Monday, November 5, 2012

3rd Grade Narrated Art About Bats

Third graders in Mrs. Bounds' class at Parkland Elementary School learned about different kinds of bats in October. Working with the Parkland librarian, Mrs. Eskew, Mrs. Bounds helped her students take pictures of their bat artwork and narrate those pictures using the free website AudioBoo. Here are five of the student projects. It's great to see Parkland students taking opportunities like these to practice their oral language fluency and communication skills, as well as their writing. Common Core State Standards, which Oklahoma schools are in the process of adopting, require students to communicate ideas online for a global audience. Way to go students, Mrs. Bounds, and Mrs. Eskew!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Student-Created Sequoyah Book Reports, AudioBoo, iPads and QR Codes

Fourth and fifth grade students at Independence Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools are sharing their learning as well as excitement for library books this year in a unique, highly digital way that is not only fun, but also meets Oklahoma's new Common Core State Standards for literacy. Students are recording short, oral book reviews and posting them online using the free iPad app and webservice AudioBoo. Then students are using QR codes in the library to access and listen to each other's book reports. In this short video IES librarian, Lindsey Clinton, explains how the project works. In addition, some IES students demonstrate the process of using AudioBoo (free) to record and publish audio book reports.

The Sequoyah Book Contest is sponsored each year by the Oklahoma Library Association to encourage students to read books of high literary quality. "Master lists" are published in May, and students are encouraged to read as many of the books as possible during the following school year. According to the contest's official website:
Students in grades 3-5 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the Children's Masterlist are eligible to vote for the Children's Sequoyah Book Award.
Students vote in February and March each year, with all votes submitted to the Oklahoma Library Association by April 1st.

Mrs. Clinton devised this project to encourage more students to read the Sequoyah books as well as develop their oral communication skills through recorded book reports. Adam Zodrow, the YPS Professional Development Coordinator, worked with Lindsey to setup an AudioBoo channel and get students started with their recordings. Using some strategies from the "Narrated Art" project idea on the "Mapping Media to the Common Core" website, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Zodrow designed the IES Sequoyah book challenge to develop students' traditional literacy skills alongside their digital literacy skills. So far it's been a great project and very successful, as you can hear from the student comments in the video above!

Listen to and comment on IES student audio book reports by visiting the IES library's blog, where Mrs. Clinton has posted and embedded student AudioBoo reports!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Common Core Writing Lesson With AudioBoo: 9/11 Narrated Art

Kayleen Browning teaches 6th grade Social Studies at Yukon Middle School. This year, she asked her students to identify a word which summarized things they had studied and learned about the 9/11 attacks in 2001 by al-Qaeda on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Mrs. Browning recently heard about the free iPad app and website AudioBoo, and the idea of helping students create "narrated art" using the program. She taught her students how to photograph a drawing they had made or upload a photo they found online, and then read a short essay they wrote about their 9/11 reflection using AudioBoo. This is a two minute video interview with Mrs. Browning recorded today in her classroom, in which she describes the assignment and its connection to the Common Core State Standards which Oklahoma is transitioning to now. This is a great example of how YPS teachers are integrating writing assignments across the curriculum, helping students practice practice their oral communication skills, and helping students safely publish their work in digital forms online.

Here are links to seven of the 95 AudioBoo "narrated art" 9/11 reflections Mrs. Browning's sixth graders recorded in September this year. Access all of them on

Monday, September 10, 2012

Parkland Elementary School Library's YouTube Channel

Chris Eskew, the librarian at Parkland Elementary School in YPS, recently created a YouTube channel and uploaded her first video: "Library Procedures."She recorded this with an iPad in different segments, and then edited them together using iMovie for iPad. Mrs. Eskew is using this video with students at Parkland this year as they discuss appropriate and inappropriate library behaviors! Check it out! Way to go Mrs. Eskew!

Check out more YPS teacher "interactive websites!" All teachers, librarians, and club/team sponsors in YPS can create a FREE YouTube channel to showcase student work, projects and activities. To learn how, see the post "Create an Educational YouTube Channel" on our YPS Instructional FAQs site.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Learn About Your Teacher Through Her QR Code

How did parents in your classroom or your child/grandchild's classroom learn about new teachers this year? At Independence Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools, parents of students learning with Dawn Dukes in the Gifted Program could use a smartphone and a free QR code reader app to scan the following sign outside her classroom.

This QR code forwards smartphones (and other devices with reader apps, like iPads) to this webpage with a photo and some biographical information about Mrs. Dukes.

QR Codes provide a fast way to share web links and other resources with other people who are using smartphones or tablets. i-Nigma is the free QR code reader app teachers in YPS used this summer in iPad Media Camp. Many other free apps are available for reading QR codes as well as creating them. The free website is an example: Simply paste the web link or other information you want converted into a QR code, then click CREATE. You can print and share the QR code with others like Mrs. Dukes did outside her classroom.

This year several librarians in our district are working with students who are making digital book reports. Their plan is to use QR codes in the library to link those student audio and video projects, so more parents as well as classmates will be able to access them!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Interview with Yukon High School Author: Luke Swanson

Luke Swanson is a junior at Yukon High School and the author of the recently published book, "Liberty and Justice for All." The book is a historical novel set in 1865 at the battle of Appomattox, at the close of the U.S. Civil War. This is an eighteen minute interview recorded with Luke on April 30, 2012. In the interview, Luke shared some of the backstory about how he wrote the book, what was most challenging as well as rewarding about the book writing process, and advice he has for other people who aspire to publish their own books. Luke published the ebook online by himself, directly, using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes and Noble's PubIt! website. In the interview Luke also identified several people who have been particularly inspirational to him as a student, author and lover of history. These teachers include Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Swanda, Mr. Block, Mr. Kendall, and Mr. Colley. His mother, also a middle school teacher, has also been extremely inspirational to and influential on Luke as he's developed his passions for writing and history. In addition to ordering "Liberty and Justice for All" from or (for $2.99) you can stay up to date on Luke's writing by "liking" his Facebook page, "By Luke Swanson." That Facebook page is also a good way to get in touch with him, in case you're interested in inviting him to speak at your bookstore, library, conference, or other event. Luke was featured in Matt Patterson's April 23, 2012, front page article in The Daily Oklahoman, "Yukon student becomes eBook author." Yukon Public Schools is proud of Luke Swanson and the trailblazing example he's set for students everywhere as a self-published eBook author!

(direct mp3 download)
  1. "Liberty and Justice for All"(
  2. "Liberty and Justice for All"(Barnes and Noble)
  3. "By Luke Swanson" (author's page on Facebook)
  4. "Yukon student becomes eBook author" (, 23 April 2012)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Surrey Hills 3rd Graders Share Their Creative Voices

Third grade students at Surrey Hills Elementary in Yukon have enjoyed new opportunities to share their creative voices online this semester. Teachers Shila Dobbins, Linda Smith, and Joell Slavin have used the free website with their students to record creative stories written earlier in the semester based on Jan Brett's book, "Gingerbread Baby." Each teacher has a "channel" website on AudioBoo, which are linked from the Yukon Public Schools' Interactive Teacher Websites page. Here are three examples of student audio recordings. Students drew artwork to accompany their stories, and photographs of many of their pictures are included on the AudioBoo website. Great job, students and teachers at Surrey Hills Elementary!

Austin's Alien Gingerbread Story
Faith's Gingerbread Madison Story

The Gingerbread Rock Star by Greg

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Doodles for Google by YPS Middle School Students

Doodle 4 Google is a contest held periodically which provides students an opportunity to design creative homepages for the Google search website. These are a few recent creations by Yukon Middle School students, currently showcased at the school library. Please drop by to see more examples of wonderful artwork created by our students! These designs were created by Swan James, Trevor Morse, Hannah Franklin, and Jocey Andis.

Friday, February 24, 2012

7th Graders Use YouTube Clips to Learn About Figurative Language

Yukon middle school students in Ricki Robertson's English class have been studying figurative language and finding examples of figurative language like alliteration, metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole in contemporary music. Recently one of Mrs. Robertson's students, Richard, used the website Prezi along with YouTube and Real Player software to create a compelling presentation about figurative language examples. Richard included video clips from songs by The Jackson Five, the movie "Beauty and the Beast," the Charlie Daniel's Band, and Bette Midler. The following 8 minute video is an audio interview with Richard and screencast of his Prezi presentation. Richard discusses his project, what he learned, how he used different tools to include video clips in his project, and why he enjoyed this opportunity to incorporate different kinds of multimedia into a class project.

This project is an outstanding example of the ways students are expected to use technology under the new Common Core State Standards under adoption by public schools in Oklahoma. It is also a great example of a student properly exercising "fair use rights" to incorporate limited amounts of copyrighted media works in a transformative, non-commercial product which includes the author's opinions and ideas. Learn more about media literacy and copyright/fair use specifically from copyright materials provided by the Media Education Lab (now at the University of Rhode Island) founded by Dr. Renee Hobbs.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lakeview Students Use iPads to Create Presentations

Gifted education students at Lakeview recently learned how to create narrated slide show presentations on the iPads using the iPad app called Explain Everything.  5th grade students will soon be watching the Yukon High School's production of Annie Get Your Gun.  Each group was assigned a specific person from the musical to research: Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, Buffalo Bill, etc. The students conducted research in the computer lab and wrote scripts highlighting important events in their assigned person's life.  The students then selected images from the internet on the iPads and took screen shots to use in their presentations.  The images were loaded onto the Explain Everything app and students read and recorded the information from their scripts. The students were able to time the slide transitions so they were synchronized with the information they were sharing.   The research, script writing, photo selection, editing, and recording were all done during one 2 1/2 hour gifted session.  
The finished presentations were posted on a website on posterous for parents to view at home and for the 5th grade classroom teachers to use to share the information with their classes before they attend the musical.  Some classes even brought the "in progress" presentations on iPads to the principal, music teacher, librarian etc. to share their new found information and technological skills. 
Since the fourth graders  needed to learn how to use the new app, but were not going to attend the musical, they had a slightly different project.  They followed the same steps as listed above, but they had a different topic.  They were allowed to selected any person in history that they felt was the coolest/most interesting person ever and their assignment was to give specific facts about that person's life that would convince anyone watching the presentation that they WERE the neatest person ever!  The variety of student selected subjects for these mini-biographies was impressive.  Students made presentations on Homer, Amelia Earhart, Houdini, DaVinci, Sacagawea, Neil Armstrong, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Walt Disney, and many others.

Check out these and other media projects by Lakeview students on the Lakeview Gifted Projects website on Posterous.

Creative Commons licensed image of Walt Disney from the Orange County Archives.

Friday, February 17, 2012

6th Graders Learn About Mummification

6th grade students in Kayleen Browning's social studies classes have been learning about mummies and the process of mummification in their unit about Egypt / Ancient Civilizations. To practice oral communication skills and further develop spoken fluency, students practiced and audio recorded written essays they wrote about their Egypt unit studies. Oral communication skills and safe online publishing of work are two elements required by the new Common Core State Standards adopted by Oklahoma. Here are two examples of student essays audio-recorded (using a hand-held digital audio recorder by Mrs. Browning) and posted on the free website AudioBoo. After listening to these two audio recordings, check out Mrs. Browning's interactive blog with more student work on

Brennah's Mummy Essay:
Brennah"s Mummy Essay (mp3)
Austin M. and Payton's Radio Show about the Mummification Project
Austin M. and Payton"s Newscast (mp3)

Monday, February 13, 2012

5th Graders Develop Problem Solving Skills with Lego WeDo Robotics

Some 5th grade students at Lakeview Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools are developing their problem solving and computational thinking skills using Lego WeDo Robotics kits. On February 13, 2012, fifth graders Cade and Thomas used the graphical, icon-based programming environment of the Lego WeDo Robotic software to control the motor of a Lego project other students created. In this two minute audio interview, they described what they are doing with Lego WeDo Robotics and why they enjoy learning how to program a basic robot.

Cade and Thomas Talk About Lego WeDo (mp3)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

6th Grade Parents and Teachers Provide Students Feedback on Writing

This semester, students taught by Debbie Callison at the Yukon Middle School 6th Grade Academy have been writing and sharing their poetry online using free, interactive websites hosted by All the posts written by students, as well as comments submitted by others to each website, are MODERATED by Mrs. Callison. Students have not only been working on the quality and content of their own poetry, but also discussing "What makes a good comment?" Students are identifying specific elements of poems to highlight and providing constructive feedback to each other. Online, student publishing and interactive commenting moderated by a classroom teacher is one specific element of the new "Common Core" standards for Oklahoma students which Yukon Public Schools is currently working to implement at the direction of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. One of the best things about students sharing their writing online using an open site like KidBlog is the opportunity it provides for parents to provide feedback, as well as teachers and students. Here is a specific example from Mrs. Callison's 2nd hour, sixth grade English class this week. This is a post written by Cooper last week, titled, "What is a Champion?"

Later in the day after Cooper wrote that post, Mrs. Callison shared some positive feedback as a comment on that post to accompany comments already moderated/approved. In addition, yesterday (January 31st) Cooper's Dad logged on to the class website. He also wrote a comment, providing feedback and encouragement to his son.

It takes practice to get better at anything, and Yukon middle school students are improving their writing skills with digitally-saavy learning opportunities provided by Mrs. Callison. Kudos to Cooper for sharing his poem, and kudos to his classmates, Mrs. Callison, and Cooper's dad for providing constructive feedback! We're living in times of change, and it's great to see this example of how Yukon Public School teachers are providing ways to extend learning experiences digitally beyond the "four walls of the classroom" and involve parents as partners in developing literacy skills.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

5th Graders Learn about Prosthetics from Veterans

On January 9, 2012, several U.S. military veterans came to Independence Elementary School and shared a presentation with 5th grade students about prosthetics, prosthetic design, and their experiences as disabled military veterans.

This was a powerful presentation for many reasons. The presentation was part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program at Independence Elementary which started this year under the leadership of teacher Chris Simon and principal Cecil Bowles. Students wrote reflective essays about things they learned from the presentation, and two 5th graders (Darius and Addison) recorded their essays using the free iPad/iOS application Cinch. (Update August 20, 2012: Since has discontinued service, we've cross-posted these audio recordings to a free channel and embedded the recordings below.)

Please listen to Darius and Addison's essays and provide feedback as comments to this post. (All comments to our learning showcase site are moderated, so your comment may not show up immediately for others to view until it has been reviewed.) We are creating a narrated slideshow with photos and their voice narration which we will share here soon too. Special thanks to 5th grade teachers Mrs. Hooge, Mrs. Burgess, and Mrs. Cromwell who teach Darius and Addison and helped them write their essays. Great work Independence Elementary students and teachers!

Direct link to Addision's recording

Direct link to Darius' recording

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Podcast: education2020 and Yukon Virtual School

This 14 minute audio podcast is an interview with Amy Anderson from January 10, 2012. Amy is a counselor at Yukon High School and the counselor for Yukon's Virtual School. Amy explained what e2020 (education2020) is and what this curriculum program offers for students and families in Yukon Schools. Every student in Yukon's Virtual School is monitored by a certified Yukon/Oklahoma teacher. All courses presently offered in Yukon's Virtual School are also offered face-to-face, but the e2020 environment provides flexibility to meet unique student and family needs. Students enrolled in online classes through Yukon Virtual School are required to have their own computer at home with Internet access. Some Yukon students are currently enrolled in some face-to-face classes at the high school, and other courses offered via e2020. Yukon Virtual School offers flexible choices for Yukon students who are homebound for medical or other reasons, need a virtual credit recovery option, or are interested in taking one or more courses through an online format. Because of Yukon's participation in the Canadian Valley Technology Consortuium, e2020 curriculum is also being utilized by some Yukon High School teachers to provide interactive, digital curriculum and a "blended learning" environment for students. Check out the podcast shownotes for more information and related links. Please share your feedback and questions for Amy and others to answer regarding our Yukon Virtual School.

(direct mp3 download)