Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 Ways to Integrate Tech to Honor Our Veterans

Veteran's Day marks a time when we come together as a country to honor those individuals who have served to protect our nation, have sacrificed for the common good, and have placed their lives on the line for America and its cause.

We have many opportunities to honor our veterans as we teach our students across content areas.

Poetic Photography With WordFoto

WordFoto is an iOS app ($1.99) that allows the user to add up to 10 words to overlay onto a photo.  Have students create Poetic Photos to honor veterans in their own families or communities, or choose photos labelled for reuse with modification (resources).


Acrostic Poems With Pic Collage

Students can create all kinds of poetry pages, posters, and photo collages with Pic Collage, a free photo app for iOS, Windows 10, and Android (in-app purchases).  Have students create poems honoring veterans and share them with those who have served for our country.  Here is a sample of an acrostic template that took less than a minute to create.  Students can then focus on the words they want to write to honor veterans.

Magazine Covers With BigHugeLabs

BigHugeLabs has so many great tools!  Students can create magazine covers using the Magazine Template by adding a background image and filling in text for the cover.  Get creative!  Students could use the lines of text on the cover to share Veteran's Day poetry.  Better yet, combine a class-designed cover with Book Creator and students' poetry, letters, and photo collages to honor veterans.  You could then upload your class's book to iTunes and share with veterans your students know!

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Little AR Fun ~ Just in Time for Halloween

Why not have a little Augmented Reality fun with pumpkins?  You won't even have to clean up the mess after your students are done carving! QuiverVision has several great free coloring sheets that come to life with the app.  The Jack-o-Lantern page allows students to draw a face using a black marker.  When they point the app to their creation, their carved pumpkin will magically appear!

Think of the possibilities in the elementary classroom...kindergarteners can draw faces, animate the pumpkins, and record themselves telling their pumpkins’ stories within the app.  Students could write Halloween poetry to accompany their Jack-o-Lanterns.  Maybe a class round-robin story...
Share more ideas in the comments below!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Creator - A Writing Tool Worth the Cost

Students can create multi-media books with ease using Book Creator - available for iPad ($4.99), Android ($2.49), and Windows 8.1 and 10 (currently free as they roll out the PC version)!  Your class authors can create independently, or they can collaborate and compile articles/chapters together to create a class book.  These can be exported to ebook readers and shared with family members.  With a little work from the teacher, class books can be uploaded to iTunes to share with the world.  Our students NEED global audiences for their writing!

Book Creator's YouTube Channel video shows just how easy it is to create with the app.

*Book Creator offers a free version that allows the user to create one book, so give it a try!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Weekly TNT ~ Create a Virtual Classroom for Student Portfolios

We must give our students a way to publish for authentic audiences, we need to be able to quickly access technology products without searching through endless tech tools, and we need a record of learning.  This week's tutorial combines

Padlet has many uses, but one great way to use the virtual bulletin board is to create a virtual classroom where student avatars house student products.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Finding Photos and Teaching Copyright

The web has made it so easy to infringe on copyright that sometimes we, as educators, overlook the rules.  We are good at teaching our students not to plagiarize, but how much time do we spend teaching them how to search for images licensed for Creative Commons or in the Public Domain?

Try this... collect something your students have created that displays their photos or artwork (posters, ads, poetry, etc.).  Return the next day with money in hand (I know you teach, but scrounge up several $1 bills).  Begin counting it in front of your students.  Someone will surely ask questions!  Tell them you sold their work to XYZ.  When they ask how much money they are getting (you know they will ask), tell them, "Oh no, I used your work to make some money for myself.  I'm going out to dinner."  If you have a sweet bunch of students, you may have to do a little prodding to get a reaction, but, most likely, someone will point out the fact that you are being unfair!  This is where you bring in copyright laws and talk about how to respect and correctly use others' property.

5 Places to Find Photos

  • Google Image Search - Teach students to change the Usage Rights to show only images labeled for reuse/reuse with modification.
  • Photos for Class - Creative Commons licensed, age-appropriate images with attributions
  • Pics4Learning -  "...curated image library that is safe and free for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting."
  • Morguefile - Free stock photos for commercial use; check license for modification rights
  • Pixabay - "All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required."
Thank you to Richard Byrne for sharing four of these on his Practical Ed Tech tutorial.  If you have not visited his site, you are missing out on a fantastic resource!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Count Down to NaNoWriMo!!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, November is National Novel Writing Month!  Why not have your students write a novel during the month of November?  Why, yes, you can!  

The Young Writer's Program is setting up house for a new site!  Here is an excerpt from the YWP:

NaNoWriMo 2016 is coming! We're busy working away on a brand-new Young Writers Program website, which means that this site will be closing down as we approach November.

How to prepare for the new YWP beta site

  • Make sure to save anything that you want to keep! Workbooks, lesson plans, 2016 pep talks, and other key resources will all be available. But your forum posts, profile information, and novel information won't be (and it may take us a while to archive your favorite past pep talk). So, save save save!
  • If you're an educator, hold off on creating a Virtual Classroom for this year.You'll be able to create one on the new website.
  • Sign up to receive an alert when the beta version of the new YWP site goes live.
We're excited to share this beta version of the new Young Writers Program site with you!
Looking forward to launching NaNoWriMo 2016,
Tim Kim
Director of Communications
You can access the current Young Writer's Program now and get the Teacher Guide.  
Why not combine tools!  BoomWriter allows you to set up your class for collaborative writing.  Choose one of BoomWriter's story starters, or, better yet, write your own.  Students write a chapter at a time.  Students then vote on their favorite chapters (BoomWriter handles the voting, and students cannot see who wrote the chapters).  The winning chapter is added to the book, and students must then write the next chapter based on the previous one that was chosen.  The site tracks words for you, as well, which plays perfectly with NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo even has free Teacher Kits with awesome goodies for your students!  They are only available while they last, so I would head over there now!  Maybe you ought to take the challenge,'s the NanoWriMo site for big people!