Showing posts from October, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Get Epic! - Free English AND Spanish eBooks for Kids

We first shared Epic! with you last spring in this blog post from Bridget Visser, Literacy Intervention Specialist at OC Taylor Elementary.  Epic! is an awesome app that offers thousands of ebooks for K-5 students and is 100% free for teachers.  

There are so many ways Epic! can help the classroom teacher out! 
It is an app you can put on the child’s iPad or use the website.It provides one more way to help children fall in love with reading! It provides a way for children to log their reading documentation. The choices of literature are AMAZING!  Many genres at all levels.It allows differentiation in the classroom because you can choose what age group you are interested in reading. It has books read to you for the emergent readers.It has chapter books of all genres for the higher readers.It has books for all academic subjects!  Easy way to do nonfiction mini lessons in small group reading that seem exciting to the kids!They've also just added a large…

Just Books Read Aloud

Just Books Read Aloud is a site where over 700 videos of children's books being read aloud have been collected for students to peruse. 
The website says: Children can't navigate away to follow other YouTube leads.There are only children's books on the site.While reading the videos generally only show the books versus seeing the reader, which I think distracts from the book.Animation on the site is limited to nice editing jobs that zoom to parts of the page.The books are frequently reordered to encourage listening to new books.This is a great option for younger students to choose books in a safe way, with a lot of variety. There is even an option for books to be read in other languages. This will work in Safari on our student iPads. Give it a try and tell us how you like it! - Super Easy Student Blogging App

Since KidBlog switched to an all paid model in August, we've been on the lookout for a new, EASY way for students to blog.  Last week we learned about Easyblog from Abigail Embry, 4th grade teacher at Dove Elementary.  Right now, if you sign up for an account you get 100gb of space for free!  There is a bit of a process to get everything setup on each iPad but it's the easiest blogging app I've seen for kids.  Parents can visit their child's blog online and can subscribe so that they get an email each time their child posts.

Here are step by step instructions to get everything set up: The site also has a great collection of tutorial videos

Once everything is setup, students have 4 choices when they're in the app ("The Easyblog App"

When they choose the Type button, they have a piece of paper for their writing and can also post a photo and/or video.

Once they tap …

It's Digital Citizenship Week!

Digital Citizenship Week is the week of October 19-23. While GCISD teachers incorporate digital citizenship on a daily basis when using technology with students, this is the week we put a spotlight on it! The instructional technology team has created a web site of curated resources for campuses to use and provided the information to your campus learning liaison and librarian. Elementary schools will use the daily announcements and a customized campus plan created during 1:1 planning. Middle and high schools will use the daily announcements, the "Strong Passwords & Security Questions" lesson, and one additional lesson of choice based on grade level and campus needs.

Common Sense Media continues to be our primary source for digital citizenship curriculum. Common Sense Media's web site also contains information for parents to use at home in both English and Spanish.

What is your class doing to celebrate Digital Citizenship Week? Tweet about it using #gcisdchat

Throwback Thursday - Google Forms + Flubaroo!

I first blogged about Google Forms in this post from way back in 2012.  Now that everyone in GCISD has a Google account, it's even easier to get started!  Here's a step by step tutorial if you're new to Google Forms:

Google Forms are a great way to get information from your students or parents.  Many teachers use a short Google Form for a quick formative assessment during a lesson.  I have pinned tons of ideas for using Google Forms in the classroom on this Pinterest board:

Here are some examples from GCISD teachers.  

Decimals Task Cards - from Kimberly Steele, 4th grade teacher at OC Taylor Elementary.  The students worked sample problems on their task cards and submitted the answers to her via this form (  Then she used Flubaroo to give her immediate feedback about their progress.Map Skills - from Caroline Presley, 3rd grade teacher at Heritage Elementary.  Caro…

Throwback Thursday - LucidChart in Google

Last summer, Vicki shared with us a bit about LucidChart, a mind-mapping tool in Google. You can access LucidChart by going to the link above and signing in with your Google account, or by going to Google Drive, clicking New>More>Connect More Apps and searching for LucidChart. 

Once you have LucidChart open, you can create a new document and start dragging and dropping elements onto your chart. You connect boxes by dragging your mouse in a line from box to box. You can download a finished chart to PDF or an image, or you can insert them straight into your Google Slides or Docs. 
A new feature LucidChart added is to make a presentation within your chart. This could be a new interesting way for your students to present or show work. See the video below for the steps:

Instructional Technology News - InTech 4.0

4 Points to Keep You Up to Date on All Things Digital
A Somewhat Periodic Blog Post from Instructional Technology
1. YouTube Videos: When you upload teacher-created or student-created videos to YouTube, be sure to choose the Category - EDUCATION. We want to make sure your instructional videos are accessible to you when needed as technology services works on ensuring the digital safety of our students on an ongoing basis.
2. Digital Citizenship Week: Mark your calendars for Digital Citizenship Week from October 19-23. While digital citizenship is embedded in our work with students any time we are using technology in the classroom, this week will provide additional focus on the subject. 
3. Hour of Code: GCISD will participate in's Hour of Code for the 3rd year! Mark your calendars for December 7-11 and choose 1 hour to teach coding. If you want to register early, use this link -

4. Google Drive Organization Tip: The more we use Google Drive, the mor…

Throwback Thursday: ViewPure - Remove the YouTube Distractions!

We first shared ViewPure in this guest post from Patrick Lollis, music teacher at Cannon Elementary in October of 2013. 

ViewPure is a great resource for taking away all the comments, ads and other distractions from YouTube video pages.  The easiest way to use ViewPure is by using their bookmarklet.  From the main page, simply drag the big orange "Purify" button to your Bookmarks Bar (you may have to go to View and choose Always Show Bookmarks Bar if you don't see it.)

(If the animated gif above does not play in your email, click HERE to view)
Once the Purify button is on your toolbar, just go to the YouTube video you want to show, click Purify and the bookmarklet will automatically take you to a simple page with just the YouTube video.  

It actually creates a new URL for the video so you can share that with your students in Google Classroom, Blendspace, via QR code, etc. so that they can watch without the typical distractions!