Friday, December 12, 2014

K-8 Differentiated Math Instruction Website & App ~ FREE

Differentiated Math Instruction
Common Core Aligned Math Practice for K-8 on the iPad and the Web

Front Row

Zero in on Common Core math with personalized practice and assessments

Common Sense Graphite Review:
What's It Like?
Front Row is a free math practice website for grades K-8 that is aimed at addressing Common Core skills. Upon signing up, teachers are directed to the dashboard, where they'll create rosters and add students. Once there, teachers will also notice the dashboard's myriad other capabilities: a report card feature, an analysis tool, grouping options for differentiated instruction, printable worksheets, a weekly student-practice feed, grade-level graphs of student progress, and a list of K-8 Common Core math standards. What's more, upon clicking standards in this list, a set of sample student questions and teacher resources appear. These resources might also include YouTube videos or lessons from other outside sources.

Students are prompted to complete a baseline assessment upon first logging in. They'll choose one of the program's 11 domains, targeting either foundational or more advanced skills, before answering at least 10 questions. The results of this pre-assessment are immediately available on the teacher dashboard. Teachers can use this information to assign students additional practice as needed throughout the program. Students can access Front Row using a tablet (with an accompanying app) or from a Web browser (Front Row recommends Chrome and, ideally, Chromebooks). All information is stored in the cloud, so kids can use different devices interchangeably. Furthermore, individual logins make it easy for students to share devices, if necessary.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Online Formative Assessment Tools ~ FREE

There are many online resources for formative assessments. Below are some of the resources that allow teachers to visualize student understanding while involving students in their learning. I have shared individual post for some of these online resources in the past, but I think they are worth repeating and sharing with teachers again:

Kahoot – This is an amazing formative assessment tool that allows an educator to:
  • Make quizzes
  • Start a discussion
  • Create A Survey
If your students like a gaming environment complete with a leaderboard… then this will be a hit in the classroom. Content questions can be used and the teacher has access to all results.
How do you get started? All a teacher needs is a free Kahoot Account which can be obtained at:  The below manual explains how to make an interactive activity with Kahoot. Remember this is a Web 2.0 Tool - shared with the public. It is suggested for students to use nicknames or first names only. Enjoy the tutorial. You can also learn more from the manual.
*Kahoot! ~ Great Learning Starts by Asking Questions

Infuse Learning – This is a very easy formative assessment tool to get student response and even begin a classroom discussion. After the teacher signs up for an account a classroom is created with a unique ID number. Website to sign up for a free account. Students then go to the student sign in to a page using Class ID along with their first name or nick name. Remember to remind students to never put in personal or self identifying information when answering any question from Infuse Learning. Infuse Learning can be used to input in the following formats:
  • Drawing
  • Multiple Choice
  • Open Ended Text
  • True False
  • Sort In Order
  • Numeric
  • Likert Scale

Answer Garden – Welcome to another online tool to allow for Formative Assessment and engage students in discussion. Answer Garden allows the teacher to set up a website that gathers student input and ideas. As students answer a question prompt, their answers appear on the home Answer Garden screen set up by the teacher. Both teacher and students have an opportunity to see what the ideas of the crowd really are. It is simple to use. Since this is a open web tool students should be reminded to not answer with personal or identifying information. No student log in is required. Ways to use Answer Garden:
  • Pose a Driving Question
  • Collect ideas and opinions
  • Look for adjectives that describe a character in a book
  • Use as a polling mechanism… large words most popular
  • Look for number of class that can get a correct answer
  • Incorporate in a Socrative Seminar
  • Align words to an idea, concept, place, or object
  • Compare and contrast using two Answer Gardens
  • Exit ticket of a learned concept
  • Get feedback on an upcoming test
  • Your idea

Answer Garden can also be uploaded to Wordle or Tagxedo to create a Word Cloud. In the area below take a moment to learn more about how to use Answer Garden.
Explore these opportunities to learn more about Answer Garden
Check out this Quick Start Guide
Look at this Demonstration of Answer Garden
Learn more about Answer Garden with these Facts
Answer Garden One Page Direction Sheet

Quizlet – This is a wonderful study tool that allows for self assessment by students. Quizlet has a variety of flashcards, tests, and study games that make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages. It is also be used on any computer at home or school, and on the go using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android. The free account allows teachers and students to create study sets, track study progress, and compete while working collaboratively with others. Note that the free version does include some advertisements. Along with creating a quizlet, it is also possible to find others that just might help from a large database made by others. There are even ways to password protect each Quizlet. Take a moment to explore the following areas of Quizlet.

Socrative – This is an amazing feedback tool that allows the teacher to get some quick formative feedback on student learning, understanding, and reflection. It is based on the teacher creating “Quick Question” activities that can include Multiple Choice, True False and Short Answer They are intended to be quick and easy pulse checks with visuals. Students can use just about any device. It also allows for the student to remain anonymous. In short answer areas students should not post identifying information. As in all of these tools, it is sometimes best to have students use first name only, or nicknames. There are reports that are always available in the REPORTS section found after selecting MANAGE QUIZZES from the teacher dashboard. Reports can be downloaded or emailed after a class completes a Quiz. There is even a game feature. There are other advanced features that allow for class set up and student collaboration if it is appropriate for age of students.

As a reminder - when students are using any type of digital resources:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Google Classroom


Classroom helps teachers save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.

Classroom is a new tool in Google Apps for Education that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes. Classroom helps students organize their work in Google Drive, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.

Create and collect assignments:  Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly. They can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback to individual students.

Improve class communications:  Teachers can make announcements, ask questions and comment with students in real time—improving communication inside and outside of class.

Stay organized:  Classroom automatically creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student. Students can easily see what’s due on their Assignments page.

Google Classroom - Teacher & Student view:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Everyslide ~ Share Your Slides as Interactive Presentations

EverySlide is a free service that allows you to share your slides directly to the iPads, laptops, or Chromebooks devices used by your class or group. As you move through your shared slides, so do they, as you discuss and you can pop-up a poll to gather feedback from your class.

EverySlide  allows you to upload and share your PowerPoint or PDF presentation online to other devices while you are presenting.  You can also save a Keynote or Google presentations as PDFs or PowerPoint presentations to upload to EverySlide.  All that you need to do to share is the URL they provide once the presentation or pdf is uploaded. Anyone else with an internet capable device is able to view and interact with your presentation as you go. They do not need to create an account to view your shared presentation.  Each slide is touch interactive, so you can ask your audience to click on their screen to answer a question…possibly a map you have showing.  The program compiles the data and will then display it as “hotspots” on your map.  The more clicks an area gets the darker the spot becomes.  

Getting started with your free EverySlide account:

After you sign up for your free account and log in, your main page is simple and easy to use.  Upload your file(s) to the site and start the presentation online.  There is also an option to create an instant poll without even starting a presentation.

Share your presentation/pdf:

Once a presentation has been uploaded and started you will see a URL (Example above: in the upper middle of the screen. This is the address you share with others so they can join your presentation. (This address/URL is NOT case sensitive)
Your toolbar runs across the top of your presentation.  You have other options available to you:
  • Move between slides with the arrows in the upper left.  Each participant has the ability move back to previous slides from their device but they cannot move ahead of where you are in the presentation.
  • Go full screen.
  • Create an instant poll.
  • Show/hide the collected clicks on the screen by your participants.  If you look toward the lower left you will see a red dot.  That is where I clicked as a participant.  As more click you will see the dots populate.
  • The two numbers will show the number of clicks vs the number of viewers.  You quickly can tell how many people are following along and how many have made a selection.

Instant Polls:

The instant poll option is a quick assessment resource as well.  You have 120 characters to use for a question.  Choose from true/false, multiple choice, or a word cloud.  Once you start the poll your question will be displayed on everyone’s screen.  EverySlide will collect the data and give you an option to display the results as the poll is underway.  Stop the poll at any time.  This is an easy and quick way check for understanding.

Be sure to also search their shared/public interactive presentations:

Search Millions of Interactive Presentations

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Useful YouTube Tools ~ Share the Best of YouTube's Media in the Classroom

Media can be used in almost any subject to enhance learning.  Research shows that visual media makes concepts more accessible to a person than text media and helps with later recall (Cowen, 1984). Visual media helps students retain concepts and ideas. Bransford, Browning, and Cocking (1999, p 194)

Teachers often use YouTube to find visual media.  YouTube has grown into one of the biggest resources for educational content.  Teachers love having access to YouTube in school to enhance their lessons. Below are some useful tools that allow teachers to make the most out of the YouTube videos they select to use in the classroom.

YouTube Video Editor - Did you know that you can quickly edit a video in YouTube?  Upload a video that you capture to YouTube Video Editor and then you can make cuts, transitions and add text to your video. You can also enhance your videos by adding resources shared with Creative Commons. In YouTube Editor you can search Creative Commons videos to find what you need to add to your video. You can also upload soundtracks to ambiance. Once done, the video saves right to your YouTube account. It's that easy!

Quiet Tube - There are many useful videos on YouTube that teachers may use to enhance their lessons, but they worry about all the inappropriate videos and/or comments that appear around the video as well.  Quiet Tube might be the answer for you. This is a bookmarklet that, when  you are on a video you want to watch, you click and it strips away all the content on the page except for the video. No annoying comments. No inappropriate suggested videos after. Just the video you want to show.

TubeChop - (currently blocked on SCS network, but may be used at home and final video may be viewed on SCS network on teacher accounts only) TubeChop allows you to easily chop a funny or interesting section from any YouTube video and share it.  There are some videos where all you need is a small portion. Often, teachers will need to be able to quickly share the relevant portion of a video, rather than waiting for the entire video to load.  Welcome TubeChop. Just go to the TubeChop site, enter the URL of the YouTube video you want to shorten, select the start and end points and then chop! It's that easy! You have a shortened YouTube video!  You can then share it via a link or embed the chopped video on your site, blog, edmodo, or email.

DragoON Tape -There may be times you need a series of videos and they would be better off watched one right after another. DragoON Tape does just that. You can trim to the sections you want, add another video and another and another, creating your own personal mixed video that you can then post via a link or embed.  DragoON Tape is really simple to use, just search for a video by YouTube URL or subject and drag it down to the timeline.  Add as many videos to the timeline as you want and save it.  DragoON Tape makes it easy to give your students access to several videos with just one url.

Watch2Gether- Sometimes watching a video as a group is just what you need. Watch2Gether does just that. This service is provided for free and can be used without signing up first.  Sessions are created by choosing a username, and then picking these videos that one wants to have played. People are invited by sending them the unique URL that goes with each room. And once the actual session has started in earnest, participants can comment on what they're watching thanks to the provided chat window. Users may also an option to create playlists and share with others for further collaboration.

You may also like:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cornell Note Taking - helps students improve their study skills

The Cornell Method (2 column notes)

The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes without laborious recopying. After writing the notes in the main space, use the left-hand space to label each idea and detail with a key word or "cue."

Use this Cornell Note Taking Google Docs Template or create your own:
Rule your paper with a 2 ½ inch margin on the left leaving a six-inch area on the right in which to make notes. During class, take down information in the six-inch area. When the teacher moves to a new point, skip a few lines. After class, complete phrases and sentences as much as possible. For every significant bit of information, write a cue in the left margin. To review, cover your notes with a card, leaving the cues exposed. Say the cue out loud, then say as much as you can of the material underneath the card. When you have said as much as you can, move the card and see if what you said matches what is written. If you can say it, you know it.

Organized and systematic for recording and reviewing notes. Easy format for pulling out major concept and ideas. Simple and efficient. Saves time and effort. "Do-it-right-in-the-first-place" system.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Google Add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets

What are Google Docs and Sheets add-ons?  Add-ons are new tools that provide Google users many more features and options in their documents and spreadsheets.

To browse through add-ons for Docs and Sheets, select Get add-ons in the Add-ons menu of any document or new Google Sheets.

Click "Add-ons" > "Get add-ons"

"Once you install an add-on it will become available across all of your documents or spreadsheets and you can start using it right away," according to Google Drive blog. You can always find them in the Add-ons menu.

There are add-ons that easily insert clip-art, find synonyms, create a table of contents, insert maps, create charts from spreadsheets, generate bibliography, check your writing for consistency, add mail merge to Google Docs, print address labels, remove duplicates, create random passwords and more.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Google Keep – Digital Post-its - Organize & Save Your Thoughts

Google Keep
Keep lets you take down short notes with just a basic title and your note content. You can also choose to add an image to a note and color code each note with one of 8 colors.

Prefer a to-do list style instead? There is also the option to create this, then cross out things that you have completed later on.

Quickly capture what’s on your mind and be reminded at the right place or time.
Jot down a quick note, make a checklist or keep a photo. Everything you add is instantly available on all your devices – desktop and mobile.

With the Google Keep Chrome app you can
• Keep track of your thoughts via notes, lists and photos
• Add reminders to important notes and be reminded through Google Now
• Color-code your notes to help find them later
• Create and edit notes even when offline

What's new
• New look and feel, unified with the Android Google Keep app
• Drag and drop to reorder list items
• Drawer for changing between the notes, archive, and reminders views
Google Keep on the web –
Google Keep for Android –

Randomly Select a Students for a Classroom Activity

The next time you need to randomly select students for a classroom activity, try the Random Name Picker to make the process as random as possible.  The Random Name/Word Picker from is a fun way to choose a student or word. Just type in your students names (or copy and paste from another file. Click to spin - then you can remove each name that is selected to avoid using the same name repeatedly. You also have the option to save, edit, and share the list you create.  These Random Name Pickers may be embedded in your class site or blog.

The next time you need to randomly select students for a classroom activity, try the Random Name Picker to make the process as simple as possible.
Other Class Tools options:

ClassDojo also provides a random name picker.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Reading Bear ~ a fun way to learn to read!

About Reading Bear
We sound it out — you learn to read. Totally free!
Reading Bear, a project of, is the first free program online to teach beginning readers vocabulary and concepts while introducing all the main phonetic patterns of written English, all using innovative rich media. Reading Bear provides 50 presentations that cover phonics principles and illustrate over 1,200 vocabulary items.
How does it work?
In each presentation—playable either as a video or as an interactive slideshow—Reading Bear introduces one or a few related “phonics rules.” Presentations are available in seven different versions. In the fullest version, we sound out a word slowly and quickly, then blend it slowly, and finally (after an optional prompt) blend it quickly. As sounds are pronounced, the corresponding letters are highlighted. Then Reading Bear displays a picture illustrating the word, show a sentence (with the individual sounds again highlighted, karaoke style), and finally show a video illustrating the sentence. Presentations give this treatment to around 25 words, though some have more and some have less. The result is a thorough yet painless introduction to phonics principles, while at the same time a supplemental resource for teaching vocabulary. There are many other features you can explore by clicking on the Getting Started page.

Google Chrome extension Incredible StartPage

A recently found a cool Chrome extension that changes how new tabs in Chrome appear.
For Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Incredible StartPage changes the start page to a three-panel view of your your favorite bookmarks, closed tabs, customizable color schemes, and a place to quickly add notes and send them to Gmail.

Once you've installed the extension, just open up a new tab page to see the changes—you can customize the color scheme or flip through different pictures they offer on Flickr by category.

You can also browse through your bookmarks in the middle pane, and drag the most important ones to the box on the right-hand side for easier access. Incredible StartPage is a productive start page replacement iGoogle page which offered a few more customization options, but it is a good alternative to spice up your new tab page.

Updates:  Friday, May 2, 2014

Incredible Startpage 1.7 released!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Educreations ~ a recordable interactive whiteboard

Educreations is a global community where anyone can teach what they know and learn what they don't. Educreations is on a mission to democratize learning by extending the reach of great teaching.

Educreations is an online interactive whiteboard that captures your voice and handwriting to produce amazing video lessons that you can share online. Students and other teachers can replay lessons in any web browser or from within their app created for iPads.
Any lessons created using their online whiteboard will work in any browser that supports flash. Just create your free account on and click on the "Create a New Lesson" link to launch their online whiteboard.
Example Lesson:
You can browse more great lessons that others have created in their public directory. Educreations has a list of showcased lessons in their directory. You can also view these showcased lessons by visiting the "Featured" tab of their iPad app.

Classroom Example Recorded by Mrs. Rushing, 7th Grade Math:

Visit her class site where she embedded this & other tutorial videos:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snagit for Google Chrome

Snagit for Google Chrome
I often use screen capture applications such as Skitch on Macs & Snipping Tool on PCs.  I have been looking for a good online screen capture tool to help me quickly share "how to" directions for staff and students.  I think I am going to love SnagIt.
 SnagIt just partnered with Google to offer an app and extension of their program which can be used with the Chrome browser and is linked to your Gmail account. Screen captures are saved to a folder on your Google Drive named "Techsmith". If you wish to share a capture with your students, you are given a shortened URL where the image resides. Please note that this web version has a few limitations; image size cannot be changed, one arrow, circle or square style is available, (a handful of colors) one font can be used and the image is saved as a .png. For most people, this will be quite enough. You can find both the extension and app at the Chrome Store.
Directions I created using Snagit with Google Docs:  Snagit for Chrome - Directions 

How to video on YouTube:
  Features of Snagit for Google Chrome
  • Using it, you can capture all the documents and presentations of your students, teachers and parents, and provide them with your comments. It allows an instant comment sharing that people can review anywhere.
  • Staying updated is easier with it, as you can always have a quick glance of any projects that you or others are working on, and then add your notes or comments. You can send these directly to anyone— teachers, students, administrators, and tech support.
  • Using Google Drive with Snagit for Chrome is possible! You can manage, add arrows/text and view any captures anytime, anywhere, as this app or plugin is integrated with the Drive.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BiblioNasium ~ Motivates Independent Reading

What is BiblioNasium?
BiblioNasium is the fun, reading log for kids ages 6-13. BiblioNasium excites, engages and encourages a love of the written word. Kids can log their reading, play games, complete reading challenges and earn rewards within a safe social network built especially for them.  

BiblioNasium is a fun and engaging reading community that will help teachers connect with their students outside of the classroom.  Teachers can set up their favorite books and recommended lists on virtual bookshelves that will be available to your students at all times. Students can send teachers their reading logs instead of handing them in on paper; teachers can set up fun challenges and rewards that will help encourage your students to keep reading, and teachers can set up a reading list that the students won’t lose. It brings children together and gives them a chance to easily recommend books to each other.

  • online reading log
  • teachers and students can create reading lists
  • teachers can track student's progress
  • makes reading recommendations based on reading levels and interests

Quick Key app - Quickly Grade Bubble Sheets

Quick Key Mobile™ is an app for iPhone and iPad that turns those devices into optical scanners, to grade paper assessments in a flash. The free app is available on the Quick Key Homepage

Fast formative assessment.
Quick Key eliminates hand-grading of formative assessments, even for teachers working in paper-based classrooms without a computer.

Video: * View Demo *

If you enter students’ email addresses into your class rosters on Quick Key, you can have grades emailed to students. Google Classroom users can sync their rosters with Quick Key for distribution of grades. Watch the video below to learn more about Quick Key's Google Classroom integration.

Friday, February 28, 2014

FlipQuiz - FREE Gameshow-style Quiz Boards for Educators



FlipQuiz was created to provide educators with a quick way to create gameshow-style boards for test reviews in the classroom. Traditionally, these are created (tediously) using posterboard, chalkboards, or dry-erase markers on an overhead slide. The review questions are usually even written on a separate sheet of paper.

With FlipQuiz, questions are displayed on-screen and boards are saved for later use. Combined with a well-designed board, students are more likely to be interested and stay engaged with an otherwise disjunct test review process.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Flippity - Create Online Flashcards from a Google Spreadsheet allows you to easily convert a Google™ Spreadsheet into a set of online flashcards

1.  Go to
2.  Follow the on-screen instructions and prompts to:
     a. Make a copy of the provided Google Spreadsheet.
     b. Enter your questions-problems/answers or vocabulary/definitions.

     c. Publish the spreadsheet and copy the URL

     d. Return to
     e. Paste the URL you copied in step C.
     f. Click the “Go” button.

3.  Use the icon in the lower right corner to flip and advance the flash cards

4.  Click the “Share” button to get the URL and/or a QR code for your published flippity cards.
Example: Multiplication 9's

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Share My Lesson - FREE Teaching Resources

Share My Lesson is one of the largest online community of educators, which was developed by the American Federation of Teachers and TSL Education. It's kind of like the Yelp of teacher lesson plans, where teachers can easily find top-rated lesson plans and comments about how actual teachers from around the country are teaching their students with the site's nearly 270,000 free online resources, all by teachers, for teachers.

Share My Lesson is a place where educators can come together to create and share their very best teaching resources. Developed by teachers for teachers, this free platform gives access to high-quality teaching resources and provides an online community where teachers can collaborate with, encourage and inspire each other. 

Share My Lesson has a significant resource bank for Common Core State Standards, covering all aspects of the standards, from advice and guides to help with dedicated resources that support the standards. Share My Lesson was developed by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect, the largest network of teachers in the world.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Conquer your Gmail inbox in 2014!

Tips & Tricks that can help you conquer your GROWING Gmail Inbox in 2014!


Boomerang allows you to schedule messages in Gmail to send at a later time, remind yourself to follow up on an important message, and keep track of who responds.

  • Never forget to follow up on an email
  • Send and receive emails when you want
  • Keep track of messages that require responses

Boomerang is a plugin for Firefox and Chrome that adds a time dimension to Gmail for Google Apps accounts. Boomerang allows you to control when you send and receive messages so that the right messages are in the right place, at the right time.
Free for Basic plan

There are 3 main features to help achieve this:

Send Later - Using the simple “Send Later” button, you can schedule messages to send at a later time. The “Send Later” menu gives the option to choose from a set of common send times or specify the exact date and time that the email is to be sent. Without needing to log back in to hit “Send” or even have a network connection, Boomerang will automatically deliver the message at the desired time.

Boomerang Reminders - When you receive an important email that you want to check back on in the future, you can use the “Boomerang” button to remind yourself. This feature archives the message for now and returns it to the top of the inbox when specified. This helps ensure that the message is readily available when needed and reminds you to take action on messages when the time is appropriate.

Response Tracking – Boomerang’s response tracking feature helps you remember to follow up with people if you don’t hear back within a given amount of time. This feature will place the sent message at the top of the inbox if you don’t hear back within the specified time frame, alerting you to follow up with another email.