Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tech Tip: The Snipping Tool

The Snipping Tool … one of Windows little known tools.

Use the snipping tool to capture a screen shot of your screen or a portion of your screen. Use it anytime you are trying to save an image of something from your computer screen – recipes, news stories, book reviews, error messages, student work, etc. Then you can save that “snip” or copy it to paste elsewhere (remember Ctrl + V to paste from last week?).
  1. Open up Snipping Tool from your main Windows menu (the flying flag in the bottom left).
  2. Begin searching for Snip..... 
  3. Click on the scissors icon.
  4. Click and drag the cursor to select the area you would like to “snip.”
  5. Once you let go of your mouse, a window will pop up with your “snip.” The toolbar at the top has options to create a new snip, save the snip as an image, copy the snip to paste somewhere else, email the snip, or write on the snip.
  6. There are several options when creating a new snip – Free-form Snip, Rectangular Snip, Window Snip, Full-screen Snip. I use the rectangular snip (default) the most. 
Want more information? Check out the Windows Help Tutorial

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hour of Code and CS Ed Week at SCES

I don't wait until December to start getting the students engaged in coding and computer science but I do hit it hard for a week.  Here is what our week is looking like:

Monday - Code A Thon

During the related arts block for each grade, all the students in the grade came to the gym for coding.  I have 3 iPad carts (grades K-2) and 2 Chromebook carts (grades 3-5) ready to go.  The carts were spread out around the room with student log-in cards already separated out 2 classes per cart.  I introduced Hour of Code, showed the Kickoff video, and explained student choices for the day.  Students were then able to get into partners or small groups (3 students max), pick up a device, and CODE!

Kindergarten - Box Island App on iPads - I already introduced this app to students last week.
1st Grade - Several choices in a Coding folder on iPads - Box Island, The Foos, Daisy the Dinosaur, Scratch, Jr
2nd Grade - Coding apps on iPads or students could scan a QR code which took them directly to's Code Studio for their Minecraft, Star Wars, or Flappy Code Tutorials
3rd Grade - Choice of sites on my 3rd Grade Teacher Class Page
4th Grade - Choice of sites on my 4th Grade Teacher Class Page
5th Grade - Choices of sites on my 5th Grade Teacher Class Page

Monday-Friday Mornings - Open Coding Time in Computer Lab

Each day of the week is assigned to a specific grade level.  Students must check in with their teacher, drop off their book bag, and then come to my computer lab to code.  I already have pulled up on the computers and I have the iPad cart ready for students who want to work on apps.  These mornings are for students who are already excited about coding, to encourage it further.  Unfortunately I do have to cap it off when my lab is full and I've had some upset students - but that's better than an empty lab!

Friday - Computer Science Speakers and Code A Thon Part II

For the past few years we have brought in speakers for the last day of CS Ed Week.  This year unfortunately I could not rally as many as I have in the have so we will have speakers for grades 2-5 and we will have Code A Thon Part II with K and 1.  I'm so grateful for the speakers who agreed to come share their careers and passions.  Some are parents of students at my school and others are my friends who express an interest in what I do.  I remember to call on this when CS Ed Week comes around :-)
The students all file into the gym where I have a SmartBoard hooked up and the speakers share about what they do and how they got to where they are.  We have had speaker bring all computer parts to pass around, others write a short program/game just for that group of kids, speakers share about the connection between ELA and programming languages, and more.  It is never too early to inspire students!

How are you celebrating CS Ed Week?

Monday, March 23, 2015


Are you looking to create an interactive review?

I have used Kahoot with grades 1-5 during my technology class. I've simply used it to make worksheets/assessments interactive. (In my current role I don't need written assessments for every child so this works great.)  It is a great online tool to engage students in an interactive learning or review game. Several teachers at my school are already using Kahoot from time to time either with students working together in small groups to answer the questions or students answering independently. After playing a Kahoot the students not only want to play another one - they often want to play the exact same one again!  How powerful that is for students not to mind to continue practicing the same questions!
Some things to know...
  • The teacher is the “game show host” and leads the game each time. 
  • Each participant in the game needs a device (iPad, Chromebook, Computer,…anything with internet access like Kindle Fire, iPhone, etc) to access the game and play along. 
  • You can stop and discuss after each question since you will see how the class as a whole answered each question (great formative assessment!). 
  • You can also download individual student responses at the end if you want. 
I found a Kahoot Cheat Sheet online (from Moore County Schools...thank you!) and edited it to add some of my own notes.  It provides step-by-step instructions for creating and playing your first Kahoot.

Want to create your first Kahoot?

I've mainly taken the lesson activities from Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship's Scope and Sequence for my Kahoots.  I'm linking to them below...feel free to use them!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Google Drive in 2nd Grade

Our 2nd graders are our first group to get a GAFE account.  Beginning in February/March, I start introducing them to their accounts - how to sign in, the features of the different Google Apps, sharing, commenting, etc.  Other tech teachers in my district begin at the beginning of the year but based on our student population (many don't have devices at home, especially younger students) we wait until now.  Every year I tweak the lessons a little and since I teach all 6 2nd grade classes the lesson even gets tweaked a little as I move through the rotation.  When I first was looking for introductory units, I could not find much already created so I want to share with you what I have put together in the hopes that it helps someone else.

Lesson 1 - Log In and Explore
Students simply log into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  We go through the procedure and responsibilities. The last 5-10 minutes students are able to explore and create docs, slides, drawings, etc.  I really try and step back during these last few minutes to see if students can make connections between what we done in the Microsoft Office suite and Google Apps.

Check out the Google Slides presentation that I use.  Make a copy and edit to fit your school.

Lesson 2 - Google Drawing: My Perfect Bedroom
Students log into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  Students will create their perfect bedroom - this is the bedroom in their imagination.  I think this is important because some of my students do not have bedrooms so this helps create an even ground.  On the SmartBoard I review a few different features in Google Drawing before letting students loose on their computers.  It is important to move around the classroom to help students who get stuck.
Features that I review:
  • Change the background color.
  • Insert shapes and change their fill color and line color.
  • Turn shapes into text boxes by double-clicking.
  • Change the font style and font size of text.
  • Insert and re-size an image.

Lesson 3 - Google Docs: Imaginative Narrative
We start this lesson again by students logging into their GAFE account through our school homepage.  A couple of the classes are becoming more independent and as students work, I pull small groups to begin allowing them to practice logging into their accounts through Chromebooks. Today students will write an imaginative narrative based off a picture prompt.  I give each student a different picture prompt but you could provide one for your class if you wanted.  On the SmartBoard I review a few different features both with Google Docs and in using the keyboard.  It is important to move around the classroom to help students who get stuck.
Features that I review:
  • Change font style, size, and color.
  • Insert and re-size image.
  • Right click to fix spelling or grammar
  • Keyboard: Shift key vs. Caps Lock
  • Keyboard: Enter for a new line
  • Keyboard: The period key
I pulled together the unique photos from Pinterest.  You can search for your own or print the ones I used.  These photos are not my work and I do not claim ownership or credit for them.

Lesson 4 - Collaboration and Communication
Students log into their GAFE account via the school homepage.  Today is the day that they will start exploring the collaboration and communication features that are available through "Share."  We start with discussing the expectations when collaborating on a project together and when writing comments on someone else's work.  We put these ideas into a chart on the SmartBoard to reference later.  Make sure to also discuss what it would be like to jam their teacher's inbox with lots of sharing.
It is soon time to let them loose to share their work, collaborate, and communicate.  I have tried keeping strict rules on it, such as, you can only share with 1 friend and your teacher but then I found students without partners who needed to be with a group of more than one.  I soon opened it up to share with your classmates and your teacher.
I was scared I was going to be having students sharing work with all the time but after the first day it wasn't a big deal and they seemed not to bombard anyone's "Shared with Me" folder with unnecessary files.

Lesson 5 - Exploration Day
 This is the final day that the students can't wait for.  First, all students log into their GAFE account through Chromebooks.  This takes a bit of time and tends to be the actual teaching focus of the day.  It requires them to type in their whole email address instead of just their username so there is a little more room for typos and frustration.
I model how to access their drive through the App Array and then let them go.  Many students go back to their Perfect Bedroom drawing or their imaginative narrative.  But others decide on creating new documents with their classmates.  The Chromebooks are nice because students can move around and sit with their friends/partners.  I find that at a younger age it is still easier for them to collaborate face to face as they are working on the same assignment so they are not trying to do the same thing at the same time.

I hope you can use the lesson ideas to help you in introducing GAFE to your students! If you have other ideas or suggestions, please comment below!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Cut, Copy, Paste

Last week I shared the Ctrl + F keyboard shortcut to help find a word or phrase in a document.  There are other shortcuts that use the Ctrl key also.

These are 3 shortcuts that I use the most often when editing my writing, creating student activities, moving information from an email to website (codes, URLs, etc), and much more.  For each one, highlight the text and then hold down the Ctrl key on the right or left side of your keyboard while you press the corresponding key.

Ctrl + X à This cuts something to paste later.  This means it will disappear from the original source until you paste it elsewhere.
Ctrl + C à This copies something to paste later.  This means it stays in the current place but lets you paste the identical thing elsewhere.

Ctrl + V à This pastes the last thing that you cut or copied to the clipboard.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Selfies - Beg of Year Project

At the beginning of the year I try to create a project that has a similar theme but can be differentiated across several different grades. This year? Selfies
This year Merriam-Webster (along with others) added Selfie to the dictionary.  Through this project students not only expressed themselves creatively but also navigated through the folders on our network - a big skill that students often forget over the summer (ISTE Standards for Students 1 and 6).

1st Grade - Created self portraits using Microsoft Paint.  This was a review of tools and toolbars that students used last year.

2nd Grade - Used the Pop Art Maker on Big Huge Labs to create a Warhol-inspired selfie masterpiece Student Directions

4th and 5th Grade - Used Tagxedo to create a word cloud selfie that describe them Student Directions

Self-portrait in Microsoft Paint
Warhol-inspired selfie masterpiece
Word cloud selfie in Tagxedo

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Ctrl + F

Looking for something on a webpage or in a document? Did you know when you press Ctrl and F at the same time you can Find a word or phrase on a page?  Ctrl + F brings up a dialogue box to enter the word you are looking for, type in the word, then just click Find.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Numbers - Web Resource

This year my school transitioned to mobile devices in the classrooms instead of desktops.  This means a transition in the websites and resources that we use in the classrooms.  One resource I recently stumbled upon is Happy Numbers and it is compatible with all devices - iPads, Chromebooks, PCs, Androids, etc.
Happy Numbers focuses on K-2 Numeracy.  It includes topics from numeration to 3-digit subtraction. It can be used for free with a teacher account as an interactive whiteboard resource.  AND until October 1 the premium account is only $39 (its goes up to $59).  With the premium account teachers can create individual log ons for an unlimited number of students.
I really like the games and activities because they are self-explanatory and if a student clicks on the words then the website will read them aloud.  Check it out today!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Someone Once Said...

“One does not play Bach without having done scales. But neither does one play a scale merely for the sake of the scale."
- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

This makes me reflect on making sure everything we have students do in class is purposeful.  Students should also be aware of the purpose and the end goal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mr. Popper's Penguins

The school I work at participates in a great program called One School, One Book.  The goal is to promote literacy and strengthen the home/school connection.  We ask that all families in the school read the same chapter together each night.  Then at school there is a trivia question the following day.  In my role as tech teacher this year, I got to be a part of the Related Arts team and help pump up the excitement over the program.

1. Kick Off Event
We put on a play for the school and introduced this year's book...Mr. Popper's Penguins!  (I'm the penguin - Captain Cook)  If you've never worn a costume like this before then you don't know what you're missing out on!  I've worn it several times since and the kids love it!...especially grades K and 1!

2. Will You Read to Me?
Around the school we posted posters to remind the students to ask their parents each night - "Will you read to me?"
3. Penguin Research
In my K and 1 classes we are completing research on penguins during their related arts time.
In Kindergarten, I read an informational book and we fill out a SmartBoard file on penguins - what they look like, what they eat, and where they live.  Then as students explore the site of resources and books that I gathered, they can come up and tell me more facts to add to our chart.  I then print this off and send it back with them to class.
In 1st grade, I read an informational book to them and then show them the page of resources and the books from the library.  Sometime throughout class they must fill out at least 1 sticky note with a fact they learn about penguins and add it to their class' penguin web.  Many students filled out more than 1.