Safari for iPad - Tips

Here are some basic tips to make using Safari with a classroom of students easier:

Bookmarks are essential when using websites with students (especially young ones!)  Rather than waiting for them to type in a long URL, turn on iCloud Safari syncing in the settings for your iPad class set so that you can add a bookmark to one student iPad in the set and all the others will see it too.  Go to Settings and iCloud.  Be sure that Safari is turned ON.   (Don't turn on iCloud syncing to the class set Apple ID on your teacher iPad.  Any bookmarks you set would show up on all the student devices as well.) 

Be aware that if a student bookmarks an inappropriate site, it will show up on all the iPads.  Be sure to teach proper digital citizenship and monitor iPad use.

Open tabs also sync through iCloud.  Click the cloud icon in Safari to view open tabs on all the devices currently syncing to the same class account.

Home Screen "Apps":
Use "Add to Home Screen" to create a bookmark to frequently used sites.  This will create an icon on any home screen that looks like an app.  Then students can just tap it and go!  Simply go to the desired URL in Safari.  Tap the "send to" icon (looks like a rectangle with an arrow) and choose "Add to Home Screen".  Give the bookmark a name and tap the blue ADD button.  An icon will be added to the home screen.

Saving Pictures to the Camera Roll:
To save a picture from Safari to use in another app or project, simply click and hold on the picture and choose "Save Image".  

Scrolling to Top:
To quickly get back to the top of a Safari webpage, just tap the status bar at the top of the screen (the very top... by the time display).


  • To zoom in to a webpage that uses column, double tap in the desired column and it will automatically zoom to fit that column on the screen.  Double tap again to zoom back out.
What are your favorite Safari tips?  Share in the comments below.

Mac Tip - Air Drop

AirDrop is the easiest and fastest way to share files between Macs.  It's a great way for Digital Classroom students to share work from a MacBook Air to the teacher's MacBook.   Here's how it works:

1.  Open AirDrop on both/all Macs that need to share files by clicking GO and AIRDROP.  (If you don't see GO on the menu bar, click anywhere on the desktop or open any Finder window.)

2.  All the Macs in the area with AirDrop open will show up on the AirDrop list.
3.  To share a file, simply drag the desired file onto the appropriate user's icon in the AirDrop list.  Click SEND when prompted.

4.  The recipient will get a notification of the file and can choose SAVE AND OPEN, DECLINE or just SAVE.

That's it!  Easy as pie.  How could you use AirDrop in the classroom?  Leave us a comment with your ideas!

Trading Cards App

The Trading Cards app from Read, Write, Think is a great FREE app that students can use to create and share trading cards for a variety of educational purposes.  

The app supports multiple users so student work can be separated for safekeeping.

Flashcards can be created in a variety of categories:
  • Fictional Person
  • Real Person
  • Fictional Place
  • Real Place
  • Object
  • Event
  • Vocabulary Words

Each category has guiding questions to assist the students in creating high quality trading cards.  Students learn summarizing skills since they have to make the most important information fit onto the card.

Cards can be saved to the camera roll or emailed.

For more information about the app and lesson plan ideas for using it, visit the official app page on Read, Write, Think.


What is Evernote?
Evernote is a web-based service for keeping notes and notebooks. Think of it as a virtual binder! You can create notes and notebooks on the Evernote website ( ), on the Evernote software (free download from, and/or via the app on your iPhone or iPad (also available for Windows, Android or Blackberry phones). Everything is automatically synced together so you can access all your notes from anywhere.

Here’s a great guide to getting started with Evernote:

Note:  Evernote's Terms of Service require parental permission for all students under 18 to create an account.

Ideas for Using Evernote- As a Teacher:
  • Take notes at faculty, team or PLC meetings
  • Document parent communication in a notebook for each student
  • Keep anecdotal records on students
  • Use the browser bookmarklet to save web page resources

Ideas for Using Evernote- With Students:
  • Keep a fluency notebook with audio recordings of the student reading selected passages.
  • Use with Skitch- students annotate a picture in Skitch and send directly to an Evernote note.
  • Reading log- students take a picture of the book they’re reading and type their reflections or connections
  • Science- take pictures of experiments in progress and go back later to type CER
  • PBL- record driving question, need to knows, take notes, etc.

Other Evernote Ideas and Resources:

Ready to get started with your students?  Here's instructions for setting up student accounts and creating/sharing notebooks.   

The GCISD Digital Coaches would love to come help you get started!  Contact your Campus Liaison to make arrangements. - URL Shortener and QR Creator

Looking for an easy way to share long URLs with students?  Try

So why should you try Google URL Shortener instead of any of the other URL shorteners like Tiny URL? When you login with your Google ID, Google URL Shortener actually becomes a 2 in 1 tool.  It shortens your URL and creates a QR code all in one step!

How to use:
  1. Go to
  2. Login to your Google account.
  3. Paste a URL into the box and click SHORTEN URL.
  4. Your URL will be shortened into a "" address on the right hand side of the screen.  
  5. Click DETAILS below the shortened URL to view the QR code.  The code can be copied/pasted to a document or saved with a right-click.
  6. All URLs that you've shortened will be tracked in your main list so you can always go back to access the code.
Want to learn more about QR codes in the classroom?  Check out our QR code blog post here:


Chirp is a super cool way to share things from one iPad to another.  Chirp uses sound to transmit a web link, a note or a picture... sort of like an audio QR code!

Ideas for using with students:
  • Links- Having young students type in links can often be a painful process!  With Chirp, you can Chirp the link and they just click it to open in Safari.
  • Notes- Send students instructions, story starters, text to edit, etc.  You could also create a group shared story.  One student could start a story in a note, Chirp it to another student.  That student can add one and so on.
  • Pictures- Many apps export the product to the camera roll.  Students can chirp their completed project to the teacher as an easy way to turn in work.
Check it out and let us know your ideas for using with students in the classroom.  

Google Search - Filter by File Type

Let's say you're looking for a PowerPoint presentation on the American Revolution.  If you just search for "American Revolution", your results would look like this:
Rather than searching through the millions of results for PowerPoint files, you can use the filetype: operator.  Just type "filetype:ppt" (notice there's no space after the colon) before or after your search terms and your results will look like this:
The filetype: operator works with lots of filetypes.  Some examples are:

  • PPT- PowerPoint files
  • PDF- Adobe Acrobat files
  • DOC- Microsoft Word documents
  • XLS- Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
  • CSV- Comma-Separated Value files (like Excel spreadsheets)
  • KML or KMZ- Google Earth files
  • SWF- Flash files

Why would you want to find specific files by filetype?  Here's a few ideas for using filetype searches in the classroom:

  • PPT- Find a good PowerPoint presentation to introduce a new topic to your students.
  • SWF- Find interactive Flash files use with an interactive slate or board in your classroom.
  • PDF- Find free graphic organizers, information sheets or other printables.
  • XLS or CSV- Find data files to use for graphing or data analysis.
  • KML or KMZ- Find already created lesson activities for use in Google Earth.  You'll find everything from Shakespeare to geometry to the Civil War... it's not just for geography!

Have you used a filetype search to find classroom resources?  Share your ideas in the comments!

Google Image Search - Filter by Color

You've probably done a Google Image search before, but did you know that you can also filter the image results by color?  Just scroll down on the image results page and choose the desired color from the color palette in the left hand column.  

For example, if you wanted a picture of a red car, you could do an image search for the word "car" and then choose the red color box to see only red cars.  

A good use of this for educational research would be to search for charts or graphs for a particular topic.  Just do an image search for your topic and then choose the white color box.  This works because most graphs or charts have a white background.

For example, if you want a diagram of a Tesla Coil, do an image search for the word "tesla coil" and then choose the white color box.  

Regular image search for "tesla coil":

The same search filtered for the color white:

How have you used Google Image searches or color filters?

Finding Great Tech Ideas and Resources

There are a variety of internet resources that can help you find great technology ideas and resources. Blogs, Twitter and podcasts are just a few. Below are some of my favorites.

Note: To make following a variety of blogs super easy, set up a Google Reader account.
Google Reader Help Sheet-
More info about blogs and Google Reader-

Free Tech 4 Teachers

Langwitches Blog- Elementary iPad integration ideas

iPaddiction- Middle school iPad integration ideas


Technology Tidbits

Note: Try TweetDeck to make Twitter more manageable!

John Evans - Posts a daily Scoopit online newspaper called iPads in Education. 

John Samuelson

Buck Institute PBL

GCISD Tech Tweets!/search/realtime/%23gcisdtech

GCISD Digital Classroom Tweets!/search/realtime/%23gcisddcp

Subscribing to Podcasts in iTunes Helpsheet-

Appy Hour

Do you have a favorite blog, Twitter feed or podcast? Add yours in the comments below!

Using Google Forms

Google Forms are an excellent way to collect information from students.  Students can fill out the form without having to login to Google so there's no worry about the age of your students and Google's terms of use.

How to Create a Google Form Helpsheet
(if you don't already have a Google account, you'll need to create a free one before beginning.)   

80 Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom

More Resources
Coppell ISD Site-

Google Forms in the Classroom

Self-Grading Quizzes

How to Publish a Quiz Using Google Docs

iPad Apps and Resources to Get You Started!

Apps to Get You Started!

Screen Capture:  Show Me, Screen Chomp, Educreations
Mind Mapping (Thinking Maps):  Idea Sketch, Popplet, Simple Mind
Photo Projects:  Skitch, Juxio, Fotobabble
Digital Story Telling:  Toontastic, Puppet Pals, Scribble Press, StoryKit
Audio:  Smart Record, VoiceThread
Student Response System: Socrative Teacher and Socrative Student
Drawing: Doodle Buddy, ColorBox HD

PDF Notes
iBrainstorm and iBrainstorm Companion 

Resources for Finding Apps

iPads as...

Finding Apps by Blooms, NETS

Websites that Work on the iPads:

Suggested Apps:

ABC- Magnetic Alphabet HD
Paint Sparkles
PBS Kids

Hungry Fish
Math Duel
Everyday Math (catch them when they're free)
ABC Clock- great clock manipulative
Tangram HD
Factor Samurai

Reading/Language Arts
Misc. Book apps- search StoryChimes, iReading HD and LAZ Reader
Misc. Phonics and Spelling apps- search Preschool University
Misc Grammar apps- search NRCC Games
Spelling City (coming soon!)
Poetry Creator
Visual Poet 

Science 360
Geared HD

Social Studies:
Google Earth
Today in History


Factor Samurai
Home Design HD

Reading/Language Arts:
Scribble Press

Science 360
Geared HD
3D Brain
How Stuff Works 

Social Studies:
Today in History
History Maps of the World
Presidents vs. Aliens Lite

Resources for Creating "Web Trips"

Imagine that you have a collection of websites that you want your students to visit.   There are many ways to get the links to students rather than having them type in each one individually.  You could create a Schoolwires webpage of your links or you could use one of these web resources.

 Stich.It- is a service that lets you “stich” almost anything together on the Internet. That means that you can quickly and seamlessly create a slideshow-like experience that can include Web pages, video, music, photos and more. You can even add annotations to each page.  Use this to give your students a task for each site.  All you need are links!

Fav7 is a service that creates a single page for up to 7 URLs.  You just enter the addresses you want your students to visit and the site gives you a single, short URL to a landing page with screenshots of each URL.

Jog the Web (Education Edition)-

Jog the Web is a web-based tool that allows you to create a synchronous guide to a series of web sites. Its step by step approach of taking viewers through web sites allows the author to annotate and ask guiding questions for each page. Give it a try and start creating your own Jogs.
For more information about Jog the Web-

Have you already used one of these sites in your classroom?  Be sure to let us know how it worked in the comments below.  


Hopper is a super easy way to get text, links, photos or files from your desktop computer to an iDevice. This would be a great way to get information to student iPads quickly and easily. Simply create an account with any email address, paste the desired data to your "bin" and then access your bin on any other computer or iDevice.  

Here's how to get started:
1.  Go to and create an account.  For those of you using iPads in your classroom, use your iPad set's email address and create a password that you can give to your students.
2.  Once you're logged in, either copy/paste or drag/drop text, links, files or pictures to your "bin".
3.  Students then go to and login to the class account.  Students will see any text or files that you have pasted in your bin and can access or save them to their device.


Wonderopolis, a part of the Thinkfinity community, is an amazing resource for getting kids to think.  Each day the site posts a question for students to ponder.  Some recent wonderings include... 

"What time would you travel to?"

"How much rain can a cloud hold?"
"If blood is red, why are veins blue?"

Click on the Wonder of the day for more information and further questions.  Each one has the same sections:
  •  a short introductory video
  • "Have you ever wondered..." with more questions on the topic
  • "Did you know?" with short tidbits of information about the topic
  • "Try it Out" with interactive resources for learning more about the topic
  • "Wonder words to know and use" with key vocabulary for the topic
  • "Still wondering?" for enrichment information and activities
This site could be a great bell ringer activity each day or, since all the previous Wonders are archived and searchable, it is also an excellent resource for introducing a new topic in class.  

For example, if you're starting a unit on... 
Read this great blog post about a first grade class that uses Wonderopolis every week.  Very cool!

Try it out today at  Be sure to leave us a comment if you've used Wonderopolis in your classroom or if you find a good "Wonder" that your colleagues can use!

Google Advanced Search

Did you know there's WAY more to Google than just typing a word or phrase into the little search box?     

Try out these cool Google searches: 
• Calculator‐ just type your equation into the search box 
• Conversion tool‐ 1 mile in feet, etc. (type into search box) 
• Dictionary‐ “define:” and then the word you want 
• Weather‐ “weather” and then the City 
• Flight‐ Enter the airline and flight number 
• Movies‐ “movie:” and your zip code 

 Want to learn more? Go to 

Have you ever clicked the "Advanced Search" link at the bottom of the search results page? There you'll find a variety of useful searches.

 "Find pages with..."-  These options will narrow your search by including or excluding specific words or phrases.

"Then narrow your results by..."- Check out these great options for narrowing results by language, last update, specific site, reading level, file type (.docx, .pptx, .pdf, etc.) or usage rights (copyright free).

QR Code Auto Generator- Great for Creating Lots of Codes at Once!

Want to make QR codes to your students' online projects but the thought of doing them one by one is scaring you away?  Have no fear!  The amazing Tammy Worcester has designed a Google Spreadsheet template that will automatically create QR codes for you!  Just paste in the desired URLs and let the spreadsheet do the work. 

To access the template, go to and login with your Google account (you can create one for free if you don't already have one.)  Click CREATE and FROM TEMPLATE.  Search the templates for QR and choose "QR Code Auto Generator Template".

Then just follow the directions on the spreadsheet to create and print your codes!

UPDATE:  If you have a problem printing your codes, try going to FILE and DOWNLOAD AS HTML.  Then you should be able to print from the HTML.

For more information and specific instructions, go to Tammy's blog.

TCEA Highlight: Shoeboxes, Wikis and Blogs... Oh my!

This TCEA presentation from Keller ISD showcased using a wiki approach to frame the research process. Students use their own wiki page to brainstorm and narrow topics, collect resources, take notes and reflect on their learning process. 

The iSearch method guides the students through the process of identifying and researching topics that interest them using the following questions:
1.  What do I want to know?
2.  Where can I find my answers?
3.  How will I keep a record of the answers that I find?
4.  How will I share what I learned?
5.  How will I know I did a good job?

This is a great printable resource for students to track all the phases of the research process. Use it as a written journal or convert to a wiki page so students can work on their project from anywhere that has Internet access. 

Sample class wiki with sample student pages:

To learn more about the iSearch method, go to

Ready to get started using wikis in your classroom?  Check out the GCISD online course "Classroom 2.0: Wikis" in Eduphoria Workshop. It's available 24/7!

How have you used wikis in your classroom?  Leave us a comment to share your ideas.

QR Codes in the Classroom

QR codes. They're everywhere... in magazines and newspapers, stores and restaurants.   So what are they and how can you use them in your classroom?

What are they?
A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional barcode that is most commonly encoded with text or a web URL.  The code usually consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.   

For more information about QR codes, check out the Common Craft video here:

How it Works:
Step 1- Create the Code:
  1. Go to  (Other options are or )
  2. To create a code to text, click the TEXT tab and type or paste in your text.
  3. To create a code to a website, click the URL tab and type or paste in the website URL.
  4. The code will automatically be created on the right.  Click the OPEN button. 
  5. Your QR code will open in a separate window.  You have 2 options:
    • To print the QR code:  Click FILE and PRINT.
    • To save the QR code as a picture file to add to worksheets, blogs, wikis, web pages, etc.:  Right click the code and choose SAVE PICTURE AS.
Step 2- Use the Code:
The end-user scans the code with a device (smart phone, iTouch, iPad, laptop with web cam, etc.) that has camera capabilities and a QR reader app.  Some recommended apps are:

Cool Lesson Ideas:
Art, Writing and Technology- audio based QR codes

Animal Habitats- text based QR codes

Other Ideas:

How have you used QR codes in your classroom?  Leave us a comment to share your ideas!