Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#FlipGrid Fever!

Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" of short discussion-style questions that students respond to through recorded videos. Each grid is effectively a message board where teachers can pose a question and their students can post 90-second video responses that appear in a tiled "grid" display. Grids can be classes, sections, groups of students, research groups, faculty groups, or any collection of users interested in a common strand of questions. Each grid can hold an unlimited number of questions, and each question can hold an unlimited number of responses. Questions are short, text-based prompts (think Twitter) that can include basic formatting (such as bold, italic) and links to websites or documents.
Once logged in, you'll create a new grid, name it, then choose whether it will be password protected or not. Then you can begin adding questions to the grid one by one; each question can be 240 characters or less. After your list of questions is complete, you can activate them, then click the Share button to send the link to your students. They'll then follow instructions to film and upload their 90-second answers from home. If you like, Flipgrid will notify you when responses come in. There are extensive teacher tools available, from instructional videos to full walkthroughs for how to use the tool in a variety of subject areas (including STEAM,  creatively, and PE). Additionally, there are three pricing levels available: the free version gives you one grid with unlimited topics, and the two pricing levels for classrooms offer unlimited grids and far more features.

Check out this link for a ton of ideas to use Flipgrid:           FlipGrid Fever

Friday, November 17, 2017

EdPuzzle Has New Features!

EdPuzzle Has New Features!!
EdPuzzle has great new resources with full lesson videos already created.  You can search by grade and/or subject area.  Each subject area is broken down to Standards and/or sub-area.  For example, if you search 3rd grade math, you’ll see the following choices:
Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.31.34 AM.png

This is a work in progress with new videos being added all the time.  Don’t reinvent the wheel!  This is a wonderful new way to use #EdPuzzle.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Quick & Easy CFUs- Checks for Understanding

ITF, Erin Wolfhope, created a simple Google Form to use to Check for Understanding. So easy!
  • One question - Green, Yellow, or Red
  • Click on the link to make a copy of the form, and edit for your needs.
  • Idea: Add a question to the form for students to make comments.
Plickers has been around for awhile but, there is a Facebook group you can join that has tons of ideas for using Plickers.  If you’re not familiar with Plickers, it is an easy, quick way to check for understanding during any lesson.  Link to Facebook Group:  Facebook Plickers   You request to join the group and you’ll hear back in just a day or two.  There are links to webinars, classroom ideas for implementing, and a great way to collaborate with other teachers.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Have Students Make Their Own Avatar

Make Your Own Avatar

Many websites and apps give students the option to upload a photo for their account.  Teach students about online privacy by letting them create their own Avatar in Pic Collage, to use instead of an actual photo.  
This article gives step by step directions for creating an avatar and saving it to the camera roll for future use.  

There are other free sites for creating avatars.  Here are just a few:

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reasons to update to iOS 11

Do you keep wondering if you should go ahead and update your iPad/iPhone to iOS 11?  Here are a few features that may make you want to update:

  • Record your screen - go to settings, control center, screen recording
        The next time you want to record something on your screen, swipe up  
        to access the control center and click on the circular button for screen  

  • There are 3 more camera filters: vivid, dramatic, and black white. And instead of zooming out and showing all the filters, you'll see a preview row at the bottom instead.
  • Type one handed:  With QuickType keyboard, you can select three keyboards to type with. One keyboard is for left-handed users, another is for right-handed ones, and then there's the regular keyboard. What it does is move the keyboard to one side of the screen, so it's easier to type. Just hold your finger down a little longer on the emoji symbol and the keyboards will pop up.
  • No more distracted driving:  Make sure you remain completely focused while driving with the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" setting. You can turn it on manually, let it activate automatically, or have it go on when your phone is connected to your car's Bluetooth. When it's on, your friends will receive a message that you're driving if they send you a text. You also won't see new notifications pop up.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Doceri - Best Whiteboard App!

Doceri- Great Whiteboard App for iPad!
Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 11.02.45 AM.png

Even though there are numerous whiteboard apps available for the iPad, #Doceri is by far the best!  It is free, works easily with Apple TV, and has features that others don’t offer.  For example, with Doceri, there is no need for a document camera anymore.  You can take a photo inside the app of a worksheet, page in a book, test, etc., rotate, enlarge, and annotate over it right inside the app.  There are also tools like highlighting, underlining, and more.  Another great feature is the ability to show a student view on the Apple TV, while the teacher has a different view on her iPad (showing the tools), and using the teacher view to prepare the slide before showing it.  Finally, Doceri will let you save your projects inside the app for later use.  Other apps make you add pages to your project and only allow one at a time.  Try it today!!!
Here is a link to a short tutorial on Doceri showing the ease of use and all the great features:  Doceri Tutorial

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Math Vocab Cards by The Math Learning Center

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 3.39.21 PM.png

My favorite new Chrome App is Math Vocab Cards by The Math Learning Center.  These math flash cards have 3 sections:  a math term, an example or model, and a definition.  You can choose which section to hide and select cards individually or by category.  You can also switch between English and Spanish.  Here is an example:
Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 3.39.08 PM.png

Monday, September 25, 2017


Quizziz is a great formative assessment tool similar to Kahoot.  The difference is the quizzes are self-paced and it has a read-aloud feature in the App!  This makes it wonderful to use for struggling readers, ELL, etc.  It also has a “Share to Google Classroom” feature built right in.  There are tons of pre-made quizzes or you can quickly build your own.  It is a free site and students join a game by a code (just like Kahoot).  You can assign quizzes as homework also.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Make your own QR Code with Audio

For struggling readers, you can make QR codes with your voice to give directions about a task card, assignment, etc.
Here are the step by step directions for making one on a MacBook:

  1. Have the task written out so it’s easy to read when you’re recording
  2. Open QuickTime Player on your MacBook and right click, select new audio recording.         Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.51.54 AM.png
  3. Test your voice to make sure the bars are moving.  When you’re ready, click the red button to begin recording.  Click the black button to stop recording.  Then click play and listen to your audio.  If you approve, go to top tabs and click File, Save.
Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.57.35 AM.pngThis window will open: Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.04.56 AM.png
Name your file and save to desktop.
   4) Open Google Drive, upload new file and choose this file from desktop.  Once it uploads, right click on the file in Drive, click Share, click Get Shareable Link.  Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.16.05 AM.pngThen choose More when window opens. Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.16.25 AM.pngThen select the top option, Public on the Web. Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.38.37 AM.png
Then copy the URL by right click, copy, or use shortcut keys Command, C.  
    5)  Now open a tab and go to QR Code Monkey.  Paste the URL into the URL box, and click Create QR Code (green box).  Then click Download PNG (blue box).
Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.47.44 AM.png

     6) It will open on your desktop.  Name the QR code, and choose desktop to save the location.  Now you can print out the QR code or save it into a Doc, etc.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I'm Baaaaack :) Free to Use Photos, No Restrictions

Since it’s the beginning of the year, it’s important to remind students of copyright violations with photos and pictures.  Here is a list of 7 sites to use for photos/pictures with no restrictions and free to use:  

7 Sites for FREE Stock Photos-All photos have no copyright restrictions and are free to use, copy, edit, and modify.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Summer is almost here!

Relax, Unwind, Enjoy, Prepare

Teachers deserve every minute of summer break!  By the time they complete workdays, break down their rooms, complete end of year requirements, turn in grades, etc.  it's almost the end of June!  Then, August is just around the corner.  

When you start thinking about preparing for next year, here are a few ideas for using Padlet:

"Checks for Understanding" is an important initiative in our county.  There are tons of activities and sites that will give you the information you need to individualize learning and plan upcoming lessons.  One site I love is Padlet.  Padlet is a great site to use for "Checks for Understanding" but, it has tons of other uses too!  In case you're not familiar with Padlet, it's a "virtual" wall or board where students and teachers can collaborate and share ideas, images, videos, and links on a topic of choice.  It's a great way to get shy students to participate in a discussion or ask questions.  It's also great for those students that tend to takeover classroom discussions.  The teacher has the option to show author names or make posts anonymous.  Padlet boards can easily be used for an informal assessment.  They have recently added a Remake feature which allows you to copy a Padlet and use as a template for your own purpose.  Other features include copy/paste directly into Padlet which is great for research, showcasing student work, etc.  The options for creating a new Padlet include Blank, Canvas which allows connecting content, Stream with top to bottom feed, Grid which arranges content in rows of boxes, and Shelf which stacks content in boxes.  Here is a link to the Padlet Blog with regular updates, tutorials, ideas, and more.  Last but not least, it's FREE!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 BCPS Digital Teaching and Learning Conference

It's almost time for the DTLC:  Digital Teaching and Learning Conference

On August 14th, 2017, Burke County Public Schools will host our fourth annual Digital Teaching and Learning Conference. Our keynote speaker will be Abbey Futrell (@AbbeyFutrell)​. The conference this year will be at Patton High School.

The purpose of the conference is to provide 
an opportunity for teachers, media coordinators, instructional support personnel and administrators to come together to learn.  

          All educators welcome!!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

End of the Year Technology Ideas

I scoured the Web and compiled a short list of some great Tech activities to do with your students on those long days after testing.

End of the Year Technology Activities
These are just a few ideas for some End of the Year Technology Activities.
  • Celebrate students favorite memories using Google Slides, Pic Collage, Animoto, or iMovie. Using photos, videos, and/or recording the students reading their memories make it extra special.
  • Celebrate students favorite memories using PowerPoint,  Photo Story or Movie Maker. Using photos, videos and/or recording the students reading their memories make it extra special.
  • Have each student create a wordle using words to describe their favorite moments during the school year.
  • Have students create a survey about favorite events of the school year and graph the results in a Google Spreadsheet.
  • Create a Jeopardy type game for the Smart Board using questions created by students using their favorite topics of study. Challenge another class on your grade level.

  • Create a Class Scrapbook with Google Slides.  Have each student create a slide with favorite memories from the year.
  • Have students create memory posters using the free website PosterMyWall. You do not have to login! Click "Start New" and begin creating with all of the fun and colorful backgrounds, clipart, word art and fun fonts that are provided.
  • Have your students create Compliment Word Clouds using the website Tagxedo. Students can “Scoot” around to each others' computers and type one describing word about that person in the text box.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tech Tools Site - Check it Out!!!

Burke County ITFs have developed a Tech Tools page that has tons of resources for instructional technology. You can search by device (computer/iPad), subject, grade level, and purpose. There's also a feature in the top right corner to suggest a tool and have it added to the page. There are over 90 resources currently and it will continue to be updated as new tools are found or submitted. I hope you find this useful when searching for appropriate tools for instruction and please share with your colleagues.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Best Free Sites to Create and Share Audio

#Clyp, #Vocaroo, & #AudioPal

There are some great sites to use for recording audio and can be implemented in the classroom for many purposes.  Clyp does not require an account and will save the file for 24 hours and can be shared with a link.  You can create a free account with an email and files are saved and can be shared by link anytime.  There's also an App for IOS devices.  

Vocaroo is another site that doesn't require an account and is super easy to use.  Just go to the site, click to record, and allow microphone, and you're recording!  When finished, click to save, and there are several options to share including a link, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Google+, and many more.  An excellent feature Vocaroo has added is making your recording into a QR Code with a click.  Under the sharing options, you can click QR Code and it immediately creates your audio file into a QR Code.  Love it!

Last, but not least, is AudioPal.  It's another wonderful tool to record audio for a website or blog.  You can record by microphone, text to speech, audio file, or even phone.  The text to speech feature is great and you can choose the voice by male/female, and accent by country.  Once you've previewed your message, enter your email and address and your file will be sent to you and you can embed your audio anywhere online and your message appears instantly.  
Check this out:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Quizalize- Formative Assessment Tool


Have you heard of #Quizalize?  It's a great formative assessment tool similar to others like Kahoot, Quizziz, etc.  There are over 20,000 pre-made assessments or you can easily create your own in minutes.  Quizzes can be assigned as homework or in class as a team game.  One stand out difference for Quizalize, is their new Team Game View.  Students compete against the computer in a live basketball game with famous stars like Michael Jordan, etc.  On the left side, students see a player with their name, and on the right side is the famous player.  If the student gets the answer right, the ball goes in the basket and they score.  If they get the answer wrong, the famous player scores.  There can be several students playing at the same time and viewing the game on the Smartboard.  

It is self paced but still offers a competitive feature that students really enjoy.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Reading Bear

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 12.07.30 PM.png
Reading Bear is a free online program that introduces letter sounds and phonetic patterns.  There are 50 presentations with over 1200 vocabulary items.  Each presentation can be played as a video or a slideshow introducing one to several phonics rules.  Settings can be chosen for several features including pronunciation from slow to fast, audio/silent flashcards, and audio/silent sentences.  The program is geared toward ages 4-7 but, can be used below and above depending on needs.  Flashcards are available in PDF for download.  Another great feature is subaccounts.  After you register as a teacher, you can add subaccounts for your students so their data from quizzes will be stored in your account.  I really like his site for beginning or struggling readers.
Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 12.07.48 PM.png

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Google Suite Training Center/Extension

Google Suite Training Center/Extension

This was formerly called Training for Google Apps.  This site gives you access to interactive, self-paced lessons designed to help you with each of the Google products/apps.  G Suite Training (formerly Google Apps) also has an extension in the Chrome Web Store.  This will allow easy access when a simple, quick lesson is needed on any of their products.  You never have to leave the app to learn how to use it whether you're in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, or Gmail.  It's easy to search within the app for a quick tutorial:

Friday, March 24, 2017

How to Differentiate and "Add Sections" in Google Forms

Using Google Forms in Quiz Form with Sections

I've had a lot of teachers ask how to use #Google Forms as a quiz and add a section based on the student response.  For example, if you want to give a multiple choice quiz on fractions and have students review if they answer incorrectly, there's an easy way in Google Forms.  
Kasey Bell, award winning digital consultant, and author of website/blog Shake Up Learning, has posted a great 
step-by-step tutorial on this process.  She refers to this process as branching, (see her diagram below).  There are tons of ways to use Google Forms in the classroom and with the auto grade feature for multiple choice questions, do yourself a favor and check it out!

Monday, March 20, 2017

EdCampFoothills This Saturday!!!!!

It's not too late! Check your calendar and make plans to join us for the 2nd EdcampFoothills on Saturday, March 25th, at West Alexander Middle School, 85 Bulldog Lane, Taylorsville, NC 28681, from 8:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

If you're already registered, spread the word and bring a friend or colleague.
If you're not registered, take a minute and sign up to a morning of awesome PD, connecting with inspiring educators, and some pretty cool door prizes!

Here's the link:

Hope to see you there!!!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017


This is a great site for help with grammatical errors in writing.  Instead of marking up papers with tons of red ink, you can direct students to a specific link with a video tutorial on how to fix the error.  The videos are short and quickly explain the grammar rule and how to correct your errors.  There’s a brief quiz after the video to make sure the student understands the rule.  I only wish this had been available when I was teaching Language Arts.
Simply choose what you want to focus on from the tabs at the top and copy the URL for student review.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Make a Matching Activity with Google Drawings

Google Drawings
Did you know you can create easy drop/drag, matching, and fill in the blank assignments right in #Google Drawings?  Below is an example of a matching assignment created in less than 5 minutes.  
I’ve made a short video tutorial with step by step directions on my YouTube channel.  If you would like updates as I continue to add tutorials, just subscribe to my channel.

Monday, March 6, 2017

More Google Chrome Extensions You'll Love


     Extensity will quickly enable/disable your Google Chrome Extensions.  Extensions are wonderful but if you are a "collector" and they run constantly, it will use up battery life quickly.  This extension is a life saver!  With a click, you can disable any or all extensions if you don't need to use them right away and with another click, you can enable one or all extensions.  You can even group your extensions with the profile feature.  Keep your toolbar clean and your browser fast with Extensity.

Writing Extensions

     Do you have struggling writers?  These Writing Essential Extensions will help students become more confidant and creative in their writing.  In the image below, you'll find 8 extensions that are available, but there are many more.  These are just a few that are worth a look.  Dictionary will show the definition and has audio pronunciation with a double click of any word.  Notebook Web Clipper will clip text, images, or links into a note card and save to a specific notebook.  Power Thesaurus will suggest antonyms and synonyms on any page.  Vocabla will translate any word into multiple languages with a double click.  SharePad will save your notes on your browser and in your Google account.  It auto syncs, displays last save, and will download notes as a .txt file.  

Monday, February 27, 2017

Google Chrome Extensions

     What is a Google Chrome Extension?  Think of Extensions as little programs that run inside your browser to accomplish a specific task.  There are some amazing Extensions available in the Chrome Web Store that will save you tons of time!  Go to the Chrome Web Store, search for the Extension, and click on the blue bar "Add to Chrome".  You will then be asked to allow the Extension to change your data, etc.  Click Allow and you'll see the Extension icon running in your browser.
     Everybody loves to shorten long URLs.  Did you know there's an Extension for that?  If you add it, with one click, you can shorten your URL without copy and pasting and having to go to the site.  Another great feature is the ability to make a QR code too!
This image shows the Extension icon running in my browser and when you click it, you'll see the shortened URL, and the actions Copy, Details, and QR Code.

     Another great Extension is OneTab.  Whenever you have a lot of tabs open, click OneTab, and it will convert all your tabs into a list.  Whenever you need to access them, you can restore them individually or all at once.  Another great feature is it saves 95% of memory because you have reduced the number of tabs open in Google Chrome.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Remove Ads from YouTube

How to Remove Ads from YouTube

There's a couple of ways to remove those "pesky" ads from YouTube.  The first step is to sign into your Google Account and access your YouTube channel.  Go to Creator Studio, under Channel, select Advanced, then check Disable-Interest Based Ads, and make sure Allow Advertisements to be Displayed is unchecked.  

An easier way to remove adds is the Google Chrome Extension, Adblock for YouTube.  Simply install the extension in the Chrome Store, and Adblock will remove the ads when you play a video in YouTube.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Connect Your Use of iPads to Bloom's Taxonomy

If you want to use your iPads and Macbooks to support Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, check out Kathy Schrock’s site- Bloomin' Apps.  Not only does she have suggested Apps for each of the levels, she also has online sites as well.  There is also a list of the Google Apps (Chrome, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc.-all G Suite Apps) shown by category as well.  In addition, she has a list for Android, Google, and Web 2.0 applications.
If you’re not familiar with Kathy Schrock, she is a “Tech Guru”.  I highly recommend following her on Twitter.