Saturday, June 24, 2017

ISTE Conference 2017

ISTE Conference here we come! Looking forward to learning, sharing, and collaborating with other ed tech gurus in San Antonio.

Lots to explore - Apple, Google, Seesaw, Makerspaces, and so much more!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Apple Updates Pages, Numbers, and Keynote...

Yes, apple recently updated the iWorks Suite - Pages, Numbers, and Keynote - for both IOS and Mac. The update I'm most excited about - the Shapes Library. They have added a built-in library of over 500 different shapes you can add to documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

The basic shapes are still there but also sets of Objects, Animals, Nature, Food, Symbols, Education, Places, Activities, Transportation, Arts, People, and Work. You can put shapes together to create a new shape, change colors, rotate, move on the screen, and type inside the shapes.


Learn more a Apple's support site for Shapes:


Monday, June 5, 2017

Explain Everything Tip - Simplified Interface

Explain Everything is an awesome tool but it can be a bit overwhelming with all of the tools, especially when working with younger kiddos.

Not to worry! Explain Everything has a Simplified Interface that removes some of those tools and makes it more accessible for new users. Watch this to see how easy it is.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Explain Everything Tip - Save as an Image

As I've stated before, Explain Everything is our favorite app. It is so flexible and can be used for so many things by both students and teachers. Here's a little Explain Everything tip.

Students love to use their Explain Everything slides in other projects or share them through apps such as Seesaw. Often they take a screenshot of a slide. The screenshot includes all of the Explain Everything toolbars.

Students can easily export their slides to the Camera Roll in Photos as an image without those toolbars.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Google Auto Draw

I really don't have an artistic flair; not great at drawing. No, really I'm not! But Google has a new tool that can help - Auto Draw (  Google's Auto Draw uses machine learning / artificial intelligence to match your drawing to those of talented artists. See a drawing that you like from the provided set of images and you can swap it for your drawing. You can also draw freehand, add text and shapes, and fill with color to customize your drawing.

There is nothing to download, it's free, and works on all devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones). Your drawings can be downloaded or you can get a link to your drawing to share via Google Classroom, Seesaw, or another tool. Check out this fun video about using Auto Draw: 

While Auto Draw is very easy to use here is a little video tutorial to get your started.

Ideas for using Auto Draw in the classroom: 
  • Create graphics for projects
  • Create invitations or announcements 
  • Illustrations for spelling/vocabulary words
  • The uses are endless!
Enjoy using Google's Auto Draw!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Google Story Builder

Google Story Builder is a fun online tool for building conversations and stories. Google Story Builder is a FREE web based tool that works on both laptops and tablets and you can use it without an account.

Google Story Builder is easy to use.

  • Works on both laptops and tablets (iPads)
  • Sound/music may not work on an iPad though
  • Maximum of 10 exchanges between characters and a maximum of 10 characters
  • You cannot "save" your story so be sure to save the shareable link
  • Students could add their link to a shared Google document, add to Google Classroom, add the link in Seesaw. What other ways can you think to have them share?
  • Have student plan their stories prior to writing
Ideas for using in the classroom: 
  • Exchanges between book characters or historical figure
  • Retell a story from the point of view of different characters
  • Digital book report
  • Problem solving dialogues
  • Write a math story
  • Create a debate
Additional Resources:
Doc Story Planning Template (you will need to make a copy in order to edit) 

Develop Writing Skills with Google Story Builder

5 Ways to Use in the Classroom

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Memes in the Classroom

Memes are everywhere today in our culture - sometimes humorous, sometimes educational, sometimes philosophical or political. Memes are ideas, behaviors, or styles that spread from person to person within a culture often via the Internet ( They have become mainstream - a dominant trend in our culture.

During a recent professional learning community, teachers were introduced to the idea of using memes in the classroom - created by both them and their students. These teachers knew a lot about memes but we wanted them to start thinking about different ways to use them for student presentations, sharing thoughts and ideas, or to show learning and understanding of concepts.

6 Ways to Learn Through Memes:

5 Ways to Use Memes with Students:

The time really was two-fold though. We also wanted to introduce them to the Mark-Up tools in the Photos app on the iPads. Students and teachers can create memes or mark up images right in the photos app. No need to download another app or access an online tool!

We looked at some student create memes, such as this math meme project video:

The teachers were provided project instructions for creating a meme. Using the instructions sheet, they worked independently to explore ideas and create their own meme: Meme Project Instructions

The instructions included the link to this online article about how to use the Mark Up tools in the Photos app on their iPads.

Annotating Images on the iPad: 

Teachers were encouraged to use images they had taken with their iPad camera or downloaded from websites such as Pexels or Photos for Class to ensure they were copyright friendly.

Teacher created memes were upload and shared on this Padlet wall.
Meme Padlet:

A great learner driven activity that has sparked a variety of classroom activities and projects!