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12 Feb 2013
Comments: 4

Greathouse’s GREAT Curricular Use of Puppet Pals

Greathouse’s middle school class has done it again (check out their first iLesson using Explain Everything)! Rather than have students read the entire chapter on climate, she created an iJigsaw app-tivity. Students were divided into groups and assigned  a section of the climate chapter to summarize and report on. They were given the freedom to choose how and which app would be best to present the content they were responsible for.

Given the freedom to shine, this group chose Puppet Pals and really did the app and the content justice, if I do say so myself.

Check out Puppet Pals Featured Videos

Can’t get enough of Puppet Pals? Have you seen Puppet Pals 2? Test out the FREE version but I have a feeling you will end up buying the All Access Pass.

Puppet Pals 2: Characters, Props, Soundtracks, Zoomable/Panning Sets and More!


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02 Jan 2013
Comments: 3

Sharing App-thusiasm for iLearning!

When I started my blog almost two years ago, I had no idea that it would have the reach that it does. I merely wanted to create a space to display resources for my campus and district in a more user-friendly fashion than a static website and carve out a nook to archive all of the ideas that float around in my head and showcase the ones I get to observe each day as I walk the halls.

Sharing App-thusiasm and iResources: As I mentioned in my last post, blogging is one of those art forms that is time-consuming but rewarding in so many ways. The idea of speaking from your heart and sharing resources has become more and more common place. When someone reaches out from cyberland and makes a human connection, I am instantly reminded why I spend countless hours blogging and sharing:

“I love that so many are so generous with ideas and help each other grow.

It all boils down to helping kids for me.”

“Thanks for the inspiration to create, have fun and open doors for my kids.”

I received the above comments from Debbie Rice in San Jose, California who works for a school district that is testing the feasibility of 1:1 iPads. She had been following my site since May and app-reciated all of the resources shared in my prolific posts. She went on to share that she teaches a class of students with high functioning autism and the students have greatly benefitted instructionally from the devices.

I felt truly touched by Debbie’s kind words but found myself even more blessed to find that she too had begun to share and share alike… a treasure trove of iResources and student products! Projects ranged from advice letters to Rudolph and Island of the Blue Dolphins book reports using Scribble Press to probability and pumpkin math investigations using Popplet. Students even dabbled in augmented reality to create a Virtual Book Review Board using Aurasma. One of my favorites was flower dissection using Popplet as I had never considered using Popplet to annotate over an image. App-solutely Brilliant!

iLesson Collage Created with Picture2Life site.


Sparking Love for iLearning: Similarly, I presented a session on the 1 iPad Classroom and iProductivity at a TCEA event in Frisco where I was a featured speaker. One of the attendees, Taylor Clark, was a high school senior who had tagged along with her mother and shared her thoughts on the two sessions:

“You sparked in me a new love for learning that I didn’t have before. I have come back to school (I am a high school senior) and told every single one of my teachers what I learned from your sessions.

Thank you so much for what you do!”

She went on to say: “You were very animated with your presentation, which I believe always holds people’s attention. Also, your information was just superb, after your sessions I felt like I was on tech overload and needed a apple detox program (in a good way). It would be wonderful to see you again, I truly loved your sessions. In a world of educational negativity (at least in my area), people like you continue to lift spirits and relight sparks of a love for learning!”

App-thusiasm created with Designs for Pages app

As we embark in to 2013, I wanted to thank all of you who blog, create, and publish resources online for your creativity and gift of time. Additionally, much gratitude goes to those of you who curate and consume these resources. The collaboration between minds and iClassrooms has just begun. And truly we do it all to ultimately benefit our students!

Every day I power on my Mac or mobile device, I am truly inspired by the level of  innovation and technology integration I locate via blogs and social networks. Many of these blogs are showcased here on the “33 Best Educational Technology Blogs” list (which TechChef4u was nominated).

Guest Bloggers needed: On that note, I wanted to share an app-ortunity. TechChef4u is looking for guest bloggers! Particularly those of you who want to share how you are using the iPad in your classroom in any configuration, grade level, or content area. More details will be provided soon. If you are interested, please contact


WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

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Contact TechChef4u to schedule Spring & Summer PD and Workshops:

HCMS 2013 Site Visits Now Available!

Ted X Youth Austin 3/30/2012!

Come visit me at FETC. I will be presenting a 3 hour workshop on Monday entitled “Student Created Books in the iClassroom.”


19 Dec 2012
Comments: 9

Science Explained

At last week’s iPad site visit, a student on the panel was describing her favorite iLesson:

“It was in science. It is an interactive periodic table (app). We were learning about the elements. You click on an element and it gives you the history, who made it, how you use it, what it is used for. Another cool feature is you can make them. You can keep on adding neutrons, electrons, and protons as much as you like and every time you click on the plus or minus, it tells you what element you just made. The results were really amazing. We had more interest in the periodic table than we ever had before mainly because it was fun, it was interesting, we actually got to play around with it and see what we could make with it instead of just giving us a piece of paper and telling us ‘research these’.”

The student was referring to the NOVA Elements app. While this app clearly made an impression on the student, I was really thrilled when Ms. Greathouse contacted me about using some product-based apps to create review resources for the 8th grade test. The students were allowed to choose either Explain Everything, Strip Designer, or Keynote.

Some of the Plate Tectonic topics/concepts to choose from were:

  • A divergent boundary occurs when two plates move away from one another creating rift valleys in continental material and ridges in ocean basins.
  • Mountain ranges, volcanoes, rift valleys and other land features can be observed from space, and these images can be used to support theories about tectonic plate activity.
  • Evidence of changes that occurred in the past can be observed from space, allowing scientists to predict changes that might occur in the future due to sediment deposition, glacier movement, and river courses.

What a wonderful iLearning moment this was! Students collaborated and taught each other the technology skills they needed to achieve the content portion of the task in real time. I heard questions like, “How do you add arrows to Keynote?” and “Show me how you embedded an animated gif in Explain Everything?”. In between answering questions and observing the iLearning process, I took a little video footage:

iRubrics: Later, Ms. Greathouse and I discussed how she would grade the projects. She wanted to ensure that students would not just do the bare minimum  while rewarding  those who went above and beyond. We both agreed the best way to achieve this goal was with a rubric. After combining and tweaking a few online rubrics, Ms. Greathouse focused on content, writing processes, layout, and graphics, and shared the one below:

iPad Product Rubric


iProducts Assessment Sharecase: In this world of differentiation, product-based learning, and mobile devices, how are you assessing student productivity and iLearning? Would love to hear about your student products and assessments and even see some rubrics. Please share in the comment section below.


WME050 - Student Created Books in the iClassroom

650+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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Contact TechChef4u:

Ted X Youth Austin 3/30/2012!

Come visit me at FETC. I will be presenting a 3 hour workshop on Monday entitled “Student Created Books in the iClassroom.”


30 Nov 2012
Comments: 7

Science and Social Studies Stripped Down

Going Batty: Hot off the iPress! I received a batty iLesson from Laura Wright, a 3rd grade teacher at Eanes Elementary (check out this Smilebox about how she manages the iPads in her classroom). She piloted a 1:1 last year and continues to trail blaze the iFrontier.

Laura shared a 5 page student-created comic which focuses on bat myths and reality (portions seen below). Her students even coined a new phrase “multi-apping” which means creating something in one app and applying it to another – wonder how long it will take for that phrase to appear in the urban dictionary? This particular method can be seen in the last page of the comic where the student set a scene in Puppet Pals, took a screenshot of said scene, exported it to the photo roll, and plopped it into the Strip Designer comic.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project


Laura mentioned that the students truly loved this app and let their creativity run wild as can be seen in the bat “cover page”, photos of students with bats in their hair, and the conclusion with Obama telling America that bat funding would be increased this year. This comic showcases evidence of student learning while also capturing distinct personality and humor.

Laura Wright's Class Batty Project


Earth Landings: The very same week, second grade teacher Lisa Carnazzo sent me her class using Strip Designer. Looks like her class also experimented with some multi-apping. They explored landforms in Google Earth and classified and labeled them in Strip Designer.  (More pics and info about this iLesson can be viewed here.) Lisa did mention that while the students enjoyed the project, some of the elements proved difficult to manipulate for the primary students.

Carnazzo's Stripped Down Landforms


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.

For more examples of how Strip Designer is used in the iClassroom:

  1. History Stripped Down
  2. English Stripped Down: A Student Perspective
  3. iHealthy Living
  4. iPattern Scavenger Hunt

590+  iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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27 Sep 2012
Comments: 0

Creating Digital Artifacts: Part 4

Continuing on a trend (or tour) of digital artifacts… showcasing examples of how traditional tasks can be digitally archived and sharing the steps of student workflow, I wanted to highlight an elementary Science iLesson from one of my favorite elementary teachers, Lisa Carnazzo.

Last year she had students use the iCardSort app to classify objects by motion (see Clever Carnazzo’s Cards iLesson for more details).

This year she reinvented the lesson using Turbo Collage and Audioboo. I love the idea of showcasing a traditional lab in such a digitally delightful manner. For all four student group examples and their audioboo explanations and reflections, visit the Carnazzo Class Wiki. Want more ideas for how to digitally archive and display student learning… bounce, roll, spin, or slide on over to the Carnazzo Class TimeKiwi.

Digitally Showcasing Traditional Tasks with Turbo Collage


More Digital Artifact Inspiration:

  1. Creating and Collecting Digital Work
  2. Creating Digital Artifacts with Sonic Pics
  3. Digital Homework Reflection with Audioboo
  4. Showcasing Digital Work: Leaving a Digital Learning Legacy
  5. An iPattern Scavenger Hunt with Skitch and Strip Designer


More TechChef4u Math iLessons HERE!

300+ iPad Lessons Pinned HERE!

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25 Jul 2012
Comments: 1

More Science Investigations using the iPad

In the spirit of my last post, I would like to share another science apptivity for the iPad. I wish I could take credit for this one but Bryan P Doyle is the author of the resource. I had the pleasure of attending his session at the Area 7 Conference this summer. The topic was “iConstruction”. We were assembled in small groups and given our materials (e.g. marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti noodles) with the challenge to build the tallest tower that could outstand the other towers for the longest period of time (or 30 seconds). Bryan’s full post and more info for the app-tivity can be found on his blog.

Here’s how Bryan constructed the workflow of the iLearning experience:

  • Step 1: Open the Apptivity Directions (an ePub) on your iPad.
  • Step 2: Launch Safari to research the best configuration and structure for your tower
  • Step 3: Use the Neu.KidsDraw app to draw the tower you plan to build
  • Step 4: Utilize the iMotion HD app to record the actual construction


As Jon and I were the “problem children” in the group, we may have scrapped steps 2 and 3 and jumped straight to step 4. While we didn’t have the tallest tower, we ended up with the most expansive and had a wonderfully enjoyable time with the app-tivity. Below is the iMotion HD film that captured our construction process.

Check out other Science iLessons here.

25 Jul 2012
Comments: 2

Apple iCore: Science Investigations using the iPad

If you have not read between the lines in previous posts, I would like to formally share that I have made the transition from NorthEast ISD to Eanes ISD. This week I have had the pleasure of attending their Apple Core academy.

Eanes iCore


One of the app-tivities we explored was a science investigation involving coins and a water dropper. Jon Samuelson and I worked collaboratively to complete the lab. The workflow used Keynote and the camera app on the iPad or Mac to document the lab. The video below was compiled in iMovie by saving the Keynote slides as images. While I spend most of my time focusing on free apps, I will say I would highly recommend using Keynote on the iPad to document learning in the iClassroom.

Check out other Science iLessons here.

22 Apr 2012
Comments: 9

5 Ways to be Green with your iPad!

I came across the app Painting With Time and Painting with Time: Climate Change a few months ago and was absolutely blown away! As Earth Day is on the horizon (Sunday, April 22nd 2012), I thought it might be app-ropro to provide a handful of suggestions to teach climate change and support being green using the iPad. (The climate change app is currently paid for Earth Day. The app developer will be donating half of the net proceeds to the Union of Concerned Scientists to aid their research on the effects of climate change on our planet.)

While I typically focus on product-based apps, Painting with Time & Painting with Time: Climate Change provide a fantastic springboard to action: 

  1. Create a children’s book using an app like iPen FREE or Albums FX Lite using screenshots from Painting with Time Climate Change (or some of the apps below) to teach the effect of drought, global warming, flooding, volcanic eruptions, etc…
  2. Create a public service announcement or action alert using screenshots from Painting with Time: Climate Change (or some of the apps below) using an app like Videolicious or Bloom*.
  3. Create a screen-cast using an app like ScreenChomp to explain what occurred or caused the changes in the before and after images provided in Painting with Time Climate Change.
  4. Compose an earth day poem or prose using PWT app screenshots (or some of the apps below) and an app like Visual Poet.
  5. Create a Talking Tom & Ben News report to explain the climate change in your home town.


Check out these apps to support or inspire your green iProjects (all of the apps below can be found in the new FREE edu TechChef4u app database):

Other Classroom Ideas/Resources for Earth Day

  1. 10 Activities and Videos for Earth Day
  2. Scholastic Lesson Plans for Earth Day

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!

Me & My Dad

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!

18 Feb 2012
Comments: 2

Tis the Season for iLearning

I have had the pleasure of sharing many of Ms. Carnazzo’s creations in the techchef4u kitchen and thought it was about time I took a trip to her classroom. Yolanda and I had the opportunity to observe Carnazzo in action and assist a group in completing their Seasons project. The weather that day was quite fitting as neither one of us were dressed nor prepared for the torrential downpour.

The first thing I noticed was her classroom management. All students were on task, at a level 0, and were working on the assignment that they were expected to complete. Before the activity, Ms. Carnazzo (2nd grade teacher) reviewed the task and the CHAMP’s Expectations for student behavior. Then students were then split up into 4 groups. One group worked with Ms. Carnazzo on the carpet finalizing their script and storyboard while the others worked quietly at their desks doing independent work. Each group was responsible for a different season.

Carnazzo's iClassroom


Science 2.8B: Identify the importance of weather and seasonal information to make choices in clothing, activities and transportation.

Beforehand: Before we arrived, small groups had researched info on their season using BrinpopJr videos and the Science text to describe their seasons citing the following elements:

  1. Typical weather/temperature
  2. Types of clothing to wear
  3. Activities appropriate for that weather
  4. Kinds of transportation they might use (e.g. to get to school)

Groups had also discussed and written ideas for their Puppet Pals video using the provided Storyboard template. Ms. Carnazzo had pre-selected a seasonal image background from both Puppet Pals Director’s Pass app and Doodle Buddy’s background gallery.

During Class: Small groups worked with the teacher (and Yolanda and myself) to:

  1. Finalize their Puppet Pals ideas
  2. Practice their presentations without actually recording (took several run-throughs)
  3. Record their video (as time permits)

Logistics: Groups not working with a teacher had another weather activity to work on quietly at their desk. In working with a group first-hand I discovered a few things:

  1. You can only practice the script a couple of times before the students start losing interest. I found the best course of action was to practice once or twice with the script, record a rough draft, listen to it, and record one more, and then choose the best of the two.
  2. Passing around the script and the iPad causes a bit of background noise. I found if I held the iPad and handed it to each child when it was their time to speak, some of the noise of moving the iPad was reduced.
  3. The Puppet Pals video file is too large to email. Since the students recorded their show on my device and not Ms. Carnazzo’s, I had one of two options: upload to YouTube as a private file and then download from there, or pull it off when I synced my device at home.


Carnazzo's Season's Student Projects

If you are interested in how to manage an iClassroom or how to purposefully integrate 1 iPad in to a classroom, tune in Thursday March 1st at 3:30pm as the famous Lisa Carnazzo will be our guest “The 1 iPad Classroom“. If you missed the live show, check it out in iTunes the next day.