Saturday, December 29, 2012

Are You A Google Driver?

If you aren't using Google Drive in your is the day to start! Drive offers so many wonderful collaboration tools to use easily in the classroom with students of all ages.

Watch the video below to see how one teacher is using Drive to have her students collaborate while writing. With Common Core Standards students are expected to collaborate with peers to complete a piece of writing. This teacher is using Drive to do just that!

I know these are high school students, but elementary students can do this too! The possibilities for using Google Drive in the classroom are endless.

What are some ways you can use Drive in your classroom?

*Create documents for students to collaborate with other classmates or the teacher.
*Create graphic organizers for students to fill in as a group
*Create forms to poll students (lunch choices, graphing activities, surveys, etc.)
*Create quizzes and tests using a Google Form (makes grading easy)
*Collaborate with fellow teachers
*Click Here to read more wonderful ideas!

I hope you give Google Drive a try if you aren't already using it! If you are, share a way you find it handy in your classroom by leaving a comment.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On My Board

Recently, the teachers at our school received iPads to use in their classrooms. They are currently working with one iPad in the classroom, so we are getting pretty creative so the kiddos can get as much use out of the iPads as possible. So...something had to be done so our teachers could display the iPad screen on their Promethean Boards. Our Art Teacher was the first teacher to ask if there was a way he could draw on his iPad while the students watched on the board. The gears started to turn! Yes, a VGA adapter could be used to plug the iPad directly into the computer, but he did not want to be limited to sitting in one spot while showing his screen on the board. As a team, we found a solution...AirServer!

Airserver is a program that you download to your computer. It is a standard app on Mac, but you can download it to a PC also. The program allows you to mirror your iPad2 or New iPad on your computer screen.  It is a piece of cake to use too! Airserver is a great solution for the one iPad classroom because the iPad can be passed around, and the whole class can interact because the screen is being projected on the board. The mobility this app gives in the classroom is wonderful! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Menus for Multiple Intelligences

I am currently working on a Masters, and the class I just finished was about teaching reading strategies across content areas. I wanted to share one of the most popular strategies  I shared with my classmates, and almost all of them included it in their final presentations.

The idea is simple. We all have diverse classrooms when it comes to how students learn. Everyone learns differently...right? Well, a few years ago, I took a graduate class offered by my school district that taught me how to integrate technology while thinking about the different ways students learn. I am now teaching this class, I loved it so much! I learned from one of the best Technology Facilitators in my district, Mrs. Fran Mauney! Please check out her blog here. She has wonderful ideas for teaching in the 21st Century Classroom.

So...what is this splendid strategy you ask? Menus...Multiple Intelligence Menus

These menus are created for a unit of study and give students a variety of choices to be assessed on their learning. That's right friends, CHOICE! Let me just say that the first time I used a menu with my kiddos...I was a bit terrified. I was going to cut them loose, give them choices on how to present information they had learned , and they were going to do all of this independently in class. Wow! That was a lot to take in, but it was wonderful! My students were engaged, I was "teaching", and they retained so much.

How exactly do the multiple intelligences come into play here? Simple. You create a menu with activities for your kiddos to choose from that include all the intelligences. There is a project for everyone, no matter their learning style. Also, technology tools are a must. Integrating technology into a menu is easy, and your students will create some amazing products.You just model for them how to use different technology tools throughout the year, and then add them to your menus. Believe me, they will be able to complete projects with minimal help from you if you make sure to model for them before hand.

Here is an example (this is one I created for geometry):
Geometry-Menu Leah

You can find many more that were created by teachers in our district here.

I really hope you will implement a menu this year! You will be so surprised at how easy and rewarding it is.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Web 2.0 For Everyone

Over the summer, I have trained teachers to use a variety of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. I wanted to share some of my favorites. I have blogged about a lot of them, but you really should check out some of the sites to use in your classroom this year. Some of them will help you organize both your classroom and home life, while some of them are special sites for the kiddos to use. Over the course of this year, I will share how these can be used in the classroom in more depth, but I wanted to go ahead and share the list so you could do some exploring!

Organization Tools

Bookmarking Tools
Creation Tools
Planning Tools
Collaboration/Sharing Tools

All of these tools are awesome and FREE! Some of them you don't even have to create an account to use. This makes them simple to implement in the classroom. I hope you can find at least one to use this year! Make sure to check out This is definitely one of my favorites!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let's Go On A Virtual Field Trip

OK...let me first say Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I am overwhelmed at the blog traffic and number of followers this little ol' blog has accumulated this summer. I am so honored to have every single one of you reading my blog. I started this blog last summer as a way to share technology ideas and to remember them for myself. I love, love, love everything that has to do with integrating technology into the classroom, and I am so blessed to be able to share some of my ideas here. Again, thanks so much for your kind comments and emails. I am delighted to work with teachers all over the globe! Hopefully, this coming school year I will be posting a lot more often. Since I am transitioning into a new job, I plan to make Sunday my blogging day since it used to be my lesson plan getting ready day!

So without further ado...I thought I would share a little idea I had while creating a differentiated menu this summer (more on that to come).

How about if you are teaching your students about a specific region or place around the world? You can have them create virtual field trips for their classmates! Some of us take our students on virtual field trips using Google Earth or just the plain old Internet, but what if you had them create the field trip themselves. It could even be a virtual field trip from around the school building. All your students need to have is some pictures and a program such as Windows Live Movie Maker, Animoto, or Microsoft Photostory. All the students have to do is upload their pictures to one of the programs, annotate the pictures, and present.

Here is one I made as a sample to take a field trip to the Coastal Zone of South Carolina.

I think this would be great to assign as a group project and have students present the information. It could also be done as an individual project. Why not let this be the test/quiz on a region's landforms, tourist attractions, animals, government, etc.?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Digital Read Aloud

Have you ever thought of using digital read alouds in a reading center? The other night I was lost in You Tube land and started searching for some of my favorite books I use while teaching. I was pleasantly surprised at all the videos that have been created of books being read aloud. Some of them have even been animated! Love it! You could use them easily on an interactive board or an iPad to read to your students or have them use a mobile device or computer in a reading center to read or reread books. You could even take it a little farther with older kiddos and have them video themselves reading a book aloud. Create a classroom You Tube account and you will have an audio book library to call your own. Older students could also animate picture books using Movie Maker or Photo Story.

Here are a few of my favorites that I ran across:

Who doesn't love the pigeon? I use these books to teach persuasive writing.

I use this one to teach point of view.

Another great website for digital books is There are tons of both fiction and nonfiction books on this site and they are FREE! The books are not read aloud, but I have projected them on the board or had students read them at our classroom computers. There are a lot of nonfiction books about animals that could be used for research projects. You could also project the nonfiction ones on the board to discuss text features. One more could use a screen recorder to record yourself reading one of the books from the website. Then, students could listen and read along. If you have Promethean ActivInspire, just use the video recorder to do this (see a tutorial on how to do this here). 

So...the next time you want to spice up your read aloud, check You Tube or WeGiveBooks to see if a video has been made. Or...make your own to share with your kiddos. OR...have your kiddos make one to share!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tagxedo Roster Tutorial

Hello friends! Over the last couple of days, I have received multiple email messages about creating the classroom roster using Tagxedo that I blogged about here. So...I thought I would do a step by step tutorial for creating a roster like mine if you would like to try it for yourself.

Here is the one I created:

I have listed some common problems and the fixes below so everyone can easily replicate what I have done here.

How do I get my name to be bigger than my students' names?
Type your name in multiple times. The more times you type in a word, the bigger it appears in the word cloud.

How do I keep my name from separating into two words?
Do not space between Mrs. and your last name. Tagxedo does not read spaces. You will also need to go to click word/layout options (see below) and change punctuation to yes.

How do I get my name to be horizontal and the students' names to be vertical?
Click on Shape and then choose Classic Cloud (V) at the bottom of the screen. To get it to look the way you want, you may need to change the font, layout, and orientation. This part takes a bit of playing around.

How do I get every word to post only once?
Click on word/layout options. Then, click layout and make sure "Allow Replication" is on "No". This will allow your students' names to only show once.

These were the most common questions that I have received. If you still have trouble getting it to work the way you want, just email me or leave a comment and I will be more than happy to help!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Classroom Library Organizer

If you have a smartphone or an iPad, I have a great app for you! Have you ever wanted to know exactly what books you have in your classroom library? Do you want to check books out to your students and know who has them and for how long? Well, now you can do just that with Classroom Organizer.


You can sign up for a free membership and start organizing your classroom library. There is an app for iPhone and iPad you can use to scan the books right into the program. Students can check out books and check books back in just like a regular library! Can you say, “Awesomesauce”? I sure can.

Even though I won’t have a classroom of kiddos this year, I am going to organize my professional library to check out books to teachers in my school. I can’t wait to use this tool. I hope you can find some use for it as well.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“Mrs. ______, I Can’t Find the Website!”

How many times have you given your students a URL to type in and they just can’t seem to get to the website you intended? As an elementary school teacher, I have encountered this problem many times. Even though my students are more tech savvy than I was at their age, they sometimes struggle with typing in a URL correctly. I have found even writing it down for them and having them copy it directly into the address bar is challenging for some. It also takes a while for an untrained keyboarder to type a long URL quickly as well.

I am here to tell you that there is a wonderful website that will completely eradicate this problem. In my current grad class, I am learning about all kinds of Web 2.0 tools that can be easily used to help our little ones along.

So, without further ado… I introduce to you Fav7! By visiting this website, you can create a page of up to 7 websites that you would like your kiddos to have easy access to. All they have to type in is and a code that is given when you set up a site. This is absolutely free, and you can create as many as you like.

Here is an example of what one would look like:


You simply type in or copy/paste the websites into Fav7 and voila! You have a nice page made for you just like this that the kids can visit and click on each site.


Sunday, February 5, 2012


If you haven’t heard of Symbaloo, I am here to tell you that you MUST check it out. I have fallen in love with this site after learning about it from my professor, this semester of grad school. Symbaloo is a site that let’s you create Webmixes for your home screen. If you are an organization freak like me, you will LOVE it. It works a lot like iGoogle, but with a nicer format that allows you to arrange websites you visit often into a tiled screen. You can create as many different Webmixes as you choose. You can even create mixes of RSS feeds so you can just click on one screen and keep up with your favorite blogs or other sites with a feed.

Here is a quick peek into my Symbaloo home screen!


I have arranged it so that I have school sites on top, personal on bottom, Web2.0 tools on the left, and social sites on the right. There is a little shopping down there at the bottom too!

The large tile in the middle can serve as a Google search, but it will also show Facebook and Twitter feeds when widgets are used.

You can also do this:


That my friends is RSS feeds from some of my favorite technology blogs. I don’t have to visit Google Reader to see them anymore!

Did I mention that you can share Webmixes also? Yes, that is right. You could create one to share with fellow teachers. I plan on creating some for units of study to share with my grade level team. You could even share them with your students. A login is not required for others to use the mix you create if you share it. You can share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, or even embed it into your class website. My gears are spinning right now! I think I am off to create a mix for my students to use for our upcoming unit on the Civil War. I will make sure to share it with all you wonderful blog friends when I am finished.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Where Have I Been?

I have unfortunately neglected two of my favorite things, my blog and my bloggy friends.  I apologize. Holy moly, life is chaotic. On top of all the teacher responsibilities, I have been training fellow teachers on Promethean ActivInspire across my district, and grad school has reared its ugly head. I really love to blog and share things with all of my wonderful teacher blog friends, but I haven’t been able to find the time to sit down and share over the past couple of months. I have been too busy reading about educational philosophies, which might I add, is NOT one of my favorite things to do. However, I have reflected on my teaching tremendously and I do believe I am ready to conquer the educational world. We shall see…
Next up in the grad school hiatus is a technology class. YIPEEE!!! I am stoked. I can’t wait to get started, and I just know I am going to learn a lot of new things that I can share with Blogland. Stay tuned for updates on this little adventure that starts this coming Thursday.
While away, I received the Liebster award from two awesome blog friends, Brittany over at A Day In First Grade and a new up and coming blog, Think Share Teach. Head on over and check both of them out, you won’t be disappointed!
This award is given to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers!!
Here are the five blogs I chose for the Liebster Blog Award:
     Creative Classroom    Lutton 519

Crayons, Calendars, and Caffeine