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Showing posts from April, 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 ReadWorks...you 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 a…

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 thi…

"Eye" See Your Point of View Activity

I was looking for Boston Tea Party resources when I came across an  adorable picture where events of the Tea Party where drawn in a giant eye. That picture led to a blog post that led me to another blog post that led me to yet another post and I absolutely loved all the ideas!

As far as I can tell the original idea stemmed from the drawing above. Apparently someone posted it on Pinterest and noted that it could be used for a point of view activity. Instead of the clouds and sun in the eye the student would draw what a character in the story or in history might see from their perspective. Brilliant!!!!

So for the Boston Tea Party the eye would be that of a British solider or supporter of the King. What a great way to teach that there is always two sides to every story. I think I would want students to explain what they were "seeing" on the back.




In my Boston Tea Party lesson plan I would have students write a letter home on the back as if they were a British citizen, solider…

Copyright Free Music (associated problems) and Podcasts

Richard Byrne recently posted about three free music sites that teachers can use to find music and sound effects for podcasts and projects. It was super helpful and I bookmarked it for future reference.

He didn't mention Free Play Music, which is my "go to" music site so I would add that to any list you have going. I worked with students making Lion King trailers and in this site I was able to type in "African" and found some fun royalty music that worked with the trailers students were making.

Here is MY problem. I don't know what music to choose! I get overwhelmed with too many choices which is why I appreciate it when people cite their music in the video credits (Richard Byrne goes over that in his post). One teacher (art) who does that well is Tricia Fuglestad. I follow her for her outstanding use of green screen videos. She has a Vimeo channel and she gave credit to Kevin McCloud in one video where I liked the music. This took me on a fun internet sea…

Google Classroom and Emojis

I am taking an online course called Classy Graphics with Tony Vincent. This is the first time I have taken an online course for fun. I heard about the course by following Tony Vincent on Twitter. When he tweeted about the course I didn't allow myself to think about it and just jumped in.  It is a six week course and cost $100. I am only in my first week, as of this writing, but I have already learned so much and my hesitation over spending $100 of my own money is a thing of the past! The class is worth it...I am looking at it as in depth instruction on how to practically use the Google Drawings tool. Professionally it will help me with future questions and training ideas and personally it might help motivate me to start making pretty things to share with teachers.

Probably my biggest takeaway this week in the course is Tony's use of bullets in Google Classroom. I had read his post about it awhile ago but didn't really think anything of it until I saw it in action and now I…

Flow Chart Notes - Graphic Organizer

Flow Chart Notes are a fun way to take notes particularly in a Social Studies class where many of events are told as a story.

I read about Flow Chart Notes here and decided to make a graphic organizer to support the format in my Classy Graphics Class with Tony Vincent. (our first assignment was to make a graphic organizer in Google Drawings using the align and distribution features). CLICK HERE for a copy of this graphic organizer. It was made in Google Drawings so you can go to "file" and "make a copy" to have your own editable version. To download it as a PDF simply click "file", "download as", and then "pdf".



I liked how it turned out and I decided to download it as a PDF and use Kami to fill it out as a test run (see first picture). Kami and DocHub are free add ons to Google Classroom that allow students to write or draw on a PDF on a tablet (not an iPad). I could have printed it out and filled it in with pencil but we are trying …

Favorite YouTube Channel (K-2 Teachers)

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Kidtastic TV. The channel has a ton of Disney (and other) storybooks read out loud with the words highlighted on the screen as it is being read.




If you have a "Listen to Reading" center this would be a great resource for you. You should pay attention to the length of each video when considering using them.

Our district does not block YouTube videos for students (they are filtered through a clean video search filter) so they can be easily incorporated into a listening center with a QR code (we use this extension in Chrome to generate quick QR Codes).

If students don't have access to YouTube you can use a YouTube Downloader (click here for instructions on a quick and easy way to download videos from YouTube). Downloaded videos can then be uploaded to a Google Drive account where you can create a QR code or get a link for students. This is definitely more time consuming, downloading and uploading speeds can vary depending on the lengt…