Showing posts from September, 2013

App Category: Photo Projects

Photo Project apps are used for creating collages (with labels or information) and annotating pictures. The products of these apps are perfect for "layering" into other apps to create a more complex final product. For example: students might make a PicCollage and use that as a background graphic for a Thinglink project or insert multiple Visual Poet images into the 30Hands app to record narration and create a video.
Some examples in the classroom might be:
Math - Create a collage of shapes, patterns, or geometric terms with short captions to explain. Create a visual dictionary of math vocabulary.Science - Create a collage of images with short captions from an experiment. Create a visual dictionary of science vocabulary.SS - Create a collage with short captions for events in history or about a famous person.ELA - Create visual poetry. Create collages to describe the setting, characters, events, etc. in a story.Other - Create collages to be used as illustrations for projects …

Into the Book - Reading Strategies for Elementary Students

Into the Book

Into the Book is a great free website for elementary students to learn and practice reading strategies. It can be used for whole class, group or individual instruction using a computer (it's Flash based so it won't work on the iPads Update:  The website updated to HTML in Dec. 2013 so it now works on iPads!).  You'll find interactive lessons and videos for 8 different strategies (see below) as well as lots of teacher resources in the "Teacher Area".
Strategies for Learning: Prior Knowledge Making Connections Questioning Visualizing Inferring Summarizing Evaluating Synthesizing Using Strategies Together

App Category: Screen Recording

Screen Recording apps are used for creating “Show what you know” videos. The apps are basically a blank white board that records drawing along with audio narration.  Usually images can be inserted into the videos and annotated.  They are great for student or teacher created tutorials.  

Some examples in the classroom might be: Math- Students solve a math problem and explain their thinking. Science- Illustrate and explain various cycles: Water Cycle, Moon Phases, Life Cycle.  Label and explain photos such as parts of plants, parts of cells, parts of an ecosystem Explain the steps in an experiment. SS- Place a map on the background and students draw/explain westward expansion across the United States. ELA- Retell a story. Storyboard a piece of writing. Create and explain a thinking map about a book character. Illustrate and recite poetry. Other- Teachers create instructional videos for students and link or embed on their webpages.

My Favorite Screen Recording App Doceri - http://gcisdtraining.w…

Thinglink - Create Interactive Images


Thinglink is a web 2.0 tool and an iPad app for creating interactive images.  Educators can create a free upgraded account (using the link above) for unlimited uploads so it's easy to create a single class account that all your students use.  

First upload your background image.  These images can be from the camera, the internet (be sure they're copyright friendly!) or students can create their own background image using PicCollage, Popplet Lite, Comic Touch Lite, Haiku Deck or any other app that saves the final product to the Camera Roll. 

Next add your pins.  Pins can link to URLs or simply to text. Using the iPad app, pins can link to student created videos.  These videos can easily be created in apps like 30Hands, iMovie, the camera, Doceri, Tellagami or any other app that saves a movie to the camera roll.

The final product can be linked via URL or embedded onto a blog or webpage.

Here's my Thinglink with informati…

Mail Filter Issues

We've had a problem with week with our GCISD mail filter sending our Blog Update emails to the Junk Email folder.  We think we've figured out a work around so hopefully you'll be receiving your updates directly to your Inbox as usual.

Be sure to check out the posts you might have missed by checking your Junk Email folder (it's a good idea to check this regularly anyway!) or by clicking the links below:

3 Easy Ways to "Go Global" in Your Classroom:

STAAR Standards Resources: 

Dictionary of Numbers

Math teachers, check out Dictionary of Numbers, a Google Chrome extension that puts numbers in real world "human" terms.

If you are a Google Chrome user, go to:
Click the DOWNLOAD NOW button.
Click the FREE button.
Click the ADD button.
The Dictionary of Numbers icon will appear in the top right corner of your Google Chrome window.

Click the Dictionary of Numbers button. Enter a number and the search results will appear.

STAAR Standards Resources

There are two free apps by Mentoring Minds that make it easy to access the standards for your subject area(s). For each standard, you can mark it as completed or enter notes and activity ideas, accessible only to you. Each standard is also noted as readiness or supporting.

There are also some free resources on the Lead4ward web site:

Scroll down to the Released Test & Snapshot Table. In the STAAR Snapshots and TEKS Snapshots columns, there is a PDF for each grade level and subject area that clearly outlines the readiness and supporting standards. For example, here is the 6th grade science snapshot -

3 Easy Ways to "Go Global"

Communicating and collaborating both locally and globally using digital tools are two important 21st century skills as well as a part of the Technology Applications TEKS for ALL GCISD students.  

Here are 3 super easy ways that you can "Go Global" in your classroom:

100 Word Challenge
Each week students are given a prompt (sometimes a picture and sometimes a phrase). Students around the world under the age of 16 write 150 word stories based on the prompt and post to a class blog. Students can then read the blogs and comment on the stories written by other students (both older and younger). It's a great way for students to get blog comments from outside their classroom and also a great way to encourage high level writing from your students.
Global Read Aloud  The Fall Global Read Aloud runs from September 30th to November 8th. There are four different books to read depending on your grade level: An Eric Carle Author Study for gra…

App Category: Mind Mapping

Mind mapping apps are used for brainstorming and organizing ideas. They are great for creating Thinking Maps, flow maps and graphic organizers.  Some examples in the classroom might be:
Math - Diagram the steps in problem solving. Science - Brainstorm predictions prior to an experiment or use during the experiment to note observations. SS - Organize information about people, places and events in history. ELA - Use this tool with the planning phase of the writing process. Other - In any classroom, use to capture your ideas while you brainstorm and sort them visually in real time.

My Favorite Mind Mapping App:   Popplet Lite - Popplet Lite is my favorite due to the ability to add images (from the camera roll or internet) and drawings.  Even though you can only create one in the free version, it is an unlimited canvas so students can move to a “clean” portion of the canvas to create their product without deleting other work.

Other Options: Idea Sketc…

So Many Apps? How Do I Choose?

Creation apps can be divided into categories with many options in each one.  How do you choose the best tool for the task?  Many factors go into deciding which app is your personal favorite in each category.  Some things I think about when I learn about a new app are: Do I already have/know an app that addresses this same need? If yes, are there features I wish it had that it doesn’t?  Maybe the new one has additional features to improve the final product.  If not, stick with the one you already know and love! Does it require a login?  Any app that does NOT require a login will be easier to deal with.  There won’t be worries about terms of use and student privacy for our students under the age of 13. How can the work be shared OFF the iPad?  Any app that allows the final product to be saved to the camera roll via a picture or video is going to go to the top of my list.  Camera roll pictures can easily be used in other apps (like iMovie) to create cumulative products from many different a…