Monday, May 21, 2018

Rebus Maker Fun!

Rebuses are fun and a way to get students concentrating.  They also make them think and use their creative side of their brain to figure out the answer.  Here are some links to print out various rebuses - either in stories or just word plays and the last one is a rebus generator, where you type in a word and it will create a rebus for your word.  One idea is to use items in your classroom to create rebuses to help students understand the concept of how rebuses work.  Rebuses have also been used for Breakout Activities.  Just ask your friendly ITRT on ways they could be used for Breakouts. 

Kids Pages - Under Games

Monday, May 14, 2018

Exit Tickets

After retiring and working part-time for four years,
it is time for me to finally make my exit!

Speaking of exits, I am sharing a link from a fellow "tech nut" with some links to exit ticket templates you can use with students. 

For my final exit comment, I would like to share that I consider myself very fortunate to have had such a great job with so many wonderful people to work with. It makes saying good-bye a harder thing to do!

May you continue to find new and engaging ways to
integrate technology in your curriculum.


Monday, April 23, 2018

I'll take classic review games for 500 please!!

A question that I have been asked multiple times since starting as an ITRT has been " you have any good Jeopardy game templates?" While there are other review activities available (Quizlet, Kahoot, Quizizz to name a few) Jeopardy still remains a favorite. You can search the web to find templates that are compatible with PowerPoint or Smart Notebook but if you want something web based; Jeopardy Labs might be the Jeopardy template you have been looking for. While there is a paid version available, there are plenty of features in the free version for you to use. In the free version you are able to have up to five categories.

Just click to add game titles and categories

Clicking on a point value will send you to the question screen seen below:

Once you have entered all the questions and answers you can click "Save and Finish." The information on the finish screen is important and something you will want to hold onto. Consider using Google Keep to save the URLs.

Clicking on the link for your game will give you several options, including the ability to edit or share your games. You can also configure how many teams (up to 12) will be playing. 

During the game you can keep score using the team numbers across the bottom. This allows you to award or deduct points as you feel necessary. Team names can be edited as well. 

If you are ready to come back to a classic, give Jeopardy Labs a try. Let your ITRT know if you need help getting started. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Flashcard Factory from Pear Deck: a Great Vocabulary Tool!

No matter the subject, students always have key vocabulary terms that they need to understand better. Understanding comes with application. Looking for a way for your students to work with a list of vocabulary that is fun, creative, collaborative, builds in repetition AND allows them to apply their knowledge of the word? Flashcard Factory may be the answer. Students are divided into teams, which are further split into pairs who then try to create the ideal flashcard by using a vocabulary word in an example sentence and creating an illustration to go along with it. They continue on this quest, creating as many as they can. All the cards are then shown to the class to decide which are most useful. This “Quality Control” really allows the teacher and students to clarify the meaning. The "keepers" are then compiled and can even be exported to Quizlet with the click of a button!

Set up is easy. Log in with Google. Enter your terms and definitions. (It’s usually best to work in small chunks.) Once your list is ready, click Play Flashcard Factory. Students go to and enter the code you provide them. The teams are formed and creation begins.


Flashcard Factory is one small component of a larger platform called Pear Deck. Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of a “pricing” button. While Pear Deck has some premium features that require a subscription, the use of Flashcard Factory is free. Check it out here!

Monday, April 2, 2018

One Screen, Two Screen...Green Screen, Blue Screen

Have you tried using a green screen ( or you can use blue!) with your students yet? This is a really fun and engaging way to have students create and produce a video or image to share what they've learned.

We have several options for a green screen project, so if you are not sure what tools are available at your school, check with your friendly ITRT. I love DoInk, but it is a paid app so we have limited amounts available. There are other free options as well!

Why take the time for a green screen project? It's fun! Kids love to see themselves in videos, as do their families ( you can share through Seesaw). Once students are familiar with the concept, it is a great way to have students make a creative project to show what they know.

Here are some ideas to inspire you:

App Smash - Use the screen recorder to record activity in an app. Use that as your background to have students share what they have learned while using the app. Students here used an augmented reality app about planets.

Be There - Have students or their drawings be part of the action. Maybe students are observing underwater habitats or visiting a new county. HERE is a link to a YouTube channel with student creations. 

Tell a Story - Students can use a background they created and puppets to tell a story. They can create the background on paper and take a picture or make something digital.

News - Students can be newscasters or meteorologists. Here students created a newscast!

There are so many possibilities! These are just a few ideas. Check with your ITRT if you have any questions or would like to try out a project. 

Focus Video clips with Turn Off the Lights

I use video clips a lot in my science class. Relevant YouTube clips can make teaching many concepts easier and more engaging, and we all know our students love their screen time! Until recently, most video clips I pulled up had the typical trap...students would often focus on the side information that was available before I could make the video full screen.  Or at the end of the video they inevitably ask to watch other clips that may or may not be relevant to the lesson you are trying to teach, often drawing attention away from what just covered. 

A simple Chrome extension called "Turn Off the Lights" streamlines the process of showing clips. When visiting a site containing the video, simply click on the small light bulb icon in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser.  This will darken the rest of the webpage and will leave only the video visible.  When the video is over, the screen will stay dark.  All video controls reappear with a simple hover of the mouse, so you can still pause as needed.

Before the lights are off

After the lights are off
OnYouTube, Turn Off the Lights can automatically resize your video to the largest size so the process of presenting the video is streamlined even more. 

Turn Off the Lights uses flash detection so it works with virtually any site that contains video content. So if you frequently show videos from places like Discovery Education or news sites like CNN, etc. you can still you use Turn Off the Lights and limit all the other distracting clutter. 

Turn off the Lights is a Chrome Extension which is free and easy to add to your browser via the Chrome Web Store. If you need assistance, please see an ITRT! We are happy to help!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Digital Reading Websites for Accessibility and Engagement

Common Sense Education is a nonprofit organization with a focus on providing educators, parents, and students with trustworthy information and reliable resources.  Each month, they send out a newsletter to educators highlighting valuable resources (you can use the link above to sign up if you are interested).  This month's newsletter featured a list called the Best Digital Reading Apps and Websites.  Here are my three favorites (and they are all free):

NowComment is a website that allows for engaging discussions of online documents.  Discussion can be tied to specific parts of the document, giving the teacher insight on what students are understanding and where confusion still exists.  Discussion window appears next to the text.  Teachers can sort comments in a variety of ways making it easy to gauge participation.

Rewordify is a text-leveling tool.  Simply paste your text or web address in the box provided and Rewordify will create an easier version making the text accessible to students of various reading levels.

CommonLit offers a collection of short stories, poems, and historical documents at various reading levels.  Teachers have access to lessons plans complete with reading passages and comprehension question sets that can be assigned to students either digitally or through printed text.  Struggling students can use support tools such as the ability to translate words into other languages, hearing text read aloud, and using a Guided Reading Mode with leveled questions.  Already using Google Classroom?  You can import your class for easy setup.