February 25

ClassroomScreen.com holds Teacher Tools


is a screen full of the

Teacher Tools that we use regularly.

Well, at least I do. At my school, many of our non-negotiables can be met by using ClassroomScreen.com. We must have our agenda displayed (insert a text box), a timer to track time on task (display timer), allow for activities that support multiple learning styles (assign work symbol), and check for understanding (QR code with a link to an assessment). Alll of these can be DISPLAYED from ONE SCREEN!!!

It’s my new favorite tool. It allows you to use one screen to handle most of the things that we use daily.

 ➡ Random name picker & dice roll to allow you to quickly select a student or a numbered activity. 

 ➡ Classroom sound level monitor that allows you to set the sensitivity and sound level limits.

 ➡ QR-code generator for students to quickly scan for a website, image, text response, etc.

 ➡ Draw: in-screen box or full-screen to display illustrations or uploaded pictures.

 ➡ Text box that can hold the daily agenda or a daily note. 

 ➡ Work symbols to direct students how they should be working.

 ➡ Traffic light that lets them know to stop, wait or go.

 ➡ Set a timer/stopwatch to track time on task. 

 ➡ Show the clock & calendar.

First, personalize your screen for your preferences:

  • Select a language and background
  • Add and arrange all of the widgets that you need to work effectively and efficiently.  


My ideal screen has the agenda, a timer, a blog post prompt, and a Work Mode area.  What would you have on yours?


Here is the image that I upload to my screen.

December 7

My #HourofCode

I have just spent the last 2 hours on Code.org completing the App Lab Unit in honor of this year’s Hour of Code.

App Lab is a programming environment where you can make simple apps. Design an app, code in JavaScript with either blocks or text, then share your app in seconds.

The unit has mini lessons (levels) that begin with an explanation video, an application assignment and a self-checking “run” and check it step.

  • Setting Properties – Levels 1-4
  • Make It Interactive – Levels 5-7
  • Images and Sounds – Levels 8-9
  • Design Mode – Levels 10-13
  • Share Your App – Levels 14-15

The site guides you through the steps required to create your practice app before allowing you to tweak and change it up to your liking. I chose to create a Choose your assignment adventure. It is something that will allow them to take an adventure into learning by blindly selecting their assignments. After reading the text, my students would choose to either go right or left for their assignment tasks.

My app is not class ready but I am pleased with the results of my work. I spent a couple of hours working (I played the role of student and viewed all videos and followed all directions) and I created something that can be used and shared.

There is still time for you and your students to check out the many resources that can be found on Code.org. 


August 1

Assessing and Gathering Data #BacktoSchool #LaEdChat

Demonstrating a deep understanding of content can be done in creative ways. Screencast videos using free sites like Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify can be a great gauge of understanding and a useful resource for future learners as part of a class library. Instead of pencil and paper tests, your students can complete online ClassFlow drag and drop and matching activities. Using Piktochart or Google Drawings,  infographics or as Comix strips, scholars can demonstrate their mastery of the lesson.  Let them blog it out and have their thoughts expressed in multimedia blog posts using Edublogs.

I Gather my Data via ClassFlow.com. Classflow allows me to deliver an assessment and see the results immediately. I display the red or green results and we discuss as a class our strengths and weaknesses.  As a teacher, you can get a great snapshot of what’s going on in the room via these reports.

There are so many engaging ways that your scholars can show you what they know. We constantly need to assess, formatively and summatively. Let’s find some fun and interesting ways to do this.

Kahoot.com is another is a way to gamify your assessments and allow the students to interactively participate. The students are able to click a button to answer a question

Plickers.com is another website that allows you to create quick assessments formative assessments to is a quick a formative assessment tool Flickr requires that each of your students have an individual answer card that is coded only to them and they answer bye.

RAFT writing  – Students become the character as they utilize this writing strategy, Once they understand their roles as writers, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the topic it’s fun to have them blog as water droplets, cell membranes or scientists on the brink of discovery. ie: Role – your school’s technology coordinator  Audience – parents, students and teachers Format –  infographic for school newspaper Topic – stay safe on the Internet or Role – a drop of water; Audience – a meteorologist; Format – a magazine cover; Topic –  my journey around the world.

Crossword puzzles – Students create their own crossword puzzles using current class content as their inspiration. Discovery has a puzzlemaker that allows them to create and then print out their puzzles or they can create an online crossword puzzle by creating a ClassFlow activity and sharing it with the class.

Displays / Exhibits – Students research topics and creatively displays findings as an exhibit. ie: History exhibit – Immigrants built a new life in an unfamiliar land, enriching the local culture. Science exhibit – Famous Scientists, Inventors, Artists, and Leaders are highlighted. Math exhibit – Everyday life examples of Algebra or Geometry are examined.

Graphic Essays – Students can create a mosaic for the chapter or unit they are studying. Instead of writing a 500 word essay, students can be charged with collecting (or creating) 5 images and creating a poster with the images and text quotes. They can present the essay and defend their choices in writing or orally.

Online Quizzes or Games – Students become game creators using class content. Give them question stems to model their questions after and let them have fun using ClassFlow,  Quizlet, Socrative or Kahoot.

Infographics – Students make a visual image such as a chart or diagram that represents information or data. A good infographic is worth a thousand words and many students prefer the creative freedom. Piktochart or Google Drawings allows them to create graphics that teach.

Back Channels – Students take part in or drive a chatroom-style discussion allowing you to gather information and assess in a noninvasive way. Have them submit quick responses or compile a list of related resources onto a Padlet or in a TodaysMeet chatroom.

Create Comic Strips  – Students create a sequence of drawings in boxes that tell a story. Imagine them creating comics that allow them to visualize ideas, create discussions between historical characters, and provide the real-life setting for a math problem. Using MakeBeliefsComix, Toondoo, or Pixton allow your scholars to sketch out a scene.




August 1

#LaEdChat #BacktoSchool Twitter Chat August 1st

TWITTER is the best professional development tool ever. It allows you to attend PD in your pajamas from the comfort of your own home. There is so much power behind a micro-blogpost of 140 characters and it has been a game changer for me. Have conversations and get resources from like-minded individuals. Network with others in a way that transcends walls. 24/7 participation in 140 characters or less.  That means quick sound bytes that you can take and use.

Here is a Tweet broken down

  1.  Tweets – text-based messages of up to 140 characters
  2.  Twitter handle – chosen Twitter name for your Twitter Profile
  3.  #Hashtag – (#) is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” that allows you to gather tweets about a specific topic.
  4.   Twitter content – can include text, images, videos and links within the text
  5.   Reply—when you directly respond to a specific user beginning with their username
  6.   RT—retweet = is a tweet posted by someone else that you share with all of your Twitter followers.
  7.   Like – way to designate that you like a tweet
  8.   Analytics – what interaction did the tweet produce
  9. Reply interaction – replies to the tweet

A Twitter chat is a group of Twitter users who meet at a pre-determined time to discuss a certain topic, using a designated hashtag (#) for each tweet contributed. A  moderator poses questions (designated with Q1, Q2…) to prompt responses from participants (who respond with A1, A2…)  Chats typically last an hour.

To start, respond to the moderator’s question (“Q1”) with a response (“A1”). If you don’t know what to say, it is acceptable to stay silent and lurk. But as you read posts, it’s a better idea to retweet the ideas that you agree with and like the ones that you want to check out later. The chat is a chance to connect and not a test that requires an answer.

Lurking in life gets you arrested while lurking on social media gets you resources. During a Twitter chat, lurking allows you to become familiar with the process. To keep track of the action, I use TweetDeck. I can easily track, schedule and respond.

I am the moderator for tonight’s #LaEdChat and here are my questions for tonight’s chat with links to some of my responses.

  1. What Back to School activities do you assign to get to know your scholars?
  2. What are your best organization tips and/or hacks?
  3. How do you engage your students so that they want to complete the work?
  4. What are your classroom management “must haves”?
  5. How do you effectively communicate with your parents?
  6. What methods do you use to assess and gather data for your classroom?
  7. Is there anything else that you’d like to share to help us get ready for the new year.

August 1

Classroom Management Must Haves #BacktoSchool

Build a Rapport With Your Students

Contrary to popular belief, teachers who develop positive working relationships with their students do not do so by magic. I’ve found that developing a good rapport with students takes strategic planning. My formula:

  1. Establish rules with your students to create a class community.
  2. Be stern yet caring.
  3. Clearly communicate expectations to your students on day one.

Forming Class Rules is one part of the process of conveying clear expectations to students, which is critical for creating a productive learning environment. Other areas that need to be addressed within the first week of school:

  • Giving students a list of materials that will be needed daily (binder, pens, pencils, folders, etc.)
  • Communicating the methods that will be used to assess their work (i.e. rubrics).
  • Providing visual examples of what is considered “presentable work” and what is considered “unacceptable work.”

Management Paperwork

  1. Notebooks or participation sheets – students need to be held responsible for their work and having them document class assignments and their performance is a way of doing this
  2. Seating charts – in the working world, work is completed with the interaction of others
  3. Intervention sheets – students who are in danger of failing need to complete an intervention sheet that states how they will bring up grades.
  4. Online tracking – Google Docs and Forms allow you to track behavior, and attendance


  1. Soften the Lights
  2. Reduce Clutter – Use crates and baskets for those things you want out of sight but handy when needed.
  3. Post your time – When planning your lessons, chunk your agenda/activities and post the anticipated time to make sure you use every minute.
  4. Music to calm the savage beasts
  5. Classroom Helpers / Leadership Team – Assign tasks to students so that they can take ownership in the class. They can position equipment, connect the projection device, distribute/collect papers, take attendance, distribute/gather resources,
  6. Transition cue – Sounding a small bell or chime can bring the class to order much more effectively than trying to talk over the noise.
  7. Time for Talking – because they are social, allow a few minutes and have quick “chat breaks”
  8. Mini Dance Party – be brave and use music to lighten up the mood with a One-Minute Dance Party. Play fast dance music and at the end of the minute (or song), it’s back to business.



August 1

Connecting with Parents #BacktoSchool

Parents are the backbone of our students’ lives and we must connect with them to guarantee student success.


You can communicate with your parents via social media or a classroom blog.

  • via social media
  • classroom blog.
  • parent reports via ClassDojo and ClassFlow moments.
  • digital newsletters via Smore.com  
  • periodic student portfolios with checklists and links to student artifacts and have a parent write comments as a way to get the parents into the lesson.
  • Google Hangout office hours
  • email newsletter
  • positive phone calls home


August 1

Engaging your students #BacktoSchool

Have you ever let your students create movies?

To engage means sooo many different things. Having students participate in a discussion online or face to face is engagement.  Having students create poetry from an assigned text is engagement. Having students compose a playlist for a historical figure is engagement.

With Classflow.com, you can create interactive lessons that allow you to instantly engage your students in your lessons. Classflow.com has the flexibility to allow you to create multiple choice assessments, short answer assessments, or creative response assessments. Easily create activities that require the students to sort events or items, match items, study with flash cards, etc. Within classflow, you have the opportunity to get your students’ immediate feedback so that you can adjust your lessons accordingly.

Creating an environment that allows students to interact with one another and with you is also a great way to get engagement you via TodaysMeet.com or any other platform that allows students to share verbally or hey in text their ideas and opinions. Padlet.com is another easy free website that you can use to have your students check in with you and become a part of the lesson instead of just receiving the lesson.

Photographs are a great way of stimulating discussion and interest in your subject matter. Have students put them in sequential order, create a paperslide video or respond to them in writing.

Creating interesting assignments is another way to engage your students. It is not necessary to have a student write an essay they can now create a web page or a digital movie they can record themselves interviewing one another. The artifacts that your students can create is unlimited and basically up to you.

Creative Student Products
Students often enjoy veering from the ordinary and creating interesting useful artifacts. When you need to know what they know, have them create

  • Gist statements, tweets or hashtags
  • Jigsaw assignments to tackle a new unit with each team researching a different concept
  • Orally explaining a PowerPoint Summary  
  • 4×4 summary – they compose 4 four word sentences
  • A class dictionary of terms or concepts
  • Memes and gifs
  • PaperSlide Videos
  • Smore Posters
  • Blogposts  
  • RAFT writing
  • Graphic Essays
  • 60 second recap
  • Digital Stories  
  • Interactive Images  
  • Podcasts  
  • WordArt  
  • PSA Poster
  • Wikipage
  • Poems

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August 1

Organization Tips and Hacks #BacktoSchool

My most important tool is my cellphone

Your cellphone can be a connection to… everything. It’s not just for selfies, talking to friends and texting family members. I have my apps organized into folders so that they are easy to navigate. If I forget to post to my assignment blog, I have the ability to pull up the app in my

If I forget to post to my assignment blog, I have the ability to pull up the app in the Work Station folder on my phone and post as I walk towards my room. But before I post it, I grab a bitmoji image or create a word swag picture from my Pics folder to insert into the blog. When my scholars do something awesome, I open up my Social Me folder and post a picture on Instagram. A coworker needs access to something I have in Google Drive, my app in the Work Station folder lets me quickly send out a link.


COPY your class rosters!
Make copies of your class roster at the beginning of the year. You’ll need them for so many things — quick classroom games, a reference for substitutes, notes on behavior during an assembly, or field trip checklists. If your schedule changes like mine often does, you’ll need to make weekly copies of your schedule.  Sometimes a paper trail is necessary because the digital ones disappear.

Address Stickers
Tag everything  — scissors, shelves, books, rulers, staplers, pens, pencils, chairs, desks, notebooks, etc. — a return-address sticker lets you quickly create labels.

Track Your Time
How much of your day is used productively? Track where you spend your time.  For a few days, keep a log of your daily schedule. Be sure to note how long you take to accomplish your daily tasks. Identify your “time robbers” and create more efficient ways for tackling some of your work.

Velcro what you can
Use Velcro squares or dots to attach posters and student work to the walls. Attach velcro in the same spots on every poster (six inches from the center on both sides) and it becomes a breeze to put up and take down posters and work.

Google it….
Google Drive lets you create and share youe work online and access them from anywhere.

Check out garage sales and REUSE …
Baskets, containers, shelves, bags, boxes, canisters, jars, metal lunchboxes, old suitcases, racks, tins, trays, etc. They can be great containers for …. pens, pencils, markers, paper, binder clips, staples, rulers, glue sticks, etc.


August 1

Getting to know you activities #BacktoSchool

Yes, it’s time to go back to school. Yes, it’s time to implement your routines, discuss this year’s curriculum and lay down the law so that this year is a smooth running one.

It’s important to me to create a supportive class climate, so I begin the year with fun ways to get to know my kids.  Many teachers prefer to begin with classroom rules and instructions. I feel that it’s more important to get to know my students; their strengths, weaknesses, quirks, etc.

Last year my students created autobiographical slides (I found out about them), a marshmallow statue (I saw how well they worked with others to solve a difficult problem) and images that someone else had to recreate (I had a chance to judge their descriptive writing abilities).

Below are activities that you can try out with your scholars. 

Have students create a bulleted list of 25 words that describe them and the things they like. They then need to trace their hands and begin to write their words around it in a variety of different colored pencils or markers. Have them cut out their outlines so that you can mount and display the hands.

Student Dictionary Directory
Create a dictionary and not the standard index card with their vitals. Create an interview template and have students interview one another. Students then use the interview responses to write a “dictionary definition” of his or her partner. For example:

Burton, Valerie. noun. 1. Teacher. 2. Born in Chicago, Il. 3. One brother and two children. 4. Lover of french fries.

4 Facts and a Fib 
Start it off by letting your students know that you are going to tell them five things about yourself. Four of the statements should be factual statements and one of the five statements is a total fib. The students have to guess which is statement is the fib.  Next, the students take up the challenge and create their own list of five statements — four facts and one fib and the guessing game continues.

House of Cards
Arrange students into groups of three or four. Give each group a deck of cards. Explain that each group will use the cards to build a house using the supplies you give them – tape, glue, staples, and so on.  They can decide to enter their house in any one of three contests: the Biggest House Contest, the Strongest House Contest, or the Most Creative House Contest. Students are not allowed to talk during this process! Set a time limit for the activity, and set a timer to ensure that groups are constantly aware of the time remaining. After the houses are built, each group gets to share their house and how they learned to communicate.

Treasure Hunt 
Plan a treasure hunt to familiarize students with your classroom. Create a list of essential classroom items and resources and have the students search the classroom for those items. They will learn where to find the dictionaries, glue sticks, papers, graphic organizers, and so on.

Introduction Cards 
Provide each student with a 4- x 5-inch index card. Have them write their first and last names in the middle of the card. In each corner of the card have students write about themselves. For example:

  • Top Left Corner: Number of brothers and sisters
  • Top Right Corner: Favorite style of music or favorite music group or musician
  • Bottom Left Corner: Favorite movie
  • Bottom Right Corner: Dream vacation (country or city)

When the cards are completed, have students partner with a classmate they do not know. The students trade cards and read what their partner has written. For the next 4 minutes, they interview each other about the listed topics. One student plays the role of interviewer for 2 minutes and then the students switch roles and the interviewer becomes interviewee.

Apply for the Job
Post a list of classroom jobs and have the students create job applications. Sample jobs: pencil sharpener; monitors for windows, closets, supplies, plants, library, and chalkboard; messengers, etc.  Let them check their job preferences and include a space where they can share any work experience they may have (at home and other places).

10 down to 1
Have students number two sheets of paper from 1 to 10. On the first sheet, students must write ten unique things about themselves. Students pair up with another student in the class. On the other sheet of paper, each student must write his or her partner’s name next to the number 1. Then students share one of the ten unique things on their lists as their partners record the unique fact next to the student’s name. As students share a fact about themselves, they cross off that fact on their lists. The students then pair up with somebody new and  repeat the activity by sharing one of the remaining nine facts. After they have paired with ten of their classmates, they should have crossed off all ten of the unique things on their personal lists and have another sheet with the names of ten of their classmates and a fact about each of them. Then give each student an opportunity to sit in a large chair at the head of the class as ten of their classmates share a different unique fact about the student.

Class Quilt
For this activity, each student will decorate a quilt square with interesting bio facts. For example:

  • What are three things you are good at?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What do you like most about your family?
  • What do your friends like about you?
  • How can you help shape the future?
  • What do you think you can do better than almost anyone else your age?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What is something you have already done that makes you feel really good?
  • What is one thing you are planning to change about yourself so you will be even better?

Kids, Follow Me!
All students start this activity in a seated position. Then give instructions for students to follow:

  • If you traveled this summer, stand up.
  • If you have a brother, sit down.
  • If you are the youngest of all the children in your family, stand up.
  • If you own a pet, sit down.
  • If you have a sister, stand up.
  • If your family owns a computer, sit down.
  • If you live in an apartment, stand up.
  • If this is your first year in this school, sit down.
  • If you are in ____ grade, stand up. (Fill in the blank with your grade; all students will stand.)
  • If you were kissed by someone this morning, sit down.
June 14

LACUE Technology Leadership Summit

We spend class time giving our students the tools to be able to annotate passages, decode vocabulary and analyze text on a variety of levels. Now it’s time to allow them to show what they know by creating memes, digital stories, images, blogs, and posters.Teachers attending this session will learn how to incorporate literacy strategies, activities and alternative assessment opportunities that support student creativity into lesson plans.


Today’s Agenda

ClassFlow Lesson re: The Real Humpty Dumpty Story 

Esplore creative ways to assess
1. memes
2. gist statements
3. hashtags
4. Videos
5.  BlackOut Poems

Here are my presentation slides.

Tech tools and Assignments that Demonstrate Learning

Have your students create BlackOut Poems in response to text.

Or create Videos to demonstrate their knowledge.

April 9

Blog Post Guidelines

At the completion of each mission, create a blog post with a brief reflection. The reflection should capture your experience and your thinking about the mission and the tool you explored. Here are some questions to guide you as you write your blog posts:

  • What did you create, and why?
  • What went well for you? What was challenging? What did you enjoy?
  • What ideas do you have for using this tool with your students, or for using this tool to communicate with families?

These questions are intended to be a guide, you don’t have to answer them.

Thanks for participating.

March 9


PhotoGrid – picture collage and photostory creator

PhotoGrid allows you to combine ordinary photos into worth-share photo collages; you can decorate your pics by applying filters, adding stickers and text.

PhotoGrid is a free collage app that lets you combine multiple photos into one large photo.  The app has a built-in text tool that allows you to add captions.

The Mission
Use the collage maker to create a collage that showcases four of your favorite books.

The Steps

  1. Gather pictures of the books. Either take photos of the covers or find them online and save them.
  2. Open PhotoGrid and click the + to create your collage or grid template. You can change the layout as well as the background.
  3. Adding text requires that you tap on the T – Text.  Type your message, and play with the fonts, color, and highlight to your satisfaction.  Pinch objects with two fingers and make the caption box smaller, or open fingers to enlarge.  Drag your caption to the desired spot.
  4. Click next and then save when you have personalized your collage.
  5. Upload your collage to your blog and complete your reflection.

Classroom uses:
PhotoGrid is a great tool for students to use to create posters, collages, photostories, and collections of images with text. Students can create collages about the current unit of study, favorite movies, or books. Have students take pictures along the inquiry process and collage them to create a reflection.  Students can also join photos to represent degrees of a concept (whisper, speak, shout or drizzle, rain, thunderstorm), to recommend books or represent a single idea visually.

PhotoGrid is great for you to share what your students are working on in class.

To earn your badge:

Complete a reflection blog post about your experience.   that describes your experience. Tag your post as #TchrScolrs and share your work so that we can all celebrate your creation.