Thursday, September 17, 2015

2015-16 iAchieve Flip Learning Ready to Launch

The 2015-2016 school year is up and running and our iAchieve Flip Learning with 1:1 iPads project and teachers are ready to move ahead also.

One of the things we do at the beginning of the school year is to hold parent meetings for each of our 1:1 iPad classrooms where parents are informed about flip learning and sign an agreement. This has become an essential component before students take their iPads home. It also helps to develop a stronger home to school connection as well as making parents part of the learning.

While we have heard many other schools report rather high incidences of damage and loss, ours has
been quite minimal. We attribute much of that to these parent meetings. Not only do the parents sign the agreement, but students do too - and we encourage students to attend the meeting with their parents.

Each teacher customizes the presentation to meet the needs of their school, classroom, and students.

They cover the project requirements for taking the iPads home and the care and use of the iPad. Information is shared about the videos and assignments students will do at home as part of flipped learning as well as in-class application activities. Teachers and students often demonstrate projects and other activities.

These meetings provide parents opportunities to ask questions about the project and use of the iPads for learning. iAchieve project staff are also there to help clarify and support.

While not every parent is able to attend the initial meeting, project teachers often schedule additional group or one-on-one meetings with parents.

These parent meetings have really proved to be an effective way to start off the school year for the iAchieve Project!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tickled Over Tiggly

We recently added a new early learning preschool program in the district, so I have been on the lookout for some new early learning apps. Not just for preschool but also for our Kindergarten and First Grade iPad classrooms too.

Last Spring I heard about Tiggly apps ( Tiggly is a series of apps developed for kiddos aged 2 up to about 8: Tiggly Shapes, Tiggly Math, and Tiggly Words. Each series contains 3 different apps.

Along with the apps, they have physical manipulatives that interact with the iPad's screen (available
for Android and Kindle Fire also). The manipulatives are large enough for little hands to easily manage. These manipulatives have little silicone touch points so they won't damage the screen. Manipulatives don't require WiFi, Bluetooth, or batteries to use. The apps can also be used without the manipulatives - just your finger!

Users can also set other languages for kids to learn as they play: English, Spanish, French, German, and more. For example in Tiggly Safari if I turn on Bilingual and set English and Spanish, the names of each shape and any characters are spoken in both languages.

At the ISTE conference in June, I visited their booth and saw a hands-on demonstration of Tiggly in action. It was pretty impressive to watch the presenter move and manipulate the interactives on the screen.

But I wanted to do my own testing! So I purchased a set of the Tiggly Shapes and waited for my 21-month-old grandson to visit!

It was well worth the investment. While he was not quite the recommended age for these (2-5), they were a hit. He loved them - especially Tiggly Stamp. If he saw my iPad or the Shapes, he would run to them saying Tiggly, Tiggly! 

And he often found other inventive ways to use the Tiggly Shapes! Tiggly Toes!
These are a couple of his creations from Tiggly Stamp.

Here are the apps for each series:
Tiggly Shapes includes 4 shape manipulatives (circle, square, triangle, and star) that work with these apps:

Tiggly Math includes 5 interactive colorful counting rods (one through five) that work with these apps:

Tiggly Words includes 5 interactive vowel manipulatives (q, e, i, o, and u) that work with these apps:

Tiggly currently has a buy one, give one program if you purchase the manipulatives from their website ( Purchase a set for yourself, then give one to a favorite teacher! Learn more about the buy one, give one program:


Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Padlet iPad App

Padlet ( ) is a great website for collaborating, communicating, sharing, or just staying organized!  You might even call it an “online bulletin board!” Create Padlet walls to post ideas, comments, photos, video, and more. It’s a great tool for the classroom or presentations since only the teacher or presenter needs to have an account. Others can access the Padlet and add their own ideas, thoughts, and information.

Really exciting news! Padlet has just released an iPad app! The free app lets you access your Padlet account to create and review your Padlet walls. Or students can access as a guest to post to their teacher’s walls. 


You can even add custom backgrounds for your PadletsPretty slick.

Padlet can be used in schools for professional development, student portfolios, exit tickets, surveys, or class assignments.

Check out Padlet. How could you use this app?

Custom Padlet Backgrounds from TechChef4You:

How to Add Custom Columns to Your Padlets by Richard Byrne:

20 Way to use Padlet in the Classroom:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Explain Everything 3.0 Has Arrived!

We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Explain Everything 3.0! And it has arrived! This version of our favorite app has several new features, including a new flattened look, an equation editor, and the ability to engage a simpler interface for younger students.

iAchieve now has several 1:1 iPad classrooms in the early grades - K-2. This new simple interface is going to be great for them, especially at the beginning of the year. To turn on the Simple Interface, select the gear icon in the top right of the home page, choose General, and move the slider. The simplified toolbars will be a great option for our little ones.


The new equation editor is going to be a fabulous resource for our math teachers. To access the Equation Editor, choose the plus sign (+) on the left toolbar. The equation builder keyboard opens with a wide array of math symbols to create math equations and even generate graphs.


The new "flattened" look also provides some simplification to the tools. Now there is only one button for exporting projects with a wide variety of places to export to - and a very colorful screen!

Can't wait to do more creating with Explain Everything 3.0! 

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!