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Showing posts from 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.

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

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

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

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. (

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 ki Addimal Adventure and Mt. Multiplis   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 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 a

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

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: 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."  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


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 conten

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: Toy Story Story Chimes: Three Little Pigs Sleeping Beauty The Ugly Duckling Jack and the Beanstalk Princess and the Pea Thumbelina Cinderella Twas the Night Before Jasper's First Christmas Hansel and Gretel The Frog Prince Goldybear The Emperer's New Clothes Rumpelstiltskin The Red Shoes Jasper in the Garbage Can Snow Whit

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 fact  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

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. Thi

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


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 . 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 rath

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 o