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Showing posts from 2020

"Talking" Bitmojis

If you are at all familiar with Bitmojis you know they, sadly, don't talk but there may be times when you want them to.

This was something I gave quite a bit of thought to and roped in my awesome co-worker, Estee Williams, to help. We discovered by simply manipulating the mouth and duplicating slides we could make it appear that our Bitmoji's were "talking".

We used this idea to create a video entry into a contest.

Later that year I created another video as an introduction to a Bitmoji session I was co-presenting with another co-worker.

They were both fun and challenging and when I shared them recently in a Bitmoji Craze for Educators Facebook group lots of people wanted to know how I made them. 
I put together a short instructional video with the caveat that there may be an easier way. At the time there was nothing online or on YouTube so we just tried this out and it worked for us. 

In other Bitmoji news some awesome teacher shared her presentation on how to get h…

Podcasting Experience

My co-worker (Estee Williams) and I just wrapped up our ninth episode of the P.O.D.C.A.T.S podcast (Personal on Demand Curriculum and Technology Show).
We started this at the beginning of the school year as a fun and different way to provide tech PD to our teachers. We wanted to see if there was an audience for it as well as learn some new skills that we could use in the classroom. 
It has been challenging these past two month as we have had to record from our separate homes, when we had been recording in person. We did like the challenge though and could now use our new skills to interview folks from around the country if needed.

Sadly, we've decided to table our Podcast for next year in lieu of some other tech PD ideas we would like to try. 
I thought, as we are closing out this experiment, I would highlight what we did and used tech wise in case anyone wanted to give it a try.

The first thing we did was develop our name, logo, and show format. We used the site Fiverr to get a …

Blackout Poetry in Google Slides

A blackout poem is when a poet takes a marker (usually black) to already established text, like in a newspaper, and starts redacting words until a poem is formed.

The term "Blackout Poetry" was made popular by author Austin Kelon who wrote a book of his blackout poems. The ideas is if you are at a loss for words then find words that have already been written and create something new from them.

I've done this with children in a classroom and it is quite messy when you start dealing with newspaper print and black sharpies.

You can make a digital version using either Google Slides or Google Drawings - much cleaner and neater!

The way to create this type of unique "found" poem is to start with a wall or slide of text, start highlighting words of interest, from there develop a poem, and then change the color of the background so only the highlighted words show through (I am over simplifying but that is the basic premise).

This is a VERY tricky type of poem to write…

Remote Online Poetry #4 - Digital Paint Chip Poetry

We are in our last week of April and I am wrapping up a four part series of online poetry activities for National Poetry Month.

This last idea, paint trip poetry, came from Mrs. Hall's Fabulous in Fourth blog.

I really liked the idea and made it digital using Google Slides.

I created a template that teachers could use and modify if they wish. Once you click on the link you will be asked to make a copy. Once you have copy in your drive you can adjust as needed for your students. This activity is appropriate for grades 3 through 5.

We use Google Classroom in our district so it would be easy to assign it. Below is how the assignment might look in Google Classroom:

The finished poem "Grey Is" (above) was one I created and used as a sample for students in the template.

Definitely check out Mrs. Hall's blog to see other samples of student work. She had a linked worksheet for student brainstorming and I copied those instructions to the left hand side of each slide in the te…

Remote Online Poetry Activity #3 - Reverse Poems

April is National Poetry Month. I have been trying to share some poetry ideas for tech integrated lessons (ones that can be used in a remote learning environment).

This week's lesson is on Reverse Poems. The idea of a Reverse Poem is that it has meaning when read from one direction (top to bottom) and an opposite meaning when read in reverse (bottom to top).

To try it out, and make a student sample, I made a reverse Cat and Dog poem (YouTube video embedded above). I was proud of the poem and video. It definitely is tricky. I would recommend this activity for upper level elementary GT and Middle/High students.

The entire concept of a "Reverse Poem" came from this "Lost Generation" poem.

This got me thinking about how I would teach the concept to students (particularly in a remote learning environment). This resulted in creating a Google Slides instructional template that could be assigned to students. To be clear, I have not tried it with anyone yet so you may …

Facebook Messenger Effects - Student Videos

I like to use the Facebook Messenger effects to make video messages for students. I used to teach teachers how to do when they were out and wanted to leave a "video note" for students when they had a sub. Using the effects makes the message more engaging and more likely to be watched. 
With distance learning in full swing in our district I thought it would be a great way to kick off the school week with students (giving them something new for the week to watch that lets students know what is due). 
It is super simple to make. I created the video instructions above or you can link to it HERE.
I use my iPhone or iPad and I have my Google Classroom and Seesaw accounts linked to both devices. Linking them makes it easier to upload the finished videos into the student classrooms that I have set up. 
Seesaw Upload Instructions:

Google Classroom Instructions:

If you find any other uses for the Facebook Messenger effects please let me know in the comments below or tag me on Twitter…

Remote Online Poetry Activity #2 - Poetry Slam

Last week I noted that April is National Poetry Month and this year most of us will be celebrating/observing it at home as we isolate ourselves amid the Covid-19 crisis.

I decided to post four online/tech activities, one each week, that teachers (upper elementary/middle school) could have students do.

My first post featured creating a simple Quarantine Haiku using Google Drawings.

My second idea is a remote poetry slam. Here is a great article featuring "5 Tips for Slam Poetry"

Teachers can use Flipgrid (free for educators) as the "performing space". Students would record their original poetry (Flipgrid has blur and pixelating options for children who didn't want their face shown). You can indicate a time recording maximum to keep children focused.

There are several student Poetry Slam videos on YouTube you could share to get students thinking about their poems. I really liked this one from a 12 year old Australian.

If you host a online poetry slam p…

Remote Online Poetry Activity #1 - Quarantine Haiku

April is National Poetry Month and many of us will be observing/celebrating it from home in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

As a tech coach, I have been posting remote learning ideas for teachers and thought I would try my hand at providing four online poetry activities/projects students could do involving poetry (one for each week in April).

Since we have a short week (we have Good Friday off) I thought I would start with something relatively easy...Quarantine Haiku's.

The idea came from this YouTube video -

I made a four minute instructional video for students (which you are more than welcome to share with children) - The video briefly explains what a haiku is and walks them through how to create their finished poem using Google Drawings.

Here is a copy of the Haiku Google Drawing Template if you wish to use it. You will be forced to make a copy before you can assign to students. Once you…

Remote Learning - 3 Little Pigs Assignment

Our district has a subscription to Kami and we love it! They have a free version, which would work for most basic assignments, but I love their premium features (which they are offering for free with school shut downs).

One of my favorite features is the ability to "embed" a YouTube video into an assignment via the comment box. This means that students don't have to move in and out of an assignment to complete it.

A couple of things to note, this only works with YouTube videos. You can create a link in the comment box to a video elsewhere (Google Drive as an example) but the link will take the student outside of the assignment to view. If YouTube is blocked in your district it will still be blocked within Kami.

I made a 2 minute video for teachers walking through creating an assignment with "embedded" videos. If you like the assignment I have provided all the links below:

Teacher Video -
Graphic Organizer -
Three Lit…

Web Based Drawing Site

Last week I wrote about an "If I Ran the Zoo" project. It was a project that I collaborated with an elementary art teacher to complete. 

Our big takeaway during our debriefing was the fact that the iPad app was too complicated for our second grade group and we wished we had something web based that would work for our upper elementary students.

Imagine my surprise the very same week to come across Canvas, a web based drawing app that allows user to either draw freehand or upload a picture to trace around. The website seemed to indicate it was for Chromebook users but I tested it on a student HP device and it worked just fine. I created a video overview, which I have embedded above if you are interested in checking it out. 

The art teacher and I were thrilled with the possibility of extending similar projects to our upper elementary students. I can't wait to see what ideas she comes up with!

Sensory Summary - St. Patrick's Day Activity

This activity draws upon an earlier post I made about creating sensory figures for Black History Month using Google Drawings.

This activity is a little less "techy" but still a fun way to teach, or reinforce, summary skills from the perspective of the main character (in this case a leprechaun).

I used the book "How to Catch a Leprechaun" by Adam Wallace. Epic has the book, which you can read whole group...or assign to students. Epic offers a free educators account so definitely check them out! The book can also be found as a read aloud on YouTube.

There are some directed drawing videos on YouTube that I used to complete the drawing.

- How to Draw a Cartoon Leprechaun
- How to Draw a Pot of Gold

This activity can be done whole group, or assigned through Google Classroom for students to do independently.

If done whole group I would read the book twice, once for fun, and once to find the "sensory" sentences. You can have students pair up to fill in the grap…

World War 2 Style Radio Broadcast

Today I worked with a group of two fifth grade classes recording and editing a breaking news radio broadcast about the attack on Pearl Harbor. We used Audacity to record and edit. The students had some experience back in December when I worked with them introducing them to the tool. I wrote about my experience in a previous blog post. The December activity was designed to be fun and show them the basic tools they would need in the program to record and add sound effects. 
The activity today was designed to show them the structure of a "breaking news story" on the radio in the context of their Social Studies curriculum. Each group will be working on their own scripts within the next two weeks with their final project due March 24. 
I worked with the teacher Mrs. Gannon with our sample recording, as a way of walking through what we thought might work with students. We decided to use the Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How structure to collect data from from a Pearl Harbor ar…

If I Ran The Zoo - Book Covers

Today's is Dr. Seuss' birthday and the kick off of Read Across America Week. In the past I have done some cute book covers with teachers and students but this year I wanted to try something new (to me). 
I follow art teacher Tricia Fuglestad on Twitter and I love how she integrates art and technology. I got the idea for book covers from her last year so I went back to her blog looking for more Seuss related ideas. She had done an "If I Ran the Zoo" project with students and I thought it would be fun to try this year. 
I worked with an art teacher (Ms. Peterlin) at Beaufort Elementary School and, because the app was new to us, we decided to do the project with one of  the second grade classes. The app, Brushes Redux, is only available for the iPad (it is FREE) and only our K-2 students have iPads so that limited us somewhat grade wise. Tricia used a different app in her blog write up but I could seem to find it so I found a substitute.
This took two 55 minute class p…

Google Classroom Headers - March Edition

Last month I wrote that I like to spruce up my Google Classroom headers once a month. My "classroom" is mainly populated with teachers attending training but I'd like to think one creative soul in the room might think changing out headers routinely would be fun for students and give them something to look forward to. 

I wish Google didn't put a dark overlay on the original picture. Sigh. One teacher on Twitter did remind me that I can leave feedback about Google Classroom using the question mark icon. She said if maybe enough people suggested that the dark overlay be removed they (Google) might listen. So every time I go into my classroom I suggest it. Please help me out, if you think of it, and make a similar suggestion in order to bounce the request up the line. 
If you like this March/St. Patrick's Day template you can find it linked HERE. It comes complete with instructions so you can just replace my image with yours. I cut off the "Happy St. Paddy's D…

Student Sensory Posters

Earlier in the month I wrote about making Black History Month Sensory Poster with Google Drawings. I did the activity with third grade students and they did such a good job (a few of their projects are featured above).

The students were able to follow along with my video tutorial and the teacher and I were just there for technical help. My favorite part of the day was one of the students, when packing up, said "That was way more fun than we normally have in ELA." 🤣

To be clear, I think he was talking about putting the project together tech wise and not the researching and writing part.

The hardest part, obviously, was getting the students to put in quality facts in their graphic organizers. Like most student projects some were good and some needed extra help and guidance.

Another teacher, also third grade, tried it on his own with his student and they did it together as a group and he had them put in three sensory facts vs. the five or six on the graphic organizer and that…