Monday, October 31, 2016

Sharks vs Knights- a student story

 Click here to read the book.

Storybird is one of my favorite sites- students can write their own story, publish it online (can only be accessed by the teacher and other students in the class) and if they if they want, they can purchase a hard copy of the book.  Maria Vella shared some photos of a student purchased book (she said it was great).  When you click on the link under the book to read it , you will see some of his peer’s comments. Talk about an authentic  audience! And it is limited to his classmates- no issues about it being out on the web.

Below is a picture from the purchased book.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pick a name- any name!

While there are other name pickers out there, here’s a new one- Name PIcker Ninja (from Richard Byrne’s blog post on Free Technology for Teachers). Just enter the names and let the process begin. You can even have the name deleted once it has been selected. (You can tell what I was watching while writing this post!)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Need comic ideas?

I know I’ve had several recent posts on Storyboardthat- and when I saw this post from Richard Byrne about comics, I was excited.  In his post, he lists 10 ways to use comics in the classroom. From book reports, to vocabulary words, to summarizing events-  there is something for everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2016

The revolution begins via Storyoardthat!

Michelle Leonard shared these two examples of Storyboardthat spider map projects from her 5th grade social studies class.  She says Storyboard is an excellent learning tool to reinforce vocabulary, themes in history, and story of all is that students truly enjoy it!“  I was in her class for one of the session and it was easy for the students to create accounts and they loved exploring all the features - I only teach them the basics and let them discover what they can do! Remember we have district school accounts- email me or your media specialists.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

6 ways to gamify your lessons

This recent post in Edutopia by John Mc Carthy provides some practical suggestions to incorporate gaming strategies in your class. And many of the ideas are not all technology related (for example, Game Replay could be the same as retaking assessments).  Please click here to read the entire post to see how you could better serve all your learners.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NATO (the map!)

For all my geography friends, here’s an interactive map from NATO.  And you can switch from a 2D to 3D version.  This would be good on a projector or in stations.  Click on the country to get additional information.  For the complete description, please see the post from Richard Byrne on Free Technology for Teachers.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Everything you always wanted to know about Google Classroom

File:Google Classroom Logo.png

Rich Kiker (a Google expert who will be presenting at the 11/8 Staff Professional Development Day) recently shared several Google Classroom cheat sheets.  To view the sheets, please click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Who doesn’t want to visit Plymouth? (or the Plimoth Plantation)

Please check out the calendar from  Learn Around the World for a week of free trips to Plymouth. If you apply early, you might even get an on camera spot (see their FAQs here for more details). The trips air at different times each time so you can select the one that best fits your needs.

Talk to a real Astrophysicist

No, this is not the Big Bang Theory- this is JASON Learning and they are hosting Mark Devlin  who is an Astrophysicist at the University of Pennsylvania next Thursday at 1.  While you can submit questions now, you can also just join the video call. This is a great way to introduce STEM careers in your classroom.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Coding lessons from Google!

CS First  is a series of coding lessons geared to an afterschool club format.  But I think you could edit the lessons and use them in the classroom. For a complete description, please see the post from Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers.

Friday, October 21, 2016

So whats in this stuff? Ingredients!

Richard Byrne shared this post about a new National Geographic series Ingredients- explore the what (and whys) of common household items and watch an MIT scientist try to recreate them with natural elements.  Only 6 show so far but it just started in September- I’m sure they will be  more.  I’ve included the trailer above.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A video for every element

Here’s TED-Ed's version of the video periodic table.  Not only does each element have a short video, but there are lessons (short quiz, discussion questions) for each as well!  While I didn’t watch them all, I did learn some new things about my favorite elements. I've included a sample.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Explorers’ Graveyard

Here’s a fun way to tie in Halloween and history (with explorers of any time).  This lesson plan from TeachersFirst will walk you (and your students) into tombstones from the past. Be sure you read to the bottom of the plan for several ways you could modify the lesson.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bats and things Halloween (for kids)

I was reading Richard Byrne’s blog post on Halloween videos and he mentioned this playlist from The SciShow Kids.  This brief videos are kid friendly and are linked in this playlist for their Halloween theme (bats, spiders, leaves changes, and skeletons).  Each one is brief and entertaining ( I didn’t know bats pups can recognize their mom from her voice and smell!).  There are brief ads prior to each video.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Storyboardthat- not all in my words

Last week, I shared Storyboard with a group of teachers in a professional learning setting- here are some of their comments:

  • Storyboardthat is very interesting and useful in world language classes.
  • Walked away with a creative, engaging, and intuitive wait to have my students demonstrate their understanding of US history, can't wait to implement this strategy in my class.
  • Storyboard is excellent can't wait to bring this into my classroom.
Today I saw this blog post from Storyboardthat- another testimonial on how this could work in your classroom.  Please click here to read the post and see how it could help your students with retention, enthusiasm, and confidence (Kristy Littlehale is writing from her high school experience).

We do have student accounts this year - contact me or your media specialist for more information.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Storyboarding with Storyboardthat

When I read this article by Matthew Farber about storyboarding with Bitmoji, I thought that Storyboardthat would a great fit.  Please see Matthew’s post for ideas and suggestions.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

More from ReadWorks

Earlier this month, I posted about ReadWorks here- did you know they have geography articles for your students (and this time of year always seems to be the map unit). Create a free account and check these out! (Login and search on Geography). And there are science articles as well!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Life of a Can

Looking for a recycling lesson?  Check out this resource from Discovery Education The Life of a Can.  It includes educator resources, lesson plans, as well as family resources.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Making your Google Slides even better- Explore!

Making your Google Slides even better- Explore!

Google has rolled out a new feature in Slides called Explore.  While you are in Slides, you will see suggested layouts down the right side. explore1.png

You can use the layouts to improve your presentation.  Click here if you would like more details.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Growth Mindset

Looking to increase your understanding of the growth mindset principle?  You might want to try this online resource from MindSet Kit- while the educator course is not yet completed, you can start the sessions now (and it should all be online this fall).

Monday, October 10, 2016

If you are teaching the election catinhat4prez .png
Be sure to check out the TeachersFirst page here.  I think my favorite is the the Cat in the Hat site (where you can help pick the Cat’s agenda.) For older students, see I side with.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

How many seeds in your pumpkin?

If you have students (PreK-3), this fall project is for you.  All you need is a small pumpkin and a class of students.  Your students will estimate (and then count) the number of seeds in your pumpkin.  Jen Wagner has also shared a variety of related activities.  Register here for this project (runs from October 26 to 31).

Chrome extensions for all learners

Here’s an extensive list of chrome extensions that might be able to help your students.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see the link for the video from Eric Curts- his sessions are always informative and easy to follow.

Google Classroom- a place to store your assignments?

In this video from  Scott Latimore, he presents a novel use for Google Classroom. Since you can reuse assignments (from one classroom to another), Scott suggests creating a Google Classroom to act as a library for your assignments.  Think how you and your peers could collaborate and use the topic feature to help you organize your work.  I think this would be easier than scrolling through old archived classes looking for assignments from last year (or term).

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The perfect use for “Students can edit”

Often I lack good ideas on how the option “students can edit” document can work in the classroom.  In this option, every student can write (and read) the same document. It can get a little hectic!

But over lunch with Leah Magielnicki (SUES), she shared the idea of Notice and Wonder as part of her small groups in math.  

It starts with a Google Doc with access given to all 5 or so students in the group.  Here’s a sample:  (Click here to see the entire document.)
Bar diagram Notice Wonder   Google Docs.png
The small group enters their thoughts and can see what their peers are thinking.  
Leah shared the source of her inspiration- The Math Forum (lesson from 2015).  
Such a great way for students to show their thinking and understanding.

Friday, October 7, 2016

How to access Google at home

Maria Vella very kindly shared her "How to access Google from home" directions.  This is especiaolly useful if you want your students to access classroom or other sites we have linked to their Google accounts (BrainPOP, Discovery Education, Storybird, Storyboardthat are just a few examples).

How To Access Google Account Away From School
  1. Type into the web browser
  2. Upper Right hand corner you will see Blue Sign In Rectangle
  3. Click Sign in
  4. Type in your email address –

  1. Type in your password – your 6 digit number (123456)
  2. You can access all the google apps at the Waffle House
  3. You can then access your school Google Classroom or BrainPop.  Since you are signed into Google, there is also easy access from the Storyboardthat, Discovery Education, or Storybird websites.  These two sites will not appear in the Waffle House (apps launcher).


Edcamp NJ is a free unconference held in New Jersey the Saturday before Thanksgiving (this year 11/19).  I have attended several times and always walked away with new ideas.  To register for this free PD event or get additional information, please click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Navy + Discovery Education = STEM

Discovery has partnered with the Navy to produce a series of STEM lessons. Many include slide presentations and other activities including lesson plans. Visit STEM for the Classroom with the US Navy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What can you do with 20 pieces of spaghetti?

What’s the tallest structure your students could build with 20 pieces of pasta, some string, tape and 18 minutes?  And with a marshmallow on top? Join Jenn Wagner’s Marshmallow Challenge (10/10-11/18 for grades K-6).  Here are the complete directions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

Taking a screenshot

How to take a screen shot.png
Photo from 180 Technology Tips

Here’s a good tip from 180 Technology Tips on how to create a screenshot on a windows machine.  If you would like to get a new tip each day, just sign up on their site.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Map Reading

https webrangers activities readingmap readingmap.swf.png
I’ve been in many elementary classrooms where I can tell by the material on the board that map reading is on the agenda.  Here’s an interactive site from the National Park Service that might help your students.  For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Map games online

Looking to improve your map skills?  Visit Seterra either online (or their free app). You can select one of 100 games and see how well you do! For the complete post, please see TeachersFirst here.