So Many Technology Tools...How do I choose?

Monday, March 31, 2014 No comments
In the world of Education there are so many great tools that a teacher can use. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming because there is so much to choose from. The best advice I can give is to "Plan with the End in Mind". I do not suggest that you jump on new technology tools because they seem cool and you might seem cooler if you use them. It is crucial to know what you want your students or teachers to achieve first and then see what technology or technology resource will help you achieve your outcome (the end). If you keep that in mind, you will be successful. I always tell people to take "Baby Steps" when it comes to technology. Do not overwhelm yourself with doing to much too fast. You want to master one or two things before adding on something else. I have had this discussion with teachers and students on Web 2.0 tools, ActivInspire tools, resources/activities in Moodle and just about every Educational Technology topic.

With that in mind I am going to share with you 3 tools that you should surely try. I am going to focus on the 3 programs I listed above and give you 1 tool to master for each and why it is beneficial to use.

Web 2.0: Animoby has become one of my favorite tools to use as a teacher and allow my students to use it as well. Animoby allows the user to create quality presentations using VOICE and a variety of design tools (draw, paint, type, images), and publish or share via e-mail. Animations are created when users pick a tool and simply touch the screen, and voice can accompany designs by the press of the record button. It is very user friendly, free, and available on multiple platforms. I love it!

Great articles to read:

ActivInspire: The "Hidden" feature located in the Action Browser. I love this tool because it quickly makes an object disappear/appear when you click on it. The kids think it is magic. This allows you to make a memory game, reveal answers, and so much more. Your students will truly enjoy it and retain the information better by adding this tool to your mastered list. If you have ActivInspire and like to import Smart Notebook files, you will find that you will need to reset the hidden feature in ActivInspire. It is a quick way to get your Smart Notebook files just the way you want them in ActivInspire.

Check out these great videos on how to set it up:

Great How to article:

Moodle: I have many favorite tools on Moodle, but I will only tell you about one today = )
A great feature that I love is the Forum because so many times in an online class or even in a face to face class we don't get the chance to talk to the people in our class or the person next to us. Forums allow you to ask questions and get answer to problems you have been trying to solve for a long time. If someone has a great idea, why reinvent the wheel? I love the collaboration that goes on and the wonderful ideas that come from using a Forum. You will surely see student engagement go up and students will feel included in the class environment. There are different types of Forums you can set up so make sure you find the one that best fits your needs.

I love this illustrated guide for teachers

I hope you found the information valuable from this post. I will keep you updated with more of my favorites.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Need a resource? Just ask.

Have a great week!

App Friday: Apple Store Apps that are FREE TODAY!

Friday, March 28, 2014 No comments

First Grade Antonyms

Phonics Silly

Endless Numbers

Monster Coloring Book


Tiny Artist Animals


Recording Pro 

Mental Math with Math Mathews

Quick Key Mobile

Shiny Bakery

Elements Compounds Mixtures HD

Dolphins, Sharks & Turtles - Ocean Tales

Caillou: What's That Funny Noise? - i Read With learning method for preschool kids


10 fingers+

Puzzle Farm Imagination Adventure

Puppies & Dogs: Real @ Cartoon Videos, Games,Photos, Books & Interactive Activities for Kids by Playrific

SketchPad - Learn to draw Safari for Kids

Preschool Academy

100 Diggers and Excavators Picture Book

MEINE WORTER reading game

Millie & Teddy children’s books – read, play and paint 

A 5-Step Reading Strategy For Students

Thursday, March 27, 2014 No comments
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

ClassDojo Messaging Launches Today!

I am so excited to have been a tester of the new ClassDojo Messaging add-on! I am beyond thrilled to have this as now I no longer need to have different programs to keep track of Classroom Management and Communication with parents. Being an educator we already have so much to keep up with so to me less is better.

ClassDojo Messaging is a new feature within ClassDojo’s app on iOS and Android devices. I am in love!!

I am so excited that teachers can access Broadcasts as well as Direct Messages within their class’s Messaging inbox.You can even send images through the Direct Messages....big plus for me!!
Another bonus is the accountability part...A teacher can click on the broadcast message they have sent to see which parents have seen it! No more hearing well you never told me that or it never got sent now have proof = )

Quick summary points  from ClassDoJo
● ClassDojo Messaging — a new feature within ClassDojo’s existing platform — launches today, enabling teachers and parents to easily and meaningfully communicate about student progress.

● Teachers will be able to send parents private, “Direct Messages” to update them about their child’s progress as well as “Broadcast” message an entire group of parents with ease about class events.

● We believe this new feature is a major step forward for teachers, many of whom currently converse with parents using non-ideal tools such as formal emails, impersonal text messages, or handwritten notes all of which require more effort, are overwhelming, do not engage parents in a meaningful conversation, and ultimately result in less real communication about students and their progress.

● The feature launches initially on iOS and Android devices, and has been tested by scores of teachers over the past month with overwhelmingly positive reactions! Teachers appreciate the thoughtfully designed,
teacher focused features, such as the privacy of not sharing personal contact details, the two types of messaging (Broadcast and Direct Messages), and also “read receipts” showing acknowledgements when parents have seen messages. Most importantly, teachers are now finding it easier to engage in higher quality conversations with parents about students’ progress and development.

● Learn more here:

Get ready for better communication with your parents and students. I can't speak highly enough about how great this new feature is. As much as I love my current communication app with parents...I am certainly making the move to the ClassDojo Messaging add-on!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!!

Bring It, Spring Giveaway!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 No comments
The Teacher Playground and The Doodle Oven are excited to announce a fun giveaway called, “Bring It, Spring”. You can sign up to win some great prizes from 3/19-3/25. Good Luck and we hope you win!

St. Patrick's Day Freebies: Printables and Interactive Games

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 No comments
Two of my favorite websites are and I love the sites for all the FREE resources and that I can easily transform those activities into interactive flipcharts = )

Since St. Patrick's Day is is quickly approaching, I wanted to do a post to help you find great FREE resources. Check out these FREE St. Patrick's Day Activities! Click on the links below.

FREE 20 St. Patrick's Day Writing Prompts and Graphic Organizers!!

Television Tunes is Great for the Classroom

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 No comments
Hi everyone! I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite websites called Television Tunes. I have been using this site since 2008 with my students. When I found this site I was so excited and to this day every time I get on it, I get excited. The site has A-Z television theme songs from different eras and has over 26,489 songs. There is even a great Game that you can play with your students as a Brain Break. Everything on this site is FREE and easy to download. I have used this site for podcasting, brain breaks, transitions, game shows, and so much more. 

My students created podcasts based on an element from the Periodic table. Once they had completed their research and wrote the script for their podcast (approved by the teacher), the students used the music from Television Tunes in combination with Audacity to have the start up and end music for their podcast.

There are lots of other types of songs like game themes, football music, commercials, and more. The ideas on using this site is endless! I hope you find this site worth while, but be warned as it can be addicting. 

Have Fun and Happy Tuning!!

FREE Classroom Response System Options

Thursday, March 6, 2014 1 comment
I love using classroom response systems with students and teachers. Luckily the districts I have worked in have had them available to teachers. Not every district or school is that lucky. To those who do not access to a classroom response system, I have some great FREE resources for you. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at

1. Plickers - If you do not have access to a classroom response system and your district/school does not support Bring Your Own Device, then this is great for you. It is very user friendly and requires very little to use them. All you need is one smart device and you are good to go. I also love that this app is supported on iTunes and Google Play. You can display real time data for all your students, by pulling the information up on your computer or displaying your smart device.


How it Works:
  1. Each student gets a unique barcode – a paper clicker.
  2. Students answer questions by showing their barcodes to the teacher's smartphone. The teachers does a quick scan of the classroom (this amazes me).
  3. The teacher gets a real-time bar graph and the data is stored individually by student.

Check out my review and see more information at

2. PingPong Smart Clickers - If you do not have access to a classroom response system and your district/school does support Bring Your Own Device then you are in for a real treat. I love this wonderful tool! If you district/school supports Bring Your Own Device then you are in for a real treat. The set up is very easy because as a teachers you set up an account and have your students download the app and enter your class code and you are ready to go. You can ask many different types of questions and even have them submit drawings. This app is supported on iTunes and Google Play and you can show your real time data by displaying your comp muter screen or smart device.

Check out my review and see more information at

You can also find this article at