Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Exploring High Quality Websites and Apps for Common Core Lesson Design

Many teachers and parents are on the never ending search to find productive apps and websites to help students learn. Of course it's great that there are games out there that offer educational value, but teachers also need to know what tech sites and apps can be utilized for high quality lessons. If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of TechEd resources out there, then you should check out This site offers a "Common Core Explorer" for ELA and Math Common Core standards for grades K - 12. 

To use the explorer, you simply chose Language Arts or Mathematics and the grade level you desire. Then a list of common core standards will appear, and apps and sites that can be utilized for those standards will be listed, with teacher and learner ratings. 

You now have a "one stop-shop" for each and every Common Core Standard! Happy Hunting!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Student Collaboration Tips for Docs & Slides

Google Apps for Education have allowed teachers to expand their classrooms in so many ways. My absolute favorite thing about Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the multiple opportunities that students have to work collaboratively within.

Here are a couple simple tips for organizing Docs and Slides for Collaboration.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tracking Student Work in Google Docs

Many teachers are really enjoying the fact that Google Apps for Education allows their students to work collaboratively. One of the many concerns of students working together has always been, "How can I tell which student has done what work?" Well thanks to the revision history in Google Docs, it is easy to see who has done what work, and when they did that work. This is a great assessment tool and will keep students accountable during collaborative work.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Google Forms for Reading Open Response

I was able to meet with Trish Lopez in her 5th grade class at Elmdale Elementary School in Springdale, AR. We had a conversation about the different ways that Google Forms can be used in the classroom. While we discussed how it could be great for multiple choice type quizzes, we decided to use the Form as a reading open response tool for her guided reading group. 

She formulated a few open response questions for them in her form, and added a picture from the story in the form as well for the students to answer about. She then shared the form with her reading group via Google Classroom, where the students could easily click on the link and complete her form. Once the students completed their questions, their responses were collected on a Google Sheet for Mrs. Lopez to easily read their responses. This proved to be an easy way to integrate technology into her classroom as another simple tool to collect student work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mixing Pencil & Paper with Google Docs.

I was able to visit Dustin Curtis's 5th grade classroom last week at Bayyari Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas. When I walked in I noticed that students had their Chromebooks open, and a word problem was displayed for them in a Google Doc. The students were working diligently on a paper with a pen to complete the problem that was posed for them. After completing their task on paper, the students simply clicked on the insert tab to add a picture, and took a snapshot of their work. The work they had just completed was then a part of the document on their screen. Underneath the snapshot the students were then able to explain their thinking and problem solving process on the Google Doc.

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This concept seems simple enough, but think of all of the benefits this truly brings:
  • It still gives the students the opportunity to work with pencil in hand, something we never want to get away from as technology continues to progress.
  • Student work getting lost or mysteriously landing in a random pile on the teacher’s desk is gone.
  • The students having control over their work in their Google Drive file to share with teachers or parents, and eventually choosing pieces for a portfolio.
Those are just a few of the many benefits that could come from this. If anything, this could be a great first step for any classroom that is taking their first steps with 1:1 technology in their classrooms.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Free Student Selection Tools

Finding ways to randomly select students in the classroom is nothing new. I've used everything from numbering systems, spinners, dice, and even a deck of cards to randomly choose students to answer questions in my classrooms. Of course these systems are a great tool to have. They keep students accountable because they never know when they will be called upon, and it helps teachers promote fairness in the classroom.

Kagan Publishing & Professional Development has some of the to tools for classroom collaboration, including many types of randomization tools. They are fairly inexpensive, but you do pay for them. Here are some great FREE tools you can use for student selection! has a Random Name Picker that is excellent. You can easily create, edit and save your class names. It makes a url for your saved list, and can be accessed anywhere. also has a few easy to use student selection tools. Dart Board Selector & Random Student Selector. You can sign up for a free membership to access these tools. Your class lists are then saved to your account and can be accessed for either selection tool you want to use.

All of these tools can be a fun way to keep students of all ages engaged and hold them accountable at the same time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ePortfolio with gClassFolders

ePortfolio with

Let’s say that you are off to a great start to using the new Google Classroom. You are excited about its ability for students to retrieve your assignments and they can easily turn them in to you as well. If that’s the case, then you may be asking yourself, why would I need to mess with something like gClassFolders? My answer to that question would be, ePortfolios.

Google Classroom is great, and many teachers in the Springdale School District are off to a great start with it, but we also need a way for students to be in control of their own portfolio. gClassFolders will give students the opportunity to place documents in a shared folder that their teacher will have easy access to. Similar to Google Classroom, folders are created in student’s and teacher’s drives for them.

Along with a general “Assignment” folder gClassFolders creates a “View” and an “Edit” folder that is shared between teachers and students. These folders are easy to use in your Google Drive. Any doc that the teacher places in the View folder automatically becomes a view only file for the students who share that folder, and likewise for the edit folder, students will get an editable file if placed in that folder.

If this sounds like an interesting tool to you, please feel free to check out the slides presentation that I have created to get your gClassFolders set up - gClassFolders for ePortfolio