype with Erin Dealey

After returning from an early spring break, the entire 2nd grade was treated to an awesome skype session with author Erin Dealey! The students really enjoyed meeting a real author and asking questions about writing!

Erin Dealey has written several books. Before our Skype, we read Goldilocks has Chicken Pox and Little Bo Peep Can’t Get to Sleep. We love the rhyming and all of the fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters that are included in each story. Ms. Dealey is a very clever writer!


We also watched a few videos on Ms. Dealey’s site:

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2014-03-19 10.03.12The students asked great questions about the writing process!

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 The students laughed when they learned that Ms. Dealey wrote a book called Potty Time!


2014-03-19 10.15.08Erin Dealey shows her rough draft, or “sloppy copy”, of one her books. She never throws any of her notes away. She keeps all of her ideas together and uses these to make her final draft awesome!

Thanks for a great Skype session! We can’t wait to read your newest book: Deck the Walls!