Word Choice and Using Technology In the Classroom


I recently read an excellent blog post by a member of my PLN (Personal Learning Network), Beth Holland.  In her blog post, What are the Biggest Mistakes that Teachers Make with Technology, I love how she focused on specific words teachers use and the pressure those words put on some teachers.

Choice # 1 – Integrate….  Technology should be a tool that is chosen to be used in a classroom to improve productivity, teaching and communicate learning.  Love her quote, “… we don’t hold trainings specific to pencil integration, nor do we ask teachers to specify plans to incorporate pencils into each lesson.”  This quote reminds me of this funny, but true video “Ode to #PencilChat: Technology in the Classroom.

Choice # “Technology” Projects…. Do not assign technology projects just because you feel like you have to in your classroom.  “The power of digital tools is in how they give students voice & choice. Rather than assign a technology-based product and stress over how to “fit it in,” give students an objective (i.e. show your problem solving, demonstrate your understanding, communicate your opinion) and then encourage them to use any tools – analog and/or digital – which enable them to be creative.”  I could not have said it better than Beth!  Check out this cool video students made with their phone!

Choice #”What?” vs “What If…?”  Start questions with “what if” to model for students ‘out of the box’ thinking and problem solving.  Have you heard of the Growth Mindset?  I have done a lot of reading on this topic and it is important for teachers to model this mindset for students to help them keep their sense of wonder and curiosity.

ELA Apps to Try Out in Your Classroom

Thanks to Emerging EdTech and EdTechTeacher for sharing new apps with me!  These look GREAT!

vennVenn Diagram – is an app created by the International Reading Association and it provides students with an easy-to-use Venn diagram. Although it may not have the “flash” of other apps, its functionality makes it one of the most useful apps for teachers to use in their classroom. Some ideas for using it include teachers assigning students a text that compares multiple ideas and having students organize those ideas using this app, or teachers can lecture about two topics and require students to record their notes using this app. Students can take a screen shot of work and turn in via Edmodo.

abcABC Phonics teaches students letter identification using an engaging format. ABC Alphabet Phonics shows anywhere from 3 to 10 eye-catching letters and prompts students to select a letter from the group.


shortstories301+ Short Stories is a collection of writings from famous authors. In this app, students are able to read the stories.  It would be great to combine apps (App Smashing). For example, teachers can have students read O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi in this app and then illustrate using another app like Doddle Buddy or organize elements of the story using Popplet.


21st Learning Buzz Words

I love this blog post titled ” A Dictionary for @1st Century Teachers: Learning Models & Technology” published by one of my favorite online resources, Te@chthought!

All classroom teachers should review this blog post and start trying new strategies in their classroom.

It is a great resources to review and save when planning lessons for digital classroom students.


QR Task Cards for Site Words

QR CODESHere is another blog post on QR codes.  Sorry!  Lots of teachers have been asking for ideas.  I wanted to share this with you.  Email me (cristin.kennedy@cobbk12.org) with your thoughts.

I think any grade level can adapt this activity for their use.

I received a question from a fabulous Kindergarten teacher recently…..

Here is Mrs. W’s question: “Can we talk to you about a way to record sight words and have students access it easily? Needs to be done independently during Daily 5 time.”

Attached is a possible solution. I uploaded the Word template to reuse and a PDF version to print out and use at a center.

What did I do….
1. When to Vocaroo.com and recorded the sound file using my teacher laptop since it has a microphone.
2. After making the sound file on Vocaroo, instead of making a quick QR code (disappears after 3 months), I downloaded the sound file to my computer.
3. I uploaded the sound file to an online store site (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive). I used OneDrive.
4. I copied the public link/URL from my OneDrive to the sound file and
5. pasted it into QRstuff.com to make the URL.

I then added the QR code to the MS Word doc.

What do you think? Email me with questions or if you want to share a better way to make resources for students.


QR Codes & Interactive Books for Kindergarten Classes

ipadsin the classroomI have had a GREAT time working with Area 5 schools this year on how to use iPads in the classroom. I break down the use of iPads into three areas: Practice Skills, Access Information, and Creation.  Each time I visit with teachers, we explore one of the three topics and also focus on one of the six Digital Classroom skills.

Recently I have been working with a lot of Kindergarten teachers in Area 5 on how to integrate the use of QR codes for students to access information and then do something with the information.

Check out some of the stuff I have shared and what teachers have been creating for their students!  (Thanks Tina Jenkins from Dowell!)

qr examples









Recently I discovered, from Matt Gomez, a ton of online books that students can access via QR codes.  He shared it recently on his blog.  I am now sharing them with you!  Click on the link below.



Here is the direct link to Unite For Literacy: http://uniteforliteracy.com/ .  You can display this site for whole or small group instruction.

Here are MORE AWESOME resources from Matt Gomez!



Free Course on Blogging with Students



Whether you are new to blogging, or want a refresher on all of the features that blogging can offer, come join us for our four week crash-course as we guide you through the process of blogging with students.

We’ll cover:

  • Setting up class and student blogs
  • Teaching quality comments and posts
  • Working with widgets
  • Images, copyright, and creative commons
  • Connecting with other classes
  • Tons more!

Click here for more information.


Source: http://www.theedublogger.com/2015/02/03/2015-teacher-blogging-challenge/

Digital Age Learning Ecosystem






Great Blog post from Dr. Clark & the BYOT Network


My teammate, Jamie Pearson, and I teach a class for CCSD teachers each summer called “21st Century Classroom”.  We focus on PBL, Digital Assessment Tools, Learning Environments, Blended Learning, Web 2.0 tools, Flipped Learning and Screencasting, building PLNs, and much more.  After reading this blog post, I may “borrow” Dr. Clark’s naming of Digital Age Learning since it IS fourteen years… almost fifteen years into the 21st century.

The post is a MUST read… but let me list the eight elements that are highlighted in the post:

  • A Sense of Community
  • Essential Questions
  • Captivating Digital Content
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Multiple Technology Tools
  • Designs for Differentiation and Accessibility
  • Supportive Classroom Environment
  • Engaging Instructional Strategies

In order to have a successful digital age learning ecosystem, teachers may need to change the way they approach lesson planning and think more like an instructional designer.  Setting up learning opportunities, providing rich resources (digital and paper), and letting go of some control will take a different mindset and willingness to take chances.

I like the image below to help me understand teacher mindsets… and how to change…. one step at a time to embrace a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset. (Image source: @Primary_Ed – Twitter Post) 

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 12.56.44 PM







LINK for larger display:    fixedvsgrowthmindset


Great poster for the classroom to encourage growth mindset for students/classroom.

Eight Engaging Ways to Use Technology Tools to Create Lessons That Are Not Boring!

8ways logo

This blog post was inspired by this AWESOME article that organizes a lot of the information that I share with teachers I support.

8 ways to use technology in the classroom to create lessons that are not boring…..

1. Incorporate student input and gather feedback
– – It is as easy as using iRespond NOW or iRespond to give and get immediate feedback from students and teachers

2. Gamify It
– – Try Kahoot with your students!!!!!!!
– – ELA teachers can even gamify the Writing Process using Edmodo or another tool. Email me and I will explain.

3. Let students create
– – There are so many creation Web 2.0 tools out there. Check out the CCSD Web 2.0 Support Site or  my Web 2.0 links on my support site….linked below.

4. Get interactive
– – Use the Edmodo POLL feature to engage students before a lesson.
– – students try out your interactive white board’s multimedia tools
– – Use your SimplcitySlate (ClassPad/iMMPad) to add interactive elements to your instruction.
– – students use Web 2.0 tools for guided practice

5. Have students collaborate
– – Use the Edmodo NOTE feature for students to talk about/discuss class topics/standards
– – Have students share technology so they must communicate and collaborate their learning.

6. Project/Problem Based Learning (PBL)
– – Present a problem that the students need to solve. They must learn along the way in order to solve the problem. Have students discover information and make it their own.

7. Simulations
– – This can be done with or without PBL…. When student have to apply their learning in a real work situation, they will retain the information. I used to LOVE doing Tom Syner simulations in the classroom. The web has a lot of them out there.

8. Bring in a guest or two
– – With the new SimplicityCams (document cameras) and LYNC installed on ever teacher laptop, it is EASY to connect with classrooms and experts
Do not be overwhelmed with the number 8! Pick ONE and try it. Connect with other educations that want to try too so you have a support system.