Friday, July 18, 2014

Educreations Part 2

In my first post on Educreations, I described it as an interactive whiteboard. On EdShelf, a website with reviews and information about a lot of great tools, there is a wonderful list of Educreations features.

Here they are:

 There is also a great series of videos from a teacher who is having his 5th grade students use Educreations to capture information about the original 13 American colonies. He very candidly shares some difficulties his students have with saving their work using the app but gives great hints on how to work around this challenge.

I also love the teacher comments on this EdShelf website. One, in particular, addresses how Educreations is great for his ESOL students.
If you are unsure how you can use this in your classroom, the EdShelf website gives ideas too.

Personally, I think Educreations would be great if you are doing a jigsaw activity. Have each group make an Educreations lesson with the information they have to share. They then share the page with the other members of their group. Mix the groups up and let the kids present their information!

ISTE Standards-S 1 & 2

ThingLink Part 2

Wow! I've come across a great activity using ThingLink that can be used not only in your own classroom at the beginning of the year, but, if you are doing a telecollaborative project, this is a great way for students to introduce themselves to each other.

ThingLink has a blog. In a post entitled "ThingLink Teacher Challenge: Design Your Digital Self," a complete lesson is available on how teachers can use ThingLink to introduce themselves. When you go to the post, click on the image displayed below:

When you do, you'll be able to view all the tags this particular teacher put on her ThingLink.

The blog suggests using this activity with your students.

From the blog...


In this activity you will create an interactive image to  introduce Your Digital Self  to other members of the ThingLink Teacher Challenge Classroom and also to anyone who views the great work we are doing. You will define yourself through through multimedia by creating tags to to whatever it is that defines your Digital Self. Revisit and add to your Digital Self as you change and grow. Use the channel to guide you through the process. Consider using the activity with students at the start of the school year.
There is an interactive channel of resources to guide you through the process. One of the resources is Build a ThingLink Classroom. When you click on it, there is a slideshow made of ThingLinks. On the second slide is a tag for this instructional YouTube video.

Start practicing now when leisure time is more available. Commandeer family and friends to be your "class" to make sure you know how to set one up. Come August (or September for the lucky ones!), you, ThingLink, and your students and students from afar are ready for a great interactive year.

ISTE Standards-S 1, 2, & 3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Subtext Part 2

Hopefully you've had time to explore the iPad app Subtext, and you are ready to create your own lesson. Here's how easy it is.

I created the Subtext lesson using an article from The Washington Post that I am pretty sure will be of interest to students. It is a great example of CCSS RI8.8--Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text. Subtext went out to the web and found the article.

Using activities already loaded into Subtext for that standard (how easy is that?), I was almost ready to go. I made sure only the grade 8 standard was showing. I also made a note in the text to help the students with the assignments. The lesson was ready!

When I assigned the lesson to a group, Subtext generated a code. Students used the code to access the lesson on Subtext.

Here's a quick YouTube video of my lesson.

What's great about Subtext is that the lesson can be shared. If you have a buddy classroom in another CCSS school, students in that class can be a part of the discussion. They just need the code. How interesting to see what students in another part of the United States would write!

ISTE Standard-S 2
ISTE Standards-T 1, 2, & 3

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Subtext is another Web 2.0 iPad app I have been dying to dive into. I've played around with it a little, but this blog assignment is a great reason to really get to know the "ins" and "outs" of the app. So far, my research is telling me I like this app a lot and will start to use it in my classes as well as help other teachers at LEMS use it in their lessons.

To get started, here's a little Intro video--call it a sales pitch if you like.

Subtext is a way to interact with digital content and to differentiate learning for all the levels of readers you have in your classes. Subtext is aligned with the Common Core Standards and has the standards embedded within the assignments navigation screens. 

When you first download the Subtext app on the iPad, I strongly suggest that you spend time first reading over the "Welcome to Subtext for Teachers" resource located in My Library. It is only 4 pages long and page 3 is really the where the meat of the information lies. 

After that, you MUST watch the video  by Markette Pierce. Just click on the link. The actual video would not embed. Technology is sweet, isn't it? The video is 17 minutes long, but it will become the go-to video when you need to remember either how to do something on Subtext or what different activities are possible!

Subtext is such a great literacy tool not just for ELA teachers but really for any content teacher who is asking students to read a piece of text as a part of the lesson. It allows teachers to read publicly and actively with their students. Even greater, it embeds data collection that both teachers and students can access. Teachers can look at group  as well as individual progress

One of the best features is the teacher's ability to lead discussions via annotations in the text and to embed Thinking Points where students are stopped in their reading and asked to respond to a question the teacher has purposefully placed at that point in the reading. 

The app will also read the entire text in a computer-like voice, but that's great for those struggling readers. And, last, but not least, the app has an embedded dictionary/Google/Wikipedia resource that is available for immediate access. Not only can students look up unknown words, but they can immediately read background information on something in the text that they are not familiar with.

So now you've had a sales pitch about Subtext and have access to a great how-to video. Watch Liz Sheehan, classroom teacher, as she shows you how she is using Subtext in her classes. Not the most technically savvy video, but it brings home the point that using Subtext needs to become a part of your lessons. If your students read in your class, you need Subtext.

Stay posted for my own Subtext adventure with writing an argument piece using "Millennials are Right. Voice Mails are Terrible" from the Washington Post. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


What a funWeb 2.0 iPad app! This tool is basically a personal recordable whiteboard that allows you to talk and write a lesson, a book review, directions to a classroom activity--anything you can think of! You name it...if you want the students to be able to listen to you while using a visual, Educreations is your Web 2.0 tool.

It is really easy to use. This iPad Help Desk video is great! Yes, you need an iPad, but hey, who doesn't have one now? Even the HCPSS Reading Specialists are being given one this year to do our job better!

So here are Social Studies lessons already created on Educreations. Just look at the variety. Com' on. You can do this. To view them, you need to create a free account. That's easy.

Obviously, you can use the pre-made lessons, but it is really easy to make what you need specifically for your classroom. And unlike VoiceThread, nobody sees what you look like when you make the lesson. You can be in your PJ's. It's just your voice and your writing. I like that.

Here's a book talk I made using Educreations about one of the Young Adult novels I am reading this summer.

BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

Just imagine linking in with another English class across the United States and sharing book talks. There is nothing more convincing about how good a book is than to hear about it from a peer. Who says that peer has to be sitting next to you? Try someone in California or Washington state!

Here's another testimony to the greatness of Educreations. This is from the iPad Jedi Masters.

Using Educreations at every level of Bloom's!


ThingLink is a great Web 2.0 classroom tool that can be used individually, with a small group, or even whole class if the picture is detailed enough.

So how does it work? It's simple. You upload just the right picture that supports the lesson. For example, if the activity is to complete a biography of a scientist predominant in the world of physics, upload a picture of Albert Einstein. Have students create "tags" all over the picture. When the tags are clicked on, information they have put in at that tag (in text, video, music) appears.

Check out this very simple example of Albert!

 Albert Einstein ThingLink

Now here's one I created about Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors because of her beautiful blend of science and fiction. 

 If you feel you need more information about how to create a ThingLink, here's a YouTube video.

Or try this...ThingLink tutorial 2!

You can even set up your "stream" and follow other people who have created ThingLinks. Visit this web page to start following ThingLinkers now!

Welcome ET 630 classmates!

Welcome to my Blog for ET 630...the last of the Loyola Ed Tech HCPSS Cohort classes for Summer 2014.