Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Solar Eclipse- Interactives, Resources, Lessons, and Apps

Are you getting ready for August 21st and the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017? Whether or not you will be in the path of totality or viewing the eclipse with your students, you have to admit that this is an amazing opportunity to get your students hooked on science. Here are some interactive, print, web-based, and app resources that will help your students (especially the elementary bunch) learn about this incredible natural phenomenon:

Interactives Online:

Eclipse Lesson Plans and Activities:


Friday, September 23, 2016 Video Responses for Classroom Collaboration allows teachers to create an online space (or grid) on which students can answer questions and discuss information through recorded videos.  It is a simple way to have students respond to questions as long as they have a device with a camera and microphone available.  Once a teacher creates a FlipGrid, students can visit the grid to record their video in response to the teacher's question.  Recordings are limited to 90 seconds.

I like because it gives students a chance to answer and express themselves using verbal communication skills.  This is empowering for those students that are verbal and visual learners or who struggle to get information and ideas in writing.  There are also built in features that help the teacher to moderate the content that is being generated.  Teachers can password protect the information, require a user to submit an email, and choose to moderate all videos before posted if needed.  Flipgrid is available as an App or web-based.

Educators can try for free for 30 days.  Unfortunately after the 30 days, it is a subscription product.  The educator subscription is $65 per year and there is organization pricing as well.

Try out Flipgrid by responding or listening to conversations in my Flipgrid below.  Or go to to view in full screen.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

DK FindOut! An Online Encyclopedia for Elementary

I love DK books.  The bold but simple images and succinct information easily captures the attention of students and adults alike. In February, 2015, DK launched an online resource called DK FindOut!  I wish I had discovered this site sooner as it is a wonderful, interactive, visual resource that is available for FREE!

The main site allows users to search by subject area or just browse interesting information:

Subject areas are then broken down into common and interesting topics:

Each page of information is interactive.  On all images there are words that can be clicked to learn more information and each subject includes links to even more engaging information such as a video or quiz on the topic.

If you want to share DK FindOut! resources as a lesson or centers-based activity, the site even has a lesson plan creator!  Teachers choose the media they wish to include and when the lesson is played the content moves through the selected resources as the lesson is advanced.

If you have K-5th grade students, I am sure you will find this a useful resource that seems to be evolving and growing.

10 Ways to Create an Infographic or Poster

Infographics and posters are a great way to share facts, statistics, and information in an easy to understand way.  They are engaging to use as a reference or resource for teaching and sharing information with your students.   

  You can click on each to view full-size.

Infographics and posters are also very easy to create with the many high-quality tools available online- whether you have an artistic mind or not. I recommend creation tools like these because when students create visual data they are employing critical thinking, creativity, authentic learning, and technology skills.  Take a look at some of these popular tools for creating and start using infographics and posters in your classroom:

PiktoChart advertises that "non designers create beautiful infographics in as little as 10 minutes.” This powerful creation tool includes one of the largest libraries of free themes and media that are ready to use.

2. Canva
Canva is an easy-to-use online tool that creates posters, infographics, presentations, social media images, cards, and more!   Canva has a vast library of images, icons, fonts and features to choose from.

Venngage is a great tool for creating and publishing infographics, posters, reports, or social media posts because it's so simple and easy to use. You can choose from templates, themes, and hundreds of charts and icons.  You can also upload your own images and backgrounds and animate them too!

Poster My Wall allows users to create infographics in the form of posters, collages, calendars, and cards.  Teachers can set up a classroom account for free!

A powerful tool to help students become designers and curators of content.  This site creates more than just infographics or posters- use it to create newsletters, flyers, magazines, brochures, reports, and more.  Teachers can upgrade their account to a FREE education account here:

6. Smore
Use Smore to create professional-looking electronic flyers and newsletters. Choose from a variety of backgrounds and templates and then simply enter your information and add photos, logos, links and other features. A Smore is easy to share and distribute via email or social media (recipients can print copies, if desired).

7. Tackk
Tackk can be used to present information (student presentations, fliers for parents, school newsletters, professional learning, etc.).  One thing I like about Tackk is that the teacher, students, or community can contribute to a project by adding text, images, and videos, making this a collaborative tool. is touted as an infographic resume creator.  However, it can also create vibrant language maps, timelines, bubble charts, tree maps, pictograms, and more.

This tool offers you a several customizable, free templates to start you off. The library of images has arrows, shapes and connector lines, and you can customize the text with range of fonts, colors, text styles and sizes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

StoryboardThat! Visual Learning and Creating is for creating storyboards, graphic organizers, character maps, comparison charts, timelines, and comics. 

Image your students completing a plot diagram like this:

This versatile and easy to use online resource has available all of the backgrounds, images, and text possibilities your students will need to tell their curricular story, no matter what grade level or topic.  The only drawback is that is not a free resource, although educators and schools can receive accounts at a discounted rate.

This Geometric Solids- Shape Vocabulary lesson is just one example of the many lesson planning resources available in the classroom edition.  Each lesson includes step-by-step plans, connection to standrads, examples of finished products, a how-to on recreating the project, or the ability to copy the template.  Lessons are available for K-12. has an astounding amount of backgrounds and images available, but you can also upload your own if your don't find what you need.

Backgrounds are available for scenes from history, famous locations, and different time periods (to name a few) and can be customized by changing colors:

Characters can be customized by changing colors of skin, hair, eyes, and clothing.  They can also be customized by changing their pose.

There are some useful features for teachers as well:
  • Teachers can quickly add student users to a classroom account so students do not need to create an account with an email address.  
  • Teachers can easily push out assignments to their class and view student work.
  • Student work can be shared, downloaded, or printed from the teacher dashboard.
  • A management dashboard holds easy to access tools for teachers to manage and monitor their students' accounts and classwork. is a tool I often forget about now that many of my students have moved to 1:1 iPad learning.  However, this site now is compatible with iPads as well.  No more reason to forget about this amazing resource!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 for Collaborative Learning

I'm always looking for new tools for classroom collaboration and recently came across on Pinterest (posted by The Techie Teacher).  This cool tool reminds me of as an easy way for students to work together and share information.  The site seems to still be in beta, but access was provided immediately upon request.

This collaborative board allows students to add sticky notes, use drawing tools, and add images to the space.  This is a great site for students to use in collaborative groups when brainstorming ideas, compiling research, and grouping information.

Once a teacher or student creates a page, there is a share button that provides a URL (web address) to give to others so they can join in the collaboration.  If the teacher creates the page, students do NOT need to log in when working on a shared board, they can join as a guest.

Some of the things I really like about are:
-The quick and easy ability to change sticky note colors keeps different ideas separate.

-You can group notes together.
-You can use basic HTML code to change the size, format, color, etc of text within the box.
(This could be a fun way to introduce text coding.)
-Sticky notes can be locked in place!!

-Students can use a chat feature while working.
-Boards can be exported in text format or HTML (if that is useful to you)- but if you really want a copy, I suggest taking a screen shot or using a screen image tool.

I hope you enjoy using with your class!
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