Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Everything We Know About Something"

Hello there!  It's Kay from "A Little Tech" with an idea I would love to share!

Since I will be in the classroom 40% this year to enable me to spend 60% of my time throughout the district in technology, my teaching partner and I got to spend the first two weeks together.   This way the students could get to know us both as we established our classroom procedures.  I am so fortunate to have such a great teaching partner!  Mrs. Ibrahim came up with a great idea  to introduce students to the various disciplines they will be studying this year.
Mrs. Little and Mrs. Ibrahim
 After discussing how textbooks are set up, and modeling how to find key concepts and vocabulary, she introduced a "Circle Map" graphic organizer where students would record the key vocabulary words they found.  She and the students chanted, "Everything we know about the language of math," (or reading, writing, etc.) as they made a big circle with their hands. Students sat in table groups with a text book in the middle of their table.  Each table group had a different text book,  a large piece of chart paper with a circle map drawn on it, with various colored markers.

Students find highlighted words in their math book.

Highlighted words were added to the circle map.

Students are timed as they work at each table.
Students were given a specified amount of time to write down bold words from their text book - the key vocabulary words for that particular discipline.  After their time was up, they would rotate to the next table where they would add more important words to the chart that was on that table group.  This gave students the opportunity to look through the various textbooks they will be using this year.  The students LOVED the activity.  They were up and moving and very focused on the job to be done!  Since each student used a different colored marker, it was easy for them to see what they had contributed to the various circle maps.

Now here is the cool part!  Mrs. Ibrahim created a wiki where students will share their learning throughout the year.  There is a different page on the wiki for each discipline.  It is just the bare bones right now with empty spaces from A-Z, but by the end of the year students will have added the meaning to the vocabulary words in that particular discipline.  Our learning won't just be in our heads, but on the Internet for others to see!   The wiki can be found at:

The bold words from the textbooks are being added by 2nd and 3rd grade students to this page. 
Students will add the meaning of the words as they learn them throughout the year.

Here are the subject areas that students are adding words and meanings to throughout the year.
 Be sure to drop on by to check out other ideas on "A Little Tech!"  Hope to hear from you soon! Pin It

Friday, September 28, 2012

Class Incentives... Yup, There's an App for That!

Hello Technology Tailgate! It's Lauren from iWonder... this is my first post on this blog, and I'm so excited to be able to contribute!

Hopefully you've heard of the amazing guy. He's now made his own app! It's called Win a Spin ($0.99) and is an app that you can put on your personal iPhone or iPad to use with students when they earn a reward. You can customize the wheel with 6 of your own incentives.. extra computer time, sticker, pencil, recess, lunch with the teacher, etc. Then, whenever your students earn a reward they can spin to win! You can even hook it up to the SmartBoard with one of our iPad adapters so the kids can see. Check out this link for more information.

Another incentive app for your laptop and/or iDevice is ClassDojo. You can instantly reinforce positive behavior by rewarding students points in your free class account. You can also customize it to behaviors (think Characteristics of Successful Learners!) and when you reward the student it will show up for why they earned a point; on the flip side you can also deduct points for negative behavior. It also collects the data you put in and you can organize it for parents, report cards, etc. I think kids would love to see their little monsters up on the SmartBoard!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photobucket App=Blogging Life Easier

Hello Tailgaters!  It's Megan from I Teach.  What's Your Super Power?

Everybody knows about Photobucket.  But I just recently caught onto this whole Photobucket App thing.  So, normally:

I take photos in my class with my phone, e-mail them to myself, and then save them to my blog folder, resize if necessary, and then either stick them in Blogger or upload them to Photobucket and then stick them into my blog post.

Good grief.  I'm worn out typing this.  I'm surprised any pictures end up on my blog. Anywho, on to the Photobucket App.

1.You take a picture on your camera like usual.  This is my blogging buddy, Perry.  Everytime you read a blog post, know that he was right next to me while I typed it.  Possibly laying on the mouse and part of the keyboard in a passive aggressive attempt to get my attention.

2.  Go to your Photobucket App.

3.  Tap Upload Media at the bottom of your screen.

4.  Then, select Choose Existing (or you can skip the first step and take your picture from within the app by tapping Choose Camera!)

5.  Find your picture.  Tap it.

☞I know half of you are now crazy distracted by my pictures.  Most are from my blog, one is a dinner's ready taunting text to my mom, one is self requested photo of daughter #2 in her spy get up, crazy self portrait by same daughter, and pictures from something MAJOR happening in my backyard.  Moving on.

6.  Wait two seconds.

Now your photo is waiting for you online in your Photobucket account!!  Woohoo.  I just did it again to time myself and it took me 10 seconds to get from picture taking to uploaded onto Photobucket for this snapshot:

Much better, my friends, much better than the old way.  Also, I would like to say in the interest of full disclosure that I am not a crazy cat lady, but Perry is a much better photo subject than, say, the half eaten bag of Jelly Bellies on my computer desk.

Thanks for letting me stop by and visit!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

LoxiaStudio: A FREE Flash Photo Slideshow Maker

Happy Monday!
LoxiaStudio: What a cool way to create and publish FREE FLASH photo slideshow animations.  According to the site:

  • LoxiaStudio specializes in the creation of creative content development tools.
  • There aim is to provide everyone with an easy and quick way of making high-quality animations, without the need for the technical know-how typically associated with this sort of task.
  • Manual editing of XML files isn’t required, nor is a working knowledge of Flash or Photoshop (or, for that matter Actionscript, Javascript or HTML).
It is VERY user friendly. You can:
  • Crop and resize your pictures, add titles ,descriptions and links, customize size, layout and color, all of this is done online and in less than 1 minute.
  • They offer 52 different components (styles) ranging from a 3D rotating cube gallery to a sliding panels CSS3 animation.
Click on this link to view a project in which 5th grade students at both my schools were assigned a number and had to describe the number using 8 different vocabulary words (prime/composite, even/odd, etc) and find 5 real-life examples of the number (news from that day of the year, sports jerseys, historical events, etc).

Have a good one!

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flash Cards + Document Camera + SMART Board = Fun way to spend extra class time!

Why have a favorite tool?  
Use them all together to enhance each device!

Teachers often wish we had more class time to spend with our students.  It seems like we always have so much we'd like to do in such a short about of time.  This is a good problem to have!  We love our jobs, and always want more time to do creative activities with the students we enjoy teaching.  On occasion, there are, however, those precious moments that allow for ten minutes here or there because a lesson finishes early or the schedule opens up a bit.

We finished a math lesson a bit early last week, and I wanted to extend the lesson further by allowing the students to engage with the concept in a different way than which we were just doing in our curriculum.  We only had about 7 minutes before lunch, but I didn't want those minutes to be lost.  I quickly glanced around and noticed my time flash cards sitting on my math game shelf.

{click here to see how I combined my 
SMART Board & document camera}

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Quick Tech Tip: Great Looking Posters

Hi everyone! I'm Heather (a.k.a. theTechedOutTeacher).  This is my first contribution here on Technology Tailgate and I hope to be able to start offering you quick tech tips on a regular basis.

Today's tip: How to Print a Great looking poster for your classroom.

Answer: Use glossy photo paper.  It really makes the colors pop!  You can buy glossy photo paper in lots of different sizes and you can even find it at the Dollar Store from time to time.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Try it out the next time you need a classroom poster and then leave a comment to tell us how it turned out.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Listen to Reading Response Using an Online Chatroom

One of my students’ favorite Daily 5 centers is Listen to Reading.  I linked two awesome FREE sites to my classroom website—Storyline Online and Read to Me.  Both sites have celebrities reading aloud children’s books.  When they are finished, I always have my students complete some type of response depending on the skill/strategy we’re learning about that week. 

One of their favorite ways to respond is using Today’s Meet, which is a private online chatroom.  All I have to do to set it up is go to and enter a name for my room.  Then I can choose how long I want the data to be saved (anywhere from two hours up to one year).  Once the room is created, it generates a web address which I link to my classroom website.  Then I post a question or discussion topic and all the students have to do to respond is type their first name and click join.  Once they type in a response, it shows up with their name, date, and time.  No email address or login info is required to set up a chatroom, which is why I love Today’s Meet. 

Here is a screen shot of my students’ responses when we were practicing summarizing a few weeks ago.

How else might you use Today’s Meet in your classroom?
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tech Matrix

Teacher Playground

I wanted to blog today about a great site for assistive technology. This site provides tools and resources for students with disabilities and their classmates. Sometimes it can be hard to find good free resources for students with disabilities so this is why I really like this site. This year I have a special needs campus that I know will love and utilize this great site. I have already found some great tools and resources I can use when I go into the classrooms to integrate technology in the best way possible for their needs.

TechMatrix Logo

I also love!


PowerUp What Works


  • Strategic integration of technology and curriculum for Grades 4-6.
  • Improved alignment of technology with initiatives such as:
    • Standards-based instruction
    • Response to Intervention (RTI)
    • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
    • Teacher assessment
    • 21st century schools

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Linoit: An Alternative to Wallwisher

Hi! It's Kiki from Techie-Bytes! A while ago, I came across an alternative to Wallwisher which offers robust features which are quite unique and different to Wallwisher. is a cool web-based alternative to Wallwisher. It allows one to store and organize sticky notes, collaborate on notes with others and set due dates - to name a few. One of the other cool features is the ability to organize notes into different bulletin boards (canvases). For instance, you can keep work-related and personal notes in separate bulletin boards. 

 Checkout some of the other cool features of Linoit: 
  • Create sticky notes and use them to manage to-do lists, store notes and collaborate on ideas. 
  • Group stickies into different canvases/tabs (work, personal, etc.) and use tags to organize them further.
  •  Create as many canvases and sticky notes as you need. 
  • Keep your sticky notes private or share and collaborate on notes with others. 
  • You can share notes with others on ‘view only’ or ‘view & edit’ basis. 
  • Assign due dates and setup automatic email alerts when someone posts to your canvas. Calendar: 
  • Use the mini-calendar on the right-bottom of the canvas to browse stickies by due date. 
  • Customize stickies: change background or upload your own background, color, change font size, assign icons, drag and drop, etc. 

Note: If I could change one thing, it would be the ability to scroll through the embedded Linoit like Wallwisher and the option to moderate the posts. Other than that, I personally, am looovving it  - much more than Wallwisher - but check it out yourself and you decide!

They also have a free app which I have used in various staff developments this past summer!  

Below is a Linoit, I created for my online book study. I asked the question on how they could use Linot or Wallwisher in their classroom. As you will see, they had some great ideas! 
Hope the start of your year is going great!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Easy Breezy Beautiful... Page Borders! Simple for Microsoft Word!!!

Sometimes all it takes it a quick little trick to make super-cute resources for your classroom!  I put together a tutorial on how to make easy page borders in Microsoft Word... and I promise you, it's actually easy!!!

Click the picture to see a step by step tutorial with picture to learn how to do this yourself!

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fabulous Teacher iPad App

I can't say enough good things about the iDoceo grading app ($4.99) for the iPad.  I have tried free grading apps and using spreadsheets on the iPad, but neither had all of the features I wanted.

I love being able to color code columns, use icons to represent grades or behavior comments, take quick attendance and look up a student's attendance record, and  I can even add audio comments!
This app has fulfilled all of my grading needs and then some!  iDoceo is definitely worth a look if you need a grading app!

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Internet Safety!

Hi Tailgaters!  It's Kate from EduKate and Inspire.  My grade level (2nd) started departmentalizing for the first time last week, which means I am teaching technology to all second graders!  Ohio law requires teachers to teach Internet Safety before students can use classroom computers.  I wanted to share with you two of the resources I used in my technology class this week.

Check out the (free!) Cyber-Five video from ABCya!  My students were engaged throughout the video and had a lot of great questions.  We even took the test at the end of the video!  {FYI: Instead of "copy, save, and print" I told my students that they should simply show an adult!}

The second resource I used this week is the Digital Citizens poster from Common Sense Media.  Check out the Common Sense site for many great resources and lesson plans!

If you would like to see even more Internet Safety resources, stop by my blog by clicking on the button below!  

Also, don't forget that there are TWO more days to enter the Technology Tailgate Giveaway!

Have a great week!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Organize Those Websites

Organize Your Computer Center with a Bookmarking Tool

So, you’ve found the coolest website, and you want to share it with another teacher, or use it with your students.  How do you save it for later?  Do you bookmark it to your computer at school?  Then when you get home, how do you access it?  I used to have this issue a lot, before I started using and to organize my bookmarks.  By using these “organization websites”, I am able to easily share links with parents, students and teachers in an organized matter.  It also allows me to send to a computer center without expecting students to copy a long URL, thereby shortening their learning time on the computer.  Earlier this year, I wrote a post at Raki’s Rad Resources, explaining how I organize websites in my classroom.  Here are two sites I have used to organize bookmarks.  Please feel free to stop by my blog post for more details.

Bookmark Organization Websites:

1.)  The website organizer I have been using for year and years is: It’s great because it allows you to put all of your websites into folders with labelI Keep Bookmarks - Organize your Website for your Computer Centers of your choosing.  If you go to my I Keep Bookmarks site, you will see that I have mine organized by subject, and this is because when I created it, I was creating it for an entire school.  Also, if you go into any of the folders, you will find additional folders, and sometimes more folders inside the second folder.  This allows you to separate websites by class (if you have more than one), or by project.

2.)  Another bookmarking site I wasSqworl - Organize websites for your computer center introduced to a few year’s back is Sqworl.  Rather than giving you text links, sqworl creates a thumbnail of the website and displays these thumbnails for students to choose from.  For younger students and non-readers, these visual clues are a great way to build independence at your computer center. 

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Fun Reading & Math Sing-a-long Videos

Hi! It's Shana from Enchanted with Technology. I just wanted to share some fun, engaging sing-a-long videos that are great for the primary classrooms.
Enchanted with Technology
The Alphabet Video by Have Fun Teaching is a catchy way to sing the alphabet with your class. It reviews the letters of the alphabet as well as the letter sounds. I saw a few kindergarten teachers use it with their students and they absolutely loved it! The students were engaged and singing along with it the entire time. They especially like singing along to it around 1:30 of the video when the tempo speeds up.

Alphabet Video from Have Fun Teaching on Vimeo.

There are also many videos to review sight words such as: you, I , said, it, and, to, the, and so on. The video constantly repeats the sight word, spells it out, and uses it in a sentence for students.

Sight Word You from Have Fun Teaching on Vimeo.

Have Fun Teaching has math videos for counting by ones, twos, threes, and all the way up to twelves. I liked Count by Five which you can check out below.

Count By Five Song from Have Fun Teaching on Vimeo.

The Sing-a-long videos are perfect for getting the students up and moving in a productive way. Plus they love seeing and singing with them. If you want to see all the videos that are listed, you can check them out here: There are currently 79 total available. Another plus, it is compatible with iPads and iPods so you can have the students listen to them during listening center or as practice after completed lessons. Enjoy :) Pin It

Science Bob..Rocks!

I would love to tell you about a wonderful Science site that I think ROCKS!

It is Science Bob!

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites.

I know as a Science teacher and now Educational Technology Specialist, I am always looking for resources that will really excite kids about learning and discovering Science. I believe a huge part of understanding Science is about exploring and digging deeper into each concept. I love this site because it is eye catching and will really get students pumped up about what they are learning. This site can be used for a lesson launcher, media inserts in your lessons, the lesson itself, and just about anywhere you want to add it.

If I were you, I would surely make Science Bob a part of my Science Technology Toolbox.

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Hi there! It's Farrah, from Think Share Teach to share one of my favorite Web 2.0 tools:

ToonDoo is an easy, engaging, FREE tool that you can use in your classroom. Super easy to use, my students just logged in and followed the on-screen directions to create their Toon. I made this set of instructions and uploaded it to VistaPrint, but I forgot to use them. Even so, my students caught on very quickly, which is a huge plus when using a web 2.0 tool!
Feel free to use this. I uploaded to VistaPrint and
put the image on Oversized Postcards.
I used ToonDoo this week as an extension for the story we were reading about Jim Thorpe. My class has a group on Edmodo, so I posted the link and the log in information for them there. They were to create a cartoon about sports. Here's an example:


My students loved this tool! They even worked on it at home! Of course, we'll have to go over expectations for correct grammar and mechanics for online projects. (Don't worry, that's coming up this week!) But for last week (3rd week of school) I just really wanted to get them excited about some of the tools we'd be using and make connections from our literature.

**Important Note**
I made one account and all of my students logged in at once, but you might want to make more because I noticed the process slows down or stops when more than about 10 are using at the same time.

How about you? Have you ever used ToonDoo or something like it? I'd love to hear your ideas!

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