Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cell Phones & the Classroom

Cell phones in the classroom can be an extremely useful engagement tool for your students. However, they can be a distraction if not managed properly.

I was working with one of my teachers at the high school and she pulled up this really cool idea  that she had found on Pinterest for cell phone management. I have included a link here to the original blogger. The teacher behind the idea, Brit Bingold, is a high school English teacher and had several suggestions for the classroom. The first drawer of the tower is for cellphones. The rest can be used for school supplies or books.

If you are looking for new ideas for your room, I highly recommend her blog. Get inspired for the upcoming school year.  

The first drawer of the tower is for cell phones and the other drawers are for supplies and items needed for class. Learn more by reading Brit's blog. 

Bingold, Brittany. Desk Towers. Digital image. The Bits of Brit. N.p., 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 June 2016. <>.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Do you love Kahoot? Do you love Google Classroom? Do I have a new resource for you!

Quizizz is a website that allows the teacher to create multiplayer games that can be played at school (similar to Kahoot), however these games can be played at home as well!

The teacher creates the game with any multiple choice questions and then assigns the quiz through Google Classroom. Students click on the link, prompted to choose their Google account, then input their user name. After that is simple game play. Quizizz offers reports with the student name and results. It could be used for formative or informative assessment. It is a great tool to add to your belt of engagement tools.

​If you have any questions or would like to learn more, let me know. I will be happy to help you get started or share ideas for your classroom. ​

Resources: - quick slide show that explains Quizizz and how to use

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

If you have used Kahoot, you know how competition can increase student engagement in your classroom. Another such tool has been shared with me. is a place for participants to learn vocabulary. It is set up in a game format where participants can earn badges and points by completing activities in the process of learning vocabulary words. Participants can study, participate in a practice activity, and try their hand at the spelling bee. While learning the vocabulary, participants are given the definition of the word, an explanation, as well as the option of hearing the word spoken. is an excellent resource for educators as well. Teachers can set up classes, use list which have already been created, or create their own list that relate to their current assignment. Students join the class through the use of a class code. Teachers can then track how much time they are spending on the website and how their learning is progressing.

However, the best thing about the website is the competition. Classes can compete against each other by earning points and classroom teachers can offer incentives to the winners. So, while students are having fun, they are also learning content vocabulary.

I am just getting started with but it seems like an excellent resource to add to the teacher engagement arsenol.

Until next time, remember, learning must involve joy, so get out there and share your joy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Google Chrome Add On: Speak It

Do you have students who need text read to them? If so, there is a Google Add On that can be found in the Chrome Web Store called SpeakIt!. 

SpeakIt! allows a student to highlight text while on the Internet and have it read to them. This is a great tool for students who have difficulty with reading comprehension, who may be slow readers, or students who have dyslexia. This tool is a quick way for your student to help themselves instead of waiting on someone else to solve the problem, or worse yet, don't complete an assignment due to their reading difficulty.

If you are a Google school or if your students have a personal Google account, they can use this Add On. 

Watch the instructional video to learn how to add this to Google Chrome.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Art of Reflection

As many of you have begun to try new and creative ways to engage your students with your curriculum by using technology, I wanted to offer encouragement. There will be times when lessons fail: because the technology doesn’t work, because the lesson wasn’t completely thought out, because the idea was good, but the execution left something to be desired. Whatever the case may be, when you are being creative and takings risks, failure will happen. Robert F. Kennedy said “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. He wasn’t saying we should embrace failure, rather embrace the purpose of failure, which is to learn from it.

I came across a three part article written by Michal Eynon-Lynch, the second of which is titled, “Failing Toward Success”. In this article, she address how as educators, we should respond to students work, especially when they do not reach the standard set. However, I also think the article relates to how we should respond to our own teaching methods and lessons when we face failure.

Sometimes we have a “that lesson didn’t pan out”. If we stop there, we have not learned from our failure, we simply had a failure. But, if we take that statement one step further, “that lesson didn’t pan out; what would I do differently next time?”, we grow as educators and our lessons become more effective.  

After we have completed a lesson, project, or activity with our students, we should reflect and ask ourselves “what worked, what didn’t work, what do I need to change to make a better lesson”. This reflection allows us to develop more relevant and engaging lessons. We should allow our students the same opportunity. As teachers, we feel so pressured to get through all of the material that we just take the grades we get and move on. But, wouldn't the students be better served if we allowed them and ourselves the opportunity to reflect on what they did correctly and what they did incorrectly? Would that increase the quality of their work?

I highly encourage you to read “Failing Toward Success” and the third article, “Guiding the Aftermath of Failure”. The articles have excellent suggestions for increasing student work ethic; because the only real failure is when we refuse to reflect and grow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

NASA Challenges Students to Design 3-D Space Containers

I discovered yesterday, that NASA is having a container design contest for students age 5 to 19. I have introduced the contest to my students and shared the information with a few others. I am including a link here for anyone who would like more information.

NASA Challenges Students to Design 3-D Space Containers

In my class, students will be using SketchUp Pro to create their 3-D drawings. We have just started using this software at my school and the students really seem to enjoy it. I will be working with the math and science teachers in the Fall of 2015 to implement 3-D drawings in their classes. I can't wait to see what we can create!

As a public school, the company provided us the software free of charge. There was some paperwork to fill out but it was a simple process.

So far, the students have created houses, golf courses, tanks, and boats.

For more information about SketchUp Pro, simply click here. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Graphing with Google

I have been really focused on integrating technology into the secondary math classroom. I came across this blog post from "talkin heads TECHNOLOGY". I did not realize you could create graphs in this way using Google. Check out their latest entry on "Graphing with Google".