Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Day 180 - AI Chatbot Presentation at ISTE 2018 - Mr. Wong - BHS Help Desk

This post first appeared on the BHS Help Desk Blog

This past semester, the BHS Help Desk and Ms. Tyrrell’s Exploring Computer Science classes were fortunate to be selected by ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education) to pilot an AI (Artificial Intelligence) Chatbot curriculum. This pilot was made possible through ISTE’s partnership with General Motors. We are doing a poster session at the ISTE 2018 conference, and our Tuesday, June 26, the session is entitled, “Shared Solutions in K-12: Artificial Intelligence Using Chat Bots.” My student Gati Aher will also be presenting with us at ISTE. During the conference, there are many other sessions on AI, including “Artificial Intelligence Goes to School” which will give an overview of the program, and “Empowering Students to Develop Artificial Intelligence for Automation and K-12 Solutions.”
This pilot opened up a vast world which we had some understanding of, but we didn’t really know the technology underpinning chatbots. In my class, we looked at chatbots before including ELIZA (an AI, Rogerian psychotherapist) which was created in the 60’s. I first learned about ELIZA when I had it on my PowerBook back in the 90’s. That PowerBook actually still works, incidentally, and I’ve shown ELIZA to the students along with some very dated voice synthesis. One of my students Shawn Scott showed me that Microsoft has a Virtual Agent used on its support site. Mel Thibodeau showed me Replika which is an AI friend whom you can install on your smartphone.
The pilot also introduced us to the world of AWS (Amazon Web Services). Everyone knows Amazon as a commerce company, but not nearly as many people know Amazon’s reach and influence with the web. The pilot curriculum showed us how to use Amazon Lex and Amazon Lambda. Lex is essentially what powers Amazon’s Alexa assistant, and it can be used to create chatbots. Lambda allows you to run external code from Amazon’s servers, and it gave our chatbots more functionality. There are any more tools in AWS, and our students will continue to learn more about its tools. If schools are interested, they can sign up for AWS Educate.

Our materials for ISTE 2018 can be found here. While we learned a lot in our month or so working with the pilot curriculum, we believe we just scratched the surface. We will continue to work with our students and our school’s IT group and the school community to see if what we’ve done can be implemented as functional chatbots which would be used to provide basic tech support and other useful functions in our school.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Day 179 - Choice Based Final Project for Drawing and Painting - Ms. Chang - BHS Art Dept.

The Drawing and Painting students selected from one of three assignments. These great assignments are courtesy of Art Educator Laura Johnson (and are fabulous!)
and are linked up HERE.

Here are some of their works of art that show range and variety of subject and content.



Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 178 - Summer Literacy and Math Activities - Principal Dressler - Memorial School

Besides visiting the library and reading books, websites, apps, and games are great ways to reinforce literacy skills over the summer!

The following is a list of websites with interactive literacy and thinking activities
for children of all ages.
https:// www.iready.com (until Aug. 15th)

This list of suggested free apps that will have children practicing their reading,
memory, and thinking and reasoning skills…
Trivia Crack MeeGenius
Chicktionary Learn with Homer
Heads Up The Opposites
Tikatok StorySpark Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion
One-minute reader (small fee)

Screenshot 2015-06-12 14.12.35.png

Board Games
Fun for the whole family!
Spot It! (any version) I Have (Play ‘n Learn System) Blurt
Respond! Word Game WordTeasers (Small Fry) Boggle
Hedbandz Memory (any version) Last Word
Morphology Jr. Scrabble (any version) Apples to Apples
Pairs in Pears Guess Who (any version) Hangman
Don’t Say It Rory’s Story Cubes Taboo for Kids BuzzWord Jr. American Trivia Family Edition
Freeze Up
Smart Mouth Wild Guess Chase Guesstures

Free vector graphic: Books, Reading, Library, Knowledge - Free ... . Free stock photo of blank, book shelf, books

Burlington Summer
MATH FUN!Screenshot 2015-06-12 14.11.47.png

Children need to develop prerequisite skills* that are non-mathematical which helps develop mathematical concepts. The summertime is the perfect time to develop these skills. When children play with games and toys, they are naturally engaged in learning many of these prerequisite skills and eventually these skills will transfer to academic settings in the area of Mathematics and Science.

So...take some time out this summer and play a game with your child!

*The prerequisite skills are:
  • sequencing
  • spatial orientation/ space organization
  • pattern recognition
  • visualization
  • estimation
  • deductive thinking and inductive thinking
General guideline for choosing good games:
  1. Games should be based on strategy
  2. Games should last 10 to 15 minutes
  3. Games should have 1 or more than 1 prerequisite skills

Sample Games
  • Simon
  • Cribbage
  • Concentration
  • Rummikub
  • Guess Who
  • Blokus
  • Set
  • Mastermind
  • Yahtzee
  • Mancala
  • Legos
  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Othello
  • Chinese Checkers
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Number war Games
  • Card Games
  • Stratego
  • Quarto
  • Qubic
  • Krypto
  • Shut the Box
  • Connect Four
  • Rush Hour
  • Adapted from Mahesh Sharma: Mathematics for All: Center for Teaching  www.mathematicsforall.org
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    Screenshot 2017-06-21 08.41.12.png

    Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Day 177 - Small Actions With a Big Impact at the Book Fair - Mr. Murphy - Fox Hill Teacher Librarian

    A cornerstone of the Fox Hill Learning Commons is to promote scientific exploration and understanding of our natural world and we believe that even our youngest students can have a huge positive impact on our planet through simple actions. We just wrapped up our Spring Book Fair and for the first time we went completely plastic bag free and asked students to bring their own reusable bag for their purchases. Plastic is wreaking havoc on animal life, especially marine life, and creates unsightly litter that can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. I’m so proud of our young scientists who worked to end plastic pollution in our oceans and in our communities by simply bringing their own bag to the book fair. A perfect example of how we can all work together to make a big impact with a simple small action!

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Day 176 - Top Down Webs - Mrs. Janis - Francis Wyman Grade 4

    This post first appeared on the Keys in Burlington Blog

    Students read the core book “The One and Only Ivan.”  Students shared character traits of each main character in the story and evidence to support the trait.  Students shared their traits and evidence and posted it under the correct character throughout the novel.  At the end of the novel, students selected 1 character and wrote about the character’s trait using the evidence in their writing.

    Main Idea Activity

    Students were given a photocopied National Geographic article about pollinators.  The headings of each section were cut off and the article was cut up too; even the pictures.  The students worked in small groups reading each section, They had to decide which of the cut up headings matched each section.  Once they did that, students had to recreate the article from beginning, middle and end and glue them on construction paper with the pictures that matched each section.

    After the “Pollinator Parade,”  Students sorted notecards to create the Top Down Topic Web.  This can be used as an assessment. Facts about pollinators were written on notecards,  Students worked in groups to create the TDTW.

    Students used an ice cream parlor menu to create Bloom’s Taxonomy questions about the menu.  They used a “Cheat sheet” to help familiarize them with the correct vocabulary for each question.  Once each group wrote a question for each level, they were dispersed among the groups so each group had 6 new questions.  Once everyone is done, the group would read aloud their question and share what level the question is and the vocabulary they used to make them decide what level Blooms the question is.  I shared the Bloom’s questions with another teacher to introduce Bloom’s to her class.

    Students read an article in National Geographic about different kinds of giraffes.  We did this activity as a whole group. We discussed how we could organize the information and facts we read in a TDTW.  The class decided the heading is giraffes because that’s what the article is about. Then they discussed what the next level should be and they decided the types of giraffes.  Then students worked in small groups to find details about each type of giraffe and they shared the details on the rug and I wrote the details down. We also discussed the different shapes and colors to use in the TDTW.

    Sentence Sort

    Each student wrote 4 sentences (one of each kind of sentences) without an end mark.  The sentences were then put into a pile. Each student got 4 new sentences. They had to read each of their sentences aloud and then they had to add the correct punctuation and place it under the correct heading, either exclamatory, declarative, interrogative or imperative.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Day 175 - Traveling to American Symbols! - Mrs. Parnell - Pine Glen Kindergarten

    This post first appeared on Mrs. Parnell's Blog 

    Today was amazing! The kindergartners have been learning about American Symbols and their locations in the United States. We have done research, read books, created our own books.  Last week we made our own passports and travel suitcases to prepare us for our TRIP across the giant North American map. This morning the students we greeted by their groups travel agent and they were escorted to each site where a tour guide introduced the students to each American Symbol, stamped their passport and quizzed the students on their knowledge of each symbol. After visiting each site the students were given a souvenir to help the students remember each site! There were many destinations to visit.  Off the coast of Maryland was a British warship to help us learn about the war of 1812 and the inspiration and perspective of Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner.  Students used telescopes to look back at the coast to spot to Ft. McHenry. At the US / Canadian border student learned about Niagara Falls and watched a brief video of the falls. On the western part of the map students learned about the American Bald Eagle in Alaska, watched a volcano erupt in Hawaii and visited the Golden Gate Bridge in California. Students also had the opportunity to visit Mt. Rushmore, see Bison in Yellowstone National Park, stop by the Grand Canyon and see some alligators in the Everglades! Based on what we saw and heard the students doing this morning, the students are becoming American Symbol experts. Great work kindergartners! 

    THANK YOU to all the parents and Burlington Public Schools staff who took the time to help us with this special project. We couldn't have done made it work without your help!