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.