Wednesday, April 18, 2012

eBooks and Digital Storytelling

Today, I taught another technology training session for some co-workers at my school. I focused mostly on eBooks and digital storytelling since those are a huge part of my classroom. Here is the information I shared with the teachers below. You can also check out my LiveBinder too. Happy reading! :)

WeGiveBooks has a plethora of eBooks that can be used for read aloud or during read to self time on the computer including informational texts and fiction texts. Some popular titles are the Skippy Jon Jones series, DK Readers, and llama llama series.
Free Kids Books -
Free Kids Books provides some free eBooks for kids. Some of the more popular titles are Tyrone the Horrible,  Some cost money but almost all books can be downloaded as a free pdf file. You could print these out as books to read in the lower grades.
Read to Me is a site with online streaming videos of celebrities reading books. Some book titles include Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, Duck and Cover, Duck Soup, and Chrysanthemum. Every book also includes a lesson plan to use for reading and/or writing.
Storyline Online is another site with online streaming videos of celebrities reading books. Some book titles include The Rainbow Fish, Thank You, Mr. Falker, Brave Irene, and Stellaluna.
Oxford Owl has over 250 free ebooks in their online library. These books are part of the Oxford readers and include expository and fiction texts.
MeeGenius! includes a few free ebooks. Others are available for preview and purchase.
Magic Town is a new site that just came out. It offers a few books for free but it may not be free once it’s out of the beta version. It does require a log in and is geared towards younger students.
Children’s Books Forever includes a few classic ebooks for younger students to read.
The Little Big Book Club includes ebooks that can be read or read to. This site is geared towards kindergarten.
International Children’s Digital Library -
       ICDL includes international books written from various countries. Books can be searched by
       country, age, topic, or length of book.
Digital Storytelling

       Storybird allows students to create short, digital books inspired by art.

       Zooburst is a digital storytelling tool that allows students to write a digital 3D pop-up book.

       TikaTok allows students to create digital stories to read online or print as a book.

       One of Kerpoof’s tools is to create a story book. Students can share and print the story
       book when it is completed.

Little Bird Tales -
       Little Bird Tales is geared towards younger students. Students can create a digital book by
       uploading or creating art, writing their story, and recording their story.

       Students choose characters for their story, type or record dialogue, and choose a
       background to create a digital story.

Domo Animate allows students to add characters to create scenes In a slideshow format to
       tell a story.

Presenter: Kirsten Taylor
Livebinder: “Technology Tools” (Search for kirstentaylor in Authors)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We love eBooks in our room! I thought I'd take a moment and share some of the eBook sites we've been using the last couple of months. Happy reading!

This is my latest fine and already a fav! We Give Books has several children's eBooks that you can use in your classroom. One of my new favorites is Goodnight iPad, similar to the book Goodnight Moon
These are all free eBooks.

This site has eBooks for young kids. Some of the stories are unknown but they also have books from the Arthur series.

Tumblebooks is a great resource for eBooks for kids.  Unfortunately, it does cost money. However, there are readable books, audio books, and even books that read to you! Most books also have quizzes or games associated with them. Our school purchases this program so our kids can use it at school and home. The kids absolutely love it! They are also more and more nonfiction books too.

This is actually a link to an app for iPad or iPhone. Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors and I thought this is a great resource for classrooms using iPads, especially for the younger kiddos!

This is actually a site of videos where actors are reading well-known books. I like to use these from time to time for a reading lesson when I want to put a little novelty in my lesson. 

Barnes and Noble has some books online read by authors or actors. This is great for younger kids!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Google Activities for Kids

This session was presented by Tammy Worcester.

Tammy started off with talking about blogging with kids. Blogger is hosted by Google and students do not have to log into Google to comment on the blog.

You can easily set up your blog so that you can email your blog posts instead of logging in and posting on your blog.

Collaborative Blog
Students can email a picture and/or text to your blog.

Blog Comments
  •        Learning Journal
  •        Dear Gabby
  •        Reading Response Journal
  •     BatchGeo

Google Presentations

Google Forms 
Paste your location data (from Google forms) to generate a free map. Tammy used a Google form that we filled out and she created a map of where we are all from. 

She also took the characteristics of a teacher that we typed into her Google Form and pasted them into a Wordle. (Hint: Be sure to tell students not to use capital letters. Otherwise, capitalized words will show up as different words in Wordle.) You can do a similar thing with Tagxedo as well.

Examples: students' favorite vacation spot, where they were born, how far they've traveled, etc.

Ways to Use Wordle: Whale of a Wordle - words that have to do with the ocean, Wordle for George Washington,

Quiz Competition: Create a Quiz in Google Docs
(Tip: Don't add a theme to the quiz if students are using cell phones or iPads to complete the quiz. It slows it down.)
You can create two fields: Name and Answer so you can use it over and over for quiz competitions or quiz bowls.

If you have ever been to one of Tammy's sessions, you know she goes quickly through her stuff. I feel like I didn't get a chance to type in everything she discussed. However, you can always go to her site to find out all of the info she shared in the presentation. :)

All of her presentations for TCEA are available on her website here.

Sweet 16

Sweet 16
16 Digital Projects for K-5 Classrooms

This was a great session all about 16 different digital projects you could do in your K-5 classroom. I learned a lot of great ideas for simple digital projects.

Word Clouds
  • Famous Speech
  • Poems
  • Text from a book
  • Student written essays

  • You can have students paste their paper in Wordle to see what words are used the most.
  • You can also copy and paste text from a book to determine main idea. 


Comic Strips
Practice New Vocabulary Words
Social Skills Training
Foreign Language Practice
Strengthen Conflict Resolution Skills

Make Beliefs Comix –
Kerpoof –
Aven’s Corner –

5 Photo Frame Story
Digital Storytelling
  •             Paper Slide
  •             Kid Pix
  •             Digital Camera
  •             Photos

5 Frame Story Outline
    Establish characters and location - Title
    Create a situation with possibilities
     Involve the characters in the situation
    Build to probable outcomes
    Logical, but surprise ending

Story Spine
Digital Storytelling
            Photo Booth
            Kid Pix
            Keynote/Power Point
            Digital Cameras

Six Word Memoir (Tell a story using only six words.)

Slide Show
  • Photos set to music
  • Students display work
  • iPhoto
  • Keynote
  • iMovie
  • PowerPoint
  • Photostory3
  • Discovery Education has several pictures you can use.  You can also use music from FreePlay music and download samples onto the Student Drive for students to use in their presentations.
Graphic Organizers
Reflection Video
  • Student uses PhotoBooth to record reflection for teacher use only.
  • End of unit
  • End of book
  • Formative assessment
  • Example


Radio Broadcast
Can be created with Garage Band, iPod Touch, Audacity

Pecha Kucha
  • 20 images, no text
  • 20 seconds per slide to advance automatically
  • Presenter speaks along to each slide
  • Here's a little history behind 'Pecha Kucha' 
Music Videos

Paper Slide Video
Fakebook Page
  • Students can make a fake FB page for a person they are studying.
  • There's a great blog article with 5 fake Facebook templates  for student projects here
You can find all of the information on this presentation at
Search for "ebenno" under author and you can see her 7 public live binders. The LiveBinder for this presentation is entitled "Digital Resources for K-5 Teachers'

Elizabeth Benno – Digital Learning Coach
Puster elementary School, Lovejoy ISD

Using Cool Tech Tools in the Classroom

This session was all about tech tools to use that coincide with Bloom's Taxonomy.


  • Mashing
  • Linking
  • Validating
  • Media Clipping
  • Tools: Inspiration or Popplet (comparisons), Skype (conduct interviews), GoogleForms,
I love using Google Forms with my class. Here is a quick video how-to so you can start using them in your classroom easily.

You can also Google "Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Pyramid" and see several examples of digital tools separated out into each taxonomy level. Click here to see an example.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Teaching Digital Learners

This session is all about how to reach our "wired" kids who have grown up online and texting.

"Television is a push technology. Computers are a push/pull technology. It pulls them in."

The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Might Deceive Us

  • This was quite an interesting video! Check it out above. I can see using this video with my kids and having the discussion about slowing down and really paying attention to details. "Shark it"(The laptop looks like a shark closing it's mouth) - We can't let students be overdrive the whole time. 
"You have outsourced the warehousing of data to a peripheral device or devices." Yet, we shut our kids off of their devices when they get to school. Bring Your Own Device to School districts are changing this....letting students use their digital tools.

"Kids can make 110 decision a minute." (based on Harvard research) - They can apply all this to video games and real world situations.

Tools to Use with Digital Students- Here are some of the tools he discussed in his session...there are many more available on his site.

Creative Tools
Odds and Ends
I think the most interesting tool was Google Sketch Up. 3D images would really engage my kids. There are quicklinks to a bunch of Google Sketch Ups here.

Presenter: Kevin Honeycutt

A Toolbox of Web 2.0 Tools

The presenter started out by saying her site, Producers Toolbox, is a toolbox full of Web 2.0 tools designed for kids to use. This toolbox has tools categorized into Videos & Presentations, Voice and Sound, Comics, Fun Tools, and Reference and Search. Some of the tools are ones I learned about earlier today, and some are new.

One of the sites we learned about is EduTeacher TV. There are some great informative video clips about Web 2.0 Tools out there. One focused on ZooBurst which is a collaborative writing tool I learned about earlier today. You can check out the video here. I can't explain how neat ZooBurst is without the use of this fascinating!

You can check out the Producers Toolbox to check out all of these Web 2.0 Tools. :)

Presenter: Kimberly Ball

Website Resources for the Interactive ActivClassroom

This session was all about interactive resources to use in your classroom. Even though it was presented by a Promethean consultant, you can use it with any whiteboard, computer, etc.

1. PBS Interactive

  • This site has educational, flash-based game with rollover capability.

2. KeepVid

  • Save YouTube videos to your computer and use to embed in flipcharts. 
  • When I went on this site it tried to get me to sign up for it with a credit card so I'm not sure about using that. I use SaveYouTube all the time which also downloads videos to your computer. It's very easy to embed these mp4 files into a flipchart so your students don't see YouTube comments and inappropriate content
  • This site has nice photos that are copyright free.

4. Starfall

  • Starfall is a reading site where students can go through interactive lessons to learn to read. Starfall also has a "more" option including math, which you have to pay for.

  • Built for K-5 students divided into sections like letters, numbers, and more. Some interactive activities they have include fraction tiles, coins, time, etc.
  • Upload pictures/slides and it will transform it into a jigsaw puzzle. Students will move the puzzle pieces around to figure out the picture. 
  • You can use it for a map of the united states, to introduce a new unit, and more. You can also use jigsaw puzzles created by other people.
  • Free interactive games, karaoke songs, and quizzes all about math and science.
  • This site lets you organize websites for kids to use during research by creating a short page listing seven links. It creates one short url for students to go to with live pictures of each site. 
  • Use Wordle to explore character traits, project covers, to introduce a new topic, embed in a flipchart, and more. (I always have my kids go to so they don't come across any inappropriate Wordle examples that could have recently been created.)
  • You can do an advanced google search to look for information on a specific topic by file type. For example, search Fractions on Google. At the bottom of the page, click on Advanced Search. Then, under file type, select Flash and it will show you only flash pages with fractions. 

Promethean Presenter

Hello TCEA!

I'm so excited to have the opportunity to attend TCEA again this year. I always learn so many new things and have a chance to introduce my students to new technology tools. We flew in last night and we are starting in our very first workshop bright and early!

The first workshop I'm attending is 'Give Kids the World'. In the first five minutes, I've gathered that it's all about collaboration, which is something my kids and I love! Dr. Howie started out by discussing how important it is for kids to collaborate with others around the world. Some of the skills he believes are required for students to be successful in the 21st century are leadership, information literacy, communication skills, critical/inventive thinking, use of 21st century tools, and personal attributes such as ambition and time management.

Here are some different things we discussed throughout the three hour session:
Read Around the Planet
  • Read Around the Planet matches teachers up for video-conferences between schools for students to share projects.
Web Conferencing
  • We discussed a variety of web conferencing resources on Caisefiles wiki. Check out a list of web conferencing tools here.
Global Education Conference Ning
  • This ning is centered around the Global Education Conference and has a lot of resources available.
iEARN (International Education & Resource Network) - "Learning with the world not just about it."
  • This site is all about collaboration! It provides links to several collaborative projects spread out over 130 countries, 30 languages, 40,000 educators, and 2 million children.

  • This global community can be used as a free tool or can be purchased. For no cost, you can create a teacher profile and get 30 free student email addresses to use in the collaborative projects. There are several collaborative projects including global weather, digital storytelling, maps, national disasters, and more.
  • I really like how detailed the projects are. They include lesson plans, detailed instructions, along with standards they are linked to.
  • This site is financially funded by IBM, National Geographic, and Microsoft which allows ePals to help teachers connect with others around the world for free.
7 Tools Students Can Use to Manage Group Projects
  • This blog entry comes from the 'Free Technology for Teachers' blog.
  • It includes links and information for the following tools:
    • Pegby
      • A board you can set up task cards under three columns: pending, in process, done. You can invite friends to join your board.
    • Teambox
      • You can use team calendars to add dates, upload files, and collaborate about team projects with your team.
    • Enter the Group
      • You can enter a project in, add details, and add people to your group.
    • Todoist
      • Helps you manage tasks and set up deadlines. You can create projects and assignments and prioritize projects. You can also integrate Todoist into your gemail account, in iGoogle gadgets, and as an extension on Google Chrome. It is a sister service for Wedoist.
    • Trello
      • This site is for individuals and groups to manage tasks. It is set up as a virtual corkboard where group members can pin task cards. Group members can be assigned tasks and you can arrange task cards into columns like 'to do', 'in progress', and 'completed'.
    • Wiggio
      • This collaborative tool is used to schedule virtual meetings, manage events with a shared calendar, create to-do lists, assign tasks, poll your group, and send emails/texts/voice messages.
    • Ta-da List
  • Skype Premium (7 day free trial) is a paid Skype service which allows you to videoconference with more than one person at a time. It includes group screen sharing and group video calling.
  • Skype can be used to connect with classrooms around the world and go on virtual fieldtrips.
Global Nomads Group
  • This is a paid service that helps you connect with schools internationally.
Flat Classroom Projects
  • This site helps you connect with other classes around the world through collaborative projects. It is designed mostly for middle and high school classes.
Sites Like Etherpad (Realtime Collaborative Text Editing)
  • PrimaryPad
  • TitanPad
  • PiratePad
  • Today's Meet
  • We've used some of these tools in my classroom to have collaborative discussions about a read aloud without disrupting the read aloud itself. With 25 students on it at one time, it became a bit frustrating to them to have their text accidentally deleted, or even to know what color was their text. I can see using it for group projects though. While students are working on their netbooks, researching for their group project, they can have collaborative discussions on TypeWithMe to keep in contact throughout the research process. If you set up the rooms to be available for over a week or so, students could also collaborate at home. I will be trying that out next week!
Google Docs Project
  • You can share Google Docs, allow other users to collaborate and work together on your document, or even share documents through email or via a link.

Here are some collaborative projects we discussed:

This I Believe
  • Students get into deep discussion and thought about what they believe. Possibile Idea for Elementary Classrooms (via my friend Lynn): What about using this at the beginning of the year? Instead of writing a classroom constitution, what about writing believe statements for our room, what do we believe as a group?
  • This site includes lessons to lead kids, step by step, to understand their beliefs.
  • We listened to the neatest podcast with a kindergartner who came up with a list of 100 of his beliefs for the 100th day of school. His story is available here.
My Hero Project
  • Students can share stories, essays, art, and short films about their hero. This site includes an educator guide to help guide you through this project in your classroom.
  • We actually do a biography project where we end up having a wax museum for parents and students to attend...thinking maybe we might switch it up to a Hero Museum so we can integrate this project...
  • Use photos to tell a story, collaborate with others through comments, and more. The educational version does cost money. However, the free version allows you to post three voicethreads at a time.
Wikis: - Some examples of great Wikis
Page99Test "One Moment to Grab You"
  • Belief: If I read page 99 of any book, and I am compelled to read the next page, it's a book I should buy.
  • Check out privacy policy and district privacy policy before using..
Creative Commons

Glogster EDU

Collaborative Writing
  • Storybird - Students can write a story and print it.
  • ZooBurst - Pop Up 3D book...used in many ESL classes

Here are some great online magazines involving education and/or technology. Take a moment to check them out!
Fast Company

Dr. Howie has all of his materials on his website, including the presentation for this workshop. All of his files are licensed under Creative Commons. As long as you keep his name on them, you are free to use them in your own classroom! Have fun exploring!
Twitter: hdiblasi

Until next time...