Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elementary ELL Apps


It is the middle of the school year and you get the message from your school secretary that you have a new student. Your adrenaline starts to rush at this point as you have a mix of emotions with a million questions running through your mind. So much is unknown at the mention of a new student. When the secretary announces that the student does not know English, it adds a whole new element into the mix. This isn't a bad thing by any means, but it is merely a challenge that happens to every teacher from time to time.

Being the technology coach in a 1:1 district (iPads or PC laptops for each student), I frequently am near the top of the list of people the teacher emails about what to do in this scenario. I by no means am an expert, but I've found a few free tools that might be of help on the iPad to help get the student acquainted with the language.

These apps were selected because they are free and not loaded down with advertisements that can be distracting to students.

ABC Ninja (free)
ABC Ninja is much like the famous Fruit Ninja game that is available on almost every tablet. Instead of slicing fruit, you slice letters. The device announces the letter name, and the user must slice the corresponding letter. The app provides lower case and capital letters. It also will do letter sounds. This can be adjusted by selecting on the gear on the top-right corner of the opening screen.

Sight Word Ninja (free)
Sight Word Ninja is much like ABC Ninja. Selecting the gear on the opening screen will allow the user to adjust the sight words according to grade level. If the teacher wants to get more specific, there are arrow options on the right side that allow the user to select/deselect words.

Monkey Match (free)
Monkey Match comes from the PBS show Between the Lions. It is designed for the iPod Touch or iPhone, so the resolution may seem a little off, and you'll have to hold the iPad in a portrait position. The user can match capital and lower case letters, letters to pictures, and sounds to pictures.

 Little Writer (free)
When my school district first started the 1:1 technology initiative, teachers scrambled for apps that helped students learn letters. However, all of the free ones included just a minute part of the app. Leaving the user with only a few letters to practice or only the lower case set. Little Writer came along and changed the game as it provides a complete package. There is also a paid pro version that includes more features.

My Backpack (free)
My Backpack is provided for free by the Waterford program. It contains texts read aloud to students, fun songs, and some math games. It is mostly intended for early literacy learners (preschool-first grade) as many of the apps listed here are. However, a good quality free resource is hard to pass up.



Sentence Creator (free)
This app is great because the teacher can set it to have visual/audio hints. The user can tap on the words to check the sound. As the student becomes more fluent, these settings can be adjusted. "Trick Tiles" are also a part of it as students need to learn the proper spellings of words even though phonetically the trick tiles are accurate. It is also nice because a scorecard shows up at the end displaying for the teacher how the student performed. There is another app that it could be imported into (Bitsboard). However, a teacher could just have the student take a screenshot and send it his/her way via email or other learning management system.

Sight Words by Photo Touch (free)
This app is very simple and easy to use as the user just practices sight words. The lists can also be customized by the user or teacher. The recording tool is of obvious use to the teacher, but the student could create their own recordings of the words as they progress.

Montessori Rhyme Time (free)
Rhyme Time fits students that have no experience with English. The students can tap the images to hear the word aloud. Then the user draws a line to match the corresponding rhyming sound. Again, this app is very primary-student oriented. The user really does have to tap on the picture to hear the word. There were a few items that I had to tap the image to figure out what word it was intending for me to rhyme. :)


Learn English with Lingo Arcade
Learn English is another app that matches audio with images. As the student progresses, new games and more difficult activities are unlocked (see image). As the student progresses, they must identify full sentences that match an image. One nice feature is that the teacher can also setup separate student accounts if you are in a classroom with limited number of iPads.





This is by no means an exhaustive list. So if you have any suggestions of websites/iOS apps that are helpful with ELL students, please feel free to list them in the comments.


Friday, December 12, 2014

The Hour of Code 2014: Wayne Center Elementary and Rome City Elementary

The Hour of Code 2014 has come to a close for my elementary schools (Wayne Center and Rome City). I enjoyed receiving emails of pictures and invitations to see Kodable, Lightbot, or Scratch in action. The Hour of Code has certainly come with a polar divide of reviews from students and teachers. It was either well loved or well loathed. Through this experience, I learned a few things:

  • Not all individuals are geared to enjoy coding. Within seconds of entering a classroom I could tell who has the knack for it just by glancing at the vast array of facial expressions and body language. 
  • Educating students about computer science is essential. Students need to know that it is a profession and start working toward it now. Most students I talked to didn't realize how much writing code was intertwined within their daily lives.
I'm excited as students have really started to dig into their activities. I had several teachers that contacted me because they wanted the apps to stay on their iPads longer or they were looking for something to feed the need of a few students in their classroom that desired more challenge. 

Here is a little taste of our Hour of Code week: 


Thanks goes to my teachers who put some time into the Hour of Code this week. My hope is to have materials ready for you each year as this time rolls around to make the experience as smooth as possible. If you want to carry on the experience throughout the year, let me know! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kindergarten Padlets


Last week, I attended a workshop with Kristin Ziemke on "Connecting Comprehension & Technology." It was great to hear exactly what I attempt to reiterate with my teachers. Some of the key points include:

  • Get students to be creative with their devices to express their learning.
  • Use a few apps that students can use to meet a wide variety of skills.
  • Technology is going to fail you from time to time; it is okay. 
This week, I proposed one of her ideas to Mrs. Kuehnert (Kindergarten teacher at Wayne Center Elementary). Since the students have been using Hello! Crayons, it made a perfect opportunity for students to draw illustrations and label new things they learn while Mrs. Kuehnert read a non-fiction text aloud. The students were extremely engaged in the activity and were able to demonstrate clearly to Mrs. Kuehnert something they learned. After the students saved their work, the students submitted their work to a Padlet using QR Reader by Scan. (Click here if you are unfamiliar with Padlet.com.) Here is the breakdown of the activity:
  1. Prepare the students for thinking about what they are going to illustrate and label during the first reading. Have them focus on something new they learned. 
  2. Have a modeled example ready for the discussion after the first reading so that the expectations are set. (I modeled this while Mrs. Kuehnert was reading since there were two teachers present.)
  3. Before you reread the text, have a few students share something they learned that they want to illustrate. 
  4. Reread the text and be ready to deal with a few drawing sounds coming out of their iPads. :) 
  5. Have students save their work by pressing the purple save ion, and then choose "save to gallery."
  6. Pull up your pre-created Padlet on your screen and have the QR code displayed. Demonstrate how to scan the code using QR Reader by Scan.
  7. Have students press their home screen buttons and open their QR Reader. Have students line up as they have the app open and rotate up to the screen to scan the code and return to their places. (The flow is rough at first, but Kindergarten students are good at Follow the Leader.) 
  8. Have students double-tap on the Padlet wall. 
  9. The students need to type their name on the top line in the box that appears. 
  10. Next, the students need to tap on the "underlined arrow". 
  11. A box will appear, and the students need to tap on it. 
  12. Another box will appear and students need to select "choose existing". 
  13. Students then need to select their camera roll. 

  14. They need to find their photo which is more than likely the last in their collection if it was just saved.
  15. Final step for the students is to tap somewhere on the blank wall so that the photo sets on the canvas. This doesn't always seem to be necessary, but I feel it is "better safe than sorry" when it comes to Kindergarten. They need to get a little emotional when technology doesn't work. 
  16. Discuss the learning that took place by looking at the Padlet as a class. At this point, I would recommend having the students press their homescreen buttons so that they do not accidentally add more items to your Padlet. 
My ultimate goal for Mrs. Kuehnert is that this becomes a part of her regular routine; the kids create with their iPad and submit to a Padlet independently by scanning the QR code when they finish their work. It will take some practice and she will have to rely on her expert students (scan masters), but I've made her a believer and she is looking forward to the exciting things students can accomplish on their iPads and her ability to share what the whole class is learning through Padlet. 

Some final tips: 
  • Set the Padlet to be organized into a "grid" so that the items are automatically organized for you. 
  • If you want to share your Padlet with parents or other teachers, change the settings to "can view" after the activity so that no extra items appear on your Padlet. 
Check out our Padlet on Sea Turtles:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1st Grade Poetry Project - Crayola Photo Mix & Mash

 
How to Use Crayola Photo Mix & Mash
 
I love Crayola Photo Mix & Mash. It gives students the ability to add photos, text, and draw on a canvas. This turns out to be a great place for students to express their learning.

The first graders at Rome City Elementary have been studying and creating poetry for the last week. They've talked about different forms and aspects of poetry. This includes the purposes of capitalization, punctuation, and line breaks.


Mr. Yoder's Sample Poem
After discussing poetry and revisiting a few examples they read throughout the week, I shared a poem that I wrote (I'm quite proud of it too). Through the publishing of this poem, the students were able to see some of the quirks that the app has. For example: capital letters when returning to a new line, changing of  text format when re-sizing text boxes, and getting new text boxes changes the text format. One tip for this app that I highly recommend passing on to students is to break text into chunks. That way the author can manipulate where text is located and how it is sized on the canvas.

Using the app in front of the student and showing the "quirks" before they dig in can eliminate quite a few frustrations of primary students. Primary students tend to be sensitive when the technology isn't functioning quite the way they want. This helps them understand that their frustrations are normal and gives them the problem solving skills necessary to accomplish a task.

Here are a few samples of student work:
 
 
 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Hour of Code and Kidblog

The Hour of Code at Wayne Center Elementary has begun! I've been working with Mrs. Jackson's third graders on getting Kidblog launched in her classroom as she loves to give the students the opportunity to practice writing online in a safe community. I hated to interrupt the flow of things with Kidblog too much, but this week is the Hour of Code. So what better way do both than to have kids blog a little bit about coding? 


I kicked things off with a little discussion of what coding was and how it is involved with their daily lives. Sure I talked about the Internet, Kidblog, and the iPad setting in front of them. (Some even claimed they had coded their own website.) However, nothing caught their attention more than when I asked the question if anyone had ever wanted to make their own video game; the hands shot up at this point! That's when I knew I had their attention. Very few students actually knew that you could get a degree to learn how to make a video game. (Hence the whole purpose for the Hour of Code.)

Today's blogging assignment was to write a quick letter to the maker of their favorite device/website/video game. They needed to write a thank you to the person that coded it. While they were working, I pulled up the HTML code from Kidblog.org so that they understood that behind all the images and text, there was real code. (The kids that claimed they had coded their own website retracted their previous statement.) The view of actual HTML code really put things into perspective as students suddenly realized how much time it takes to create something from code. They couldn't believe the amount of text and information just for one blog page.

Here are a few samples, but keep in mind that they only had five to ten minutes to write:





















We wrapped things up with a demonstration of Lightbot. The students will get an opportunity to try it out a little throughout the week. I also made sure to explain that Lightbot is not necessarily real computer programming, but it requires similar problem solving and critical thinking skills that is necessary to learn coding. More Hour of Code to come!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Hour of Code



If you ask a teacher about what their role is in a child's education, they will more than likely mention the importance of preparing students for the future. The fact is that computer science is exploding with the vast amount of people accessing the Internet through computers, tablets, smartphones, and even a pair of glasses. Computer science is centered around the idea that computers have to be told what to do. (As a side-note, I had to know a little bit of coding in order to make some changes to this blog post.) So to prepare students for the future, we at Rome City and Wayne Center Elementary schools will be participating in the hour of code from December 8-12.


As the technology coach for my students and staff, I've already organized and prepared materials for you to make the hour of code a smooth and successful experience with very little preparation on your part. Please keep in mind that the name "Hour of Code" is a little deceiving. (I can hear my kindergarten teachers saying right at this moment that there is no way that their Kindergarten students can do any of these activities for an hour.) The hour of code can be spread out through the week.

Here's a way you can launch it:

1. Show this promotional video to get students to better understand what computer science/coding means:


2. Discuss with students where coding exists: the Internet, video games, computer programs, cars, phones, tablets, apps, microwaves, etc. Ask students if they would be interested in learning how to make electronic devices work. 

3. Show students a tutorial on Kodable, Lightbot, or Scratch

Kodable: Grades PreK-1 (East Noble teachers, this app is installed on your class set of iPads.)



Lightbot: Grades 2-4 (East Noble teachers, this app is installed on your iPads.)



Scratch: Grades 5-6 (East Noble Teachers should send the link to the students as the link goes to a special Hour of Code site with directions.) 



4. Give students time to try it out. If you do not have enough time to try it extensively, give them 5-10 minutes a day during the week. 

5. Take some pictures of your students participating in the Hour of Code and send them my way. I'd love to promote your classroom and computer science! 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teachley.com: Addimal Adventure and Mt. Multiplis


Teachley.com  provides two exciting resources for students to use to build up their addition and multiplication skills on the iPad. These resources provide specific strategies for solving addition and multiplication facts, and they keep track of student progress. You might as well try them because they are FREE.

Addimal Adventure is good for classrooms that have one iPad all the way to a class set.. The teacher can create an account at Teachley.com and create a class of students under him/her. Before the students use the app, the teacher will want to log into each device. From this point on, students will be prompted to select their name prior to playing the game. This will track their game progress and report which addition facts are memorized. As the students play the game, their goal is to win as many gold pieces as possible. Students earn the gold pieces by having the facts memorized.



Mt. Multiplis is not quite as flexible as Addimal adventure as far as students accounts/use go. This app works best in an environment where all students have a device as an account is not required. It saves student progress for one user at a time. If you were to have a small number of devices, there could be a rotation throughout the year on using this app. If you are in a 1:1 environment for grades 3-5, try it out. 


If you are interested in having students share their progress with you, a simple way could be having the students make a screenshot after every memorization round. Then have them send it through email or whichever learning management system you are using. (Schoology, Canvas, Edmodo, Showbie, etc.) That way you have instant feedback and do not have to bother logging into another site to see how your students are performing. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chrome Extensions



As a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient/productive due to the sheer amount of work that has to be completed. Before I became a technology coach, a vast majority of teaching ideas came from the Internet as they obviously do now that I'm a tech coach. I would venture to say that if Chrome Extensions were around then, I would have been a lot more efficient.

Chrome extensions are tools that...well..extend your abilities on the Internet. There are tons of them that you can add onto your Chrome browser so that you can quickly save items, send things to your favorite social media, or even send to a mobile device. They have been around for a few years now so the possibilities are quite expansive.

Before we get too far into the Chrome extensions, you should know that you  need to be signed into your Google account. If you are a Google Apps for Education school, you can use your school district log in information as well. (East Noble Teachers can use their school email address.) Here is not only how you sign into Chrome with your Google account, but how to can use multiple accounts in Chrome at the same time without signing in and out continuously:


I'm only going to look at four Chrome extensions in this blog post as I feel that they were greatly benefit the teachers with which I work. There might be opportunities for more in the future, so I plan on using a "chrome extension" tag in the posts so that all of them can be found conveniently here. Let's take a look at a few:

Print Friendly and PDF:



Pinterest: 



Padlet Mini:




Pocket:



Now that you've seen a little bit about Chrome extensions, think about some of the other web services you use. Search the Chrome Web Store and see if they have any extensions that might interest you. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First Grade Timelines



It has been exciting to work with the first graders at Rome City Elementary as we created digital timelines on the iPad. As part of the Indiana social studies academic standards, students are to create a timelines of events occurring in class or in their life. They also have to use terms to represent that unit of time. (For example: yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, etc.)

This process actually took several visits as we had to discuss what a timeline was and learn how to use Popplet and Shadow Puppet. I broke it down like this:

  1. What is a timeline and create one as a class. Use Popplet to type what happens throughout the week. Students had to be trained on how to create and delete, select, move, and resize "popples." 
  2. Review timeline. Download photos of our specials times from email (or whatever learning management system you are using). Insert photos into Popplet from photo library. Show students how to add colors to the frames in Popplet. Demonstrate how to use "view all" in Popplet prior to saving. Press export and save. 
  3. Review timeline. Show students how to create a Shadow Puppet by adding a photo of their timeline, inserting music, and recording their voice. When they were all finished, the students emailed their work to their teacher. 
Emailing the product in this scenario works great as it takes the teacher directly to a link where they have the option of downloading or embedding the Shadow Puppet sample. My teachers are new to using Showbie as an LMS, so my next step is to start experimenting with the benefits of sending the work to Showbie over email. 

Overall, the project went very well between the two first grade classrooms. There are certainly things I would adjust. If it were my own class, I probably would have arranged a trip around the school to gather the pictures and gather them in the order in which the events take place. This would help with the concept of timeline being in sequential order, teach picture taking and etiquette. 

Here is a sample: 





Newsela



Newsela is a free reading resource with text levels appropriate for grades three on up. (First or second grade teachers needing some challenging materials may find it helpful as well.) It provides various news articles pertaining to our world today that the teachers can assign directly to the students.

Once teachers create an account, they may want to plan out how they are going to allow students to access the content. Students could access Newsela for the sheer enjoyment of reading the articles. The students wouldn't need to take quizzes or have content tailored specifically to their needs. In this case, the teacher would need to create only one class for their students.

Teachers can also create classes to which they may assign articles. If a teacher would like to differentiate according to reading level, he/she may want to create several classes and essentially treat them as reading groups. This is a great way to meet science and social studies standards as the content is essentially the same, but at a different complexity as teachers can select a range of reading levels for each article. Many of the articles also include quizzes and the quizzes are tailored according to the reading level they are assigned. Once the teacher creates the classes, they will need to distribute the codes according to the students that should receive it.

To get students rolling in Newsela, they will need an account. Newsela was kind enough to provide directions on how students can create their accounts. This can be found in the settings of the teacher account:

Since many of the articles pertain to current events, not all articles will be completely appropriate for third grade students to read due to the content (I mentioned that they are reading level appropriate, not necessarily content appropriate.) This can be handled a couple ways depending upon the comfort level of the teacher:
  1. Train students to select school/age appropriate articles based upon the picture and title of the article.
  2. Only allow students to use Newsela with their account and read articles that you have assigned to them. 
I highly recommend you try it for yourself as it is an easy to use free resource. There is also a pro version that provides more control and data collection on student activity if you are interested that or need data.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Digital Books


Recently, I compiled a list of apps for my teachers of various iOS apps that provide free digital books that are read aloud. This is necessary because it is always a good idea to have a backup plan if the Internet is failing or other online resource is down. I also attempted to filter through the list for ones that didn't have advertisements that were too overwhelming.

My personal favorites are the Collin's Big Cat apps as the user can create their own version of the text on their iPad. Best of all: they are advertisement free.

I'm sure there are some that I am missing, but these are the ones I found:



Story Chimes:


ABC Mouse:


Collins Big Cat:


Far Faria:


Not read aloud, but leveled readers:


Friday, November 7, 2014

Math Bingo for Two


I'm not typically a big fan of apps that are just for skill and drill. However, Math Bingo for Two is free and feeds the need for our competitive junkies in our classrooms. This head-to-head math fact competition is sure to get kids fired up to answer as quickly and accurately as possible to complete the bingo. The bingo part is where the strategy comes in as they have to be conscious of the math facts, but yet plan ahead to see which sum, difference, product, or quotient they need in order to complete the bingo first.


All types of math facts are available for FREE without extra adds popping up on the screen. So many free apps have only a limited part of the app available or advertisements getting in the way. Students can also set the difficulty level by adjusting the max value. 


I highly recommend putting this app on your class set of iPads. If you are a parent and want to work more with your child, this would be a great way to have them practice their math facts at home. I'm sure you will receive less complaining...unless you beat them.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Storyboardthat.com


Storyboardthat.com is a free resource that allows the user to make their very own comic. Students can recreate scenes in a book, make advertisements, or find a humorous way to share the meaning of vocabulary words. The possibilities are endless as a storyboard allows for a fun and creative outlet for learning. 

Students can use this on any type of device as it is HTML5 compatible. I made this video using a PC, but attempted it on an iPad as well. I found the iPad version to be surprisingly smooth and easy to use. All of the features function the same except for the print button. Pressing print on the iPad takes the user to a separate page where the item can be saved as an image using a screenshot or printed if you have iPad friendly printers. 

One thing to consider before having your students use Storyboard That is the privacy policy. All works created on the free accounts are available to the public. So students need to be aware that anything they submit can be seen by the public and they do not have control of those privacy settings. Personal information needs to be kept private. This includes (both personal and of classmates): images, names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. This information should be covered with students by looking at section (e) in the Terms of Use Policy of Storyboard That. 

Another issue to consider: users under the age of 13 need to have parent permission. My school district has already obtained parent permission to use this site through an acceptable use policy that parents sign at the beginning of the school year. This eliminates a lot of the frustration of obtaining permission throughout the year for the various online resources teachers use. 

Since the students are using a free account, they are only permitted to have two storyboards at a time. I would recommend having the student click "print" to save completed works and delete when a new storyboard is needed. There is a download feature. However, this requires that students can access email from outside sources.

As a teacher, I recommend trying Storyboard That for yourself. Create a great hook to start a lesson off. This will get the attention of your students, and it is fun! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Big Universe iPad App

Big Universe has been a great resource since the beginning of East Noble School Corporation's digital conversion. It has worked especially well for our second through sixth graders as it supplies a wealth of non-fiction texts pertaining to topics that interest elementary students. This is especially handy as it is often hard for younger students to perform research online and understand the reliability of online resources. Big Universe provides that reference point to help them determine the accuracy of other online materials.

Allowing teachers to quickly assign and distribute digital content to students contributes to the success of Big Universe. Teachers use it for differentiated instruction as they can select texts based upon multiple reading leveling tools and check off which students should receive it. Training students to use the reading level resources was equally advantageous for teachers as students were able to find books that are "just right" for them.

This year, East Noble's kindergarten and first grade students have transitioned from an iPod touch to an iPad. In reality, Big Universe is very new to my kindergarten and first grade teachers as the product was found to be too difficult for primary students to navigate on a smaller device.

The iPad app provides great opportunity for students as they have a streamlined the user experience. With the app, sorting through reading levels and searching for topics is super simple. The catch with the combination of searching for topics and reading levels simultaneously is that one must start with searching for the topic. Otherwise the user loses the search filters based upon reading level.

Another great feature of the app is that it keeps the user signed into Big Universe. This may not seem that significant of a factor, but when you are dealing with primary classrooms, using an app that keeps students signed in is a time and frustration saver. To top it all of, users can even download texts for offline use. This allows students taking devices home to have access to class sets of texts without the Internet. It also is a good idea to have a few texts downloaded offline just in case the school network decides to go down in the middle of your literacy instruction.

Want to know more? I have a quick tutorial on all of these features with the Big Universe iOS app. Check it out and get your students signed on it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tech Squad and eLearning


Last week, I presented at the ICE conference on the topic of Organized Chaos. What is Organized Chaos you ask? Attempting to maintain a 1:1 technology environment with primary students.

This became very relevant this week as we will be doing a district-wide eLearning day. The students will be taking devices home with content downloaded onto them. This might not be too much of a problem with second graders on up, but for kindergarten and first grade, it requires a lot of time on the teacher's part. Many teachers resort to just accomplishing the task for themselves. However, I'm a big fan of "using your resources."

To help kindergarten get ready for eLearning, fifth grade students placed the apps needed for the day into an eLearning folder, downloaded videos to the photos, and made separate albums for the videos so that the students do not get them mixed up with photos/videos that they may have taken themselves. Even with with five helpers, it still took over an hour to download all the content to the devices and get the materials organized for two kindergarten classes.


Last year, I implemented a "tech team" that probably wasn't quite as organized as I need it to be. (My flyer from last year can be viewed here.) It was the first year that I tried it. This year, I plan on creating a tech team again. They will have one main role: help primary teachers maintain their devices. Their responsibilities will include: 
  1. Cleaning 
  2. Charging
  3. Checking and maintaining name labels
  4. Checking and maintaining organization of apps
  5. Checking and maintaining student backgrounds (We like to use designated backgrounds in our district) 
  6. Preparing devices for eLearning days
I think this year I will create a work schedule so that they give up one recess a week. This will reduce the burden. I will also plan on training the students thoroughly the first few weeks. That way all students know exactly what is expected and can accomplish the tasks as efficiently as possible. 

Have a suggestion? Comment below. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kahoot



Kahoot is a fun, interactive game that teachers can use to match any content area. Much like the sports trivia games that you find at restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings, users gain points by answering correctly and quickly. Now with a classroom set of Internet enabled devices, you can do the same with your lessons.

Teachers have the choice of either using it for a quiz with a specific answer being correct, a discussion starter, or a survey to collect data. No matter how you choose to utilize this tool, it engages the student and offers opportunities for the teacher to take advantage of some teachable moments. I've even used it for a digital citizenship discussion for a parent night my fifth and sixth grade teachers.

To get started, teachers will need to create an account at www.getkahoot.com. As teachers create Kahoot sessions, they will remain saved under their account name. Teachers also have the option to search through thousands of shared Kahoots if he/she would rather not reinvent the wheel. However, students will need to access through http://kahoot.it. Students will then punch in the "game pin" that is displayed upon the teacher launching the game session and typing their name. The teacher will need to project their game screen from their device as students will only have color coded boxes with the choices on the main screen. I would advise making the first question a practice round so that the audience has a feel for how the process works.

After the session is over, the instructor has the option of downloading the content into an excel sheet. This is convenient as it makes it easy to sort through the responses and analyze the data. This information is valuable whether the purpose is for a quiz, review, or a discussion.

Want to know more? Check out these videos on how to create a Kahoot, get students involved, and download the data after the session:






Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ICE Conference


I'm excited to be presenting tomorrow and Friday at the Indiana Connected Educators (ICE) Conference. There will be some great educators from around the state sharing their expertise in utilizing technology as a teaching/learning tool. There will also be a strong lineup of keynote speakers as we will hear from Leslie Fisher, Kevin Honeycutt, Dave Burgess, and Sylvia Martinez.


I will be providing two sessions: SAMR Tools (Thursday) and Organized Chaos (Friday). I have experience presenting at several conferences, but this will be my first for ICE. Here is a quick overview of my sessions:

SAMR Tools

SAMR stands for: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. It is tool for leveling the use of technology in your classroom to change it from enhancing to transforming the learning experience. I'll chat a bit about the SAMR model, but what I really want to do is dig into some fun and exciting tools that students can use on iOS devices. (Some of these tools are also available on Android.) I want people to bring their iPad, open up the App Store, and explore the digital playground. 

Organized Chaos

Teaching in the elementary classroom is already tough enough to organize. Throw in a class set of iPods or iPads and now things get really interesting. What do you do to help get things organized? How in the world do you keep students on the app you want them to use? This collaborative session will give teachers an opportunity to discuss how to build a positive digital culture.

I look forward to the opportunity to meet Indiana educators, hear about the exciting things happening in classrooms, and getting a few new tricks to try out with my schools.