Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tough Week?

These last two weeks before the winter break and during the holiday season can be tough!  The students are over-excited and we are over-tired with lists to check off and gifts to purchase.  Luckily, we have many resources to engage our students through these weeks.

Young children may enjoy this storytelling of The Mitten, by Jan Brett. (includes discussion questions) With the older students, this video about bullying will reinforce choosing kindness.

Practice math facts for a set period of time; promotes fast facts
Type To Learn
Practice keyboarding skills (computers)
Math practice directed to specific standards
Reading fluency and comprehension
K, Identified 1-5 Students
Phonetic awareness, reading comprehension and vocabulary development
Math and computer science skills
Coding (iPad or computer)
Publish writing and sharing ideas
Animated movies and activities, across the content areas
Digital Text Websites
Reading comprehension of various genres, paired text as well as digital check-ins

Many more apps are available on the Grant iPads (K-2) and the Tech Room iPads available for sign out.  Also, check out the free time activities on the Tech Tools Page (accessible from the Elementary Home Page).

Let me know if I can help you or your class with any of these activities!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reading Comprehension

Read Theory provides leveled reading passages and comprehension questions following each passage.  You can set up your class or a small group of students for FREE and try it out.  Upon completion of the pre-assessment, students are provided with a number of passages specific to their reading level.  The site provides built in support features such as highlighting of supporting text.  If an incorrect response is submitted, an explanation emphasizing phrases from the passage is provided.  The Core Standard is also identified including a link with more details and examples.  Progress reports identifying strengths and weaknesses by class or student are easily accessible.

Read Theory can be used in school or at home, whole class or as an intervention activity to develop reading comprehension skills.  Let me know if you have any questions or if you try it out, let me know what you think!

Have an awesome day!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Capture a picture, student work or samples of manipulatives, then add handwritten notes or type annotations to add detail or take notes.  Notability can be used to document student work or to curate student data.  Teachers can use it to take a quick picture and add notes or just simply jot down some notes while conferencing with a student.  Notes can be shared via Google Drive, AirDrop, Drop Box or Email.  Features include recording audio, highlighting, handwriting, typing and more. Students can also use Notability to record notes (handwritten, typed or orally) or add a diagram to a project.

Sample Note:

Check out the possibilities of Notability by signing out an iPad or add the app to your smartphone.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Story Maker

Bonus resource tip, especially first and second grade teachers!  Check out ABCya's Story Maker.  Student's can write a short story or how-to book, include an image or print and add a drawing to support their story.  When their writing is complete, their creative stories can be printed creating professional looking books!  

Let me know if you have any questions or want to work on a lesson or project together!

Hour of Code

The week of December 7th - 13th is the "Hour of Code" Week sponsored by Code.org. During this week, students around the world will be introduced to computer programming or coding.  There is no prior experience necessary on the part of the student or the teacher!  Students (or teachers) will choose how to spend their hour of code by completing game-based activities online or on an iPad and will receive a certificate upon completion.

If you would like your students to participate in an Hour of Code, you can dedicate a full hour during the week of December 7th or you can break it up into mini sessions as long as the total time is one hour.  You can use computers, Chromebooks or iPads.  If you do not like the activities provided on Code.org, you can try apps like HopscotchKodable or Scratch (especially appropriate for the younger grades).  Code.org has some wonderful, engaging activities including Frozen, Minecraft, Angry Birds and Star Wars themed activities.  

The goal of this week is to promote interest in computer science.  Over 100 Million students have tried an Hour of Code.  It is available in 40 languages!  We hope to peak the interest of both boys and girls to explore coding in the future. 

If you are interested in exploring coding options or activities, I would be happy help you plan or teach these lessons.  

Happy coding!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lexia Core 5

Just wanted to remind everyone about Lexia!  Lexia is available for K-5 students identified by the classroom teacher and the literature specialist as needing some support. Lexia provides personalized learning on fundamental literacy skills.  Teachers have access to real-time performance data without testing.   If you have an account, you can visit http://www.lexiacore5.com/ , sign in as an educator and play the activities as a student.  Image below:

To check reports, usage, etc., you need to sign into MyLexia.  Your username and password are your email and your network password.  If you think you have students that are in need, please talk to your lit specialist.

Lexia is a great resource.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thanksgiving Videos and Reading Passages

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday. Every year, my family gathers together for some laughs (sometimes tears) and lots of food! We honor our parents at an annual Mass, prepare all the food my Mom once cooked for us and share stories with our children. With the recent news events, we are especially grateful this Thanksgiving to have our family safe both at home and abroad. I hope that your families are safe too. It is a sad reminder to respect others as well as honor our country's traditions.

ReadWorks has collected a variety of Thanksgiving articles and videos that you might like to share with your students. Check out their other collections as well.  You can search by grade level, content/topic, skill or type of text.  These articles are free to be reproduced for your students.

Have a grateful day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Zaption - Personalize a video by embedding questions

Videos are in every teachers tool kit.  Now you can personalize your videos (or YouTube videos) by adding comprehension questions, images and text reminders with Zaption.  Zaption is very easy to use and free!  You can add multiple choice, multiple select or open response questions.  You can even add questions in which your student draws a response. (Ex:  Circle Pluto in this image of the solar system.)  Teachers have direct instant access to students responses.  Zaption enables you to clip the video to shorten it to your specific needs.  Videos can be used for flipped classroom opportunities, homework assignments or even a workshop station!  Or share a video whole class and work on note-taking skills or synthesizing skills.

Here is a sample video.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Exit Tickets and Polling Options

Ever wonder if your students understood your lesson?  At the end of a lesson, you may wonder did my students leave with a solid understanding of today's skill.  Upon reflection, you may ask do I need to reteach to the whole class, switch up my approach or review with a small group of students?  Exit tickets provide quick, reliable data as to the needs of your students and the next steps for you.

Plickers is a quick and easy tool which requires only one iPad or smartphone.  Students hold up a card indicating their response.  With a quick scan of the room answers are anonymously collected. Teacher can view which students responded correctly and which may need intervention.  Or responses can be instantly displayed in graph form for peer instruction.  Thank you to Judy Kress and Karen Carbone for creating this brief video of Plickers in action in the classroom.

Plickers, Poll Everywhere, Padlet, or Google Forms are all great choices depending on the lesson! There are many Exit Ticket tools highlighted in this article.  Let me know if you would like to try a new tool in your classroom!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trick or Treat!

Just wanted to share some fun Halloween activities.  Here is a great one in Google Draw (shared by Shake Up Learning). You can use this whole class to write poems together, as a mini lesson on adjectives, a word sort activity, or a fun Halloween party activity (click and drag on the words to create poems).  Or you can share it with your students (grade 3-5) and let them create their own Halloween poems.  PLEASE - do not print these in color.  It would be far too much for our printers.

More Halloween treats.....can be found at Education.com.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Accessibility

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.42.15 AM.png Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.43.45 AM.png  Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.42.42 AM.png
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Just a quick reminder that your students will have access to the following digital programs over the summer.  Students can continue to practice math skills with Happy Numbers (Kindergarteners) or IXL (Grades 1-5).  Or you can check out Xtra Math, a fun and free math facts skills program.  Students can continue reading digital books on Raz Kids.  Second through fifth graders can improve their keyboarding speed and accuracy by practicing their typing skills on Type To Learn 4

Please note there will not be access to Lexia as the company initiates the change over to Core5.

Have a wonderful, relaxing summer vacation!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Archiving Google Classroom

As the end of the school year quickly approaches you might be thinking about what to do with your Google Classroom from this school year. Google recommends:
"You may want to archive a class to preserve the class materials, any assignments, and any postings to the class stream. You can still access any class files in Google Drive, but the archived classes are moved to a separate area to help you keep your current classes organized. An archived class can be viewed by you and the students in the class. (You may want to delete the students). However, when the class is archived, you can't edit or add anything to the class until you restore it".

To archive a class:

  1. Sign in to Classroom at classroom.google.com.
  2. On the class card, click options and select Archive.
  3. To confirm, click Archive.

To view an archived class:

  1. Sign in to Classroom at classroom.google.com.
  2. Click Classroom Main Menu  and select Archived Classes.
  3. Select the class you want to view.

To restore an archived class:

  1. Sign in to Classroom at classroom.google.com.
  2. Click Classroom Main Menu  and select Archived Classes.
  3. On the class card, click options and select Restore.

To delete an archived class:

  1. Sign in to Classroom at classroom.google.com.
  2. Click Classroom Main Menu  and select Archived classes.
  3. On the class card, click options and select Delete.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Clean Up


I hope everyone had an awesome long weekend.  It was beautiful and so nice to be outside soaking in the sun after such a long, harsh winter.  It's hard to believe but June is right around the corner!  It's time to think about cleaning up your devices so we can begin in September with a clean slate.  Please take a moment to:
  • clean up your desktop, downloads, camera roll, iPhoto or iMovie
  • empty the trash
  • create folders and categorize your documents in specific folders
  • wipe down screen and keyboard with computer wipes
  • organize and secure cords, dongles, and any other accessories

Also, please consider your needs for next year.  Please email us your technology needs. (hardware, software, devices, accessories, PD, etc.)  We would also like to know what is on your wish list. What would you like to try next year?  How can we support you better?  Is there a unit of study that you think technology can enhance?  Is there any particular professional development you would like?  Are you interested in incorporating technology in your professional goals?  

Please let me know how I can help!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Just a quick reminder this week that we have a subscription to Smore.  Students can create electronic posters to publish or share information.  Smore allows the student to embed images, links to websites, book trailers and more!  Students can demonstrate persuasive writing or promote a message such as kindness or the Core 4.  Fifth graders have created book reviews.  Fourth graders may want to culminate their Skyping experience or demonstrate their knowledge of the regions.  Recently Mrs. Cain’s class created Smores to share what they have learned about Colonial America.  Even our young students can master this great user friendly site!  Let me know if you are interested in working on a project together!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Elementary Tech Tools Page

Today’s tip is more of a reminder than a tip!  The Elementary Tech Tools Page is full of resources for students and teachers.  This website includes links to digital tools and resources categorized by content area or grade level.  Math activities and subscriptions, social studies or science resources and research tools are all available.  You can also find sites for finding copyright free and public domain images.  iPads are available to be borrowed from the tech room.  Lists of available apps can be found under the iPads tab on the Tech Tools Page.  iPads can be used for workshops, to publish writing, create videos, PSAs or reinforce math and phonics skills.  Check out this great resource!

Technology is an ever changing field.  Apps come and go.  There is always a new and exciting resource available.  Though we as a tech team try to stay current and up to date with these resources, we are eager to hear your suggestions.  If you use a great site for animal research, poetry or for learning geometry, please share it with me so we can add it to the Elementary Tech Tools Page.  Collectively, we can create a site to benefit all of our teachers and students.

The Elementary Tech Tools Page is linked to the wpss.org home page for both the staff and the students.  My Tuesday Tech Tips Blog can also be found on the Elementary Tech Tools Page.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Well, it finally feels like Spring around here!  We survived record breaking snow fall and hopefully, can now enjoy a crisp breeze, tulips pushing through the remaining snow, and longer days.  The sun doesn't set until 7:08 pm. Get outside and enjoy some sunshine!

Spring is always a good time to reorganize and rejuvenate (even for those of us that are knee deep in PARCC!).  Here are some tips for organizing your digital life!

Back up your images and documents....USB stick (flashdrive), cloud or external hard drive - take your pick!

Empty your Trash - Just because you put it in the trash doesn't mean it's gone. You still have to empty the trash or permanently delete the items.  Select Trash/Empty Trash

Organize your emails, delete, categorize or label those you need to keep! Gear Symbol/Settings/Labels

Completely close out of browsers and programs.....if the little bubble appears beneath the icon on your dock, then the browser or program is still open.  Right click on the icon, a menu will appear, select quit.

Create and/or organize Folders within Google Drive, your Documents or on your iPad.  In your Google Drive, you can even color code your folders:  blue = writing, purple = parent correspondence, yellow = student council, etc.

Clean up your Desktop - having too many items stored on your desktop will slow down your computer.  Move these items to Documents.

Update apps on your iPad

Stay healthy - wipe down your computer, iPad, iPhone with electronic safe wipes.

Streamline your RSS Feed (Feedspot) - too many items to ever read?  Pick your favorite sites or blogs to follow and get rid of the rest.  

Refresh and recharge....choose one item (big or small) from your to-do-list (or Todoist) and do it!  You will feel great checking even the smallest items off your list!

Have an awesome short week!