Friday, February 24, 2017

Stoplight Technique for Technology

Classroom management is extremely important when using technology; however, many teachers are looking for new ways to communicate, reduce behavioral issues, and share expectations. I recently came across an excellent idea from @edtechwunder on the stoplight technique.

How it Works:

Create a stoplight sign, where each light communicates a different message to students about how tech will be used that day.

For instance, green means that students should have devices open to start the beginning of class. Yellow means that students will be using technology later in the class period, but devices should be closed to start class. Red means that students will not be using technology that day in class.


Place your sign outside of your classroom or another visible area inside of your classroom. Then use a binder clip to signify how technology will or will not be used in your classroom. This is a great tool to help students stay on task, understand the day's expectations, and reduce the number of questions students have.

Do you have any other cool classroom management ideas? Reply below and tell me about them!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How Do You Recap? A Great Way to Use Formative Assessment in the Classroom

Formative assessments are a great way of helping gauge student understanding and there are a variety of tools available to help teachers. I was recently made aware of a really great tool while in a Twitter chat with Karen (@Teach4SpclNeeds). She told me about Recap, a video formative assessment tool that can be used on a multitude of devices.

Getting Started 

To begin, teachers have to sign up for a Recap account and create a class. When you create a class, you will have to enter in the names of students much like SeeSaw.

Once you have your roster set up, students can access your class by going to the following link. You can choose how you want your students to sign into the App, whether using a PIN or email account (for older students). When students login to the course, they will need to choose their name from the list of students.

Creating Your First Assignment

Assignments are known as Recaps. You can create your first Recap by signing into your account and accessing your class. Once you are in your class, you can develop a Recap with a question (or questions) and / or a video explanation.

There are also ways to customize the way your students respond. For instance, you can choose the maximum recording time (15 seconds to 2 minutes), due date, and adding an assess yourself poll question.

Student Responses

Students can access the assignment by using the following link to log into their accounts and entering the PIN (or email address) associated with the class.

Students choose their name from the class roster and open up the Recap assignment in their dashboard. Once they access the question, they can record their video response.

Increasing Engagement

Once a video has been posted to Recap, teachers can use a variety of tools and features to check understanding, showcase learning to parents, or automatically combine all Recaps into a class video called the Daily Review Reel.  Videos can easily be shared with parents or other educators through a link or Twitter.


When I think of formative assessment, I am sometimes reminded of an episode of The Office. The main character, Michael and his sidekick Dwight, drives into a lake while using a GPS. Why? They did not have an understanding of where they were going.  I am a firm believe that when we don't understand where our students are going, we can end up with a sinking lesson or unit.

Our students can end up in a similar predicament if we are unsure where instruction is headed. Are students understanding material? What misconceptions do they have? What are they struggling with? This is why formative assessment is a great tool for gauging student understanding.

Recap is an excellent tool to help students develop a deeper understanding of content, so that can articulate where they are going and where they have been.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

NEW Quizziz App for iOS

If you are a fan of Kahoot, then you should check out Quizziz because it offers another way to assess your students.

Now is the time to check it out because Quizziz just announced a new student iOS app and several great features!

  • These app functions like the web version, but much smoother on the iPad.

  • The new Read Aloud feature reads questions aloud for each quiz. This is an excellent resource for students of all abilities and backgrounds.

  • You still have access to all of the memes, avatars and leader boards that make the web version engaging to students of all grade levels.

This is a great tool to have in your teacher toolbox, especially if you are looking for quick ways to engage students and quickly assess understanding. Not only is it easy to use, but it is device agnostic - meaning you can use it on any device.

What are some of your favorite formative assessment tools? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear your ideas.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Don't You Forget About Me....SafeShareTV

Video is an important aspect of many blended classrooms; however, have you thought about where you have your students access videos? Questionable suggested videos have prevented many educators from using YouTube, but have you considered using SafeShare TV?

This has been a tool that has been around for quite some time, but I have found that many teachers have forgotten about it!  This is a great tool for removing the distractions that could appear when using YouTube or Vimeo without needing to download and convert videos. Simply copy and paste your video's URL and SafeShare TV does the rest. 

What does SafeShare do?

  • Removes advertisements from videos
  • Customize the start and end times of videos
  • No more advertisements for related or suggested videos! 
  • Share your video safely

Don't forget about SafeShare TV! It is such an important tool.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Video Tutorial on Using Numbers to Create Interactive Worksheets and Timelines

Thanks for the great feedback that I received about one of my latest posts titled More Than a Speadsheet: 3 Ways to Use Numbers in the Classroom. You spoke and I listened!

Here is a video clip describing how to create an interactive worksheet and interactive timeline. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Customize and Add Videos from Drive to Slides

Google Slides is an amazing collaborative tool for students and teachers. In addition to adding YouTube videos, you can now add videos from Google Drive! How does it work?

STEP 1: Insert a Video

Insert your video by going to the Insert menu and choose Video. You can also use the video icon on your toolbar.

STEP 2: Choose Google Drive

Instead of inserting a YouTube video, you can now select Google Drive.

STEP 3: Choose Your Video

Choose your video from Google Drive. Once your video is embedded, you can right-click on your video and choose Video Options.

Video options will allow you to choose when to start and end your video, whether it should autoplay when presenting, loop your video, or  whether it should be muted or play with audio.


Not only is this a great tool for teachers, it can be helpful for students too. This is a great way to have students (especially under the age of 13), create and embed videos into your Google Slides presentation without needing to publish to YouTube. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

More Than a Spreadsheet: 3 Ways to Use Numbers in the Classroom

I recently sat down to learn about how to use Numbers in student learning. If you are not familiar with Numbers, this is Apple's spreadsheet software, similar to Excel and Google Sheets, which comes with your Macbook or iPad.

Here are three ideas to use Numbers in your classroom.

1. Manipulatives 

Vocabulary is an important component of any class regardless of your content area. Numbers can be used to create a variety of interactive vocabulary exercises to allow hands-on learners to interact with content.

The activity on the right is something that I developed for a teacher in my school to allow students to drag and drop vocabulary (blue boxes) words into the right positions.


Because you can add video clips into your spreadsheet, why not record yourself giving instructions, doing a sample problem, or sharing resources? This helpful strategy provides students with the scaffolds and supports that may be necessary to complete the task successfully. 

2. Create a Timeline

Timelines are useful tools to visualize the order of historical events, understand the parts of a story, or understand a process.

Numbers is a great tool to create an interactive timeline with text boxes, hyperlinks, images, and video files.

As an example, I created a sample timeline of important events in my life.

3.  The Perfect PBL, STEM, or Design Thinking Tool 

PBL, STEM and Design Thinking have become an important part of today's classrooms. Instead of using separate programs to compose your project, Numbers gives you the ability to create, store, and showcase various types of media in one place.

During my time exploring Numbers, I saw an example of how students used an iPad to complete a Circuit Training lesson.  To complete the activity, students were asked to do the following:
  • STEP 1:  Access a Numbers spreadsheet, containing a map and detailed instructions of the circuit tasks they needed to complete. 
  • STEP 2:  Students were asked to use an iPad to record themselves doing each circuit exercise. As they completed each exercise, they were asked to embed the video from their iPad into the spreadsheet. I love the fact that you can watch the video in Numbers! 
  • STEP 3: Students were asked to use an App called Cardiio to analyze their pulse after each activity. Students input the data into Numbers to see the impact of each activity on their body. 
  • STEP 4: Students used Numbers to create a chart to analyze and visualize their data.
  • STEP 5: Students used the "selfie cam" on their iPads to record a video analysis explaining the results. 

Do you use Numbers? If you are a Mac or iOS user, you may want to seriously consider learning how to use this valuable and under utilized program. Why? This amazing spreadsheet tool can offer so many possibilities and modalities for students to learn more effectively.