Sunday, September 28, 2014

Acrostic Poems in 2nd Grade Using Explain Everything

This past week my 2nd grade students were working on poetry. After talking it over with my team, we decided that we wanted to make Acrostic Poems where students can record their voice and read aloud what they are saying. If you're into screen-casting you might have heard of the apps "Show-Me" "Educreations" and "Explain Everything." They are all free except for Explain Everything (EE)- this one is $2.99. Up until I started using EE, I was a HUGE fan of Educreations. It was so user friendly. However, they just released an update where it is so much more complicated to use that its previous release. Plus, with Educreations, there is no quick way to preview what you had recorded without saving it first. Last year, I used EE with my 4th and 5th graders and they picked it up really fast. There are TONS of features that it has, although it can be a bit complex. This year, I started working with 1st - 5th graders using EE. I knew it was going to be a stretch, but there are so many more features that the kids will grow in to as they get older. Anyways, I chose EE as my app for creating these poems.

This was a 1:1 assignment, meaning that each student had an iPad to create their own poem. After about a 10 minute introduction to EE, the teacher and I got started on the assignment. We had them create the same number of slides as there are letters in their name. Once the slides were created, I had them draw the letter of their name on that slide. They would then have to think of an adjective starting with that letter. (This can be a bit challenging if the student has un-common letters in their name.) Anyways, once they were written, I would then have them type out the sentence that they would read. Once they were done with this, I would take them out into the hallway where it was quiet and we would record. Once the student was done recording, I would have THEM type out the teacher's email address so that it could upload to Google Drive- from there they would hand the iPad to the teacher so they could enter their password. From there it uploaded and the project was complete. A word of advice- give yourself a few extra minutes to explain how the app works. It took a little longer than expected, but now that they know the app, they can now use it for other things besides poetry. Here is what the finished product looked like:

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Little First Graders that Could, and Did!

Yesterday and today I had the awesome opportunity to work with two First Grade Teachers in ELA centers. Before I go on, I got this idea from one of my brilliant co-workers. It seemed like a lot of work but once he walked me through the process it took about 5-10 minutes. Anyways, we called it the "re-telling station." Basically, in this station, students would have to re-tell a story that they had previously heard from their teacher. Since 1st graders are just learning how to read, I thought it would be best to re-tell a story rather than to just have them read it. Anyways, since research shows that working in pairs is an extremely effective way for students to learn, I work with two students at a time for about 15 minutes each. I have them sit a table with one iPad (the iPad has the teacher's email account contacts- more on this in a bit.) I also provide the book that was read to serve as a visual reference to make prior connections. Finally, I have the app "SoundOScope" open and ready for the student to use. SoundOScope is basically a recording app that records in .WAV format. .WAV formats are raw, uncompressed audio meaning that they are not directly compatible with iMovie. At the station, I have one student press the "record" button and the other student re-tells the story. This app gives the student 2 minutes to record. From my experience, this was plenty of time for the students to re-tell the story. Once they student is done recording, they email the file to the teacher. I have the teacher's email address typed out in large fonts so they can see the "@" and "." signs. Once the first file is emailed, I switch the student roles and do it again. Once both files are emailed, I go to the teacher's computer and show the students the email that the teacher has just received. (They get a kick out of how they can see the file they just sent!") By the way, I highly recommend emailing these files to a Google Email address. Each file takes up about 10 megabytes which can quickly fill up a smaller inbox. Once the sound files have been emailed, I then take pictures of all the pages in the book and crop them to make sure that no excess is showing. Once they are cropped I import them using Windows Movie Maker (in Windows 7.) I know that using the XP version of Windows Movie Maker was a nightmare, but it seemed like Microsoft got it in gear with the Windows 7 version. Anyways, once all the pictures are imported, I then import the audio file so that it overlaps the pictures. From there it's just a matter of tinkering with picture times so that you can try to get the picture to match up as closely as possible to with what the student is saying. This doesnt always work out right if the student is all over the place in re-telling the story. Once everything is done, I export it directly into YouTube and then E-Mail the Teacher. The end result looks like this:


Here is what the SoundOScope app UI looks like:

1st Graders in Action:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Text to Selfie"

For the past few weeks I have been talking to a 5th grade ELA teacher about implementing technology into her classroom. About a week ago, I showed her the app "Pic Collage" which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It is so universal in how you can use it and it is also not really tied to just one subject. We had been talking about this app in passing for the past few days, however we really never created one that we wanted the kids to model. Well, today was the day that we rolled it out to the kids using it in an assignment. In 5th grade, we had been talking about "Making Connections" (text to text, text to self and text to world.) Today, as the teacher was reading the selection, I was messing around with the app to see what other features we might be able to find- sure enough as she was wrapping her selection up I showed her the template feature. The template feature lets you create different frames on the canvas. I whispered this to her and we were both like, "Let's use this with the kids!" My job is to help introduce apps and how to work the various tools in apps, once the kids and teacher is comfortable using it, I hand it over to the teacher so she can take care of integrating the content with the technology. I honestly do not remember the name of the story, but the main character was named "Emma." From here, students had to list other characters from previous reads and see how they related to this story. One of the kids brought up a really interesting point, they said something like, "This character reminds me of myself!" That's when another student was like, "Hey! That's a Text to Selfie connection!!" Feeding off of the student's energy we then encouraged them to find characters that related to them, list them in the Pic Collage, and then take a selfie next to the name of the character! The students were so excited to do this! EVERYONE was on task! The teacher and I were so excited that students were working and really "thinking out of the box" that I started inviting random staff members from the hall to come check out what we were doing! I really dont know how to explain it- it was just a special moment where everyone was excited to learn and where they really took control of their learning. It also helped that they were able to show their creativity when working on this assignment. Below is a picture of someone's collage. I was so excited that I went to Office Depot and printed this class' pictures out in color. I think they will be pleasantly surprised when they walk into class tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

QR Codes in 5th Grade ELA

I have been trying to integrate technology into a 5th Grade ELA class for the past few weeks. However, it wasn't until I sat in this teacher's classroom that the wheels started churning in how to do so.  I just so happened to be walking into the classroom while they were in centers. As I was watching, I noticed that this teacher had a library with students doing an activity. I asked the students what they were doing and they said they were doing a scavenger hunt looking for certain things in the their class library. During the course of the scavenger hunt, they would write their answers down on a white board and then place the white board on the teacher's desk when done. Immediately I was like, "Hey! Let's just turn this into a Google Form!" I asked the teacher if it was okay if I took her scavenger hunt questions home and spiced it up a little bit--- she was more than willing!

Today was the first day that we were able to roll out the "digital" version of this center. To prep for this center I did a few things.

Task 1: I went to Google Forms and basically copied the questions from the paper-copy that the teacher had. I made sure that there was plenty of room to write in each response.

Task 2: Once the form was created, I created a tinyurl  I decided that a QR code would be the best tool to get the surveys onto the iPad. To make the QR code, I turned my survey link into a much smaller link using Once the link was shortened, I then typed ".qr" after it so that it automatically turns it into a QR code. From there, I just put it into Power Point and made it larger. The result was:

Once the QR code was scanned it took you to the scavenger hunt which looked like this:

If you haven't used Google Forms before, once a student "turns in" their work, the results await you in a nice and neat spreadsheet file. Here is a screen shot:

Upon asking the students which method they enjoyed better (dry erase board vs Google Forms) majority of them chose Google Forms!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Infuse Learning Tutorial

One of my awesome teachers wants to give Infuse Learning a shot in a few weeks! Needless to say, I want it to go smoothly, but I am letting this teacher create it from the ground up. Here is a tutorial that I made for this teacher that gives you the 101 on how Infuse Learning works. It might help you too!

Friday, September 19, 2014

They Call Me "Joe Cool" //// Kidblog Roll-out

Today was a big day on my campus for several reasons. The first reason why today was so special was the fact that we were able to roll out Kidblog to a class of 3rd graders. I have known about Kidblog for about a year now and have been jumping at the opportunity to get it started and now it was finally here. When asking the teacher what she wanted her goal to be for the year, she told me "blogging." I then told her about Kidblog and she was on board. To make this roll-out a success, lots of "behind the scenes" prep was necessary. For example, one of the things that I did was upload her class roster into the site. Thankfully I was able to use a .csv file in Excel which made the student account upload process a breeze. The day before it was to be rolled out, I talked with the teacher letting her know that all laptops had been a)powered on b)logged in to Windows and c) able to connect to the Internet. Sounds good right? Then, I get an email asking if there was a way that I could make shortcuts on the desktop so students could have easy access to. I was like, "Uhh... I didnt even think about that!" It made sense too! Without shortcuts, students would have had to type something like: That might not seem like much, but it might be a bit overwhelming for a 3rd grader!  Immediately I thought, "What could be the most efficient way to make this happen?" I then thought of using a Symbaloo Page. A Symbaloo page is simply a webpage with many different tiles that link to various websites. This saves the hassle of having to create desktop shortcuts. The only thing I had to do was change the default home page to about 23 laptops, however the great thing about this is that I can now add a tile from any computer in the world! Anyways, once the students chose their proper class, we then gave them their password. If you are just starting Kidblog, I suggest keeping all passwords the same and just adding "1, 2, 3, etc." behind it. Once they were in, students were able to see the prompt. (Btw, I also recommend creating a "dummy" account in which the teacher can log in as and post as a student. I created one with the name of "Joe Cool" and they seemed to get a kick out of it! Some kids even starting me "Joe Cool in the hallways-- I guess that sticks over "Mr. Chavez?? Haha!) Once students started to complete and turn in their "work" you could hear the teacher's inbox start to chime. We told the students that they were emailing their assignment to the teacher! They thought that was so cool! As a class we started reading their responses- most kids blushed when we read theirs, but they eventually got over it and thought it was really neat that their work was being acknowledged. Towards the end, we started leaving comments / feedback on the student's posts. The kiddos thought seeing comments on their work was the coolest thing ever! It took a little bit of time on our end to leave each student feedback, but they appreciated it. I highly encourage leaving feedback on your student's work! Everyone really enjoyed this roll out and I plan to work in small groups next week to continue using this tool!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lessons Learned from Today

Today was an emotionally tough day for me. I had created a Nearpod lesson about a week showing the "Stages of the Moon." Typically before I go into a classroom I test the lesson with a few iPads or laptops to make sure things work okay. I did my usual routine today and I was confident that everything was going to go well when I was on my way to the classroom. As my class "Technology Managers" were handing the iPads out to each student, I went to the computer so that I could log into my Nearpod account. However, it would not connect its database. I had experienced this a few days ago but tweeted them, @nearpod, and the issue was fixed within an hour. Unfortunately it was "go time" and I didnt have an hour to spare. Feeling helpless, I asked the teacher to show the YouTube High Tide and Low Tide video clip while I went to go get my backup power point lesson. On my way back to my office, my iPad was finally able to connect to their database meaning that I could start the lesson! What a relief! From there I modeled what I was supposed to show and the teacher was able to get her content taught!

So the game plan for today was to work with this person's AM and PM class. In passing, the teacher was telling me that it may not be a good idea to come in today with their afternoon group due to behavior issues. I understood and didnt mind rescheduling. About an hour later, I get a Voxer from this teacher saying "Come to my classroom!" I was shocked when I walked in to their classroom! What I found was this teacher sitting in a circle with her students with iPads distributed to her students! The teacher wanted me to go ahead and launch the Nearpod lesson, and before you knew it, everyone was sitting in a circle, with an iPad, learning about tides and phases of the moon! All I did was sit and observe! I was so impressed with what was going on, I decided that I would just be a fly on the wall!

I guess the lesson for today is to cut myself some slack on occasions. Things will not always go 100% how you want them to go, and when they do not, know that it is still possible for something positive to happen!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"So Nearpod is Like a Presentation Tool, right?" - 5th grader

Today was one of those days that I had been looking forward to for a long time! It was the day that I was able to use Nearpod for the first time on my campus. I had been talking it up with a 5th grade teacher that I was working with for quite a while. If you do not know what Nearpod is, it is basically a tool that reflects your iPad (and many other devices) onto the screens of the student's iPad. The teacher typically creates presentation slides and uploads them into Nearpod. From there, students enter a special classroom code and the teacher then can control it via her iPad or desk top. For the record, the teacher that I worked with today used both! So proud of her! So once you upload the presentation into Nearpod, you can add different tools such as the "draw tool" "poll" "quiz" and many others! As you advance the slides on the iPads, students will be able to respond and the teacher can view the results in real time. For today's lesson, the teacher used it via the computer / projector to where students can see who got the answer right or wrong as well as their drawing. She ran it from the iPad app in her afternoon class in which she was the only one who could see who was getting answers right or wrong. The lesson we were working on today were the "Properties of Water." For the most part each student had their own iPad and basically used it to copy down notes along with answering a few questions along the way. The students also drew a picture of what boiling water looked like. It was great to see student's creativity - in fact a few students even drew fire under it which lead to a further discussion about boiling water! Before you knew it, students were saying words like "evaporation" "steam" "condensation" and other really awesome science words without the teacher having to say anything!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Double Dipped in Technology!

One of my main goals for this year as a Digital Learning Coach is to plan ahead- like way ahead! As mentioned previously, I find myself going to teachers in the middle of the week and saying something like, "Hey! Let's try this app out this week!" Typically I have had positive responses in doing things this way, but I am learning that it isn't being respectful of my teacher's time. Hopefully I can make some improvements in the next few weeks! I will keep you updated!

None the less, today was one of those days where we tried something at the last minute with our second graders. It actually worked really well too! This particular class was being introduced to doubles (4+4=9, 5+5=10, etc.) Typically the teacher would just use a white board with a dry erase board. However, I wanted to try using the "draw and response" tool in Infuse Learning. When using this tool, a student logs into a "virtual classroom" and the teacher has total control with what is projected onto their iPad. The "draw and response" tool is a feature that turns your iPad into a whiteboard. When the student is done answering a question they submit it to the teacher in which their work projects onto the screen. Many students really really enjoy seeing their work up on the projector! I found out that many students will check and double check to make sure their answers are correct before submitting their answer.

As I was leaving this teacher's classroom today, I reminded the class that I would be back for a Science lesson (...that was planned at the last minute!! I'm working on it! I promise!)  So this lesson had to do with the Properties of Matter (solids, liquids and gas.) Instead of using an anchor chart, we agreed to use the Popplet app with the students. (A 1:1 lesson.) After introducing the app to the students, they made the teacher guided them to make three columns and label them "solids" "liquids" and "gasses." From there they had to think of an item, type it in a separate poppel and then take a picture of what they were referring to. For the "gas" image, we simply had them draw lines in place of a picture. The kids were so excited to show their individuality and creativity! No two projects looked the same! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Twitter in the Classroom? Sure, why not?!

Many people at my campus have been asking me to help them set up a Twitter account. However, once their account is set up, they ask me, "How can I use it in the classroom?" Believe it or not, there are many effective ways you can use it in your classroom. Below is a tutorial that I created that shows the basics of Twitter, as well as ways you can use it in your classroom and on your campus.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Using Photo Stream and iCloud Tutorial to Collect Student Work

One of the many questions I get asked when I work with students is "How do I get a student's finished product off the iPad and onto my computer, etc?" If each class and kid has their own Google Apps for Education Account, I highly recommend that as the medium for sharing and collecting student work. However, if your district doesnt support GAFE just yet, there is an easy (and free) that I collect student work.

The quick term that I use is called using a "screen shot" on the iPad. A screen shot is when you press the home button (the circle at the bottom of the iPad) and the power button (on top of the iPad) at the same time. If your volume is on, you will hear a clicking sound.

Now, to ensure that you can share and collect photos, you need to first make sure that your iPad is configured properly.

Step 1: Create an apple ID. These are free and are used to download apps from the App Store.

Step 2: Enter your Apple ID in the iCloud Settings. You can do this by clicking on "Settings" and then "iCloud." Please note that if you are using a class set of iPads, these settings will have to be enabled on each iPad. If it isn't done on each iPad then the student will not be able to share their work via iCloud.

Step 4: Scroll down under "iCloud" and enable "Photos." Make sure it says "on."

 Step 5: Make sure "My Photo Stream" and "Photo Sharing" are both turned on. This will ensure that a photo / screen shot is shared across all devices.

Step 6: Now that you have Photo Sharing enabled, go back to "Photos." If you want, grab 2 iPads to test if it is working. Take a screen shot on one iPad, then, on the other iPad click on "Photos" then at the bottom click "Albums" then "My Photo Stream" You will then see any picture that has been saved or screen shot on any of the enabled devices.

Step 7: At this point, click on "select" at the top right of the screen and choose the pictures that you want to email yourself. When you do this, you will see blue check marks next to each picture.
 Step 8: Click on "copy." Although you might be tempted to click on "mail" this feature will not work when trying to send over 10 pictures.
Step 9: Compose a new email to yourself and click on "paste" in the body of the email. Your pictures will then appear. If you have a lot of pictures that you are sending, it may take up to 1 minute for them to all load.
Step 10: Press send. Once you get them to your inbox, you can print them out, etc!


I enjoy creating things for my classroom! Here are some things that I have created in the past. There is a free-bee for you as well!


This is a PDF download in which the letters A-Z are represented by some type of modern technology.

This technology word wall offers 35 pages of various modern day technology terms. This is a great word wall ideal for K-8 computer labs.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Who Said Popplet was Just for ELA?

I know I haven't posted much about Popplet much lately but I use it quite often! If you do not know what it is, Popplet is basically a free mind-mapping tool that lets you organize ideas onto an iPad or computer. Up until this past week, I have strictly been using it for English / Language Arts. However, I saw an idea on Twitter in which a teacher used it by constructing a Frayer Model (thanks Oneida!) in Math. I decided I wanted to use that tool with our 4th grade math class. The students have been learning pictorial, expanded notation, standard form, etc. However, I wanted students to have the opportunity to actually visualize their work rather than just doing it by paper and pencil. In this particular lesson, I simply explained how this app worked- I showed how to create a popplet (a text box), how to re-size them, how to arrange them, and the student's favorite-- how to take and insert a picture into a popplet! Once the basic understanding was taught, I then turned it over to the teacher so she could use her examples with the popplet.  Once they were finished, I used iCloud / screen capturing to collect them all. A tutorial will be coming out in a few days on how I use Photo Steam / iCloud to collect student work. The tutorial has been created and you can now click here to find out how to turn in student work via iCloud and Photo Stream.

Infusing Learning with Students

This past week I had the opportunity to talk with a First Grade teacher about trying "something really cool" out in her classroom. Again, my long term goal is to plan ahead of time, but there are times that I just see things and am like, "We have to try this today!" This idea was one of them! Students have an upcoming quiz on greater and less than numbers- I wanted to do a pre-assessment with them using the web tool Infuse Learning.   Infuse Learning is a web tool in which you can create quizzes, draw responses, sort orders, true false and many other instant feedback responses. Basically, I create the quiz using the teacher account- once the quiz is created, you "start" the session and give the student a room ID number. Once they are in the room, they can either begin the quiz that was started, or draw a response from what a teacher was asking. It took some getting use to, granted, these were 1st graders, but they did a really good job once they figured out how we were to use the website. What makes it easisest for everyone is the fact that when they are done with a quiz, it automatically generates a nice and neat report with grades on it! Here are some pictures and screenshots:

And the Crowd Goes Wild...!

Its happened a few times this year already-- I walk into a classroom with the iPad carts in hand, and immediately I am greeted by applause, cheers and fanfare! Such a special feeling! Alright, so this week we did quite a few things in my First Grade class. One of the main things that they have been working on is "Making Connections" with books that they read. Connections such as "text to self" "text to text" and "text to others." For this activity, we brought in one iPad and worked in small groups. Each group had to choose a book from the classroom library and determine what kind of connection it made. The app that we used was again "Pic Collage" in which you can make various types of collages and "spice them up." We had one student take a picture of another student with the iPad. Once we did that, we would guide the student on how to add text to their picture. The would type out what type of connection was made. Once the first picture was up, we rotated iPads to the next person so they could have a turn. The final outcome looked like this: (never mind the hearts- those were the teacher's idea!!)


Friday, September 5, 2014

Calling an Audible

Okay so football season is upon us, so there may or may not, but probably will be numerous football reference over the next few moths. :)

Earlier this week, an ELD teacher requested that I go in and help model  iPad stations for her classroom. The plan was to show her students Educreations, however I went into her class during ELD time instead of Math time. I started showing the first group how to count and mark numbers using Educreations but it felt weird doing math during an ELD block. It was then that I asked the teacher if I could change it up (calling an audible at the line) and try incorporating with their ELD lesson. She agreed and boy was it a game changer! The teacher was explaining nouns and adding adjectives to them. I then decided to use the app Pic Collage to work with groups of students. I sat with them at their desk and I let them browse around the room for a "person" "place" or "thing." They then took the iPad (we were sharing 4 students to 1 iPad) an went around the room taking a picture of one of the nouns. From there, they labeled which type of noun it was. The teacher was very impressed and wants to do more activities like this in the future.

She also was inquiring about websites that help students with learning phonics, ABCs and other basic words. I showed her Starfall. If you are new to Pre-K / 1st or 2nd I would definitely recommend putting this website as a station on your computer.

Here is the collage we created as a group today:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Getting our Feet Wet

This week our we were able to get technology lessons rolled out into classrooms. I was really excited about all of that because of the fact that so many of the people that I work with have different needs. This week in 4th and 5th grade math, we used one of my favorite web 2.0 tools (not an app) called Kahoot. You can find their log-in site For students playing the game, they will have to go to To get started, I picked one person from each of the 5 groups. I called them my "iPad experts." From there I brought them into the hallway and explained the game that we were about to play. I let them type in the web address into the web-browser- it gave them a sense of responsibility in which they appreciated! Once we went back in the room they went back to their groups and I explained the rules to the classroom. For 4th grade we played Kahoot using place-value questions. For 5th grade, we played using prime vs composite numbers. Until we got to question 10, each person had to work on their own without their group's help. Once we got to question 10, they were able to work as a team. If you haven't played this game before, it can get very intense, but in a good way! Expect cheering, screaming, and lots of high fives! Check it out when you have a chance! It's fun to be known as "The iPad Guy" when I walk into classrooms! These students are hungry for learning, and Kahoot is a great way to get them involved and engaged!

Monday, September 1, 2014

First EduWins of the Year

EduWin #1
This past week I was observing a teacher in the sense that I wanted to get ideas on how to incorporate technology into their classroom. When I was in there was one student who I could tell did not want to have anything to do with what the teacher was saying. I had asked the teacher if they minded if I could have an opportunity a chance to work with that student. I had come equipped with my iPad mini, not really expecting to use it. Sure enough, I approached this student letting her know that I just recently got this smaller iPad and that I wasn't really comfortable using it. (So true! It feels weird holding it!) Anyways, I used my "go to" app "Explain Everything" and asked the student to help me use it. The class was covering place value and what I found interesting was the fact that everyone at the table wanted to see this person succeed. When we needed help with something other students were not at all hesitant to help us out!
Here was he finished product:

I was so proud of this person's accomplishment! While it was only one problem, I think it was tremendous progress over a student to being defiant and not doing their work.

EduWin #2
This past Friday we had the chance to roll out iPads to our teachers. If you do not know, I am at a new campus this year so I am having to build and establish new relationships with teachers and staff. One one teacher came to pick up their iPad, I spent a few minutes setting up their e-mail and showing them the basics of what the iPad can do. Once we were finished and they were getting ready to leave, this person told me that they felt really confident in their abilities to use technology this year. He told me that in the past, he was just "given" technology but really never used it.

As a Digital Learning Coach, we must be very careful not just to assume that a teacher knows how to use new resources that we give them. Many times this can be overwhelming to someone who has not embraced technology before. I encourage you to get to know your teachers and the level of comfort they have in using new things and to meet them at the level of their needs.