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Showing posts from May, 2014

Remind 101 Revisited

I've actually blogged about the use of Remind101 as a great communication tool with parents in the past. Some high school teachers actually have used it as a communication tool with their students for sports practice and reminders. Keep in mind if you are going to have students participate with their cell phones, you must have written parent permission.   Yesterday, I witnessed the benefit as I attended my daughter's field trip to Merry Lea: Environmental Learning center of Goshen College . It is a great place for a hike, and great places for hikes also mean there are plants/bugs that will make you itchy.  Like all good teachers do, a letter was sent out explaining the field trip and advising that students wear long pants, shoes that will survive getting a little muddy, and lunches need to be disposable. Just like most newsletters, they get misplaced or minor details like those listed are forgotten. (Has this ever happened to you?) There were three first grade c

Shadow Puppet 2.0

If you haven't noticed, Shadow Puppet has been revamped. There are a lot of new cool features added that make the app even better than before. Some of these features include: Adding video clips Photos from web (I'd prefer students use their own photos) Music Screen drawing Animated text Uploading to other apps (Showbie, Edmodo, Canvas, Dropbox, etc.) Shadow Puppet has become a favorite of teachers as students can create very quick and simple slideshows/ presentations. Some teachers even like to use it to make their own teaching materials. (For example, sight-word lists for kindergarten.) Either way, it is a very versatile app that can be used with any content area. Here is one of my favorite examples:  The new version is most certainly an upgrade. However, students can no longer take pictures within the application. This was a very handy feature for our lower elementary students as they could only take one picture at a time. Every time a picture was take

The Digestive System: A Project with Hello Crayon, Pic Wall, and Padlet

Today was a blast with Mrs. Abbee's third grade as we used the iPads to report about the digestive system. We used multiple tools to accomplish a task (multi-apping). I often compare this to non-digital projects as it often requires more than one tool to accomplish any task. Some tools lend themselves to better results and efficiency. Being a former fourth grade teacher, I understand the importance of efficiency in the elementary classroom. The tools we used for this project are Hello Crayon , Pic Wall , and Padlet In this activity, Mrs. Abbee and myself organized the students into groups. Each group had a member to cover a stage of digestion: the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. I then emailed out a Padlet to the members of each group so that they could contribute their digital work for their group. As the students entered their Padlet, I had them create homescreen buttons so that they could easily access it again.  Next we had student

A Peek in the Classroom: Toni Doyle Using Shadow Puppet

Toni Doyle, first grade teacher at Rome City , has turned from technophobe to techno-wizard all in the course of this school year. Her previous experience with teaching and technology caused her to view students using technology as a "toy." Throughout this year, her views have changed as she has witnessed the benefits of students being trained to properly use it as a learning tool. This is now to the extent that she is considering her continuing education in the area of technology integration. It has been exciting to watch Toni grow as an educator this year. Ultimately, Toni's change in teaching is due to her ability to be "teachable." It is a constant reminder to me when I walk into Rome City Elementary that I need to be a learner every single day. Toni's first graders have used multiple tech tools this year. However, her favorite has been Shadow Puppet. She loves the quick way that students can share not only with her, but with the entire class.

Blogger of the Day

Using student bloggers is something that I recommended awhile back to help teachers keep their Blogger sites updated and parents informed. I love the ease of use and communicative potential that Blogger holds; especially for primary elementary teachers.  Michelle Yoder, first grade teacher at Avilla Elementary , decided to give it a try by calling it, "Blogger of the Day." The first day she tried what I had suggested and have a student insert a picture into an email, and write about what was happening in the picture. However, she felt that since her kids are so familiar with using creative apps such as Pic Wall , it would be easier for her first graders to create a post using those tools. This allowed her first graders to be more independent with posting.  This is still in the beginning stages, but I have a feeling that the potential will build as the class better understands the purpose and the expectation. 


Introducing Pocket from Pocket on Vimeo . Pocket happens to be one of my favorite tools to use as an educator. As I collect articles from Twitter or emails, I can typically determine if I want to keep them within a few seconds of skimming. Sometimes I don't have time to read it right at that moment. With Pocket, I can store them in a "cleaned up" fashion, and tag them so that I can essentially categorize them. This is really handy for the individual user and I encourage every educator to try out Pocket as the personal application is pretty straight forward.  As you begin using it, you may also see the need for your students to have a Pocket account. Students under the age of 13 can participate in Pocket, but must have parent permission before participating. (My teachers do not have to worry as parents sign off on a COPPA compliance document at the beginning of the year with a list of our resources we wish to use. You will be notified at the beginning of each


I've been thinking a lot about backup plans lately. I don't know how many times I've witnessed a classroom teacher send out an email to their students with content for the lesson, and it didn't send to some of the students. Sometimes it doesn't go to the entire class. What are supposed to do then? In reality, teachers should probably be using email as their backup plan in case something goes wrong with their primary line of action. Here are some other distribution resources that I have recommended trying:  Padlet , Blogger , Pocket , and originally Kidblog .  When I first started in this position as technology coach, I thought about utilizing  Edmodo . Even though Edmodo is a great product, I never felt like it was appropriate for lower elementary. Too many options that it would boggle the minds of our youngsters. Even second grade teachers were frustrated as students became overwhelmed with so many things to see.  Now I'm suggesting we try Showbie

Blogger as a Teacher Website: YouTube Video Advantage

View Previous Posts about Blogger as a Teacher Website Here Blogger makes a great fit for the elementary teacher and their website. It is an easy way for the teacher to keep parents, students, and the community informed about what kinds of learning activities are happening. Not only that, but it makes updating your teacher website exciting as it doesn't require much time at all. In my previous post about Blogger, I mentioned the ability to have students be the authors of your blog. You can then have the students email you their posts with a combination of pictures/text. You forward it on to your Blogger address, and it appears as one of your drafts. (If your students have open email, you could have them email your blog directly.) Now what to do about video? Since Blogger and YouTube are both Google products, they work extremely well together. With your YouTube account, you have a separate email address you can use to email videos directly to your Youtube account. Just hav

Can We Go to the Zoo?

It is a matter of fact that field trips are on a decline. The culprits are possibly cost, time, and even technology. With technology providing vast amounts of opportunity, field trips to the zoo can be substituted for a much cheaper (usually free) alternative. (Speaking of which, I just posted last week about Connected Classrooms by Google+. ) The first grade teachers of Rome City, Ms. Ruse and Ms. Doyle had another idea in mind. Instead of utilizing technology to substitute for the field trip, why not use it to be persuasive? The students planned out what they wanted to say, wrote out their text using Pic Collage (now we would use Pic Wall ), and used Shadow Puppet  to record their persuasive writings.  Check this one out (I apologize that the pictures did not center correctly): 

A Peek in the Classroom: Kari Ruse Utilizing Text Here and Padlet

A new series I'm going to attempt is to create videos to give a glimpse of technology integration in the elementary classroom. I'll titled it ' A Peek in the Classroom '  and the purpose is to provide the opportunity to observe how a teacher is utilizing technology in an effective manner. This allows colleagues and other teaching professionals to gather ideas and build confidence in their delivery of lessons in a 1:1 technology environment. Ms. Ruse, first grade teacher at Rome City Elementary, is utilizing Padlet and Text Here on her class set of iPod Touches. She uses Padlet for the distribution of content and project materials as students are able to view/download pictures, watch video, and reach websites linked to her collection of plant Padlets . Previous to this lesson, students chose a fruit or vegetable for their plant project. Ms. Ruse then sent the link to the Padlet via email according to the students' choice. In this lesson, students are studyi

Blogger as a Teacher Website: Students as Guest Bloggers

I've been doing a number of posts on Blogger as a teacher website. In previous posts, I talked about setting up an account, posting from an iPad, creating folders, and making your blogger as a learning resource for your students. Those can all be found by clicking here .  In this post, I'm sharing how you can utilize your students as guest bloggers. Why would you want to do this you ask? Why not? The most common complaint I hear about maintaining a teacher website is time. Why not have students do the grunt work and create posts for you. Once you have it all setup, you only have to forward an email, clean up the post, and publish. This should take quite a bit less time.  Another reason you should consider it is because it will really engage your students into what is happening in the class. What a perfect way to interest your strong students and give them a purpose for writing. After they become a blogging pro, they can train other students so that you don't have