Nov 21 2013

Blogging Outside The Box

I love this idea.  When you think of blogging, you think of a student sitting in front of the keyboard pecking away at the keys, trying not to lose their train of thought.  Well, this link will guide you to rethink blogging.  If you want your student to express a thought, or verbalize their process of creation, let them do it in the way they are most comfortable.  Some students will choose to express themselves through the written word, but others will want to talk it out.  Let them!  Let your students blog through a short video.  Let them blog through words and symbols or images.  Let them use color, or sounds… let them express themselves in their way.  You might be amazed at what you see and what you hear.  The students who usually write the bare minimum might just be the ones who have complex thoughts that need to be voiced in a different medium.  This link will lead you to tools that will make this possible.  Give it a try.  You may end up giving a voice to an otherwise quiet student.  And what a powerful thing that can be!


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Nov 05 2013

Use Power Point Wisely

With the influx of technology in our classrooms,  many teachers have tried to embrace it.  That is a great thing!  Unfortunately, as with any tool, if used improperly, it will hurt your lessons, not help them.  Power Point used on a large screen during lectures is now common place in many schools.  But what many teaches fail to do is learn how to use Power Point well.  The result is slide after slide of notes.  Students are left to copy these notes at a frantic speed with no time left to think about and question the material being presented.  This is not a lesson, this is torture.  It is torture for even the fastest writer in your class.  And for those students who are not able to keep up, it is torture, with the added level of failure when the tests are based on the notes.

Here is a quick article written by Grant Wiggins, if you don’t know him already, start reading his blog.  He is an expert among experts in the world of teaching.


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Nov 03 2013

Easy Ways to Make Important Announcements

So, let’s say you want to announce a big event in your classroom and sending home a flier just doesn’t cut it anymore.  This article will lead you to various resources to create a quick and easy web page that you can forward on through a link to the families of your students.  If you can cut and paste, use a text box and insert images, you can create one of these  web pages.  I encourage you to check out the above link and play around with at least one of the resources.  It may end up being one of those digital tools in your back pocket to use in the future!

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Sep 13 2013

Options to YouTube For Your Classroom

How often do I find myself chatting with teachers only to hear the same complaint, our school doesn’t allow access to YouTube.  It is so frustrating for everyone.  We find perfect short videos to supplement a lesson, but we can’t use them.  Or we want to create lessons to begin a flipped lesson approach and we can’t figure out how best to share the videos.  There are options out there.  This blogger has an annotated list of video sharing sites aimed at educators for you to explore.  Take ten minutes, check them out.  One of them could make a big difference in your classroom.

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Sep 11 2013

Earning Badges Isn’t Just for the Scouts Anymore

I just started an online course that introduces and explores the concept of digital badges.  The idea is like the scouts, you earn a digital badge by mastering a skill.  Instead of a sash across your chest to advertise your accomplishments, you can display your badges on your profile.  So, ideally, future teachers or employers can get a better picture of who you are and what you have accomplished.  Think about this, you attend a teacher’s workshop and learn a new way of teaching writing in the classroom.  You are able to go back to your faculty and teach your colleagues this new skill.  As a result, your school makes changes to their approach to writing.  That’s a big deal.  But how do you sum that up on a resume?  You can mention it along with a variety of other accomplishments.  But let’s face it, when school administrators look at resumes, that information just blends in with the rest.  The digital badge system can allow you to brag about yourself in a professional manner.  You deserve to have this accomplishment focused on.  It can separate your resume from the stack.

If used in a school setting, students can earn digital badges for particular skills mastered. Therefore, a B+ in algebra can include all of the specific algebraic skills mastered represented in badges.  What a huge help for the next teacher and for the students’ parents and tutor and for the student herself.

I encourage you to read this article and begin to explore the digital badge system.  Talk about it at your school.  It is an exciting concept that can help each of us get the credit we deserve.


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Jul 26 2013

Endless list of Digital Tools for the Classroom

I don’t have a ton of time this morning but I am taking a break from my coursework to share this great resource I came across.  This is an interactive poster that when you click on a section will take you to a list of websites with tools for your students.  You will  find anything from digital graphic organizers for writing, to research tools and text to speech options.  Check it out!!!


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Jun 26 2013

How to teach copyright and fair use laws to our students

I am in the middle of learning about copyright and fair use for online media.  And through my master’s discussion board came across this video produced by Eric Faden.  It is creative and simple at the same time.  I would suggest having your students view this more than once.  At first the information can be hard to follow because the story is made by meshing tiny Disney movie clips together. But after the initial viewing, students can take notes on the information and learn the laws.

I like the fresh approach to teaching complicated and quite frankly boring subject.  I think students will remember the content in the end.


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Apr 16 2013

Digital Citizenship

Teaching children to be good citizens is just as important as teaching academics.  Children need to be guided to speak about others with respect  even when they are angry or frustrated, jealous or confused.  Now that most children have access to the Internet, we have to broaden our guidance to their behavior online.  From how they respond to others, to what pictures and videos they post, websites they visit and games they play.  I am in the middle of a long process of reviewing videos that define aspects of digital citizenship and provide engaging examples for students to learn the necessary warnings.  Here are some links I like so far.  Check back for more soon.

Teaching Digital

Stay Safe on YouTube: (2.5 min) Google Family Safety

 Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks: Google Family Safety

 Digital Footprint explanation (2min)

Do You Know Who You Are Talking To? (25sec)

 Sexting Warning: (30sec) for older students:

 Sexting definition: (1:14) For older students:

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Feb 11 2013

Teachers Helping Teachers

Pinterest is a great resource for ideas in the classroom.  But on my last walk through, I found many of the authors are now charging fees to download their material.  Although I support any avenue for a teacher to get paid for her hard work and personal creations, it is nice to have alternatives, and sharing is the way to go. On this site,, you will find endless ideas for bulletin boards and activities that teachers post just to share – for free!  So borrow, steal, use, and share your own unique ideas. So many great, yet simple and cheap ideas to use in your classroom right now!

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Feb 06 2013

I love this free site! Voice Thread

So, I was wandering around on the Internet this morning and came across this really cool site, Voice Thread.  To sum it up quickly, it is a place to post pictures and have others visit and comment.  While they record their comments, they can interact with the image by circling or pointing.  The end result is a collection of everyone’s comments, whether in recorded voice or text.  The following link will take you to an easy to understand tutorial on how to use this freeware.  I encourage you to click on it and just see what you think.  And as you watch it, just imagine the possibilities in the classroom!

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