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21 Aug 2012
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Sync-up with Evernote

I was a bit of a late adopter to Evernote. Two years ago, I jumped on board and began dumping more and more info into my Evernote from “appy hour” scripts and lists of blog ideas to wireless passwords and conference notes.

Evernote Sync-up

Last Thursday I had the app-ortunity to visit the new Evernote headquarters in Austin with fellow members of the Eanes Ed Tech crew. Impressed with the idea of a 100 year company and a resource that I could continually trust to hold my most precious thoughts and resources, I was even more thrilled to learn about the other features and ideas Evernote offered and suggested for making my “second brain” more accessible and efficient:

  • Send notes into specific notebooks directly from your email. Let’s say you want to send a photo or important email directly to Evernote:
    • Locate your Evernote email address found under Account/Account Info (use this email address to send to)
    • Add a subject for your note in the subject line
    • Add the name of the notebook you wish to send it to in the subject line (e.g. “@Math”).
    • Add any tags you wish to use (e.g. “#equations #variable)
    • The final subject line might look something like this:
      • Step-by-Step Equations @Math #equations #variable
  • Tag notes and lessons with TEKS (standards) or keywords for quick search access
  • Create public checklists for school supplies and projects and share the note via a hyperlink
  • Utilize the Clearly plugin to format what you read online
  • Create stacked notebooks by simply dragging one notebook onto another. For example, let’s say you have an Algebra notebook and a Geometry notebook. Drag one on top of the other to create a stacked notebook entitled “Math”. The hierarchy really helps with organization and combats the summer brain drain by making the year’s previous notes a simple search away.
  • Scan documents directly with the Scansnap scanner
  • Make use of OCR for scanned documents and photos. Truly this is awesome! Imagine taking a snapshot of the notes on the board for the day and then being able to actually search your notes by the words in the photo. App-tastic!
Evernote has OCR with Photos and Scanned Docs

Other Evernote Resources I gleaned from the web:

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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08 Aug 2012
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Keeping up with Carnazzo

I had intended at one point to blog about all of Lisa Carnazzo’s (2nd grade teacher extroardinare and honorary member of the iVengers) excellent iPad lessons in further detail but this summer has been far busier than I anticipated. That being said, I thought I would share all of her special iCreations that she has been working on all summer long. As everyone begins their back-to-school shopping and routines, Lisa Carnazzo has developed a plethora of resources for students to utilize all year long (at home and at school):

Sight Words: First we begin with an excellent Symbaloo of word families which all hyperlink back to sample Quizlet decks. Each deck includes photos too! And if that isn’t cool enough, she has created a Snapguide for parents to showcase how to access and utilize the Quizlet decks to study their sight words.

Math Facts: Lisa has also created another Symbaloo of math facts which all hyperlink back to Quizlet decks to support that skill. Each deck includes photos too! And of course, she was only too thoughtful to create a Snapguide for parents to showcase how to access and utilize the Quizlet decks to study their math facts.

100’s Chart: Lisa has created yet another Snapguide to showcase how to use the 100’s chart to solve addition problems.

iPad Lessons: Lisa Carnazzo showcases all of her student projects on her class wiki. Check out all of her iPad Lessons on her site and read more in-depth blogs on how they were accomplished right here. If you are having issues accessing her Glogster pages on the iPad, try copying and pasting the url into an app like Rover. Here are a few iLessons you may have missed… The Lorax Cause & Effect and Mealworm Lifecycle which were both accomplished using the Tools 4 Students graphic organizer app.

Lisa Carnazzo’s Class iPad Projects


 
Interested in Quizlet, Symbaloo, Snapguide, and iPad Lessons?:

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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02 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

Bloomin’ Hackathon

Bloom’s taxonomy continues to be be a HOTS (pun intended) topic in the classroom. After a bit of internet research and the intent to ignite a passion for learning, I thought I would share my recipe for Bloomin’ Learning: Bloom’s Taxonomy, digital artifacts, writing and reflection, and a collaborative forum for sharing and publishing.

Bloom’s Review: Before we put our thinking hats on, let’s review Bloom’s…with the Simpsons (link to original video).

Flipped Bloom’s: Some suggest the original ladder of Bloom’s is an arduous climb for learners and should be evaluated. Rather than spend the majority of class time in the basement of Bloom’s, begin with a creating task and glean the knowledge necessary to complete the process. (Read more on Flipping Bloom’s here).

Digital Artifacts: While outdated, the Bloom’s ladder drum video showcases how an object can be threaded throughout each level of Bloom’s. A similar example using the revised taxonomy features a rock:

Exploring Rocks and Minerals with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

Some digital artifacts can be personal and hold value to students. As digital storytelling is a powerful tool and most mobile devices and many computers have a way to locate or capture photos of such artifacts (whether they be an object, a person, a place, an event, a lab), I thought it best to begin with this type of digital media and use it as a framework for Bloom’s. While the Bloom’s pyramid listed is outdated, the idea is still significant.

A Picture is worth a thousand thoughts: inquiry with Bloom’s taxonomy

A Taxonomy of Writing and Reflection: As the photos are truly meant to inspire our thoughts and words in order to ultimately write reflectively and collaboratively, I thought I would share the next support resource: “Reflect… Reflecting… Reflection…”

Bloomin’ Hackathon: Chris Walsh shared the idea of a creative hackathon task during his ISTE 2012 session “Creativity is the Killer App”. The participant task involved each table sharing their most creative learning experience, the table voting on the best one shared, and culminated with each group creating a collaborative digital artifact to represent the learning experience selected. All of the artifacts can be viewed using the hashtag #creativelearning.

Thus, I propose a Bloomin’ Hackathon with the purpose to share the best and most creative uses of Bloom’s in the classroom. Rather than question-proof the event with a detailed rubric for submission, I leave you with this question, “What should Bloom’s Taxonomy look like in the classroom?”

Please reply with a digital artifact in the comment section of the blog and/or with the hashtag #bloominglearnining

The Differentiator

Bloomin’s Best Resources: If you haven’t had your fill of Bloomin’ Resources, check out these listed below.

Creative Commons License
Bloomin’ Hackathon by TechChef4u is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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24 Jun 2012
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The Mommy iBalance

“All my bags are packed… I’m ready to go…”… again. June has been a very busy month with multiple conferences and speaking engagements. And today is no different as I enjoy the San Antonio airport’s amazing and FREE Wifi to complete this blog before I head out to ISTE. While I thoroughly enjoy all of these events… as a mommy, I sometimes feel guilty leaving my two boys. Thus, I spent a good hour or two last night customizing a few apps for my eldest to enjoy in my absence.

While I typically only showcase FREE apps, the following two paid apps were worth every penny to provide a personal learning experience for my little boy in my absence.

Write My Name: Though this app includes upper and lower case letters and familiar word cards, the best feature is the ability to include your own name tags. Each name tag consists of a photo, text name of photo, and a brief  audio recording. I decided to take pics of immediate family members (including the pets) and a few familiar house items (e.g. bed, toys, clock, etc…).

Create Custom Name Tags with Write My Name app


 
Write My Name: Once all of the custom name tags have been added, the fun begins. Children simply tap on a name tag and are presented with the corresponding picture and name. Then a tracing paper appears and the child must trace/write the name of the object or person using correct form. Once the child correctly completes the handwriting portion, the audio will play. All of my audio was simply my speaking the name of the object. For kicks, sometimes I added a sound effect after. (And “yes”, before you ask…we do have a dog named Cullen. And “yes” he was named after a famous vampire.) Now that we have that out of the way… let’s continue… =)

Practice Handwriting with familiar words compiled with Turbo Collage app


 
Futaba Classroom Games for Kids: I have had a fascination with this app ever since I downloaded the free version. While I enjoy the free app, the paid version is truly where custom learning begins. It currently includes 20 preloaded learning modules and boasts the app-ortunity to create your own. As I had already had the pictures on my iPad from the “Write My Name” app, I decided to simply use the same words and images to create an interactive matching game. I also really like the idea of reusing the words to reinforce the learning experience in a different way.

Create Custom Learning Games with Futaba Classroom Games for Kids iPad app


 
While these tools can’t replace mommy time, I hope they will provide enjoyable learning experiences with familiar objects (and give daddy a bit of a break). If you would like to see Futaba in action, check out the video below.

Visit “iPrep 4 Kinder” for more apps and resources to support the preschool/primary child using the iPad.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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01 Jun 2012
Comments: 1

Climbing the Bloom’s Ladder with HOT Web Apps

Apps and web apps are only as purposeful as the products and projects that they are used to create. After spending copious amounts of time publishing “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” to iBooks, I felt I should allocate some time to focus on web apps and how they too can be used to support higher order thinking skills.

I decided to model how Todays Meet and Quizlet can be used in every level of Bloom’s to support student learning and application across the curriculum. (Also check out the original Todays Meet lesson.) Both Todays Meet and Quizlet can be accessed and utilized on an iPad or a computer.

 
Nota: Using Todays Meet Screenshots

Today’s Meet & Quizlet: 

  1. TASK A: Locate a Quizlet deck for your content area and develop 2 or 3 questions (each at different levels of Bloom’s) to prompt and guide student learning in your classroom. Post your questions to Todays Meet with the Quizlet deck linked.
    1. Art & Literature
    2. Language & Vocabulary
    3. Math & Science
      1. Mystery Triangle
      2. Histology
    4. History & Geography
    5. Professional & Careers
    6. Technology 
  2. Task B: Create your own Quizlet deck for your content area. Develop 1 Bloom’s level question to prompt student learning in your classroom based on the deck. Post your questions to Todays Meet with the Quizlet deck linked.
 
Further Resources: Tasked over the fall semester to review Web 2.0 tools, our team created a blog of 60+ Web 2.0 tools that includes a brief description of each and highlights a couple of ways each tool can be integrated into the classroom. Symbaloo was one of our reviewed tools so I decided to use it to house the rest of the lot. Consider using one the apps below and mapping out how you would use it at each level of Bloom’s (or perhaps two or three levels).
Symbaloo of NEISD Reviewed Web 2.0 Tools
More Quizlet Resources: 
  1. 3 Interactive iPad App-tivities that aren’t Apps
  2. How to use Quizlet on the iPad
  3. Math-tastic iVocabulary

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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18 May 2012
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3 Interactive iPad App-tivities that aren’t Apps!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am always intrigued by sites that offer interactivity but are not apps (ala Quizlet). I had observed Mr. Wayment’s class reviewing the Greek & Latin roots using an 82 card Quizlet deck he had created. Students were utilizing various activities within Quizlet (e.g. Speller, Learn, and Scatter) to review the terms.

 

 
While the students were engaged in the app-tivity, Mr. Wayment shared another online resource that he had been using (on both the computer and the iPad)… Jeopardy Labs. Though I did not have a chance to create my own, I did explore the sample Mr. Wayment created on Greek & Latin Roots. Although he initially created the resource online, he has the flexibility to have students access it in small groups on the computer and from the iPad.

Wayment’s Greek and Latin Roots: Online Jeopardy

Here’s how it works:

  1. Multiple Teams: The site allows multiple teams (up to 12) to play the same board.
  2. Choose a Category and a Point Value.
  3. Answer in question form: They are presented with a statement and must verbalize the correct question to match (e.g. Statement: “Derivative of “digit” that means magic tricks, card tricks, or sleight-of-hand” Correct Response: “What is prestidigitation?”)
  4. Assigning Points and Recording Scores: If the team provides a correct answer, they tap the + and the point value of the item is added to their leader board. If they answered incorrectly, they tap the – and the point value of the item is removed from their leader board.
  5. Repeat and Enjoy: After the points are recorded, the teams would return to the game board and a different team would repeat the category and point value selection.
 
Though the lesson itself essentially was English Language Arts focused in nature, the idea of jeopardy for any content area or grade level is fully translatable and customizable. Create your own Jeopardy Board or utilize the current pre-created templates is FREE.
 
While researching Jeopardy Labs, I came across Bingo Baker (another online resource created by the maker of Jeopardy Lab). With this tool, you can easily create and play your own Bingo Boards (online and directly from the iPad) with no login or payment. Each Bingo Card includes 25 squares (including one free spot). The cards can also be printed as a PDF for playing as a hard copy or annotating in an app like PaperPort Notes or Notability.
 
Bingo Baker step-by-step directions: I created a Snapguide for how to create and play your Bingo Card.
Snapguide: How to Create & Play BINGO on your iPad
Interesting note…
  1. I created the card on my iPad and went into play mode on the iPad and then used the same link on my computer for the card and had a different variation of the same card.
  2. If you refresh the page on the iPad or the computer, it will create a different variation of the card using the same words entered.
  3. One cannot edit the card once it has been created (only clone it).
 
Further English & Vocabulary Resources: 
  1. How to use Quizlet on the iPad
  2. Math-tastic iVocabulary
  3. iVocabulary
  4. Paperless Passages with PaperPort 
  5. Putting an iSpin on Video Vocabulary

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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10 May 2012
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iClassify Triangles: Part 2

This post is a follow-up to the original iLesson “iClassify Triangles“. The original lesson provides a few direct instruction videos on classifying triangles, a set of mystery triangle flash cards, and a handful of extension app-tivities. The following could be used as a stand-alone geometry resource or an additional app-tivity to support the initial iLesson.

Student Task: Use the Geoboard app to make an example triangle for each of the following triangles using the specified color:

  1. Yellow: obtuse isosceles
  2. Red: scalene right
  3. Purple: right isosceles
  4. White: acute scalene
  5. Green: acute isosceles
  6. Orange: obtuse scalene
 
Classifying Triangles with Geoboad app

Extensions: Complete the question and one of the tasks below.

  1. Question: Which triangle can you not make and why? acute equilateral
  2. Task 1: Take a screenshot and bring the completed Geoboard image up in Skitch. Calculate the perimeter and area of each of the triangles.
  3. Task 2: Graph triangles in Geometry Pad. (Teacher could provide a task card with specific directions: e.g. “graph an isosceles right triangle in quadrant 2”).

 
 Check out these other Math iLessons.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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05 May 2012
Comments: 2

The iTraits of Character

Ashley Solomon is an amazing 6th grade Reading Workshop teacher at one of my campuses, Ed White Middle School, who truly knows how to utilize the iPads to support learning and exhibit student comprehension while creating an engaging classroom atmosphere. Regardless of the range of learners (e.g. ESL to students with low reading comprehension ability) she has in the class, she goes above and beyond in integrating technology and providing her students with the utmost of cutting edge learning app-ortunities.

Recently, she used the Sock Puppet app to support character analysis/development and practice dictionary and thesaurus skills: 

  1. Prior Knowledge: Students read their weekly Reading Workshop mini-book “Max’s Glasses”.
  2. Pre-assignment: Students completed graphic organizers and discussed the traits of the characters in the short fiction story. (This could also be achieved with Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers annotated in an app like PaperPort Notes or an app like Popplet Lite or Tools 4 Students.) 
  3. Project Foundation: Students were assigned a character trait and asked to practice dictionary/thesaurus skills for the STAAR by locating the definition, synonym, and antonym. Students also wrote a sentence and drew a picture for their given word. (This could be achieved with Popplet Lite, Doodle Buddy, or ScreenChomp.)
  4. Pre-Planning: Students worked independently or in pairs to write a brief 30 second or less dialogue  between two characters.
  5. Assignment: Students create a sock puppet show (using the Sock Puppets app) for an assigned character trait (acting out the dialogue as if the sock puppet was the word “studious”).
  6. Sharing: Students showcased their videos for the class and discussed the featured character traits.
I have recreated a few student samples below based on the scripts Mrs. Solomon provided me with.

 
Studious

  • A: Hi. I am Studious.
  • A: I like to read everyday. I read a lot of books and I read fast.
  • B: How else are you studious?
  • A: I study before my test is given to me.
 
Loyal

 
  • A: I am Loyal because I am very friendly.
  • B: What makes a loyal person?
  • A: I take on a lot of responsibility.
  • A: Loyal people are very caring.
  • B: Wow, it sounds like you are very loyal.

Check out Ashley’s other iLesson and more ELA iLessons.

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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16 Apr 2012
Comments: 0

Frog Blog: The Rat App

I had come across these apps (Frog Dissection and Rat Dissection) a few months ago but hadn’t had a chance to truly explore either one. Fortunately, Punflay contacted me and graciously sent me a few promo codes to share and utilize.

Both apps take me back to a cat dissection I completed in my high school Anatomy and Physiology class. I vividly remember the sound of breaking ribs and the smell of formaldehyde (I will spare you the pics). Flash-forward a decade or so and I fondly remember Frog Dissection Day in middle school when my students would come to my math classrroom and share all of the cool half-dissected insect bits they found inside of the frog’s stomach and intestines. Naturally, most educators would just assume these apps are a humane and cost-effective way to replace a time-honored experience…

… I would suggest that they provide a gateway to educational exploratory opportunities for young minds never before available!

Growing up the daughter of a respiratory therapist, I had odd experiences such as playing with lungs, receiving impromptu CPR classes, and having my dad pick me up from school as Super Lung. Sadly, I did not inherit the science gene. I can diagram sentences, teach critical reading skills, recite the prologue to Romeo & Juliet from memory, and solve a polynomial, but can’t satisfactorily explain the body systems or digestion to a preschooler.

I am hesitant to admit that my four year old son has learned more about his 206 bones from his Stretch & Grow class. That being said, while I may not be able to meet his ever-growing interest in the human body and science, the iPad can… My four year old son is now obsessed with the rat dissection app.

Yes, I can proudly admit…that my 4 year old son can not only dissect a rat  but also identify all of the internal body parts as well. The iPad and Punflay had provided this unparalleled app-ortunity for discovery learning.

Rat Dissection App

Please don’t take my word for it…

“I am an Instructional Technology Specialist for the secondary level with a science background. I was introduced to Rat Dissection, an iPad app, by another colleague. My 5 year old preschooler, who monopolizes the iPad most of the time, found the “Rat app”, as she calls it. She was mesmerized by the app and spent a long while on it. I had never really thought of introducing her to dissection and the anatomy/physiology involved. I assumed that the terminology and the concepts would be far too advanced. But the app proved me wrong! With it’s ease of use, images, audio instructions, and audio descriptions, she has asked many great science minded questions and is able to relate the rat body to her own. In my opinion this app can be used at any level.”

Check out Mr. Keenan’s review and insight on Punflay Dissection apps.

This blog is dedicated to my father who instilled the love of inquiry learning in his daughter’s heart and mind. Love you dad!

FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!

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03 Apr 2012
Comments: 2

Thanks 4 the Support

Hot Apps 4 HOTS has exceeded 6,000 downloads in the iBookstore. Yolanda and I want to thank all of you who downloaded the book and have offered your support in word of mouth and tweets.

Hot Apps 4 HOTS: FREE ePub Available in iBooks

A special thanks to those who blogged about the resource and reviewed it: 

  1. Free Technology for Teachers: Hot Apps for Higher Order Thinking and From Ideas to iBooks – Great Advice
  2. Apps in Education: Hot Apps 4 HOTS and Jackpot: iPad Lessons
  3. Just iPadding Along: Hot Apps 4 HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills)
  4. Learning in Hand: Guide to Using Free Apps to Support Higher Order Thinking Skills
  5. Inquisitive Dog: Fresh Ideas from TCEA
  6. iDevice in the Mountains: Must Have ePub for iPads in the Classroom

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