Thursday, October 15, 2015

Neglected Blog

Are you tired of all my excuses about my lack of blogging?  Sometimes I wonder if I should just give it up, but when I take the time and read through my blog, I enjoy remembering what I did.

The whole reason I've decided to pay attention to my blog right now is because I'm teaching my ETEP class about blogging.  I haven't used Blogger in so long, I think I almost forgot how!  So in honor of my ETEP students, I'm posting something now.

My third year working as a technology specialist has gotten off to a crazy-busy start.  One of my schools got new iPads to replace the teachers' aging ones, and also 3 new chromebook carts.  I have been drowning in a sea of equipment!  I am slowly and gradually getting all that equipment where it belongs.  My other school will be getting their first chromebook cart this year, so I'm planning a lot of training on how to use Google.

I prefer blogs that have some pictures, so I'm going to throw a few of them in here just so I can say I did.

Lego League 2014
The picture above is of my Lego League team from last year.  It was my first year coaching and I loved it!  Our goals were to have fun and not get a 0 score.  We met both of them.  I'm enjoying my new team this year and we are busy exploring the Trash Trek theme.

The pictures below are the sweet little hands that were given to me last year on my birthday.  One thing I really miss about being an STS is the sweet notes you get from kids.  The teacher that had her students do this for me made my day.  I still have those hands and look them from time to time and just smile.

And finally, just for the fun of it, I'm going to add a youtube video below.  One of my favorite non-teaching things to do is play English Handbells.  One of my favorite songs I've played is the one in the video below.  This is not my bell choir.  I don't have any videos of my bell choir.  Mostly, I just wanted to put a video in to show that it can be done.

And that brings us to the end of this post.  We'll see how long it takes for me to post again.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How did it get to be February?

Fun Technology Tools

Hi all,

So sorry for neglecting my blog so long.  Life just gets busy and this is the ball that seems to always get dropped.

I've been having great fun exploring some new, and not-so-new technology tools.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorites of late.

Tiny Tap

I have posted about Tiny Tap before.  This app continues to improve all the time.  It used to have a very early childhood look to it, but it now looks a little less baby-ish.  Students or teachers can use this app to create their own games or apps.  This can be a creative thing for students to do, or a great way for a teachers to present or review material. Some of the games my first graders made a few years ago, as well as a sample are listed on their website under my name here.


Kahoot is a very fun quiz/video game tool.  The teacher can create or use pre-created quizzes.  The students see the question on a projected screen and answer on whatever device they are using.  It's incredibly engaging and students keep begging for more.  

Students celebrate their correct answers on Kahoot!


Powtoon is a website that allows teachers and students to create great videos using several free templates.  The videos can then be uploaded to Youtube.  There's a few templates built specifically for education including meet the teacher and book reports.  It takes a short time to learn how all the tools work, but I felt it was time well spent because I can now teach it to my students and have them make awesome videos.  Below is a video I created in about 15 minutes.


Plickers is a website where teachers and/or students can create quizzes.  The fun part about them is they are like clickers, but low-tech.  All you need is a paper copy of the plickers, available to print for free from their webpage, or to purchase from Amazon and a mobile device with a camera such as a smart phone or tablet.  The teacher controls the quiz using the app by selecting a question and then scanning student plickers as they hold them up according to their answer.  Click here for my quick reference sheet for plickers.

Students hold up their plickers to be scanned.

Who knows when I'll pick up my blogger ball again?!  Hopefully sooner rather than later.  I hope you enjoy some of these great technology tools!  Let me know if you have any questions, or if you've discovered a great tool you'd like me to share with others.