Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I recently came across this great reading website called BiblioNasium. This site is for teacher, students, and parents. Teachers can create different classes and accounts for students. From there they can create challenges for their students and keep track of the books that they read. Students are able to search through their wide selection of titles including fiction and non-fiction and add them to their bookshelf as well as share them with friends. It looks like a great site with lots of potential for the classroom! Best of all...its FREE! Make sure to check it out!

Monday, March 18, 2013

We Wove Weebly!

Sorry about the title. I just had to do it! My fifth grade students were recently researching various cultures around the globe and the affect that they had on the American culture. Rather than have the students make a boring PowerPoint or even the usual Prezi or Glog (which are all great but we use them a lot), I decided to take it one step further and have them create their own websites using Weebly for Education. They turned out AHHH-mazing! I was very impressed with my fifth grade kiddos! This was a very student centered project. The only requirements I gave them was that their website had to have at least 5 pages and 1 of those pages had to answer the question "How did this culture affect American culture?" The rest was completely up to them...the webmasters! For the first few minutes they flopped around like fish out of water because they aren't used to that kind of freedom of learning on their own (which opened my eyes greatly...but that's another post in itself.) Once they got with their groups of 3 or 4 and started organizing and coming up with their ideas on what they wanted to learn about their culture, they were off and running and the creativity was flowing! Weebly is a free website where I, as a teacher, created an account, and then had up to 40 student accounts. The websites can be published as private and are password protected so they are not out there for everyone to see. With the simple drag and drop interface it was easy for the kids to customize their pages with text and images. The kids had a great time with these websites and they presented their cultures like pros! Here's some screenshots below of their great creations!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bye Bye Myrtle Beach

So I'm on my way home from the Technology Literacy Conference at Myrtle Beach. I had an amazing time..not only because I was at the beach but I got to learn and talk about technology with aome awesome techies! The last session this morning was by TJ Houston. He presented 60 Chrome Apps in 60 Minutes. Wow! Now you all know how I adore Google so this was right up my alley. I'll definitely be sharing some of these great apps in the near future. In the meantime check out TJ's website which is packed full of resources and info! For now I'm on the road to good ole NC but I'll leave you with this. Ahhhh :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


This is the reaction I got when I told my fourth graders that we were going to be starting a collaborative project on North Carolina using Google Presentations. They love working in groups, of course, so this was right up there alley. Being a self proclaimed Google Girl, I use Google Drive all the time! It's just so easy to use and share! But I haven't used it much with my students for creating, mostly because they don't have their own Google Drive accounts. But, after talking to a few of my teacher "idols", I decided to give it a whirl. I created a Google Presentation for each group and shared it with them for editing. We discussed proper use of the documents and how to use the chat feature (which they love). The students were amazed that they could sit at their own individual computers and work with 3 others scattered around the room. They were actually communicating and discussing their project more by using the chat feature than they usually do simply talking about it. It was so great to see them collaborating and working together that I shared the links with a teacher in Pennsylvania. He let his 8th graders look in while my kids were working. They sent a nice message in the chat box thanking my kids for sharing and how great they were doing! My kiddos were ecstatic!!! All their little chests poked out and their chins raised with pride that 8th graders in another state were commenting on their work! They should be finishing their presentations next week and then we will be presenting them to the class (and possibly on UStream) the next. I'm sure this is only the first of many Google Docs projects we will be doing!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Online Storyboards...Yes Please!

So my fifth grade students are working on a new project involving Stop Motion Animation videos. They are taking a well known nursery rhyme, fairy tale, or fable and revamping it with their own imagination. They are then going to retell their story by creating Stop Motion Animation videos. Before we started anything I needed something for them to get their ideas organized but didn't want to waste a day for them to draw out a storyboard with paper and pencil. So you can imagine how excited I was when Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers introduced me to storyboardthat.com at the NCTIES conference. It is a great online storyboard creator where students can create up to six scenes. The scenes can be filled with colorful backgrounds and fun characters. While my students are using it to make storyboards, my wheels are already turning with ideas on using it as a comic strip creator. The site is very easy to use with drag and drop simplicity. The students can either save their board for later or print it out. Best of all...it's FREE! With a basic account you can create up to 3 boards a week. My fifth graders are already having a blast with this site and it's making our project super easy! Click on the screenshot below to start using it with your kiddos!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nice Ties!

So I'm back from what seems like a year long hiatus. Life has been crazy to say the least, but I'm back and ready for some techie fun! This past weekend I had the privilege of going to the annual NCTIES (North Carolina Technology In Education Society) Conference in Raleigh. (AKA the NiceTies conference.) This was my third year going and I had a BLAST! Every year I go I come back with a load of tools and ideas and pumped about technology. Not only do I learn about all kids of new things I can do with my kiddos but I get to meet my idols including Richard Byrne, Kathy Schrock, Steven Anderson...just to drop a few names. :) Seriously, these people amaze me with their knowledge and they inspire me be a better 21st Century educator. So now that I'm back, the real fun begins! I get to start playing with all my new tools and figuring out how to incorporate them into my lessons and sharing them with my teachers! I'll be sure to keep you updated on my favorites! Toodaloo!