Welcome everyone to my brand new blog at Edublogs! Thank you to Chris Traynor who came up with FISH online and the mnemonic device (Finding Inspiration, Support, and Happiness) that is used in the title, and Laura McPhee for “fishin on a mission” that is used in the URL of the blog. I would expect plenty of “click bait” on this blog focusing on technology integration (hahaha, bait, thanks Chris for that one).
I’m hoping you enjoy my weekly(+) posts of tech integration in the classroom! This blog will take the place of my weekly newsletter. The advantage of blogging, rather than sending out a newsletter, is when you want to search for a particular item, you simply come to this blog and search for it in the search box. Gone are the days of having to open Techletter after Techletter trying to find that one tip you wanted to remember. Additionally, posts will be categorized and date stamped, for even easier searching. I will still feature amazing tech integration by teachers I see both in-person and online, and weekly tips and tricks! I welcome other ideas as well so feel free to comment below!
If you still would still like to access previous Techletters, with amazing tech tips, from 2016-2017, you can do so by clicking here.
I’m looking forward to this blogging adventure ahead!
I often think of my own children when I think about choice and expression.
What do I do when I want my kiddos to eat vegetables…do I just put them on the plate and say EAT THEM? Well, yes…sometimes I do – because sometimes there are MUST DOs. However, sometimes, I really want them to eat some good stuff – like before a soccer game. So how do I get them to eat more, and want to eat it?! I cut up as many vegetables and fruits as I can, I put it on a platter, and put it in the center of the table. The same vegetables that I will have the argument over if just PUT them on the plate – magically get eaten. How many Pinterest posts do you see of food being made to look all sorts of cute (engaging) so kids will eat it?! How many secret recipes do you make to “hide” the veggies? Have you done this? Prepare food in a different way, or different presentation so someone will eat it? Sometimes, I let my kids cook the food – and that same food that they turn their nose up at (shrimp) now becomes appealing because they had a stake in it. They know the love and work that went into making the food, and it makes it that much more appealing.
Whether it’s at home with my children, or here at school, sometimes simply the way we package things can make all of the difference. Are we giving choices? Are we giving different ways to interact with what we teach? Are we giving different ways for students to express their learning? How are we engaging our learners so they want to learn? Mickey Mouse pancakes with pureed zucchini hidden inside. 😉
In our own lives, we have choices of how we express ourselves as both individuals and also as teachers. We can choose to dress and present ourselves a certain way, we can also teach and present material in the way we choose. Think about the excitement and empowerment you feel when you’ve curated just the right lesson. YOU were able to choose that activity, lesson, idea etc So why not allow students the same choice? How can we allow students to choose how they show knowledge best? Let’s EMPOWER and EXCITE our learners by providing them with a choice! Just like my children with their vegetables, choice can produce some magical outcomes!
The Brain 🧠
Did you know that when we offer students multiples ways to express learning we’re actually activating a whole network of the brain?! Pretty incredible right?! By maximizing the different networks of the brain, we are increasing student learning and success!
So how can we give choice in expression?
There are so many options we can give to students in how they can express knowledge. They could take an assessment, write a paper, record a video, create a project etc. Whichever way they choose, the rubric to assess could still remain the same! Seeing what students choose is eye-opening, and gives us some insight into their learning styles!
Let’s take a look at some different options that you could use for students to EXPRESS knowledge:
Infographics can be BEAUTIFUL ways for students to express knowledge – think Digital Poster. They can include information, images, links, animations and plenty of other cool features! PiktoChart and Canva are two great (free) tools to use to make Infographics. The advantage to these tools, over say Google Draw (a personal fav), is that they have some canned content you can use. Lots of speech bubbles, shapes, frames, backgrounds etc. As always, let me know if you need help with these tools!
Digital Books are so much FUN! Think of a book on a computer with virtually turning pages! A digital book can contain text, audio, video, images, and much, much more! Unfortunately, you only get one free book per digital book site, BUT, there are many digital book sites out there. Here are two of my favorites:
If you’re looking for a cool Slide Presentation tool that goes a little beyond Google Slides (gasp!) check out Animaker or Powtoon. Both are free (although do have premium options) and allow students to make some pretty cool presentations! Check out a video example below of a current 6th grade project we’re working on!
Putting it all together
So, next time you need to assess a standard, how about a Choice Board for student expression? For instance, students can write an essay, make a Digital Book, create a presentation, or make a poster (digital or drawn). I find giving choice, but not too many, can provide some parameters for those that can get overwhelmed. Switch out your choices with different assignments – offer a test as an option or a make a video! Not every student learns the same way, so why give everyone the same assessment? Provide the same rubric for everyone with the key points, and see the magic happen. Let me know if you give this a whirl, I’d love to see it in action!
Tech Tip of the Week: Download Docs (or Sheets, Slides, Draw) into other Formats
Sometimes it’s the little things that we need…Take a look at this SHORT video clip here to see how you can take your Google Format and convert it into PDF, Microsoft, or other formats.
It’s been another amazing week here in East Bridgewater! I feel so lucky each and every day to do the work I do, and work with the people I work with, and connect with amazing educators outside of EB! This week, I’ve included my updated holiday tech document as well as a few pretty COOL Google updates! Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
Tip of the Week: YouTube Live!
Want a nice, QUICK, way to get video out to specific people? Try YouTube Live! You can set the video as unlisted, use your doc cam to record what’s happening in class, and grab a link when it’s done to email out!! You can invite students to watch you live as well and project to student screens easily!
If you wanted to show a really quick, cool, lesson to families then this tool is for you!
Check out my how-to video below!
First and foremost, click here for my running Doc of Holiday Technology Activities. I update this document when I find new items. Let me know if you have an activity to add! If you find that something no longer runs that is linked to this doc, please reach out and let me know.
An idea I have not linked, how about some stop-motion animation with slides with a winter scene?! That would be fun!! Check out my previous blog post on stop-motion animation…the possibilities are endless!
Google Classroom Expands to Personal Accounts
WOW! Google Classroom now appears in the Waffle of your personal Gmail account. Why is this great?! Well, think about if you ever want to run a training with those outside the district…you can’t do that via your school account because it’s domain only. If the app does not appear right away in your Waffle, scroll down and click “more apps.” I was so excited when I saw it appear on my personal account below! Read here for more information!
Forms can be locked down – Coming soon
Coming very soon will be the ability to lock down the Chrome Browser when students are on a Google Form. I have signed up (our district) for the Beta of Google Forms Lockdown mode. This mode will always be optional and will need to be an option selected. Being in the Beta will simply give us the option to do this. I’m waiting to hear back from Google when our Beta is launched! Read here for more information on this AMAZING option.
New Activity Dashboard – See who’s looking
This activity dashboard is pretty cool! It gives you some NICE data. Check it out below:
Thank you for making the choice to read my blog this week. I’d really like to tap into the topic of student choice. There are so many great ways, digitally, that we can offer students choices. In the recent article, What Giving Students Choice Looks Like in the Classroom, the author goes on to highlight the small things we can do as educators to give students choice within their day. As brain-based research shows, giving students choice and ownership over learning increases engagement, thus increasing student success. Believe it or not, student engagement leads to teacher happiness 😉 When students are engaged in learning you will feel so jazzed up that YOU created and/or facilitated that experience and the growth that students have. However, with the standards in place dictating what we have to teach, how can we give choice? Well, it can be done in such small tasks as allowing students to choose whom to work with or if to work alone. It can be the choice of where to work or sit, or it can be in greater tasks such as how they will learn the material and interact with the curriculum as well as how they will express their knowledge. Let’s take a look below at some options for student choice in the classroom!
Why What How
When I think of Choice Boards, my mind immediately goes to HyperDocs. They are alike but quite different as you can read in this great article! HyperDocs are similar to Choice Boards, however, Choice Boards may not include “hyperlinks.” In fact, Choice Boards can be COMPLETELY non-digital (gasp!!)! However, we can use digital tools to easily make choice boards. We can give students multiple ways to engage with content, work with content and express what they know with content! Google Docs, Slides, Draw and even Sheets lend themselves to creating Choice Boards which can then be easily pushed our via Classroom or simply displayed on the board. You could even print choice boards for students so they can check off choices they make. Take a look at the template below that I obtained from fellow Google Certified Trainer Tracy Mulligan. You can have your own copy to manipulate and customize as well, click here! As always reach out for help, anytime!
Choice after the Mini-Lesson
In Grade 1, DeAnna Munroe has been working on Choice Boards for her literacy lessons. Entire Slide-Decks dedicated to offering choice with the “what” or representation of the lesson are being created. While the teacher facilitates and moves around the room, students are choosing how they want to practice the skill. DeAnna is seeing incredible growth and output when students are choosing what to work on and can also use their own self-interests to connect to learning!
We were working on the sound of al yesterday (heard in walk, talk, etc.) and after one student completed her first choice she visited the creation station and wrote a story with a bunch of al words in it on a large poster. She attached little flaps to the story with hidden al words and the goal was for her to find the words hidden in the story. The other day we were also working on plot and first, next and last. In the creation station, a student wrote her own story about a Ninja Bunny and attached a plot organizer to a poster and filled in the events in the story. We were working on the sounds of sh and th and a student made his own color by word project. My students are feeling very empowered with their learning!
Choice within a Station-rotation Model
Check out Sarah Beberman’s Math Choice board when students are in the Chromebook station. While Ms. Beberman has a small group, another group is choosing what to explore on their Chromebooks related to math content. She creates this in a Google Doc and pushes it out via Google Classroom.
Choice Board for the Entirety of the Lesson
Sherri Craven recently made her own choice board and it was incredible. The students came into class very energetic. Sheri introduced her choice board and it was amazing how well it went. The students were consistently on task, students were helping each other, and not once did they need to redirected back to Math. Sheri has always been an amazing teacher but with this choice board it could reach new heights.
It was so awesome. All of the students were engaged! It was my first try but I was happy with what the kids were doing. I was able to check in with many more kids that I usually do!
Choice in Expression of Content (assessment)
This is an amazing Reading Response Choice Board created by Plymouth Tech Integration Specialist, Joli Boucher. You can view the Google Doc here and “File>make a copy” for your own needs! This board gives students choice in the way they will be assessed on the skill. Notice, they need to choose three!
I firmly believe in giving students choices and since I am such a strong believer I created my own choice board for my children. Digital Literacy is important to me, as both a parent and tech integration facilitator and I do not feel as though my boys are getting these skills at their own school. Therefore, Santa will be giving them Chromebooks and I will be bookmarking the choice board below (still a work in progress) to my sons’ bookmark bars.
Tip of the week (unrelated to the theme):
Instead of “do you have any questions?” state… “What questions do you have?”
In closing, I hope you feel as though you have many choices in your own learning. Explore text, video, blogs, Twitter, colleagues, friends – we have so many options even for our own learning.
Take care this week and stay tuned….Winter Holiday Tech is coming soon….. 🎄 🕎
If students are actively engaged, they are more likely to be actively learning and succeeding with content as opposed to passive learning. Every learner is different, therefore trying to engage in many different ways will most likely reach more learners. Perhaps the coolest lessons I see are when teachers are App Smashing! What is App Smashing? Well, it’s when you are on your favorite app and you combine it with another! There are so many cool apps you can combine, I do it every day! Anytime you see a video from me, I’m usually combining Screencastify with something. Screencastify is my favorite app to smash with since it is such a versatile tool! App Smashing can be very engaging when done correctly! Students this week really enjoyed smashing some apps!
Google Slides + Screencastify
A REALLY neat activity I worked on in 6th grade this week was a stop-motion animation project. Students took Google Slides and showed how food traveled through the digestive tract. They would take the slide and move the food ever so little and then duplicate the slide. Once the 50+ slide deck was complete, students put the deck into present mode, started up Screencastify and narrated over the process explaining every organ the food traveled through. The students were all highly engaged and quite enjoyed the stop motion! When the phases of the moon topic come in, teachers may try this again showing how the moon cycles around the sun and show the different lit phases. Take a look at my video below to see how you may pair Screencastify with Slides!
Google Slides + Pear Deck + Your Favorite Site
If you’re a reader of my blog, you know I love Pear Deck. Well, here’s one more reason to love it…embed websites! How many times do you have students have multiple tabs open? Why not just embed the site, or even a Doc or Draw item, directly into Slides. Simply get the link and choose the Embed Website option in Pear Deck. See the links below for more information on this awesome SMASH!
A pal of mine loves to use Snapchat with her older High School students smashed with Padlet! Students take “snaps” of independent books they’re reading. They highlight something in the book that strikes them. They post the “snap” on a Padlet wall that is for the class to see. Most students include some bitmojis with their snaps and circle particular text within the book page. This Padlet wall of booksnaps encourages other students to also read the book, thus engaging students and increasing independent reading!
FlipGrid + Screencastify
Check out this great post on the FlipGrid blog of Smashing Flipgrid with Screencastify! It’s pretty awesome!
“Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about all of this tech my heart is racing.”
These were the words a fellow educator spoke to me this week, and I knew she was bitten by the bug 🐛…or maybe I should say fish 🐟 😉! When I get texts late at night, phone calls early in the morning, a stop in the hallway, or a booking on my calendar – hearing the excitement in a colleague’s voice about some recent tech that was used to enhance a lesson….well, it makes my heart race with the same excitement!
Why are we excited?! 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻
It’s not because of the awesomely cool tech, but rather it’s about the effect it’s going to have on student learning, student outcomes, and the engagement it will (hopefully) lead too. Trying new things and presenting material in a new way is scary, but the investment is worth the return. We do not all learn the same…some of us love a powerpoint and a two-hour lecture, where some of us are bored to tears and simply stop listening. Some love tech and others do not. However, if we invest now in offering a variety of ways to both present and assess material, our returns will grow exponentially as we will continue to reach more students. I really love what Katie Novak said recently:
Think about this next time you are creating a lesson plan for your classroom: How can you incorporate more choice and flexibility into how you motivate students, present information to them, and let them express what they have learned, in alignment with standards? In the end, you may just find that your students are engaged, purposeful, and self-directed. – Katie Novak
So – let’s feature some of the those who get my heart racing and really EXCITE this Fish! Teachers who, like Katie Novak states, strive to motivate students and give them choice. They give me the greatest returns on my investment of time in researching, learning, and creating activities that will work for them with the engagement and success of their students.
QR Codes and Forms
This week, Stacy Linnehan knew her students needed to take a math assessment, but needed a different way to do it. She decided to use Google Forms, with answer feedback and set up QR Codes around the school. The students will travel around the building and scan the QR Codes. The code will bring them to a Google Form that they will complete. Upon completion, they will receive a video that is set in the answer feedback of the form. This video will direct them to the next QR code. The assessment in Google Forms isn’t a new idea, but the QR Code and video scavenger hunt to get them to the form is a pretty AWESOME way to present the material and will engage the students as they travel around to answer the questions.
HyperDocs and School Yourself
If you haven’t met Meg McGovern, you don’t know what you’re missing. This girl is a whole lot of energy and excitement. She is someone who makes me better at what I do, simply by asking me the questions of how can I make this more engaging in regards to a particular lesson. Meg is very engaging to talk to, so when we started looking at HyperDocs together – well, it was pretty awesome. After meeting a couple times, Meg was off and running and making HyperDocs of her own! You can see an amazing (work in progress) example below. Through Meg’s HyperDoc I learned about this cool site called School Yourself! Check it out, it’s a great math site!
To be in a first-grade room is just magical. Seeing those early learning skills, growth, and the wonder of a “firsty,” there’s just nothing like it! Jen Mahoney, first-grade teacher, is a pleasure to work with. She reached out to learn new tools so she can have different ways to have students show what they know. We recently collaborated to get Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and a plethora of other sites up and running in her classroom. While collaborating, she showed me this great site that I was unaware of Unite for Literacy. This is a great, free, site for early readers. Take a look below!
Kim Wolojian is a breath of fresh air. She’s always smiling and welcoming to everyone who enters her room. Recently, she invited me in to show me ClassKick. This site is similar to both GoFormative and Pear Deck, but much more user-friendly! See what students are doing in real time and display student answers on the board. This would be great for an exit ticket or quick check-in! Bonus- the kids REALLY like it, so it’s ANOTHER engaging option for students to display their knowledge! It even has an assignment bank, so no need to create!
Recently, there was a GREAT post from Shake Up Learning about formative tools. Personally, Pear Deck is my go-to tool for real-time, interactive, engaging, formative assessment. However, students need variety and choice to maintain engagement. Just think – do you like doing things the same way, every day, all the time? Maybe…but some of us may not. Variety for some students is what keeps them engaged. This post has so many great options for Formative Assessment. Recently, a math teacher pal of mine from Fairhaven reached out. She was asking about great online assessment options for Math that mimic MCAS. She chose this site and really likes it! Edulastic seems to be a great choice that was highlighted in Kasey Bell’s post as well! Use it for a quick question, collaborative item, or a formal assessment! It has some AWESOME features!
Tech Tip of the Week – HUGE!
This week’s tip is a new update within the accessibility settings on a Chromebook. Take a look at the video below. Chrome now has dictation available and students can dictate into any text field, on any website, by using this tool. This is great for students who need text-to-speech, but also for students that may not know how to spell a certain term when searching or working independently.
The Common Thread
The common thread among all of those I highlighted is that these educators share. Together we are better, and these teachers also believe that! Thank you for sharing with me, teaching me new and amazing things, and being cheerleaders for engagement and student success! Your energy is contagious! All of you make me better at what I do, every day, thank you for sharing with me 😊
Feel free to email, comment, or tweet and share your ideas with me! Sharing is caring and Together we are better!
I always like doing a post every so often on the little things! Some of them are reminders of things we knew but no longer use, thins we sometimes forget and others that are brand new! This week, a few small tips and tricks that make tech a little easier! Sometimes, it’s these small tasks that make us more productive, and even happier!
Shout out to Brian Duffey who sent this to me! It was also featured on Alice Keeler’s blog…it’s PRETTY cool! It will save you some time. This works for all Google Applications, simply type the name of the application with a .new after and BOOM – a new item opens. See the example video below:
Customize the Text
Do you print articles or worksheets? The extension Print Friendly certainly isn’t new to the scene, but how often we forget these little tools and their power! Check out my video below of how one can customize an item online to suit student needs!
ONE Google Form
This one is HUGE and comes from Jen Judkins. How many times have you duplicated your Google Form so you could give it to a different class? Well, no more! Actually, this was always an option…I just didn’t think of it! Jen is so smart! Check out her video below, and her blog post here. You can give your SINGLE Google Form to multiple groups, year after year, and still see all of the data! BRILLIANT!
Text the Parents!
Ok, ok…don’t really text them (unless you are friends of course), but this week my life was made so much easier because of my sons’ teachers use of parent communication applications. I cannot tell you how much easier this makes my life, and as a result, how much more involved I am with my sons’ educations. I know it’s one more layer to add to our ever-increasing job as teachers, but if the result is parent involvement and student achievement, then isn’t it worth it? I love this Sheet created by Jessica Meacham. She has included so much detail and does a nice overview of all of the different parent communication apps. I add this to my own Drive and check it every so often (Click “File – Add to My Drive”). Whether it’s Dojo, Remind, SeeSaw or one of the many others – this type of communication tool goes a long way! If you would like assistance using any of these awesome tools, reach out! I know as a parent myself, I really appreciate the time and effort my sons’ teachers put into using these tools!
Always share the little things! It’s these little things that can help us all so very much!
This week, more than any of the week of the year is when I learn the most in EdTech and have the most self-reflection. As we all know, I LOVE technology. More importantly, however, I love when technology is used in purposeful ways. I think Michael Fullan said it best: Pedagogy is the driver; Technology is the accelerator. One of the greatest benefits of technology is it can be very engaging for many when used the right way. On the flip side, it can be the greatest bore for our kids when it is used as just a file system to complete digital worksheets. So, how is technology accelerating your teaching? How are you using it to ENGAGE and MOTIVATE? If you’re thinking, well I just have kids complete worksheets and write Docs, let’s try something NEW! Take a look at a few of the AWESOME presentations from MASSCUE below and maybe you can pick up a new engaging tool!
KUDOS TO OUR OWN PRESENTING!
HUGE SHOUT OUT to Ginny McCarthy, Tori Cameron, and Stacy Linnehan for all presenting at MassCue! Ginny presented on Hyperdocs and engaging today’s learner, Tori presented on Podcasting since she has her own Podcast, and Stacy presented on Assistive Tech and how it’s used in her classroom. You ROCKED it!! I’m so honored to be your colleague!
If you haven’t presented at this state-wide conference, but may want to, reach out to these amazing teachers! They can let you know about their experience.
Presentations that Engage
I won’t share all of the great presentations, but I’ll give you a few that our staff attended and RAVED about! There are many engaging tips, tricks, and tools in these presentations. Sometimes trying just one new thing makes a big difference with engagement. What will you try? Let me know!
Part of the fun of the MassCue conference are the pictures we take around the stadium! One lucky teacher (not from EB) even got to meet Tom Brady as he was leaving the stadium. Lucky!!! Take a look at some of our fun below!
Tips of the week:
This one comes from my very good friend, and super awesome techie, Neal Sonenberg Technology Integration Specialist in Medfield! Do you use Sheets? Well, Neal is the GURU with Sheets and taught me SO MUCH at his session at MassCue this week. Here’s a very small snippet of what he showed that was an GREAT trick! Simply double click that little blue dot in the corner and it will send the copy and paste data all the way down!
Are we feeling a little spookiefish this time of year? I know I am!! My weekends are filled with Pumpkins, harvest festivals, and haunted gatherings! What a fun time for a student, especially our younger ones! Remember how exciting Halloween was as a child?! It’s even more fun now as adults! We can bring this month’s themes into the classroom as well, and I’m sure it will make your students smile! After all, who doesn’t like a brain break with the Bones dance below?! Enjoy some spooky-themed tech below!
This is a great post by Eric Curts who has a FREE template for you to use or shows you how to use your own. It talks about Rebus stories which are stories that contain pictures and words. For instance, instead of the word apple, you would put a picture within the sentence of an apple. These are common at the younger levels in storybooks. Check out Eric Curts post below, it’s GREAT!
FREE Halloween Slides Templates by Slides Carnival
Slides Carnival is a great site that provides hundreds of beautiful Slides templates and images that are free from copyright and safe to use. They even have themed templates including Halloween! In fact, Eric Curts used one in his famous Jack-o-Lantern Activity! Simply click this link here to see the three Halloween options for Slides Templates. Create your activity using these templates and the kids will smile!
Two Halloween HyperDocs
Here are two, similar yet different, Halloween HyperDocs. Be sure to review all links prior to pushing out to students to ensure they are appropriate for your age level.
Believe it or not, I love this idea so much more than the techie activities listed above. What I love about this resource, even more, is that it’s using technology to encourage non-technology activities! Together We Are Better! Take a look here at this awesome crowd-sourced Pumpkin spreadsheet of ideas!
Tip of the Week: MAGIC RAINBOW UNICORNS!!!
Who doesn’t like a little rainbow in their life 🌈?! If you’re familiar with the add-on for Docs, this is the add-on for SLIDES! WOohoo!!! No more copying and pasting!
What spooky tech will you be using this month? Something fun I hope, feel free to share! 🎃 🎃 🎃
This time of year I find myself at the farm quite a bit. We apple pick 🍎, we pumpkin pick 🎃, we go get mums 🌻, and who doesn’t like some fresh fall produce 🌶️! Fall in New England gives us so many gifts from the Earth! Naturally, it got me thinking about fruit! You know what is a favorite fruit of mine…Pears 🍐! Coincidentally, these are also in season right now in New England for picking! The focus this week is on my favorite fruit 🍐, and my favorite EdTech tool which has undergone some MAJOR upgrades! Take a look at the “Pearfect” tool to use in the classroom, for all ages, below!
Pear Deck Vocabulary
Are you a fan of QUIZLET?I hope so, because it’s a GREAT program! It’s even better when “peared” with Pear Deck Vocabulary, a FREE resource! Pear Deck vocabulary allows students to APPLY the vocabulary words, rather than just learn them in a rote manner (word, definition, memorize). The best part, it takes no extra effort if you’re already using Quizlet AND, even better, students LOVE it. Take a look at the video below and consider trying this AWESOME tool! I promise you’ll love this new way to review vocabulary!
If you don’t use Quizlet, you can also use Pear Deck Vocabulary by itself. Simply type your words and definitions in, or import from a spreadsheet! The ways to use this tool are endless – check out the article for ideas below!
What can I say?! No EdTech tool has my heart more than Pear Deck. I discovered this tool, through an Edtech friend, about five years ago when they were just a baby company, well before their integration with Google Slides. This tool truly was a game changer in my classroom and my students LOVED it. They asked to use it EVERY DAY! It is so engaging and can do SO MUCH! Last year, I even wrote a blog post for Pear Deck about my love for their product. You can read that here. There is not a tool out there that acts quite like this tool! Self-paced, or whole group – see the engagement!
Did you know Pear Deck has an orchard with premade decks? Check it out below! Also, if you’re an avid user of Pear Deck consider submitting a deck, because as I always say…Together, We are Better!
If you’re already a Pear Deck user, you know that animated Gifs and Video can be tricky. Gifs lose their animation when presenting, and videos can present in poor quality and only on the main screen not student devices. Well, this is NO MORE with the new Pear Deck extension. Click here to download the extension. Leave it to Pear Deck to make themselves even MORE “pearfect!”
I cannot say enough about this tool! Please reach out today and I would LOVE to walk you through creating and presenting a Deck or trying out Vocabulary so you can see the magical pearfection! If you’re attending the MassCue Fall Conference, check out my session on PearDeck as well for more!
Tip of the week – GRAMMARLY in DOCS!
So, unrelated to my theme this week, but certainly needs a mention, Grammarly is now in BETA FOR EVERYONE in Google Docs! Check out the article here, and give it a try! Beta means its still being worked out so it may not run perfectly. However, try it and tell them. The only way they will improve is through feedback…because TOGETHER WE ARE BETTER!
Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟
PS – Stay tuned for next week’s post where I include some SPOOKTACTULAR Fishy Tech Tools for Halloween! 🎃 🐟
We made it! First month (almost) in the books! I always hum Green Day’s “When September Ends” this time of year. Honestly, I find it so much easier once this month has passed. Having our new routines established, and our groove back, makes me feel so much more comfortable. And this Weather! A little cooler is a bit easier to be in school!
This week I’ve had quite a few teachers reach out about ways to read online. Hoopla, OverDrive, Libby, Epic and Bookshare are all GREAT options. The best part….they’re FREE!!! Let’s take a look at what’s on the line, and how to read online, below!
Let’s Read: Free eCard from Boston Public Library!
Hopefully, you have a library card from your local library network! If so, you have so many titles and media available to you FOR FREE from the comfort of your home! However, if you don’t have a library card – or you’re avoiding that overdue charge from your local library 😜 – you can sign up for an Ecard from Boston Public Library and you don’t have to leave your computer! Even if you do have a library card, consider also signing up for a Boston Public Library card as well. The advantage of having multiple library cards is a greater variety of content! Click here to access BPL and sign up!
Now, let’s take a look at the best ways to access FREE digital media! Check out how to read online, and what I have for you “on the line” below:
Read in your Browser – OverDrive
You can read directly on your Chromebook or PC! Simply go to the library of your choosing and access the Sails Digital Resources site! This will require a library card. Take a look at the video below to see how to read on your screen!
Hoopla is another AMAZING service offered by some public libraries. East Bridgewater and Boston Public Libraries both offer the Hoopla service. Although you may have a Sails Library card, it will matter what library is your “home base” to access the Hoopla service. Hoopla is both a website and app, but the difference between this and the other library apps like OverDrive and Libby is that it also has a TV component as well. Hoopla has a lot of FREE digital media, in addition to great ebooks! Hoopla is available on all of the devices and app stores below:
Libby (click here) is an app created by OverDrive. Like OverDrive you can access digital books and media free through your local library. However, Libby has a sleeker design and is a bit quicker in terms of downloading ebooks. See the comparison between Libby and OverDrive in this article here. Personally, for my needs, I like Libby since I like to access books quickly. However, for mixed media, it appears OverDrive may be a better fit! Either way, both OverDrive and Libby are a GREAT way to access FREE online ebooks and digital media (audio, video and print). Both Libby and OverDrive are available on the Lenovo Chromebooks by going to the Google Play Store and are also available in the Apple Store as well as Android. You will need a library card to access the content within these applications.
OverDrive is the original when it comes to online reading! What’s nice about OverDrive is it will recommend books based on your reading preferences! This site/app also requires a library card and provides you access to so many free items! No late fees because the items are automatically removed from your device!
Epic is another GREAT free site that I’ve mentioned before! It’s awesome for grades preK-5 maybe 6. As a teacher, you create a class (syncs with Google Classroom of course) and from there, students can choose books to read or have read to them. You can also create book sets and send them out to students. This site is a HUGE favorite among many of our younger grades here in East Bridgewater, and it’s FREE!!! Click here to check out Epic!
Bookshare is another great, free, program that has any book, online! However, this program is limited and for those with a documented print disability. It’s a great resource to find any book, even textbooks, online! Take a look at Bookshare here.
Personally, I love to read! I hope some of these tools listed above give you some opportunities to read something new!