Aug 31

Simple Steps For Starting School

By: Trisha Sanchez

keyboardEager new faces file into the classroom with the start of the new school year, many because of their desire to use technology in their classes. As a I have moved from having a few devices in my room to being 1:1, I make sure to start the year by teaching some simple management systems and thinking about how students will learn to use the different devices and web tools throughout the year.

Simple Classroom Management

How will students get devices and put them away? It should be efficient, requiring as little class time as possible, and trouble free. I have a Chrome cart in my room and have created a clutter free path so that students “flow” in one direction to and from the cart. This means students are not bumping into one another, potentially causing devices to fall on the floor. I call small groups at a time to get and return their devices to the cart. This lowers the potential for crowding. Since I teach multiple class periods, first period gets the Chromebooks out and leaves them on the desks for the next class periods. Then my seventh period class returns them to the cart at the end of the day.

Aug 31

30 Second Videos for Your Students

By: Alice Keeler

video lesson“Personally, I cringe when I hear a teacher mention they are making videos for their students. I absolutely advocate for teachers to create videos. However, regardless of the medium, student engagement matters. Too often I see 10-20 minute videos for students to watch. Ugh.

Ten Seconds

Research shows that people decide in the first 10 seconds if they are going to watch a video, so make those first 10 seconds EXCITING!

One Minute

Looking at Facebook analytics, videos that are over one minute long receive far fewer views of the video. One minute is really your UPPER limit for a video length.

30 Seconds…. OR LESS

There are many great reasons to keep your videos to 30 seconds, or less. I create a collection of short videos into a playlist for students. Say one piece of information and stop the video. In and out. Sometimes my videos are only 8 seconds!!” To read further please click here:

Aug 30

Check Out How These Teachers and Students are Using Augmented Reality

By:Kelly Walsh

arrrr“Augmented Reality is one of the most interesting and exciting tools emerging in the academic world today.

Here are a handful of videos showing many fun, engaging ways in which educators and students are using this powerful digital technology.

Shaw Wood Primary School use Aurasma throughout the school, and it has been adopted by teachers, parents and pupils alike.” To read further please click here:

Aug 30

A Great Augmented Reality App for Teachers

By:Med Kharbach

aug reality“Junaio is a great Augmented Reality app to add to the list of the best AR apps for teachers.  Junaio enables you to easily access augmented content on images and objects and provides you with an easy way to experience new virtual interactions. Junaio is also a QR reader allowing you to scan any QR code or barcode for product information and web pages.  You can also use the app’s visual search to discover content in AR enabled images.” To read further please click here:

Aug 29

Think Before You Flip Your Classroom This Year

By: Steven Anderson

flipped learn“For a while now I’ve been saying something provocative about Flipped Learning.
“It’s the worst idea in the history of teaching.”
I own that.
I’ve said it.
I say it that way to get educators attention. Because I like to have a conversation about it. While I am not going to walk that statement back like a disgraced politician I am going to do a little explaining (finally) why we need to think before we “flip” learnin.First a little knowledge leveling.

When I am talking about Flipped Learning in this post I am referring to the method by which teachers create videos (or find other videos online) and assign students to watch them at home, thereby freeing up time in the classroom to go deeper with the content because the students have the content knowledge from the videos. I am sure there are multiple different variations of Flipped Learning but for this post, this is the definition I am working off of.  It’s an idea thats been around for a while and some teachers have said they’ve found success with it” . To read further please click here:

Aug 29

Using New Technology to Rediscover Traditional Ways of Learning

By:Stacey Goodman

imagesCAF1CB64“Older, more traditional forms of learning resonate with students because they connect with something deep within our human psyche. They engage the full person, not just the part of the brain that can decipher words on a page. They evoke a time when all of our ancestors were more alike than different in their cultural practices.

Learning through movement and the senses is becoming easier to do as bulky, stationary technology has become more mobile. Also, we are seeing the beginnings of a trend in which technology is becoming practically invisible and more integrated into our everyday environments. Digital technology such as tablets can help teachers and students rediscover traditional ways of learning by using touch, movement, sound, and visuality” To read further please click here:

Aug 29

How Schools Are Handling An ‘Overparenting’ Crisis

By:Anya Kamenetz

parentts“Have you ever done your children’s homework for them? Have you driven to school to drop off an assignment that they forgot? Have you done a college student’s laundry? What about coming along to Junior’s first job interview?

These examples are drawn from two new books — How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Both are by women writing from their experience as parents and as educators. Lahey is a middle school teacher and a writer for The New York Times and The Atlantic; Lythcott-Haims was the longtime freshman dean at Stanford.

The books make strikingly similar claims about today’s youth and their parents: Parents are “too worried about [their children’s] future achievements to allow [them] to work through the obstacles in their path” (Lahey) and “students who seemed increasingly reliant on their parents in ways that felt, simply, off” (Lythcott-Haims).”

Aug 28

5 Ways to Help Your Kids with Homework

homework33By: Holly Homer & Rachel Byrne
Make a schedule. Assignments have deadlines so the best thing to do is to allow you and your child enough time to complete them. You also want to leave enough time to gather supplies (if needed), work through the problems, and seek outside help if needed to complete the project. Time can make all the difference in whether or not your child receives a good grade.

  1. Seek outside help. As parents we like to think we know how to do it all including our child’s homework because after all, we’ve been there done that right? Well, as time changes so does the curriculum taught to our children which makes sense as to why many parents don’t understand the homework given. That is where websites such as the Homework Help Desk come into play. They are a resource that offer parents the chance to ask questions and learn the concepts being taught to their children so they in return can help keep their kids on track for success.
  2. Find a method of organization that works for everyone. Keeping homework organized is a great way to stay on top it. Consider keeping a calendar on the fridge, a homework folder on the wall, and even color code days of the week assignments are due (you can also do the same for different subjects). Eventually everyone will get used to the system and be off to better start with assignments each week.” To read further please click here:
Aug 28

A Fun App for Learning to Classify Plants and Animals

By:Richard Byrne

classifyClassify It! is a free iPad app designed to help elementary school and middle school students learn to classify plants and animals. In the app students are given a question and shown a selection of plants and animals. Respond to the question students have to correctly identify the plants and animals that answer the question. For example, on the second level of the game students are asked to identify the animals that are mammals and they then have to select the mammals from a gallery of pictures. If students need help understanding the question or prompt on a level, they can tap the question mark icon to receive a bit of clarification.” To read further please click here:

Aug 28

Instead of Paying Thousands for Student Data Systems, Try This Free Option Instead

digital spaceBy:Chris Aviles

“When I taught high school English, I created an essay system that did just that. It used a Google Form rubric, a Google Sheet as a database, and a “Student Tracker System” I developed. This setup allowed me to differentiate and individualize my students’ learning. I loved it, and it made my life easier–but more importantly, my kids loved it, too. The great thing is, this system can be applied to any class and assignment that uses a rubric–and it can be done for free.Here’s how you, no matter the subject you teach, can turn data into a personalized learning experience for your students–while making your life easier.

Empowering students

Before you can understand the system, you have to understand the philosophy that led to it.” To read  further please click here:

Aug 28

12 ways to use Google Classroom’s newest features

By:Matt Miller

google classroomIn fall of 2014, Google released Classroom to anxiously awaiting teachers. In a year’s time, those teachers put Classroom to work, with students turning in more than 70 million assignments.

Google released a handful of useful updates to Classroom recently andsome others in the last few monthsthat let teachers and students do even more fantastic learning.

It’s nice to see these updates, but I’ve found it often leaves teachers wondering, “What can I do with those changes?”

Good question! Here are 12 ideas for the classroom that these changes have made possible. As you read these, I’d love it if you thought about ways you or other teachers are using Classroom. Post those ideas as a comment at the end of the article!

Prefer to see how to put these ideas into action? Check out the interactive YouTube videos I created to accompany this post. Click on the embedded video below or here to see a list of all 12 ideas. Then click on the one you want to watch to be taken directly to a short video (about 80 seconds).” To read further please click here:

Aug 27

If you teach Computing or STEM with iPad, you probably need an Everything Machine

By: Mark Anderson

classroom“The iPad is one hell of a device. I’m not the first person to say it or think it but there you have it. It really is. Yes, competitors and Android fans will tell you that their devices have done it for years, but it’s never been quite as good as on the iPad.

One of my favourite uses in Science I’ve seen in recent years was where an old colleague of mine used an app that measured motion using an app by swinging an iPad on a pendulum as part of one of his Physics lessons. Sometimes he just threw the iPad across the classroom too. Phenomenal (although make sure if you repeat it you put it in an Survivor case!).

A new App on the App Store caught my eye last week. It’s called ‘The Everything Machine‘. It gives users the opportunity to invent and create so many cool little algorithms and sequences within it that react with the different sensors and other elements within the iPad. It is just too cool for words and I can imagine it being a massive hit for teachers and kids alike.

You can use the gyroscope, camera, mic, screen, speaker and light within its own visual programming language. It is fab!”:To read further please click here:

Aug 27

5 ways to Make Your Classroom LGBT Inclusive

By:Anthony Nicodemo

3542294246_1e9ea65eb4_m“Next week, I begin my 11th year as a high school social studies teacher. I often refer to myself as an educator. I firmly believe that it is not only my job to teach content, but life lessons as well.

After coming out as gay two years ago, I’ve had such an incredible journey. So many people have shared personal stories, and I’ve learned so much about myself. Unfortunately many of the stories I’ve heard make me shake my head. Teachers, coaches and administrators have continued to consistently engage in behavior that is not supportive of LGBT students.

In no way am I trying to be self righteous. For many years, I engaged in some of this hurtful behavior. However, when you hear the hurt that some of it brings, you tend to quickly change.

That being said, I have complied a list of five tips for teachers, coaches and administrators to assure a more inclusive classroom:

1) Do not assume that all students are straight.

How many times have you sat in class or practice and questioned a male student about his girlfriend or vice versa? The LGBT kid already feels different. The constant pressure of dating amongst high school students is immense. Adults tend to make it worse. Try using both, boyfriend or girlfriend in conversation. It will create a much more inclusive setting and many times encourage acceptance.” To read further please click here:

The constant pressure of dating amongst high school students is immense. Adults tend to make it worse. Try using both, boyfriend or girlfriend in conversation. It will create a much more inclusive setting and many times encourage acceptance.

Aug 27

Classroom Management: 3 Important Big-Picture Questions

By: Mary Beth Hertz

small-child-going-to-school” It’s a Sunday night in early September and you can’t sleep. Your mind is racing with possibilities and streams of questions for the following day. You toss and turn as you play through your plans, trying to anticipate every possibility.

The first day of school is fast-paced, stressful, and exhilarating all at once. We spend hours contemplating how we’ll incorporate the changes that we’ve been planning since June and how we’ll set the tone for the rest of the year. Often, we get caught up in procedures, activities, and schedules, trying to get to know our kids and help them get to know us within the constraints of lunch, class changes, and other daily routines. For many teachers, their biggest concern is classroom management. How will I make sure that my classroom is a safe community and that kids will follow the rules?

It’s easy for teachers to get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae and focus on things like where we place the tissue box, how to handle broken pencils or laptops that need charging, or assigning seats or cubbies or spots on the rug. But in the end, what makes our classrooms run smoothly is thinking about the bigger picture.

There are three important big-picture questions that we should grapple before we whittle down to those minutiae. These are also questions that, if thought out carefully, will address many of our classroom management worries.” To read further please click here:

Aug 27

Activities for the 1st Day of School

By:@austinkleon and @burgessdave

schoolss“The first day of school can be a wonderful opportunity to hook students on everything that makes your classroom a special place. Make the first day a fun and exciting showcase of great academic and social activities. Have students collaborate and share. Give students the opportunity to think, as well as share what makes them special as individuals.

Try these 10 activities with your students to show them what’s in store for the rest of the year!

What NOT to Do Many teachers use some of their time on the first day of school to list classroom rules or have students create the classroom rules. Instead of going through a list with students, have students collaborate with each other to show what NOT to do in classrooms. Students can present a skit showing all the wrong things to do in a classroom. They can create a shared Google document to list all the things that might get them in trouble in your classroom. You can follow up with your expectations afterward in a discussion with students. While most students know what classroom rules generally entail, having them create or demonstrate the NOT list can allow them to be funny and creative while gaining an understanding of what you truly expect for your classroom environment.” To read further please click here:

Aug 25

Taking Notes vs. Taking a Picture of Notes; Which Wins?

By: George Couros

Miller-PBL-Assessment-Resources-300x225“Although this seems like a no-brainer as a method to quickly capture information, there is also the challenge that if you want to “retain” information, writing it down is a much better method.  The ability to simply obtain information and recite it back is not necessarily learning as much as it is regurgitation.  I might better be able to retain the facts shared, but it doesn’t mean I understand them.  On the other hand, if I am taking a picture, putting it in my camera roll and doing nothing with that information, then really, what good is that?”To read further please click here:

Aug 25

America’s obsession with standardized tests is harming our kids. There’s a better way.

By:Kristina Rizga

testsONE HOT MORNING in May, Kiana Hernandez came to class early. She stood still outside the door, intensely scanning each face in the morning rush of shoulders, hats, and backpacks. She felt anxious. For more than eight months she had been thinking about what she was about to do, but she didn’t want it to be a big scene.

As her English teacher approached the door, she blocked him with her petite, slender frame. Then, in a soft voice, she said, “I’m sorry. I’m not going to take the test today.” The multiple-choice test that morning was one of 15 that year alone, and she’d found out it would be used primarily as part of her teacher’s job evaluation. She’d come into class, she said, but would spend the hour quietly studying.” To read further please click here:

Aug 25

4 Things That Can Turn Students into Authors and Self-Publishers

By:Forrest Miller

feedback“Not so long ago, the hard part about publishing a book wasn’t writing it—it was getting it published. The process involved writing sample chapters, book proposals, contacting agents, submitting to publishing companies, and facing constant rejection. Too often, aspiring writers would just give up.

But things are a little different now, thanks to companies like Amazon. Authors, turned self-publishers, can now publish print or eBooks on their own, which helps teachers inspire student writers. The process is simple and by eliminating the book proposals, agents, and publishing companies, an author can focus their energy on creating a quality product.

Knowing the target audience can help student authors turn their words into a paycheck.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and KDP Select

Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s digital publishing service. It allows authors to publish their books in digital format and sell it on Amazon around the world. Authors can upload their files for free and follow the straightforward instructions to create their very own eBook.  Writers earn a 35% or 70% commission, depending on the list price ($2.99-$9.99 for the 70% commission). Authors can also opt for Amazon’s KDP Select option.  KDP Select offers a stronger marketing platform, higher commissions, and allows eBooks to be part of the lending library for Amazon Prime members.” To read further please click here:

Aug 25

Google Classroom: Add Other Documents to Class Folder

By: Alice Keeler

google classroom“I added collaborative notes documents to Google Classroom as “Students can edit file.” I did not want to push out a copy of the document to each student since the students are working in groups. This means that the collaborative document does NOT show up in the Google Classroom class folder for the student.


You can use my template to create a document that adds files to the students Google Classroom class folder or you can edit the script yourself.” To read further please lick here:

Aug 24

My Not-So-Fancy Classroom

By: Jenifer Cimini

classroommss“As my classroom assistant and I were setting up our room this past week her seventh grade son remarked, “It’s like you’ve centered everything around books in here.” And I stopped and made him repeat his words just so I could be sure that I heard him correctly. And then I looked him straight in the eye and said, “That’s the greatest thing anyone could have ever said about our classroom.”

A few days later, another teacher walked in and said, “So what’s your theme? Every class has to have a theme.” After I first told him I didn’t really have one and he seemed a bit disappointed, I remembered the words of the wise seventh grader and I said, “Well then, my theme is reading.”” To read further please click here:”

Aug 24

What Does the Technology-Enhanced Future of the School Field Trip Look Like?

By:Kayla Mathews

Alternate_Reality-_The_City_-_1986_-_Datasoft,_IncGoing Mobile, Better Trip Preparation, Post-Trip Fun, and More …

Technology has already changed the way students learn in the classroom. Less attention has been paid to tech’s impact on students’ other educational experiences such as field trips. The field trip of the future might use technology in plenty of exciting ways, all of which benefit students, teachers and parents.

For a cash-starved school district, technology can bring far-off worlds to the classroom for less than the cost of the average field trip. And even for classes that continue to venture outside school walls, tablets can prepare students for specific educational objectives and reinforce those lessons afterward.” To read further please click here:

Aug 23

Augmented Reality – The Coolest Instructional Technology You’ve Never Heard of?

By: Maria Politis

augmen“AR Tools are Being Used Today by Creative Educators in Fun, Innovative Ways, but few Know About it (yet).

Educators are always looking for new ways to enhance learning and expand the horizons of students in an engaging and interactive way. Gone are the days when class plans were based around exercises from a text book. The world around us is changing rapidly and even preschool age children are becoming more proficient with different types of handheld devices like tablets.

These devices are an integral part of more classrooms every day and are being used to complete homework activities, present projects, upload assignments and participate in classroom collaborations. Many school systems around the world are starting to move into the world of BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, which means that the tech we use in the classroom needs to work across multiple devices and platforms.” To read further please click here:

Aug 23

35 Cheap And Ingenious Ways To Have The Best Classroom Ever

By:Malory MiInnis

classrooom1. Buy canvas work aprons and turn them into seat sacks.

Learn more about the apron method at Confessions of a Nerdy Teacher and find a tutorial for sewing your own at Come Stitch With Me.”To read further please click here:

Aug 23

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in Our Schools

By:Deborah Asher

rainbow“It is time for students to begin returning to school. What should be an exciting time for all is, for too many, a time of anxiety and fear; fear of how they will be treated because they are (or perceived as) lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Will they be bullied, laughed at, the target of slurs, or excluded? Will they have to hide or deny who they are in order to be a valued member of their school community?

The GLSEN  2013 National School Climate Survey concluded that, “Schools nationwide are hostile environments for a distressing number of LGBT students, the overwhelming majority of whom routinely hear anti-LGBT language and experience victimization and discrimination at school.” The survey reported LGBT students frequently or often heard the following:” To read further please click here:

Aug 22

Homework Battles: When Parent Help Negatively Affects Students

By: K. Schwartz

home“Homework has become as much work for parents as it is for kids in many families when parents slog through assignments together with their kids every night. They see it as part of their parental duty to help their children. But when it comes to assisting kids with challenging subjects or an unfamiliar way of learning — like the new Common Core math standards and homework that requires approaches very different from those learned in previous generations — frustration that builds from struggling over the homework can foster anxiety.A study conducted by researchers at the Human Performance Labat the University of Chicago has found that if parents have high levels of math anxiety and give a lot of homework help (more than two to three times a week), they can have a negative impact on their child’s math achievement and increase their child’s math anxiety.”To read further please click here:

Aug 22

How to Turn Rubric Scores into Grades

By: Jenifer Gonzalez

ruebrics“I have written several posts about the different types of rubrics—especially my favorite, the single-point rubric—and over time, many teachers have asked me about the most effective way to convert the information on these rubrics into points. Even if you are moving toward a no grades classroom, as a growing number of educators are, you may still be required to supply points or letter grades for student assignments.

Despite the title of this post, all I can really offer here is a description of my own process. It has been refined over years of trial and error, and the only evidence I have to back up its effectiveness is that in over 10 years of teaching middle school and college, I can only recall one or two times when a student or parent challenged a grade I gave based on a rubric. This is by no means the only way to do it—I’m sure plenty of other processes exist—but this is what has worked for me.” To read further please click here:

Aug 22

4 Google Apps to Share Lesson Plans

By: Kevin Zahner

teach“Sharing lessons online is becoming the standard, and why not? Students want to know what they missed. Parents want the ability to take a peak from time to time. And teachers should make it easy to share with colleagues – not to mention the ease of access to the plan next time around.Here are four Google apps that work well for sharing lesson plans. It’s important to note, however, that each app is geared for a slightly different audience. For example, a lesson published for sharing with colleagues may not be the format students and parents want to read. I use a combination of Blogger and Google Classroom.”To read further please click here:

Aug 22

12 Favorite Tips for Teachers

By:Karen Cox

groupss“Here are a few of my favorite teacher tips! Some of these you may have heard of, some maybe not. Please add your own helpful tips in the comments section below! We can all help each other out.
1. Use felt scraps for dry erase lapboard erasers.
I cut felt scraps into squares for the children to erase their lapboards. They work great and are very inexpensive! I’ve also heard of teachers using socks to erase them.

2. Remove permanent marker with a dry erase marker.

If you get permanent marker on a dry erase surface, just color over it with a dry erase marker and it will wipe clean. If all doesn’t come off, try doing the same thing again. This also works for old dry erase writing that won’t come off.” To read further please click here:

Aug 21

5 Simple Ways To Add Movement In The Classroom

By: Meghan Zigmond

comprehend“It’s that time again! We’re heading back into our classrooms to start another year of learning and growth. I don’t know about you, but I love the freedom that summer gives me. I know our students do too. So as we head back into schedules, and structure, here are 5 ways you can boost thinking and productivity with a little movement in your classroom.

Movement allows our brains a break from the intense thinking and focus required in schools. It’s a chance to reboot, and even burn off a little of that extra fidgety energy. It can be a real struggle for many students to sit and focus. Give them a chance to be successful by adding some purposeful movement to the day.” To read further please click here:

Aug 21

4 Ways Photomath Will Ruin Math Class This Year

By:Gerald Aungst

mathss“If you are a math teacher, you’ve likely heard of Photomath. The smartphone app, which debuted in early 2015, allows a student to take a photograph of a mathematical equation and then provides not only the solution to that equation, but the steps to solve it.This app is going to ruin math class this year, and here are four reasons Photomath should be summarily banned:

1. It will make routine textbook exercises worthless. In the past, when teachers assigned #2-40 (even), they could ensure that students would have at least a good twenty to thirty minutes of solid mathematical practice. Now, avoiding the odd problems because the answers are already in the back of the book is pointless because students can just use Photomath to get instant answers to the even ones too.

2. It will stop the race to be first one finished. We all knew who the smart math kids were in class: the ones who finished their classwork first. Now, unless we ban Photomath, we won’t be able to tell who are the smart ones because everyone will be able to finish just as quickly.” To read further please click here: