Monday, September 29, 2014

North Tama Iowa Core Universal Construct PD Resources

  The resource, article, and video links are listed below for North Tama's PD afternoon looking at the Iowa Core Universal Construct (and one of the 4 C's of the common core) of Student Collaboration (Click Here for Core reference).

1) Sarah Brown Wessling's Teaching Channel video on "Improving Teacher Practice"
2) Fisher and Frey's "Gradual Release of Responsibility" Model and video

QR Coded articles and videos:

Rubric Videos:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Uploading to Google Drive

     Google has made uploading and using Drive very simple.  Drive is an online (or cloud) hard drive where you can store any kind of file.  The video below walks through two ways to upload files from your computer into drive.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Google Research Tool in Google Apps

A nice feature in Google Apps like Docs and Presentations is the Research Tool.  The tool gives users the freedom of a Google Search without leaving the Document.  Check this video below on how to use this in the classroom:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Creativity and +1 Monday North Tama Secondary PD 9/15

Here is the Presentation from today's PD with North Tama Secondary teachers- looking at Creativity as one of the 6 Universal Constructs in the Iowa Core.
Homework: Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk- Do Schools Kill Creativity?

North Tama Creativity Padlet

2nd Grade Literacy and iPads

      I met with a 2nd grade group last week who wanted to get some ideas on using their classroom set of iPads to promote higher-level thinking when it came to vocabulary.  I gave them a couple of options based on some philosophies that I have when it comes to tech integration:

1) The tech should be used to enable and enrich critical thinking skills, collaboration, complex communication, and/or creativity.

2) The iPad is best used to create an experience that cannot be replicated on paper (or other "analog" tools) and redefines the lesson plan into something they could only do with technology.

Here's what we came up with:

Option 1: Educreations, ShowMe, DoodleDraw, and other interactive white board apps.
     These apps are FREE (click on the names to go to the iTunes store), and enable students to create original works while recording their voice at the same time.  The team liked these apps because students could then show and explain their understanding of vocabulary words- either by drawing or adding pictures (even photos they take with the iPad), writing sentences or definitions, or recording themselves explaining the vocabulary terms.  Finished products could be exported to the teacher, or parents, or saved online.

Option 2: App smash, Scan, and URL shortener (click to see previous post on using URL shortener)
    The team ultimately chose this option because it allows a little more freedom for students to interact with/ evaluate/ analyze each other's work, enables creativity in a different sense, and simplifies some of the sharing capabilities.  Here's what we did:

-We went to and started a new "Wall."  Padlet is a collaborative web page where students can add a text/image square to a wall.  Here's a video on how to use it.  Padlet is also available on the Chrome Store and integrates with your Google Sign-in.

-After we started a wall, we took the web address name and shortened it with URL Shortener.  If you are signed in to your email account, it will automatically log you into Padlet.

- After we got our shortened URL, we clicked on "details" to get the QR code.  A QR code allows mobile devices to locate a webpage using the camera, rather than typing in a web address- how handy is that with iPads, young students, and complex web addresses?  VERY handy!  We next printed the QR codes and hung them on the wall. Students would use the "Scan" iPad app to photograph the QR code, and it will take them to our Padlet wall.

We set up our wall (see video link above), then got ready to teach our students.  The idea is that students can add posts, videos, pictures, links, and text to the wall dealing with their vocabulary words.  They can even leave comments and read others' posts, build off of each other's creations, and encourage feedback. What a great way to get students to think critically about their vocabulary and evaluate their learning!  Plus, the 2nd Grade team can send out the Padlet wall's web address to parents.  A very powerful tool.

Friday, September 12, 2014 URL Shortener

Ever find an incredible web tool that you want students to use, but the web address is so long and complicated it makes things difficult?  Do you have students that consistently have trouble even typing in simple web addresses? Using a URL shortener like is what you're looking for.  Check the video below to see how to use this incredible tool as a teacher:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tell Your Story with Gladbrook-Reinbeck

Here's a presentation of the "Tell Your Story" PD for Gladbrook-Reinbeck PD afternoon 9/10/2014.  We talked about influencing the message presented to the community about the school and how we can be a part of the message using social media.  All images used in the presentation are for educational use only.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TodaysMeet is a collaborative writing site.  Teachers can create a "room," then allow students to post text to a common board in 140 character limits.  Some nice features:

- It's Free! Plus, if you sign up, it will save your previously created rooms.
- As the "room" moderator, you can choose the web address of the room, set the length of time that the room will be open, embed or save the transcript of the conversations, and color code different writers.

Many teachers use this service to allow each of their students to ask questions, check skills, or backchannel during a lesson/ video.  I tend to use this during teacher presentations so they can ask questions during the presentation for everyone to see and respond to.

I did witness a 1st grade teacher who named her "room" after the sight word her students were working on- students used their iPads to type in the sight word to access the room, then type a sentence using the sight word.  Other students in the room would start online conversations with each other in the "room" about their sentences.  Talk about a very engaging way to teach sight words!

Feel free to comment below other ideas on using