Wednesday, May 8, 2019

More Review Ideas

Have students work with a group to write a script and use iMovie or Flipgrid to explain a concept or strategy. Use Google Classroom or Seesaw to share the videos with the whole class or grade level for review. 

Get students up and moving with a Task Card Review. Students can work individually or in pairs. Put your review questions/concepts/vocabulary on cards around the room. Students put their answers on a recording sheet or in a Google Form as they move to the different cards. Have more task cards than you have groups to avoid pile-ups and give clear expectations of procedures (show/explain work, stay with partner, etc.).  Review answers in small groups or put the answers on QR codes for students to self-check.  Check out Teachers Pay Teachers for some free premade task cards or make your own.  Find more task card ideas here.

Use a Google Form with validation for students to enter answers to questions from a reading passage or group of math problems. They'll need to enter the correct answers in the correct order to move on. This 3 minute video explains the process. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Ideas for Review

With the end of year approaching, here are some ideas to use for review. 

Use one of the formative assessment tools like KahootQuizizzQuizletJeopardy- but have students write the questions. They'll have to think critically to give correct and incorrect answer choices in their quiz. Of course, you'll want to preview their work before sharing with the class. 

Have students use Flippity (Flashcards, Quiz Show, or Scavenger Hunt are good choices for review) to create study games. Directions are provided with the templates. Once you have previewed their work, links can be shared out with the class.
Create a Google Form for students to do a Brain DumpHere's a sample form that you can copy and edit to meet your needs. Share the form and give students a time limit to complete. Use the data in the form spreadsheet to gage understanding of content,  group students for remediation, discuss misconceptions, and to determine specific material for review. 

This Graffiti activity gets students working collaboratively and thinking critically about text or math problems. 

Check out That Quiz

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Digital Writing Resources

Using a digital writing tool gives students an opportunity to share their writing with a wide audience. The tools in this chart have some features that might engage both enthusiastic and reluctant writers.  Credit to John Spencer for the Video Writing Prompts and Eric Curtis for the Random Emoji Generator.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Flashcard Factory

F​lashcard Factory​ is a component of Pear Deck and​ was designed to transform the way students engage with vocabulary. ​S​tudents pair up and work together to create dynamic and engaging flashcards. Students collaborate to illustrate and define terms​. ​Flashcard Factory​ is free to use and integrates with Google and Quizlet.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Check for Understanding: Generative Sentences

Generative Sentences is a way to check for understanding in any subject while including some sentence structure and grammar. This strategy is also helpful as students demonstrate understanding of vocabulary words. To determine if students have a grasp of the content…
  • Ask them to write 1 sentence to demonstrate understanding.
  • Sentence must have the word you give them at the position you tell them and sentence must meet your length requirements.
In the first example below, students must use the word “cell” in a sentence with more than 6 words and “cell” must be the 3rd word. If your content is biology and their sentence is “I love cell phones that are pink.” You know they don’t understand content. “A plant cell is surrounded by a thick, rigid, cell wall.” This sentence might demonstrate understanding of content about plant cells.

The second example shows some additional criteria that could be used.
Make it your own based on your students and your content.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 3.43.05 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-04-24 at 3.45.23 PM.png

You can add your criteria to this template and share it on the screen or through Google Classroom/Seesaw. Find this and more great ideas in the webinar recording Unstoppable Learning with Dr. Douglas Fisher.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Chrome Extensions for Your Classroom

I learned and relearned about some useful Google Chrome Extensions last week at NCTIES Conference. Here are a few of my favorites.

Use the Crafty Cursor Extension to highlight the cursor to point out specific information on a website when projecting your screen.

Crafty Text Extension adds a text box on a website to point our a vocabulary word, share a class code or URL, etc. You can enlarge the text so your students can easily see the info. 

ScreenShade Extension lets you quickly and easily cover your screen, or a portion of it.

Here is a short demo video for these extensions. 

Sir Links-a-Lot is great for when you want to change up a Google product URL (for a force copy, preview, or template).

Having many Google Extensions enabled can slow your computer. If you're not using it regularly, disable it or get Extensity to help manage your extensions.

Happy Googling!

Dr. Jane Goodall Broadcast

Here's a great opportunity to "step outside your classroom walls" and learn about how you can have an impact in the world. 

Learn how every individual's actions can make a big impact with Dr Jane Goodall

Join us for this an inspirational student Q&A with Microsoft guest, Dr. Jane Goodall, which will be followed by a live chat with Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots team

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Timesaving Classroom Template

I found this idea and template on Twitter. There are so many great resources in the Twitterverse! You can make a copy of the template and then modify it to meet your needs. You might want a slide for each class or each activity type.  Read all about it here. Here are some ideas for using this tool..

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pear Deck: Google Slides Add-on

Pear Deck
 is an add-on for Google Slides.  Use your existing Google Slide Shows (or create new ones) and embed interactive components to help with student engagement and to facilitate discussion during a lesson/unit.  The free version has a few limitations but has proven to be very useful to several teachers in the district. It can be used with iPads or Macs.  Here's a quick intro video and check out Pear Deck on Twitter.

Click here to check out a few Pear Deck templates that you can browse through and copy. I like this Critical Thinking template and this Social Emotional template

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Digital Stories (part 2) ~ Book Creator

Why use a Digital Story Tool? 
  • Motivation, engagement, creativity 
  • Students' writing can easily be shared with a wider audience
  • Images can be added easily to inspire/enhance writing
  • Students take ownership as they write in their "own space"
This week I'm highlighting Book Creator.  Although the free account has some limitations (read more herethis digital tool is still a great option for students to use to "show what they know."

  • Can be used on iPad or MacBook
  • Several book formats to choose from
  • Add images from a file or from camera
  • Add text, drawing, and voice

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Storybird ~ Digital Writing Tool

WHY use a digital writing tool?

- Motivation, engagement, creativity
- Easily share with wider audience
- Easily add image to inspire and enhance writing
- Student ownership as they create in their "own space"

This week I'm highlighting Storybird. I used this slide deck at a recent training. Click on the setting wheel on the slide deck to access speaker notes for more information. 

~ teacher can create private class
~ students join using code or Gmail
~ use with tablet or computer
~ students can collaborate
~ can share via link
~ extensive art collection to use with stories
~ write picture books, chapter books, or poems

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Personal Learning Networks for the Win!

I learn something (often many things) every day from my Personal Learning Network (PLN).
Fortunately, no one has to be an island. According to Anthony Alvarado, “isolation is the enemy of improvement.” And we all want to improve, right? My PLN is huge and continues to grow.  It includes... but is certainly not limited to:
Here's a great article about PLNs.   Personal Learning Networks

Are you growing your craft and your PLN?  Consider finding time to learn from and share something with your PLN often. Thanks for being part of mine! #HappyLearning!
Help others grow their PLN by sharing on this Padlet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Digital Learning Journal Ideas

WHY: A learning journal helps students think about the learning activities that teachers assign. Understanding "the why" will help make the activity more meaningful. 

Here are a couple of digital learning journal ideas. I worked with Mrs. Waters at Glen Alpine to develop these.  Feel free to copy and tweak to meet the needs of your students. 

Google Slides - Teachers can share out the link in Google Classroom (make a copy for each student). Students respond to prompts and can also add a photo. The Google slide deck is shared with teacher to review and discuss with students as needed. Students can look back over their learning and share with parents. You could also give students the prompts and let them design a slide to share their learning. 

Seesaw Activity- Teachers can share the activity through Seesaw. Adding a folder will provide easy access to the learning journals. Students respond to the prompts using text or voice. Teacher views the activity in Seesaw dashboard to review and discuss with students as needed. Students can look back over their learning and share with parents.  You could also skip using the learning journal template and have students create a post to share their learning reflections with images, text, and/or voice. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Global Collaboration

Connecting and collaborating outside the classroom is super easy using digital tools such as Skype or Google Suite Apps. 

WHY collaborate globally?
"Exposing students to global collaboration builds cultural understanding, communication skills, and knowledge and awareness of the wider world."  

Here are other benefits of global collaboration from the article "5 Ways Students Benefit from Global Collaboration" by Julie Randles.
  • Showing students we are more alike than different.
  • Giving students the opportunity to learn through inquiry.
  • Allowing students be the experts.
  • Introducing students to careers they have never imagined.
  • Teaching empathy.

Check out Skype in the Classroom for ideas about Mystery Skype, Skype Collaborations, Guest Speakers, and Virtual Field Trips. 

The slide deck from the ISTE presentation "Top Tools for Global Collaboration" by A. Jambor, A. Mirtschin, and M.Rogers gives more global collaboration ideas. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Computer Science Week and Hour of Code

What is HOUR OF CODE? states, “The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.”

Why should students participate in coding?

  • Coding allows students to explore and experiment with hands-on, discovery learning activities.
  • Coding incorporates literacy skills such as connecting, cause/effect, sequencing, and communicating.
  • Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and many  Mathematical Practices are also involved.
  • Students will practice perseverance and "failing forward" as they identify a problem, develop a plan, and test solutions.

You can register your class for a live Seesaw webinar and  then incorporate a follow-up activity.

Coding is a great early finisher activity, too. Consider how you can ignite learning with an Hour of Code.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mind Maps

 Mind Maps

WHY Use Mind Maps: 
Generate discussion
Organize thoughts
Create connections 
Encourage creativity and ownership
Visualize information when studying or debriefing

WHAT are Mind Maps:
A mind map is a diagram that is used to visually outline information. You can think of a mind map as a large brainstorming web, where a central word or idea branches out into related subjects. As ideas are fleshed out and connect to one another, you can see how concepts tie together to get a better understanding of the content.  

Digital Mind Mapping Tools:

Using Google Suite products allows for easy saving and collaboration. Here is a template and an article by Matt Miller that explains how to use Google Slides for mind mapping. Teachers could share the template through Google Classroom and each student would have their own copy to use throughout a lesson/unit. Students could also create a mind map in Google Docs, Google Drawings, or Jamboard.

Smart NotebookSeesaw, Mindomo (iPad app), and Educreations are other digital tools that could be used.  Mind mapping PD Challenge. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Classroom Mangement Ideas

Routines and movement expectations for group activities and conversation levels help instruction flow efficiently and effectively.  Here are a few ideas that I have used. 

Classroom Screen is a digital tool that has a whiteboard, a timer, a random name generator, and a noise level indicator. The site doesn't save when you close it, but you could keep a tab open during your day and open that tab when needed. 

ClassDojo toolkit has a random group generator that is a quick way to group students for activities. You'll also find a random name generator, classroom music, a noise meter, and a timer. 

Flippity Random Name Picker Add names/numbers to generate random names, numbers groups, teams, and even a tournament bracket. I created this one for a kindergarten class to use in a math center. 

Consider Clock, Speed Dial, or Compass Partners for a quick and easy way to partner students for different activities. Once students have their completed diagram (each slot does not have to be filled in- I used 4 pairings) teacher can announce "Work with your 3:00 partner" or "Meet with your Northwest partner." No one gets left out and students find their partner quickly. If you're interested, let me know and I'll help you get it set up. 

Attention Signals: Would you share your tried and true "attention signals" on this Padlet? Some use "Give Me Five", clapping, or a call out & response method to get students' attention. What works in your classroom? Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Use Command + F to Search on any Site

Did you know...?
You can use "command" + "F" on any site to open a search box for that site. Type in a key word and it is highlighted each time it appears on that site. A great tool to use when searching for specific resources or information. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Instructional Media

Students will be more engaged as they watch instructional media if they have a task. Set a purpose before getting started and provide check-in opportunities during and after the video. 

Teachers can use Edpuzzle to
 embed questions or thinking points throughout a video. You can also use Discovery Education videos within Edpuzzle.

The A-E-I-O-U strategy helps students remain engaged with the media they are viewing.  You can find this and other strategies on the Discovery Education Website.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Warm-up Activities

Get your student engaged in learning from the moment they sit down with some digital warm-up activities.

Check out Wonderopolis.  Every day a new "Wonder of the Day" question is posted. Each is designed to get students thinking and talking.  This would be a great warm-up activity.

Consider a Picture (or quote) of the Day activity.
Click here for an example that you can copy and make your own. There are also picture prompts available at this site. Always preview sites before sharing with students as content on the web changes often. 

Try a current event activity. Students can choose an article or you can assign one and then have them use Seesaw, Flipgrid, or another digital tool to share out their findings.
Check these sites out to determine which might meet your classroom needs, sign-in options and features.
Always preview sites before sharing with students as content on the web changes often. 

Newsela        ~~ Review
Youngzine      ~~ Review

Friday, September 14, 2018


Nearpod is a useful digital tool that allows the teacher to guide students through a lesson on their device. It would be useful for introducing a new topic and/or reviewing content.  Students can demonstrate understanding in a variety of ways and the teacher gets instant feedback. Visit the website to choose free (and paid) lessons or create your own. The Silver Version (free)of Nearpod has some limitations but is still worth a look.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

4 Cs and SAMR

When used effectively, technology can enhance and transform learning.  

  • Choose the task first and then determine if tech will enhance/transform your lesson and empower your students. Provide opportunities that require critical thinking not just guessing and clicking. In this short video, John Spencer explains SAMR - a framework for integrating technology.
  • Allow students to create to demonstrate and share their learning.  They’ll take ownership of the material when they add their own creative flair. Here are a few creation tools to explore.
  • Don’t let tech take away collaboration. Group work helps build communication and collaboration skills that will be helpful in future careers. Have students work together to research, create a video, a digital board, or a slideshow using one or multiple devices per group. Don’t forget about NCWiseOwl for research and Discovery Education Board Builder for creating.