Quizlet Live

I have used Quizlet for a number of years now. I find it to be a great tool for teaching kids content vocabulary in science and social studies. I use it for literary terms and some grammar terms as well. The kids love the game Scatter. It doesn’t only offer games, though. It offers flashcards and tests too. But now the folks at Quizlet have created a game format called Quizlet Live.

It gives you a link for the kids to go to and a code for them to enter. They put in their names and as the teacher, you have the option of creating random teams. Then, what appears on ┬ástudent’s screen is their team mates’ options along with theirs. A word is displayed at the top and the members of the team click on the correct answer. Meanwhile, on the teacher’s screen, the teams are represented as sliding markers. Whenever a team misses a question, the team moves back to the starting position.

There is an option to shuffle teams too and we did that. It was so fun to watch the kids move to sit with their teammates. They were very excited to play and really learned the words.

I recommend you try Quizlet Live if you haven’t already. And if you’ve never used Quizlet, you need to right away.

Dirpy–From Streaming to Download

From time to time I get emails from PBS and they are always filled with great resources. I just received an email and in it was this link to how-to videos about various digital tools. That in and of itself is a great post, but I want to talk about Dirpy, one of the digital tools listed.

The video from the PBS link is very good and straight to the point. But even without the video, this was easy to do.

I have some videos that I love and want to have available for school use and my personal use. If your streaming speed isn’t quite up to snuff or you don’t have access for some reason, then this is a great backup because you will have saved your YouTube or Vimeo video onto your desktop. (If you create your own videos, then you don’t need to do this of course.)

Keep in mind this is not a video editing tool. You would still need to trim videos with another tool. It does allow you to only record the audio if you want and you can decide when to begin and end that recording.

I hope you give this a try.

Photo Filter Fun

I recently posted some alien shots of me on Facebook that I created using Prisma, an app from PhotoLab. I spent some time having fun seeing how I’d look as a nun, an alien, and so on. Below are a couple of other filters that seem like I might use them as covers or on newsletters.

So what good is this app for education? Among the many filters were a few that would process multiple photos. One of them was a globe. I thought that would make a cool class picture. Another idea is to have┬ástudents select a filter and print out their photo instead of the normal head shot. It would tell you something about that student’s personality and just be fun—and there is nothing wrong with that! This could be a fantastic first day activity.



Concept Mapping

This is an excellent article about concept maps and mind maps: the difference between them, how to create them, how to use them in education.

I spoke with the Lucid Chart guys at ISTE2016. They were more than willing to explain how these tools (free to me at my school) would help my students understand concepts.

I especially like the skeleton map where the kids fill it in from a word bank. It gives them the idea of what they could create for themselves–perhaps when they make their own study guides–while checking for understanding in a straightforward way. And with Hapara and Google sharing, I can see what they’ve done.

expert skeleton map.jpg

Hang on though because the article veers into how businesses and health care organizations could use a concept map. You need to skip down to the end of the article to find the how-to create instructions.

KWL with Padlet

Thank you Richard Byrne who creates the site Free Technology for Teachers for making this video on how to use Padlet to create KWLs for your students. He uses another app I love called Stitch. His site is a good source for tools that are free and easy to use in the classroom. I especially like Padlet and its versatility in terms of sharing and creating and saving the results. Using a KWL like this works well for any unit of study.

Knowing you can bring in your own templates makes this tool even more useful.

I also use Padlet for small group book discussions by setting up a Padlet with or without prompts for classwork and homework for each group. It is good for class read aloud discussion too. It gives kids a chance to think about what they want to say before a whole class discussion and it gives them a chance to see what others are thinking.

If you haven’t tried Padlet, I encourage you to check it out.

Zaption–a tool I love is going away

Zaption is a tool I love and that I used a lot in science. It allows you to take videos or bits of videos and put them together to create a lesson. You can add questions and images and all sorts of things. It gave you the analysis of how the kids did with the questions. I liked it so much better than EdPuzzle which I have always found limited and clunky. (Sorry EdPuzzle.) But Zaption has been purchased by WorkDay and will no longer be available. I can download my lessons and other apps like EdPuzzle and PlayPosit are offering ways to transition my lessons to their sites. But, I’m still sad about losing a tool that I found so easy to use and deliver to my students.

I am still suffering from the loss of Shelfari (my personal use). I don’t like Goodreads near as much as I loved my Shelfari. Amazon–I think you picked the wrong sister to save–but that is just my opinion.

Perhaps EdPuzzle will add some of the features I loved. One can only hope.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) interests me. I’m not sure why other than it is very cool. I have attended AR sessions at conferences for a couple of years now and yet, I have not used the apps like Aurasma and Blippar to create anything. Part of the reason is that the kids don’t have access to iPads or smart phones on a daily basis and they would need them for the apps that let them scan the triggers I would have created. That is until now.

At ISTE, I attended another AR session but this one was different. Matt McGuire, a  Canadian, was at ISTE to share his adventures in AR. But instead of helping us create our own, he showed us a bunch of apps that have the triggers ready to go. This works if the content matches what you teach and lucky for me, it does!

Elements 4D is one such AR app. Each element on the cube pops up when scanned so a student can see the properties of that element. But put the sodium cube alongside the chlorine cube and voila–you get the compound NaCl–salt and it shows you salt. I love this seemingly magic chemistry. Just imagine the lessons about bonding and chemical properties you could create using this ability. Watch this video to see how it works.

Anatomy 4D is another app that matches my science curriculum. A teacher in the audience had used it and suggested that you have the paper body printed in a larger size so kids can gather around it more easily. When I used the app to scan the heart, it didn’t have sound. In the video above, it does.

Enchantium is another AR app that is user ready. It has triggers that you can save to your camera roll and print out. You scan the printed material using the app. The music strings trigger was amazing as it gave you visual as well as auditory data. There is a fairy tale trigger that many teachers thought could be used for story starters and to motivate reluctant writers to get started. There is also a fisticuffs trigger that may be used in a competitive way–I’m not so sure about that one. Check it out here.

Quiver has coloring sheets you print, color, and then activate with the app. I can see it working for younger kids to get them talking and writing. It definitely has the WOW factor.

I definitely plan on using these apps with my fifth graders this year. Finally–AR will come to my classroom.



Ignite Sessions

Summer is here and I’m catching up with some of my newsletters and feeds about technology and teaching in general.

ASCD and Edutopia are talking about how to use Ignite sessions with kids to develop speaking skills and to use as a formative assessment on a subject. Edutopia even suggests that teachers could use Ignite sessions instead of lectures.

I will soon be attending ISTE in Denver and will try to attend their Ignite sessions as I have done the last two conferences. There presenters pitch ideas in the rapid fire method that is the Ignite session.

I wasn’t completely sure how this might work for kids until I read this article.

If you are an ASCD member, there is a video about kids prepping for Ignite sessions in the ASCD Express issue about developing speaking skills.

I love this idea and will use it with my students next year.


So in watching lots of projects by folks in these courses I just completed, I have found a bunch of tools to try out. This one is very easy to use and it is free. I made a quick intro video for our water projects just to try it out. You can see it here.