08 Aug 2018
Comments: 0

Values Sort Activity for Students

UPDATED 4/2021:

This is probably my favorite activity to do. I engage it in at least twice a year personally and professionally. Here is my most recent example. AND there are so many curricular extensions too…

Context and Clarification to the Values and Goal-Setting Activities

I think it is always important to start with the why of an activity so here are a few nuggets to ruminate on:

  • College and Career Readiness Skills: Working at a high school, college and career readiness skills are naturally at the forefront of my mind and personal and academic goal-setting is an important part of that process. If values are not at the foundation, the goals tend to fall by the wayside because they are not intrinsic to who they are and what they value.
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health: SEL skills and mental health are even more imperative than before. And being able to narrow your focus and really understand yourself at your core in every season of your life is truly an opportunity we don’t provide enough to ourselves or our students.
  • Research and Real Life: When I was doing research for both of my school and life-ready books Cultivating Communication in the Classroom and Creatively Productive, I ventured out into reading books and collecting anecdata from entrepreneurs, life coaches, successful business owners, etc… and while each definitely highlighted the need for goal-setting… all of them were firmly rooted in the process of deciphering your values first.

Explanation of Values Activity and Documents

As of lately, I have been trying to create resources that are accessible and editable. While there are many activities online that are values audits, very few of them are editable or anything more than a list, which is fine, but I wanted this activity to be fun and engaging too. And I think by making it feel like poetry magnets, it also adds a tactile sort of component to the process. I also wanted to make it editable so students or teachers could add the core set of values they wanted to start sorting rather than use a default list. Both the Numbers and Google Slides versions can be found in the Doc Locker below.

  • Numbers: The Numbers version is editable and designed for MacBook, iPad, and iPhone. It is pretty simplistic in nature as I really wanted you and your students to have the opportunity to modify it as you see fit.
  • Google Slides: The Google Slides version is editable and strongly resembles the poetry magnet activities Edutech for Teachers and Shake Up Learning and Free Tech for Teachers create with Google Slides and/or Google Jamboard. 
  • Additional Resources: I also wanted to provide you with some additional tools. Please know that because these have been created by other people, the values themselves may not be editable and you may come across a few that you feel are not age-appropriate. That being said… they are still great resources to explore.
    • PDF: So I didn’t create my own PDF for you but there are plenty out there and I did link to them for you here.
    • Online: I also found some online versions if you want to play around with them:
  • OMT – Curricular Extensions: I absolutely love creative writing SO I wanted to mention that this activity could also be turned into a values audit for a historical figure or a literary character. One could also reverse this activity and use it in conjunction with a digital wellness or digital citizenship lesson and have students examine a social media feed (e.g. personal, professional, political, business, etc…) and evaluate the values of that person or entity based on what they share.


Don’t forget the 50+ Library Cards as well as lots more templates, digital downloads, goodies can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

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18 Apr 2018
Comments: 0

8+ Creative Ways to Use to Old Library Cards

UPDATED 4/2021:

As you well know, I love books, art supplies, and journaling. Recently, I started offering a session called “Notable Note-taking”. It is a mash-up of bullet journaling and a reader/writer’s notebook and I blend both analog and digital tools. One of my favorite analog tools is the library card. In the art journaling and mixed media realm and on etsy, this little gem is quite the hot commodity. In fact Heidi Pitri has just published a book entitled Permanent Record using this kickstarter campaign that features artfully embellished ones. She refers to these cards as “borrower cards” or “signature cards” and has created original pen and ink drawings on these cards from classic titles and authors. Check her out on Instagram @heidipitreart to see multiple examples. Oftentimes these library cards are referred to as ephemera (e.g. collectible memorabilia). And if you have a few hours, search “ephemera” on etsy. You will discover 280,000+ results. And a search on etsy of “library cards” provides well over 12,000+ results.

Let’s Love on these Library Cards…

So… I thought I would share some ideas for using these library cards in the classroom… The idea would be to let students choose a card that speaks to them by the title alone and then…

  • Compose a poem
  • Generate a list
  • Create a list of suggested books someone would like if they chose this book (like Amazon)
  • Compose a soundtrack for the book
  • Jot down the first and last sentence of the book
  • Determine what questions this book answers
  • Chart out the chapters this book would include
  • Draft the cover of the book
  • Imagine who would check out this book (e.g. current, historical, literary, fictional)

And here are a few examples of how I have used them in the past in my own journal:

Truly, the sky is the limit for these and how they are used. And remember these can be app smashed with pretty much any tool to create something really amazing. Oh wait… I think I gave away the next part…. 😉

Let Me at those Library Cards

Of course the problem with these signature or library cards is that they are indeed ephemera and at some point, they will run out… so I decided to scan 50 or so of my favorites and upload them to the Creatively Productive doc locker (which you can access below). The beauty of making them digital is that we will have them preserved forever AND now they can be mixed with digital elements. They can be annotated in apps like Notability, collaged and embellished in apps like Pic Collage, and augmented in Thinglink. I hope you enjoy.

Literally Ephemera is Legit

I really try. But I am literally incapable of ending a blog post without leaving you with just a bit more… If you like this idea of ephemera and creative writing, let’s take a quick jaunt. I have curated two Pinterest boards of digital ephemera goodies here (Fuzzimo and Ephemera). These should be FREE downloads of digitally scanned in goods and papers. And if you are like me and want to wholeheartedly tumble down the rabbit hole, I will leave you with some other sites to soften the blow. 😉 These little analog… now digital gems are perfect for visual research papers and assignments as well as some pretty stellar creative writing projects too.

  • The Ephemera Society: They include an item of the month with a description and sometimes historical relevance.
  • Inspired Barn: There are many freebies on this site. Some of my favorites are the book covers and vintage mail.
  • Clearly Vintage: Also fantastic. I love that she shares pictures with descriptions.
  • New York Public Library Digital Collection: They have a ton of public domain vintage images ranging from maps and illustrations to photos and scrapbooks.

Sometimes I share fully baked ideas and sometimes I like to provide all the ingredients and see what you cook up. In this case, I have opted for the latter. Dig into these digital goods and consider how these historical artifacts can and should impact and inform our current art, writing, research, storytelling, and ideas.


Don’t forget the 50+ Library Cards as well as lots more templates, digital downloads, goodies can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive a link shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.

Receive Access to the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker

* indicates required





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


10 May 2012
Comments: 0

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.

01 Apr 2012
Comments: 0

iClassify Triangles

Tasked to modify an existing paper-based lesson on classifying triangles to be more multimedia (and mobile) in nature, I chose to create two separate lessons:

Direct Instruction: If teachers wanted to include a direct teach piece, the following videos would serve the purpose.


Web 2.0/Computer:

  1. Student Task 1: Utilize the deck below to view the 7 mystery triangles. Check your understanding by flipping the card over to get the answer.
  2. Student Task 2: Draw a triangle to match the description for each of the mystery triangles using Paint or Smart Notebook Express (or a recording sheet).



  1. Student Task 1: Access the Mystery Triangle deck using an iDevice and the Flashcards* app:
    1. Launch Flashcardlet app.
    2. Tap Flashcards.
    3. Tap + sign in upper right hand corner to Download from Quizlet.
    4. Tap in the search space.
    5. Type “Techchef4u”.
    6. Tap Creator and tap Search.
    7. Select Mystery Triangle Exercise.
    8. Tap Add to Library.
    9. Tap Cancel and tap Library to return to your personal Flashcard library.
    10. Tap to select Mystery Triangle Exercise to review deck.
    11. Tap Study and start studying.
    12. Review all 7 cards in the deck: swipe to go to the next card and tap on a card to see the back of the card.
  2. Student Task 2: Draw a triangle to match the description for each of the mystery triangles using Popplet Lite, iPen Free, or or Xnote.



  1. Have students create their own Quizlet deck for Mystery Quadrilaterals.
  2. Utilize Doodle Buddy, Story Lines for Schools, or TypeDrawing FREE to illustrate triangles.
  3. Have students make a talking triangle video for a specific triangle using Mad Lips.
  4. Have students create an instructional video to teach classifying triangles using ScreenChomp, Explain Everything, ShowMe, or Educreations. (See example Classifying Triangles video from Math Lambert).
  5. Have students create their own triangle song using SongifyVideo Star, or Videolicious.


See original Triangle Song and adaptation below: 

More iLessons:

  1. Math iLessons & Pinterest iPad Lessons


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