Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Nature Games

This morning I read an interesting post from Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) with some interesting games from NOAA (titled Games Planet Arcade) (there are weather and nature games).  These are both topics I often see in the elementary schools.

Google Drawing tips

In this blog post, Alice Keeler shares several tips.  My favorite is the ability to copy formatting in creating shapes in slides.  Once you customize the shape (fill color, line color, and thickness), just select that shape before adding a new shape from the toolbar.  Your new shape will have the same qualities!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dr. Seuss sorting slides

Eric Curts has shared a Google slides (you just need to make a copy) with the “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” theme.  Your students can both move the fish into the correct location as well as  figure out the rules (for the grouping already done). It can be done on a whiteboard or by each student (or working at stations). Please click here to see his blog post.

VR in the classroom

Last weekend I attended a Discovery Education event in Hershey. One of the session focused on VR in the classroom (we got to visit Tibet and the base camps!). Along with hints locating VR viewers (5 Below and Best Buy (online)) Carmella Doty and Renee Henderson shared this presentation.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Do you see the rigor in your classroom?

One of my snow day activities (while waiting to shovel) is keeping up on archived ed-Web webinars.  This morning I watched Rigor is NOT a four letter word with Barbara Blackburn. (If you want to watch the webinar, please click here.  Join the ed-Web community and take the quiz to get a PD certificate.)  She shared her website (barbarablackburnonline.com) and mentioned the Free Resources tab (screenshot above)- there you will find ideas on how to increase the rigor in your classroom.  Recently, I’ve seen the term rigor getting a bad name (the dictionary definition is the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate.)  Yet Barbara defines it as high expectations for all students with the proper support and demonstration of their learning.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Projects that reflect today (and tomorrow)

When I saw Alice Keeler’s post “What is a Brochure??? Make assignments relevant” I had to smile.  I am guilty of doing the same projects every year (and sometimes that is a good thing), but I think we really need to look at the world with our students’ eyes.  Who creates brochures (on paper) anymore?  Read her post and see her list of alternative projects to help brainstorm other activities.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Into the Woods

The lyrics in this popular Broadway show provides the focal point for this post from PearDeck. It’s an interesting read.  What do our students really listen to?  Are they “listening” when we don’t realize our actions speak louder than words.What a Grimm Witch Can Teach us About Teaching talks about modeling with our students.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Looking at history from both sides

I guess I have always been interested in the Egyptians.  So when I saw this TED-Ed about Cleopatra, I was intrigued.  Not only did I learn about her, but I really liked the format of the video.  A “judge” asks the questions while each side presents their view on Cleopatra.  This might be an interesting way to model student projects by looking at both sides.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Random Acts of Kindness

Even though National Random Acts of Kindness Day has passed, there are still many days left in the year to help promote kindness with your students.  If you are looking for ideas, please see the blog post here from Rebecca Alber on Edutopia.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Virtual field trips

Somewhere in my travels (this might have come from Facebook), I found this spreadsheet of virtual field trips.  While some are sponsored by groups that require more than a webcam (i.e., Tandberg), the specifications are clearly listed at the bottom of each trip description.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are you reading Frankenstein?

If you and your students are reading Frankenstein, you might want to check out the resources   in Teaching Frankenstein with the New York Times.  This article includes several articles and lesson plans from The Learning Network.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hyped on HyperDocs

Many of you have heard me talk about hyperdocs.  Hyperdocs are Google Docs (or in our case Discovery Education Boards) that are interactive, promote critical thinking, provide “voice and choice” and can transform your teaching.  Leah Magielnicki shared some photos from her class today working with a DE Hyperdoc (want to see more samples?  Log into your Discovery Education account and use the keyword “hyperdoc”).  How could you use these in your class?  Want more information about hyperdocs?  Check out  The HyperDocs Girls here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What’s the best way to get student feedback?

In her blog post, Alice Keeler shares several options for having conversations with students.  She compares forms (and the spreadsheet data) with the Classroom question feature as well as making check in an assignment.  Please see her post here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What zone are you in?

The Learning Zone or the Performance Zone?  What are the characteristics of each?  Where does your classroom fit?  In this brief TED talk, Eduardo BriceƱo shares how you can really make improvements.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Teaching Tolerance

Looking for lessons to help your students understand diversity, equity, and justice?  Try Teaching Tolerance.  This site contains professional development as well as classroom resources.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Moving History

Want to make history really come alive?  Consider History in Motion.  Here you can not only annotate the map but add images and links.  It is a free site (but no Google sign in- your students will need to create usernames and passwords) that has potential.  The video above will help you get started.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Google Docs and Literacy

Eric Curts has several literacy ideas in his blog post on 4 Fun Literacy Activities with Google Docs.  His post includes several webinar archives with support material and ready to use templates (take the quiz after you watch and earn PD hours!)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Know Recorder

I recently read about this free app on Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers.  I made a quick sample.  You can add images, annotate, and export the video.  I would love to try it with a class- any volunteers to try KnowRecorder?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Commitment is good

But connections are better.  This interesting blog post by Matt Miller (Ditch that Textbook fame) really hit home for me.  It’s a quick read and you will find it here.  If you are interested, you can sign up for his blog posts on the same page.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Videos in Google Slides

Up to this point, you could only insert, ouTube videos in Google Slides.  But now you can insert videos from your Google Drive!  But think short clips (and you can set the start and stop times)- you cannot insert a long video. You can find more details here.

Student Feedback

Looking for ways to give student feedback? Check out these suggestions in an ISTE blog post here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Black History Resources

If you are looking for high-quality resources, please check out the Discovery Education sites.  They have curated top resources in their Content Collection.

Looking for a Valentine’s Day Project?

Consider the lesson plans from Storyboardthat!  You students can create stories, spider maps, or cards!  Please click here for their suggestions.

Kittens and Dolch words

How fast can your kitten find the sight word? Find out on Kitten Hop!  The faster you respond, the quicker your kitty jumps- see if you can reach the couch first!  This would be a great game for the SMARTBoard.  You can play against others or create a private game for members only.

For the complete post on TeachersFirst, please click here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

For older learners learning English

Skillwise is a BBC site geared to older learners (grade 7 and up) to learn English.  It includes games, activities, and videos.  This is an adult learner site as well so you might want to preview the material before sharing with students.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Black History Lessons

PBS has a series of lesson plans for Black History month for all grade levels.  Many of the ideas include resources as well.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Make a movie with Moby!

Just when you think BrainPOP cannot get any better, they announced their new Make a Movie feature.  Here are the highlights:
  • This feature is only available in BrainPOP (work is underway for Jr. and ESL but no dates yet).
  • You must be signed into your My BrainPOP account (if you are using the standard district password, you will not have access to this feature). To create your own account and directions for Single Sign On for your students, please click here.
  • You can add images (from BrainPOP), short animations (from BrainPOP), text, labels, drawings.
  • You can record your own voice or use the text to speech feature.
  • Videos can be as long as 20 scenes and change the background colors.
  • Students can submit the video to the teacher. Due to privacy issues, you cannot export the video outside of BrainPOP.

There are many teacher resources here (a step by step guide as well as teaching suggestions).

How could you use it in your class?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Second grade storyboards!

Who says second graders are too young to explore Storyboardthat?  Not the students in Colleen West’s class.  Signing in with Google makes access easy for younger learners and they shared their knowledge about animal groups.  Here are some samples from the day.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentine’s Day Poetry

Eric Curts (you may remember him from the snowman and the winter poems) has created a Google Drawing for Valentine’s Day.  You can read his blog post here (and you will be able to make a copy of the Google Drawing).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Learn English

Learn English is a site that would work for anyone learning English.  It includes videos, audio, and activities.  It also includes grammar and reading activities.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Teaching Shakespeare?

If you answered yes, be sure and check out the lesson ideas on Storyboardthat here. (You can also find then in the Teacher Guide section once you login).  I know if I had created storyboards for the plays, I bet I would have understood them better!

Black History and Storyboardthat

Here's an article from Storyboardthat with suggestions for Black History Month. There are suggestions for several grade levels.  If you have not used the District Storyboardthat account, please contact me or your Media Specialist.