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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Get Epic! - Free eBooks for Kids


Epic! is an awesome app that offers thousands of ebooks for K-5 students and is 100% free for teachers.  

There are so many ways Epic! can help the classroom teacher out! 

  • It is an app you can put on the child’s iPad or use the website.
  • It provides one more way to help children fall in love with reading! 
  • It provides a way for children to log their reading documentation. 
  • The choices of literature are AMAZING!  Many genres at all levels.
  • It allows differentiation in the classroom because you can choose what age group you are interested in reading. 
  • It has books read to you for the emergent readers.
  • It has chapter books of all genres for the higher readers.
  • It has books for all academic subjects!  Easy way to do nonfiction mini lessons in small group reading that seem exciting to the kids!

One tip we've learned since last year is that it is easier to create your student accounts within the iPad app, rather than on the computer.  Go to https://www.getepic.com/educators to create an account.  Then login to the app to add your students.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Easyblog.org - Super Easy Student Blogging App


Since KidBlog switched to an all paid model in August, I been on the lookout for a new, EASY way for students to blog.  This week I learned about Easyblog.org.  Right now, if you sign up for an account you get 100gb of space for free!  There is a bit of a process to get everything setup on each iPad but it's the easiest blogging app I've seen for kids.  Parents can visit their child's blog online and can subscribe so that they get an email each time their child posts.


Here are step by step instructions to get everything set up:  https://goo.gl/g3nzdk. The site also has a great collection of tutorial videos http://goo.gl/nUm2UF


Once everything is setup, students have 4 choices when they're in the app ("The Easyblog App" https://goo.gl/2IbYZd)


When they choose the Type button, they have a piece of paper for their writing and can also post a photo and/or video.

Once they tap Done, they give their post a title, choose a subject and tap the green check mark.

Students can read each others' posts by tapping the Visit Blogs button in the app.  If you want your students to leave comments for each other, they have to go to the URL of the blog in Safari.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Google Forms + Flubaroo!


 

I first blogged about Google Forms in this post from way back in 2012.  Now that everyone in GCISD has a Google account, it's even easier to get started!  Here's a step by step tutorial if you're new to Google Forms:  http://learn.googleapps.com/products/forms/get-started.


Google Forms are a great way to get information from your students or parents.  Many teachers use a short Google Form for a quick formative assessment during a lesson.  I have pinned tons of ideas for using Google Forms in the classroom on this Pinterest board: https://goo.gl/ZBEKce


Here are some examples from GCISD teachers.  

  • Decimals Task Cards - from Kimberly Steele, 4th grade teacher at OC Taylor Elementary.  The students worked sample problems on their task cards and submitted the answers to her via this form (http://goo.gl/forms/jcK3B4mjiD).  Then she used Flubaroo to give her immediate feedback about their progress.
  • Map Skills - from Caroline Presley, 3rd grade teacher at Heritage Elementary.  Caroline used the "add image" feature to add a labeled map for students to reference as they completed this form (http://goo.gl/forms/k0QLWWL2I4).

Once you start using Google Forms with students, you'll definitely want to check out Flubaroo.  It's an awesome add-on that will automatically grade a form for you!  My favorite part is that it gives you an item by item analysis so you can quickly assess which specific skills your students need to work on. 

Here's a quick demo of Flubaroo (click this link if you are viewing this blog post via email: http://viewpure.com/U06W3H_iDho):




Flubaroo has a great step by step tutorial on their web site to get you started:  http://www.flubaroo.com/flubaroo-user-guide.

How do you use Google Forms and Flubaroo in your classroom?  Leave us a comment with your ideas and links to your sample forms!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ViewPure - Remove the YouTube Distractions!


ViewPure is a great resource for taking away all the comments, ads and other distractions from YouTube video pages.  The easiest way to use ViewPure is by using their bookmarklet.  From the main page, simply drag the big orange "Purify" button to your Bookmarks Bar (you may have to go to View and choose Always Show Bookmarks Bar if you don't see it.)



(If the animated gif above does not play in your email, click HERE to view)

Once the Purify button is on your toolbar, just go to the YouTube video you want to show, click Purify and the bookmarklet will automatically take you to a simple page with just the YouTube video.  


It actually creates a new URL for the video so you can share that with your students in Google Classroom, Blendspace, via QR code, etc. so that they can watch without the typical distractions!


 
 
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