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Monday, July 29, 2013

Give Students the Freedom To Be Creative

Do you wonder how to revitalize your class?  

Do your students seem disengaged and lack creativity?

We need to change.

After reading DRIVE by Daniel Pink, I am more convinced than ever, that we need to break down the time restraints we have in our public schools. Students (all ages) need time to wonder, explore, play, create, and share.

Creativity is like a muscle--it needs exercise to build and strengthen.  If you have not read DRIVE, read it this summer.

Take a look at this video about Creativity.

Get inspired by Kelvin who learns by making!

What other books do you recommend?  
Are you exploring Maker Spaces or Genius Hour?
Any twitter chats you are participating in on these topics?

Share in the comment section any resources or thoughts you have regarding fostering creative classrooms.

Monday, July 22, 2013



I am a recent twitter convert.  I signed up for an account probably a year or more ago and really did not use it.  A couple of weeks ago, I attended my first ever edcamp #edcamprsd6 and requested a session on the effective use of twitter for educators.  I am a believer in its power for growing your PLN.

Today, I received a tweet that had a link to this video.  Well worth watching and learning from this Ignite speech by Jeremy McDonald.

What  is your"do the unexpected" story? 
Share it in the comment section.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Free Apps Today

This is the list I sent to our preschool -2 grade teachers today.

Alternative to imovie

Phonics Studio -- Speech therapists rated this one high

Jessica and Dr. Math-  limited reviews so you can judge it for yourself.

Bugsy's Math Quest

Octopus Planet, 1,2,3 :  looks interesting

Instant Photo Collage Maker

Publish Me:  Worth trying out


Puzzle ABC- very good reviews

Color Carnival

Montessori Blocks

Shiny Party- Excellent reviews

Gem from ISTE

I attended my first ISTE conference a few weeks ago.  It is a bit overwhelming the first time. So many attendees, and I was traveling alone so I had to navigate on my own.  The gem I discovered was TCEA.  The Texas Computer Educators Association.  Incredible resource.

The following ebook is written by one of their members.  He is addressing what I spoke about in a previous post--about choosing apps that can be mashed into other apps.

Message from Miguel Guhlin

" For fun, I decided to create a short free ebook (e.g. ePub, iBook) that summarizes some of the main points of app smashing workshop and blends in an example of digital poetry as I once taught it.
Get a copy of The Definitive App Smasher's Guide...
  • ePub version (best viewed on an iPad in iBooks since it includes audio/video)
  • PDF version (ok, this one has the pictures but not the audio/video, so...)
Have fun and drop a note in the comments!!"

NOTE:  If you do download Miguel's book, do drop him a note.  We are so blessed to be in a profession in which people share their knowledge so generously.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Discovery Education's Summer Institute

Last summer I attended the Discovery Education Summer Institute.  This year, I am following it online.

Here are some the best resources shared at DENSI 2013.

Visit the DENSI 2013 site, to view archives of the live streaming for the keynote workshops.

Digital Authentic Assessments compiled by Katie Searcy

Mashups with Traci (one of DEN's best)

Quick and Easy QR Code Generator

Paper Slide Videos- all ages can create them

Examples of Student Paper Slide Videos

Open Source Clip Art

Your Students Can Create Infographics

Math/Tech Educator shares her tips

DE CCSS Tool page

Twitter for beginners

Oustanding Free Images

Free Animoto Teacher Acct

 Successful CCSS Implementation

 Appoholic  App List

Face Talker app--better than blabberize

CCSS Math Tools


CCSS Leadership resources

CCSS Resources

Karen Beerer's DENSI lecture

Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 8.10.45 PMNot just for consuming information.

The greatest power of the iPad, I believe, is the ability to create.  So, I am always on the lookout for apps that allow students to create.  I want to make sure the app has multiple ways to share your creation.  I esp. like apps that allow you to create something and import it into your camera roll or provides you with a link.

Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 8.08.42 PMFor instance, one of the best book creation apps is called: BookCreator.    It costs $4.99 but is worth every cent. While creating an ebook using this app, you can embed video and images from your camera roll, you can hyperlink text and images to url's. You can narrate your pages.  When sharing these ebooks, you can email them and open them in ibooks on any iPad or iPhone.  If you need to share them with non-ipad or non-iPhone users, then you can send them a pdf- of course, you lose the audio.

Use any of these apps to create images or movie clips to add to your ebook when using bookcreator.

Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 8.05.58 PMPicCollage- free 

Voice Photo - free    Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 8.04.02 PM

What is one of your favorite creation apps and how do you mash apps together to create awesome products?

School's Out for the Summer!!!

Well, so they think.  This is the time of year, when the teachers study.  This year I am offering the teachers in my school an opportunity to participate in PD through Edmodo.  This way they will learn how to use this great platform and learn a bunch of new tech tools at the same time.

One of the sites that I will encourage teachers to utilize as part of their PLN is edtechteacher.org.

A wealth of information can be obtained through this website and the best part is if you miss any of their live webinars, you can view the archives and not miss out on gaining new skills.

Visit this page for the listing of archived webinars.

What is one of your favorite PD connections?  
How do you grow your PLN?


Teaching in a k-2 school, there are times when the volume in my library gets a little noisy. A FREE app may solve this issue!

This app may be just what I need on those occasions.  I found this treasure on the Blog written by occupational therapist, Beth Lloyd from the Hosmer School.

Check out:  TooLoud! app - hook up to smart board for visual for students so they can manage  their noise levels themselves.

The TooLoud! app is ideal for the teacher who needs to limit noise in the classroom environment.  It records decibels, displaying the volume levels in numbers.  Use it to let the class know when they cross the auditory line.  Hook your iPad up to the projector and manage the working noise level in class by letting the students see the feedback for themselves.  The data is also visualized in a live graph and in a sliding bar that indicates the rising levels of clamor and babble.  Watch out for the red zone...time to bring the level down!

What strategies, tools, or apps do you use to monitor/control noise level?

Math Game perfect for indoor recess!

This is a great idea!  I found it on the site called "Aussie Pumpkin Patch"
 Learning CAN be fun!
Check out the full description of how to play.  Perfect for a math center, indoor recess, or end of the year fun and games!

What is your favorite math game for students?  
Your favorite math app?

Photo fun!

DISCLAIMER: Parents and educators must always visit these sites with children.  Free sites that are open to the public are not meant for children to explore independently due to the possibility of inappropriate content.

Teachers and parents can create an adventure for their students with a digital camera and a few free applications.

image chef

We love to take photos but then all these images tend to just stay stored on a memory card.
With Image Chef,  you can EASILY enhance your photos by uploading your photos on the website and selecting various frames to place your picture “in”. Some of the frames include a television, milk carton, most wanted poster, billboard, and many more. You can then insert these pictures into PowerPoint, Photo Story, or Movie Maker.

First Grade Animal Reports: Have the student select a copyright free image of the animal they are researching and then utilize Image Chef to alter or enhance the image in an innovative way.  Include the modified image in the final report or presentation!
SECOND GRADE BIOGRAPHY REPORTS: Locate an image of your subject and have your parents take your photo.  Utilize Image chef to create a new image of you with your research subject!  Include this image in your presentation or final report.


LUNAPIC: Free photo editing application.  Pretty cool.  Take an image and place it on the $100 bill!

For your biography report, convince your audience why your subject has earned the right to be placed on our currency!
For your country report, superimpose your image visiting a famous landmark in your chosen country.


ANIMOTO: Create a video in five minutes – no kidding! Using this award winning site, educators and students can create videos that contain photos, graphics, music, text and more! It is only limited by your imagination.
Accumulate class photos over the course of the school year and use ANIMOTO to create a super end-of-the-year slide show that will be unforgettable.

TECH integration: In music class, explore the types of music that you can select to accompany your images to create the mood you want your slideshow to set for your audience.  Or compose original music!


Do amazing things with your photos.  Take an ordinary photo  and add interesting effects.

What is your favorite photo tool/app?  
Share how you use it with students.