Thursday, October 18, 2018

ReadWorks Annotating Feature (Free Resource)

I just discovered that ReadWorks has a highlighting and annotating feature. Game. Changer! I have always loved ReadWorks and this was the one thing I really felt it was missing.

ReadWorks, a free literacy resource for teachers and students, has REALLY stepped up its game.

A third grade teacher asked me to introduce it to her students, which is how I stumbled across it. There are four highlighting colors and an annotating feature. To keep students organized with the colors I used the first letter of each color to come up with a guide/anchor chart for students.

Since they are new to annotating text I thought having them pick two of the four colors was an easy way to start them learning how to annotate. They can do more for extra credit.

I put together a sample of what you might see when students are finished (there is a blue annotation but I couldn't fit it on the screen).

If you have different ideas that might work for the colors let me know!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Scratch Off Stickers (in the classroom)

This summer I learned that Amazon sells these awesome scratch off stickers. I posted it in our district's EdTech Group and a teacher showed me how she is planning to use them at the beginning of the year to sort students into houses (see last picture).  

With back-to-school mandatory technology training happening next week I thought I would try it out with some some random "give-a-ways" to keep participants engaged. I kept it simple and had three things listed - candy, prize bag (dollar store items), and a hug (that was more for my amusement and to add an element of danger..think of it as scratch off Russian Roulette...I am allowing a fist bump substitute for my non-hugging teachers) 

I made the cards in Publisher using a business card template that I modified. I liked the template because it had guide lines for cutting. You could use any program to make them though. I printed them on card stock and used my paper trimmer to cut them down. 

While I limited my prizes to three things a teacher doing this with a class might want to explore some cheaper prize options. I found this list of free or inexpensive reward ideas online that would make good scratch off prizes. 

You can make your own scratch off cards (here is a YouTube tutorial). I am crafty but I tend to be lazy so paying $6.99 for 100 stickers seemed like a better option for me. :)

If you wind up making some I would love to hear what you put as prizes and how it went with your students!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Snaps - How to Video with Google Drawings

Yesterday I wrote about using Book Snaps to have students engage with text in a creative and engaging way. Today I made a 2.5 minute video on how to create the "Snap Chat" like effect using Google Drawings as part of the Classy Videos course I am taking with Tony Vincent (the assignment was to create a narrated video and I chose Snaps as my topic). 

Beaufort County (SC) is a GAFE district so we predominately use Google for everything. It makes sense that any teacher in our district wanting to try out Book Snaps would use a Google application 
for it, hence the video. 

Google Drawings is not available as an app for the iPad but there are plenty of apps that can be used to make a Snap for those in primarily iOS districts. My two favorites for students would be PicCollage and SeeSaw (both are free apps). 

I am excited about introducing Books Snaps to our district and I am hoping to see some fun Snaps come out of our classrooms this year!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Book Snaps

Trending in ELA are 'Book Snaps'. It is play on Snap Chat filters where you use a book page with text, clip art, emojis, and Bitmojis to convey something about the book. 

If you look up ‘student book snaps’ on Google images you will get a better idea. I posted two above I made using Pic Collage on my iPad but I could have made these using PowerPoint, Publisher, or Google Drawings. I’ve seen examples of younger students making these with the SeeSaw app as well. 

Here is a good overview article if anyone is interested -

I like the creative element to them. I've seen a lot of teachers on Twitter (search #booksnaps) use them for book studies they are in but I really feel they have a lot of potential on the student side. If you have used them with students please feel free to post in the comments. I would love to hear how it went!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Reading Deal - Epic

As a parent you can subscribe to Epic (an online digital library for children ages 12 and under) for three months for $3 total...that is an insanely great price for access to a ton of digital books for children over the summer. 

There are a lot of great resources within Epic from ebooks, audiobooks, videos, and read-to-me stories.

You can cancel after the three months (but don't forget to do that or you will be charged the normal monthly fee - $8 I believe).

Classroom teachers can sign up for a free account but that is limited to use in the classroom only (not at home).

If you are interested you have to sign up by June 12th to get the deal.

Monday, April 30, 2018

ReadWorks - Three (outstanding!) Updated Features

ReadWorks, a free reading comprehension program, has created a new eBook feature which I love! I ran across it while I was modeling how to incorporate ReadWorks into reading centers.

Basically ReadWorks has taken some of their articles and converted them to illustrated eBooks with human voice audio (and some text highlighting).

The result is a more engaging differentiated experience for students. Everything is the same you still love about can assign the article to students, they can opt for the article versus the eBook, and there are always question sets.

The problem I ran across on student tablets was how big the eBook opens up. I've emailed ReadWorks and let them know that it is a problem. 

It is not an insurmountable problem but I did have to show third graders how to change the size of their screen to accommodate a full view of the eBook. 

Once students have the book open they can press play and navigate through the book and the question set.

This is a great addition to ReadWorks. To see a full list of articles that have been converted CLICK HERE

Another great new feature is the addition of the split screen for students. Students can now, at the touch of a button, have the article on one side of the screen to reference while answering the associated questions on the other side. It is a small thing but it is so nice that students don't have to click back and forth between the article and the questions. 

Yet another great new feature that I think is a game changer is the reading strip option. Students can click on this option and get a highlighted bar that they can pull down line by line (instead of being overwhelmed by a large amount of seemingly insurmountable text). 

To find out more about ReadWorks offers click on their information page HERE

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Instagram Post Activity - Using a Windows Device

I liked the idea of having students create fake Instagram posts but really hadn't got past the "idea" phase. Last week in my Classy Graphics course with Tony Vincent he had us working with pictures and gave us free reign on the assignment. I used several of the techniques he taught us to FINALLY create a sample Instagram post that could be easily duplicated by students.

I used Google Drawings, which is an under utilized tool in our district, to create the final product. This is a great activity to showcase several "how to's" in Google Drawings. I also used Pixlr to edit a photo of myself to remove the background I was standing in front of.

I made a "how to" video as well as the simple screen shot "how to". The video is a little more in-depth for any teacher wanting to try it out first. If you wanted students to make an Instagram post you might want to make a more specific video for your students to reference back to, particularly if this is an independent assignment. I used Screen Cast-o-Matic to make my tutorial. The free version is enough for most teachers (just sign in to make an account and you can download the software...if you aren't allowed to download software to your district device you skip the download part and use the software from the site).

I used Google Images to find what I need in a separate window but you can also search for images within Google Drawings. I didn't mention it in the video but wanted to mention it here.

If you try this activity with students I would love to see any finished pictures!