Jul 24

Formative Assessment: The Secret Sauce of Blended Success

By:Oliver Dreon

formative assessmentA few weeks ago, a colleague emailed me about some trouble she was having with her first attempt at blended instruction. She had created some videos to pre-teach a concept, incorporated some active learning strategies into her face-to-face class to build on the video, and assigned an online quiz so she could assess what the students had learned. After grading the quizzes, however, she found that many of the students struggled with the concept. “Maybe,” she wondered, “blended instruction won’t work with my content area.” ” To read further please click here:  http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/formative-assessment-secret-sauce-blended-success/


Jul 24

Teachers Guide to Creating Rich Interactive Visuals Using ThingLink

By:Med Kharbach

thinglinkThingLink is an excellent web tool that allows you to create interactive images online. The images you create can come alive by adding to them text, video, music, and links. ThingLink has also recently rolled out a new feature, which is still in beta, that allows you to add interactive pinmarks to YouTube videos. These pin marks can be links to other videos or websites.

The ability to enrich images with different media content makes ThingLink an ideal tool to incorporate in your instruction. There are a variety of ways you can use ThingLink with your students and the visual below provides 27 examples of activities that students can do using this platform. Click here to access the full visual.” To read further please click here:

Jul 24

Google Docs: 3 incredibly useful tools for edits and revisions

By:Alex Campbell

googdocs“When you’re collaborating on a document, sometimes you’d just like to make a suggestion to the original author without altering the words. Often, you have to type in comments in all-caps or between asterisks and hope that the you or the author remembers to remove them later.

There’s a better way to type in possible changes. On the far-right side of the toolbar underneath the Comments button, click Editing. A drop-down will appear with the options to enter Suggesting or Viewing mode.” To read further please click here;

Jul 24

6th-Graders Have Their Say: Why Students Value Blogging

By:Susan Lucille Davis blog“Last year, I introduced blogging to my sixth-graders because I believe it is the most authentic way to teach our students how to  write. As I have shared in “10 Reasons Why I Want My Students to Blog,” I believe, in short,

  • Blogging provides an authentic way for students to write about their passions;
  • it invites students to practice civil discourse by giving and receiving feedback;
  • it recognizes that writing is a process that also invites students to experiment with different forms of communication
  • it encourages transparency;
  • and it provides a launching pad for connecting with the world in meaningful ways for positive change.

Using the platform Kidblog, my students wrote at least nine blog posts (some even chose to write more on their own initiative), five of them as specific writing assignments and four of them as “free posts.”” To read further please click here:

Jul 23

Learn how Remind is revolutionizing teacher-parent communication

By:Clara Galan

remind“Have you checked out Remind’s new app? The ways to improve school-wide communication and strengthen the home-to-school connection just keep getting better. Try it out before back-to-school to see how the student on-boarding process this fall can be so much easier! (plus… it’s free!)

Have you checked out Remind’s new app?  The ways to improve school-wide communication and strengthen the home-to-school connection just keep getting better. Try it out before back-to-school to see how the student on-boarding process this fall can be so much easier! (plus… it’s free!)

1. Organize paperwork

The first few weeks of school are filled with permissions forms and course documents. Forget the days of lost forms crumpled in the bottom of backpacks! With Remind, you can easily attach files to your messages and send them directly to students’ and parents’ phones. It can also be a great way for administrators to send back-to-school paperwork to all staff members.

2. Make sure that your documents are read

The excuse, “I didn’t get the assignment” no longer flies. The new Remind app allows you to see which students have opened your attachment (of a file or photo) and lists their names. You can even send a follow up reminder to open your attachment to the students who haven’t opened it yet!” To read further please click here:

Jul 23

How To Use Microsoft OneDrive

By:TeachThought staff

onedrive“Google dominates the cloud.

This makes sense when you consider the genius of Google’s strategy that started with brilliant search and web-based email (at one point, that was a big deal), then used that as an anchor to develop digital “stuff” for every area of your life, from calendar and productivity suites, maps, wallet, Google Glass, Google Fiber, self-driving cars, and more.

Then they released the long-rumored “G-Drive,” which turned out to be Google Drive, a place to store and share your digital fare. But when you start comparing the actual function of Google’s digital locker with that of competitors, the logic of Google’s significant success is less clear.

So when stodgy Microsoft ditched transformed (for legal reasons as much as anything else) SkyDrive to OneDrive, things in the cloud (for teachers, especially) got interesting.

Because they didn’t stop at the name change. They uncharacteristically opened up.

They changed their name, upped the free storage, added browser functionality, deeper integration into Windows 8, Windows Phone integration, and even support for iPad and iOS. This represents an interesting shift for Microsoft, who has learned to play nice with others or risk losing relevance in a sector (productivity) they helped build.” To read further please click here:

Jul 23

How Are Progressive Teachers Using Technology?

By:Peter kruger

sb10069478bo-001“I am a progressive teacher who uses a variety of strategies in my classroom to engage students in learning and to help them take ownership in their learning environment.  Here are some of my methods:

Google Apps for Education is one of my best tools.  I use a script called Doctopus to help manage the paperwork and control editing privileges for students, and an extension called Goobric to hand rubrics back to them.  Flubaroo is another script that allows me to easily grade quizzes that I create through the use of Google Forms.

I use Blogger to post assignments each day and keep parents in the loop when they want it.

I have a managed YouTube channel where I post videos for a flipped classroom model so they can go back and take notes or review the lecture whenever they need to.” To read further please click here:

Jul 23

Lessons from a school that scrapped a longer student day and made time for teachers

By:Melissa Bailey

preping“NEW HAVEN, Conn. –– Talizha Jones returned from summer vacation after fourth grade to an unwelcome surprise at school: Students would have to stay in class until 4:15 p.m. four days a week.

“I was very upset,” the now-14-year-old recalled. “I was asking my grandma if I could switch schools.”

At the time, Talizha was at ground zero for a nascent school reform drive here. Based on a landmark teachers contract that made work rules more flexible, New Haven in 2010 tapped one of its lowest-performing schools, Brennan-Rogers, to undergo a turnaround, where the principal replaced two-thirds of teachers and imposed a longer school day.”  To read further please click here:

Jul 23

20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools


music“Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.” To read further please click here:

Jul 22

20 Best and Useful Mind Mapping Tools


mindmaps“Mind maps are pictorial representations of connected ideas and information which can be used by individuals pursuing different kinds of vocation like by teachers for students, by team leaders or other professionals. Previously, these maps were created by sketching the related ideas by hand. However, with the development in technology many softwares and web applications have also come up which can perform the same task easily, efficiently and within less time. The users need to upload all the information and data in the software or web apps, thereafter the software will automatically generate the visual and graphical representations of the data.

Visual representations are easier to understand and interpret in comparison to the written information. Mind maps can be easily analyzed by specialists working in different sectors of a business house to develop a good and effective business plan. It also helps to keep people working in different sectors of the business updated and informed, especially for enterprises that have branches throughout the world.” To read further please click here:

Jul 22

Pathways to Personalized Learning


african american“When Cynthia White became principal at Cleveland Elementary in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2012, she quickly went to work to improve academic performance — at the time, the school was the second-lowest performing in the county.

One of the first academic areas she addressed was math instruction. White piloted a game-like, personalized learning program for a month, then offered it to all classes in the school except for one that was tablet only (the program was not available in tablet version). In the beginning, teachers were underwhelmed. “After the first month in my pilot, my teachers said, ‘We don’t get it. We don’t see what’s really happening,’” says White.

White and the teachers looked at the program reports and saw that students had many foundational gaps. Even students in the third grade were missing kindergarten-level concepts, making it unrealistic to expect an immediate leap to third-grade math performance.”To read further please click here:  http://www.dreambox.com/white-papers/pathways-personalized-learning


Jul 22

Learning to Blog and Blogging to Learn: One Teacher’s Adventure

By:Patricia Hewitt

blogs2“I love the discussions we have with each other in our blogs! I can talk to people online, in school, and when I am at home.

It is this observation from a Grade Five student of mine several years ago that captures much of the transformation possible for students and teachers when they venture into blogging and the connected digital world. Just as many deep conversations may begin with a simple and familiar greeting, the practice of blogging with students may also start with something similar to what is already known. Though, I have to state, at the outset, my sense of the journey my students and I were about to undertake as bloggers in the 21st century was not at all fully imagined so be prepared for a wonderful adventure!

As I introduced blogging to that first group of Grade Fives, I approached it as an offshoot of what was already established in my writing classroom.” To read further please click here:

Jul 21

Computing resources for teachers

By:Oliver Quinlan

COMPUTER MONITORThis week a Nesta and TES survey carried out by YouGov highlighted the perceptions of many teachers that they were not well prepared for the new  Computing curriculum, which becomes statutory in schools from September. My colleague Kathleen Stokes explored the findings here, and over on the TES blog I argued that teachers need not be apprehensive about the new curriculum.

There is a section of the new curriculum that is very new to many teachers, particularly but not limited to those in Primary. As a supplement to my TES article I’ve put together a round up of links to resources and support for those new to algorithms, computational thinking and the new aspects of Computer Science in the curriculum.” To read further please click here:


Jul 21

Five-Minute Film Festival: Classroom Makeovers to Engage Learners

By: Amy Erin Borovoy

classroom makeoversMost educators have little choice about the (usually) over-crowded, (often) unappealing rooms they teach in — but they intuitively know that the spaces children spend their time in can have an effect on how they learn. I’ve gathered a collection of videos to explore the questions: How important is environment to learning? And what small changes can you make in seating, organization, lighting, and decor to build your own space into a better place to teach and learn? To read further please click here;  http://www.edutopia.org/blog/film-festival-learning-spaces-classroom-makeovers


Jul 21

How Minecraft can help with Common Core math

By:Laura Devaney

minecr“As gaming gains steam and loses its stigma in the wake of educators who champion its engaging nature, more teachers are incorporating the strategy into their instruction.

One gaming strategy involvesMinecraft, a sandbox game touted for its open-ended nature and ability to engage students through creative thinking and problem solving.

The gaming evolution has prompted one educator to create Mathcraft, a Common Core-focused math curriculum focused around Minecraft.” To read further please click here:  http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/07/18/minecraft-ccss-math-362/?ps=74125-0013000000j0Hig-0033000000q5cHG

Jul 21

The butterfly unit in preschool

By:Deborah J Stewart

butterflyLast year, I had a parent give my class one of the best gifts ever. She gave us a butterfly kit. I hadn’t ever had one of these kits before and I was so worried that somehow I would mess it up along the way, but I followed the directions and my class and I were amazed with the process of watching a set of real caterpillars transform into butterflies…”  To read further please click here:  


Jul 21

The 5 Most Overhyped Trends in Education

By:Andrew Campbell

teacher“For your perusal, a completely subjective list of five things happening right now in education that are getting lots of notice, energy and resources but don’t deserve it, and why I think we need to reconsider our collective love affair with them:

1. Flipping The Class:

What is it? “…a form of blended Learning which encompasses any use of Internet technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing. This is most commonly being done using teacher created videos that students view outside of class time. It is also known asbackwards classroomreverse instructionflipping the classroom, and reverse teaching”

What’s The Problem?

The problems with flipping are well explained in “The Flip: End of a Love Affair“.

The short form is:

Jul 20

Stopping the bully in your classroom

By: Rosemarie Allen
bullying (1)“While bullying has long existed, it has only recently been recognized as a pervasive problem in schools across the nation.

According to recent studies, up to 30 percent of U.S. students in 6ththrough 10th grade are involved in moderate to frequent bullying either as bullies, victims, or witnesses/bystanders.

This means that nearly one in three children will be involved in bullying at some point in their education journey.

With an ever-increasing emphasis on academic outcomes, the link between student behavior and academic achievement can no longer be denied. If students are acting out, disturbing others, interrupting lessons, or suffering under fear, the learning environment is compromised.

Setting the tone for acceptable behavioral expectations and creating a positive culture for a school are critical for creating a successful learning environment. ” To read further please click here:

Jul 20

Chromebooks beyond the cloud: Everything Chromebooks can do offline

By:Brad Chacos

chromebookss“Born as pure conduits to the web—showcases for Gmail, Drive, and other Google cloud services—Chromebooks have struggled to shake a bad reputation. The basic complaint is that Chromebooks become nothing more than dumb, worthless, keyboard-equipped pieces of glass when your Internet craps out.

While that may have been an accurate description of first-generation Chromebooks, nothing could be further from the truth today. The offline abilities of Chrome OS have skyrocketed since the first Googley laptops hit the streets, and now Chromebooks can tackle many of the most popular PC uses—from blasting out emails to working on spreadsheets to even just playing movies—completely offline.

What Chromebooks don’t do is enable that functionality by default, or even make their offline capabilities obvious. But we’ve got your back. Here’s a guide to everything you can do offline with a Chromebook, complete with instructions on how to set it all up.

Back to basics

Let’s start with the cornerstones of the Chromebook experience. Google’s email and productivity solutions live and breathe on the web, but enabling their offline options lets you tinker with files and sift through your inbox away from the Internet. You can then sync all your changes when connectivity kicks back in.” To read further please click here:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/2453999/chromebooks-beyond-the-cloud-everything-chromebooks-can-do-offline.html


Jul 20

Teachers’ Guide to The Use of SoundCloud in Class

By: Med Kharbach

soundcloud“SoundCloud is a wonderful audio recording and sharing platform with huge potential for us in education. The distinctive set of features SoundCloud provides to its users have made it one of the most popular audio websites out there. As such, I deemed it important to create a guide that can help teachers tap into the educational potential of this tool. In this guide you will get to learn about :

  • How to record and upload an audio clip to SoundCloud
  • How to add comments to audio tracks
  • How to create a SoundCloud group for your class where you can share audio files with students
  • Reasons why you should consider using SoundCloud in your instruction
  • Different ways to use SoundCloud in your class

To read further please click here:  http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/07/teachers-guide-to-use-of-soundcloud-in.html

Jul 20

The Myth of Device fatigue


blended“My wife came home the other day and started describing a new problem arising in her school, where students were claiming to be tired of using devices for everything. The students were apparently saying “Can’t we just do a lesson on paper today or you just teach us.” As she told me this, my wife didn’t notice that she was simultaneously picking up her iPad to check Facebook and that made me think.

In my observations around my school, it’s those same students claiming device fatigue in the classroom that are not hesitating to turn to their device for ‘life updates’ as they leave that very same room. I would propose that it’s not fatigue caused by device use but that caused by the pain of trying to carry out conventional, 20th century classroom tasks on devices that are designed fora world that conducts itself very differently.” 

To read further please click here:  http://ipad4schools.org/2014/07/11/the-myth-of-device-fatigue/

Jul 19

Do I Need a Digital Teaching Portfolio?

By: Edwige Simon

digital-teaching-portfolio-460x345_0“Designing a well-organized and professional teaching portfolio can give you an edge in a competitive job market, and help you score high marks on your school’s teacher evaluation form. It is, however, a time-consuming endeavor (the average portfolio takes about two to three days of work), and once built, your portfolio will require regular attention. This post will help you decide whether or not a portfolio will serve your professional goals and how to go about designing a professional-looking site that showcases your teaching skills.

1. Do I Need a Portfolio?

There are several reasons to start building a portfolio:

Jul 19

3 Steps to Create Podcasts With Google Hangouts On Air

By:Ryan Hanley

hangs“Are you thinking of starting a podcast?Have you considered using Google Hangouts On Air?Your podcasts don’t have to stop with basic audio files. Google Hangouts On Air offer ways to create audio, video and better SEO.

In this article you’ll discover how to create more dynamic podcasts using the built-in features of Google Hangouts On Air.

Why Podcasts With Google Hangouts On Air?

Traditionally, interview-based podcasts are done via Skype using either eCamm’s Skype Call Recorder on a Mac or Pamela for Skype on a PC. Both are stable programs with good sound quality and the option to record video. These tools work just fine, but what if you could up your game?” To read further please click here: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/create-podcasts-with-google-hangouts-on-air/

Jul 19

Grit In The Classroom Has To Be A Dialogue

By:Thomas Hoerr

grit“The rush to grit is pretty intense, but so is the push-back. I’ve been writing about grit in articles and a book (Fostering Grit) and giving lots of presentations on the subject. I’ve spoken to schools and parents; presented at conferences; and have been a guest on NPR. Universally, grit is embraced. Everyone sees the merit in teaching our kids to accept challenges, step out of their comfort zones, and know how to respond to failure. So far, so good.

Grit is hanging in and never giving up, but it’s more than that. Grit is being comfortable when you are outside of your comfort zone, and it’s forging ahead when you hit the wall because you know that you’ll get up and continue moving forward. Grit is a life skill! But sometimes teachers are uncomfortable with the notion of fostering or teaching for grit. They’re uneasy with the role they must play and I get that. We went into education because we wanted to help students: we like it when they succeed and it gratifies us when our class is filled with smiles. When our kids do well, it tells us we’ve done a good job!” To read further please click here:

Jul 19

Create a school makerspace in 3 simple steps

By: Nicole Krueger

makerspace“As maker education gains steam, manyeducators are looking for ways to incorporate making and tinkering into their schools and classrooms — often on a shoestring budget.

“Kids are saying they want to learn more about technology and science, but they also want to experience it creatively and use it personally,”” To read further please click here:  http://www.iste.org/explore/ArticleDetail?articleid=103

Jul 18

This is How to Use Google Drive with Edmodo to Share Docs and Assignments with Students

By:Med Kharbach

googledriv“During a workshop I facilitated today in university, I was surprised to find out that several teachers did not know that Google Drive is integrated with Edmodo so I thought to write about it here , probably some of you don’t know about it either. The integration of Google Drive with Edmodo allows you to sync the content of your Drive with your Edmodo library so you can easily access and share your docs, files and folders with your Edmodo groups.

Here are three ways you can benefit from this integration:

1- Share:
Sync your Google Docs to your Edmodo library and easily share them with your groups or other Edmodo connections. You can also add your Google Docs to shared folders.”

To read further please click here:http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/07/this-is-how-to-use-google-drive-with.html

Jul 18

New Website Available for Teachers Interested in Digital Games for Learning


gamessEDC has launched a new website for teachers who are interested in learning how to use digital games to enhance classroom learning. Called “Possible Worlds,” the website was developed by EDC’s Center for Children and Technology for teachers who may not be “gamers” but would like to facilitate science learning for their middle grade students.

Possible Worlds requires no registration and provides free access to the following:

  • Digital games and associated instructional materials related to topics where students often struggle with persistent misconceptions—photosynthesis, heredity, electricity, and heat transfer
  • A light-hearted, animated video series designed to help teachers understand why digital games are so appealing to their students”

To read further please click here : http://www.edc.org/newsroom/press_releases/new_website_available_teachers_interested_digital_games_learning

Jul 17

Lego Math Game For Preschool

By:Allison McDonald

legos-389x179Do you know what subitizing is? A lot of people do not and even though we all do it.  When I was studying how to elementary teach math I never learned this it wasn’t something that was focused on but it is now. The easiest way to describe what subitizing is , is to think of it as the numerical equivalent to sight words. It is the ability to recognize total amounts without counting. Tally marks, dice, even fingers are great ways to practice the skill. This Lego math game is great for beginners because it only works subitizing numbers from 1-6. My daughter is our littlest math whiz and loves all things numbers so she was game and dove right in. We played a bunch of times since the game itself can go pretty quickly!  Check out the tutorial below for ways to adapt this game for older children as well.” To read further please click here:  http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2014/07/lego-math-game-for-preschool-2.html


Jul 17

Ideas for Integrating a Student Blog into Your Curriculum

By:Pernille Ripp

blog11“One thing I have loved about blogging and what it does for my students is how easily it has been to integrate it into our curriculum.  I knew when we started that I didn’t want an extra layer of “stuff to do” because we already have too much “stuff to do.”  So if I were to have my students blog, it had to be as authentic and as meaningful as possible, without it becoming another homework burden.  With that in mind, here are some beginning ideas for integrating blogging into your classroom.

Jul 17

Symbaloo EDU: Easily Organize All Your Websites

By: Matt B.Gomez

symbalooI have posted in the past about how I use Symbaloo to organize the websites my class visits and I wanted to updated that post as some of the features on SymbalooEDU have changed. The video below will walk you through that process as well as highlight some of the basic steps in getting started with SymbalooEDU. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments and I will answer them the best I can:  To read further please click here: http://mattbgomez.com/symbalooedu-easily-organize-all-your-websites/