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Bloom into EdTech: The Blog: December 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 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.


Create and share stories with ease for free with the possibility of purchasing a published book.

Of course, there are many others out there on the market. Another one of my favorites is Make Belief Comix featured here. What are your favorites? 


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Monday, December 26, 2016

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 home on his or her own time. I asked my students to think of their overall classes, and not just mine when they sat down to answer my survey. Is their education up to par? Do they expect more?

While I was not surprised by their responses, I found their open-ended answers refreshing. One student responded "One thing I expect out of my education is to learn information that will be helpful/useful for my future and every day life. I would like to have a basic understanding of simple things and I would expect to use more technology in other classes that aren't tech because this day in age that will be more influential." While another stated "From my education, I expect that we should use much more technology, as that is what many other schools use. In our classes, we use technology and I believe it would be more effective if we used it more often. I also believe that with the new times, our education should be more relevant and suited towards how things work today. I feel that we should learn more things that could help us in the real world. I believe that knowing about how birds can fly is not preparing me to be a good citizen in the 21st century."

Interesting enough, although many were unsure about what they wanted to be in the future, their responses looked towards the possibilities "I would not only like to learn how to do things, but learn things that I could potentially use on a daily basis when I get older."

Don't worry. I also received the responses like "I think we need more free time" or "to be fun and educational" which is what I thought I would have gotten more of considering my pool of respondents were 11-14 year olds.

But then there are the ones who got it, and took advantage to explain their disposition:

"I feel that the education system is in need of change. While I may know the density of a planet and how to do complicated math equations, I still do not know how to pay my bills or manage myself when I am older. I understand that I am just in 8th grade, and that this subject may be touched upon in high school, but I still feel too many students have no direction of what they want to be in the future. In school, we fill out bubbles in tests that have been created by people who have never taught a day in their life and compete to receive a letter/number that determines the quality of our work. In some countries, such as Finland, there have been radical changes to the educational system. Now, they are ranked as having the highest educational system in the entire world. There are proven methods to improve-we just have to be open to them. Instead of set curriculum on how to teach, teachers should be free to explore their own methods of teaching. In the 21st century, we need people who will think creatively with open minds. Through the current standards, students are not encouraged to discover their future. And while students may be only 20% of our population, they are 100% of our future."

Honestly. Brought tears to my eyes. I wish I knew who wrote it. They would have received bonus points!

Below is an info-graphic with my students responses. I thought it was interesting enough to share, and perhaps provoke you to ask "What do you expect from your education?"



Click image to see live infographic.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

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!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Formative Assessment Resources

I created the below Webmix to share my resources on Formative Assessment. This Webmix contains resources for both technical and non-technical forms of Formative Assessment as well as information and studies.


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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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 this as a whole class on a screen, or printed; you can split into small groups and each group is assigned a set of directions to follow either printed or on the screen; or you can program yourself and have the students "write" the lines of code for you to complete an activity (like walk to the door, in which I always walk into the door).

Once they understand the concept, it's time to move on.

Here is a list of my favorite coding sites/apps for little hands:


  1. Kodable- Play this Fuzz Family Frenzy for free with your students. Great first step to introduce coding.
  2. Scratch Jr.- G Available on Google Play, Google Chrome Web Store, Amazon or the App Store this fun free app opens a world of possibilities for the younger students.
  3. Lightbot- The free Hour of Code version is available online. Can't get enough of the little robot? There are paid versions available through the App Store, Kindle, and Google Play.
  4. Candy Quest by Tynker- Is one of my personal fav's for the younger students. This game is brought to you by Hour of Code.
  5.  Code.org- Code.org is an awesome resource to have in your back pocket. While your there create a teacher and student account and have your Kindergartners enlist in their online course on coding!

There are so many more great apps and sites available for our younger students than my fav's listed above. What is your favorite?

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

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!

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