Quick Tip: Bluetooth Mini Speaker


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I just got this amazing little Alpatronix speaker from Amazon, and it is one of the best $30 purchases I have ever made! It fits in the palm of my hand, so it is easy to carry, and it has a really good sound. There is bluetooth capability, which means you can play your iPhone, iPod, or iPad without plugging it in! The range is up to 30 feet. You can plug it into your computer too.

The battery life is supposed to be great, and it has a rechargeable battery. Just plug the speaker into your computer with the cord that comes with it. There are some other cool features too, like a microphone for making calls and more!

Whether you’re in the classroom, speaking at a conference, or at a party, this cool tool is a must have!

Quick Tip: More Back to School Organization with Google Forms


This is my second ‘Quick Tip’ post about using google forms for organizing back -to-school info. First, I made a post about using google forms as an easy and efficient way for parent volunteers to sign up, which you can read here. But you don’t have to stop there! You can also use google forms to recruit volunteers for classroom parties. If you have a room parent that organizes your classroom parties, with a google form (like the one below), all you have to do is hand them the spreadsheet with responses from a form like this and you are done! Click here to make a copy of this form for yourself. This link will take you to the spreadsheet of responses where you can make your own copy and change it to fit your specific needs. See the first ‘Quick Tip’ post for using google forms here if you need directions on how to do this.

Using a google form is also a really easy way to collect parent information. Caryn, from Mathtechy, commented that she will turn her google forms into QR codes that will be hanging around the room during Back to School Night, and iPads will be available if they don’t have their own devices to scan with. Great idea! In my district, all the information for parents and students is housed in Infinite Campus, but it would be worth the time to create a form where parents submit their email address into a form so that you can easily create an email list without the need for looking them up one by one. Click here for a quick tutorial on how to use a google form to create an email list in about 2 minutes. You could do the same thing for students (if they know their email addresses) to create a student email list!

I hope this helps you organize your back-to-school info!

Quick Tip: Use Google Forms to Organize Your Parent Volunteer Sign Up


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I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s time for many of us to start getting ready to go back to school! But you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money printing papers and mailing them to parents (which may or may not make it back to you). Here is a quick technology tip for getting parent volunteers signed up easily and efficiently.  Click here to watch a tutorial for embedding a google form into your classroom website. Click here to make a copy of this form for yourself! Once you make your own copy, you can personalize it for your classroom. Here’s hoping your ‘Back to School’ rush is productive and efficient!volunteering in the classroom: Use a google form

Quick Tip: Reflector for iPad Instruction


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Even in a one-iPad classroom, you need to be able to project your iPad for a large group to see. In my classroom, I was using an adapter piggie that I had to unplug from my computer in order to plug into the iPad. I would have to hold the cord in while I was projecting or it would fall out, and I could only move as far as the cord would stretch (which usually meant leaning over the table while standing on one leg . . . you get the idea!). Then I found reflector.

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Reflector is an application that you download to your computer. It can wirelessly project any iPad, iPod, iPhone, etc. The device just needs to have airplay mirroring capability. It has been the answer to my iPad problems! Now I can walk around the room while projecting my iPad, and even better, a small group of students using an iPad can project their work for the whole class to see. In fact, multiple devices can be projected at the same time! My students and I tested it out, and we were able to get up to 8 devices to project at once.

This means that if  I am doing a whole group math lesson, for example, I may ask students to solve a math problem in cooperative learning groups of 2 or 3 by recording their thinking and discussion using educreations on the iPad. Then each group can project their iPad at the same time in order to see each group’s answer. If the answers don’t match, we can just ask a group to play the recording of their thinking! What a great way for an authentic class discussion.

Reflector is also a great tool for BYOD schools. The reflector app is downloaded on one computer, and it will project any device that students bring. Yay! No trying to manage what is on their devices! I have also found that it is a great way to do iPad tutorials. I can project my iPad on the computer and record my computer screen using screencastify or quicktime player  in order to show what I am doing on the iPad.

So what does this versatile tool cost, you ask?

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Screen_Shot_2014-06-26_at_11_44_50_AM No brainer, right? Please share your ideas on the uses you find for projecting multiple devices in the classroom!

Quick Tip: Tellagami + Green Screen = Moving Background!


 

May’s 21st century tool of the month was tellagami. Tellagami is a free iPad app that creates cartoon avatars which allow you to type or record your own voice to make the cartoon avatar speak. Because you can save your 30 second video called a “gami” to the camera roll, you can use it to app smash. You can even use tellagami with green screen!

Tellagami is a really popular app to use for app smashing. Here is an app smash using tellagami and tagxedo to introduce the 21st Century Tool of the Month:

May’s 21st Century Tool of the Month: Tellagami

Here are a few of my favorite examples of app smashing with tellagami that I found on YouTube:

App Smashing with Google Earth, Skitch, and Tellagami

App Smashing with Tellagami

Quick Tip: Thinglink and Screencastify


The 21st century tool of the month for June is google apps. This is a quick app-smashing tip about a free google app add-on from the chrome web-store called screencastify and a free program called ThingLink.

Screencastify is a web 2.0 recording tool that gives you the option of embedding a video web-cam in the bottom right hand corner as you record your screen. ThingLink is a multi-media program that you can access on the computer or the iPad. You can use a picture of any background you choose and add  a little bullseye that contains words, videos, or links to other videos anywhere on the screen.

Here are 2 quick lesson ideas for using these tools together:

If you use Daily 5 in your classroom (or any type of reader’s workshop model), then you probably have all the students in your class create goals around a reading strategy that they are focusing on such as Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, Extend Vocabulary. In the video above, I used the “rate graph” from the book Balanced Literacy 2nd grade (a book published by Kagan). ThingLink is the perfect program to use when graphing progress over time. Because it embeds links, video, and words, you can actually record a portion of a student reading and embed the little bullseye on the correct place on the graph. This would not only give you and the student a record of their reading rate, for example, but it would also give you and the student data of the change in his/her reading fluency over time. A video placed on the scale in the appropriate place would give the student a better understanding of what it means to be a 2 or a 3 on the rate graph. When the student has 5 points of data that have been collected over time, then he/she can use screencastify to record a self reflection on his/her change over time in the area of focus.

This self-assessment strategy would work well for all reading goals or areas of focus. The Balanced Literacy book has more graphs for different aspects of fluency such as phrasing, expression, rate and accuracy. Linda Dorn has wonderful rubrics for comprehension in her book Teaching for Deep Comprehension that I have used with students, and my favorite vocabulary rubric is Vocabulary Rubrics, Templates, & Graphs for Common Core Instruction from Hello Literacy in the TpT store.

Hello Literacy has a great activity on TpT called Describing & Inferring Details with Picture of the Day: Reading Photos “Closely”. Using this idea of practicing inferring with photos, I used ThingLink and screencastify to record my thinking. This is a great way to make thinking visual! Students could record their thinking with these tools in independently or in small groups during literacy stations.

Thinglink is a cloud-based program that creates a url, which means it can be turned into a QR code. Screencastify can be saved directly to google drive or youtube, both of which create urls as well that can be turned into a QR code. By turning teacher modeling or student thinking into a QR code, you make it visible to others as well.

Hope this quick tip was useful! Please leave a comment on how you will use these 2 programs.