Thursday, September 11, 2014

Netsmartz Online Safety Lesson

This is our 3rd week of school and the students are ready to start blogging and exploring other web-based platforms. To prepare for our online activity, we have been using to learn about digital citizenship, netiquette, and online safety. Our first two visits to the computer lab were spent exploring the Netsmartz website which has great videos and activities that are geared toward a younger audience. Students can safely explore the site and play the games while learning what it is to be a digital citizen. 
Today we watched “Router’s Birthday Surprise” together and reviewed all of the safety rules that we have learned. We ended our lesson by signing an internet safety pledge. We are ready to be safe online and offline! This afternoon the students wrote their first blog post. Many of them wrote about what they have learned. Please visit our student blogs HERE. They did a great job for first time bloggers!
IMG_20140904_140029The videos and activities are fun and engaging so it makes learning about online safety fun!
2014-09-10 09.01.18Watching “Router’s Birthday Surprise”
2014-09-10 09.34.00Making our learning and thinking visible.
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2014-09-10 09.32.52Signing the Internet Safety Pledge.

UYN - Use Your Netsmartz! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tangled Web Team-Building Activity

photo credit: Louise Morgan

I love doing this activity the first week and throughout the year. It's fun to see how much better the students get at making the web and undoing it. They really have to work together as a team for it to be successful. 

Materials - 1 ball of yarn
Directions - To start, the group sits in a circle. From here you will give one of the members in your group a ball of string. This person will then say their name and one thing about themselves. E.g. “I have a brother” or “I like playing football”. Then any member of your group who has that thing in common puts their hand up. The person with the yarn chooses a person and rolls the ball of yarn to him/her. When the person receives the ball of yarn, they must hold on to the yarn before rolling it to the next person. The cycle then repeats. Continue until each person has had a turn and the class has created a huge web.  Talk about all of the different ways in which your group is interconnected. This will hopefully create a sense of unity between your members, as it visually depicts a number of commonalities that your group shares. 
Tip - Keep it moving. Some students will get tired of holding their string and will pull on it or mess with it. This is a great activity for demonstrating self control and how important it is work together.
Extension - After we have made our web a few times during the first few weeks, then we go backwards and try to undo the web by rolling the yarn in reverse order. It is very challenging but when they do it successfully, it is very rewarding. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reform Symposium Free Web Conference July 11-13

Join 1000+ teachers online for an inspirting event showcasing "wow" learning worldwide! Featuring 2 plenaries, 60+ presentations, 11 keynotes, panel discussions, tech/app/lessons swaps, and more! 

I am looking forward to this weekend's Reform Symposium Free Web Conference. It will be 3 days packed with learning and inspiration from the educators from around the world. For more information please follow the #RSCON5 hashtag on Twitter and visit The Future of Education page for a complete listing of sessions, presenters, and times. 

I will be doing two sessions plus participating in an app smackdown where I will be talking about Write About This . Here is the information for my sessions:

The Global Classroom Project 
When: Friday July 11, 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm (central time)
Description: Learn how a great idea and a simple tweet turned into a dynamic network of international educators who collaborate and participate in global projects. This session will highlight some of our projects and how you can get involved.

Tech and App Swapalooza
When: Saturday July 12, 9:00 - 10:00 am (central time)
Desription: Anyone can join in with a 2 minute presentation of their favorite app or web tool.

Reduce the Paper! Student-Created Digital Portfolios
When: Saturday July 12, 10:00 - 10:30 am (central time)
Description: Discover how your students can document their learning and thinking while reducing the amount of paper used in your classroom. Learn how students can create digital portfolios using ipad apps and Kidblog.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Globally Connected at #ISTE2014

We started our journey to #ISTE2014 on Friday by driving from Texas to Alabama where we stayed with my dear #2ndchat friend Carol McLaughin. We have worked together for several years on #2ndchat and have collaborated on a few projects. It was so fun getting to sit on her couch and just chat!

Saturday morning we arrived, checked in, got our peach popcicle and got busy. What an exciting first day at #ISTE2014! We started out in the Bloggers Cafe where I met many new people as we shared our Networking Game Codes. It's pretty cool how the game "forces" you to talk to people and pulls you out of the comfort zone. I met so many great people today while exchanging codes. 

One of the highlights of my day was seeing Monte Tatom again (I met him last year at #ISTE13), Shelley Terrell, and John Spencer. I have participated in so many of Shelley's webinars and it was nice to finally meet her in person.

Monte Tatom and Shelley Terrell
I also met Brad Wilson - the creator of the Write About This app. This is a really great app for elementary-age students and I can't wait to see what else he comes up with. I love his Twitter handle: @dreambition. I think that many ISTE attendees have big dreams and lots of ambition for our classrooms. Entrpreneurs like Brad help make that happen.
Brad Wilson of
I finally met some of my #globalclassroom colleagues face-to-face and I loved how it we already felt so comfortable with each other because of the time we have spent working together virtually over the past several years.
Hugh MacDonald and Robyn Thiessen, and Karen Stadler
I attended the Global Education Conference Summit in the afternoon and enjoyed the round table discussions and ignite sessions. I actually got up there and presented an ignite session for the Global Classroom Project! Wow! Fun and scary all at the same time!

I also got to meet the amazing Kitty Tripp!
Listening to Aaron Brzowski explain Project Purus and how he brought clean water to the SAV School in Nepal. 

We went over to the CNN Center to grab a quick dinner before the keynote and because it was so busy we sat with a young man we didn't know, but was wearing an ISTE tag. We had a great time getting to know Edxavier from Puerto Rico and then Popy from Canada joined us! Wonder if we would ever do that at the mall at home?
Edxavier, Popy, and my hubby!
After the keynote, we worked together at the Global Classroom poster session sharing our amazing stories and encouraging others to get globally connected. It was also a great time to meet more people.
Preston Morgan, Anne Mirtschin, Theresa Allen, Karen Stadler, Robyn Thiessen, Louise Morgan, David Karnoscak
David Karnoscak and Elvira (Elle_Gifted)
Summer Diamond and Karen Stadler
Molly Risewick-Zeno

It was a long day, but truly memorable. Can't wait for tomorrow!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

TCEA Tots and Tech 2014 Presentations

I am very excited about attending TCEA Tots and Technology Conference in Galveston, TX. It will be two days of learning from the very best educators! I love this conference and am looking forward to presentations and hands-on learning that I can use in my 2nd grade classroom. Check out the complete schedule!

My Presentations

Tuesday June 17th at 8:00 am

You CAN do it ALL! Transform your classroom into a 21st Century Learning Environment

Tuesday June 17th at 2:00 pm
Reduce the Paper! Student-Created Digital Portfolios with iPads

Click HERE for link to Google Presentation

See you there!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chromville - Augmented Reality in the Classroom

During a recent Twitter chat, I learned about a new augmented reality app called Chromville. A group of very creative people in Spain have come up with an imaginary world that you can bring to life using this FREE iOS and Android app!  
My students enjoyed visiting the website,, to print the coloring sheets and read about the history of the villages. They selected their favorite character to color and experience in 3D. We are now diligently working on stories to go with our characters. This has been a perfect opportunity to work on the writing process by brainstorming ideas and getting creative! 
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The app brings the coloring sheet to life. The animated characters and scenery are inspiring!
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2014-03-25 09.14.58
The characters and scenery become animated right on the students' desks!
As an added bonus, the students were able to Skype with the Chromville creators all the way from Spain! We were able to ask questions and learn more about the magical world and how it was created! We learned that artists and programmers must work together to create the 3D animation, come up with the stories, and make the app. Some of the students also shared their ideas for the stories they are working on.

2014-04-02 08.18.00

2014-04-02 08.25.11

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We were also treated to a demonstration of another one of their projects: Imascono - Augmented Reality Apparel. The t-shirt image triggers different heads. This one is a power ranger, but we also saw a chameleon and a gorilla!

chromville selfie

This good-looking group of geniuses are the creative energy behind Chromville. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us! 

Chromville Home:
Chromville Instructions:
Download coloring pages:

Imascono Home:
Imascono video:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Creation Apps for the One iPad Classroom

Every elementary school teacher in our district just received an iPad! What fun we have had learning how to use our new devices and finding new apps. Many of the teachers are uncertain about how they will utilze just one iPad in their classroom. They know it will be good for classroom management tasks such as attendance, email, lesson planning, etc...but how will the students benefit? 

As soon as I received my iPad, I treated myself to a $25.00 iTunes gift card and downloaded several apps that I have wanted to try. During our Daily 5 and Math rotations, I meet with students and use the iPad for different activities - mostly content creation. 

My goal is to have a digital portfolio for our class and each student that will showcase their learning throughout the year. To accomplish this, I have a class Edublog and student Kidblogs. Anything they create is permanently documented on their blog. For instance, when we do an exciting Skype session or a fun activity, I will write about it and post pictures on our class blog. The students will also do posts about the experience on their own blogs. 

In addition to writing, the students create content using iPad apps. In order to use the content they have created on their blog, the app needs to have the "save to camera roll" feature. Many apps will only allow you to upload to YouTube, Facebook, or their site. My preference is to be able to embed their work on their blog from the cameral roll. Here are some of my favorites along with examples:

30Hands: Create and Show What You Know
We used this app together a few times, but then the students were able to use it independently. When they are done, they save to the camera roll and the upload it to their Kidblog. So far, my students have only used one slide for their presentations, but more slides can be added.
Here is an example:

Write About This

Write About This
FREE or $3.99
We used the free version of this app quite a bit, but I bought the upgraded version so they would have more options. There are picture prompts with questions and the student writes a response and then records their voice. The paid version gives more picture choices and allows the student to take their own picture. 

Example using the paid version:

Example of student work using the free version:

Tellagami is a wonderful free app that allows the students to create an avatar, choose their appearance and background, and then record their voice. Since the avatars are adults, we used this app when we were studying African American Inventors. The students researched an inventor, wrote about them on their blog, and then created a "gami" for their inventor. 

Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets Complete
Sock Puppets Complete is an adorable app that has many uses. It allows up to 4 puppets and the students have many puppets to choose from, along with backgrounds and props. I used this when we were learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. The students worked in groups or pairs to research and write a script about why we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. I worked with each group to help them record. As each student speaks, you have to touch their puppet so the mouth moves. The free version of this app is good for the students to practice on, but it only records for 30 seconds and must be saved to YouTube or Facebook. The complete version gives an additional minute of recording time, more puppets, backgrounds, and prop choices, and it also allows you to save to the camera roll. 

Puppet Pals 2: All Access
Puppet Pals 2: All Access
This is a great app that gives the students lots of choice for characters, settings, and music. The All Access version offers a lot of flexibility. We used this for our Martin Luther King scripts also. I also helped the students record their presentations because, just like Sock Puppets, you have to touch the puppet so the mouth will move. You can also move them around. Our first attempts could use some improvement, but it was really fun going through the creative process with the students. The students are already coming up with ideas for new productions! 

This is an easy, fun way to make collages out of photos. We used PicCollage to create collections of patterns we found in the school. 

There are so many more great apps out there that I can't wait to try. I will keep you updated!