The CRES Class Tweeter Board

Are you interested in giving your students Twitter-like capabilities?  I recently came across this lesson concept from Tammy Worcester, outlining the steps necessary to create a class Tweeter Board, giving students an opportunity to compose 140 character responses. Click here to reach Tammy’s lesson plan.

My students will access the student form as an assignment in Google Classroom and will mark their work “DONE” when completed. Shown below is an example of how the sheet will appear to the teacher as tweets are collected. The teacher is given the option to moderate responses by simply typing a Y into the yellow box during lesson set up. I’ll repost examples of student responses toward the end of September.

example of the tweeter form

Shown below is the student view of the Tweeter Board as viewed in a Google Form.

Google Form view

If students write more than 140 characters, the message area will turn red as shown below, and the message can’t be submitted.

example of a 144 character tweet

Students who successfully post to the CRES Tweeter Message Board will earn the digital badge shown below.  I’ll reveal the claim code to students earning the badge. Students with the claim code will access the badge at Credly.  I can also send the badge directly to students via Google Classroom.

Tweeter digital badge






#TweeterBoard #Twitter #TammyWorcesterTang

Creating Online Projects with Padlet

Padlet is a wonderful resource for classroom projects. Shown below is an example I made to illustrate my Four Seasons Project.

After showing students my example, I’ll send them to their project Padlet and ask them to upload a pic for each season under the appropriate column, including a sentence or two. Students will click a plus sign below each season to add text and images.  When students return from summer vacation, I’ll unlock the Padlet, making it public and editable. Padlets can be private, password protected, secret, or public. They can also be set to read, write, or moderate.

Made with Padlet

When unlocked by the student, the canvas will appear as shown below.

view of unlocked Padlet

#Padlet #Padlet_Projects #Digital_Projects

Hacking the Great Depression

I’ve always been intrigued by the Great Depression and thought it would make a wonderful project for 4th graders in the computer lab. I created this App Flow through Graphite, which outlines the steps required for the project. I also created the virtual corkboard shown below through linoit to hold some reference materials for the topic.

virtual corkboard picture

Basically, I had the kids add themselves to an assigned photo from the Great Depression.  They had to blend into the photo so they needed to decide if they would stand or sit; face the camera or stand in profile, left or right.  Over the course of 2 weeks, I had the kids drop by the computer lab in period style clothing, photographing them against a green screen. I then downloaded all of the old photographs and the green screen photos, gathering them into a shareable folder. When students completed their composite images, they uploaded to Photo Story and added their classmates’ composites when they were completed and shared. Shown below is the Photo Story I made with student photos and narration. I used this video as my hook for the project.

A Colorful Robotic Arm for Kinders

While browsing YouTube, I found this simple project for making a robotic arm. I used some colorful Popsicle sticks I had at school, small sections of skewers for the connectors, and a pair of caps from milk containers, centers cut out. The kinders think it’s pretty neat because I use it to grab their noses when they walk by my desk on their way to the library. I love the mechanics of this project, no motor or wires, but pretty cool and colorful.

Robotic arm made from Popsicle sticks.

Robotic arm made from Popsicle sticks.

#robotics #robotic arm

Your Virtual Store and TinkerCad

Tinkercad logoInterested in 3D design? Consider Tinkercad. It’s free and has an easy to use interface.  Upload directly from the Workplane to one of four sites: Ponoko, i.Materialize, Sculpteo, or Shapeways. I’m currently using Shapeways to check my designs and determine pricing. I order my prototypes in strong and flexible plastic, though a wide array of  materials can be selected, such as metals and porcelain, plastics or sandstone. Shapeways also lets users create their own virtual store to market their creations, handling the sale and shipping. Shapeways takes a nominal fee for their service.  Items usually arrive within 3 weeks or sooner and are packed safely within a sealed plastic baggy with insulating material for protection.  Check out my virtual store at

Shapeways logo

#Shapeways #Ponoko #i.materialize #Sculpteo #3D

Coin Cell Robots

I recently built these two tiny robots from coin cell batteries. I love the coin cell battery holders because they let me solder a permanent connection to the pager motor. My red-eyed bot actually has a switch, which I salvaged from some old electronics. Some helping hands and a magnifying glass made the soldering fairly simple. This robot was made possible after viewing How to Make a Mini Bug Robot.

Coin cell robot with glowing red eyes.

Coin cell robot with glowing red eyes.

Lenny, shown below, is made from electronic components I salvaged from a variety of e-waste items. His body is built from a printed circuit board taken from the inside of a kid’s calculator. While Lenny lacks a switch, he makes up for it in character.


Coin cell robot with vibration motor.

Podcasting Our School News with PodBean

A few years ago I had a chance to try out Podbean for podcasting our elementary school news. Using my iPad, I’d record students and staff using the Twisted Wave audio editor app. I’d then edit recorded interviews for clarity, adding sound effects purchased from Soundsnap.  Using Podbean’s free account, I could share and embed podcasts, like the one shown below.

#Twisted_Wave #Podbean #podcasting #Soundsnap

Build a Wheel with Tinkercad

Check out my first tutorial using Camtasia software to record step-by-step instructions for creating a wheel using Tinkercad. This wheel requires 5 parts: a thin torus, a half sphere, and 3 cylinders. The final cylinder is used as a box tool to cut a hole through the small blue cylinder, the larger pink cylinder, and partially through the yellow half sphere. The hole allows the wheel to adhere to an axle and is part of a larger project focused on building a miniature scooter.

#TinkerCad #3D #SheTinkersIn3D #Camtasia #SheTinkersIn3D

Popplet for Quick, Visual Organization

There are many resources for creating visual maps online.  I’ve always found Popplet to be the most user-friendly, though Mindmeister offers many more tools. A free membership allows the user to create up to 10 popplets. Popplets can be shown in one of eight different colors, as can each popple of information. The popple can contain text, an uploaded image, a sketch created within the popple, a hyperlink, or embedded video. Text size and alignment can be customized. The best feature of Popplet is the ability to generate an embed code to display your popplet within a post.

Just 60 Drawings to Animation!

Sketches of Ishvir Dancing.

Sketches of Ishvir Dancing.

I made this animation of a student when he was in kindergarten. I took a brief video of him dancing and then made a simple drawing of him every 10 frames using thin paper to copy his outline. I completed a total of 60 drawings for this short animation. The student has now graduated to the 7th grade. Upon his graduation, I bequeathed the original 60 drawings to him.

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Distorted Art with Google Drawings

Kids often place a high value on images over text. In fact, kids will start searching Goggle images for pictures to add to their essays when no visual content is required. ;-( When images are requested, students frequently distort them, either horizontally or vertically. Well, here’s a simple project that takes advantage of that skill. The results can be stunning and is a great way to organize and display completed student projects onto a collaborative canvas.

Made with Padlet

#Google_Drawings #distorted_art #Padlet

Creating a Virtual Flipping Newsletter

This is the spring 2017 newsletter for Tri County Wildlife Care. This organization has visited the CRES campus with their wildlife ambassadors. The newsletter was created in Publisher and then uploaded to Flipsnack to create a virtual flipping newsletter.

Tri County Wildlife Care is currently running a GoFundMe campaign to help feed their animals in care. Five dollars buys 5 mice!

#TCWC #Tri_County_Wildlife_Care #SavingWildlifeSavesUs

Flip Your Class With Classroom Salon

classroom salon logoAnalytics can be called data mining. In the field of education, it can be referred to as Learning Analytics. This is the process of collecting data from student responses to curriculum content. This data can be used to inform instructional practices, allowing a teacher to tailor her instruction to student need, alerting her to early intervention. One such resource for this data collection is Classroom Salon.  The CRES computer lab is currently using this resource with 4th, 5th and 6th graders. This resource is similar in design to that developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium to assess reading skills. CRES students will be using online assessments as publishers move away from pencil and paper exams to those that can be delivered digitally.

Through Classroom Salon, an instructor can upload videos and documents she wishes to use as teaching resources. She can use markup analytics (tagging) to better gauge the effectiveness of her teaching and the ability of her students to understand concepts. As students read a document or watch a video, they can pause at any spot along the way, tagging and composing responses. Tags that might be appropriate for college students could include Clarify, Discuss in Class, Important Point. Tags that might be more appropriate for younger students could include I have a question, Can You Explain, Agree/Disagree, I feel…. Collecting these types of responses can help the teacher efficiently identify areas of strength and weakness. The teacher can also quickly respond to students, correcting misunderstandings that could become permanent or difficult to correct. It’s also a great way to engage students because they’re interacting with their course materials. As pointed out in the article mentioned below: “Unlike a classroom setting, every student in a course using learning analytics answers every question, ensuring they interact with all course material.” So, there’s an accountability factor! I rather like this. I recall a student who didn’t do well on her reading exams. Her mother feared she had a learning disability. She actually suffered from “I did not read the text.”

Behavioral analytics provide insight into a student’s desire or ability to reply to other classmates or to post comments. Frequency of replying and commenting can also be captured. This kind of data collection helps the teacher learn more about her students’ areas of interest/motivation.

Social analytics refers to the level of interaction the students have with each other. Bloom’s Taxonomy places creativity and, in some models, collaboration at the top of the pyramid; collaboration is also one of the important skills students are expected to develop according to the International Society for Technology in Education. These analytics help the teacher identify who are the leaders, followers, and helpers in the course.

Finally, document analytics, help the teacher learn about the ability of her resources to develop student understanding. Many teachers have had the experience of giving an exam with the best of expectations only to find to the contrary, that 75% of the class scored poorly. Document analytics helps the teacher see areas of weakness in her existing curriculum: red hotspots tell the teacher some of her content may need better explanation/support.

The future of analytics:
A recent article titled Will Analytics Transform Education ( brought up a few interesting questions worth discussion: 1) will data mining attempt to replace the teacher 2) could this data collection distinguish student guessing from knowing multiple-choice answers 3) what happens to this collected data (privacy concerns) 4) is this an example of running education like a business.

I think learning analytics/data mining is here to stay. It has the potential to improve teaching practices and student outcomes.

This report was prepared for Flipping Your Class: An Analytics-Based Approach. This course is offered through HP Catalyst Academy. This document is available for response at this link:

Building Circuits in the Elementary Classroom

Thanks to a grant for $2500, our school was able to purchase some LittleBits Premium and Synth kits. Some students worked with the Premium Kit, familiarizing themselves with the different components, making the Hypnotizing Wheel and Auto Greeter. The other group used the Synth Kit to create their own music. All students culminated their activities by partnering up to build the Bubble Flute, which used 3 components (power, sound trigger, fan) from the Premium Kit.

#LittleBits #circuits #synth kit

Why We Blog

kid blog logoWhy should students blog? Answer: Blogging develops numerous skills, and many of those skills are the focus of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). ISTE has developed the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students, teachers, administrators, coaches, and computer science teachers.

Those standards include the following six focus areas: 1) Creativity and Innovation, 2) Communication and Collaboration, 3) Research and Information Fluency, 4) Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 5) Digital Citizenship 6) Technology Operations and Concepts.

1) Students will improve their writing skills more quickly because they now have an immediate audience for their work, an audience that goes beyond the walls of their classroom, connecting them to other students in their grade level at school. This is a great way to build collaboration and comraderie.

2) Students learn how to use a social media platform, in a closed environment.

3) Students learn the importance of netiquette (writing appropriately).

4) Students learn how to adapt images, to save them, to import them, to embed video, which can be helpful to students wanting to learn computer programming.

5) Students understand the meaning of hyperlinks and how to create them.

6) SMARTER Balanced Assessments will require students to enter information into text boxes; therefore, students need practice composing digital content.

7) Students generate their own passwords and learn to protect them, an important part of Internet Safety.

8) Blogging is a great way to teach kids the importance of staying on topic.

9) Blogging can be used to develop self-reflection and summary writing skills.


In the words of one teacher: “My favorite part about Kidblog is that I can access, assess and respond from anywhere. It’s priceless.”