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.


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 ([email protected]) 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.

[email protected]

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/

QR Codes In The Classroom – Refresher

Recently a few teachers have contacted me needing  a refresher on how to create QR codes and ways to use them in your classroom…

Here are some helpful links – –

I am in ❤ with Tackk!!!!! – New Digital Creation Tool for Edu

Another “goodie” that I learned more about at #ISTE2014 is Tackk !
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤  Love, love, love Tackk!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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I have been sharing and using Smore for a couple of years now… and teachers and students love it’s easy of use and professional look. Now Smore’s free account only allows for FIVE Smores/posters.

I was SUPER excited after listening to the Tackk rep present at the Edmodo booth at #ISTE2014.

What is Tackk? “Tackk is a simple way to create beautiful pages on the web. It’s your very own page, flyer, blog post, or poster.”

Here are the “pluses” for Tackk….
Students/Users can…
– begin creating without a login….. (The URL that is shared is only live for 7 days)
– create a login….. OR BETTER YET….. Use their EDMODO login to access Tackk!!!!
– can use pre-made templates or create their own.
– Comments can be turned off or the STREAM feature is cool and looks like Today’s Meet or Edmodo feed.
– not worry about cost (FREE) and number of posters created (unlimited space).  Woo hoo!

The list is endless on how this digital tool can be used!

BTW… Tackk is going to be involved with this year’s Global Read Aloud. How exciting! 😉

NEW Digital Collaboration Tool – 81Dash!

Have you used Today’s Meet in your classroom to have a digital discussion, book talk, etc? It is a great digital tool that encourages collaboration in the classroom.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.04.15 AMI discovered a NEW digital collaboration tool when I attended the 2014 ISTE conference that was created by a teacher……


The 81Dash has a dashboard that includes:

-Dash Room…keeps a list of “rooms” active & locked
-Dash Task…. Keep a ‘To Do’ list…related to the room
-Dash Notes… Keeps notes related to the room

There is a search tool to quickly find something in the room thread, an opportunity for room participants to upload files, and participants can create a transcript of the room very quickly.

Users/Students will need to register as a Guest User.  I recommend to have parent permission for students to use ANY Web 2.0 tool in the classroom.  A great user login could be the same login students use for Edmodo, etc.  Student numbers is a great user name.

I am excited to try this out with teachers and students.

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