Minion Now Downloadable at Thingiverse

a 3d minion view


One of my first 3D projects I built at Tinkercad was a Minion. I had seen a speed video on YouTube. The problem with speed videos, however, is their lack of verbal instruction. I had to watch the video frame-by-frame to learn how to construct him. Some of that speed video contained repeated errors, which made the learning process harder than it needed to be. But, once I’d gathered the information needed to construct him, I recorded my own video tutorials with Screencastify.  Those videos were then uploaded to YouTube and the links cleaned up in, preventing any unwanted content from showing up. These cleaned YouTube links were then added to a symbaloo playlist and made available on my blog ( for myself and students to access. It was a great way to flip instruction and make instructional content available 24 hours a day.

For those interested in printing this Minion, you can reach the downloadable files at

Increasing Engagement with Thinglink

This interactive graphic was created through Thinglink for Tri County Wildlife Care (TCWC). Thinglink allows users to annotate images and videos to increase engagement.  This Thinglink takes TCWC followers to more information about opossums. Viewers simply hover their cursor across the photo to reveal numerous hyperlinked icons. Some of these links connect to a quiz, video, or photos/illustrations about the opossum’s skeletal structure, anatomy, and diet. Additonal links lead to related stories and provide a direct link to Tri County Wildlife Care’s donation page and web page featuring Gold Country Critters.

Thinglink is also a great way for students to demonstrate learning, enabling them to add their own icons and links to additional, relevant resources. Students can share their projects with peers to further learning and collaboration. Sharing through social media links moves student work beyond classroom walls, giving students a real audience for their work.

A Teacher Pro account runs $35/year; a Teacher Premium account is $120/year and includes the 360 degree editor. Both accounts include classroom management.

#Thinglink #TCWC #SavingWildlifeSavesUs

Using Padlet to Showcase Student Work

Our 6th graders are completing their Piet Mondrian inspired art. Piet Mondrian’s work is easily recognized by his use of primary colors, with the use of horizontal and vertical lines, and the primary values of white, gray and black. It was a form of art he called Neoplasticism. Students used Google Drawings to create their art and then generated a shareable (public) link, which was then pasted into the Padlet shown below.

Made with Padlet

Creating Games with Google Drawings & Slides

This summer I started following Alice Keeler on Twitter. Her blog, Teacher Tech,  is always loaded with great ideas. I recently came across her tweet to her blog post: Play Connect 4 Asynchronously.  The basic game is made in Google Drawings because it offers the distribute tool, which is unavailable in Slides. The distribute tool is used to quickly organize and space the circles, which become openings in the “gameboard”. After the game is made, it’s downloaded as a png and uploaded to Google Slides as a background to prevent players from accidentally deleting it. With the background complete, I then created the game pieces in Slides. These are the only objects easily moved on the screen. I kept my page setup in Drawings the same for Google Slides; otherwise, the board and pieces looked distorted.

Connect 4 gameboard

Connect 4 made in Google Drawings, downloaded as a png file.

connect 4 game in slides

Connect 4 shown in Google Slides with player pieces

Paul Klee Inspires Third Graders

Students in Mrs. Wathen’s 3rd grade classroom recently completed their Paul Klee inspired cats. Students used crayons and watercolors to create their masterpieces. Student art was uploaded to Animoto and produced into this video slide show. Take a look and see what you think!

Click here to view an example of Paul Klee’s art.

#Paul_Klee #watercolors

The World Needs More _____ Right Now?

gratitude pictureJoin the social media campaign for Character Day, 2017. Here’s the challenge from Let it Ripple: On a piece of paper write the sentence: The world needs more ________ right now. Select one of the character strengths from the Periodic Table of Character Strengths (shown below) and share through social media. Use the hashtag #CharacterDay2017 and share using @GlobalCharacter.

periodic table of character strengths screen shot

Social Media Campaign for Character Day 2017

International Dot Day, September 15th-ish

international dot day digital badgeSeptember 15th is International Dot Day. You probably didn’t know that? I just discovered it myself. So, what’s it all about? Well, activities center around the book, The Dot. A humble title, yes, but the message is big: don’t be afraid to try. The subject of The Dot is a young student named Vashti, who becomes artistically confident after her teacher frames the simple dot Vashti had drawn on paper. When Vashti sees her work framed the next day, it emboldens her. With her new found confidence, she completes numerous “masterpieces” and has a gallery showing. Vashti soon becomes an inspiration to others.

During the week of September 15, many CRES students will create dot art using Google Slides. The project will be delivered through Google Classroom, with each participating classroom collaborating in one slideshow. Each student is assigned a slide that corresponds to his/her student number. When completed, these slideshows can be shared through social media, expanding each student’s reach.

#InternationalDotDay #TheDot

What Will You Contribute to Character Day, 2017?

Character Day began in 2014 as a global effort to get people all over the world talking about character. Last year, 125 countries and all 50 states participated. This year, Character Day is scheduled for September 13th, and Cosumnes River Elementary is joining the effort.

Beginning September 5th, classes coming to the computer lab, grades 5-6, will watch one of several videos designed to get them thinking about the kind of person they are and want to be in the world.

What will you contribute? Watch the video shown below to gather inspiration and reflect.

Watch 1min Character Day Trailer from The Moxie Institute on Vimeo.

Made with Padlet

This video quiz should also get you thinking.

After watching both videos, ask yourself:

  • What kind of person am I?
  • Who do I want to be in the world?

Now compose your answer on the Character Day, 2017, Padlet shown below, which is organized into columns that reflect the main topics shown in the Periodic Table of Character Strengths. Simply click a PLUS sign under the column you would like to write a reflection. Each column heading shows a variety of subtopics. I wrote about the Appreciation of Beauty under the heading “Transcendence” and included a photo. All responses are held for moderation before publication. You can also leave comments on topics left by others.

Click the arrow in the padlet’s upper right-hand corner to expand the screen.


Canva for Quick, Digital Designing

Well,  here’s another helpful ad from Facebook. Canva offers digital designing software. Over 200,000 free photos and images are offered. With no training, I was able to quickly create a blog graphic. CANVA’s Digital Design Challenge will walk you through the basic skills needed to create your own design. Additional design elements can be purchased at $1/piece.

Canva created graphic









Canva can also be used to create certificates.

Get Efficient with Keyboarding Shortcuts

keyboard pictureHave you longed to be a keyboard ninja? If so, consider mastering a few keyboarding shortcuts. In the school computer lab, students frequently use the shortcuts for copy, paste, print and save. While many key combinations abound,  I’ve found those listed below to be the most useful.


Tabs & Windows

  • Ctrl + N (open a new window)
  • Ctrl + W (close window)
  • Ctrl + Shift + Q + Q (shut down Chromebook in 3 seconds)
  • Ctrl + Shift + T (reopen a closed tab)


  • Ctrl + P (print page)
  • Ctrl + S (save current page)
  • Ctrl + R (reload current page)
  • Ctrl + + (zoom in)
  • Ctrl + – (zoom out)

Browser Settings

  • Shift + Alt + S (open status area in the bottom right corner of the screen)

Text Editing

  • Ctrl + C (copy selected content to the clipboard)
  • Ctrl + V (paste content to the clipboard)
  • Ctrl + X (cut selected content)
  • Ctrl + Z (undo last action) or use the left pointing arrow
  • Ctrl + K (insert a hyperlink)
  • Ctrl + A (select everything on the page)

Visit the links below to learn more.

200 Keyboard Shortcuts

Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts

A Pinterest Collection of Shortcuts


Solar Eclipse at CRES

CRES kids wore their safety shades to watch the eclipse. All photos were edited with the Aviary application and uploaded to Animoto.  It took about 30 minutes to upload the photos, dragging and dropping them into the preferred order. The video was produced and then upgraded to HD (720p) for an additional $10.  The band, Leftover Cuties, supplied the song: A Sunnyside.