Archive for the ‘Grades 10-12’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Google Shortcuts

Google Shortcuts

Google has created lots of shortcuts to help us search more effectively.  It has also included a research tool within Google Docs that has me giddy with glee.  It can autocite resources using MLA, Chicago, and APA.  Although it is not entirely accurate it is a good first step in trying to help students remember to source.  All of the information needed to source the information appears within the document once a cite button is pressed within the Research Window.

Above you will see the PDF I created on some of the shortcuts and helpful hits that I have come across in the past few months.  I thought I would share it with everyone.

Searching Do’s:

  1. Do Search by Reading Level
  2. Do clarify your image search by color, size, type, etc.
  3. Do Autocite citations and information using the Research Bar in Docs
  4. Do search by a Translated Language this will give students the opportunity to see other perspectives on a topic
  5. Do search for an image using an already saved image! (No more forgetting to cite images!)
  6. Do search Full-text of Books and utilize portions of books you have not purchased

Google Shortcuts:

  • Filetype:
  • Time
  • Weather
  • Define:
  • Translate
  • allintext:
  • allintitle:
  • ~ = Related Search Terms
  • phonebook:
  • bphonebook:
  • inurl:
  • daterange:
  • movie:
  • view:timeline
  • cache:website address
  • site:




PostHeaderIcon Meograph: New Face of Timelines




Timelines are a staple in social studies and ela.  They help students keep track of dates and facts.  I have been searching for a good online-timeline creator for a while.  I have tried dipity which is good but I find that it is very slow to load and is limited to the number you can create and information mediums.  So I searched and searched for an alternative and lo and behold I found Meograph.  Not only is it free (YAY!) it can embed videos, text, audio, and uses Google Maps.  I was in heaven.  I did this with a class and it went smoothly.  Well almost smoothly (internet went down once).


As you can see at the left you can add an event, then a when (date), where (location), link (with more information).  You can also add a photo, youtube video, and even narration.  The narration online is limited to 30 secs.  However, you can upload unlimited audio.  I used audacity (remember you need the LAME encoder to save as MP3) and had the students record and publish as a MP3.

A note on location:  You must use the current name of the city or town.  Therefore if you are talking about Ancient Persia you need to find the modern country.



PostHeaderIcon Death to Powerpoint

There are many presentation options in the cloud.  Powerpoint is not always the best choice when creating a presentation.  Depending on where the presentation will be shared and presented, I have found better options.  Cloud computing is helpful when you do not know where you will be presenting or if the machine you will use is a mac or pc.  However, keep in mind if the location you are presenting does not have internet access cloud options are not ideal.  Keep in mind the criteria Sliderocket writes about in their blog.


Pros:   This option reminds me of keynote in its end product.  The graphics and functionality are seamless and professional.  I really liked the user interface for editing and adding content.  You can easily embed any presentation into your website.  You can also export the presentation as a PDF (But you must be in presentation mode in order to do this).  Adding charts, media, and forms/polls is easy and integrated.  There are a lot of cool effects that you can use during the presentation.  Not to mention the ability to create your own theme.  It also allows you to add music to your slides that will auto play.

Cons:  You have to purchase a subscription to export your presentation as an editable presentation.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Easy embedding into any site.  Also easy import of YouTube videos by merely pasting in the URL for the video.  I really like Prezi for an interest catcher.

Cons:  It is easy to overuse the zooming effects and some listeners to your presentations might become motion sick.  Be careful when using the zoom feature.  Limited background but this can be remedied with importing images.  It is flash-based so viewing on iDevices is out.  Hopefully they will come up with a HTML5 version soon.

280 Slides

Pros:  Very easy to use and embedding, downloading, and sharing of all kinds is easy to use.  One does not have to create an account which is nice in a school (but you cannot save to the site without a login).  The site is free and exporting in Powerpoint 2007 is very easy to do.  The user can import media and pictures.

Cons:  The user is very limited in terms of backgrounds.  Although you can import a picture as a background this is not as convenient as creating a theme.  This is a very stripped down version of powerpoint.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)


Pros:  Very easy to use, however, it is a unique presentation tool.  Instead of creating slides from original data, this product takes pictures, audio, video, and urls located online to create a stack of information.  An interesting idea and a new way to think about presentations.  The embed code is listed on the website and it can easily be posted to twitter and Facebook.

Cons:  If the data required is not online,  this solution would not be ideal.

Google Docs Presentation

Pros:  User friendly and connected to the users Google Account.  Another login is not necessary.  Product functions very similar to powerpoint.  Adding speaker’s notes is easy and any presentation can be shared and collaborated on in realtime.  Exporting can be accomplished from a PDF, text, and Powerpoint file.  Importing media and pictures is clear and understandable.

Cons:  Limited amount of fonts to choose from.  There are no layouts to choose from.  Objects cannot be rotated.






PostHeaderIcon Year End Reports & Assessments

If you are in education, you have a personal relationship with assessments.  During the last month or so I was in the midst of assessments and end of the year reports at my elementary library.  I completed inventory and all those wonderful things that occur at the end of the year in a school library.  Therefore….little time was left for this blog.  So sorry readers, but I am back and refreshed.

Quiz Creator

I looked many places for an assessment tool for my third grade students and I try to share as many free options as I can.  There are free quiz creators and assessment creators out there.  However, I needed the ability to have a click map which google forms, survey monkey, and a vast number of others could not provide me.  Therefore I tried out Quiz Creator by Wondershare.  When I say that I needed a click map that means I needed the ability to upload a picture and have students/assessment takes click the correct portion of the picture.  Such as “Where do you click to check the spelling of a document.”  If you want to see a Quiz in action please go to (login: test password: test).  The program is a download and is extremely easy to use.  You can also record questions.  Adding media, pictures, and text is all self explanatory and user-friendly.  Even though I downloaded the program for free the technical support was prompt and extremely helpful.  I have not yet tried the Quiz Management System (an additional cost), however, I think I might this year due to the amount of time I have spent on tabulating results from individual quizzes.

Year-End Report

In addition, I completed my year end report for the elementary library.  It is always amazing to me the amount of projects, events, and changes I am able to accomplish in a year.  I like giving such a report to my administrators but it is also such a great way for me to assess and end the year.  You can see my report on Slideshare which is a favorite site of mine to embed and share documents.  On a side note: I have tried several sites and slideshare tends not to be blocked.  Although unblocking items is not difficult it is an extra step and when there are so many sites to accomplish said goal I try to limit my emails to the tech dept. I decided to use Word 2007 for my report.  I tried to use several free and open source options but I was not happy with the result.  I was writing a traditional academic report with pictures and I like the options of inserting pictures in Word 2007.   On further inspection I think I might try to do a movie/animoto as an addition to the report to show the highlights.

PostHeaderIcon Apple vs. Android

So I was reading a blog that did a nice job laying out public opinion on the Apple vs. Android discussion.  Should schools get iPads or Android Tablets?  Which is the best solution?


One of the big concerns with Apple is the way they are marketing the iPad.  Users seems to be looking for a netbook replacement.  They want to be able to hook in their peripherals.  They want USB, HDMI, & SD Card ports, not to mention the limits of Google Apps on iPads.  Android allows users to use Flash and other popular tools.  Though with the transition to HTML5, maybe Flash will not be such a big deal in the future.

I do wonder if jumping on the tablet band wagon is necessary….could education wait until the price goes down?  Are there cheaper options such as the Nook Color adding Android accessibility options?   Companies are rushing to come out with the next solution.  Is the first solution the best?  Should schools even be buying these things when students can bring them in to school to use on a wireless network?  Not all students have these tools…so buy a few instead of for all students.  Cellphones are quickly replacing laptops for simple and general computing.  Things change every day…I look forward to the next advance with interest.

Another user notes the ease in which Google makes app creation.  In the Google App Inventor, users can easily create apps.  This is ideal for students.  However, Apple caters to education and has a variety of educational apps.  Android needs to catch up to be a threat in that field.

To create an iPad, iTouch app there are a few more steps.

“First start by joining Apple’s iPad Dev Program ($99).  With your membership you will get iPhone SDK with Xcode, interface builder, ipad simulator, sample codes, video guides, forum, and performance analyzer.  Download and install the latest version of the iPhone SDK. Note, you will also need a MAC or  Mac Mini with the freshest Snow Leopard installed in order to run it. If you cannot afford a MAc. you may try to develop on a Hackintosh PC. Here is a tutorial on building a Hackintosh with Snow Leopard, no hacking required that might help you in your project.  There are some great places with tutorials and guides or forums to ask for help from other developers: Apple Dev Forum, iPhoneSDKiPhoneSDKForum.(Source)”

What will you choose?  Will your choose?  Take a look at your needs and reasons and then decide.


PostHeaderIcon Wii in the Classroom Update

So, I have been using the Wii in my library for the past 4 days and it has gone well. I must say my favorite games are those which are multiplayer and the students either collaborate or compete against each other.

In Just Dance 2 — I have 4 controllers and students try to copy the hand movements of the on-screen dancer. The person who does this most like the on-screen dancer is the winner. What is really great is that students are not waiting to use a controller. They are just enjoying the dancing, and following the moves without the need to use a controller. This has happened in K-3.   Students who are normally quite shy are getting right in the middle and dancing their hearts out!

Mario Cart — this is a wildly popular game and I was fortunate to be able to borrow this game and 4 wheels.  Instruction is simple, and before too long beginners easily surpass older players. Students can work as a group team or have versus matches. Although it is competitive, the students compliment each other and good sports. (Pic Source)

Why are there Wiis in the library you ask?
Students read over 80K pages this April and as a result I promised a chocolate party.  Well a chocolate party was not enough, so I decided to borrow some Wiis.

What is also great about the Wiis is the students taking on the role of teacher for each other. In some cases, they know the games better than I do and are able to aid their fellow classmates in understanding and being successful at the game. The best part is when a quiet detached student shows another student how to play a game.

Wii in the Classroom Website — Articles and some great activity sheets

TeachHub Article:  Wii in the Classroom

New Tech Tools for Young Scientists

How to Use Wii in the Classroom

Wii in Physical Education

Wii in Education — Ways to use in classroom and physical ed

Turn your Whiteboard into a WiiBoard

PostHeaderIcon Instablog — No Nonsense Blogging

Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers, I came across a relatively unknown site that allows instant one use blog posts.  This site allows the user to post a blog without the hassle of creating an account.  I can see this as an ideal way to introduce blogging at the elementary and lower secondary level.  When you are introducing the idea, you do not necessarily want to set up 420 (in my case) accounts for students.

According to the site Instablog, “Create a blog post instantly. No need to start, setup and maintain a blog. Just write your post and share it with your friends and followers.”  Upon creation, the user is given a website that can be shared with all via twitter,create a QRCode, facebook, email (anywhere).  Instablog also offers the ability for users to comment and the post can be public or private.  This deals with search engines and highlighting on the site.

April 2014
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