Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Creating Online Portfolios


Online porfolios can showcase progress, allow for reflection, build from year to year, be used for student-led conferences, be suread with family around the world, be sent on to a new school or teacher.  Are you using online portfolios with your class?  If not, try this simple how to packet from Raki's Rad Resources

Portfolios show learning as what it really is, a long process that develops slowly over the course of time, rather than being a snapshot of a single moment of understanding on a single day, as tests are.  Portfolios can and should be used all all learning levels – child and adult.  In addition to being a place to showcase learning, they are a place and time for the learner and educator to reflect on the growth that has happened.  Online portfolios give us a way online teacher portfolio using Weeblyto compile all of our best online learning activities with our best offline, hands-on, learning activities.  All of the teachers AND students at my school have begun creating their portfolios.  Stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources to see how we’re doing it.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Techie Tuesday Link Up

Welcome to Techie Tuesday Link Up!
Every Tuesday we are hosting a linky for you  to link up with your best technology post.   Please link directly to the techie blog post you are featuring. We are looking forward to seeing your great ideas! 

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Online Books for Kids

Using online stories in the classroom as a computer and literacy center - or as homework assignment. - Raki's Rad ResourcesRecently one of my students who does not speak English at home, informed me that he wasn’t doing his reading homework because he didn’t have enough books in English.  Since we don’t live in an English speaking country, where you can hop down to the free public library (a service I took very much for granted when I lived in the USA), my students often have a lack of new books to read.  We are lucky enough to have a library at the school and kids regularly check out books from there, but they still need a bit more.  So, I shared with my students some places to get good quality books ONLINE that they can read to expand their vocabularies and increase their reading fluency and comprehension.  Stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources to find 5 FREE sources for good online books, as well as 2 sites that charge, but are worth the money.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Techie Tuesday Link Up

Welcome to Techie Tuesday Link Up!
Every Tuesday we are hosting a linky for you  to link up with your best technology post.   Please link directly to the techie blog post you are featuring. We are looking forward to seeing your great ideas! 

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Simple but Effective!

Hi, I am Teresa from Technology with Class and I wanted to share an app with you that I use multiple ways everyday.  It is super simple, but makes my life so much easier!  I team it up with Siri and it is even better.

OK, are you ready to learn what this great FREE app is that you already have??  It is your clock!

So here is how I use this often overlooked app, it is for so much more than just checking the time!

I start my day off everyday with this app, I use it as my alarm clock.  To answer your question, yes!  Even if you have your phone on silent while you are sleeping, the alarm still sounds.  You can also set it to repeat or remember your most frequently used times.  You can select the sound you wish to use.  No more waking up to the annoying, loud alarm sound.  There is a snooze button too!

The alarm isn't just for waking up in the morning!  I have one set to remind my daughter to take her medicine.  I have another one set with a different tone to remind me to have the class line up for lunch and specials.  It is great for keeping you on schedules.

The stopwatch on the clock app is super easy to use.  I have my students use it to time fluency with one another.  It is so easy even K/1 kiddos can do it.  No more confusing stopwatches!

The timer function of the clock app is probably one of my favorite features.  I use it to time center rotations in the classroom.  This keeps me from getting off track and so engrossed with my small group that my 15 minute center turns into a 30 minute rotation.

I recently used the timer function when I sent a small group of students on a shape scavenger unt around the school.  I set the timer for 12 minutes to run in the background.  They used the iPad mini to take pictures of all the shapes they found and knew to come back when the alarm sounded.  It worked perfectly and every group made it back.

I have recently started using Siri to set my timer for me.  All I do is hold down the button and say "Set timer for 15 minutes" and she does it.  Siri listens way better than my tween daughters; she doesn't say "why", "in a minute"or huff!  You have to love Siri!

Need help improving your time management?  There's an app for that, and you already have it!

Technology with Class
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

ActivInspire Tips and Tricks

Are you new to ActivInspire, need a refresher, or want to learn some new tricks? Please check out these wonderful flipcharts from my wonderful friend and former coworker Beverly with Technology Adventures with Beverly. She is amazing and so are her tutorial flipcharts. I was blessed to get to work with Beverly as an Educational Technology Specialist. I learned so much from her and I am so glad she will forever be a part of my life.

2013 - 2014

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

Week 17

Week 18

Week 19

Week 20

Week 21

Week 22 
(in the works)

Week 23
Week 24

Week 25

Then and Now - Using Google Earth to go Back in Time

Week 26
Cinco de Mayo 2014

Want to see flipcharts from previous school years? 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Poetry Apps

Poetry Month is here! Some new apps are on our iPads, all of which are by Read Write Think.

First up is Word Mover, which is magnetic poetry for the iPads. Students can choose words from a word bank or write their own, and save, share, or print their poems.

Theme Poems introduces students to theme or shape poems, and has various images for students to choose from to brainstorm and write their poem.

Acrostic Poems has students brainstorm and write acrostic poems using any word of their choice. It also gives "hint" words for each letter to help students write their poems.

Finally, the Haiku app teaches students how to write a haiku, and includes brainstorming with syllable counts to help students get familiar with counting the syllables when writing their haiku.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Techie Tuesday Link Up

Welcome to Techie Tuesday Link Up!
Every Tuesday we are hosting a linky for you  to link up with your best technology post.   Please link directly to the techie blog post you are featuring. We are looking forward to seeing your great ideas! 

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Make Beliefs Comix

I am always looking for new ways for students to be creative in written expression.  Make Beliefs Comix is a great FREE website  for doing this, they also have an  iTunes app available.  Make Beliefs Comix is a website which allows children of all ages  to create their own comics.  (Recommended for children on independently from about 8-108, younger children may require individual assistance). 

Utilizing Make Beliefs Comix, user can create 2-4 panel comics.  If the user wishes to make more panels, they can opt to create their story in parts.  Make Beliefs Comix has multiple language options including English, Spanish, French and more!  There are a limited number of characters, which can be a pro in terms of students being overwhelmed and spending too much time deciding on characters.  This can be a con if a student has a particular character in mind that is not an option.  Students are also unable to upload their own characters. There are also options to add objects, scenes and speech bubbles in addition to character(s).  Within each panel students may resize objects/characters and also flip them in the appropriate direction, you are unable to rotate though.  There are also a limited number of background colors available.  Most students and teachers with basic technological skills will find this site fairly easy to use and navigate.

Make Beliefs Comix is a free website, therefore the trade-off is that it is ad-based and there is no login and you are unable to save incomplete work.  Upon completion of work, the student may email it to themselves, their teacher or parent(s).  They may also print it or save it as a PDF.  

Make Beliefs Comix also provides educator resources including prompts and lesson plans along with parent resources.   

Below is a quick sample that I created in less than 5 minutes!  

When using with students, it may be a good idea to allow them to explore this site first to learn how to use the tools.  I would also recommend for first time use having students plan their comic strip out on paper before hand in order to stay focused when they are using Make Beliefs Comix. 

For more detailed directions, check out this tutorial on YouTube.  

How are you using Make Beliefs Comix in school or at home?  

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Saturday, April 12, 2014


Hello, I am Teresa from and I am super excited to join the Technology Tailgate team!

I am a first grade teacher and mother of the 2 most amazing daughters from Florida.  I love integrating technology daily with my students.  It is amazing how much students, even young students can do when given the chance.  Integrating technology in education makes it more interesting and engaging for the students.  Many teachers think it is more work to add the technology component, however once you are past the initial learning curve it makes your life so much easier!

Today I want to share with you how "iFlash" my students!

As I am sure many teachers do, I usually quickly question my students as they are entering or leaving the classroom.  Sometimes it may be a quick question about a lesson we just finished or a quick skill check.  This is a great and quick way to informally assess your students learning.  I use to have decks of flash cards by the door to use with my students.

Wouldn't it be great if you could put your flashcards on your iPad, iPhone or Tablet.  Well you can!  Click here to try my Surf's Up! Addition 0-10 iFlash Digital Flashcards.
Here is what you do!  Download the file for FREE from Teacher's Pay Teacher's on your iPad.  Then "Open in" iBooks (or any other eReader app for PDF's).  I created a "shelf" for all of my digital flashcard PDF's.  So all I have to do is click on the digital deck of cards and then flip through them.

The students love the colorful, themed cards.  It makes flashcards way more fun!  You can use your iFlash digital cards with any of the games you normally use flash cards with.  I have the digital flash cards loaded on my iPad and iPhone, then I always have multiple sets with me.  Now when I have previously wasted minutes waiting in line, iFlash my students!  I also have the cards loaded on other handheld devices my students use in centers when they finish an activity.

iFlash my students and now you can too!

Thanks for taking the time to read my first post on Technology Tailgate!  I look forward to sharing and learning even more here.

Technology with Class
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Showers Bring... Brain Breaks with GoNoodle!

Hi everyone!  This is Kate from EduKate & Inspire.  It sure has been awhile since I've blogged over here at Tech Tailgate, but I had to stop by today to share my new favorite website for "brain breaks."  I am a huge advocate for giving students movement breaks in the classroom.  Research shows that short bursts of activity improve student performance.  Enter: GoNoodle.  My class is officially obsessed with GoNoodle!

GoNoodle Review

I have been using GoNoodle with my second graders for about a month now and it's safe to say that my students are in love with the site... as am I!  Before I tell you what I love about it, I have to mention the fact that is is FREE.  As a technology-loving teacher, I know how rare it is to find a website that not only has great content, but is also student-friendly, has no advertisements, AND is free!  This is definitely a site that you will want to check out and start using with your class tomorrow!  Here is what I love about GoNoode:

1) It's free!!! (There is a premium version available, but the free subscription is quite good!)

2) It's easy to use.  You can set up a classroom account in 2 minutes.  All you need is an Internet connection, computer, and a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Here is a photo of my class doing a brain break before a test.

GoNoodle Review

3) GoNoodle uses a game-like experience to engage students in brain breaks.  Before you play for the first time, your class will choose a Champ.  The Champ becomes your class mascot and appears on the main screen with funny messages for students.  Every brain break your class plays earns minutes.  For every 15 minutes you play, your class will level up and the Champ will grow.  My students love seeing how many minutes they have earned.  They get a kick out of the fact that their Champ gets bigger and grows muscles!  Here is a screenshot of my class' home page on GoNoodle.

GoNoodle Review

4) Perhaps the best thing about GoNoodle is that there is a large variety of brain breaks!  Here is a screenshot of the menu:

GoNoodle Review

The GoNoodle brain breaks incorporate dancing, Zumba, yoga, deep breathing, running, and more.  The GoNoodle site even embeds some of the most popular brain break videos from YouTube.  My class is obsessed with the minion version of Happy!  I love being able to access the YouTube videos from GoNoodle without having to go directly to YouTube.  

What makes GoNoodle unique are the videos found in "GoNoodle Games."  After our morning meeting, I have my students play Airtime, which focuses on deep breathing.  A bubble appears on the screen and students breathe in and out as the bubble rises and falls.

GoNoodle Review

After each Air Time session, a postcard appears on the screen.  My students love learning new facts about other states!

GoNoodle Review

We also enjoy playing To the Maximo, which focuses on yoga-style stretches.

GoNoodle Review

Another classroom favorite is the Run With US section, which features a variety of sports that are all introduced to students by real athletes.

GoNoodle Review

All of the brain breaks above (and a lot more!) are included in the free version of GoNoodle!  

If you are interested in signing up for the free version of GoNoodle, click on the image below!

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Using You Tube Videos to Motivate!

I LOVE using Kid President in the classroom! Kid President is adorable and very motivating! In this video, Kid President teaches How to Change the World! I love his message: "A title doesn't make you more important. The world is changed by you!"
       "The world is changed by ordinary people!"
It goes great with Scott Foresman/Reading Street Unit 5 Responsibility and the Question of the Week: How can we be responsible community members?
There are many ideas how to change the world. 
Carl just complains about it!
Reading Street Unit 5 Week 4
After reading Carl the Complainer, Team Newell learned that complaining is down right annoying. 
Carl and his friends made a plan to make the town council extend park hours. 
They wrote a petition, presented it to the town council, and the hours of the park changed!
Carl has one less thing to complain about, and Team Newell learned:
We used a variety of online resources to understand petitions & we wrote one of our own!

American Girl Petition


I am excited to share an awesome COMPLETELY HOME-GROWN learning experience! I am thankful for living and teaching in a small town! Kid President was right. Ordinary people do make change!
                    The story goes like this.....
Upper Sandusky, Ohio
The population was 6,596 at the 2010 census.

A Small Town Boy
Scott Washburn, Mayor

2nd graders life long lessons.
A spontaneous conversation between 2 small town USHS classmates turned into an amazing experience!

Carl the Complainer inspired us to write our own petition. Last year's students wrote a petition about getting lockers and the year before wrote a petition about needing more recess. 
This year's petition is QUITE UNIQUE:
The boy who politely passes every classroom treat because he ONLY likes Cheez-Its is Mayor Washburn's son! He never complains like Carl the Complainer. It's a silly petition, but it was a great way to get Mayor Washburn to visit our classroom to discuss ways to be a responsible community member. 
Mayor Washburn explained how to write petitions and when to write them. He discussed strategies about what to do when you don't always get what you want. He encouraged students to always do their best in school and to be nice to others. He invited us to the Upper Sandusky City Council Meeting on Monday night because he would be discussing our petition with the members. 
I loved watching my high school classmate interact with my students. I witnessed a great father and a true professional.

Cory Washburn addressed the Upper Sandusky City Council @ Monday night's meeting. Mayor Washburn read the petition and the City Council Members took action. 

Cory represented Team Newell @ City Council.... 
but we ALL did this together!

I love living and teaching in a small town!
 John Mellencamp 
Small Town 
Words Changed a Bit :)

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob'ly die in a small town
Oh, those small - communities

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in a same small town
My job is so small town
Provides GREAT opportunity, hey!

Educated in a small town
Taught to fear Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another born romantic that's me

But I've seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married small town and we live in this small town
Now my dogs are small town just like me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who's in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, that's good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Ah, that's prob'ly where they'll bury me! 

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