21st Century Learning at Davis RSS Feed

Davis students have been using technology in creative ways to deepen learning and solve problems. 

Fourth grade technology students are creating apps about U.S.
Presidents in conjunction with their larger Presidential research
projects.  In designing their app, each student had to consider the
relevant content that they wanted to share about their President. Throughout the design phase, students used notes from their research projects to include content in the appropriate app buttons.  While selecting images and relevant symbols, they learned about copyright and each app documents the sources that were used for both content and images.  This has been an interesting project that required students to think about sharing content in a multi-dimensional platform with the end user in mind.  Students used the following 21st century skills in building their apps: researching and managing information, thinking effectively, communicating and presenting, and constructing and creating.  Click the links or scan these codes to enjoy some excellent examples of completed projects:







Congratulations to Davis Academy’s first place winners of in the North Atlanta Jewish Students Technology Fair(NAJSTF).  On the table is
the first place Robotics Category winner created by Ben Cohen and Ross
Williams.  Their robot, when placed inside a maze, will find the correct
route to exit the maze. We wish them good luck as their projects advance
to the state fair in March.   Information about the state tech fair can be found here:     http://gatechfair.org/
Front row:  (L to R): Zach Cohen, Jared Solovei, Willie Lieberman, Justin Thompson and Ohad Rau; Back row: (L to R)  Ben Cohen, Brandon Jaffe, Matt Diamond and Ross Williams


Mr. Williamson’s 7th & 8th grade class made this LED menorah in class as a solution to the problem of how to enjoy the lights of a Chanukah menorah when it is unsafe to leave a lit menorah unattended.  They found a project on www.evilmadscientist.com  and made it happen!   


  • Isabella McCullough’s retelling of The Giving
    used a program called Animoto.
  • Click here to see Eliza Frankel’s 3D animated movie in which she used a tool called Xtranormal.   This project won Third place at the Tech Fair.
  • Click here to see Lily Evans’ storybird project…www.storybird.com
  • Sophia Gurin used Animoto to retell The Stray Dog.  










November/December 2012

Together Davis students and teachers are coming up with some remarkably creative ways to learn!

3D Modeling

Google Sketch Up is a 3D communication and modeling program for design and engineering professionals. It can also be used in applications such as architectural and video game design. Mr. Heyen’s math classes are using this unique tool to help understand important concepts like surface area and volume.  The 6th grade Pre-Algebra class is creating a 3D shape (rectangular prism) that can be unfolded to model how to calculate surface area.  The 8th grade Algebra classes are creating their dream home including a detailed floor plan lay out and the home’s square footage.  Eighth grade students must also present their homes using the 3D animation program inside Google Sketch Up.

(Above & below) 6th Grader Zach Baylin shows his project illustrating volume.

Campaign Videos

In the spirit of preparing for the presidential election, Second Graders created their own campaign videos.  Their assignment included uploading an image of themselves, editing the image’s frame and selecting three issues that were of importance to them. From there they were able to create entertaining campaign videos.  The students were required to practice essential 21st Century Skills in the creation of their campaign videos: researching and managing information, thinking effectively, connecting, and constructing.  Click here to view one example.

Mechina Makes Thanksgiving Movie!
With a set, costumes and a script our youngest students (Mechina: Kindergarten Prep) learned all about Thanksgiving by making their own movie about the story of the new Americans who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. 

Mechina students on the Mayflower "set."

September 2012

Davis students have gotten off to a busy start this school year!  They are already challenging their intellects and imaginations.  This month we feature the following projects:

Lower School

In fourth grade Technology exploratory, inspired by the book Goodnight IPad by “Ann Droyd”, students are creating our own ibooks using the Book Creator App on the iPads.  These ibooks are written in the same style as Goodnight Moon; however, they highlight an invention or technology that has impacted or changed our lives in some way.  The student books include images, audio, text, and drawings.  After writing and designing the books, they will then be shared as an ibook with our larger community.  In this activity, students are unleashing creativity, researching, collaborating, communicating, thinking critically, and learning about digital citizenship. 

The following creative examples show these works in progress:


Middle School


Seventh and Eighth grade Tech classes are exploring photoediting. Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for Windows-based computers. Using photographs taken during the 7th Field Trip to Washington DC last spring, students are learning about how to create special visual effects, eliminate unwanted parts of a snapshot or photograph to customize your images.  We also talk about the proper uses of such editing.   In the photos below, students eliminated the background around the statue of George Washington in the Mount Vernon Museum and then layered the statue on the edited version photo of the Mount Vernon.  They also eliminated the crowd coming in and out of the house. 

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3 with combined elements


Sixth grade Tech Class retold children’s picture books via Animoto.  Check out these cool examples:

Abigail Goldberg  retelling of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss:



Michaela Zusmann:  retelling of The Three Little Pigs:







April/May 2012

A Different Kind of Poem

6th Grade Spine Poetry
To celebrate National Poetry Month in style, the Sixth Grade students were introduced to “Spine Poetry”. We thought our students would take a liking to this type of poetry, and they did!  Using the titles from books off the shelves in the library we created our own poems by stacking the spines together and then reading our poems aloud.  The best part of this type of creative activity is that you never know where your creation will end up.   Now it’s your turn; go to your bookshelves at home and create your own Spine Poem and share with us.  Please email a photo of your poem to davisacademyspinepoetry@gmail.com

6th Grade Spine Poetry, March 2012

What is a Blogfolio?

Blog  - noun 1. a Web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites. verb, blogged, blog·ging.

portfolio - the contents of such a case, such as drawings, paintings, or photographs, that demonstrate recent work: an art student's portfolio


In the Fifth Grade Technology exploratory with Mrs. Brown, students are creating their own blogfolios.   Each blogfolio will provide a culmination of the student’s work while also sharing their interests and capturing their individual personalities. When getting started, students learned the importance of selecting a website address that is not too lengthy as well as one that does not reveal personal information.  They learned about designing the layout of their blogs and how to create an avatar that represents who they are while also protecting their identity.  In addition, they learned netiquette when posting on someone else’s blog.   

With attention to proper spelling, grammar, and the appropriate use of punctuation, their first posts describe what they would like their readers to learn about them.  Their second post includes one image that represents a hobby and a few sentences describing what they enjoy about that hobby.  They learned how to locate images that do not violate copyright, how to give proper credit to the photographer, and how to include links to the original website in which they found the image.   We will be continuing to add to our blogs throughout the quarter.   Below are two blogfolios in process that represent a sample of the class project:

 Sy A.  - http://smasports.blogspot.com/

 Maddie B. - http://doctorwhoforever6.blogspot.com/

February/March 2012

Game-Based Learning Teaches Many Skills

Fourth Grade Technology students have been experiencing game-based learning theory firsthand.  Understanding about the values and concepts that can be integrated into games, they brainstormed how a game such as Monopoly can help teach financial responsibility, or how a game like chess encourages strategic thinking, or how basketball emphasizes teamwork. 
We used the Grow-a-Game cards to work in small groups to come up with a new spin on some old favorites by modifying the rules of those games to teach specific values, such as honesty, loyalty, and thriftiness.  Then, in recognition of Internet Safety Day, we played an online game that uses the forest to symbolize the dangers that can lurk on the Internet and reinforces the importance of Internet safety. 

By week’s end, students were designing their own online games through gamestarmechanic.com!   Not only is it fun, but designing games and thinking about the different levels of achievement that the players must reach, reinforces skills: systems thinking, 21st century skills, creative problem solving, art and aesthetics, writing and storytelling, and a motivation for learning science, technology, engineering and math.


Interactive Music Makes Learning Fundamentals Fun

This year in Middle School Music Class, the students are learning piano fundamentals with the help of 21st century technology!  “Piano Virtuoso” is an iPad App that allows students to learn basic keyboard skills.  Mr. Michek has designed an “interactive” music staff program, allowing students to make a musical connection between the keyboard and the music staff.  The program allows students to place notes on the staff, then play them on the iPad.  They see it, the hear it, they play it…

The kids LOVE using technology with learning music theory!  Says Mr. Michek:  “Students learn when they are having fun.  No matter how challenging it may be to learn something new, if we make it fun and interactive, they respond with excitement and leave the classroom with a little more knowledge. The key is “interactive.”  When students are engaged (everybody simultaneously), they rise to the occasion.  Listening and participating at the same time has a great impact.”

Students learn music skills using interactive iPad apps


January 2012

Fifth Grade Book Trailers

5th grade technology students had a project which aimed to get others excited about reading their favorite books by making book trailers using iMovie 11 on the new Macbook Pros Laptops.  Students were taught how to incorporate music, narration, images, text, and special effects into their videos.  In researching and managing information, they reinforced skills that included exploring, reading, searching and finding, and watching and listening.  They also learned the importance of adhering to copyright and citing sources.  They applied decision making skills, ethical questioning, problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical thinking.  The project challenged students to plan, communicate creatively and collaborate effectively to complete the work. The students edited their own videos after receiving constructive feedback from their peers in this collaborative process.  Each student tapped into their creative side and as a result, each book trailer reflects each student’s unique personality.

Click here to view the trailers on YouTube.


Middle School


But 21st Century learning isn’t just about technology – it’s also about using creative and untraditional methods and ideas to teach. Case in point:  using Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s classic Peter and the Wolf (written in 1936) as the focus, the entire Middle School integrated the arts throughout the whole curriculum during the month of January.  Each teacher in every subject came up with innovative ways to incorporate components of the story or music into classes.  Social studies classes are discussing historical aspects, other classes are exploring sound and movement.  The work is even being analyzed through a Jewish lens, by examining Reform Judaism’s interpretation of the concept of self, studying the Book of Ruth, and looking at the music of David.  Other classes have used the work to interpret history and characters by making masks and puppets under the direction of visiting guest artist and puppeteer Marilyn Price.  Ms. Price’s visiting week ended on (lucky) Friday, the 13th with a fantastic and very creative student performance of Peter and the Wolf, starring student-made puppets.

Marilyn Price works on the Peter puppet

 Marilyn Price works on the Peter puppet.

Middle School students performing Peter & the Wolf


 Middle School students performed Peter and the Wolf.

First Grade Fairytales

First graders are learning the elements of a fairytale.  In doing so, they created their own fairytale using the PuppetPals app on the ipads.  Their fairytale is a short animation that includes many if not all of the characteristics of a fairytale.  Click here to listen to the attached example created by Leah Moradi in Mrs. Amram's first grade class.



December 2011

Davis students continue to stretch their imaginations while strengthening academic, technical and executive function skills such as organization and team work.  Here's a sample of what students have been doing.  Also, don't miss the link below to a very interesting perspective on 21st Century learners by our own Rabbi Micah.  

Mechina students read The Gingerbread Man by Eric Kimmel with Mrs. Sauter to prepare for the award-winning author's visit on Dec. 5.  Following, in Technology class, they created a Voicethread about their favorite food and how it might escape from their plate.  Click on this link to hear their stories:  


Using the BLOCKCAD lego program in the computer lab, Kindergarten students created virtual lego designs.  See a few of their designs here: 

Kindergarten Virtual Lego Design

Virtual Legos - Kindergarten - 1

Virtual Lego Design - Kindergarten

Ms. Kendrick’s Film and Video class  (Sixth and Eighth Graders) is working on a series of creative projects using the Xtranormal Animation program, which allows users to create a storyboard and film in real time.  The project assignment:

  • Create a short animated film
  • Bring inanimate creatures or objects to life with stop motion
  • Make a public service announcement

Ms. Kenrick reports that students in the class are very energetic and focused in their work.  These assignments are teaching students a variety of skills including production, story development, task management and collaboration.

**Read a Blog about 21st Century Learning by Rabbi Micah Lapidus


November Update

As the schoolyear progresses, Davis students are learning, cultivating creativity and and honing important skills – 21st century style!   Here are just a few examples of what's happening.

Map Skills
First grade classes had a hands-on lesson in the important skill of map reading.  They began by watching a BrainPop Jr. video about reading maps, map keys, and map scales (the basic idea about reading simple maps).  Then, they used GoogleEarth to locate their homes and streets.  They referenced those results to draw our own maps and map keys using paper and markers.  






Digital Storytelling
Over at the Middle School, the 7th grade Judaics classes used digital storytelling to produce some amazing videos that compared a “prophetic role model” to a person the student considers to be a modern day prophet. Students used multiple sources to include a brief biography of the person, a summary of their most important navi-like (prophetic) actions, quotes that could have been said by that prophet, and primary source multimedia on the person.  Examples of the modern prophets students explored included videos on Anne Frank for her inspiration even during the hardest times, Eunice Kennedy Shriver for her work with the mentally disabled and Mother Theresa for her work with the poor.

What's In a Number?

Our third grade students participated in a global conversation about their favorite number.  They thought about the reasons why a certain number is their favorite, perfected their blog entries, and submitted their posts to a blog created by a British math enthusiast interested in the psychology of numbers.  See below for some of the insightful posts our Davis Academy students contributed to the What’s Your Favorite Number blog.  We also took this opportunity to practice our typing skills in the home row key position!

3rd Graders picked their favorite numbers


Then posted their essays about their favorite number to a blog created by a mathematician


Lower School



Middle School



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