Friday, May 31, 2013

Google Drive for ENSC

Last year, Zack and I tried to promote Google Drive heavily due to the collaborative nature of it. In fact, since then I know of teachers that have made entire presentations without meeting face to face. This is a huge time saving tool for those of you that have a tight schedule that does not always allow you to come extra early before or extra late after school.

We did run into a speedbump. Most East Noble teachers will remember it being a little bit of a mess because we could not use our East Noble School Corporation email addresses to create Google Drive accounts. Many teachers had started, but it was put to a pause as Google noticed an abundance of users signing up with email addresses ending in eastnoble.net. So the solution was to use personal gmail accounts. That temporary fix also came to be a problem since you had to know the email address of others within the district to share documents. This was not that tempting since it was taking extra steps to accomplish the task.

This issue has now been resolved. Our network administrator, Rick Williams,  has provided every teacher with a Google Drive account. However, gaining access to it is a little different than the traditional method with a gmail address. If you are an East Noble employee and are interested in using Google Drive, I put together a video on how to gain access to Google Drive through your East Noble email address.


Like I was saying earlier, Google drive possesses some powerful opportunities to collaborate with your peers when you are on a tight schedule. Zack and I share documents, presentations, and spreadsheets all from our Google Drive accounts. This allows us to work in any of the buildings without the extra drive to meet in one place. We frequently use the chat feature along the side if we need to communicate about something specific within the document without writing on it. You as a teacher can use it to collect data, write lesson plans, or work on a presentation that you may need to do for the school board.

When I first started being a peer coach, I had never used Google Drive. The best way to learn it is to just fiddle around with it yourself. Start with making a document, presentation, and a spreadsheet. Then try to make folders. See if you can organize your files. Then try to share a document with someone else. If you don't know who to share with, go ahead and share with with me. It isn't going to take up space because anything created in Google Drive does not count against the five gigabytes they give you for free. If you get lost, they even have a nice "help" feature that can be found in the following picture:

drive picture



If you are not the type that would rather learn it yourself, I came across a set of videos that will orient you with how to use Google Drive. This gentleman goes through the basics in a slow, step-by-step manner. Best part is, if you miss something, you can pause, go back, and rewatch it.

Introduction




Composing



Sharing Files and Folders


Document Organization


Thursday, May 30, 2013

MyON

MYONfinal

The Indiana Department of Education is providing a free reading resource for all Hoosiers for the summer of 2013. MyOn will provide students with the opportunity to read to self as well as listen to read since many of the books include audio. Directions on how to log in are posted below. If you are an East Noble Teacher, feel free to promote this opportunity as you wish.





Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Get Smart

Get Smart - Home.


Get Smart is a great resource for teachers that have interactive whiteboards. This website provides a vast amount of interactive web-tools that would be great for introducing topics or having students practice on your whiteboard.

Thanks goes to Peggy Demchak for coming across this valuable find. I'm glad she thought of me!

ABC Books with Story

Story has quickly become a very popular app amongst teachers. Students can quickly create a high quality presentation or digital book with the app. It allows the user to put in pictures, captions, and full pages of text within the book.

Here is an example that Mrs. Yoder had her first graders build. For several days, the students collaborated and built a list of animals for each letter of the alphabet. Mrs. Yoder sent the list to me and I used Morgue File to gather royalty-free photographs. I then sent her about four or five letters worth of pictures to her so that she could forward them to her students. (Yes, teachers can email fairly large amounts of photos to students. In this project, I was able to send 26 pictures.) The first graders downloaded the images to their camera roll, imported them into the Story project, and if students had additional time, they added facts about animals.

There was one little hiccup though. Mrs. Yoder quickly found out toward the end of the project that the user can only make twenty two-page spreads. So to solve that problem, Mrs. Yoder had students use Pic Collage to cluster together the last few animals.



Here is the direct link to the Story example by Lauren.

Friday, May 24, 2013

East Noble Theatre Department Promotes Digital Citizenship

I was recently provided with a copy of a video that the East Noble Theatre department created to promote digital citizenship. It is primarily targeted toward our laptop users in upper elementary, middle school and high school, but I think that it is full of reminders that would be good for all the staff as well.

Reminders about updating the laptops is a good one as I've noticed a lot of laptops running sluggish lately. (A resource is linked here to share how to update your PC laptop.) Yes, it will take a lot of time to get your machine up to speed, but if you make a habit of doing it at least once per month, you'll find that it will not take as long and your machine will run faster.

Another good reminder is the subject of pirated materials. You need to make sure that you do not have illegal downloads of music, movies, or even...teaching resources. Believe it or not, if you have paid materials from Teachers Pay Teachers that a "friend" gave you, you are stealing. If you want it that bad, please pay for it. If the item was free, then download and share all you want. (Here is a silly comic that addresses the issue of piracy. It might be a good place to start the discussion with your students.)

With all that said, please take a gander at the video that was provide. The theatre department did a great job of addressing the many issues that we as a 1:1 technology school district face on a daily basis. If you want more digital citizenship materials, you can find them in my Pinterest page.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Butterfly Project with Story Kit

Story Kit has been around for quite some time. It was one of the first applications that the teachers of East Noble really jumped on using to have kids create projects with their iOS devices. Now there are so many options for students to produce work and send to their teacher. However, instead of looking for a new tool, Mrs. Carroll of North Side contemplated how the tool could be used. Here she has provided two examples of her Butterfly project. The students recorded the events that occurred with their own butterflies as well as reported about facts and vocabulary that they were learning over the course of the project. Overall, I am very impressed with the quality of work from these second grade students. Story Kit worked well for her students because it allowed them to save their projects on a daily basis, take quick pictures and insert them into the work, and record briefly each day.

Try looking at the examples that she provided:

StoryKit Second Grade Carroll caterpillar project 1 StoryKit Viewer: Butterfly Book second grade carroll

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jogtheweb.com

Here is a blog-post by Mark Brumley about this fine webtool called "Jog the Web.  For the sake of not stealing his thunder, I will keep this brief because I'm sure he would much rather you visit his blog to find out more information about it.

Jogtheweb.com allows you to create a collection of websites with descriptions. They all are previewed on one page, so the viewer does not have to get lost in a bunch of links. This would be a great tool for webquests.

Here is a video to show you how you can make your own "jogs:"


Face on Coin Booth and Pic Collage

I have two sets of examples to post today. The first one I had blogged about several weeks ago on the presentation tools section of this blog. It is called Face on Coin Booth. Mrs. Sibert invited me into her class knowing she was going to cover decimals involving money. This provided a great opportunity to use Face on Coin since it was a really obvious application. Here we had students take their own picture, write the sentence "decimals separate dollars and cents," and write three different ways to write a cents amount. Check it out for yourself:




I also picture this application useful in areas such as writing character traits, telling import parts in a chapter, or even recording quick facts that were learned about a topic. I like to think of this app as a good one for quick projects to share knowledge and understanding. It is without a doubt not for upper level thinking, but it does make for a more engaging experience in the classroom.

Another set of examples is from Mrs. Abbs' first grade classroom. Her students used the stickers in Pic Collage to demonstrate subtraction story problems. I hadn't even thought of using the objects that were already available in Pic Collage for the math manipulatives.





Monday, May 20, 2013

Markup.io


Markup.io is a free webtool that allows you to annotate the web. You can point out, circle, and highlight any website to your liking all with the easy to install bookmarklet. Any site that you want to annotate can be done with a quick click of the bookmarklet, a new page will then appear with your annotation tools at the top of the website. You can do all of this without even creating an account.

How this could be useful to you as a teacher you ask? You can quickly annotate a website and email it out to your students just by sharing a link. It does not require a lot of extra time, and your students receive your notes right away. You could also place directions on the website so that you are not sending out multiple documents for a task. Students can also respond back with your annotations on the page. You could then view their work when they send their own "Markup" back to you.

There is one unfortunate detail about Markup, and that is the annotations will not appear on an iPad. I know that this website is still in development so they may work out those details in the near future.

Explore 7 Principles of Ocean Science On This iPad App | iPad Apps forSchool

Explore 7 Principles of Ocean Science On This iPad App | iPad Apps for School.



This is a great application for your oceanographers in your classroom. It includes tons of interactive features along with the text to enhance the learning experience in science.

This would also be a great application to use as a resources when studying the Water Cycle. East Noble teachers that have students using iPods do not have to be left out because they could plug their iPad into a projector to display the content.

Make sure you check out Richard Byrne's post.

via Explore 7 Principles of Ocean Science On This iPad App | iPad Apps for School.

StudyJams

StudyJams.
StudyJams

Study Jams is a resource provided by Scholastic that covers a multitude of elementary mathematics and science topics. It has a variety of resources that consist of videos, interactive activities, and karaoke. I would highly recommend it as a resource for introducing or reviewing topics as it focuses heavily on key vocabulary for each skill.

Here is the drawback, it is built on flash. What does that mean? It will not work on iOS devices. So the solution for the elementary teachers I work with would be to just use it in a whole class setting or use it in the computer lab. You could also use some of the songs and videos as a transitional period between subjects. A great way to make this happen would be to create your own Symbaloo page. Zack gives some fine directions on making your own Symbaloo page here. By making your own Symbaloo page, you can link specific examples all on one website because you may not want to use all the resources listed. This would allow you to quickly pull up the specific resource you want.

Check out Study Jams. I think you will be pleased with amount of quality resources that are there.

via StudyJams.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mrs. Sims' Field Trip to the Zoo

Zack recently posted about the field trip project that Mrs. Millus' class was able to complete earlier this week. I was able to follow up with Mrs. Sims today to go a little further into the project. This time we had students create a title page with their name, add five photos, and add a fact that they know about each animal.

I took roughly ten minutes to orient them through the app. I taught them how to start a new Story, edit the title page, insert photos, and insert more text boxes. Along with that, I also had to teach them how to move pictures or text boxes that may seem out of place. The students quickly caught on surprisingly well since this is the first time that they have ever used the application. If you are uncertain of how to do all those steps, I do have a video that will help orient you with the application. 

One downfall of this application is that we had to type in the teacher's entire email address. Typically when students email work to their teacher, they can just start the beginning part of the email address and it pops up for them so they do not have to finish it. For some reason, it is not accessing the contacts list from our school district. (This might be an issue that is only exclusive to East Noble School Corporation.) I think what will need to happen is to actually add the teacher's email address to their contact list manually if this is going to be an app the kids will use on a regular basis.

Here are the results:

If you would like to see a few more examples, please follow these links:

Connor

Tyson

Coding Kids



The video makes some very interesting points that coding is really like teaching a foreign language. A language that people all over the world learn to speak. You think about the vast changes that have occurred in the realm of technology. Those changes are all thanks to people that have jobs where they use this language that causes a computer to perform tasks. (I'm actually friends with quite a few of them.) Sadly, I have never learned to code, but I think it is about time that I start to dabble in it if I am going to prepare students for a future that is going to be saturated with technological devices. So just like how the video ended, I will be visiting code.org to start the process.

There are two big opportunities for our students as part of East Noble School Corporation to become familiar with coding language. The first one is Hopscotch for the iPad. Not only does it gives students the concept of basic coding, but it also focuses on relevant elementary mathematics skills. Addition, subtractions, negatives, degrees/angles, and coordinate planes are just to name a few. Students can create an animated story or reenact a scene in a book through Hopscotch, and use these cross-curricular skills in order to to make it happen. Here is a short tutorial on how to get started with Hopscotch. Keep in mind, there is much more to it than just making a character move left and right. However, this tutorial will at least give you a basic idea of how it works.



Another opportunity is Scratch, and it works on a traditional PC or Mac computer. You may actually want to create an account through Scratched because it is the education version. They are also considering making accounts that a teacher can create under his/her username so that he/she can view and control the environment. For now, you can create a classroom account and all students could use the same username and password for the coding projects. Scratch will provide the same skills as hopscotch. In fact, it is very similar in some ways, but provides more options. This is no surprise since it has been available for quite some time. Here is a short video that will give you a better idea about Scratch:


Welcome to ScratchEd from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Compound Words with First Grade

Today I had the pleasure of helping the media specialist at North Side utilize the iPods with first grade students. (Thanks for asking for help, Mrs. Valenti.) I gathered together a bunch of pictures from Morgue File that would make great options for compound words. For example: I found a picture of a dragon, a fly, and a dragonfly. Altogether, I had 26 pictures in the email.

This process only took me about five to ten minutes to gather all the pictures into a folder and send them away. How long would it have taken me to make copies of all the examples, get paper ready, glue, scissors, and coloring utensils?

As the students came in, I showed them how they can download all the pictures at once by clicking on the "save 26 images" icon when the user taps on just one picture. This saved all the pictures to their library so that they would be able to access them for their Pic Collage project. I would love to get to the point where we could use a classroom Dropbox, Box, or Skydrive account so that I could just dump the photos into a folder for all the students to access. Hopefully that option will be available on our school network in the future because it would save teachers a lot of time.

skitch

Next step was to show the kids how to get pictures into Pic Collage. I demonstrated this by using the pictures of butter + cup = buttercup so that the kids understood that they needed to match the pictures so that it would make a compound word. I also showed them how to add in text, change the color of text, and change the background on their collage. In the end, I was pretty satisfied with the results. Here is my example that I did with the students:

buttercup

Now I will share with you some student examples. Keep in mind, I only had a few students share and they were completely random. We ran out of time so I quickly pulled a few students aside so that they could email me the results. I by no means kept the best of the best. These students were very engaged and excited in the activity. Next week, Mrs. Valenti plans on having them continue the project since we only had time to complete one collage.




TypingWeb.com



To be honest, I wasn't really sure where to place this post. Keyboarding is really a category all by itself. So I placed it as a teacher tool. If you think it fits better under a different category, don't be afraid to speak up and let me know.

Typingweb.com is a free resource for keyboarding instruction. You as the teacher can create student accounts to track their keyboarding progress. This web-tool works on the iPad as well as a traditional PC or Mac computer. There are also games available, but only on those traditional machines. Try it out!

iteachwithipads net This honestly has to be one...


teaching-pic

This honestly has to be one of the most inspiring elementary edtech blogs that I have ever come across. Kristi Meeuwse is a kindergarten teacher from South Carolina that frequently blogs, tweets, and pins all kinds of useful ideas on the internet. Her intellectual property is extremely valuable. I am always appreciative of someone that is so willing to share for the greater good of education.

In this blogpost, Kristi has students use Pic Collage to report about "pirate vocabulary." They also use Doodle Buddy to illustrate their own pirates to place into the collage. Along with the text, illustrations and pictures, I would say that these kindergarteners were able to produce some mighty fine products.

Please take some time to look at her blog. I think you will find inspiration there as well. :)

Setting Restrictions

I recently had a teacher speak with me about her frustrations with one student in particular that can't seem to keep his fingers out of the App Store. He also has a tendency to continually delete apps. When you have a frequent offender, this can be an extremely frustrating experience. Even to the point that one may even want to not give the student their device. These frustrations are understandable since you have to take the time to fix whatever mess he/she created.

One solution for these two issues is to set a restriction. However, keep in mind that you will not be able to download any apps with the restriction turned on. That means that every time you want to download an app, you have to turn off the restriction with a passcode. You will want to make sure you only do this for a select few students in your classroom.

Here are the directions:


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Digital Citizenship Cartoons

Digital Citizenship Cartoons
This blogpost contains links to multiple videos that are even categorized to be appropriate for specific grade levels. These links will provide teachers with a great opportunity to introduce and explain difficult digital citizenship topics in a light and fun manner. Try them out for yourself and enjoy!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Story Instructions and Final Product

Zack recently posted about the Story app by Disney. I went ahead and made a video to show you how it works. I also made a separate video for those of you that would rather just see the final product so that way you can fiddle with the application yourself. I tend to be one that learns better just be trying it out myself, so I understand those of you that would just rather see the final product completely!



Here is the final product video:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Time-saving Tech Tips from David Pogue

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via Free Technology for Teachers: 10 Time-saving Tech Tips from David Pogue.

Check out these tips! I didn't know some of them! It is really fun when you learn new tricks that will speed up your work on your computer. :) I'm sure a bunch of you will be opening up a webpage to see if your spacebar actually does scroll the page down after this one.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mrs. Becker's Area and Perimeter Activity: Skitch

Thanks goes to Mrs. Becker for this idea. Not only was it a good idea, but it looks tasty too! Here she took a creative activity and integrated it naturally with her class set of iPads. The portion completed with the devices is where she can assess how well the students grasped the skill. Could she use a quiz to accomplish the same task? Yes, but that wouldn't be as much fun now would it? Also, it provides them with some technology skills that are applicable to showing work in any subject area, and even outside of the classroom.

There are numerous times that I use Skitch to ask or answer questions through email. Just the other day, I wanted to trade my car to an auto dealer. He asked me if I could show any defects so that he can properly assess the value of my vehicle. I used skitch to not only take the pictures, but to draw the arrows and annotate the issues I saw. These are real life skills.

In this lesson, Mrs. Becker had students arrange Cheez-It crackers to form a polygon. Then the students had to label the area and perimeter of the shape. I used to have kids sketch it on a piece of paper to prove their work. With an iPod or iPad, students can take a picture of the real evidence and label it in the same amount of time. Not only that, but the kids can email it so I don't have to stuff my bag full of papers that will eventually get scrunched on the bottom. :) (Yes, I'm a messy teacher.)

Thanks again, Mrs. Becker! This is great!






Mobile Technologies in the Medical Field




Matt Rickey, high school teacher, recently brought this doctor to my attention. His name is Eric Topol, and he's looking to revolutionize the technologies that are used in the medical field. Here he shares a number of them that he relies upon on a daily basis in this video.

I really don't know very much about this doctor other than what I have seen from a few interviews on Youtube. So as far as his stance on medicine or how hospitals are operated, I cannot comment.

My reasoning for sharing this is the direction of which the medical realm is moving. All these devices are somehow related to the idea of them being mobile. It provides a convenient way for him to monitor patients, and what he believes to be more efficient as a doctor. Notice that he does not say anything about knowing how to play Angry Birds or Clay Jam. He sees the devices as an essential tool for his work.

Mobile technologies are today. Mobile technologies are also in the future. This is why it is essential that students are familiar with using mobile technologies on a level that shows the potential as a tool for learning.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Grade Plural Nouns Using Pic Collage

Mrs. Abbs and Mrs. Yoder sent me a cool idea today. Their students showed plural nouns using Pic Collage. They had them take pictures of the singular form and the plural form of the noun. The students added the actual words to the collage. This activity looks like a whole lot more fun than what I did to learn plural nouns when I was in school. I can't remember that far back, but my guess was that involved a pencil and workbook. :)

Next Abbs and Yoder plan on having them do the same thing, but they will be doing it for words that end in "es" and "ies". If they send them, I will plan on adding them to this post.

Thanks for the great idea, Mrs. Abbs and Mrs. Yoder!






(Click on an example to get the full view.)

Here is the later product created by a first grader to demonstrate when to add "es" to a plural noun:
add es


20130509-184301.jpg

Pic Share



Pic Share is an easy-to-use application that really only serves one purpose: to send more than five pictures at a time from your iPad. This would be handy for teachers that would like to provide students with a collection of pictures to use for a project instead of having the students trounce around the internet looking for images. One reason this should be a concern is because of the fact that we still need to provide some level of protection for our students. If we allow them to just go on their own, it will increase the possibility of them coming across materials that are not appropriate to their young eyes. Yes, I know we have to educate them to use the internet wisely. However, primary elementary students are still pretty innocent. It is my belief that they would have a hard time making the best decision when placed in that type of position. The second reason that it is a concern is whether or not the images are legal. We do need to teach students at an early age that even though they are available to view for free, that does not mean that they are available for the taking.

My suggestion is that you compile pictures yourself. You can either take the pictures yourself, or you can gather them from a royalty free website like Morgue File. Another option would be to use the Flickr application, but that may only be of use to you if you are at home. Many school districts block Flickr (including mine).

On another note, I am not for certain how many images you can actually send. I was able to send sixteen when I made this video. That's a pretty nice sized collection for primary elementary students in one email so that the students do not have to go searching through multiple emails.

Easy Shot Email Cam


Easy Shot Email Cam is a really basic camera utility. The reason I like it: students can only take one picture at a time and email it all from the same application. There is not a lot to say about the actual functionality of the app; it is pretty straightforward.

How this applies to teachers you ask? Teachers (primary in particular) need an app that easily allows students to take a picture of their work and email it quickly. Students could share what they accomplished during math or word study. How easy is it to remember what every student accomplished with his/her unifix cubes during math without meeting with every single child and taking notes? It just isn't possible. This app would allow you to receive the proof that Jimmy or Suzy were able to accomplish a few tasks when you were not able to meet with them on a one-on-one basis.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Second Grade Pic Collage: Characters, Inferring, and Vocabulary

Here we go again, more examples of how resourceful just one application can really be for your classroom. It reminds me of when I was first hired by Mr. Jim Tilghman back at the old Wayne Center before we had much technology to work with at all. He was famous for asking the "peanut butter question" during an interview. That question was the following: If you had a classroom, and you only had a jar of peanut butter, what would you teach? The whole point was to see how resourceful you could be on the spot. I don't know how good my answer was, but I am thankful he hired me anyway. :)

I am looking at a lot of these apps that you can create with the same way. If you only had Doodle Buddy. If you only had Pic Collage. If you only had 30 Hands. If you only had Perfect Captions, If you only had Skitch. If you only had Multi-Photo Voice Recorder. The list could go on and on, but what would you teach? 

Mrs. Gaines of South Side recently sent a collection of examples with Pic Collage. I encouraged her to do so despite her noticing that I have posted a lot of examples of Pic Collage. (Thanks for noticing by the way.) Those examples are essential for sparking ideas in the minds of fellow teachers. I love receiving them, because ultimately this blog starts to become a resource where collaboration takes place across our five elementary buildings. (Comments are welcome too!)

I think what I like most about these examples is that it is proof that to integrate the technology, it does not mean you have to invest tons of time. These students were able to create a product very quickly and send it to their teacher.

Here is what is going on in Mrs. Gaines' second grade classroom:
We are learning about the life cycle of butterflies.  We have some key vocabulary we are learning with this unit.  Students used pic collage to display their learning of the new words.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="1482,1483,1484,1485,1486"]
We also used pic collage to display our learning during read to self.  We were inferring about characters and working on character description.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="1487,1488,1489,1490"]

Thanks again for the great work! I appreciate your willingness to share!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Planboardapp.com




Visit http://www.plannboardapp.com and sign up for a free account. Here you can create and organize your lesson plans in an easy-to-use online format. What is also nice is that you can import files, links, videos (with embed codes), and images. You can also create your own templates for consistent repeated formats. All you have to do is input your new information for each day.

Also, a great value to is is the ability to send your lesson plans. You can provide a direct link to the lesson plan or download it as a PDF file. This could be extremely helpful if you are in an emergency situation with a substitute teacher. It could also be helpful if you are wanting to share a specific lesson with a colleague. There is no need for copying on the copy machine, just send the link.

Standards are easily imported as well since you can click on the standard that aligns with your lesson. By hovering over the standard number, the whole description appears without taking up the entire lesson plan page.

There is a lot to look at when using Planboard. I recommend trying it out to see if it is something that you can use. Yes, I know the video is a little long, but it may save you time from trying to just figure everything out on your own.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Technology Changes - Your Lessons Should Too

Jeff Herb wrote this blogpost in November of 2012, and I annotated it to highlight a few points and share my own thoughts on it. I think it is without a doubt a good read as we all struggle with what technologies we should use in our classroom. I especially need to think through these steps carefully as I scour the Internet and App Store to find resources that will be of great use to you.
http://instructionaltechtalk.com/technology-changes-your-lessons-should-too/

I think the biggest points that I could pull out of are the following:

1. "Do not use technology for the sake of using technology." I believe many teachers get frustrated with technology because they are not sure what to do with it. When those feelings come to surface, then the devices are not used for their proper intent. Since laptops/iPods/iPads are really tools for learning, let's compare that to a common, ordinary tool. If you use a hammer for something other than what it is intended to do, you will become frustrated with it and not know the true value of it. In fact, it will probably become the opposite, and that is destructive. You need to know the tool well and understand what it is intended to do. If you intend for it to be a resource just for information, it will be just that. If you intend for it to be a resource to practice skills, that's all it will be to the student. If you intend for the tool to be an opportunity for student to create digital content to demonstrate their learning, that's what it will be.

2. "Teach with tools that excite you." This is true not just with integrating high-tech devices such as laptops or iPads, but any resource that you use for teaching. I remember how excited I was when I realized how useful pattern blocks were for teaching fractions. Prior to that, I never used them properly because I first of all didn't see the value in it. Second, I wasn't excited about using them. Once I realized how they can help students conceptualize fractions, I think I used them for an entire week of teaching fractions with slightly different variations. I was excited about it and the students could tell. The students see right through you if there is no desire to teach a lesson or if you are not excited about using the tool that is set before them.

I encourage you to read the article yourself. It will challenge you to take a second look at what you are currently using in your classroom. I know it has caused me to really contemplate my recommendations for teachers.

(By the way, I use the Kwout resource I recently blogged about to get that screenshot. That is a really easy tool to use.)