Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

10 Creative Play Gadgets to Add to Your Classroom

“I love technology, and I love new gadgets. I can no longer figure out how to use ay of them, but I love them.” Jerry Zucker

New technology gadgets are always coming out; check out some of these creative play gadgets to add to your classroom.

1. Ozobot

2. Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider Blue*

3. Spheros*

* Bonus both the MiniDrone and Spheros can utilize Tickle App to teach programing.

4. LittleBits

5. Fascinations First Time Clock Puzzle

6. Rubik’s Slide

7. Osmo

8. Roominate

9. Cublets

10. Moss

Be on the lookout for Bloxels which is coming soon! Please share any gadgets that you are utilizing in your classroom in the comments section.

Digital Storytelling Tools Sequel

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” By Robert McAfee Brown

A few years ago I wrote a blog post on Tools for Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom and a lot has changed in digital learning so I wanted to do a sequel. Many of the tools in the first digital storytelling post I still use along with Digital Storytelling with Tellagami App. Below are a few more I have added to my FREE Digital Storytelling Tool Kit.


ChatterPix Kids: Is a user-friendly app that allows students to chose a picture and make it talk in 3 easy steps. One take any photo, two draw a line to make a mouth, and three record your voice. (They also have a ChatterPix for students that are 13 and up).

Imagistory: Is a wordless app where students become the creator of the story based on the pictures they see. It is a great way to see if they have mastered plot diagrams.

Storehouse – Visual Storytelling: Is an app that allows you to use picture to create a story. It is a great way for students to present using just pictures and let them show mastery of the content.  I had a student app smash using ShowMe and Storehouse and present (explain) on how to multiply and divide fractions only using pictures….now that shows true mastery!

Adobe Voice: Is an app that records your voice, imports pictures, and allows you to write text to create a short video.


Google Story Builder: Is a great collaborative web tool that can be used in so many ways. One of the students favorite ways I have used it was updating the old school “story carousel” where you start a story and then pass the paper to a classmate after two minutes and repeat a few times and see what the story ends up as. Instead of passing the paper, the students do it collaboratively in the document.

Storyjumper: Students can create ebooks for free. (If you want it as a hard cover book, that is when you have to purchase)

Fodey: The site isn’t visually pleasing but it gets the job done. Create a newspaper articles using this site.

Dvolver Moviemaker: Using avatars create a story and turn it into a movie.

Both App and Webtool:

Make Beliefs Comix: Who doesn’t love creating comic books! This is a simple user-friendly

Please add in the comments your favorite FREE app/webtool for storytelling so we can add it to the toolkit.

Looking at Glows and Grows to Make Improvements

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” By Benjamin Franklin

If you are en educator you have gone through some-type of implementation process, be it a new initiative or program. In order to make growth in any type of implementation we need to look at what is going well and what is not going well. I like to call these, glows (what is working well) and grows (what do we need to improve on). This is a best practice reflection that should be used in all aspects of implementation from the classroom with students, to teachers at schools and with administration for the district.

How can you implement this in your classroom, school or district?

  1. First block off time and make sure to have these discussions often and regularly.
  2. Make sure to set up a safe environment so people will be honest and have authentic discussions.
  3. If you always look at only the grows, people tend to become negative. If you only look at the glows, you are not being realistic to making growth and change. Make sure you have a discussion about both.

In a classroom: Ask students what is a glow and what is a grow they feel about their learning experience. This helps not only the students reflect on their learning but also the teachers get an informal data point to see how they can maybe change their practice to better meet their students needs.

With teachers: Block off time during a staff meeting, and as grade level or individually discuss what is a glow and what is a grow of the school or of an implementation you are rolling out to see how you to best move forward.

As a district: Ask schools/admins what is a glow and grow of the district or of a specific implementation.

Below is the template I have used with students and educators I work with. To save time, I have also sent this to them ahead of time to fill out so when we are together we are having discussions to help improve us.  (*This also helps model a best practice that educators can use with their staff or teachers with their students.)  Reflecting on experiences encourages insight and complex learning.


My Education Summer Reads

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” By Will Rogers


Reading is not just important for our students but for everyone. Here is a quick article about why reading is important: ‘8 Reasons Why Reading is So Important‘. As the school year is winding down, I like to create a summer reading list because it is important to always work on your craft. This is my education summer 2014 list:

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller &  Jay Papasan 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave by Barnett Berry

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath by Dan Heath

Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results by Philip Vincent and Doug Grove 

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything  by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

I would love to know what books you are planning to read this summer!


Student Content Creation – Flowboard

Originally posted on Matt Coaty - Educational Aspirations:

Using Flowboard in Math Class Using Flowboard in Math Class

This year my math students have been creating and publishing math content.  Most of the creation has taken place on iPads through different presentation apps.  While finishing up our math comic strips I came across the app Flowboard.  At the time of this writing Flowboard is a free presentation app that gives users 200mb of space. My first thought was that students could potentially create a project and use Flowboard as the medium.  After experimenting a bit with the platform, I concluded that the class could create a presentation that would include different templates, images, text, videos and links.  I found that the links can be part of the presentation or send the viewer to an external site.  This is huge because students could potentially create a table of contents and the viewer could view parts of the site that they prefer. Or possibly, students could add links…

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My 2014 Edu New Year’s Resolutions

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” By Abraham Lincoln


Each year I make New Year’s Resolutions, but I also think it is just as important to reflect on your past resolutions in order to create your new ones. Today I reflected on 2013 resolutions and create new ones for 2014.

2013’s with reflections:

1. Learn, master and provide PD on implementing challenge based learning in the classroom.  I give myself a B-, I learned a lot about Challenged Based Learning but have not provided PD on it.

2. Take more risks, learn from my mistakes and failures and not sweat the small stuff. I give myself an A+. I started my own business, Edulum LLC, in March 2013 which has been fun but a lot of hard work with some mistakes and failures. I took on a new role as project manager, which I have never done before and have learned a LOT from my mistakes.

3. Continue to learn through reading, researching, blogging, connecting and most importantly listening to others.  I give myself an B+ on this…there is always room for improvement when learning. I did learn to code enough to create websites, I took a few MOOC’s and read a lot of books and Twitter Chats. I did not connect with as many educators as I wanted to be guest bloggers on my website, I will continue to work on that.

My resolutions for 2014 is….

1. … to focus on helping teachers make an intentional shift to personalized learning. It is a challenging fundamental change to learning and teaching and I want to make it easier for educators. Helping them realize technology is an important enabler but the devices we use are just one tool for delivering this instruction.

2. …help schools become more innovative. For example, helping more schools create makerspaces and coding clubs.

3. …continue to learn and challenge myself. Half of the things I accomplished in 2013 were not part  of my goals/resolution, but because I wanted to challenge myself and continue to learn.

Here are a few other educators new years resolution that I also enjoyed:

Top 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers

5 New Year’s Resolution for Teachers

5 Resolutions Modernize Teaching 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m Participating in the Blogger Homework Meme

“Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” By Albert Einstein

This past week I was tagged in the Homework Meme craze by Brianna Crowley. After reading about what Homework Meme was, I found it is similar to those chain emails we used to get in college. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to participate. But like any social media outlet, I got sucked in reading others and started to realize the importance of getting to know your followers for the person they are, besides their digital persona. I decide to participate as I think it is meaningful for my readers to get to know me as well.


  1. I got married in Negril, Jamaica on the beach.
  2. I love Cardinals for no other reason then my Grandma loved them.
  3. I was told by my 3rd grade teacher I wouldn’t graduate from High School…haha I did graduate and also college and grad school. ;-)
  4. I am always cold and I have a gazillion blankets around the house, you would think an old lady lives here.
  5. I worked as a waitress during College and think the experience was just as beneficial as college. I learned things everyday, mostly about dealing with different individuals.
  6. I went to college thinking,  ‘I’ll become a teacher and then have summers off’…..I did not have the last laugh on this one nor did I realize it wouldn’t be a job but a passion.
  7. I love to read and am the person that gets mad when the book ends because I am not in their world anymore.
  8. I am not a music person; I like listening to songs that make you feel good and dance. I am one of those people that also thinks I know all the lyrics but really don’t. I could be in the worst mood ever but if, ‘I’m Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred comes on, it cheers me up.
  9. I love quotes but don’t have a favorite. I use them to start every blog post of mine.
  10. I enjoy trying new restaurants as I love food. Yelp is a favorite app because of this obsession.
  11. I own my own company called Edulum. We combining the love of EDUcation and the expertise of curriucLUM for affordable Professional Development and Education Consulting. We also hold what is becoming an annual conference in Charlotte, NC in the beginning of August. Typical conferences are hundreds of dollars, ours is only $30.00, with the same quality of big conferences because educators are not in it for the money, we are in it for the love of learning. @edulumllc

Brianna’s 11 QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the proudest moment of your childhood? Making a competitieve varsity softball team as a freshman (Over 400 girls tried out)
  2. To get you through a task, what “carrot” do you use? I make a todo list and start crossing things off then I am re-motivated, I know – I am weird.
  3. When we autonomous cars hit the market, will you be an early adopter? No
  4. Window seat or Aisle? Aisle
  5. If you couldn’t get hurt, what is one adventure you would try? Skydiving but I think I might do it anyway….we shall see. 
  6. Do you believe in ghosts? No
  7. Favorite non-human companion? Books
  8. What song/album do you believe tells your story…or at least an important part of it?  Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. 
  9. What’s your perfect beverage? Descriptive details are important. Jacob Creeks Moscato
  10. What one word, phrase, or mannerism would all your closest friends and family say is “so you?”  Educator
  11. If you were given a 4 year sabbatical to pursue an alternate career path what would you choose?   It would be to learn how to bake and then open my own bakery. I swear someone stole my idea of cupcake shoppes before they became popular. 


Jayme Linton

Romain Bertrand

Barry Saide

Andrew Thomasson

Tom Whitby

Jacqui Murray

Matt Coaty

Julie Reulbach

Lisa Maples

Erica Speaks

Tim Clark


  1. If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
  2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  3. Have you paid it forward?
  4. How many states have you lived in?
  5. What is your favorite device?
  6. If you were going to write a book, what would its title be?
  7. What is your favorite holiday?
  8. What is a goal of 2014?
  9. Who was your favorite teacher?
  10. If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would you be on?
  11. What would your last meal on earth be?
Here’s how it works:
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

I truly enjoy everyone that reads my blog/twitter feeds and hope you have a happy holiday break and season.


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