Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making you own stop motion video



This morning I saw this post from Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) suggesting a chrome extension I had forgotten about- Stop Motion Animator.   It is easy to use (you can record the video and audio separately).  I’m sitting at a borrowed desk this morning so you can see the Yankee mug wander across the screen.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Screencastify and DEN Ambassadors!




I watched Eric Curts’ great presentation on Screencastify this morning.  Anxious to try out this chrome extension (as well as some of the topic in his session), I decided to record over a slide presentation (and create a commercial for the Fall DEN Ambassador session).  Screencastify allows you to easily add audio to your slides (and I got over seeing myself on a webcam and added myself to the video).  The free version of Screencastify (which does work on a student account- if the camera is disabled there will not be the WebCam option) saves to your Google Drive and has an easy upload to YouTube.

Ideas for Google Forms as Quizzes



If you are on the fence about using Google Forms (and the great quiz feature)- take a look at this blog post from Alice Keeler.  You will step you through the process to make the best use of your teaching time (and the kids’ learning!).

Monday, June 19, 2017

18 Video Tools





Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) recently posted his collection of video tools in the classroom.  He outlines the various types of video projects and then reviews the related tools.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The view at the shore


Beach Chair Scientist will keep you updated on all things marine.  You can follow their blog post or search for information on the site.  Their current post shares monthly ocean events. This site is geared to grades 5 and up.


For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Not a summer replacement series



Vanishing is an interactive from CNN that speaks to the dramatic species loss on the planet.  You could use it on a whiteboard or let students explore on their own. Or have teams investigate the major causes and develop action plans.  The images are breathtaking and the site includes graphs and videos.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

NGSS in your future?


Several of my colleagues have started (or will be starting) to work with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Laurie Marsh shared this website to help navigate the standards.

You can download the information as a PDF for handy reference.   

Friday, June 16, 2017

Let ChatterPIX do the talking


Here’s a video (created using ChatterPIX and iMovie) where students shared their thoughts about kindergarten.  It took less than one period to record (one student at a time out in the hallway) and then I added some photos (from Photos For Class) to iMovie for the finished product.  Hope you enjoy their year-end reflections.

Who doesn’t want to be awesome?



Internet awesome, that is!  Google has launched a series of educational resources based on digital citizenship skills.  Be Internet Awesome includes lessons as well as a trip to Interland where students can reinforce their skills.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RAD Lands in Space (what's the best fuel for your body?)



Chipotle and Discovery Education have shared new nutrition resources.  Here’s the announcement:

Introducing RAD Lands In School, a new education program from Chipotle and Discovery Education that explores important concepts about where our food comes from and how to best fuel our bodies.
Join the Cultivators, an elite team of five young rebels, in their fight to protect and preserve the nutritious and delicious food in the galaxy! Teen earthling Tricket and her sidekick Lo-Fi guide students in learning about nutrition and making healthy choices with help from celebrity chefs, YouTube stars, and musicians.
  • Interactive videos - Free educational episodes of RAD Lands incorporate animation, music videos, and live action segments for a fun and engaging way to learn.

  • Classroom activities - Pair RAD Lands episodes with standards-aligned activities to teach key science, health, and language arts content.


  • Family activity - Perfect for summer: watch the celebrity chefs make something delicious, then challenge your family to see who can make the most nutritious snack!

All about the weather

Teaching weather and need resources, games, NGSS, and more?  Then check out SciJinks- it is all about the weather!  While this NOAA and NASA site is geared to the middle school learner, there is something for all learners.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Math videos that explain it all!



Philip Brown (aka the Bearded Math Man) has a YouTube channel with math videos.  From episodes for teachers and students to  Wednesday Why?- this is something for the high school math educator. Here's his trailer:


You know the year is coming to an end …




When the NYT publishes all their lesson plans in one place.  Click here to see the year (divided by content) for ideas for the next two weeks or next year!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Put yourself in the comics!



Meredith Akers (a Texas educator) recently shared suggestions (along with templates) for creating Google comics.  By using the Snapshot tool, you can easily put yourself right in the action!  Please see her blog post here for step by step directions and templates.

Matchmaking- Math and Journals




Alison Childers recently shared ( on Alice Keeler’s blog) her thoughts on math journals.  She includes suggestions for problems as well as classroom management tips.  You can see if here.

Working in groups



Common Sense Media recently shared several ideas for improving student group work.  From using tools in Google Classroom to samples roles for groups, you will find several interesting suggestions here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Escape Rooms (the digital version)


Who hasn’t seen Facebook images of friends breaking out of escape rooms?  Now you and your students can break out from a digital room!    

Last week I attended the Garden State Summit (primarily a Google centered PD event).  One of my favorite presentations (given by Jennifer Fischer and Kristen Tsaoys- both from Edison)  started with a digital breakout room.  We then explored the BreakOut EDU digital site (be sure you check out the Digital Sandbox- that’s where you will find many premade escape games).  I’ve shared their presentation here as well (it’s in the form of a hyperdoc).  


The photo in this post is from a fourth-grade classroom this morning.  The students worked in teams to break out in an American Revolution themed event.

(Not interested in a digital escape but rather a paper and pencil exercise? See this math example here.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tools to help students edit


Eric Curts recently shared a blog post with a variety of student tools to improve writing.  I saw the SAS Writing Reviser for Google Docs.  While I have used SAS tools from their website, this is the first I realized there was an add on!  (Students will have to enter a parent email to have the account activated).  From sentence economy to sentence tools- it offers a variety of ways to help students improve their writing!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tool to help students analyze sources


Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) recently shared this resource form ClassTools.  Students can use this graphic organizer to sources (and determine which ones are helpful).  Please click here for his blog post.

Google Tour Builder (or what to see in Nebraska!)

About a month ago, I posted about the Google Tour Builder.  This is a beta product (so it is still in the experimental state) that allows you to easily create a tour using Google Maps.  Maria Vella shared a sample she is using with her third graders.  They will share 3 locations from their states.  Either click here to view.

What do you want to learn in first grade?




I had the chance to work with Alicia Berry's kindergarten class as they shared their goals for next year.  We used paper slides- they drew their pictures and then recorded a few students at a time.  In less than an hour, we were done.  Please enjoy their video and I'm sure they would love some feedback.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Picture Prompts from the NYT


Here’s an end of the year post from the New York Times Learning site (in their lesson plan section) complete with 160 images for picture prompts. They have done a nice job dividing the images into categories. Each image includes a prompt as well as a link to the news story (that explains what’s really going on in the photo!). The above image is just a sample.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It’s not always a test

Alice Keeler shares a variety of projects that could be used to demonstrate understanding.  Please click here to see her blog post (complete with crowdsourced suggestions).

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Online doesn’t mean better


In this blog post from Alice Keeler, she outlines several ways to use Google tools to create better learning outcomes for students (and not just using online as a replacement for the same assignments or the copy machine).  Please read her thoughts here- perhaps some of the suggestions will work for your students.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Taking things to the point


SMMRY will take text and summarize it into a specific number of sentences (it doesn’t rewrite the text but takes complete sentences from the original).  You can either paste the text into SMMRY or link with a URL.  This sample is from Wikipedia entry.


For the complete description, please see the TeachersFirst blog post here.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sweeter than sugar


SugarCane is a site that allows you to create online games:
  • Matching
  • Associating (think flash cards)
  • Typing
  • Ordering
  • Categorizing
But rather than type in the content for each different game, you can create a data set and then use that data set to create a variety of games.  All your games are public (and you can search by title). And to make things even easier, you can share via Google classroom! Don’t want to make your own game? Check out some of their samples.

For the complete description, please see the TeachersFirst blog post here.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Adding videos to classroom


Alice Keeler recently posted on how to easily share video to both Google Drive and Classroom.  I made a sample (using Screencastify)- and it couldn’t be easier to save!

(This sample is in my SBOE account and is not visible to folks outside of the district.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Using Padlet for Summer Reading notes


I listened to a webinar today about summer reading.  One of the suggestions was to use Padlet as a live summer log.  Here the students could post their thoughts about what they were reading and the teacher periodically would comment.  I’ve made one here you can try (here’s the link).  One of the nice things about Padlet is the ability for comment moderation (so nothing goes public until you approve it! (That's the feature I've used here.)

In addition to the summer, this might be a fun way to provide a voice to kids during the school year.  While I allowed a name for each post, you can make it anonymous.

Go ahead and share- what are you reading?
Made with Padlet

Cleaning up your (Google) classroom


Worried about organizing your Google Classroom once the school year ends?  Eric Curts comes to your rescue with a list of tips to make your life easy.  From archiving classes, changing file location, or removing class calendars, you will find the answers here.

I know it is early (so file this under August)


Right now I know (some) of us are counting down to the end of school.  Usually, by August, my mind starts to wander back to the classroom.  Maybe that would be the best time to read Matt Miller’s 12 Great Ways to Grow as an Educator this Summer.  I think the summer selfie bingo was an interesting idea and I’m always looking for books to read!  If you are looking for workshops to attend, I’m presenting in South Brunswick Technology and Learning Conference (6/27) and at the NJAET session  Tech Splash (8/1).

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Standards Based Grading Field Guide


When I saw this on Facebook, I thought of my colleagues who have moved (or are moving) to Standards Based Grading.  It is a different way of looking at student results (and if I was back in the classroom, it would require me to make both teaching and assessment changes.  Download this free guide from KIDDOM  for an overview as well as a list of resources.

Add Games to your classroom via BrainPOP!


 While I am aware of the games in BrainPOP (and BrainPOP Jr.), it wasn’t until a gaming webinar last week that I truly realized the scope of their offerings.  With 347 games to choose from- here’s an easy way to add gaming to your classroom.  Each game is linked to basic information, standards, and lesson ideas.  I am addicted to the Storify games.  To see all the choices, just search for games. Even though we only have the BrainPOP subscription for grades K-8, the games part of their website is free!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Take your students to space (via AR)


Eric Boehm  (SMS) shared this augmented reality app from NASA - Spacecraft 3D.  This app (for both IOS and Android) lets you see a variety of spacecraft up close and personal.  Here’s a photo of my experience.


What’s nice about this app is you only need to print out one target sheet (open the app and then old it over this sheet (NASA calls it a marker)- you make the selection of which craft to see using the app. Once you open the app, you can request the marked be emailed to you (or you can go here). Enjoy your journey!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trip to Mars (and beyond!)


Discovery Education and Lockheed Martin have partnered to produce Generation Beyond- a series of STEM resources around space travel.  Students can plan a trip to Mars (be sure you make the correct packing decisions) as well as experience a virtual spacewalk.  See the site for lessons plans and more.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Measuring Growth in Science


I saw this blog post on the Discovery Education site- even though we don’t have the subscription to the science techbook, I still found it interesting.  With the introduction of the Next Generation Science Standards right around the corner, this article may provide some insight.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How to practice better


In this TED-Ed video, the secrets of effective practice are discussed.  While some were apparent to me (i.e., limiting distractions), I was a little surprised to see the study results of visualization (remember in The Music Man, Professor Harold Hill planned to have the band perform by just thinking the music- seems there is some truth in this!).
For a review of the TED-Ed video, please click here.  For the entire TED-Ed lesson, please click here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Having notification issues


Getting too many notifications in your email from Google?  Check out Richard Byrne's short tutorial on how to change your notifications.  Please click here to read his post from Free Technology for Teachers.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Videos in Google Classroom- all you need is a mobile device




Alice Keeler recently shared this blog post on adding videos to Google Classroom.  No, she is not talking about the videos that you link or that reside in your Google Drive.  You (or your students) can use a mobile device, access Google Classroom (via the app), and then take a photo or video and add it directly to an assignment.  Please see her blog post here for complete directions.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Plant a seed, grow a dream



This might be an inspiring end of year activity.  Bill Zimmerman (the person behind MakeBeliefsComix) has posted a series of ebooks on the site.  I was especially taken with Plant Your Dream Seeds. The subtitle is Writing to Grow Hope in Your Life.  It is filled with both writing prompts as well as Seed Tales from Around the World.

BreakOUT in the states



From the photos I’ve seen on Facebook, I think most of us are familiar with the BreakOut (or escape) room concept.  Your need to escape but you need to solve the clues to break out. (Last Man Standing included it in one of their episodes).  Here’s a chance to challenge your students to break out using The 50 States Digital BreakOut (OK, they are still in process, but several states are complete). Here’s a blog post with some of the details.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BrainPOP Updates


Here’s the latest from BrainPOP:


Fresh Content
We continued to expand our library of diverse, cross-curricular topics this winter and spring. In February, with an eye on helping you bolster Black History Month lessons, we published Jim Crow, Motown, Muhammad Ali, and Tuskegee Airmen. Reptiles got an update in March and we also went live with the House on Mango Street and Marco Polo.


Next up, we’re prepping to launch a topic profiling Harvey Milk. Officially debuting May 22, which California observes as Harvey Milk Day, the new topic is a biography of the activist that contextualizes the LGBTQ+ rights movement and its relationship to some of the modern-day issues kids hear about on the news. Read more about our decision to make this topic - and the thoughtful process behind its creation - on the BrainPOP Educators blog.


New on BrainPOP Jr.


New on GameUp
All About Bird Anatomy (The Cornell Lab) • Code Combat: Ogre Encounter (Code Combat) • Flap to the Future (The Cornell Lab) • Riddle Books (Center for Game Science) • Build-A-Cell: Animal, Build-A-Cell: Bacterial, Build-A-Cell: Fungal, Build-A-Cell: Plant, Build-A-Frog, Build-A-Trout (all from Spongelab).