Sunday, June 28, 2015

iMovie Trailers on the iPads

Digital Storytelling is a pretty hot topic right now and there are so many tools and resources out there for creating Digital Stories. Many are web based and there are lots and lots of apps. Some of the iPads apps we are using include Shadow Puppet EDU, 30 Hands, Videolicious, StoryKit, or Animoto.

One of the other tools teachers and students have used is the iMovie Trailer feature to create digital stories in our 1:1 iPad classrooms. iMovie trailers are much like movie trailers that you would see at a movie theater prior to viewing a movie. They are used to entice you to want to see an upcoming movies.

iMovie's Trailer feature is very similar. These are short videos created using a variety of different available templates. Usually iMovie Trailers showcase an event or happening in someone's life, such as a special vacation, graduation, or birthday. I created a couple of iMovie Trailers as Father's Day presentations for my husband and son!

Teachers could create an iMovie Trailer as a way to build background for students or as a "hook" to spark interest in a topic. Here are a couple of examples:

Students can create trailers to showcase their learning or understanding of a topic, as an alternative to a written book repot, biography of a famous person or highlights of an historical event. Trailers can address a wide variety of content areas.

At a recent conference, we shared information about digital storytelling and iMovie Trailers. Attendees at the session also had an opportunity to create one of their own. In order to help facilitate the creation, we came up with a topic and provided photos and video clips for attendees to use. The creations were as varied at the attendees themselves! Here is a model of a Saguaro Cactus iMovie Trailer:

Here are the resources used for the presentation:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

ISTE, Here We Come

Heading to Philidelphia this morning to attend the Internationl Society for Technology in Education Conference (#iste2015 or #iste15). This is an international conference with attendees from all over the world. Looking forward to learning, sharing, and connecting!

Doing a poster presentation on using iMovie Trailers for digital storytelling. More about that to come. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Designing with Canva

While I am by no means a Graphic Designer, I have been creating some designs using Canva for
presentations, posters, and even some personal items (digital Father's Day cards!). I have a lot to learn but it's been fun!

I recently created by own customized Facebook cover graphic!

Canva is a free online tool ( and an iPad app. You can create graphics for social media posts, documents, event posters, advertisements, and so much more. Canva includes templates that can be customized with their built in tools. Tools include images, icons, fonts, lines and shapes, and more. Many are free to use but some resources are available for purchase - usually only $1.00 each.

You can also upload your own images to use in your designs - be sure to follow copyright rules though if you did not take the photos yourself!

Some other examples of my recent creations.

These were used in a recent presentation:

Banner for a presentation:

BYOD Poster:

Canva has an online Design School ( to help you get started designing. Design School includes tutorials and teaching materials with lots of tips and tricks.

TechChef4U, Lisa Johnson, has put together some resources to help teachers in using Canva: Recently Lisa did a Classroom 2.0 webinar on Canva. You can watch the recorded session:

Note: if you work with younger students, be sure to check out Canva's Terms of Service to make sure it falls within the guidelines for your district.

I'm looking forward to learning more and more about Canva and refining my design skills!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Social Media Smart Cards

Recently one of our School Resource Officers sent out information about Social Media Smart Cards. These cards were developed by the FBI to aid social media users in staying safe online and protecting private information. They really have some good tips.

Here are some additional Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites tips:


Google +

They are available to download from several websites, but the East Tennessee State University has provided links to download each of the 4 smart cards:

Enjoy and Stay Safe!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Several of our teachers have been using Plickers ( in their classrooms for quick formative assessments and checks for understanding during instruction.  Plickers provides realtime formative assessment data and only the teacher needs to have a device - not the students.

Teachers need to setup an account and load the app, either IOS or Android, on their tablet or smartphone; and both are free. There are also pre-made Plickers card sets you can download for students to use.

It's also a great tool to use to survey staff during meetings and professional development.

IOS app:
Android app:

Here are some ideas and resources for using Plickers in your classroom:


Monday, April 13, 2015

Project Based Learning

As we near the end of the school year, many teachers are looking at Project Based Learning. We've been leading some PD and sharing ideas and resources with teachers to prepare them for this adventure.

Here are a couple of interesting PBL articles:

And one of my favorite PBL quotes: "If you assign a project and get back 30 of the exact same thing, that's not a project, that's a recipe." ~ Chris Lehmann

I am excited that more of our school leaders and teachers are talking about, investigating, and learning about PBL. For many teachers, PBL is like coloring outside of the lines! It's a long road to travel but we will eventually get there!