Inspiration From a Colleague Leads to a Free Friday ‘App’etizer

A fellow Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology in my district, Laura Agnella, submitted a post about Graphic Organizers on our District’s 1to1 Learning blog this past Thursday. After reading the post, I started thinking about how I like to create (my current buzzword) on an iPad. As mentioned in Laura’s post, Popplet Lite works very nicely and I sent out as an ‘app’etizer last year, Tools 4 Students. But my current free favorite graphic organizer/brainstorming/mind mapping app is: iBrainstorm. Why, you may ask, is this my current favorite? Well, in terms of features, it’s simplistic. Add a sticky note with a limited number of color choices and type out some text. Draw with limited color choices and line thicknesses or use the eraser. That’s it! No shapes or bubbles or images to add; don’t get overwhelmed with options or choices. When finished, save it to your photo library; from there, it could be uploaded to Dropbox or Google Drive. You could also email it if you wanted. Now, let the students plan & create!

Here is one I started so you can see what it looks like:

How could you use this app?


Personal Wins!

I felt that I needed to brag a little. Actually, come to think of it, as educators, we don’t celebrate our personal wins that often. Case in point, I went into one class this week and was assisting a teacher on doing some audio recording with their iPads. As I met with students, she was doing an activity on the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies. I thought it was fantastic, all the students were engaged and getting hands-on with their learning. I went over to the teacher and told her this was unbelievable; I would never had thought of it. She acted as though it was OK.


So here are my personal wins this week. First, I’m working with a teacher on a Heritage Project. There are many components but one aspect was for the students to use Tellagami to record how their family traveled to the United States. The next question started with, ‘would it be possible’ (I have a love/hate relationship with that phrase) could there be a background showing how they came to the US? I came up with this:

Now the process to get that background was quite long and had multiple fails until I broke through and figured out the secret steps. To take a line from Batman Begins, “It’s all a bit technical but,” hopefully I won’t bore you too much with the steps.
1. Using PowerPoint, setup an animation path for either a plane or a boat with a world map picture as the background.
2. Record the PowerPoint Presentation w/ Jing (file saved as .swf).
3. ‘Open in Chrome’ to watch Jing video.
4. Record Chrome screen w/ SnagIt (file saved as .avi).
5. Download file from Google Drive’s TechSmith folder.
6. Go to upload file and convert (file saved as .wmv).
7. Download the file from the email notification of completed conversion.
8. Open iMovie; create a new project; import movie; trim, crop, mute, etc.
9. Export as a movie (file saved as .m4v).

Lots of steps but the end result can be pretty cool. Here are two examples:

I can’t wait till next week when the students create their ‘Gamis’. They will create their avatar using Tellagami with a green background. This will then be saved to the photo gallery and use Green Screen by Do Ink to put the two videos together.

My second win this week is the creation of another Green Screen by Do Ink video. I have a different teacher preparing a unit on our Solar System. They wanted me to create a final project where the students will report on a planet they research. I came up with a Star Trek inspired activity. Here is the never before seen test footage of my project idea:

The idea is to have the students being ‘hailed’ by the captain of a starship and must describe their ‘native’ planet to the crew. The video perspective will be from the captain looking at his/her view screen. The student will record their project in front of a green screen. The green screen will be changed to a picture of the surface of their planet. This image will be the bottom layer of three while using the iPad app. The middle layer is the video of the student. The top layer consists of a PNG image of the bridge of the starship.
Deck of the Ship
I never tried recording a video using a green screen like this, but it worked out well thanks to Green Screen by Do Ink and another iPad app, CropVideo. CropVideo gave me the ability to trim the viewable screen to the size of the green screen I was using. Here is the unedited video footage:

I’m excited to see the finished products and the creativity of the students for this project too!

What are your personal wins? Leave a comment below or click the link at the top and submit a guest blog post describing your personal wins.

Spooktacular Free Friday ‘App’etizer

This week I come to you with an app, Comic Touch 2, by the makers of Comic Life. Comic Touch 2 can be used to introduce a couple of topics. Two which this app screams to use are dialogue and onomatopoeia. Comics can be a great way to showcase to students how these literary devices appear as text, as in the example below.

This app could be used to make a cover for a writing piece or even just a cover for any project.

Hmmmm, I see a comic book cover for…

Math: ‘The Adventures of Super Triangle and the League of Tangrams’


Science: ‘The Exciting, Spectacular, Amazing Properties of Water’


Social Studies: ‘Around the Community in 30 Days’


Art: ‘Meet the Artist volume 7 issue 2’


The ideas are endless… or are they… To Be Continued…


It’s Friday! Guess what that means…

Friday, October 24, 2014 offers a Halloween app smash for my teachers. Using Pumpkin Carver Plus and YAKiT Kids students can ‘carve’ a pumpkin on the iPad, then save it to the camera roll. From within the app, YAKiT Kids, they can place a mouth on their jack o’lantern and record themselves (30 seconds of recording time). Afterwards they can adjust the pitch of their voice, higher or lower, and save it to the camera roll. I recorded a very basic one:

What would you have your students record?


Free Friday ‘App’etizer

In my current district, I send out a weekly email to the teachers of the buildings I work with. Every Friday I send out a ‘free Friday Appetizer’; this is an app which is either free or temporarily free. I include a description on how this app could be used in the classroom. My department has recently started a blog. I have posted on there for topics which were geared for the 1:1 teachers, but will now start adding my weekly emails as posts. I thought this would be a great place to include them too.

Week of Oct. 17:
This week’s ‘app’etizer is Pattern Shapes, by the Math Learning Center.

I like this app because in a sense it is two apps in one.  First, students can manipulate the various geometric shapes on the screen, simply be dragging and dropping (a skill needed for PARCC).  While interacting with the shapes, they can see a relationship between them;
one hexagon is composed of a triangle, a parallelogram, and a trapezoid (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.G.A.2)   The second aspect of this app which I like is how it offers tangrams for the students to complete.
Challenge your students with Symmetry!  “Can you make a reflection of this shape?”
I hope you enjoy this app and add it to your collection of Math Tool Apps.


When it rains, it pours: Playing w/ Forms pt 2

Just when you thought you gained a handle on new updates… I go and read a post at the Google Drive Blog on a few more customizations you can make with Google Forms. I already posted about some that I liked; now I need to expand on a few more. First, let me go back and talk about custom banners a little bit. Everything I read up until today said the banner had to be a .jpg or .png file; totally not true, you can also do a .gif which means if you know how to create an animation, your banners can look like the example at the end of this post.

Three other features I like:

General Form Settings have two new abilities: Only allow one person to answer, which is more advanced than the setting at the end of the Form where you remove the link to submit another response. This setting seems to work from login credentials. The second option shown below, shuffle question order, will be great for a class taking a test; not every student will have the same ‘question #2’, potentially.

Advanced Settings for Questions:

 – Randomize Multiple Selections when working with a multiple choice, choose from a list, grid, or checkboxes type of question, the choices will potentially be in a different order than the person next to you.

 – One Response Per Column allows you to create a grid style question and have respondents only choose one option for each column. This could be great for surveys where you need to rate options on a chart of Least to Most Used, for example.

 – Data Validation allows you to set specific text for a response. In essence you are setting a password for the form. Make sure to have this as your first question, with a page break in between this question and all other questions.


Here is an example form with the different features listed above (Password = Password):