Friday, August 31, 2012

Using Technology to Make Back to School Communication Easy!

When I first started using remind 101, I immediately loved the platform and the thoughtfulness behind it.  The concept was beautiful in it's simplicity: A safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents.  Easy to use, easy to manage, safe communication.  100% free.   All of the bugs were worked out - no real phone numbers flying around, everything was safe and easy to use.

As the new school year begins and you meet parents for the first time, it's the perfect opportunity to discuss with them how they would like to receive communication from their student's class - and remind101 is a great way to make it happen.

Remind101 provides a safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. It is 100% free and is used by over 200,000 teachers, students and parents to send millions of messages every month.

I even set up a group for my blog:
You can click here to subscribe!

Yes, I can't wait to set this up for my class! 
click here

First: sign up for a Free remind101 account!

Next: After you've signed up for an account, get the app!  

Then:  Check out remind101's Back-to-School Blog!

New Feature:

They just announced that they now support Canada numbers.   Additionally, they are launching an Android app.  You can click here to read more about this feature!

{click here to see the video, and get the free app!} 


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Monday, August 27, 2012

Slide Speech

I have found a new technology resource that I am beyond excited about. I have shared this with my teachers and they are raving about it.

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You've Found a Goggle Doc Freebie---Now What?

Don't you just love the excitement you feel when you stumble on an awesome resource, then find out its FREE?! Jackpot! Although there are many ways to share documents many bloggers, including myself, use Google Docs. In this post, I'm going to show you around Google Docs, and help answer some questions that may pop up when accessing those awesome freebies. At the end, you'll find some freebies to enjoy!

So, you've found that great resource and clicked on the link:
The green circle indicates the type of file. Usually files shared in the blogosphere are .pptx or .pdf. The ".pptx" means it is a PowerPoint file and must be opened with PowerPoint or something comparable, like Open Office

Many times the freebie is something you can use "as is" and you may want to print it right away. However, if you want to download it, click on "File" where you see the red circle, then click "Download as" (purple circle). 

Most users will choose Microsoft PowerPoint as the file type to download. After you've downloaded, if you have this program on your computer, you can open the document and add text boxes to personalize your item. In PowerPoint, simply click on "insert" and "text box." Because of copyright protection and terms of use, you will likely not be able to change anything about the graphics. 

Many people will click "File" then "Share." That's a deceptive little word. I encourage you to NOT do this, and here is why: When a user requests to "share" a file, they are asking permission to view and edit the original document. For example, let's say user A selects the "share" option because they want their friend to see this great freebie. It was a nice thought, but here's what happens: the creator of the doc receives an email asking to "share." If the creator chooses to allow "sharing" then the people who gain access are now able to edit, delete, save, or change the document in any way. Enter user B, who would like to download the original document. Oops! User A has made changes! How do I know this? You guessed it...been there, done that. 

Hopefully that will answer some questions about how to use some of those great docs you've found. Now, on to some freebies! These are the divider pages for my binders and I've left them blank for you to personalize. Each set has pages with the little girl and without the little girl. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Use Your IPad to Create an Interactive Board


Here’s an Ap to try in your classroom:  It’s called Educreations.  It is very simple and easy to use, and it basically turns your IPad into an Interactive White Board.  educreations - make your IPad into an interactive white boardYou can insert pictures, write on the pictures – or a blank page, move pictures around, every thing you would normally do on your interactive white board.  In addition, you can record your lessons.  When you press record, it records everything you say and do on your screen, building a video of your lesson.  These videos can be saved to show students later, or they can be embedded into your blog or website to show parents or absent students.

At my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, I recently wrote a Post About 4 Different Ways I Plan to Use this Ap in my classroom.  Feel free to stop by and check out these suggestions.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Photo Booth Tip

Happy Tuesday!  This is Julie from The Hip Teacher.   Today I wanted to share a tip for Photo Booth.  If you have MacBooks or iPads, then you may be familiar with this program/app.  My students NEVER get tired of making pictures of themselves and their friends.  Whenever they get "free time" on their laptops, this is almost always what they will choose to do.

I was excited to learn a new trick to Photo Booth when I went to Discovery Communications this summer (home to Discovery Education).   Students can put themselves into an image or video with just a few simple steps!

First, have your students find a picture or video that they can use.  I downloaded a picture of fireworks behind Mount Rushmore from the many images that are available in Discovery Education.

Next, scroll through the effects until you find the user backdrops.

Drag the downloaded picture onto User Backdrop 1.
The next step is the tricky will tell you to step out of the frame so that it can detect the background.  Once the background shows up you can go in the picture.

Then click on the camera timer to take your picture.  You may have to do a few trial pictures to make sure that you can see enough of the background.  It also won't work if there is too much movement behind you. 
Here is one that I took of my daughter and me.  Photo Booth pics are fun, but they are definitely not flattering!

This can be a lot of fun for students.  What are some ways that you would use this with your class?
The Hip Teacher

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Math Websites

I love to use a variety of websites as a part of my computer center, homework suggestions and general instruction time, especially in math!  There are so many great websites out there, but my all time favorite is Virtual Manipulatives.  Every math manipulative that you have (or should have) in the math manipulative kit that comes math website for kidswith your math series can be found in virtual form on this website. There are also new, different ways to manipulate these manipulatives that I have found only here. For example, this site allows you to subtract with base ten blocks, and the blocks that are “taken away” truly go away. In addition to base ten blocks, there are also number lines, clocks, money, tangrams, pattern blocks and more. It works fabulously with a projector and an interactive board, but is just as much fun at a single computer during centers.

logophotocomboI recently wrote a post with my top 10 Math Websites at my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources.  Of course, Virtual Manipulatives made the list, but there are 9 other amazing Math websites there too, so please stop by and check them out.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flash Browsers for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch

Shana here from Enchanted with Technology!

Enchanted with Technology
There are some really great interactive websites out there that would be great for students to use on the iPad. However, it’s disappointing when they are flash-based sites and they are not compatible with the iOS platform. Rover is the perfect solution. It can be downloaded free from the app store and supports flash websites. So now you can use all your favorite sites right on your iPad!

There are a lot of other flash browser apps that can be downloaded from the app store for a relatively low price. Rover is currently only for the iPad, so it is worth checking out some of the other apps.

Splashtop remote browser is one of my favorites. It allows you to control your computer directly from your device; you are actually using your own computer's browser. This gives you the freedom to access all of your files and software programs directly from your computer. One reason why I love it is because it works awesome with the interactive whiteboard. Instead of having a slate to control the board, students can launch the Splashtop app and interact from anywhere in the room! If you get a chance, definitely check it out. Just click on the icons to find out more.
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Triptico...Awesome Technology Resource

Have you heard of Triptico? I love using this program with students and teachers. It has been very successful and to mention it is FREE, yes I said FREE!! You do have to download it, but it is well worth it.

Here is description of Triptico:
Triptico's desktop app contains over twenty interactive, fully-customisable resources for you to use in your classroom... and it's completely free!

I  would say it is one of the Best Web 2.0 resources out there. It has a sleak and sophisticated look. When you see it, you won't even believe that this is FREE. I had spent so much time looking for free interactive activities to use to meet the needs of my students and teachers, with little luck. When I found Triptico, I was so excited and I had to show the class I was teaching at the time and they were so pumped. I had some teachers yelling out with excitement!!

I hope you enjoy it!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Free Apps Today

The following educational iOS apps are free. Download the apps as soon as possible as they can go to paid status at any time.

These apps are really good and you know as teachers it seems like nothing is free and everything teacher wise is expensive. When I saw this list, I jumped on the chance. I hope you do too!

 ABC Champ (spelling game; normally $1.99)
 ACT (math lessons; normally $9.99)
Algebra Card Clutter (fast math game)
  Ben & Bob Chipmunks (interactive book)
Bodie, California (Museum Planet presents a narrated, digital photo tour of the historic ghost mining town Bodie, California; normally $2.99)
Buzzle (normally $1.99)
Cars in Sandbox: Space Rover (normally $8.99; introduce young children to the Mars Rover and the Moon Rover)
Cyberchase: Ruckus Reader (interactive book; one free story included free; others available for in-app purchase)
 Different Book (opposites)
Hide Run Growl (interactive book; normally $1.99)
Hookitty-Tookitty-Tah (interactive book; normally $2.99)
Hurricane by American Red Cross (great for tracking hurricanes, emergency preparedness, and more)
IBM Think (a wonderful app about how progress is made)
iReading HD - Sleeping Beauty (interactive book)
iStory Bally, the Balloon Dog (interactive book; normally $2.99)
iStory to the Rescue (interactive book; normally $2.99)
Jeff the Mis-Fish (interactive book)
JM Abel with No Navel (interactive book)
JM The Naughty Eagle Chicks (interactive book)
JM Untying the Knot (interactive book)
Kids iHelp - Analogy 1.0 (free set with more available through in-app purchase; excellent for practicing logical thinking skills)
Kids iHelp - Analogy 2.0 (free set with more available through in-app purchase; excellent for practicing logical thinking skills)
Luna Red (very cute interactive book about Red Riding Hood; normally $2.99)
Magic Clothes RD (interactive book)
Meet Heckerty (interactive book)
Mink (interactive phonics book)
MuseumApp (create your own museum exhibits; free registration required; normally $5.99)
North Wind (interactive book)
Open Wide Snap (interactive book; normally $1.99)
PeterPan(Unabridged) (audio book; normally $16.99)
Princesses Learn German (interactive book)
Puss in Boots (interactive book; free the whole month of August)
The Race by Lily (interactive book by a little girl)
Slice Wood (puzzle game)
The Tale of Tortoise Buffett and Trader Hare (interactive book about finance for children; normally $1.99)
Tickle Stomp! An Educational Story (interactive book for preschoolers)
Vermeer (art works; normally $1.99)
World Explorer (normally $2.99)


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PebbleGo: Research for Primary Grades

Hi, this is Julie from The Hip Teacher.  My Tech Tool for this week is PebbleGo.  This is not a free program, but it is a must-have for elementary schools.  When working on technology projects in my grad classes, I find that many programs are geared for upper grade students.  PebbleGo is ideal for young students who are just learning research skills.
PebbleGo currently has 3 databases of information: Animals, Biographies, and Eartth and Space.  Schools have the option to purchases access to just one or to all three.  My third graders used the biography information quite a bit last year.  My students had no problem with the reading level of the information, but there is an option to have the passages read aloud.  The pictures are bright and colorful, and there are even some video clips included.  The information is broken down into subsections, making it easier for young researchers.
Here is a sample page on Benjamin Franklin.  Do you teach timelines?  There is also an option to see a timeline of that person's life!

 When we do research projects with our technology facilitator and media specialist, we spend a good deal of time getting our students to cite their sources.  Guess what-PebbleGo has a citation button making it even easier for students to get this information!

PebbleGo is a great way to get students into reading non-fiction passages.  I love to put my rising kindergartner on this site to learn about animals.  Oh, and there are some games too!

If your school or district is evaluating different programs to enhance your science and social studies curriculum, you should definitely check this out.  I heart PebbleGo!

The Hip Teacher
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Spell with flickr

Howdy! It's Shana from Enchanted with Technology. Hope everyone is enjoying their last few days resting before back to school excitement kicks in!
Enchanted with Technology
By now, most of you have probably seen the personalized name frames that spell out each letter of the name uniquely. My colleague Cathy came across Spell with flickr several months back and introduced it to me. The website basically creates the same effect in such a quick, simple manner.  You type in a name, phrase, or word and Spell with flickr creates it by pulling single images from flickr and using it to generate what you have typed in.

Now the really cool part! You can click on each individual letter and filter through images of the letter until you find one that you like; so, you have the ability to do some customizing. Notice the B and A are the same style of letter. After browsing through a few of the letter B's my word "Back" now looks like this...
I am all about simple so I thought this would be a good resource to share. Besides, think about how much fun students could have practicing their spelling words like this! Pin It

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keeping Kids on Track with Technology: A Mini Lesson

Hi everyone! It's Sandy from 

Soaring Through Second

I hope you are staying cool wherever you are today! It's been unbearably hot where I am!!!! 

I think I've mentioned before, but my class will be going 1:1 with iPads next year!!! I am SO excited to get this technology into my 2nd graders hands!!!

At the beginning of the year, I plan on spending A LOT of time going over procedures and how to's and do's and don't's. Technology like this can be very intimidating (for the teacher!!!)!

I shared a class set of iPod touches last year, and this was one problem I had...

How do I really know what the kids are doing over there with the technology??? They're sitting at their desk with their device... They look engaged... They look like they're doing something productive. They're not disturbing anyone... so it must be okay.

This wasn't always the case (i.e. taking 479 silly pictures of themselves using the camera...productive? Not so much.)

And a (hopefully good) lesson for a solution to the problem...

I'll start off by talking about how we need to be responsible for our actions, how there's only one of me and 24 of them (I'm sorry for all of you out there who have 30+ little ones!!!), and how I can't always be sitting right next to them to help them make smart choices... you know the schpeel. :)

Then I pick up my iPad (and make sure the sound is off), and tell them I have a very important assignment to complete. And I start working. I look really engaged, with that "smart" look on my face. I look really intense, like I'm really working hard.

I ask the kids what they think I'm doing.

They always say working on my project.

So I keep working intently.

Finally, I show them what I've actually been doing...

I turn my screen around and what do they see...

There are always loud "HEY!!!!"s and "What!?!?!?" and "Mrs. Patterson!!!!!!!!!"

Then I ask them my three iPad questions (this will come in handy later when they ask me, "Can I do x app???")

Am I learning?
Am I being productive?
Am I disturbing anyone around me or making anyone uncomfortable?
(This one emerged from the kiddo's fascination with taking pictures of their friends. Which is fine in some cases, but not always. We talk about how sometimes people don't want their picture taken, so it's always important to ask someone before taking their picture "Excuse me, may I please take your picture?")

The answers SHOULD be yes, yes, and no. For this particular lesson, the answers are no, no, and no.

We have a talk about being responsible, and making smart choices (one of our iPad rules), even when no one is looking. (I LOVE this poster from technology rocks. seriously)

Then I show them how we can check which apps they've been using. By pressing the home screen two times, quickly, it will pull up a row of open apps, in the order in which they've been used.

Graphics by Corazon Dulce


Now, of course I won't have Angry Birds installed on the student iPads, but this can help when we know it's math time and instead kiddos are doing Google searches with their friends' names. (Yes, it really happened....) I'll be able to tell they were not on their math app, but instead on Google, and ask them about this.

I have a poster with my three questions for them to refer to. Kids will often time come ask me, "I'm done with my work, can I do x app?" I always refer them to the three questions. If the answers are yes, yes, no, then they can do it. This prevents them from coming and asking me every single time and interrupting a group.

You can grab the poster by clicking the picture below. :-) It will take you to my blog where you can download it! 

I hope this whole little lesson will help my kiddos be more responsible and make smart choices when using their iPads!

What do you do to keep your kids accountable and on track with their technology??? I'd LOVE to hear more ideas!!! :-) 
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Monday, August 13, 2012

mp3 Listening Center and Reading Response Freebie

Hi everyone! This is Maria from Kinder-Craze and I am thrilled to share my first-ever post on Technology Tailgate!

As I was busy organizing my classroom for my new batch of Kinders (only 10 days away) I rifled through my collection of classroom mp3 players and I was inspired to share my updated spin on the Listening Center.

We do the Daily 5 in my classroom.
(Well, if I'm being perfectly honest, during my first year of Daily 5 instruction the class only made it up to the Daily 4).

Luckily the 4th activity (Listen to Reading) in my classroom was super-fun because it used TECHNOLGY!

SanDisk Sansa Clip Model
I don't use tapes or CDs in my classroom Listening Center. Actually, I don't even have a central location for listening. My students use mp3 players. I love how they don't take up very much space, are a current form of technology, are portable, and many mp3 players are very affordable to purchase.  I have a set of five mp3 players in my classroom. I use the SanDisk Sansa Clip Model (only $29 each from To manage the audio files on my computer and load them onto the mp3 players, I use Windows Media Player. It's a free download from Microsoft.

Implementing new procedures, training students on the equipment, and finding and a fair way to share five pieces of equipment in a classroom of 20 students proved to be relatively simple.

The whole class learned the behavior for Listening to Reading at the same time.
Here are my classroom rules/procedures for Listen to Reading.

I adore this book
General rules: 
Sit at your desk.
Take your book box with you.
No talking.

1. Listen to the story
2. Complete the Listening Response Paper
3. If you finish early and have extra time, listen to the story again or read books from your box.

Books, mp3 players, and headphones
are stored together in Ziploc bags
We reviewed all of these rules every day for a week. At the end of the procedure review,  five students were chosen each day to listen to reading while the rest of the class either met with me for Guided Reading or did other Daily 5 Activities. The mp3 players are very simple equipment to use. Most students just need to be shown how to work the equipment 1-2 times and then they are experts. Initially, I provided individual instruction to these students after the class settled into their Daily 5 spots. Student had to have the book out and headphones on before I would show them how to work the mp3 players. It is literally a matter of pushing two buttons to turn on the mp3 player and begin the story so I only needed to speak with each student for about 15 seconds. It has gone sooooooo smoothly.

By the end of the first week, each student had an opportunity do Listen to Reading with the mp3 players. The following week, I prepared a new story children to enjoy during our Daily 5 time. Many students could already use the mp3 players independently!

I created this very simple Listen To Reading Response Sheet. It's perfect for Kindergarteners just getting started with the process. The best part- it's free! Click the image to download your free copy.

Font credits: Minya Nouvelle and Print Clearly

If you want students to be completely independent with the Reading Response Sheet, play an audiobook for the whole class and introduce the worksheet ahead of time. I did this the week before I introduced the mp3 players.  Doing so provided me with an opportunity to thoroughly explain the instructions, allowed students to become familiar with the assignment, and it was one less thing for me to explain while I was trying to establish procedures for Listen to Reading.

Keep tailgating, everyone! I'll be sure to visit again soon with another practical use for classroom technology.

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