Sarah Storrier, Wendy Fowler-Conner, Erika Baritell, Danielle Sicignano, Barbara Jordan
Fourth Grade Teaching Team
Tully Elementary School
Tully Central School District
This month, we’ll shine the spotlight on a team of fourth-grade educators from the Tully Central School District! These five ladies have a wide range of teaching experience. From left-to-right in the picture:
- Sarah Storrier - 6 years Tully
- Wendy Fowler-Conner - 17 years in Tully
- Erika Baritell - 15 years in Tully
- Danielle Sicignano - 6 years total (three years at Syracuse Academy of Science, and three at Tully)
- Barbara Jordan - 22 years (16 years in Tully, 6 years OCM BOCES)
Working together, they’ve transformed learning throughout the fourth grade classrooms in Tully’s elementary school.
How has the team brought innovation into the classroom?
As a team, these teachers are always willing to try new things when integrating technology to enhance the learning environment. Throughout Tully’s fourth grade classrooms, Chromebooks are used used regularly to accomplish daily activities. Each day, the students use them to read, practice math and/or typing, and learn interesting social studies facts. Most of these assignments are pushed to the students digitally, who complete them using the Chromebooks. These educators then grade the assignments, and return them to the students through the use of Google Classroom and Google Drive.
Their technology integration is not just limited to the use of the Google Suite of tools, however. Each year, there are many different units of study that integrate technology into the students final product to demonstrate understanding. Around Thanksgiving, the Tully fourth graders worked on a Haudenosaunee project. Students wrote a Thanksgiving address, recorded it on Vocaroo (an online voice recording service), and then attached a QR code to a picture that they drew. The artwork, along with the QR code of their recording, were then posted in the hallway, where anyone with a QR code reader on their device could then scan the code and listen to the student recite their Thanksgiving address! As part of this project, the students also helped create a Google Site to share what they learned online with friends and family.
Prior to the holiday recess, the fourth graders also worked on a book project called “The Gift of Reading,” which had the students creating a short book review via Flipgrid (an online video creation tool). Using Flipgrid, each student was able to record themselves giving a review of the book they’d just finished reading. Once the video was finished, it was then posted to a classroom Grid where each student could watch the videos created by their other classmates. Later this year, the fourth grade team is planning to use WeVideo (an online video-editing software application) to have their students create public service announcements around the research they will be doing on the different types of energy production. By allowing the students to use the technology to record and reflect on what they are learning, the fourth grade team at Tully is helping their students create a deeper understanding of the content they consume.
How have students benefited from these technology integration initiatives?
The fourth grade team at Tully is always willing to try new things with technology integration in the classroom, and it is not simply because "they all love technology.” Rather, the team realizes that its students will be growing up in an environment that is becoming increasingly different from what the traditional classroom has offered in the past. By using technology where appropriate, students are learning how to think for themselves, articulate their thoughts, and develop a more meaningful understanding of course material through the creation of authentic products. Students are learning how to think independently, and feel empowered to show what they are learning in a creative way. Ultimately, these students will be growing up in a world full of things that have not even been thought of yet, and it is important to this fourth grade team to teach digital citizenship and responsibility to each of these children now, so they can ultimately be successful in the future.
Is This You?
Are you the type of teacher who thinks about technology integration and new ways to enhance instruction, engage students, and make learning fun? Know someone who fits the profile? Recommend a "Featured Teacher" so we can recognize and celebrate great work in the area of instructional technology!