Since we have given iPads to teachers in our district, I have spent a lot of time searching for apps for them to use with their students. One of the best sites I have found is AppyMall.  Similar to a shopping mall, the AppyMall has different “stores” in which you can “shop” for apps. It helps find specific educational apps because they are categorized. They take Apple’s app store categorization of educational apps one step farther. You can “shop” for elementary school apps, ebook apps, autism apps, special needs apps just to name a few! They also have a daily featured apps section right on their homepage.  These can be apps that are free for a limited time or apps that have received awards. And when it comes around to holiday time, don’t miss Appy Holidays!

The Differentiator

The Differentiator is a website that helps you write objectives based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is as simple as going through the different tabs such as, Thinking Skills, Content, Resources,  Product and Groups to choose the appropriate term and the Differentiator organizes it into an objective that can help your students demonstrate their learning.


The book One by Kathryn Otoshi delivers a great message to kids about standing up for yourself.  It is an easy book to read aloud to your class but holds deep meaning and serves as a kickoff for meaningful discussions.  There is also a YouTube video that has students acting out the story while Kathryn Otoshi reads the book. I took these two media and added a software program called Comic Life by Plasq to create a lesson in the computer lab. After students have read the story in their homeroom, they will watch the video in the computer lab. Then they will work in pairs to capture what each color might be thinking, feeling or saying.


They will do this by typing in speech bubbles surrounding the dots of color as illustrated in the image.  You can see the website that students have access to here:

Google’s own Periodic Table

Google's Periodic Table

If you’ve ever felt that you couldn’t keep up with everything Google, Google now has a tool for that.  Similar to the Periodic table, Google now has it’s own table of products. You can scroll over each “element” and then click on it for a complete description and link to that product. If you’ve heard terms like “Google Buzz” or “Google Sketchup” and you had no idea what that meant, now you have one place to find out. Not only can you click on each one but you can filter the table by scrolling over the categories at the top such as Search tools, Gadgets etc. Thank you, Google.

Reading Intervention on the SMART Board

Screen shot 2010-10-07 at 8.28.11 PMI came across these wonderful notebook files created by Amber Coggin. She created these to help students with specific reading skills. These might be skills addressed as a part of a reading intervention program, or used as a part of a reading center or workshop. No matter how you may choose to use them, they are an invaluable resource for any student. They are fun, interactive games where students won’t even realize that they are gaining valuable skills while playing. There’s a file for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5. Thank you, Amber!

K-2 Reading

3-5 Reading

A New Beginning

IMG_2369As I start off the beginning of a new school year, it is also the beginning of a new computer lab in our school. When I first started as the Technology Integrator,  the computer lab had large desktop computers lined up in rows. The students could only see the person sitting to their right or left, the monitor took up all of their workspace,  and the room looked cramped and small. One of my goals was to update the lab. The next year, the lab was upgraded to laptop computers. We purchased Netbooks to replace the laptops in the mobile cart and used those laptops in the lab. The desktops were relocated. All of a sudden, the computer lab looked huge. The students could actually see each other across the room. It was if we had lifted some huge barrier. They began to talk with each other.  They were no longer isolated and left with only a neighbor to communicate with. The excitement from the students was contagious. The buzz began as soon as each class came into the lab for the first time. This year, the transformation is complete. The long rectangle tables have been replaced with flower tables and clover tables. Yes, that’s what they’re called! The flower tables look just like they sound. They are round in shape and seat six students. The same with the clover tables, only they seat four students each. The lab can now comfortably seat 32 students. Thankfully, we do not have any classes with that many students however, what we do have now is the ability to collaborate, communicate, differentiate and teach in small groups. Students are  no longer assigned the same seat each time they come in the lab, they may be grouped by project, or partner, or skill. Anything is possible. The buzz in the lab is twice as loud this year and the students are loving the new “look”. The lab is now a classroom where learning is student centered, not furniture centered.

Teaching Addition Combinations

Try these two Picture 1games on the SMART Board to have your students practice their skills with addition combinations.  The first one is Connectsums. The object is to find as many combinations of numbers, dice, or coins that equal a target sum, all while trying to beat the timer or using a countdown. One additional constraint is that the numbers have to be next to each other. I found this game is an excellent way for students to practice their number combinPicture 2ations with a variety of options.

Another way for them to practice is with the game Sumstacker. This game asks you to drag and drop number combinations until you have the correct sum in each column. You can also choose numbers, dice or coins as well. This game is also available as an iPhone/iTouch app.

Teaching Handwriting

Picture 1Who has time in the school day to teach handwriting? It seems that there is an ever increasing demand to pack more curriculum content in the school day. And it also seems that handwriting continually moves down to the bottom of the list. Here’s one tool that may help save some time when teaching handwriting. The Writing Repeater is perfect for the SMART Board and allows handwriting to become interactive. Once you demonstrate how to make a letter, you can quickly save the letter, and click play to show the exact letter formation over and over again. Instead of writing the letter a dozen times until students see the correct formation, just have them click the play button. When they are ready, move on to the next letter and repeat. But all the letters can be saved so that students have access to each one if needed.