Category Archives: Uncategorized
December 9-13 has been declared Hour of Code Week! If you are looking for a fun addition to your computer lab time or some great differentiation options this week, this is a perfecting opportunity to introduce your students to coding!
Here’s how you can get started –
Inspire your students! Show them this video (1 minute OR 5 minute) featuring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am and NBA star Chris Bosh talking about the importance of programming.
Get your students excited – give them a short intro
Most kids don’t know what computer science is. Here are some ideas:
- Explain it in a simple way that includes examples of applications that both boys and girls will care about (saving lives, helping people, connecting people, etc.).
- Try: “Think about things in your everyday life that use computer science: a cell phone, a microwave, a computer, a traffic light… all of these things needed a computer scientist to help build them.”
- Or: “Computer science is the art of blending human ideas and digital tools to increase our power. Computer scientists work in so many different areas: writing apps for phones, curing diseases, creating animated movies, working on social media, building robots that explore other planets and so much more.”
Suggested Coding Games –
Age 4+ LightBot
Age 5+ Tynker Coding Games
Age 6+ Angry Birds Programming
Age 8+ Create a Holiday Card
I put all of these links in this Google Doc if you’d like to link it to your page! You can also find the links on the Library Events page. If you participate, share your news with your social networks with #hourofcode!
We piloted our first Book Talk on Air today! What. A. Blast! Eventually, I will do this once a month for each grade level so all of the classes can tune in. It will be a great way to share our new library books and get the kids involved in book reviews. The kids were fabulous! We can’t wait until the next one!
This week’s Tech Talk was: Mission…Inbox Zero!
Are you overwhelmed by hundreds, or even thousands of emails in your inbox? I learned this tip from Jennie Magiera at the Midwest Google Summit and it has totally changed my life! (Here is her full presentation.)
Watch this video to see how easy the process really is!
Here are some other Gmail resources that may be helpful -
WDP Library Gmail Resource Page
Sharing vs. Attaching Documents
KeyRocket for Gmail: A Chrome Extension to learn your keyboard shortcuts!
GTasks App (Android)
GTasks App (Apple)
Check out some of the AWESOME websites that we’ve discussed in the last two weeks –
TeachingBooks.net is an easy-to-use website that adds a multimedia dimension to the reading experiences of children’s and young adult books. Their online database is developed and maintained to include thousands of resources about fiction and nonfiction books used in the K–12 environment, with every resource selected to encourage the integration of multimedia author and book materials into reading and library activities. Be sure to check out the Common Core section!
YouTube is often overwhelming! WatchKnowLearn has indexed approximately 50,000 educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 5,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom, as well as parents and students at home 24/7. Users can dive into the directory or search for videos by subject and age level. Video titles, descriptions, age level information, and ratings are all edited for usefulness. The site invites broad participation in a new kind of wiki system, guided by teachers. WatchKnowLearn does not itself host videos—but serves as a library for links to excellent educational videos that have been selected by educators.
The creator behind IFTTT (If this, then that) is a pure genius. Through this site, you can create “recipes” for different sites that you use. For example: If you post to a blog, you can create a “recipe” so that every time you create a post, it also posts to your Twitter feed. There are thousands of options…right down to receiving a reminder to bring an umbrella if there is rain in the forecast! This site is amazing!
App/Extension of the Week: Announcify
Announcify reads out loud every website you want. Not only that, it grays out the text that is not being read to direct your focus. This is a great extension for students that struggle with reading!
This week’s Tech Talk was Google+ . Here are some resources for you to explore –
Several teachers in the district attended the Midwest Google Summit earlier this week. Please feel free to explore the AWESOME resources that are listed on the website.
App/Extension of the week-
There are many Google Chrome apps and extensions available in the Google Chromestore. An app or extension enhances your experience on the web. Each week, I will try to share a new one for you to explore. This week’s extension is Silverbird. If you are a Twitter user, this will save you lots of time! You can check/tweet from your Twitter account right from the Chrome browser.
Have a great week!
What is VoiceThread?
VoiceThread is a tool that allows your students have virtual discussions around media such as images, text, sounds, and video. With VoiceThread, you can create slides (like a PowerPoint), and students can then come in and comment by recording their voice, typing their comments, or video recording themselves using a webcam. Other students can then listen to these comments and make their own contribution to the discussion. Check out this quick explanation of a Voicethread –
All students and staff have a VoiceThread account set up for them already. To access these accounts, go to http://www.ed.voicethread.com.
Email Address = Student’s school email address
Password = Student’s network password
Email Address = Your school email address
Password = Contact me for your district password
Please visit the Voicethread Tutorials page on the library website for video tutorials, written step-by-step directions, and sample VoiceThread projects.
If you are interested in using Voicethread in your classroom, please email me to set up a meeting time so we can walk through the creation process together.
Have a great week!
I don’t think I’ve ever been so behind on Tech Talk posts! So sorry! Here are the topics we’ve covered in the last several weeks! Many of these topics will also be featured sessions at the Summer Instructional Technology Academy (SITA), so I listed the session time. If you are consortium member of EWITC, you can attend for FREE! Non-consortium members can attend for $25/session. It is filling up fast!
Google Maps – (SITA Session on 8/1 at 9:00am)
Google Maps is becoming more and more robust every day! Many of the features are becoming comparable to Google Earth. One activity that you can do is map a character from a book. In this example, 4th graders used Google Maps to mark the places that the characters visited in the book. The capability to add pictures, links and videos is also available! Students can actually go on this “trip” and go into street view to see what the characters saw in the book!
Quizlet is an AMAZING flashcard study tool! Check out this demo video! Before you spend lots of time creating the flashcards, search for similar ones on the site…there may be some that have already been created! Be sure to download the app too!
Are you looking to add another Web 2.0 presentation option for your students? If so , PowToon is a great option! Check out these examples of educational PowToons to see the potential! (They have just added pricing options for educators, but there is a 30 day free trial! Their FREE PLAN is restricted to 45 second presentations, but might work for you.)
Doctopus/Goobric – (SITA Session on 7/29 @ 12:00pm)
Managing student files in Google Drive can be a nightmare! Doctopus to the rescue! Check out the video walkthroughs for Doctopus and Goobric, and call me if you would like to try to set this up for your students! It is sure to make grading more efficient, and file management much more tolerable!
Chrome Apps & Extensions – (SITA Session on 7/30 @ 12:00pm)
Once you log into the Chrome browser, you have the option to add apps and extensions to enhance your experience on the web. Confused? Check out this presentation to learn more about Chrome. Check out this presentation for more app/extension recommendations. Here are some of my favorites:
- Announcify – You must try this! Great for kids that have a tough time focusing in busy websites. It reads the site to you and blurs out the junk!
- YoWindowWeather — great for teaching weather to primary students, allows them to see through a “window” to the outdoors!
- ScreenCapture by Google or Awesome Screenshot – annotate screenshots in a jiffy!
- TabCloud – have a million tabs open? Use TabCloud to save your tabs and open them all back up when you need them again.
- Readability or Clearly – cut the junk off of those busy websites to make the page easier for kids to read.
- Ginger Spellchecker – Who doesn’t love a good grammar/spell check while on the web?
- Goo.gl Shortener – shorten those loooonnnnng web addresses in one click!
- Sharaholic for Pinterest – pin to your boards in one click!
Here are some apps that you may want to check out -
- Haiku Deck - a SUPER AWESOME presentation app
- Google Drive – upload videos right to your Google Drive from the app, great for sharing videos with a restricted number of people
- FaceTalkHD (.99) – create a talking avatar, similar to Blabberize
Phew! I think that’s it for now! If you have any questions or need help with any of these things, please let me know!
This week’s Tech Talk was: iThings
This week, we met together to discuss apps and "apptivities!" Here are some of the fun things that were mentioned -
- I have been looking for apps that are similar to Blabberize and Voki for a long time, and I feel like these are a great alternative for the iDevices. In addition, they will have you laughing for hours! I could see them being a great addition to a Daily 5 Read to Self center…as long as the kids don’t get too carried away! The first one is Mad Lips Free – Add lips to a character and narrate. It reminds me of those eTrade commercials! And the 2nd is Morfo – Use your face (or someone else’s) and watch how animated it becomes when you add voice! So much fun!!!
- Magisto – This app reminds me a bit of Animoto. Easy video editing! I don’t think it’ll be free for long so get it while it lasts!
- Dr. Seuss Cat Cam – I really wish I would’ve discovered this app a week ago, but better late than never, right! Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
- Electric Company Party Game – a multi-player game that incorporate 1st and 2nd grade math and literacy curricula
- Electric Company – Feel Electric! – This would be a great app to help students understand feelings. It allows children to identify how they feel each day.
- Toca Boca Apps – lots of apps for creative play!
- Pic Stitch – An option if you have a need for photo collages.
- Pic Collage – An option if you have a need for photo collages.
- iMotion HD – a great option for students that want to create stop animation movies.
Moshi Retro Handset – A great low cost addition to any Daily 5 center! Use the retro handset to record and listen to audio. The kids will LOVE it!
Have a great weekend!