Posts tagged ‘Technology’

Students Creating with iPads

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” By George Bernard Shaw

To often lately I have been walking into classrooms and students are on iPads but all they are doing is either using it for research or to play a game. The iPad is a tool that allows our students to create content verses only consuming. Students can use higher order thinking skills to apply what they know when using many apps. The students then own the learning because they are applying concepts verse regurgitating information. Here are some of my new favorite FREE iPad apps and some oldie but goodies.

  1. Koma Koma – is a stop-animation app. It is simple to use with only four commands — shoot, delete, play and save.
  2. Adobe Slate –  create visual stories easily with this app.
  3. Shadow Puppet Edu – create videos in the classroom to explain ideas. There is also 30+ lesson ideas supporting Common Core too! (Great for all ages but I love that it is easy enough for K-1 students to use as well)

Oldies but goodies that I still use in the classroom:

  1. Thinglink
  2. ShowMe
  3. Tellagami
  4. StoryMe
  5. Adobe Voice
  6. Toontastic
  7. Padlet
  8. Haiku Deck
  9. iMovie
  10. ReadWriteThink Apps such as Trading Cards

All these Apps I have shared can be used across all content area and in many different ways from tasks to projects.

3 Ways Periscope Can be Used in the Classroom

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” by Marcus Aurelius

Periscope is a FREE and easy to use app that lets you explore the world by watching and creating live broadcasts anytime and anywhere. Viewers can also interact with you through messaging or ‘liking’ with hearts. The videos as of now, only last for 24 hours to review after the live broadcast. Below are ways you can use it in your classroom:

  1. Bring in real world and global relevance through virtually visiting with an expert. How great would it be to watch a live broadcast that you set up with an expert while they are in ‘action’. Example periscope with a scientist as they are working in the lab.
  2. Have students create ‘how to’ or show their thinking videos on any topic or subject in real-time. Example: Have a student explain how to multiple and divide fractions. This video can then be used to help others in the classroom if they get stuck on an activity or on homework.
  3. Have an open classroom (or PD session) by broadcasting what is going on in your classroom. This allows others to ‘see’ into your classroom. Example: Have other teachers watch best practices in action or a student that is absent can now be apart of the class while they are away.

When using any technology in the classroom make sure to think about CIPA, COPPA and FERPA laws. Be aware that you will want to have a classroom account (especially if your students are under 13) as you will want to make sure you set up the account so students have a safe environment. For example you might want to shut off comments as you don’t know what people will write or you might want the videos private verse public.

I would love to hear other ways you can use Periscope in the classroom, please share in the comments below.

Tools for an Educators Toolkit

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” by Malcolm X

Below are some websites that you should add to your toolkit of resources for your classroom for both you and your students to utilize. I like them all but did add an asterisk next to my favorites. Some are new while others are oldie but goodies

Create Engaging Video Lessons: Metta, Zaption, Vialogues, Ted-Ed*, EdPuzzle* and Google Forms*

Virtual Field Trips: 3D Gallery, Google Cultural Institute, Google Lit Trips*, Google Trek*

Presentations: PowToon, Prezi, Haiku Deck, Emaze, Piktochart

Interactive Sites: Blendspace*, Thinglink* GooseChase* Canva

Assessments: Quizizz, Jeopardy labs, iClickerKahoot*, Plickers*, Google Forms*

Content: iTunes U, Open Ed, Newsela*, Crash Course* a You Tube Channel by John and Hank Green (Yes the author and his brother)

Backchannel and the Classroom

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” By Rollo May

A backchannel is a great way your classroom can have a digital conversation. When using a backchannel in your classroom it is important to have clear expectations of how to use it. When doing an activity with a backchannel (really it should be when doing any classroom activity) make sure you set the purpose and have an outcome for the activity. Below are some reasons to use a backchannel, ways you can add it into your classroom and sites you can get started with.

Reasons to use a backchannel: 

1. It allows all students voice to be heard

2. It provides students with an outlet to engage in conversation (especially for those that are introvert/shy)

3. It allows the student to participate at their own pace

4. It is a written representation of what happened in the classroom

5. It helps build classroom community (if used correctly and with expectations)

Ways you can add it into your classroom:

1. Hold discussions about a book or other topic (especially for when watching a video clip to share thoughts)

2. Brainstorm ideas for projects, writing etc

3. Informal assessment/exit ticket or to poll student responses

4. You or students can provide links to resources and other rich media

5. As a ‘help desk’: Students can pose questions and you or your students can answer and help.

Sites to utilize for a backchannel:

1. 81 Dash is the newest and so far one of my favorites. I love that it works easily with Google Classroom.

2. Today’s Meet

3. Backchannel Chat

4. Chatzy

5. Twitter – This one I recommend if you have students that are older, such as High School or College but also can be great for educators  during Professional Learning. You can also use Padlet as a backchannel but it can be used for so many other things as well, it is not solely for back-channeling.

I would love to hear your reasons to use a backchannel, ways you add it into your classroom and/or sites you like for a backchannel.

Top 5-ish #NCTIES15 Take-Aways

“If you don’t much care where you want to get to, then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” By The Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

One of my favorite conference is NCties, an ISTE affiliate for North Carolina, and I look forward to it every year. Below are only some of my take-aways, as I didn’t want to overwhelm everyone so I filtered through my notes and chose my top 5-ish (because you will see I sub-resources of my top 5) and they are not in any particular order.

  1.  Todd Nesloney
  2. Kevin Honeycutt
  3. Richard Byrne
  4. Resources based on tweets from #NCTIES
  5. My Favorite Tweets
    • “School shouldn’t be something kids are surviving. It should be the highlight of their day”
    • If we want learning to change for students we have to change the way we do PD for educators. @web20classroom
    • When a teacher asks: “Who doesn’t have Internet at home?” the kid hears “Who is poor & pathetic” @gwynethjones

Bonus: Here are all the #NCTIES15 resources from all sessions:

From my session was on how we rolled out Personalized Learning in our district. Here is our information: and come see Personalized Learning in action! Sign up for a tour on April 2nd, 2105. More Info

Sites that are Not Well-Known, that You Should Know as an Educator

“A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.” By Jack Mezirow

Below are ten sites that I don’t think are not well-known but you should know as an educator. They are sites that will help you in the classroom from classroom management to challenging your students.

1. Team Maker: A simple random team generator that lets you create teams quickly and easily.

2. Tinkercad: a free, easy-to-learn online software to create and print 3D models.

3. Planetarium: Explore the stars and planets from your web browser. (Also a chrome extension)

4. Class Badges: Award badges for all different learning experiences.

5. Coggle it: Great for mind mapping and brainstorming.

6. HsTry:  Create interactive timelines

7. Zaption: Turn online videos into interactive learning experiences that engage students and deepen understanding.

8. Classtools-Connect Four: a game to review key terms/vocabulary and the connections between them.

9. Bouncy Ball:  Great for classroom management; the balls bounce based on level of noise in the classroom.

10. Greg Tand Word Problem Generator: Create different types of word problems in minutes.

*Sites that are coming soon or are in beta that look promising:

1.  Class Realm: a platform for teachers to introduce gamification into their classrooms, encourage better behaviorpatterns, and promote creative expression.

2. ThemeSpark: Build a standards-based rubric in under a minute.

3. Sphero Education:  Core lessons and STEM challenges give kids a fun crash course in coding while sharpening their skills in math & science.

Do you have a website that is not well-known but you think educators need to know? Please share in the comment section.

Using Google Draw to Create Manipulatives and Tasks

“Manipulative’s are a tool for instruction, yet teachers tend to not use them due to lack of education and confidence of their effectiveness to increase learning.” (Green, Flowers, & Piel, 2008).

With more and more Chromebook’s coming into school districts it is important to make sure our students are using them for creation verse consumption of knowledge. A great way for students to show creation is in Google Drawing App. Teachers and/or students can create manipulatives, task or games based on the skills they are learning. Below are a few examples along with how to create these in Google Draw.

1. Let’s Go Shopping: This is an example for our a second grade money task. The students must show how much money would represent what they are buying. They can do a screencast* to share their thinking as they are creating.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.22.01 AM

2. Water Cycle: This is an example a student created based on the water cycle. The student created the water cycle images, label the correct terms and then did a screencast* explaining their thinking. For younger grades they can do a screen shot.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.21.36 AM


3. Base Ten: Here I created a virtual base ten task. The students have to create the number by using the base ten virtual manipulatives and explain their thinking through a screencast*.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.22.46 AM

Here is my folder of Google Draw templates I have created or I have found, click here to add them to your Google Drive.  They will only look like an image until add them to your drive, then you can edit and see more of the details.

*Screencast: We use the Google Extension Snag-it. (If you are in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, this extensions is put on all Chromebooks. All the students need to do to create the screencast is click the blue S to the right of the url window.)

How to Create Manipulatives in Google Draw: 

1. Decide what type of manipulative you need and brainstorm what the goal of the task is for the students. (Example: For the Let’s Go Shopping task I created above. I wanted to see if they could create the correct combinations to pay for the items.)

2. Then log into your GAfE account, go to your drive and click on new (you will have to go to the arrow where it says more to find Google Draw) click on draw.

3. Right click on the blank grey and white grid/canvas to choose a background color you would like to use.

4. Now you build your manipulatives or games the way you would like. Under the insert tab are where you can put pictures, create shapes and text boxes.

Here are a few other ideas you can create manipulative/tasks for but not limited too….

Math: fraction number line, quadrilateral chart, ten frame, clock/time etc

Reading: story maps, word sorts, vocabulary, brainstorming/mind-map etc.

Science: periodic table, cell diagram, rock cycle etc

Social Studies: history timeline, infographic, graphic organizers such as for cause & effect

Other Resources for Using Manipulative’s:

Alice Keeler Website

Graphic Organizers with Google Drawings

 Google Drawings Support

I would love to know how you use Google Drawing in the Classroom, please share in the comments.


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