Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Here is our annual holiday Sing-a-Long as captured through Google Glass.  Enjoy!

And here is an encore JibJab video from the wonderful staff that I work with each day.  

I look forward to blogging in 2013 and all that the new year will bring.  May each of you have a wonderful break.  I'll see in 2014.

Monday, December 16, 2013

All I Want For Christmas

This year my Christmas wish list isn't very big.  I had told my students back in November that all I wanted for Christmas was Google Glass.  Well, that wish came true just a few weeks ago and I'm as happy as can be.  Glass is truly an amazing technology.
But. . . . 

Let's take a look at a few other great gadgets that could have made my list this year:

#1 Pencil - Read this blog post or watch the video below.

#2 X-Mini II Portable Speaker - My speakers are ancient and have very poor quality.

#3 Scratch #2, I'd rather have this one!

#4 HP Chromebook 14 - My son has one for High School and I'm really liking what I see!  

#5 Fitbit Aria Fitness Band - this neat wrist band can track my fitness exercise, sleep and weight loss goal.  And it can pair with my iPhone and the Fitbit app.

Here is a short video suggesting some helpful apps for Christmas Shopping:

Even though these gadgets are on my wish list, I'm thankful for all of the great technology gadgets that I already have.  Do you have something special on your wish list this year?

Here is a little gift from me to you and your students:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Random Collection of Resources and Interactives

Here are a few random finds from my Feedly this week.

Punctuation Campground is an interactive for students to practice adding punctuation.  Students can get hints and check their answers.  I like that the sentences get progressively more difficult.

Exit ticket is a site for providing real time feedback to students and teachers throughout or after a lesson.  Here is an introductory video:

Scholastic has a nice collection of graphic organizers.
Finland has been know to have a very different and successful model of education.  Here are three videos showing a peek into Finland schools.  I find it refreshing to see that teachers are required to have a masters degree and are given the freedom to teach the way they feel is going to benefit the students.  I am a bit envious of the fact that the atmosphere is so relaxed and casual in the schools.  

I can't wait to see what this week's Feedly brings.  I always enjoy my time spent reading posts from others. Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kahoot - A Really Fun Student Response Application

This week I tried out a new site called Kahoot and it was a HUGE success with my students and with the teachers in Hartland, WI where I presented this past weekend.

Kahoot allows you to create a quiz (survey or discussion).  The teacher needs to sign up for a free account to create a quiz.  The students do not need an account to take the quiz.  

The teacher projects the quiz in the front of the room and the students answer the multiple choice questions on any device.

Students only need to get the pin to enter into the quiz.  
Questions appear very visual and the choices are colored boxes with shapes.  After each question, the quiz also projects the students with the top 5 scores. 

While taking the quiz, music plays in the background and the questions are timed, which the teacher sets the time when setting up the quiz. 

When the quiz is finished, teachers can download the results.  

One of my favorite features is the ability to preview a quiz before launching it.

Check out this video:

To sign up for an account go to
Students need to go to

I highly recommend giving Kahoot a try!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Feedly Finds For the Week

Feedly is a sight I use to follow a lot of different blogs.  It has been such a great week on the blogosphere that I just have to share some great finds from Feedly this past week.

#1 CLICK HERE to access Richard Byrne's blog (Free Technology for Teachers).  Richard shares that Educlipper now has a new feature which allows teachers to create assignment portfolios. 

#2 CLICK HERE to read The Digital Scoop blog where Susan shares a great lesson on inferring using Google Drawing.  

#3 CLICK HERE to see how Kristin from Technology Tailgate showcases different ways that she is using Augmented Reality in her classroom.  I'm very close to implementing some Augmented Reality into my math class.  I'm just waiting for the Layar App to be installed onto our iPads.

#4 CLICK HERE to read The Whiteboard Blog where Danny Nicholson shares a new app called Touchcast.  Touchcast is used to make interactive video presentations.  I actually first heard about this app from my friend Naomi Harm.  Touchcast is really an amazing tool that I can't wait to try!

#5 CLICK HERE to read Erin Klein's blog, Kleinspiration.  Erin writes about an animation app from ABCya.  


Thank you to each of these bloggers for sharing these great ideas and tools with the rest of us.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Putting Some Presentation Tools to the Test

Recently I attended an Intel Summit for Teachers Engage.  Each participant was asked to create a short presentation to introduce themselves to the group.  

The variety and creativity of presentations that were submitted were incredible.  I love the fact that each participant was able to use a tool of their choice to present their information. Because the presentations contain personal information, I will not include them here. 

I do want to share with you all of the presentation tools that were used.  So many choices.

#1 Prezi - This presentation tool has transformed over the years and offers a lot of choice which helps to make each Prezi special and unique.  I really like the fade-in animation option that was added. 

#2 Glogster - This online poster maker allows for many forms of media including video, animation, audio, links, images, and text.  When I used Glogster with my students recently, they praised this tool and many of them told me they loved making a Glogster. 

#3 YouTube Slideshow Creator and YouTube Editor- This is such a great way to create a slideshow with images and video.  It is simple and easy to use.  There are many choices for transitions, layering text and music to add to your video.  I am hesitant to use this tool with my 5th graders, however, because of the content students would encounter during the time that they have access to YouTube.  
Here is my presentation:

#4 Animoto - One of my very, very favorite video creation tools.  Creating an Animoto is so simple that even younger elementary students can learn how.  The only downfall is that a person can only create a 30 second video for free.  To create a longer video requires signing up for a monthly fee.

#5 One True Media -I love the look of this video creation tool. The video is presented in a colorful player interface.  Just like Animoto, you are able to create a 30 second video for free and need to upgrade to a pro membership in order to make longer videos.

#6 Google Presentations - Hello simplicity!  If you can make a Powerpoint, you can create a Google Presentation. And you can even upload a Powerpoint to Google Drive and then right click to open it in Google Slides, which is basically a Google Presentation. Choose transitions and customize how the Presentation will play when embedded or just share the link.

#7 Magisto - very similar to Animoto or One True Media. The best feature is that this video creator is just plain simple to use.  In just 4 steps you can "Make a Movie" to "Tell Your Story".  If you make your video public, others can comment or like your video and also share your video. 

#8 Ribbet - You're going to love this collage maker / photo editor.  Let's just take a look at how cool this tool is:
I started with a collage and just added photos, stickers, text and a boarder.  This site has so many choices and possiblilties.

#9 Videolicious - This is a video creator.  Videolicious can put your photos, video clips and sound into a professional looking video.  But what is really great is the Videolicious App!  It allows you to show your photos and then switch directly to video recording.  Check out this awesome example:

#10 Tackk -  This site allows you create a "ridiculously simple" looking webpage.  The finished page can have any of the following pieces:
Check out my Tackk page I created by clicking here.  Pretty awesome, right?

#11 Augmented Reality with the Layar App - This application is so amazing that it will require its own blog post.  Sorry to leave you hanging, but it will be worth the wait.  I plan to post about the Layar app and augmented reality soon. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Send to Kindle Google Chrome Extension

In just a few short days, I'm off to Portland, OR to work with Naomi Harm, Marshal Conley and Intel for Education.  I am really excited and I can hardly wait to spend time "getting my tech on".

Since I will have quite a long flight, and I am hoping to spend some time reading during the flight, I need to get prepared.  Now I just heard that airlines are supposed to be allowing passengers to turn on electronic devices during take offs, landings and taxing, however, I'm not going to count on it.  

In case you didn't know this about me, I am an avid Kindle user.  I never purchase books anymore.  Basically if I want to read a book, I immediately look to see if it comes in ebook format.  

One way that I love to read on my Kindle is to send webpages from the web directly to my Kindle.  To do this I use an extension called Send to Kindle for Google Chrome.  When I come to an article or blog post that I want to read on my kindle, I simply click on the extension.  From there I can do a couple of things.

I can preview how the text will look before sending.  I can highlight and select only the text I wish to send to my Kindle or I can just send to Kindle without any delay.  If I preview first I can choose how the text will look on my Kindle:

On my Kindle all I need to do is connect to wifi and the articles will be downloaded.  After that I will no longer need wifi to read the articles, so this makes using my Kindle on an airplane a great way to read the web without needing to be connected to the Internet.

If you have a Kindle and haven't tried the Send to Kindle for Google Chrome extension, I highly recommend giving it a try.

In the mean time, safe travels everyone!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Copyright Free Images - You Need to Know This

I use a lot of images off of the Internet.  Sometimes I use them for this blog, or other times I use them for my websites or classroom assignments.  Recently I needed images for a slideshow that I had to make.

My students also use images all of the time for their projects and assignments.  This week we are making ebooks on our ipads.

Here is some help with finding copyright free images.

Many of us allow our students to use Google Images to search for pictures.  Here is how you use the advanced search to find images that are free to use and share.

Go to
Click on the gear icon
Click on advanced search
Type in what you are searching for
Scroll down and click on Usage Rights
Then click on Free to use or share
Lastly click on Advanced.

Flickr is one of the most well known sites for finding images. However, all of the images on Flickr are not copyright free.  To find images safe for reuse:

Type in what you are looking for in the search bar
Click on Advanced Search
Scroll down to Creative Commons
Check on Only Search Within Creative Commons Licensed Content
Make sure to look closely at the type of license the user has and always include a link to the image.

Here are some other sites for teachers and students to use to find copyright free images:

Photo Pin

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

YouTube Editor and Slideshow Maker

Today I am sharing with our staff YouTube Editor and YouTube Slideshow Maker. If you need a quick way to make a slideshow or if you need to edit one of your videos, these are great tools! Naomi Harm is the inspiration behind sharing this blog post with all of you. 

To access both of these tools, first sign into your YouTube account and then click on the UPLOAD tab.

First, lets look at YouTube slideshow maker.
Here is a slideshow that I made.  I used pictures from Pixabay, which is a site that provides copyright free images.  Thanks to Naomi Harm for tweeting about this site.

Watch this short video to see how I made this slideshow.

Now let's look at YouTube Editor.

I highly recommend giving YouTube Slideshow Maker and YouTube Editor a try.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Google Docs Research Tool, Glogster, and Common Core

This past week my students worked on a cultures project.  In our reading series we have been reading about how different cultures have unique celebrations, traditions and foods.

To extend what we read and to meet the CCSS, the students each chose a culture to research and gather information on.  We used the research tool in Google Docs to find our information and search for images.  Prior to this lesson, we did a lesson on finding reliable websites called Detecting Lies from this collection.

Watch the video to see how the research tool works.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Click here for the Cultures Research Doc if you would like to use it in your classroom.

After the research was completed, students took the information and created a Glogster to display the information.  Here are some examples:

Our last step is that we need to link our research document to our Glogsters.  Then we plan to present them in class.  I like that this project incorporated Google Docs and the research tool as well as a multimedia Glogster.  My students LOVED using all of the technology and were enthusiastic about the project as a whole. And we worked on several CCSS.  Success!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tab Cloud Chrome Extension

How many tabs do you have opened in your browser?  Yes, I'm asking you right now; how many tabs?

I personally have quite a few:

Perhaps the Tab Cloud extension could be helpful to you.  
Here is how it works:
You are at work and you have several tabs opened on your Chrome browser that you are working on.  It's time to go home and you want to continue working with the same sites you have opened when you get home.  Or perhaps you are taking a night off and you want to come back to the same tabs the next day.  The Tab Cloud extension will save your opened tabs for you and allow you to reopen them another time and place.  Even on a different computer!

To get the extension, visit the Chrome Web Store and search for Tab Cloud.  A quick way to find extensions is to click on the extensions tab at the top.

Once installed, you simply need to click on the Tab Cloud extension in your extensions bar to save the tabs you have opened. You can even name the collection of tabs.  This is very useful if you are a presenter and you need a certain collection of tabs for your presentation, or a teacher and you need a certain collection of tabs for a lesson.

If I want to save the collection of tabs that I have opened, I will simply click on the save icon at the top.  Each opened tab is shown with a small icon showing what the web page is.  In this case I have Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, Chrome Web Store, Blogger, Gmail and Google opened.

As you can see below, I have saved several collections of tabs with the extension.  The top one was for a site with microscope pictures, then a collection of tabs for the Google Summit I presented at and another collection for a presentation for my students.  Then if I click on the green plus, a new window will open with the collection of tabs.  If I click on the red minus my collection of tabs will be deleted.  

This extension has been very helpful to me and has saved me a lot of time.  I highly recommend trying the Cloud Tab extension!

Monday, October 14, 2013

UW-Oshkosh Google and Intel Mini Summit

This past Saturday I presented at the UW Oshkosh Google and Intel Mini Summit organized by Innovative Educator Consulting CEO Naomi Harm.

As always, Naomi brought in an amazing team of presenters and gave attendees more than they bargained for in terms of the greatest technologies in the edtech world.

One of the presenters was Ben Hommerding, a Google Certified Teacher,  from the Winneconne School District.  Ben presented on Google Glass and he was fantastic.  Ben wore his Google Glass and did live demonstrations through out his presentation.  I must say that I am quite envious of the fact that he has Google Glass and I don't.  This technology is going to change the educational world in the coming years. 
 Click here to view parts of Ben's presentation.

I had the pleasure of teaming up with a good friend of mine, Tim Neilsen.  Tim works for Innovative Educator Consulting as is a Google Power Searcher.  I always learn a ton of tricks and new applications when I spend time with Tim.  
We presented on Google Apps and Extensions.  The feedback from our audience was great and I feel we did a nice job of giving them a huge variety of tools to add to their digital toolboxes.  I will be blogging about many of the apps and extensions in the near future. 
Click here for our page of resources. 

Finally, I was lucky enough to present along side the amazing Naomi Harm.  She is one of the most dynamic presenters I know. A person can learn so much from Naomi's vision for mobile learning and educational technology.  We presented on Flipped Teaching as well as YouTube editor and other useful YouTube tools.

The summit took place at Sage Hall which was just built in the past two years.  The technology and set up of the rooms in Sage Hall is unbelievable.  Duo projectors, full sound system, touch screen controls of the entire room, adjustable presentation table that can be raised or lowered to your preference, hook ups for every device, and a document camera that rocks!  I did NOT want to leave my classroom and would love to teach in an environment like this every day.  WoW! It was really impressive!

I feel so fortunate when I am given opportunities such as this one; presenting and spending a day with people from all over the state. Educators that are coming together to learn new technologies and pedagogy for bettering their teaching profession.  And I felt an appreciation for my knowledge and willingness to share what I know.  It just doesn't get any better!