Video Files and the Google Drive App

To upload videos to Google Drive in the app, you should be able to:

  1. Open the desired folder.
  2. Click the + sign and choose Upload Photos or Videos.  
  3. Choose the desired files.
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We have discovered that some video files will not upload to Google Drive via the Google Drive app.  I've investigated a variety of common apps that save videos and have found this information:

It seems that 30 Hands, Shadow Puppet Edu and Chatterpix Kids will not upload directly to Google Drive.  Here are some work arounds:


  1. Create the video project in 30 Hands, Shadow Puppet Edu or Chatterpix Kids as usual.
  2. Since saved iMovie videos WILL upload to Google Drive, students can create an iMovie project with only the 30 Hands, Shadow Puppet Edu or Chatterpix Kids video.
    • Open iMovie and create a new project (plus sign and choose Movie).
    • Pick any theme and tap Create Movie.
    • Tap the desired video file from the Video panel and insert it into the movie.
    • Click the back arrow to exit movie editing.
    • Click the share icon and choose Save Video.
    • This will save the video to the Camera Roll in a format that will upload to Google Drive.
All students have a YouTube account using their GCISD Google account.  In order to be able to upload videos from an iPad to a district Google/YouTube account, students first have to create a channel.  These steps must be completed ON A COMPUTER.
  1. Go to and login with your GCISD Google account.
  2. Click NEXT.
  3. Click SAVE.
  4. Click UPLOAD
  5. Enter the student's network ID (the first part of the Google account… the part before the  If that’s already taken, try adding GCISD to the end of the network ID)
Full instructions (with teacher instructions) here: 

Once they've setup their channel, students can upload any video from their camera roll.  
  1. Go to the Camera Roll to watch the video.
  2. At the bottom of the video screen, tap the “send to” icon (square with arrow) and tap Send to YouTube.
  3. Fill in the video information:  Title, Description, Category (Education), Privacy (Unlisted)
  4. Click PUBLISH in the top right hand corner.  Login with GCISD Google user name and password if prompted.

Shadow Puppet Edu 

Shadow Puppet Edu has a built in feature to "open in" another app and Google Drive is an option.

1.  Create your Shadow Puppet Edu project as usual.
2.  Click menu icon in the top corner and choose Share.
3.  Tap More

4.  Tap and hold on the "Grownups Only" button.  You can turn off the "Keep checking age" feature when prompted.

5.  Tap More again and choose "Open In". Choose "Open in Drive" from the list.

Have you had this happen in other apps besides the ones mentioned?  Do you have another work around?  I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. 

YouTube "Safety Mode"

If you use the Chrome browser, you may have been getting this message lately when trying to view YouTube videos. 

To disable "Safety Mode", scroll to the bottom of the page and click the drop down next to "Safety".  Select Off and click Save.  Refresh the video page and your video should begin to play.

If you're trying to view a video that's embedded in another webpage, go to  Follow the instructions above and then return to the webpage with the embedded video.

For more information about Safety Mode:

Top 10 Apps for Elementary Classrooms

I'm often asked for a list of my top 10 apps for a digital classroom.  I created this presentation for a breakout session during last week's Digital Classroom Cadre 5 training.  These are the apps that I think give you the biggest "bang for your buck".  They can all be used for students to create projects in any content area.  

Download a PDF of the presentation here:

Math Tool Apps for the Elementary Classroom

I created the following presentation for a breakout session during our Digital Cadre 5 training this week.  

Several of these tools are great for creating images to be used in other apps like Shadow Puppet, Tellagami or Popplet Lite.  For example, students can create and screenshot representations of numbers using the Number Pieces Basic app.  Then capture the student's thinking by inserting the images into Shadow Puppet and recording audio explanations.  

Do you have another math tool app or resource you love?  Share it in the comments below!

Google Forms - Are they anonymous?

I LOVE Google Forms.  There are so many great uses for teachers and students in the classroom.

Some of my favorites are:

More resources:

Are They Anonymous???

Since we've "Gone Google" in the district, several people have wondered about the anonymity of the forms.  I've played around with it and here's what I've discovered.

When a form is created using our district Google accounts, there are 2 options at the top:  Require GCISD login to view the form and Automatically collect respondents GCISD username.

If only the "Require GCISD login to view the form is checked, you'll be required to login to your GCISD account but your username will NOT be collected.

Here's what the form looks like for the person filling it out:

And here's what the response spreadsheet looks like for the person who created the form:

If the "Automatically collect respondents GCISD username" box is also checked, your username will be collected but you WILL know it.  If your username is being collected, there will be a message at the top of the form telling you.

Here's what the same form looks like for the person filling it out when this box is checked:

Here's what the response spreadsheet looks like now for the person who created the form:

Want to learn more about Google Forms and how to use them in your classroom?  Check out this blog post:

Shadow Puppet EDU

Shadow Puppet Edu

I heard about the Shadow Puppet app awhile ago but didn’t really pay any attention to it because it had all the same features as 30Hands or Storyrobe (which used to be free).  Basically you take pictures and put them together to narrate and create a movie.  It’s great as a layering app to take pictures created in other apps like Doodle Buddy, Popplet Lite, Haiku Deck or even the camera roll and combine them.  It’s easier to narrate them in an app like this vs iMovie because it automatically sets the time that the picture displays for as long as your narration (in iMovie, you have to change the time setting for your picture after you narrate.) 

Shadow Puppet just added several features that I think make it superior to 30Hands so I’d recommend that everyone check it out.

First of all they’ve created a special Edu version with features only available for free to teachers and students. 

Secondly, you can combine not only images but also video clips from your camera roll.  That means that you can take videos created in other apps like Tellagami, Chatterpix Kids or Doceri and combine them with images.  

It’s easy to use.  Just pick your images or videos. Tap Start and narrate the story as you flip through the pictures.  As you’re recording, you can add drawings to your images, zoom in or add text. There are a variety of sharing options (tap the more icon to choose the option “open in” and save directly to Google Drive) or you can save your final project to the camera roll.   

You can add up to 100 items and up to 30 minutes long.  There is a built in search that includes the Library of Congress, NASA and “Web Images”.  Be sure to use the “Web Images” search with caution.  There is a possibility for finding inappropriate images.  I would recommend limiting your students to the Library of Congress and NASA sections and find other images on a website like (using the GCISD login) or  

Check out my presentation with suggestions for finding copyright free images here (you'll need to be signed in to your GCISD Google account to view): to Create Your Own Audio Books

Many teachers have asked me for a way to create audio recordings of books from their classroom library so that students can listen as they follow along with the book. is an easy (and free!) way to do just that! 
  1. Go to
  2. If it’s the first time you’ve visited this website, you’ll get a notification about allowing access to your microphone.  Click “OK, got it” and then choose Allow and Remember and click Close.
  3. Click “OK, I did it.”
  4. Click Record to start recording.  You might get a yellow bar across the top of the window asking you again to allow microphone access.  Choose to allow.
  5. Click Stop when you’re finished reading.
  6. Click Play to listen back.
  7. Click Start Over to re-record or click Save Recording.
  8. Copy the URL.
  9. Go to (or your favorite QR generator) to create the QR code.   Print out the QR code and tape into the book in your classroom library.
NOTE:  Be sure to follow copyright laws.  These audio recordings should not be shared or posted anywhere for students to access without your physical copy of the book. 

Online Manipulatives for Grades K-8

McGraw Hill Education Virtual Manipulatives
 McGraw Hill offers a free website with a huge variety of manipulatives that would be great for use in a classroom with an interactive projector. 

After picking your grade level, choose the desired background from the list.  Pre-K-2nd grade have game board and story board options as well as the workmats that are available for all grade levels.  

Next choose a manipulative.  Some options include algebra tiles, base ten blocks, currency, clocks, fraction tiles, geoboards, geometric solids, hundred chart, tangrams, thermometers and many more.  

Use the tools at the bottom of the screen to move, type text, draw or measure objects on the workmat.  


QR Journal - QR Scanning on a Mac Computer

Looking for a way for students using Mac laptops to scan QR codes? QR Journal is a great free option.  

To install QR Journal:
1.  On a Mac, go to the Applications folder and choose App Store.  
2.  Do a search for QR Journal.  (or use this link:
3.  "Buy" the app using your AppleID.

Once it’s installed, open the app from your Applications folder. You'll see a button that says “Scan”.  That opens a window that is using the laptop's built in webcam.  Hold the QR code in front of the camera and it will scan the code.  Super easy!

Tip: To make any Mac app easy to access, you can choose to keep it in the dock even when it's not open.  Just right-click on the app icon in the dock (when the app is open) and choose "Options" and "Keep in Dock".

Make it - Create Interactive iPad Games

Make It

"Make It - Create and share your own educational games and activities with anyone, anywhere" (longest name of an app ever!) is a free app for teachers or students to create their own interactive iOS presentations and games.  For each game you create, there are 8 possible slide types:  
  • Connect (for matching)
  • Drag to Container (for sorting)
  • Memory (match game)
  • Paint (for drawing)  
  • Find Me (matching)
  • Quiz (a single question)
  • Fill With Letters (a question with an answer that you spell out)
  • Text (a blank slide for instructions or information)

Be sure to tap the wrench icon for additional settings and options for each slide type.

You can use your own images from the iPad camera roll, or the app comes with some built in clip art (you can even download additional packs for free!)

Final products can be shared via email.  Students can create their own games to show what they know and trade with each other to practice!

What's a Mystery Skype?

What is a Mystery Skype?
A Mystery Skype is a Skype conversation between 2 classes.  The teachers arrange the Skype call in advance but the students do not know where the other class is located.  Students ask and answer pre-determined questions about their city/state to learn about where the other class is.  Students research the answers and guess the location of the other class.

What themes can be learned through Mystery Skypes?
Social Studies: geography, climate, landforms, natural resources, economy, cultures
Math: data collection, graphing, estimating, measuring
Science: weather, seasons, landforms
Thinking: research, organizing data, critical thinking, problem solving, compare/contrast
Listening/Speaking: notetaking, communicating via written, oral and visual information

What equipment do I need to do a Mystery Skype?
Either a computer with a webcam, microphone and Skype software loaded or an iPad 2 or higher with the Skype app installed.

How do I do a Mystery Skype?
I've put together a Mystery Skype checklist with reminders and resources to keep you on track. 

For more information about Mystery Skypes or other ideas for using Skype in the classroom, visit my Pinterest board

Student Learning Journal - Google Template

At the TCEA (Texas Computer Educators Association) Conference in February I learned about a great free template for students to use in their Google Drive account.  It's a student learning journal created by Tammy Worcester Tang.  This would be a great tool to help  students become self-regulated learners. 

The template can be accessed here: 

Students would click the link on the page above and login to their Google Drive account to create the journal in their Google Drive.  

Note:  On a computer, the link will automatically ask them to create a copy in their drive.  On an iPad, students will need to choose "Go to Spreadsheet View" and choose "Continue to Desktop Version".  Then they can choose FILE and MAKE A COPY to create an editable copy in their own drive. 

Once the copy is in their drive, students can edit it using the Google Drive app, on an iPad in Safari or by going to their Google Drive on a computer.  The spreadsheet has 4 tabs:  a cover page, Assignments (for tracking due dates), Journal (for recording "what I learned" reflections) and Class Notes.

Students can also share the document with the appropriate teacher(s) so that anything the student writes can be automatically viewed by the teacher.  

SAS Read Aloud - Books for Pre and Early Readers

SAS Read Aloud

SAS Read Aloud is a great, free app for pre and early readers.  The app comes with 2 books but more books can be added (for free!) from the "Bookstore" by tapping the magnifying glass in the top corner. 

Each book has 3 reading modes:  Read to Me (reads the story aloud), Help Me Read (reads the story aloud as students tap on each word) or Read By Myself.  Students (or teachers) can also record themselves reading the book.  Additional users can be added by tapping the "voices" icon so it's great even for shared iPads.

Kid's Journal

Kid's Journal

Kid's Journal is a free app that allows students to create a journal (or even multiple journals) for reflecting on their day.  Students can choose their emotion (happy, okay or crazy), their location (home, school or away) and the weather (sunny, cloudy or windy).  Then they write a short paragraph to answer the question "What did I do today?"  They can also upload a picture from the camera roll.  Individual journal entries or a range of entries can be exported to PDF and opened in a variety of other apps like Edmodo, Skitch, Evernote or Google Drive.  Another option could be to screenshot the entry and insert into an app like 30Hands for students to record audio narration.

Leave Audio Comments on Google Drive Files with Kaizena!

Kaizena is a free resource that let's you leave audio comments, text comments or links to resources on Google Docs.  What a great way to give feedback to your students!  Students can share their work with you through their Google Drive account. Then you open the document in Kaizena (on a computer) and quickly and easily record comments.

Here's how to get started:
  1. Go to
  2. Click Connect to Google Drive.
  3. Login to your Google account and click Accept.
  4. Pick a file from “My Drive” or “Shared with Me".
  5. Highlight desired section to add a comment.
  6. On the toolbar that pops up, click the microphone to add an audio comment, click the quote bubble to type comments or click the tag to add a resource (link to video, lesson, game, etc.)
  7. Send the comment to the creator by clicking their name on the left hand side.
  8. Choose to send via Doc Comment.
  9. When the student opens the document, he/she will get a link to listen to or view your comments in Kaizena.  (They will be asked to "Accept" the Kaizena to Google Drive link the first time they connect.)
Note: Kaizena works best on a computer.  Comments can be accessed on an iPad using Safari and "Desktop Version" following these steps:

  1. Open the document
  2. Tap the Edit button
  3. Tap the down arrow button next in the top right hand corner and select "Use Desktop Version".  
  4. Wait for the document to fully load and tap the Comments button.  Ignore the yellow bar warning about an "unsupported browser".
Kaizena will not work within the Google Drive app on an iPad.

    Schoolkit Math- Great Tools for Elementary Math!

    Schoolkit Math

    Schoolkit Math is a great free app with lots of math tools/virtual manipulatives for elementary students.  This would be a great app to layer into other apps to have students demonstrate their learning.  They can use the tools in this app to model their thinking and then take a screenshot of their model.  Insert those pictures into another app like 30Hands or Tellagami and have the students record their thought processes.  They could also organize their pictures into a Thinking Map using the Popplet Lite app.  So many possibilities!  

    Check out some of the screenshots from the app below and download it today!

    Number Lines:



    Ten Frame

    Fraction Kit

    Number Houses

     Number Tiles