Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chinese New Year Podcast Playlist

Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.

Essential Questions:
 * How can you use language to inform others on a specific topic?
 * What can we learn about a culture through its art forms and customs?

This integrated ELA and Social Studies Playlist introduces students to the traditions surrounding the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration. As students learn about the Chinese New Year they will also learn about how to write and present expository writing. Students will apply these skills to create a podcast on the Chinese New year.

Students in younger grades may want to work together on a topic, while older student may work independently. Tailor this Playlist to your classroom!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Level It Books for iPad & iPhone

Level It Books is a very handy little iOS app. It uses the camera of your iPad or iPhone to scan the ISBN (bar code) of a book and give you the Reading Level of the book.

Scanning the bar code gives you the Lexile, Guiding Reading, Grade Level Equivalent, or DRA levels for the book you've chosen.

 Scan Bar Code to Find a Book

Scanning a book's ISBN/bar code makes it super easy to locate the book's Reading Level.

 Manually Searching for a Book

If your book doesn't have a bar code or your device doesn't have a camera, you can look up the book by typing in the book's information. If the book is in the Level It database, it will pull it up.


The app also allows you to create a digital roster of your class. This makes it very easy to track reading levels over the course of the year and also to loan out books from your class library.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Create Magazine-Like Photo-Journals on the iPad with Storehouse

Storehouse is a great new app that kind of took me by surprise when it was released last week. It's an iOS app that allows you to combine pictures, videos, and text into totally professional, magazine-quality photo journals!

This would be great to introduce your students to and let them have a new way to "show what they know."

Storehouse is way slick and user-friendly. You can import photos and videos from your iPad's camera roll. The videos must be no longer than 30 seconds in length. The app will support up to 50 photos. Yeah...and it's all free.

You can add text into blocks, resize pictures and text, and move everything around by tapping and dragging.

Image courtesy of iTunes
Image courtesy of iTunes

 Create and share beautiful photo-journals.

                                      Design unique layouts.
Image courtesy of iTunes

Combine photos, videos, and text.

Once you've made your photo-journal...share it! The app gives you the option of sharing via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Also, what I really like is that it gives you a unique link for your project. FYI, that all videos are stored on Storehouse's servers and they're public. There are no apparent privacy settings. So, once they're uploaded anyone could potentially watch your story if they find the link. So, you will want to make sure any photos of students are permissible by their parent(s)/guardian(s).

Truthfully, the simplicity of the layouts and the simple navigation make this app a winner. With the unique link for each project, it makes it easy to share with parents and fellow teachers and admin, too!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Key Strategies for an Epic Win: Using YouTube in Your Classroom!

The following is borrowed from Jennifer Waldroop at Carroll ISD's Instructional Technology Blog.

Key Strategies for an Epic Win: Using YouTube in Your Classroom!

Open, open, open… remember the commercial where the shopper stands at the front of the store with her nose pressed to the window? Like the woman in the commercial, many of us are very excited about having access to YouTube at school.So, when it's open will you be ready? Can you navigate YouTube?

Getting Started:

  • Create an account. When you create an account, you can save and organize videos using playlists. 
  • Preview before you hit play. Always, always, always preview videos before using them in your lessons. 
  • Download videos for offline viewing. For Curriculum Night, evaluations, and other important presentations always download the video just in case there are network issues.

A Few Advanced Tips:

  • Annotate your videos. (ones you upload) Directions. 
  • Add Captions. Directions
  • Edit videos using the YouTube Video Editor. With the editor you can combine multiple videos, add music and transitions, or trim the video to the most important part of the video. Directions

Some Classroom Applications:

  • Flip your class using YouTube’s web cam feature. Here’s my test video and directions.
  • Create playlists for reviews and tutorials. You don’t have to create everything. Use existing videos from Smithsonian, PBS, Khan Academy, etc.
For more ideas, check out The Teacher’s Guide To Using YouTube In The Classroom.

Grow Your Professional Learning Network:

How will you use YouTube in your classroom? Post your comments and ideas. We’d love to hear from you. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blendspace, formally known as Educanvas, is a FREE place on the web for students and teachers to organize and share information on the web, measure student understanding and track student progress in real time. It is absolutely FREE for a single teacher with unlimited number of classes with up to 35 students in a class. It will even hold up to 100 active lessons. It becomes even more powerful at the school level (still FREE) with unlimited hosting for all teachers and students and even admin accounts to help with implementation.

Getting Started with Blendspace

How do teachers use Blendspace

Flipping the classroom 
Easily find, add and share online content (videos, images, PDFs, Google docs). Students comment or take notes alongside content.
Student assignments 
Research assignments. Web quests. Presentations. Students use Blendspace to practice and demonstrate 21st century learner skills.
Differentiated lessons
Personalize student learning with different online materials and built-in assessment.

About Blendspace