Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Best of Ed Tech for 2016

THE Journal magazine, which talks about transforming education through technologies,  has once again come up with their 2016 Readers' Choice Awards.  Here is what they have picked for various categories:)!!!!

Most Valuable in You Schools:
1. Lexia Learning
2. Google Chromebooks
3. Edsby

Top 10 Favorite Technologies Currently Used:
1. All Things Apple - mostly iPads, but also MacBooks and iPhones; and all things Google, particularly Apps for Education
2. Interactive Whiteboards - particularly from SMART and Promethean
3. Lexia
4. More computers, tablets, desktops, carts
5. Renaissance, especially Star 360 and Accelerated Reading and Math
6. Google Chromebooks
7. Microsoft Office and Office 365
8. Projectors - especially EPSON's and Boxlight Mimio
9. Schoology and Edsby
10. Document cameras

Best Reading Programs:
1. Lexia Learning
2. Renaissance Learning - Accelerated Reader 360
3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Read 180

Best Math Programs:
1. iXL Math and Renaissance Learning Accelerated Math
2. DreamBox Learning
3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt GO Math!

Best Science Programs:
1. Discovery Education
2. Delta Education's Full Option Science System (FOSS)

Best Robotics System/Curriculum:
1. Lego Education
2. Vex Robotics
3. Wonder Workshop Dash & Do Coding Robots

Best Coding Tool/Curriculum:
1. Hour of Code
2. Tynker

Best Formative Assessment:
1. Renaissance Learning
2. Kahoot!
3. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt GO Math! and NWEA

Best Summative Assessment:
1. Renaissance Learning Star 360

Best Learning Management:
1. Google Classroom
2. Schoology
3. Edmodo

SERIOUSLY I could go ON AND ON - check out the November 2016 for the ENTIRE list.  I simply linked and wrote the ones I felt like, but there's MORE AND MORE as you know - technology is ENDLESS:)!!!

Happy Wednesday all -
Mrs. I:)

Monday, November 28, 2016

ReThink App - WOW!!!

My nephew shared this app with me - and it was SO POWERFUL that I thought I better blog about it!  Cyberbullying is happening EVERYWHERE - this is nothing new for any of us in the world of technology.  What kids have to deal with nowadays is tough to say the least.  They can't escape the mean comments and remarks made to them because they constantly have a device in their hands and immediate access to EVERYTHING.  Trisha Pabhu, a 14 year old girl from Illinois, has create a GEM!  She was SO touched by and tired of hearing about the story of Rebecca Sedwick, that she finally started doing something about it!  She created an app called ReThink!   This app is a keyboard extension that you download.  Anytime that you are using your keyboard, it tracks what you are typing as it has "hurtful" words in it's bank.  When a word comes up that is hurtful or damaging (and it CAN differentiate between "I hate Chicago," and "I hate Holly."), a little box pops up and says "Would you like to pause and ReThink before you send this?"  You have the option to clear it - but you also have the option to send it!  However - the point is that you DO ReThink about it with that message box - it's awesome!! 

This is directly from the ReThink website:  "Research has found that with ReThink, adolescents change their mind 93% of the time and decide not to post an offensive message on social media."  That is AMAZING!   I am TOTALLY going to talk to our administration about THIS one and push it to ALL our kiddos - WORTH IT!!!

Share with one with EVERYONE you know!  Install this baby on YOUR phone, your KIDDOS' phones, EVERYONE should have this gem!!!  WAY TO DO TRISHA!!  Here is a link to some of the things that she is doing and the videos and TEDTalk that she gave - ENJOY:)!!

Happy Monday all
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, November 17, 2016


When I first took this job - the ONE thing that I was excited about was the flexibility and the NOT having to be accountable for little ones and their "stuff."  I mean everything from parent complaints, to manners, to tying shoes, to cleaning desks - everything!  However, as I sit here subbing today, as they were short because our football team and coaches are headed to play at US Bank Stadium - WHOOP WHOOP! - I realized that I DO indeed miss kiddos and the classroom!  I have had the chance to sit and chat with these kiddos and really am enjoying myself.  Too often in the role I play I am putting out fires and "punishing" kiddos for things they shouldn't be doing on their iPads - often missing the things they are doing that are super GREAT on them! 

I miss kids like THIS - he JUST emailed me this and asked me to please remove these apps as they are taking up storage and he doesn't need them anymore.  HOWEVER - it's the comments he has on the sides that KILL ME and make me miss the kids:)!!

I SERIOUSLY started laughing out loud when he sent me this - kids are kids - regardless of what many say about these 21st Century Learners.  They are demanding and entitled, yes, but they are STILL kiddos!!

Happy Weekend all - off to US BANK today to cheer on our football team at state - GO TROJANS!!
Mrs. I:)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Interactive Websites - TEACHERS' DREAM:)!!!

  I have been browsing for some good websites and ideas for math since that is our curriculum that is up for review and I came across THIS GEM!!!!  I don't know if you have seen this already, but I found this site called Interactive Sites for Education - and IT IS AWESOME!!!  It has already compiled interactive sites and games for you to use with your students and it's in ONE place and there are SO SO many there:)!!  BAD NEWS = you can't use most of them on iPads, as they are mostly flash based.  GOOD NEWS = you can ALWAYS take your kiddos into the media center or computer lab and still use these with them - YAHOO:)!!  Here is a quick snapshot of what's available:

SERIOUSLY - check this one out - it's WORTH THE TIME:)!
Happy Monday all,
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Know It - Math Practice Website

Mrs. Tonsfeldt, a third grade teacher here, shared this website with me to check out.  We are currently in the process of implementing a new math curriculum and supplements that we may need.  She discovered I Know It - a math based website for practice of various skills.  This website is COMPLETELY FREE NOW, as it's in beta form and incomplete, but it's SUPER easy for kids to use and SUPER clean and laid out right.  CHECK IT OUT!!

Here are a few screenshots from the site to get an idea of the simplicity of it:

 Have a great Wednesday all,
Mrs. I:)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Microsoft Word Practice

Mrs. Askegaard, a fifth grade teacher here, asked me to see if I could find some resources to teach Microsoft Word and word processing.  This is ONE skill that I really feel kids are in DESPERATE need of, and we don't do a great job here.  We have a class that students have to take at some point in grades 9-12, but they can take it any of those four years - so really, when they are seniors, they take a class on Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, when they SHOULD be taking it before so they can USE those skills all through high school (again, just MY opinion here).  We have tried to add things here, as years ago we cut a business teacher, so this is the option that Mr. Askegaard, our business teacher, can teach, as he also has other classes that need to be offered.  So until then, we are trying to find more ways to incorporate keyboarding and Microsoft Word into grades and classes.  Fifth Grade doing more will help, which is why Mrs. Askegaard is looking for some things. 
Here is what I have found so far:

St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium has some really great resources on this page.  These are free and available to anyone to enhance his/her skills.

Teachers Pay Teachers is always an AMAZING site to use - some of the ideas have to be bought, but some are also free.  Here are some I liked and was willing to buy:

Applied Educational Systems also created some online tutorials and lessons that help students better understand Microsoft Word and keyboarding.  

Those are just a TASTE of things available for you.  The idea that she really wanted was for kids to have to type and USE the formatting options, as well as taking an already created document and fixing and editing it.  Hopefully these will work for her - I thought they looked good!

Happy Monday all
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Frustrations Today:)!

I understand the ever changing world of technology, it's what I do daily.  I hear the complaints daily, I get the concerns, and I put out fires EVERY day, but here are a few things that I am frustrated about TODAY:) -

1. Tech Support - EVERYONE should have the ability to escalate cases - Can they PLEASE know what they are doing.  I am calling them because I NEED HELP!  I have already Googled, call someone I know and YouTubed a possible answer because I am that way.  So when I call tech support, I have TRIED things that most wouldn't know what to do - because they forget about Google and YouTube, or maybe don't have connections in the field.  However, PLEASE don't put me on the phone with someone that DOESN'T know what they are doing.  I want my case escalated right away, and I tell them that, don't waste 20 minutes of MY time walking me through things I have ALREADY TRIED - UGH!!

2. New Products - SUPPORT THEM - Casey JUST put up new Smart Televisions.  They are NOT Smart Product, but they work with SmartNotebook as our teachers have invested a TON of time in their Notebook files, so we want to make sure everything is compatible.  However, once they were installed (three total) ONE of them doesn't have touch recognition - it DID last night, so why not today?  Well, Casey calls tech support to solve the problem and the person he talks to has NO idea why it's not working and can't even offer a solution.  However, he calls back and then gets a person that can help a little but not completely.  If you are going to offer new products, you BETTER have people that have the answers and support for them as well.

3. Apple Manager - We have JAMF here as our MDM to manage our iPads.  One of the reasons we CHOSE this was the ability to use Apple Classroom where teachers can control student iPads on an even smaller scale.  When you go to Apple Manager, which is where I have to upload our files, they offer templates that are pretty basic - I input data, upload the files and it SHOULD work.  The problem is, they aren't.  Again, I have sat on the phone with Apple walking through this and it's NOT WORKING!  So I will once again call them and see what's going on; but today I need a mental break from THAT.  They say I am missing buttons on the Apple Manager page, but not sure why?  UGH - frustrations galore today!

OK I AM DONE!  THANK YOU FOR THE VENT!  I will try again tomorrow - as you can see I have been trying to put out a forest fire with a few plastic pails here - EPIC FAIL! 
Maybe tomorrow.......

Have a great night all
Mrs. I:)