Friday, October 31, 2014

App of the Week - MoMA Art

The Museum of Modern Art ( in New York is a place that "fuels creativity, ignites minds, and provides inspiration." Their MoMa Art iPad app supports that mission.

This app is designed to inspire the artist in each of us. Create art activities inspired by well-know artists or use the built in tools to create your own work of modern art.

Click here to download a pdf version of the App of the Week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chicktionary App

Chicktionary is one of the apps that has been part of the iAchieve app list right from the beginning - that's 5 years now! We first used it with our iPod touches and now also include it on all of the iPads for both students and teachers.

While it's classified as a game, it is a great learning tool. It's an engaging word work resource where students think about letter combinations and practice spelling skills.

Previously there were separate apps for iPhone and iPad but now it is a universal app. They have really updated the user interface and it looks very modern and up to date. But the students still love it and are practicing those skills.

Several of our teachers have created their own accountability worksheets for Chicktionary where 

students keep a list of the words they have created and then use them in a sentence. Many of our teachers are using a Chicktionary recording sheet created by Laura Moore. It's a fun sheet with eggs where students record the words they have created.

Monday, October 27, 2014

App of the Week - RWT Timeline

Read*Write*Think ( is a great website for ideas, resources, lesson plans, and tools to support reading and language arts. They have some useful online student interactives to support students in showing what they know.

Over the past couple of years RWT has also been developing iPad apps aligned with a variety of their student interactives. The RWT Timeline app is a great tool for creating projects showing sequential order arranged by date, time, or event. Timelines can include both images and descriptive text.
Click here to download the RWT Timeline pdf.

Friday, September 26, 2014

More New iPods

A lot of people seem to view the iPod touches as old technology but here in Creighton School District we still love these tools. And our teachers always find great ways to use them to support learning in the classroom, especially during reading and math learning centers.

Last year we had an opportunity to deploy some new Gen 5 iPod touches to several of our classrooms. Do to some unforeseen circumstances we had to hold off one of our the iPod touch carts until this school year.

We were very excited to get this cart of iPod touches prepped and deployed to one of our new third grade teachers for this year. She is very excited and ready to move forward.

We are usually pretty conservative in our choice of iPod touch cases but in this "case" went a little wild. These cases were ordered from Amazon and came in bundles of 10 that included 5 different colors. I just love the variety!

And the circle pattern. They have just the right amount of translucency for our numbers to show through on the back.

Makes me want one for my iPod touch too!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Informational Texts and Newsela

The Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) require a greater balance between reading fiction and non-fiction in the classroom. In addition, we want students to be reading nonfiction content that is relevant to their lives and interests.

Last year we discovered Newsela ( Newsela is a site that brings daily news into the classroom and provides a way to foster reading comprehension. The news articles are from major publications and rewritten at different Lexile Levels. All students in a classroom can read the same content but at a level that is appropriate for them. The articles are of high interest and cover a wide variety of topics including science, health, money, and sports. The texts are common core aligned and many have quizzes to test comprehension and close reading. There are both free and premium accounts.

Newsela is quick and easy to use. Teachers register, create classes, and add students. Teachers can assign specific articles that are automatically leveled for the grade level of the class. When students log in they see the article(s) that have been assigned and can start reading.

Last week I visited a classroom where the teacher had just begun using Newsela with her students. She was really excited about being able to deliver this type of content to the students. The teacher had created her account and set up the class so the students could get log-ins. It's very engaging for the students and works well on the iPads!

Click here to view the Newsela Quick Start Guide for Teachers.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Gaggle Student Email 2014

Creighton School District has been using the Gaggle ( student email and communication system for many, many years. We were actually one of the first adopters of the system in Arizona!

Because of the security features it is a great way for students and teachers to communicate in a safe, friendly environment. Many wonder why it is called Gaggle. On their website, company president, Jeff Patterson, states that is an "easy way for teachers to watch over their gaggle of students." It is great for us because we know that any inappropriate messages and communications are blocked by their system and the teacher/administrator is notified. They filter for inappropriate words, images, and cyberbullying content. The programs is very effective.

Over the past few weeks I have visiting in our 1:1 iPad classrooms to help teachers and students set up Gaggle on the iPads. We are using the Gaggle app but we also like to set up Gaggle through the Mail app on the iPads as it is an easy way for students to send completed projects from inside an app to their teachers - especially for our younger users.

Students love being able to communicate with both their teachers and other students.

 In this class we went a little above and beyond the traditional email set-up - partly because of questions and comments from students. They really wanted to know more, like how to customize their email signature. So the teacher and I walked them through the process.

We also shared with them many of the other features in the Gaggle app - blogs, discussions, digital lockers, and so on. When the students first logged in on the app, they were presented with the Gaggle Cyber-Safety course. Completing that course was one of their first steps in becoming good digital citizens. Here's mine from a couple of years ago. Always good for students to know that their teachers are cyber-smart too!

The teacher even set up a class discussion question based on something they have been working on and each student had an opportunity post a comment of their own as well as comment on the posts of their classmates.

Gaggle also has a Human Monitoring Service that instantly alerts our district Gaggle administrators to any imminent dangers to our students. This along with the blocking features has really helped us protect our students and provide interventions when necessary. What a great way to for our students to learn to communicate and develop 21st century skills in a safe environment!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

iAchieve Classroom Posters

It is always fun to visit our iAchieve classrooms and see the informative posters teachers are using to help their students use mobile devices effectively in the classroom. Every classroom is a little different depending upon the teacher and the needs of their students. Here are a couple of examples:

I'll be checking out more classrooms soon!