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Showing posts from 2016

Fun With Making Movies, Digital Story Writing and Comics for the Kindergarten Technology Class

Kindergartners are fun, imaginative souls.  They have a lot to share and their stories are genuine.  This is a great age to start introducing the basics of digital story writing and exploring that creativity.

Below are some sites that I use with my Kindergartner to second grade students:

Arthur's Comic Creator
Those little hands will have a blast adding backgrounds, prompts and text with ease!

Buster's Movie Maker
Learn about the elements of a great movie and change the mood of the movie.

My Story Maker
Another fun Website with writing prompts! Great for younger students! You can print and share the stories when you are finished as well.

Storybird
One of my favorite Websites to use with my students. Easy to use and offers a lot of great visuals!

Story Maker from ABCya!
Who doesn't fall in love with what ABCya! offers on their site? Students can create a story from scratch and print it out when they are done.


Story Jumper Create and share stories with ease for free with the poss…

What do you expect from your education?

As educators, how do we know if we are doing a good job in providing our students with the best opportunities for the future? We can look at test scores and evaluate data, but are our students engaged? Are they learning? More importantly- are they satisfied? What if we were to create an education that encompassed our students' needs while delivering content that was relevant to them. What would that look like?
A little background before we begin.... My current place of employment is a private nonprofit school located in a small suburban town. We have block scheduling, with ELA and Math taking up three periods of the schedule every other day and Social Studies and Science taking up two. I only see them for one period. Sad. I know.
In my small corner of the world, I took it upon myself to ask my middle school students a series of questions in an anonymous survey. {I, of course, at first had to explain anonymity to a few to ensure honest results.} It was even asked to be completed at h…

Google Certified Trainer Application

Well, I did it! I finally took the plunge and completed my Google Trainer Application. I am very anxious and yet excited to see the outcome of my application.

I am uncertain of what was required in the past, however the application is very straightforward. I had a very hard time keeping my video to the 3-minute limit, because as you know, I am a run-on sentence.

Anyhow, here is an example of my video:

If you are interested, you can find my Google Slide Game: Code Name here.
I very much look forward to a reply.

Happy holidays!

Holiday Coding Fun!

Hello and happy holidays!  Below is a list of free resources to help code you in the holiday spirit!


Tynker Holiday Card
Google's Made with Code
Google's Code Boogie
Google's Code a Christmas Card
Google's Code Lab

Program a Preschooler/Kindergartner: Teaching young students to code

I started off my career over 12 years ago teaching preschool children computer technology. I can tell you a lot has changed in terms of computer technology education.

Preschoolers are typing...

Preschoolers are creating.....

Preschoolers are problem solving.....

Preschoolers are troubleshooting....

Preschoolers are coding!

Go beyond the Hour of Code and  make code apart of you curriculum.

 I love to introduce code to my Preschool and Kindergarten students by teaching them the basic fundamentals of coding: following directions. I begin by explaining to the class that to begin, we are going to pretend that you are robots and I am going to code you! After all, coding is simply giving a set of commands that need to be followed.

I made this very basic "Program a Preschooler/Kindergartner" Google Slide here (and you can grab a copy here) that I used to introduce simple sets of directions (or algorithms). There are several ways in which you can employ this activity; you can either do t…

Hour of Code

Are you ready?

Are you excited?!

It's here- The Hour of Code.

Although coding should go way beyond the hour... please take this week to become acquainted with the plethora of Websites available to you to assist your students in learning how to code.

Here is a Symbaloo Webmix of sites that I use with my students during the week:



Happy Coding!

Digital Note Taking

So much pressure is placed in education on using technology. However, in many classrooms it is the teacher utilizing the technology for presentation of their notes, and the students are the ones who are handwriting them down in journals and notebooks. In my opinion, using digital tools in the classroom as a form of note taking is a tremendous stride in the right direction. There are many tools that can assist students with note taking; G Suite, Evernote,Notability, etc. are just a few of the examples.
Today’s big push appears the interactive notebooks. An interactive notebook is a paper notebook that allows students to place notes and teachers can create activities within the sheets of paper (Interactive-notebooks-home, N.D.). I could easily see this transition to students using either Google Slides in conjunction with Google Draw or Evernote to create an interactive notebook and replace its paper counterpart.
Some advantages of incorporating digital notes into your classroom: There is n…

Creating Infographics and Posters for Digital Literacy

What is digital literacy?
By definition, “Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills” (ALA Connect, 2016). Technology is changing the way our students learn, read, and obtain information. We need to create a curriculum that nurtures this way of learning. Being able to close-read visual information is just as valid as being able to close-read text. There are many tools on the market that enhance our understanding of digital literacy as well as our students.
Today we will be looking at a product called PiktoChart found at https://piktochart.com/

PiktoChart has free and of course, paid educational offers.

Within PiktoChart, students have the ability to make and publish Posters, Infographics, Presentations and Reports. Templates are provided, however I prefer to have my students create their own from scratch.
Can I say that I love the fact that you can e…

Setting Safe Search to Pixabay

If you are ever in the search for royalty free, high-quality images to use with your students, Pixabay.com is the place to go. I have been a huge fan for years and have found from experience that the bigger they grow and the more popular they have become, the more I am running into questionable images.


Luckily, {although not foolproof} Pixabay has a Safe Search for images built right into their Website. Please know that sometimes, (like anything else) questionable content slips through the cracks. You are always your students best line in defense to make certain they are safe. Making sure students know how to "handle" the situation is also a priority (i.e. have them turn off the screen before the come and report it).

Here is how to access it Pixabay's Safe Search:

1. In the top right-hand corner is a menu button. Select it and press FAQ.

2. Scroll down until you find the Safe Search section and check off the box to enable.
That's it! Happy safe searching!

Using Google Draw to create a Doodle 4 Google

What can I say?
There is nothing you cannot do in the G Suite. For the last two years or so my 4th-grade students have taking place in Google's contest, Doodle for Google (found here: https://doodles.google.com/d4g/).
In years past we have used a variety of tools employing various devices (iPads, tablets, etc.). This year I decided to give Google Draw a go with my students.
I love Google Draw. How can you not love a tool that you can access anywhere? An artist by trade, I have found many workarounds to use this basic tool.
For example, check out this Google Draw Artist, Joshua Pomeroy by watching his video here:  https://youtu.be/OkAuMOjXFCc He makes it look so easy right?
Here was my give-it-a-go:

Not too shabby for my first attempt if I do say so myself!
I thought to myself, "self, why couldn't I use this tool with my students to illustrate what they feel the future will look like?"
Below is a Screencast of what tools I introduced to my students. You can hear their discu…

Halloween Kids Coding Sites

Hello and Happy Halloween! It’s that time of year again when a lot of our beloved coding sites share with us their ghoulish coding puzzles. I have list a few of my favorite below in hopes it will be updated this year:
Tynker’s Make-o-Lantern found at: http://www.tynker.com/ide/?p=580794afaf92312a378b45b4
Google’s Made w/ code Yeti Animation found at: https://www.madewithcode.com/projects/animation
Tynker’s Trick or Treat Tombs found here: http://www.tynker.com/ide/?p=57ffc005af923193728b4674
Another great coding game from Tynker; Monster High found at: https://www.tynker.com/courses/monster-high/host
And another….Halloween Hostage located at: http://www.tynker.com/ide/?p=57ffc093af9231e0738b46d3
Code.org’s “special level” drawing a ghost: https://studio.code.org/s/SpecialSeries/stage/1/puzzle/1

Happy coding!

Gamification: Why play when you can make a game?

Topic: Gamestar Mechanic: learning how to design a story-based game.

Suggested Grade: 6-8

Materials: Gamestar Mechanic Account. Free or paid. It is cheap to have a paid account ($2 per student exclusive education price, and I strongly urge you do. You can survive without it though.) You can set up an institution and track student progress!Pixabay.com or other sites that offer royalty free images.Intro to gaming video: https://youtu.be/x24KoVNliMk


Tech Tips: What better way to teach students about game design than playing a game while they learn? Gamestar Mechanic also allows students to design as well as share their games. This is my third year using Gamestar mechanic as an introduction to game design. Students will learn about the principles of game design: space, components, mechanics, goals and rules, as they learn how to independently design on their own.

Gamestar Mechanic takes the stress out of students learning to code and places value on design only. Keep this in mind. I love how s…