Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Digital Vision Boards for the New Year



I was in a classroom today and the students were brainstorming goals for the New Year. Later I was randomly emailed a post about students creating digital vision boards using Google Slides...or Google Drawings (which I thought was pretty cool).

The picture above is the vision board I created as a demo (I used Google Slides). I added the two add-ons Kasey Bell suggested in her article but I didn't use them so I think you can ignore those. I just used "insert" "image" "search the web".

Typically vision boards are made by cutting out pictures and words from magazines, and I have done quite a few in my lifetime. I have to say I really liked the digital version (less mess and having to solicit a bunch of magazines from co-workers!).

The article does give some good tips and tricks for how to introduce the activity as well as completing and sharing.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Websites to PDF's (Chrome Extension)

One of my favorite sites to use with students is duckster.com. It is a great site that has lots of student friendly articles (I use it mostly for the history articles). It is a free site, and as such, has a lot of distracting ads and sidebar information making it easy for students to click out of the intended article.


In order to keep students focused on the information I need them to be I use a Google Chrome extension called Print Friendly & PDF.

The extension allows you to make a downloadable PDF of the website and delete any extraneous information you don't want. This way the PDF can be shared with students via Google Classroom without sending them to a website, or it can be printed for their Social Studies or Science notebooks. It also works great if you need the information for a lesson but the website is blocked for students.

To add the extension simply follow the steps below:



To use the extension:





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Secret Santa Goes High Tech



I just noticed some schools are preparing to start their staff Secret Santa. Last year our supervisor organized our departments Secret Santa using https://www.elfster.com/.

It was a nice technology twist on something that typically is done, in a very confusing manner, by paper and pencil.

The site is free to use and participants sign up, if they are participating, and they can add what they like as far as drinks, snacks, etc. to help out the person they get paired with. The system then randomly pairs people up so you don't have to do it. It is pretty cool and something you might want to pass on to whoever handles your school's Secret Santa sign up.

My supervisor has a large extended family and she uses it with them as well. It is very easy to use and would save your organizer man hours as well as help keep the copies down at your school.

Have a great holiday season everyone!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Parent/Teacher Conference Scheduling



If you are looking for a techie way to schedule parent/teacher conferences, instead of sending home slips of paper asking parents to choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice, try using the free site https://calendly.com/

The site (which I only use for this purpose) lets you adjust your time in whatever increments you want, as soon as parent books a spot they get an email confirmation, and then the time slot disappears so other parents can't see it. 

I made a 6 minute video (above and linked HERE) walking you through how to set up an account, create a parent/teacher calendar, what the parent sees and what you see when your times start booking up. 

I shared this with our teachers but I thought it might help others as well. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Morning News Shows and How To Create Video Overlays with a Windows Device




This week I have been working with several schools as they start putting together their morning news program for the school year.

Almost exclusively schools are using Touchcast to produce their morning show. It is super cool free software with lots of templates and green screen capability (plus so much more...really I need to apply to become an ambassador!). The only downfall is that it is an app and software only for Apple devices (most schools have bought an iPad to record their shows...it is that good!).

We have one school that just started their morning show and the person in charge (Mr. Blaine Peltier at Robert Smalls International Academy)  has done an OUTSTANDING job. I went in to see how he is doing some of his graphics and learned he has been doing them on his personal Mac at home (which, sadly, I do not have).

My favorite effect on his video is the Pledge of Allegiance where he has a two video overlays with words scrolling on the screen.

I was determined to figure out a Windows based version of it and succeeded (3 hours later!). The video above will walk you through the steps if you are interested in something similar.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Activity Book and Badge



The Planetary Society has partnered with the U.S. National Park Service to create an Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer activity book.

You can download the PDF for free of the book. It is pretty colorful so you may want to print it in black and white.

If you have classes tomorrow (Monday, August 21st) you might want to consider that as an activity for the day. Parents can then take their child to the nearest National Park to get their badge for completing the activities in the book.

Definitely call ahead though to make sure they have badges. The program is only offered at NATIONAL parks not STATE ones (I called our State Park without thinking but they pointed me in the right direction).

Happy Eclipse!



Saturday, August 5, 2017

FREE Eclipse Resource - REGISTER NOW (8 day waiting period)



Here in South Carolina we will be in the path of a full eclipse on Monday, August 21st. Many schools in the state have pushed their start date for students to Tuesday, August 22nd, as the eclipse is due to occur at dismissal time for many of the schools and their is concern about walk/biking home in the dark as well as curious students looking directly at the sun.

In our district students will be going back-to-school two days earlier (17th/18th) with the 21st off for teacher PD. Our district science coordinator has arranged for free solar eclipse classes to be given to all students K-12 and has put together resources for teachers to use during lesson planning.

Just about every grade level will get a lesson on what an eclipse is and how it occurs, as well as general safety tips.

With that said, I have been on the look out for science resources related to the eclipse as well. Today one from Mystery Science came up on my Twitter feed.

Mystery Science is a subscription based service that provides science lesson plans but for the eclipse they are offering their eclipse lesson (Why are people making a big deal about the solar eclipse?) FREE.

I went to access the lesson by registering on the site but there is an eight day waiting period so DON'T WAIT. You can speed up the waiting period by referring other teachers but I try not to spam my teacher friends if possible.

There are some sample Mystery Science videos that give you an idea of their lesson structures and they look pretty cool (videos, questions, easy hands on activities).

So if students go back in August and you are planning to address the eclipse you might want to check out the Mystery Science site and register to start your eight day waiting period today.