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.

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.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Photos and Lists- Get organized!

Here are a couple of digital organization tools that help save time
 and eliminate some stress in my personal and professional life.
I hope you find them as useful as I do.

Are you getting the dreaded “no more storage” message on your phone? If you back-up those photos you can delete them from your camera roll.   If your phone should “bite the dust” you might lose your treasured photos. It’s a good idea to backup your photos so this won’t happen.

I ❤using the Google Photos app on my phone to store my photos.  This app allows me to automatically backup photos and free up space on my device. I can still view photos on my phone through the app to share an awesome landscape or waterfall pic with a friend. If something should happen to my device while I’m adventuring, my photos will be safe “in the cloud”.  I can also easily search my photos and create collages and slideshows.

If you love using another tool to backup your photos, please take a minute and share on this Padlet so other folks can check it out.

Need some help organizing your lists?

Google Keep is an awesome tool to help you stay organized and it works across all of your devices. You can add to-do lists, reminder notes, add images, and even create voice memos. Lists can be shared. This is a great feature when a family member is going by the store. I love that you can schedule a reminder to be sent when you're near a location. No more driving by the store and forgetting to stop. Does this happen to anyone else?

If you love another organizational tool, please share on this Linoit so other folks can check it out.


Friday, August 10, 2018


On August 13​, 2018, Burke County Public Schools will host our ​fifth annual Digital Teaching and Learning Conference. The conference this year will be at Robert L. Patton High School.  

The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity for teachers, media coordinators, instructional support personnel, and administrators to come together to learn, collaborate, and grow in their professional development.  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Creative Reflection

I love the reflection questions in this blog entry by George Couros.  This is a great way to end the year and think about how you can challenge yourself next year. Consider posing these questions to your students and giving them an opportunity to create a reflection project for a fun and insightful End of Year idea. Teachers could even model this process by completing a reflection project and sharing it with their students.  "If they see you taking risks in your learning, they will be more comfortable taking their own."

Students can use digital tools or posters to share their reflections and learning goals in response to these questions from the blog or other questions they think of. 

  • What did I do well this year?
  • Why did I do well in this area?
  • Where do I need to grow?
  • What things will I challenge myself with next year?

Some ideas for digital reflection projects:
  • Use Flipgrid,  iMovie, or another recording tool to record responses to reflection questions
  • Create a Google Slide presentation with a slide for each reflection question and add in some visuals 
  • Use Educreations, Pic Collage, Seesaw, Google Drawings,  or another digital tool to create a reflection poster 
  • Use Powtoon for an interactive response to reflection questions
  • Create a reflection infographic 
These are just a few ideas. Consider giving students a choice on the digital tool they use to create.  The questions give them a starting point to reflect on their learning and growth. The creation aspect helps students take ownership and it's fun! 

Articles about reflection and risk taking by George Couros

Thursday, April 19, 2018

This! Teachers GIVE Teachers

These resources shared by Kris Szajner and Beth Leighton are fabulous and FREE! There are over 500 slides organized with a table of contents and sorted by content area and activity type. 

Teachers can... 

  • save these activities to their Seesaw Library to share with students 
  • share the activities via Google Classroom, Google Drive,  or other work flow tool
  • project the activity templates to give students a model for creating their own
  • differentiate, scaffold, and assess easily
  • edit activities to meet the needs of your students
  • check out the "how to" slides to learn how to make additional activities

Students can...

  • share their learning creatively with the graphic organizers (my favorites!) 
  • apply their learning with the number talks and sentence frames
  • practice reading with the fluency activities and short stories
  • collaborate and apply their learning with the game boards
  • check out the templates for ideas to create their own
  • categorize, compare, contrast, classify, compose, design, explain, etc.

Click here to check out these resources. Follow Kris and Beth on Twitter and share your appreciation for the time and work they put  into this collection.  Did I mention they are sharing for FREE?!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Digital Math Tools

Teachers can use these digital manipulatives as they explain and model content and processes. Students can use with task cards or practice problems to demonstrate content mastery. Students can then discuss with partners/groups, airplay to Apple TV & explain, and/or screen capture and share their learning through Seesaw or Google Classroom.

(Computer and Ipads)
~fractions ~geoboard ~place value
~number lines ~patterns
~number frames ~vocabulary
and more
(computer only)
~money ~time ~place value
~fractions ~geometry 
~graphs ~measurement
and more

   (iPads only)
~100s chart ~money ~graphing
~fractions ~multiplication ~time
~number line ~tens frame
~math challenge ~ruler
and more

 (computer only)
 ~time ~base ten ~fractions
~geoboard ~shapes ~calendar
~tangrams ~hundreds chart
  and more

Saturday, February 3, 2018

NCDLCN Virtual Learning

This is my third year participating in the North Carolina Digital Leadership Coaching Network. I've had the privilege to serve as a mentor for two of those years.  In every face-to-face meeting I grow as an educator. The topics are always presented in an engaging way and are relevant to my position. The leaders are enthusiastic and encouraging. I leave every meeting with a new protocol (often several), a new friend, encouragement, "food for thought", and sometimes an award or swag.

Most recently NCDLCN offered additional learning opportunities through the first NCDLCN Alumni Virtual Conference. Fortunately in our district it occurred on a snow day. This allowed me to participate in three sessions. This was a fabulous professional learning experience!  The Zoom format was perfect; allowing the presenters to share their screens and the participants to share questions and comments. I ended each session with relevant information and resources that I could implement and/or share immediately with the educators I work with.  Another plus is that the sessions were archived so that I can view additional sessions during a time that is convenient for me. You can view them here.  I appreciate the time that the organizers and presenters invested to bring this virtual conference to NCDLCN alumni. 

I am inspired to investigate this method of professional learning as a possibility for our district. We are already in the process of creating a YouTube channel where teacher leaders will share short videos that highlight strategies and ideas. Teachers can choose videos that interest them and view at their leisure. 

Encouraging teacher leaders to present a casual virtual session, similar to the NCDLCN Alumni Virtual Event, and then archiving the videos would offer additional learning opportunities to meet different learning preferences. Learners could watch live or archived sessions independently or as a group. 

This type of digital learning experience addresses many adult learning characteristics. 

  • learners have control and are self-directed
  • learners can choose relevant sessions that meet their individual goals
  • learners can choose a time that works with their schedule
  • learners can choose and personalize their learning environment

Learning and growing has never been easier and it's important to never stop learning because life never stops teaching. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Site Smackdown: Differentiation and Parent Help

Here are a few sites to use for differentiation and/or to help students review and extend their learning.  

Khan Academy- Videos for all topics. The search bar at the top allows students to search for any topic. Create a class and assign lessons.
LearnZillion- Instructional videos for all topics. Create a class and assign lessons.
Fact Monster- Many topics available here. You’ll find explanations of terms and concepts along with videos. Students can research, view timelines, use the dictionary, atlas, and more.  

Sites that Encourage Parent Involvement

Parent Tool Kit- A great resource with tips for helping children with homework. No login required. The 3 lines at top left will open the menu. Includes academic and social skills resources.
Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics - Fun activities to use with children from preschool through grade 5 to strengthen math skills and build strong positive attitudes toward math.
Scholastic - A variety of resources here for all ages and subjects.

Educators are the Best at Sharing!

Templates ~ Graphic Organizers ~ Hyperdocs

Learning Menus/Choice Boards

I am so thankful that educators are willing to freely share resources that they create or find. Here are a few resources that my PLN has shared recently.  I'm giving them credit by sharing their names and Twitter accounts. Add them to your PLN by following them on Twitter or following their Blogs.  #neverstoplearning

Check out the awesome Google Suite Templates created and shared by Darren Maltais.

Here are many Graphic Organizers created and shared by Kris Szajner and Beth Leighton.

Just make a copy and share with your students in Google Classroom or Seesaw. Better yet use these as examples and let your students create their own.

Hyperdocs are a great way to differentiate instruction. Here is a great Hyperdoc resource shared by Lisa Highfill, Sarah Landis, and Kelly Hilton. Be sure to check out the templates under the resources tab.

Having choices and allowing students to add their own creative flair to assignments helps them retain information. Find several examples of Choice Boards/Learning Menus on this blog by Kasey Bell.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hour of Code ~ December 4th-10th

December 4-11 is Computer Science Week. The goal is for students to participate in at least 1 Hour of Code during the week. Here are some reasons why- 

Coding allows students to explore and experiment with hands-on, discovery learning activities. Coding incorporates literacy skills such as connecting, cause/effect,and sequencing. Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and all 8 of the Mathematical Practices are also involved. Have students work with a partner (maybe even with another grade level) and encourage collaboration and communication. Students will practice perseverance and "failing forward."

Here are a few resources.

Seesaw Coding

Additional information worth checking out.