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

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.

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.

Rawshorts for Explainer Videos

Most of us dislike the ads placed on our Facebook accounts, but every now and then an advertiser offers something of use to me as a teacher. I saw a recent ad for Rawshorts, a video creation tool. Rawshorts offers a 30-minute tutorial to get users up and running. Using some of their templates, I was able to create this video for my students.

The video shown below was made by fellow resource teacher, Matthew Gipson. He used his own creative style to help students learn how to behave properly in the computer lab. I’ll be showing both videos to my students during their first week back to school.

Mondrian Style Art With Google Drawings

Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter, is best know for a form of art he called neoplasticism. The art is prepared on a white background, with a grid of black lines and the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Young students can easily recreate their own Mondrian style art.

When students originally began this project, they used the Kerpoof website. It was loved by kids and fairly simple to use. Kerpoof, owned by the Walt Disney Company, closed April 2014. Instead, Disney moved toward creating mobile apps.

The art for this project is quickly created with Google Drawings. Just a few tools are needed: line tool, line weight, shape tool, and arrange. Ctrl + D is also used to quickly duplicate lines. Once completed, I have the students save their art as a png file and have them upload to a collaborative canvas at Padlet.

Mondrian style art image

#Mondrian #GoogleDrawings #ElementaryArtProjects

Creating Digital Badges for Students

Image of a digital badgeI spent much of my summer vacation searching out new digital projects for my students. I really wanted to do more with Google Drawings. On YouTube, I came across this well-made tutorial from Flipped Classroom. The instructions were clear and simple. Shown at left is the badge I made to award students who create a Mondrian style art project. Years ago, students used the Kerpoof Website to make that artwork, but Kerpoof closed in 2014.  My 2nd graders can now use Google Drawings to mimic Piet Mondrian’s style and earn a digital badge.


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