Friday, February 20, 2015

6 Reasons the Intel 2 in 1 is the Perfect Fit for Effectively Designed Blended Learning Spaces #intelEdu2in1

6 Reasons the Intel 2 in 1 is the Perfect Fit for Effectively Designed Blended Learning Spaces

As a current classroom teacher, I can attest to the importance of smart classroom design along with finding resources that support what happens within your space.  As any teacher can tell you, each year is different.  Curriculum changes.  Students change.  District expectations change.  What remains a constant is the need to be flexible and creative.  Today’s classrooms are increasing in size, and there is an increasing need to personalize instruction for the special needs of all learners along with meeting the learning styles of the entire class.  Thankfully, technology is a resource that can help teachers support all students.  

Technology is a tool that will never replace good teaching.  However, when used effectively, it can help teachers and students in various measures.  While there isn’t one “silver-bullet” that is the best device, there are some that have more benefits than others.  Personally, I prefer to bring in resources that are easy to use and reliable.  Because my student’s technology skills range from novice to proficient, I need devices that they easily understand how to navigate and use.  I’ve found the Intel 2 in 1 is a great classroom solution for many reasons.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if a company valued to support education beyond the physical device? Check out how Intel is supporting education in ways that go beyond an effective device… they have truly captured what matters within the classroom space!

 1.  Mobility
The Intel 2 in 1 is a mobile device.  It’s easy to maneuver.  This is especially important as students begin to collaborate more and move towards a blended learning model of instruction.  No more are the days where the teacher lectures in front of the classroom for hours.  Classrooms today encourage student collaboration, small group instruction, personalized learning, and teacher facilitation.  Resources and tools need to be accessible and flexible.  Students need to be able to grab and go!  

2.  Productivity and Performance
Because the 2 in 1 contains the Intel Core Processor, it’s more than a tablet.  You get the benefits of an actual robust machine.  Students are able to do more!

3.  7.8 Hours of Battery Life
Allow students to work throughout the school day without the worry of having to recharge.  This is especially nice as outlet can be scarce or charging ports can be limited during school hours.  Students can access the resources they need throughout the entire day.  

4.  Student Centered
Intel Education has designed this device with the student in mind.  Beyond the obvious: it’s a touch screen plus laptop, the suite of resources available are engaging and thought provoking.  As I browsed the content available and the archives of resources, I was inspired to continue clicking on each link.  The lessons are inquiry based, project focused, and highly engaging.  As a student, I couldn’t imagine a more fun way to learn.  I love being challenged and having the freedom to discuss my thinking with others.  Intel Education provides several collections of content resources and lessons to engage K-12 students.  

5.  Numerous Teacher Resources
Teachers are busy.  We love to find wonderful and creative lessons that are standards aligned, differentiated, fun, and inspiring.  Intel Education is saving teachers time by curating amazing resources, lesson ideas, lesson plans, rubrics, interactive textbooks, assessments, and more - all in one spot!  I especially love the classroom videos available on the site so I can see how to use the devices and the lessons within the classroom.  Intel makes it easy for me to see, print, adapt, and incorporate.  These tools are most helpful!  

6.  Focus on Education
 Intel puts the focus on pedagogy rather than the device.  This is important as good teaching must start with the learning.  Intel has developed a vast collection of teacher and student resources.  These resources compliment the 2 in 1 device.  To enhance the curriculum, the technology can be utilized not only engage the students but to have them collaborate and create in ways they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do.  It’s refreshing to see a company who values what teachers and students need rather than other external factors.  

Brought to you by Intel Education.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Celebrate Digital Learning Day & Get Your School #FutureReady with @All4Ed & @OfficeofEdTech! #DLDay

Future Ready Schools
Preparing Students for Success

I'm honored to be a part of this year's annual Digital Learning Day held in Washington D.C. on March 13, 2015 with inspiring educators from around the country.  In years past, I've followed the event closely from Twitter and through the resources attendees shared out during the conference.  I'm always inspired by the single focus guiding this day of collaboration and sharing: students.  When we keep kids at the heart of what we do, better decisions are made that will truly make a difference in the lives of learners.  

Be sure to also take a moment and check out the joint effort between the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology and The Alliance for Excellent Education on Future Ready Schools.  Join the thousands of schools across the country who have already taken the pledge

Learn more about Future Ready Schools - click here to visit the Office of Educational Technology website for additional resources.  I also invite you to view my recent conversation with The U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology regarding "What Are Future Ready Classrooms?"  Simply click the video below to hear the discussion.  

What is Digital Learning Day?
Digital Learning Day is a celebration to highlight the importance of providing opportunities to all students that will better prepare them for their future.  Throughout the day, stories will be shared by thought leaders and educators who have personally seen positive transformations take shape within their districts through the use of integrating technology in meaningful ways to connect students and communities, enhance curriculum, and empower teachers while enabling their ability to better personalize instruction for all learners.  You can click here to read more about DLD.

Why Support Digital Learning Day?
The power of having so many real stories shared on one day, for one event, has a huge impact.  The amount of information and resources curated from DLD is impressive!  Creating awareness for the importance of educational technology is imperative.  Oftentimes, many believe integrating technology is about putting devices into the hands of students.  However, DLD helps to share the narrative of planning for meaningful integration of technology by leading with the learning.  

Technology Has Positive Impacts on Student Learning
Thomas Murray, State and District Digital Learning Director for The Alliance of Excellent Education recently interviewed Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond regarding "Three Factors for Success in Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students."  You can click here to view the full report.  

Who Can Be a Part of Digital Learning Day?
Everyone!  Our hope is to see this event continue growing each year... that's why we are personally reaching out to every educator across the country to invite them to take part in this day of collaboration, learning, and sharing.  Together our collective voice is stronger!

You can click here to view past National Town Hall Webcasts from the live events.  

Register for the event by clicking here!

How Do I Get Involved With Digital Learning Day?
There are several ways to get involved and support digital learning in education.  Please find one or a few ways below to support this effort!  We would love to have your support and involvement.

Amazing Free Classroom Resources for Teachers 
  • Nominate YOUR Digital Learning Champion - click here

  • Check out the vast archive or rich, free resources for teachers! - click here
  • Follow the buzz leading up to the event and the day of by using the hashtag #DLDay
  • Visit the site and see how you can make a difference for kids! - click here
  • Register to attend the 2015 National Teaching and Learning Conference - click here
  • Join @OfficialDLD on Twitter to Stay Connected - click here 
  • See the FULL DLD Schedule of events - click here 
  • Check out the presenters and speakers for this national event - click here 
  • Subscribe to the AEE mailing list - click here
  • Subscribe to the DLD mailing list - click here 
Be Sure To Check Out The Free Online Resources!
- Simply Click the Image Below to Connect To Some of My Favorite Digital Goodies

Sunday, January 18, 2015

With @ClassDojo you can NOW send private messages, share photos, & voice notes to parents & students!

New Flagship ClassDojo App Enables Teacher­-Parent Partnerships to 
Help Students Achieve their Greatest Potential

- click here to connect now for free

I've blogged about ClassDojo for a number of years.  In fact, I was one of their first users when they were just starting up in 2011.  I remember doing video chats to provide feedback on their platform with their CEO, Sam, when my son Jacob was a baby!  I have always had a desire to support individuals who possess such passion to support teachers.  Sam's vision spoke to this.  

For years, many have used ClassDojo as a tool to provide communication regarding positive classroom behaviors.  When I see a great platform, there's often more creative uses than meet the eye.  I've enjoyed using ClassDojo to set up classroom expectations at the beginning of the year, take attendance, and allow students to fill one another's buckets!  You can click here and click here to see a previous post I've done regarding more creative uses for the platform.  

Now I'm excited to share a few NEW ClassDojo Features that just launched!

These new features help teachers encourage students and build great relationships with parents!!

The new app includes:

Tailored views for teachers, students and parents:
one app, three ways. Teachers get a view of their students and parents; parents see their child’s progress and can message with teachers; students can keep up with their progress in real­-time.

ClassDojo Messaging:
with enhanced messaging capabilities, teachers and parents can communicate safely, securely and instantly message all parents, or just one at a time. In addition to text messages, teachers and parents can stay in touch easily with Voice Notes ­­ on ­the ­go teachers can record and send a message home without the need for a phone call. Teachers can also send parents messages with fun ClassDojo branded stickers, too.

ClassDojo Photos:
teachers can share photos of fun classroom moments, projects and documents in real­-time with parents, right from the ClassDojo app. No need to exit and open any other apps or tools!

A more seamless interface:
the app has been designed from the ground up to be even easier to use.

-  Teachers can easily encourage students and engage parents, right from the class screen. Teachers can take actions ­­ such as giving feedback, photo sharing and messaging ­­ directly through each student or parent profile. No more separate apps or disparate workflows for each action.

- Parents can see their child’s progress in real­-time, at a glance, and send messages directly to the teacher with just one click.

The free app is available for download now in the iTunes and Google Play stores. For more information about ClassDojo and its new app, visit

Click the image below to download for free!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Differentiate and Personalize Literacy Instruction for Your Elementary Classroom!

Adaptive, Personalized Learning for Literacy Instruction in Blended Learning Environments

What Is Lexia Core5?
Lexia Reading Core5 is an online literacy program developed with an instructional model and scope and sequence based on research published in numerous peer reviewed journals.  The program was developed and refined based on educator feedback and rigorous, ongoing research, and has been recognized by independent review organizations.

Designed specifically to meet the Common Core and other rigorous state standards, Lexia Reading Core5 provides explicit, systematic, personalized learning in the six areas of reading instruction, and delivers norm and criteria-referenced performance data and analysis without interrupting the flow of instruction to administer a test.  

Using Lexia Reading Core5, students are automatically placed at the proper level and work independently on developing their fundamental literacy skills. The program provides explicit, systematic, adaptive learning, scaffolding students as they struggle and advancing them to higher levels as they demonstrate proficiency.  School-to-home access allows students to continue their independent work at home, in blended learning models, extended-day programs, or libraries and other community centers.

While students are working independently in the online activities, Lexia’s embedded assessment system, Assessment Without Testing®, provides educators with actionable, norm and criteria-referenced performance data without interrupting the flow of instruction to administer a test. The assessment data is correlated to and highly predictive of outcomes on DIBELS, AIMSweb, MAPS and other commonly used norm-referenced assessments. This lowers expenditures on assessments and, according to a national survey, saves teachers up to a month of instructional time.
Lexia Learning and the Lexia Reading Core5 program are the embodiment of Research and Innovation at work.

*I encourage you to also check out this article on "Students Using Lexia Reading Core5 and How They've Made Dramatic Gains of Two or More Grade Levels During the 2013-2014 School Year."

How Teachers Can Use Lexia:
I've seen teachers use Lexia in a variety of ways.  One of my favorite ways is to have children use Lexia as a station during guided reading instruction.  This tends to work really well for those who may not have 1:1 devices for each learner.  Teachers can have three different groups going on at the same time.
  • Read to self: students reading independently
  • Lexia Core5: students working on devices
  • Guided reading: students working with teacher
Having students working in three different groups for about 15 minutes - 30 minutes a day can work well to help differentiate instruction for smaller groups of learners.  

Using Lexia to Guide Instruction:
Because Lexia has students take a pre-assessment, students are placed in a level in which approximates their skill competency.  Because the program is adaptive (as students answer questions correctly, they receive more challenging activities and as they answer questions incorrectly, they receive less challenging activities), students quickly find their "just-right" level for practice.  

Teachers can access a rich archive of student data that allows for better planning to personalize instruction for guided reading groups.  Imagine what a planning time-saver this could be!

How Students Like Lexia:
Having used Lexia Core5 Reading with some of my students and my own two children, I can tell you that kids enjoyed using the program.  The game-based nature of the software keeps children engaged and interested in the content.  

You can click here to see a variety of sample videos from phonological awareness, phonics, structural analysis, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  This page also shares more information on the student driven learning components of the program.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Educators Across the Country Challenge the @FCC to Bring #Internet4Schools to ALL of Our Kids!

40 Million K-12 Students Do Not Have the Level of Internet They Need in Schools

The Federal Communications Commission, FCC, is considering expanding access for kids across the country.  We need your help to convince them to vote "YES" in order to expand E-rate so that our students can benefit from the access they need in our schools.  

Your Voice Matters

How Can You Help?
Educators across the nation are creating 15 second videos to share via social media expressing the need for #Internet4Schools.  You can create a short video in Instagram and share it via Facebook and Twitter, or you can simply create it using your video camera and share it via Twitter.  Please be sure to mention @FCC and use the hashtag #Internet4Schools.  Here's my video...

Videos can be simple.  You can stand or sit in front of your camera for 15 seconds and just share out why access to the Internet is important for students today.  No need to get super fancy.  It's the message that is important.  Our collective voice counts!  You can see another example here and here.

Be Sure to Challenge 3 Friends!
In effort to help spread the importance of this initiative, after you create and share your 15 second video, please be sure to tag and challenge 3 of your friends to also create their 15 second video sharing why kids need access to the Internet in school.  Don't forget to use the #Internet4Schools tag!

It's Easy - You Can Borrow This Tweet to Copy As Your Own:

Why #Internet4Schools matters: (insert your video link) I challenge @--- @--- & @--- to create a 15 sec. video! cc @FCC

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What are #FutureReady Schools and Classrooms via @OfficeofEdTech

You're Invited: Free Webinar Hosted by The Office of Ed Tech

Join myself along with a panel of fantastic practicing educators as we discuss #FutureReady schools with The Office of Ed Tech.  To read more about #FutureReady schools, please click here to read my recent post and click here to sign the pledge! 

When: Today (October 22, 2014) from 8:00pm - 9:00pm EST

How to Join?
Simply click here to view at 8pm EST this evening!

Amid all of the conversation of buying devices, bringing Internet to and through schools, and adopting digital content, it can be easy to lose track of a focused vision. Without a vision for what teaching and learning can and should be in schools and classrooms, though, districts run a high risk of paying for resources that are underused, misused, or not used at all. Join as our panelists discuss the moves they’ve made to leverage connectivity, digital content, and devices to expand and deepen the learning of students in their districts. Let their examples help shape a clear vision and goal for digital learning.
Moderator: Zac Chase
Nick Gonzales, Boston
Jennifer Orr, Fairfax County Schools
Erin Klein, Michigan
John Spenser, Phoenix

Friday, October 17, 2014

5 Apps to Share Class Work!

My Terrific Three Apps for the Elementary Classroom
As a working parent, sometimes it is difficult to sign up for volunteer dates. So, when I have the chance to see what's happening inside the class or on field trips, I treasure those moments. As a teacher, I've found that the more I share with parents, the less they tend to question. When they feel like they are an active part of their child's learning experience, they are also more able to help with specific needs their child may require since they have an idea of what is going on in the classroom.  
Before spring break, our school went on a field trip to the Henry Ford Museum. Our second graders explored innovations through history. Of course, I snapped photos of their creative minds at work throughout the day. Using my smartphone, I was able to quickly snap tons of photos and share them with parents in a secure way that was quick and easy.
I like being able to spend actual hands-on time with my students. So if a tool takes too long to figure out or use, I tend not to use it (no matter how amazing it is). I need to have my focus on my students. That's why I love the tools I'm sharing in this post. They allow me to stay focused and still capture memories to share with others in the moment.  

I. PhotoCircle

PhotoCircle is a free, secure app for photo sharing. My good friend and fifth grade teacher Todd Nesloney introduced me to this app. To give it a try, I set up a circle with Todd and invited two other friends and fellow elementary teachers, Brad and Drew. Within minutes, we had all been added to the same circle and each shared a handful of photos. We began commenting on the photos and sharing more as the week progressed. What started as just a group of teachers testing out an app has now become the way that the four of us share photos with one another. Prior to PhotoCircle, we were texting each other tons of photos and our conversations would get lost within the steady stream of images. Now, our pictures are organized and saved within one app.  
Since PhotoCircle was simple to use, I decided to set up a separate album for my family. I invited my mom, dad, daughter, husband, and other family members. Once each member is added, they can add photos, too. Each member that is added can also comment on the photos. This was a terrific way to share photos from our recent family trip to Disney World. Each day, my husband and I would add all of the photos we took so that other members of the family could see the highlights of our trip.  

For the classroom, you could set up a circle for "Third Grade 2013–2014" and add the parents of your students. You could invite them at open house by bumping phones with each parent, sending a text, or sending an email invitation to join your class circle. They have the option to join or decline.  
It's important to clear with parents. Let them know if they're invited to share photos with the circle. You may want to set up guidelines for leaving comments. I know some teachers encourage the social aspect of this feature; however, other teachers ask that parents only use the app to view the photos and not leave comments.  
My favorite part about this app is that you can easily invite several people to the circle, share unlimited photos with the circle, and have a secure platform for only those invited to view the content. Plus, it is free!

II. and III. Remind101 and Animoto

Remind101 and Animoto are my favorite two apps. I've used both of these apps for several years now, and I stand behind both products 100 percent. What I love about both of these apps is that you can use them via your mobile device or the web. You can also get quite creative in the ways you use each platform. You can click here to see how creative teachers are using Animoto with their students. Be sure to sign up for an educator's account to unlock premium features for free.  
I love opening the Animoto app on the bus ride home after a field trip, adding the photos, and clicking "create" to produce a beautiful video slideshow. After the video is produced, I receive an email that my video is ready. I open that video in my Internet browser and copy the link. Then, I open my Remind101 app, add a text message (like, "Enjoy this video from our field trip to the museum today! *insert link*). Then, I paste the link and click send. By the time the parents pick up their children at dismissal, they've already received the text and viewed the video of their child's learning experience.  
It warms my heart seeing the children run to their parents and hearing their mom or dad say, "I loved seeing you check out the Rosa Parks exhibit at the museum today." Those specific conversations spark such meaningful conversations right there in the parking lot. I've received such positive remarks about using these two applications in the classroom. No more do parents have to ask, "What did you do today?" They can start by mentioning something specific to encourage rich dinner table dialog. My students get a kick out of it, too. They love coming to school and saying, "My dad got to see me touch the snake when we were at the zoo!" These magical moments from field trips can now be shared to help strengthen relationships. You can click here to see other ways I use Remind101 in my classroom.  

Click Here to See How I use Voxer and Three Ring!

- click here to

~ This post originally appeared on my Scholastic Top Teaching blog ~ 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Feed Your Student's Brains with @brainfeedapp: The Pandora For Knowledge

Product Review:  Brainfeed

- click here to visit their site

A recent study by Common Sense Media found that the percent of children with access to a smart mobile device has jumped from half (52%) to three-quarters (75%).  This shift has many parents and teachers worried about how much time children actually spend consuming “quality” content on these devices.

That’s the question Mark Hoffman asked himself when his children were just 5 and 7.  Hoffman explains, “I saw that my children were using my iPad as if it were second nature to them. It was then that I had an “aha moment” and realized that this was an opportunity to turn this new device – that my kids felt so comfortable with -- into a learning tool instead of just another way for them to play video games and watch mindless programming.”

Born from that realization was an app, fittingly called Brainfeed, that Hoffman hopes will change the way children consume and retain information.  Brainfeed is an iPad app that features educational, inspiring and entertaining short videos for children seven and older.  To help curate the videos, Hoffman has partnered with a group of passionate educators and kids, who select videos to be age-appropriate, curriculum-based, engaging and visually stimulating.  At the same time, they take great care to screen each video for inappropriate content to ensure children enjoy a safe, distraction-free learning experience.

There’s a plethora of “fluff” and inappropriate subject matter on the Internet,” says Hoffman. “But there’s also a lot of really good educational and inspiring content out there; it’s just a matter of finding it. And that’s what we do at Brainfeed.  We review thousands of hours of video to find the best and brightest so parents have peace of mind when their children pick up a mobile device. Essentially we’re putting mom and dad back in the driver’s seat when it comes to the type of content their children are exposed to.”

Brainfeed features educational and entertaining videos for children 7+, tweens, teens and inquisitive adults.  Brainfeed is designed to be fun and easy to to explore, and to be child-safe.  
The app is 100% ad free, link free, and has a "parent gate" to keep smaller children from accidentally accessing the subscription page.   It’s a great new resource for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers.

What I like best about it:
  • Parents and teachers don't have to worry about students accessing inappropriate videos or comments sections within this ad-free age-appropriate space
  • The user friendly interface is easy for children to understand and execute
  • The videos work like Pandora, so a search for a particular item will bring up other topics that are closely related to the search topic.
  • All of the videos are hand-picked and curated by educators and screened for content appropriateness

Brainfeed As A Teaching Aid in The Classroom 

Once considered a supplemental teaching tool, educational video is becoming an increasingly central resource for teachers.  Video makes it easier to reach students who learn best through different modalities and learning styles.  Topic areas include:

The World
Technology & Design
Arts & Music
The Human Body
Social Studies
The Future
…and much more!

Brainfeed was originally released less than a month ago and already has achieved the following accolades:

***** Best New Apps & Games! Now featured by iTunes in 20 countries.
***** Ranked #1 in 42 countries
***** Top 10 app for kids 9-11 in 85 countries and counting.
***** Five Stars - Editor's Choice on

Check it out for yourself!