January 29, 2018

The items that follow are time-sensitive for late January and February. I hope you get a chance to check them out! Please contact me any time if I can help you with anything at all.

February 1 is World Read-Aloud Day: http://www.litworld.org/wrad

Skype is hosting live literacy events that your class will love to participate in. You can learn all about them and register here: https://education.microsoft.com/wrad Sign up for a free Skype account – and enjoy the event with your class right through your own computer with your SmartBoard.

Interested, but not sure if you dare? Email me and I will join your class and do the technology setup with you. This is a fantastic FREE way to bring an author to your classroom!!

Tuesday, Feb 6 is Safer Internet Day: http://saferinternetday.us/

Share this information with your Middle School and High School students and their families. This international event is live-streamed and is focused on this year’s theme: “Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you”

Looking for an activity calendar focused on READING for your February I LOVE TO READ Month? Check out Matthew Winner’s calendar here: https://goo.gl/2V9992 You can print out a PDF version of the calendar, which includes all kinds of great reading activities…and you can find a calendar for each month here, so you might want to bookmark this page for future use.

Looking for a book calendar for the entire year? Then Anita Silvey’s Book-A-Day Almanac is for you!! Find it here: http://childrensbookalmanac.com/. The Children’ s Book-a-Day Almanac is a daily love letter to a book or author. Here you will find events, trivia, and celebrations for every day of the year, as well as a featured children’ s book to explore in more depth. Children’s book expert Anita Silvey discusses what each book is about and who each book is for, and she’ll also walk you behind the scenes to tell some of the backstories of how our classics came to be. While the Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac includes books for toddlers to teens, it’s also organized by age, genre, and theme so that you can find recommendations for the young readers in your life.

Doesn’t it seem like the germs are everywhere this time of year? The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has some great suggestions for keeping the flu out of school! You can check out their terrific resources here: https://goo.gl/VZ7e7L

Included in this resource are videos, newsletters, handouts, and posters for you to use in your classroom and/or in parent communications. Looking for additional resources? The CDC  – https://goo.gl/48hdqZ  – includes a great guide for sanitizing your classroom and cleaning items like your computer keyboard, along with many other posters and educational materials. Fight those germs today!

Groundhog Day is February 2nd! Learn all about this holiday with the resources at PBS: https://goo.gl/TMwkeP Interested in how the people of Punxsutawney celebrate? Check out their full schedule of events (including many videos) at http://www.pennlive.com/life/2018/01/groundhog_day_2018_schedule.html

Free ACT Practice: https://tutorme.com/

Select the TutorMe logo on our school website – on the very bottom of every page. The code has been activated and students should be able to access the course immediately. All they have to do is enter the code PARKRAPIDS2018 on the checkout page, and they will be able to access the course. Please share this with your students!

  • To register: Click “Get Started”
  • Create your account using your email, your parent’s email, and your own personal password. Click “Create Account” when you are finished.
  • On the checkout page, click “Have a coupon?” Enter the code “PARKRAPIDS2018”.
  • Press “Apply”.
  • The price will go down to $0.00. Make sure you don’t enter any credit card information. Press “Purchase”.
  • Begin the course! You can take the course from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. When you sign out, the course will pick up right where you left off.

Quizizz: https://quizizz.com/

Already a great tool, Quizizz has added a few new features that make it even better! Now you can share your game links through Google Classroom, Remind or Edmodo. The new dashboard shows you where your attention is needed most, and makes it easier to find a quiz, add students, and get individual feedback. Similar to kahoot, Quizizz has some great features that make it well worth checking out!

Digital Literacy Resources: https://goo.gl/kJyzrY

Equipping today’s learners with digital literacy skills, things like coding, collaboration, cloud software management, word processing, screencasting, personal archiving, information evaluation, and social media savvy, is an important part of education. We assume that today’s students are digital natives, and have these abilities just because they can text fast, but there are important lessons that we need to teach students in order for them to become successful in the future. These short video lessons show fun ways to incorporate digital literacy into core subject-area instruction. Check out the lessons – and the free 12 Essentials of Digital Literacy Guide today.

What is Net Neutrality?

Trying to understand Net Neutrality, and all of the news about it lately? This video, created by Burger King, helps explain it in a way we can all understand: https://goo.gl/h5bLzi

Smart Lesson Exchange: http://exchange.smarttech.com/

In working with a teacher this past week I was reminded of all the incredible resources available on your SmartBoards. New presentations are added to the Smart Exchange on a regular basis. It’s easy to download them and adjust them as your own. You do need to have a Smart Exchange account to take advantage of these items, but it is free and just requires registering with your school email address. Please let me know if you’d like to take a look further.

January 15, 2018


I hope you can skim this newsletter sometime during the week. Much of the information is time-sensitive, so take a quick look at, and click on those links that interest you. Please contact me any time if I can help you with anything at all.

I am available all week: please email, call or text anytime to set up a time to get together!

CILC: Center for Interactive Learning & Collaboration www.cilc.org

There are some fantastic free opportunities available, especially over the next few months that you won’t want to miss! I receive their updates in my email – and you can too! Just register for a free CILC membership. Please note: you must be a CILC member to participate in their programming.

A few great programs that caught my eye this week include:

**A Celebration of Dr Seuss! https://goo.gl/BCnAou

Join us for this fun, interactive lesson to celebrate the birthday of the beloved children’s

author Dr. Seuss! This distance learning event focuses on fun facts about Theodor Seuss Geisel and his classic story “Green Eggs and Ham”. Students will get to express their creative side in group activities while completing a craft designed for this program. It’s a “Seussical” good time!

This FREE program is available at a variety of times from February 26 – March 3, but you must be registered ahead of time to participate!!

**A House Divided: Civil War https://goo.gl/TYdrqH

The Civil War tested and consumed the country for more than four years. Explore how this great conflict and subsequent Reconstruction period are depicted through the traditional mediums of painting and sculpture, as well as the then new medium of photography.

This FREE program can be used with a variety of age groups and can fulfill standards in Visual Arts, History, Civics, Reading, Speaking and Listening and Historical Thinking. Again, registration ahead of time is required (and free membership in CILC).

Educational Games: https://goo.gl/n1aXGM  (appropriate for upper grades)

Interested in a little game playing? This article, Three Awesome Educational Games Hiding in Plain Sight, published on MindShift, and written by one of Common Sense Education’s authors, highlights three games that can be used in the curriculum that can be extremely meaningful for your students. They were all viewed favorably by Common Sense Media, and they truly foster 21st Century Learning and great cross-disciplinary experiences.

Newspapers in Education: http://www.ppnie.com/learning-tools/list.php (All ages!)

The Newspapers in Education (which all of you can subscribe to FREE) has a great resource of learning tools for all grades and content areas. On my quick search I found extremely usable and interactive tools for teaching math, geography, test prep, history, career planning, and much more. It’s well worth a look, no matter what you teach.

CNN10 Current Events: http://www.cnn.com/cnn10

Looking for a way to share current events with your students, but don’t want to spend all your time (or theirs) searching the web? CNN10 provides a 10-minute daily digital news show that explains global news to your students. Don’t have time for this during class? Try flipping your classroom by assigning students to watch just 10 minutes a day.

The Learning Network: https://www.nytimes.com/section/learning

Looking for other sources of news for your students? The New York Times’ Learning Network provides news articles, plus articles written by students, writing prompts, students opinion polls, games and contests that will engage your students, and pique their interest in our world.

Smithsonian TweenTribune: https://www.tweentribune.com/

Smithsonian’s Tween Tribune has sections for each grade level (K-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-12), plus sections in Spanish. It includes current events lesson ideas for students, leveled reading passages, and more.

DOGONews: https://www.dogonews.com/

DOGONews features award-winning non-fiction content and a huge assortment of ready-to-use assignments. You can use the free version and get all you need – but if you’re really excited about this site you can also get a pro license that provides even more lessons, reading comprehension, critical thinking and vocabulary in context.

Winter Olympics: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson250.shtml

The 2018 Winter Olympics are just weeks away! Education World provides a great list of links related to the olympics, as well as some wonderful ideas for celebrating the olympics in almost any grade level or subject area. Start your olympic planning today with this terrific resource!

November 13, 2017



Digital Equity: http://futureready.org/program-overview/future-ready-digital-equity/

Future Ready Schools ® (FRS) –led by the Alliance for Excellent Education and with support from AT&T —has launched a new program, the FRS Digital Equity Program, that will provide school district leaders with the resources, leadership strategies, and support to better plan and implement a digital learning strategy to personalize learning for all students.

Digital equity—or removing the opportunity divide amongst students who have and do not have access to digital resources —has become a prevalent topic among K-12 educators in recent years. As many districts and schools across the country move closer to fully transitioning to technology-enhanced, student-centered learning, there is a need to understand and address the barriers that inhibit many students from receiving a high-quality digital-age education.

What can we do as educators to advocate for digital equity in our rural schools? Take a look at the Future Ready Schools Framework and have some thoughtful conversations around these issues today.

Future Ready Schools Framework: https://dashboard.futurereadyschools.org/framework

Thanksgiving Resources for all grades: https://goo.gl/ZDrRZE

Don’t miss these great Thanksgiving digital resources for your class, thanks to PBS Learning Media!

Update!!     Book Creator for Chrome: https://app.bookcreator.com/

I have to plug Book Creator again because over the last few days there have been some great new features added.  You can now send books to your printer or save them to PDF. Just click on the share icon to grab that paper copy and stick it on the wall! They want to make book creation available to everyone, including (actually especially!) early and struggling writers. To that end students can now speak into the text box using the microphone. They have also received some great feedback on improving the classroom workflow around libraries, and here are the first 2 improvements:

  • As a teacher you can now edit your students’ books.
  • Edit any book in your libraries to add feedback to a student’s work, or make a small change before publishing online.

Now, when a student joins your library they will see your books automatically. This makes distributing a template or instruction book to your students super simple – just add it to the class library. In addition, they’ve created a comprehensive set of help articles which you can search right in the app based on the common questions others have asked. This makes it easy to learn how to use Book Creator.

Epic!: https://www.getepic.com/educators

Learn how to make the most of Epic! in the classroom and become Epic! Certified. Epic! Certified teachers are part of a select group of teachers that have demonstrated a thorough understanding of how to use Epic! in their classroom. Log on to Epic! and complete the following steps and you’ll receive an Epic! Certified badge and certificate so you can share your new status with your colleagues.

Getting certified is easy:

  1. Find a book and read it.
  2. Create at least two student profiles
  3. Find your classroom code
  4. Explore books and content by category
  5. “Favorite” a Collection
  6. Create a Collection
  7. Find a book at your student’s reading level

If you’ve set up Epic! and are using it with your class, you have probably done all these steps! Click the link to get certified today! https://goo.gl/9AYyos

Leveled Readers: https://www.mackinclassroom.com/to-level-or-not-to-level-continuing-the-conversation/

Throughout most of my teaching career, my passion has been around early literacy, with a focus on beginning readers. There were many times, both as a first grade teacher and as a media specialist, that I questioned some of my methods around leveling readers. I came upon this great blog post focusing on the idea of leveled books and I love this quote from Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell:

It is our belief that levels have no place in classroom libraries, in school libraries, in public libraries, or on report cards. That was certainly not our intention that levels be used in these ways. We designed the F&P Text Level Gradient™ to help teachers think more analytically about the characteristics of texts and their demands on the reading process, and the A to Z levels were used to show small steps from easiest to most difficult. The goal was for teachers to learn about the characteristics of each level to inform their decisions in teaching—how they introduce a book, how they discuss a book, how they help children problem-solve as they process a book. We created the levels for books, and not as labels for children, and our goal was that these levels be in the hands of people who understand their complexity and use them to make good decisions in instruction.

I encourage you to spend a little time in this conversation by reading the blog post linked above, and this article. As much as I believe there is a purpose for our use of AR, I agree that it should be used as levels for books, and not as labels for children. http://www.slj.com/2017/10/literacy/fountas-pinnell-say-librarians-guide-readers-interest-not-level/#_ Please share your comments with me: I love the conversation!

Thanksgiving Books: https://goo.gl/71Ah5F

It can be hard to decide how to approach Thanksgiving in your classroom. There are the glaring misconceptions that still prevail about the first Thanksgiving and current associations that range from a day of mourning to football and parades. What’s a teacher to do? Well, you can start by sharing some of these favorite Thanksgiving books for kids, thanks to WeAreTeachers.com: https://goo.gl/71Ah5F

In addition, do you need any Thanksgiving writing prompts? Here are several to get you started: https://goo.gl/4vabZZ

And since we’re on We Are Teachers, here is your link to five Kid President quotes that might be fun to print and share with your class: https://goo.gl/76xiSG

Yikes! I’m stuck on We Are Teachers!! Here is a list of Ten Things Instagram Made Me Buy! https://goo.gl/VyuwQB

Gratitude: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/5-ways-to-encourage-gratitude/

Have you been talking to your students about gratitude this month? Here is a great article from Vicki Davis highlighting five ways to encourage a heart of gratitude in your classroom. Try a few of her ideas today!

Mapping Resources:  https://goo.gl/XVmWBk

It’s time for Geography Awareness Week! This year’s theme is “The Geography of Civil Rights Movements.” GIS has a few resources that suit this study along with other great geography resources from National Geographic: https://goo.gl/2XURss

Explore free mapping resources for Elementary Students (or folks just getting started with maps too), https://goo.gl/1B6F8r. Get your resources for GIS Day, which is approaching fast! https://goo.gl/XVmWBk GIS Day 2017 is November 15th!

Science Journal App:  https://goo.gl/83dPMh
The way I see it, this is a long-awaited tool! Let your class explore the world like scientists with the Science Journal app from Google. Students can measure real time data and record their observations in a digital notebook. The redesigned app is now available on iOS and Android with over 20 new activities from educational partners, all easily located here: https://goo.gl/wkRm9c

The Origin of Everything: https://goo.gl/yPTUyA

Do your students ask why? The Origin of Everything YouTube Channel from PBS investigates the “why” behind many aspects of everyday life. The fun videos are perfect for your most curious students, or for getting students excited about learning on their own. Video topics range from history (Why is there a South and North Korea?) to pop culture (Where does the #Hashtag come from?).

**You will want to preview these videos before sharing with students – and it is also a good idea to post or share them in the Viewpure frame to take out the ads and previews. Not sure what Viewpure is? Locate it here: http://viewpure.com/ And contact me if I can help you with it.

Digital Copel Brain Games: http://www.digitalcopel.com/en/

Brain Games is new app that sparks a child’s curiosity, helps them concentrate on solving problems, and gives them a space to have fun all at the same time. The lessons built into the app are split into three different age groups. As children progress, they’ll unlock more & activities as they walk through Copel Town. Children earn badges and points, and teachers/parents can view the progress children have made.

The lessons in Digital Copel fall into six categories: math, language, logic, shapes, memory and knowledge. With Digital Copel, up to ten lessons can be played each day for free (but you can purchase a subscription for unlimited playtime). There is a 20 min “take a break” feature enabled by default included in Digital Copel. With this feature, children are prompted to pause after playing the game for an uninterrupted number of minutes.

If you have parents asking for suggestions for learning activities for their devices at home you may want to suggest they try Digital Copel’s Brain Games.

October 31, 2017



Padlet: https://padlet.com/

Wow! The amazing Padlet has gotten even better. Padlet is such a great way to have your students work together and get their ideas down in one place. Here are some additional features that are new for fall 2017:

  • Collaborate and assess with reactions. You can grade, star, upvote or like the posts of others!
  • Categorize posts with colors. Give your posts one of five colors. What colors mean is totally up to you.


Book Creator for Chrome: https://app.bookcreator.com/

Book Creator has been an awesome app on the iPads for years – but now you can access it on Chromebooks and in the Chrome browser on computers. This is an inexpensive and beautiful way to create books of all kinds! Consider using it to make a classroom book of your activity, field trip, student interests, or lesson. Or, have your students make books for their book buddies in other grade levels. Try Book Creator as a way for students to share their knowledge or to extend an activity.

Book Creator is flexible, easy to use, beautiful, and free! Students log in with their Google account. Books can be shared in a variety of ways, or even downloaded and printed. This is a great tool for all grade levels and content areas! Check it out today!


Free Pioneer Press for Schools: http://www.ppnie.com/

Classrooms teachers are all eligible once again this school year for a free access to the St Paul Pioneer Press. One of the best reasons to register is to receive FREE online access to all of their great lesson plans, tools and resources! You can set up individual student accounts if you so choose, but you don’t have to. This is a great resource for teachers of all grade levels – and it is entirely FREE! Check out the website and register for your free account today.

In addition to the website access you can sign up for weekly emails that highlight the resources for that week. You will find that these support your curriculum and engage your students. There are daily puzzles, lesson plans, and so much more! Don’t miss out! Register today!


Infinitec App Search: http://www.myinfinitec.org/app-search

Looking for just the right app for reaching your student’s individual needs? The App Search at Infinitec (which we get through PAWN) is the perfect place to search! The Infinitec Mobile App Searchable Database is a new tool which can guide your decision-making by identifying the features found in apps for Writing, Reading, Math, Organization and Study Skills, AAC, Language, Daily Living, and Fine Motor. Soon they will add Classroom Tools, Social Skills/Behavior and Visual Perception/Visual Motor.

By using this tool, you will be able to select apps based on the criteria important to you, as well as view and compare the features of a specific app before you buy. You can then match those features with the needs of your students to make better selections.  When you find an app you’re interested in learning more about or purchasing, you can click on the link to the vendor’s app store or marketplace to be taken directly to the page for the app.


Powerpoint Changes: https://goo.gl/zfAPBz

Our Office 365 licensing allows us to use the most current updated version of Powerpoint and Word (and more!) which is fantastic! Did you know there are new changes to Powerpoint that make it even better for teachers? This blog post highlights the best of the new changes to Powerpoint. These include add-in tools, great new charts, sharing and co-authoring, exporting your presentation as a video, and creating closed captaining. So, even if you only use Powerpoint a little bit, it is worth looking into these new features. Read through the article and learn some new tricks today!


Communicating with Families

A recent parent survey conducted by Speak Up Research Project, may help schools and educators determine how to communicate different kinds of information with parents. Overwhelmingly, parents still prefer to be texted or emailed about important happenings at school and with their children. While many schools have moved to social media platforms to communicate with families, the recent study found that many parents view this form of communication to be less reliable and less credible. Food for thought as you continually examine your communication tools and their effectiveness (HarperEducationDIVE).

Google Keep: https://www.google.com/keep/

Google Keep is not just for teachers! I hope you’ve taken a look at this great little tool. It allows you to grab lists, images, webpages, and more, and save them for later use. It works seamlessly within Google Docs and Google Slides. But there’s so much more than it can do!

Vicki Davis has been exploring how students can use Google Keep for research. You can watch the YouTube Video or view the Edpuzzle if you want to be guided along. Students can use Google Keep on their phones for lists and notebooks, and then have easy access to those while in any Google program. You are going to love how this tool supports you and your students! If you haven’t taken a look at it yet, you certainly need to do so now.


Through My Window: https://teamthroughmywindow.org/

Through My Window is a multimedia curriculum that uses story to integrate STEM and literacy, and frame engineering in innovative ways. It is geared for grades 4-8 and could make a fantastic addition to your PLtW, STEM, and literacy activities.  What can children and young teens do on throughmywindow.org?

  • read Talk to Me, a young adult mystery novel
  • follow the adventures of the Talk to Mecharacters in a graphic novel
  • explore engineering concepts such as artificial intelligence, engineering design, and engineering ethics in imaginative learning adventures
  • share and imporve ideas about engineering in interactive forums
  • listen to the audiobook

October 24, 2017



Participate Twitter Chats: https://www.participate.com/chats

Ready to be brave and try out a Twitter chat? They’re a great way to connect with other educators and join in the conversations! By going to the URL above you can see what Twitter chats are coming up in any category you’re interested in. You can try one out on the fly or see what your schedule will allow. This is a terrific way to get involved in Twitter in a non-threatening way!


Teaching about Climate: https://goo.gl/dhSqSn

Explore these great resources from PBS Learning Media that provide fantastic information about global warming. Or just want some weather activities as we progress into fall? Check out these resources for any grade level:

Clue into Climate (Grades 4-12) How does the greenhouse effect work? How do changes in climate affect the distribution of organisms in ecosystems around the world? Explore these questions and more with your students using Clue into Climate! https://goo.gl/bhA5JH

Climate Change and the Pacific Islands (Grades 6-12)  The resources in this collection examine ecosystems on volcanic high islands and low-lying atolls and the climate-related threats to these ecosystems.  https://goo.gl/RUjj1s

Peep and the Big Wide World: Weather Factors (Grades K-2)  Your class will discover some of the key characteristics of different weather patterns with this fun resource. Students will explore the weather characteristics of rain, snow, wind, and a sunny day. https://goo.gl/SjZ2MR


Inside the Vietnam War: https://goo.gl/Rz3iYi

You and your students are invited to join filmmaker Lynn Novick for an interactive Q&A about the Vietnam War, on Wednesday, November 8th at 12PM CST. This is a LIVE event that is being streamed for classrooms across the US! Throughout the conversation, you and your students can pose questions to Lynn, participate in polls, and screen segments from The Vietnam War film. It is NOT being recorded: you can only view it live! Register today!


Biteable: https://biteable.com/

The world’s simplest video maker is here…in Biteable!  Biteable uses templates to create beautiful and eye-catching presentations. If you have your students making advertisements, videos, presentations of any kind…Biteable is a great tool to take a look at. Students can log in with their Google accounts and typical use is free. There is a premium version, but students can do so much with the free version that it is well worth a try!


Seesaw’s new Activity Library: https://app.seesaw.me/#/login

If you aren’t using Seesaw yet, it is definitely time to start! Seesaw continues to add features and it gets better every day! The newest tool in the Seesaw toolkit is their new Activity Library. This library features activities that are pre-created and ready for you to share with your class. Yay! Another reason to LOVE Seesaw!

  • Use the Activity Library: Get inspired with grade-level specific activities from our library that are ready to use right away, or create your own!
  • Simplify Classroom Workflow: Share activities with the whole class or specific students to differentiate instruction. Students respond with any of Seesaw’s tools or edit a template you provide.  Student responses are organized on one page.
  • Save Time: Activities can be shared between classes and school years. Add folders or skills to activities to keep student portfolios better organized.


SpEd Staff – Morning Meetings: http://www.coolcatteacher.com/e170/

Cool Cat Teacher  Vicki Davis visits with Dr Felicia Durden about how morning meetings in special education classrooms can be a powerful way to begin the day. Dr Durden wrote the book Morning Meetings for Special Ed Classrooms: 101 Fun Ideas, Creative Activities, and Adaptable Techniques.  You can listen to this podcast with Dr Durden, or simply read the transcript. Either way, I know you will enjoy her great ideas. Want to know more about Dr Durden? Visit her blog at www.balancededucator.com, or tweet her @drdrdn.


Everfi K-12: http://everfi.com/k-12/

In addition to all the great free resources for teachers on their website, you can find much more available on Everfi K-12’s Facebook page. There you will find excellent posters work conflict resolution, information about teen substance abuse, and resources for all of Everfi’s FREE programming. Take advantage of these free materials today!


Digital Citizenship Resources: https://www.edmodo.com/topics/537/Digital-Citizenship

Edmodo is a terrific tool for teachers to locate resources for their own professional development. Sign up for a free membership, and these Digital Citizenship materials are yours. In addition, you can connect with other Edmodo users for a great networking experience!


Infinitec: http://www.myinfinitec.org/online-classroom

Infinitec is not just for Sped staff!! I am excited to share with you all the resources available for teachers on this site. One example: free video presentations (with built-in quizzes) are available for all of Minnesota’s State Licensure requirements, including this year’s addition of Suicide Prevention. The range of educational courses and presentations included on Infinitec is amazing! All of you have an account that is supported through our school district. If you need CEU credits – or just have a topic of interest you’d like more instruction on – you already have the resource you need! Create your account and begin using it today! PLCs: This resource can be a fantastic addition to your regular meetings!!


Using Augmented Reality in the Classroom: https://goo.gl/BW2cJ3

Curious about how you can take advantage of virtual reality to provide virtual field trips or STEM lessons? This article from Commonsense Media is sure to help. Here you will get some great ideas on how virtual and augmented reality can create deeper learning experiences for your students.


National Day of Writing: https://goo.gl/j6sj9r

Rats – I missed it! NCTE held their annual day of writing back on October 20th. However, it’s not too late to celebrate! Check out the resources on the National Council of Teachers of English {Why I Write}. There are still some great podcasts you can listen to and ideas to incorporate into your writing classroom.


CLICK: Technology Tips and How-To’s created by students: https://sites.google.com/pisd.edu/click/home?authuser=0

CLICK: Collaborate, Learn, Instruct, Create, Know. The tutorials on this amazing website were created BY students for anyone to use. They focus on using Chromebooks, Creating/Editing Graphics, Digital Citizenship, File Management, General Technology How-To, Google Chrome, Google Drive/Docs, and Sketchup. They are organized beautifully, easy to locate, and clear and easy to understand. If you need help with anything related to technology this is a terrific site to check out…and if you want to have your students create tech tip videos they are always pleased to accept submissions!

October 9, 2017


Laurie Conzemius – lconzemius@gmail.com  – laurieconzemius.com

I hope you can skim this newsletter sometime during the week. Much of the information is time-sensitive, so hopefully putting it in this format will be easier to take a quick look at, and click on those links that interest you. Please contact me any time if I can help you with anything at all.

I am in Park Rapids on Wednesday this week: please email, call or text anytime to set up a time to get together! I will always reply to your messages and help in any way I can.


EDpuzzle’s FREE Curriculum: www.edpuzzle.com

EDpuzzle now includes access to curated content in all subject areas and grade levels, just perfect for our schools! Once you log in to EDpuzzle, click “Search” at the top right. Then click “My School” and then click “Curriculum”. You can access all of the content created by any teacher in your school. This is a fantastic (and EASY) way to share content for your students!

However, select the “CURRICULUM” tab and it will take you to terrific content created by others that fits beautifully into our curriculum. This will save you time in searching, and will make locating differentiated lessons simple. There is no charge for all this content, plus you still have access to content from YouTube, Khan Academy, National Geographic, TED Talks, Veriasium, Numberphile, Crash course, and Vimeo.

Take a look today…and if you don’t have an account, create your free one right away.


Educational Scavenger Hunts: https://www.goosechase.com/edu/

Goosechase offers scavenger hunts for students to do with mobile devices. These are created for all ages and grades, and even for adults. Goosechase is a wonderful way to provide a review, introduce a lesson, or frame a field trip. It involves taking pictures and completing other tasks using the mobile device. As an example, a lesson on shapes may require students to take a picture of a rectangle, join with another person to create a triangle and take a picture of it, draw a circle and upload it into the program.

I’d love to try out Goosechase with your class: let’s see what we can do with it today!


Symbaloo Learning Paths: http://learningpaths.symbaloo.com

Graphing Learning Path, grade 2: http://learningpaths.symbaloo.com/preview/L44225/

Learning paths are a fantastic way to provide a full lesson, complete with differentiation options, to a group of students using Symbaloo. Symbaloo is a great tool for creating those starting pages (to incorporate a whole bunch of links), and the idea of learning paths gives direction to your lesson while keeping students focused. This is a great way to provide numerous activities without having to post a lot of links to your Google Classroom: all of the links are located in the path. You can view learning paths that others have created as well as creating your own with your free Symbaloo EDU account. Let me know if I can help you today!


Wonderopolis: https://wonderopolis.org/

Teaching STEM requires students to ask questions…continually. Wonderopolis is a great framework for those questions. Each day Wonderopolis offers a new question through a short, engaging video. Use that video to get your students asking questions and thinking critically.

The excitement of learning that comes from curiosity and wonder is undeniable, and Wonderopolis helps create learning moments in everyday life. Try it when you have a few minutes to spare, or want to send your students off with something “to chew on”. Check out the tools for teachers, where you can find lesson plans, correlations to state standards, and real-world applications.


Click2Science Professional Development for STEM: http://click2sciencepd.org/

Not quite sure what it means to be “STEM”? The Click2Science resources (most of which are free for educators) offer videos, webinars, step-by-step guides, and additional supporting documents which help teachers. I looked at one on Modeling Engineering Practices and another on Making Connections to STEM careers. Both were excellent and engaging. If you’re interested in learning more about STEM, or if you have parents asking about STEM in the classroom, you may find these resources to be very helpful.


Tech&Learning: http://www.techlearning.com/

One of my favorite FREE resources for staying on top of technology in education is the Tech & Learning magazine. Both a printed magazine and an online resource, Tech & Learning is an easy way to view the hottest tools available, read the important topics in tech education, and hear the stories from people out in the field (just like you!)

Subscribing is free, and you can decide if you want a printed magazine, weekly or monthly emails, or just want to visit the site when you can. You’ll find tips on everything from getting grants for your classroom to developing a digital literacy curriculum, and you’ll have access to a huge professional development library, tons of articles of interest, and a whole new network of experts.


ArcGIS: http://www.arcgis.com/features/maps/index.html

And StoryMaps: http://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/gallery/#s=0

Maps are important in every subject area and in every grade level, wouldn’t you agree? As valuable as that “pull-down” map may be in your classroom, wouldn’t you love to have maps that you can share with your students that can be manipulated to share data, to illustrate events, and to tell the stories that we need to tell? ArcGIS can do that, and so much more!

You can use ArcGIS freely, without an account. You can create maps and share them with others, but more importantly, you can use maps that have already been created – to show things like hurricane damage, bombing missions, explorations travels, walking tours, and landmarks.

This powerful mapping software (the same software that professionals use) is available at no charge to schools. We have accounts if you would like to set one up for your classroom. But you can also visit the websites and create your own maps and view those that others have created without even logging in. Don’t miss this fantastic resource!


TechTips on Pearltrees: http://www.pearltrees.com/shellyterrell/tech-tips/id5941548

Pearltrees is a place to organize your interests, similar to Pinterest. This free service lets you organize, explore and share everything you like. Save web pages, files, photos or notes and organize them naturally. Explore amazing collections that relate to your interests and subscribe to their updates. Shelly Terrell has organized a TON of tech ed resources here. You will want to bookmark this one and take a look at all the great offerings related to teaching with technology!


Organizing your Google Drivehttp://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/12265

Feeling frustrated with your Google Drive folders? Check out this article and get some great tips on how to organize your Google Drive.


Breakout Edu Digital: https://www.breakoutedu.com/digital/


Last week I talked about Breakout EDU, and the kits available in Park Rapids. However, if you want to try a Breakout in the classroom environment without using a kit, a digital Breakout is the way to go. In a digital Breakout you need some type of device for your students (either individually or shared). You set the stage with a story. Bring your students to the website where all the clues and the scenario are located. This is usually a Google Site, but they can be made on other platforms as well. The locks are housed on a Google Form.

Students look for the clues, and put the answers into the Google Form. They know instantly if they’ve solved a puzzle or not, so they can either move onto another clue or continue working on that one. The puzzle are not easy! They really challenge students to think critically and read and observe everything. It can be frustrating – but once students begin to solve the puzzles they get especially motivated to solve them all.

One note – there are no answer keys for teachers. You are encouraged to work alongside them and attempt to solve the puzzles. Want to hear more? Talk to Aarin Galzki or Emily Schueller. They have tried Digital Breakouts with their classes, and would love to share their stories.


 Edmodo Give-away: https://www.edmodo.com/topics/8711/World-Teacher-Day-Giveaway

Are you an Edmodo member? In addition to fantastic free professional development and networking for teachers they are giving away some free iPhone Xs and $100 Visa gift cards. All you have to do for a chance to win is click this link and sign in with your account. If you’re not a member, you might try creating a free account. You never know when you might learn something valuable!

October 2, 2017


Laurie Conzemius – lconzemius@gmail.com –  laurieconzemius.com

I hope you can skim this newsletter sometime during the week. Much of the information is time-sensitive, so hopefully putting it in this format will be easier to take a quick look at, and click on those links that interest you. Please contact me any time if I can help you with anything at all.

I am available all week: please email, call or text anytime to set up a time to get together!


“Read&Write Extension for Google Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/readwrite-for-google-chro/inoeonmfapjbbkmdafoankkfajkcphgd?utm_source=gmail

This is a fantastic extension for students and teachers, and I am thrilled to share it with you! With this extension you can have any webpage, line, or section of a webpage read to you. However, that is just the start! From hearing emails or documents read out loud to text prediction, picture dictionaries and summary highlighters, Read&Write makes lots of everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate. Check out the website for demos, as well as your FREE fully-functioning account (valued at $150!). If you work with students who read and write (and who doesn’t?) check it out today!!

Free account for teachers: https://www.texthelp.com/en-us/products/read-write/free-for-teachers/


The Global Read Aloud: https://theglobalreadaloud.com/

The Global Read Aloud project extends throughout October and November. Teachers pick a book from the list to read aloud to their students during a set 6-week period and during that time try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. You choose the communication tools that will make the most sense for you (Skype, Google Hangouts, or other). Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year.

Looking to participate? Complete the form (on the website) – or let me know, and I’ll connect you with some additional classrooms.


The Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/

Don’t overlook the incredible resources located at the Library of Congress online. Their digital collection is very wide-reaching, and can support research and learning in every curricular area. Locate Civil War photographs, presidential papers, magazine & newspaper archives, classic books online, everyday mysteries, Veteran’s History projects, and so much more! Discover the Library of Congress today!


Google Classroom for Lower Elementary?  http://www.alicekeeler.com/2016/05/14/4-year-olds-log-google-classroom/

Yes, it’s true! You really can use Google Classroom, and other Google Tools with children as young as preschool. Alice Keeler gives tons of ideas and tips for using Google with young children on her blog post 4 Year Olds Log into the Google Classroom. Besides Classroom, Alice gives her ideas for using Sheets, Drawings, and Slides in a creative and thoughtful way. Take a look at this post, and others on Alice’s website, for great Google information.


Citizen Science: https://scistarter.com/educators

Do your students want to change the world? SciStarter is a Citizen Science website that lists crowd-sourced science projects currently going on…and your students can help with the data collecting! People around the world are studying climate, insects, lakes, plant life, and so much more – but they need more data collected. Here’s where you fit in: commit to keeping track of your data and submitting it to the project. You can truly teach a class of citizen scientists and they can see how their contributions can make a difference.


ASCD Educational Leadership’s Unleashing Problem Solvers: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership.aspx

The October issue of Educational Leadership is all about problem solving! There are articles for all teachers of all grades and content areas, all focusing on the idea of creativity, questioning, and problem solving. Many articles can be read online at no charge – but if you find a “locked article” that you’re interested in reading, let me know and I’ll send the magazine your way. ASCD’s Educational Leadership has been my go-to magazine for a number of years. I always find articles that are relevant and timely – and I think you will too!


ISTE Teacher Standards: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

Following the release of the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Student Standards in 2016, ISTE released their teacher standards at the annual conference in June, 2017 (access Student Standard information here: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students).

The Educator Standards include:  (View Indicators on the website above)

The ISTE Standards for Educators are your road map to helping students become empowered learners. These standards will deepen your practice, promote collaboration with peers, challenge you to rethink traditional approaches and prepare students to drive their own learning.

Learner: Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.

Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning.

Citizen: Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

Collaborator: Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.

Designer: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

Facilitator: Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.

Analyst: Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

Connect with other educators in the ISTE Standards Community and learn how to use the standards in the classroom with the ISTE Standards for Students ebook.


Breakout Edu: https://www.breakoutedu.com/

Breakout EDU is a powerful learning experience in the form of an immersive learning games platform. The Breakout EDU kit allows for the facilitation of games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box. Games are available for all ages and content areas, and are designed for large groups (20-30), while most are designed for small groups (8-12). Many teachers choose to have multiple kits so that they can break their class up into 2-3 groups and play one of the games designed for smaller groups. Others use Breakout EDU as a station or classroom center activity.

I have a kit – and I would love to come and plan a Breakout activity with you for your class. There are games for all curriculum areas and age groups. Let me know when you’re ready to try this with your students. If you’d like to try it out with a group of teachers first, let me know. There are many activities created for professional development!


 iOS 11

Have you updated your iPad? If you have an iPad 2 or earlier, you won’t be able to move up to the new operating system. However, if your iPad is newer, you may want to consider installing iOS 11. There are a few neat new tools that I have found useful. I especially like the multitasking it allows me to do. I also love being able to take screenshots and annotate on them. There are also some features for accessing documents and creating folders for your apps. And, although it’s not new, if you haven’t been using Airdrop it is definitely something you need to try. It is the slickest, easiest way to share photos and videos with other iPad, iPhone or Mac users.

You can learn more about some of the special features here: https://jonathanwylie.com/2017/08/18/11-ios-11-features-for-ipad-educators/.