Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Slides Carnival

SlidesCarnival is a pretty simple concept, but something I wanted to make sure you knew about. It's a website full of free Google Slides templates (or PowerPoint) for you to use for your presentations! If you're tired of what those platforms offer in terms of themes, this is a great way to find a few other professional looking choices. Once you're on the site, scroll to the bottom and click "View all."


You'll see several pages of templates to choose from. After clicking one, you have the following option: 

If you choose Google Slides theme, it'll open in a View Only copy. Click File>Make a copy to put a copy in your own Google Drive. You can then input your content in the templates it provides you and Poof! New themes for your presentations. This would be great for your classroom presentations or for students to have a few new options as well. I like that it sets things up in a very professional and clear manner, so that I don't even need to be good at Graphic Design for it to look fancy! Hope you enjoy.

Friday, February 17, 2017

3D Printing Where to begin.

Most campuses have a 3D printer, either in the Learning Commons area (Library), or in a Technology Education
classroom. 3D printing is exciting and students want to design and print, quickly.  We need to help them realize that not all "creations" need, nor can, be printed.  Glenhope Elementary has come up with a great process for students who would like to print a 3D object/creation.  Students must submit a persuasive letter explaining why they would like to use the 3D printer.   More information can be found at: http://gatorzread.weebly .com/3d-printing-ideas.html
Thank you Terri Freyou, Glenhope Elementary Librarian, for letting me share with everyone!!

Safety precautions/instructions for printing. 
Depending on the type of 3D printer you have, you may want to have a sign/poster indicating safety precautions and/or instructions for printing. A few examples may be:
1. Never print without teacher/librarian permission
2. Make sure that object/creation fits within the constraints of the machine.
3. Do not touch print nozzle, etc.
1. Link to the website if you have instructions students must follow to have permission to print. (as mentioned above, Glenhope Elementary.)
2. Indicate the object/creation size restrictions for your 3D printer.
3. Who/where to send completed TinkerCad file.
4. Timeframe for object to be completed/printed.

What software should my students use? 
TinkerCad.com is probably the most popular for younger students.  (Students under the age of 13 can use TinkerCad, but they must use a code from the teacher to do so.  The code will allow the teacher to view all their creations and students do not have to enter an email address to sign up. Click here for more information.)
AutoDesk 123D is another free 3D creation site that may be more suited for older students.

Lesson Ideas for beginners.
SeeMeCNC launched a 3D printing curriculum (this article is from 2014) which does have slide presentations, videos, and lesson plans to help introduce 3D printing.  One example is a Print Reading Exercise.  Students are also asked questions about the specifications of the object.  After completion, they can then create the object in TinkerCad.  (Maybe the top design can be printed.)This is just an example.  Their curriculum is geared towards a specific 3D printer so some of the information may not apply.  But it does help generate ideas for lessons.  Let students have an opportunity to just play with TinkerCad.  You will be amazed at their creations!

Created using TinkerCad!
Other sites to visit:


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Jumble by Kahoot

Kahoot has been around for a while and is an engaging tool for formative assessments in the classroom. Kahoot recently added a new feature called Jumble. Rather than selecting the correct answer, participants must sequence answers in a correct order! This requires higher level thinking skills for students to sequence events, numbers, words, and more.

When playing a Kahoot Jumble, participants are given a question with four choices.  Here are some sample questions I created:

(Play Equation Builder to see more math examples. Many of these examples require a deep understanding of the concepts in order to solve!)

Once the question is displayed, participants must place answer tiles in the correct order by dragging the answer choice onto a grid.

Want to see what a Jumble is all about? Play a sample game here.

Are you ready to create your own Jumble? Learn more here.

You can search for Jumbles created by others by searching your topic and narrowing your results to Jumble.

This blog post 4 Ways Kahoot!’s Jumble Game will Benefit your Class details one teacher's experience with Jumble.

Have fun creating great questions to challenge your students' thinking!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

PhotoScan by Google

Last week, Kerissa Bearce wrote a post on Google Photos. You can read the initial post here

 Google recently released a new app to make the Google Photo experience even better.  The app is PhotoScan by Google and it allows you to move your print images to the digital world!  Using the app, you simply snap a picture of your picture, rotate your phone following the onscreen prompts and your photos are automatically cropped, rotated, and color corrected.  Photos can be saved to your camera roll or sync to your Google Photo account (and if you aren't using Google Photos, then you may be missing out a photo storage solution that changes the way you interact with your photo memories).  PhotoScan is both an Android and iOS app.  You can read more about this app here.

If you would like a quick tutorial video, I've created a quick screencast to show you how to use this scanning tool .

This app would be a great way to capture high-quality scans of students work to add to their Google Drive to include in their e-portfolio.

Happy scanning!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Draw & Tell HD

Draw and Tell HD is a powerful app for students PreK-4th grade. This app promotes creativity while providing a platform for students to share and document their learning.

Students can draw and tell using stickers, text, and drawings to express their thoughts on a variety of backgrounds or an image from the camera roll. The product saves in Draw & Tell, but can save to the camera roll and Google Drive as well.
Students can choose stickers,
patterns, paint, pencil or crayon.
Students select a background

Ideas for using Draw and Tell HD in the classroom:

*Students will take a picture of their work (paper or digital) and record a verbal reflection to save on Google Drive for student ePortfolios.

*Students will color a picture to use as a story starter for writing.
Students can draw and tell about community helpers.
*Students will take a picture of a special event or project, then record a verbal reflection.

*Students will record ideas from a thinking map when planning a story. Students can listen to the verbal reflection to support the writing process and promote language acquisition.

*Students will design a picture using stickers to create a story problem in math.

*Students will draw a picture to show learning of a specific topic or skill.
Students can app smash using Number Pieces,
combine images using PicCollageKids,
then upload to Draw and Tell HD to explain.
*Students will take a picture of text and record the read aloud to practice and document fluency.

How do your students use Draw and Tell HD to amplify their learning?

**Check out other apps from Duck Duck Moose for learning tools in your classroom.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Google Photos

Ever have that feeling that you know you should be backing up your photos and videos from your phone but there are too many options and ways to do it? Or then your photos will be all over the place in different locations and hard to search and find? And wouldn't you rather have all your photos right next to your heart in your handy dandy phone? This is what I do. But then I see a friend lose a phone or shatter it and lose all those precious memories. Oh, the horror!

Introducing Google Photos (unless you already use it, then welcome back). Google Photos is an app for your phone or tablet device that will back up your camera roll photos and videos to the cloud (Google Drive in this case). It's completely free and the only limit is your storage on Drive. In our educator accounts, we have so much storage, you'll often hear us say it's unlimited. It's not, but it's so big, you couldn't possibly fill it up. On your personal Gmail accounts, you may have a limit of somewhere from 10GB-20GB.

Install the Google Photos App. Once you log in, there are options to back up & sync your photos. Just imagine using this in any elementary classroom. If students installed and synced Google Photos on their iPad, any photo or video they have in their camera roll would automagically go to their Google Drive. 

In the image on the above right, you can see in Google Drive where the Google Photos button resides. It is similarly placed on the iPad Google Drive app.

In addition to that great use for students, Google Photos also has a great search function. You can type 'dog at the beach' if you know you have photos somewhere of your dog at the beach and it should pop up. It can also easily create animations, collages and movies using Google Assistant in the app.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Let's Recap Updates

In October, I wrote about Let's Recap that is a web-based application or as an iPad app for students. You can read the full blog post here.  Here are some of the ways Let's Recap is being used in the district:
  • Counting by 5s to 100
  • reading a passage for two minutes for teachers to assess fluency
  • Foreign language teachers having students respond to prompts to practice speaking fluency
  • Book reviews by genre
  • Exit ticket where students explain a process
  • and so many more ways!

Let's Recap is in its first year and in still in beta form. Since beginning in February 2016, there are now over 500,000 users! As expected of a beta program, Let's Recap is listening to suggestions and making changes!  They just released an update with exciting changes.

After students respond to a Recap prompt, a video reel is created. Previously, teachers were unable to edit the video created. Not anymore!  There is now an edit option on the daily reel.

Once edit is selected, you can select which students' videos should appear in your reel. You can also turn off the music and graphics that Let's Recap adds to the video reel. 

This new customization allows teachers flexibility in deciding the number of video responses included in the reel as well as selecting the responses that best represent a topic or use of the summary reel. 

The other new update is the addition of a specific due date. Prior to the update, teachers could select a closing date of 24 hours, two weeks, etc.  Now, a specific due date and time can be selected for each Recap assignment.   

Want to see how others are using Let's Recap? Check out these blog posts!

Project Based Learning: Essential questions and Many Uses of Recap by Rachelle Dene Poth (although this article is written through the lens of using it for responding to Essential Questions, the same concept would apply to using Let's Recap for student voice!  Imagine actually hearing their voice through video reflections rather than a survey.)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Windows MovieMaker12

Windows Movie Maker (for students who use a Dell computer, grades 6 - 8) is a great tool for students to easily edit their movies.  There are many video editing extensions and apps available, but many times they only allow 2 to 3 minutes of video or they end up costing after a certain amount of videos have been created.
Students can download Movie Maker from LANDESK.

Select the window icon in the bottom left of your computer. Click LANDESK Management > LANDESK Workspaces. (as shown in image below)

If Launchpad appears, click the 3 lines in the upper left.
You should now see Self Service > Select Software Catalog.
Search or scroll for Movie Maker > Click Install. MovieMaker should begin installing to your computer.
Once installed, search or select All Apps to find Movie Maker.  

Using Movie Maker
The one drawback to MovieMaker is that you must Save your Project!  Students will need to Click File > Save Project.  

The menu bar allows for quick editing of video.
Add videos, photos and music from Home menu bar.
Add transitions using the Animations menu.
Change the look of your video using Visual Effects.
Emphasize narration, video or music in video using Project Menu.
Play video Full screen; view Waveforms (audio) using View Menu.
Trim Video and adjust the speed of clips using the Edit Menu. 
Videos can be saved to students computer (from Home Menu) and then uploaded to Google Drive.  (YouTube requires a Microsoft account.  Students will need to save to their computer, then upload to YouTube or Google Drive.)  I would choose "Recommended for this project".

Friday, December 2, 2016

Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions provides opportunities to explore the world from the comfort of your classroom. Teachers send students on virtual journeys to locations, transforming the classroom to a global learning environment and breaking down the four walls of the classroom.

Before getting started, teachers can search locations provided by Google Expeditions and find experiences that will amplify learning based on skills covered in class. As the journey begins, teachers facilitate the tour from the leader device as the students follow the leader. Google Expeditions provides information as well as questions to encourage engagement and deeper learning.

Students are no longer confined to the classroom and using Virtual Reality, can experience many things:
  • Visit a college or university
  • Explore a volcano
  • Dive deep in the ocean to observe plant and animal life
  • View locations that replicate living from long ago
  • Travel to Mars
  • Fly through space

Students now have the ability to explore locations and broaden their schema thanks to Google Expeditions.

Google Expeditions can run on iPads or devices without VR Goggles.


*The facilitator is the Tour Guide. Explorers need to pause their comments and listen to the Tour Guide.

*When the screen says ‘PAUSE’ explorers will lay the Cardboard Googles on the table, hands off, and rest their eyes. Listen to the Tour Guide for information preparing for the next location.

*Explorers should stay seated in their seat. Walking around with their sight diverted can be dangerous. Please encourage students to stay seated or exercise caution when moving.

Additionally, teachers can provide opportunities for exploring and experiencing learning using Google Cardboard. Some examples may include:
  • Students ride a roller coaster and describe how it ‘feels’; connect to motion and movement in Science
  • Students explore underwater and describe what they see using adjectives
  • Students view villages from long ago to discover tools, transportation, clothing, building structures, and more; students write to compare the differences from long ago and today
  • Students can write a story based on the observations or experiences while viewing a specific location
*Please exercise caution when using Google Cardboard and Virtual Reality apps with students. Always monitor use to promote positive digital experiences.

Virtual Reality can amplify learning and promote imagination by transforming your learning environment.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hour of Code is Coming - December 5-10

GCISD K-8th grade teachers are invited to participate in Hour of Code during the week of December 5-10, 2016.

Check out this video to learn more about Hour of Code. 

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