Breakout EDU

This summer while attending ISTE, I learned about a cool new game for the classroom called Breakout EDU.  Here’s a short video about it.

Since receiving my kit, I’ve played it four times–twice with my college students and twice with fifth graders.  All ages loved it.  For the fifth grade game, I used an adaptation of two of the games on the site (  The game centered around missing iPads, and students had to use their knowledge of place value to decode the clues to find them.

There are many games already pre-made to use with the kits (for free) and I enjoy making them up too.  I’m looking forward to playing with some first graders on Halloween!


Do you have a cell phone or iPad?  Do your students have limited access to online devices?  Then Plickers might be for you!  Plickers is a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.

Setting Up Plickers is Easy!

Plickers Icon - Blue
Step 1: Teacher downloads the Plickers mobile app.  It is free for both iOSand Android – find them on the App Store and on Google Play. It will work on iPads too (just make sure to search for iPhone app)!

Sample Card Image
Step 2: Print Plickers cards.

Step 3: Set up Classes on Plickers Website.

Step 4: Add Questions on the Plickers Website.

Step 5: On the mobile app, choose the question you want to use.

Step 6: Have students hold up cards with the correct answer facing right-side up.  Scan the room with your phone/iPad.

Step 7: Use LiveView Tab on the Website to display results to students.

Step 8: Use Scoresheet under Reports on the Website to monitor student progress, save time on grading, and run detailed reports.

Check out this Slide Show for Help getting started or watch the video below:

How will you use Plickers in your classroom?  I can’t wait to hear about it!


Presenting the Oak Grove Digital Archive

The teachers at Oak Grove Elementary decided, during a faculty book study meeting, to create a digital archive on their school website to display all the wonderful projects there students were creating for STEM, PBL, and 21st Century Learning.  They wanted a way for parents and students to have “copies” of the three dimensional group projects the students were creating. Also, they wanted to showcase digital projects that their students were creating with iPads and other devices.  Take a look here:

The Oak Grove Digital Archive

The newest step in this adventure is to also post QR codes around the school.  Parents can scan the QR codes to see the virtual projects or read more about the things their children have been creating in class.  It is a physical way to display work in the hall with a digital link.  Take look at some of the teachers’ displays:

I’m really excited about the ways teachers are taking technology to the next level at Oak Grove.  Stop by their site and see what you think!

Spanish on iPads

I have had a few requests for good Spanish apps.  I haven’t found any I LOVE, but I did find something in iTunes U.  For those of you who took the last inservice, you know I professed a love for Boyne City Schools.  They have issued iPads to EVERY student, so they have tons of units in iTunes U that students can complete on the iPads.  And lo and behold…they have a 5th grade Spanish unit (but I think it would work for 3-5)!!  It has some great videos, and ideas for activities to do on the iPads. If you want to take a look on your teacher iPad, first download the iTunes U app.  Then search the catalog for Boyne City Schools.  The unit is called 5th Grade SPN Resources. Check out the other units while you’re there!
And, because of that unit, I found a new app that I love! It’s called FaceTalker!  It’s free, and could be used in any subject (or grade level).  I don’t like a couple of the available themes, but they aren’t too too bad, and I won’t download them on student iPads.  The idea is that you take a picture (with the camera or one you already have–think famous American), and then make the picture talk.  (It reminds me of a modern version of Blabberize).
Here the links to all these things (use your iPad to click on them):
I’d love some suggestions for good, kid friendly apps for Spanish that are free.  If you know of any, please let me know!

Mission 005 — Latitude and Longitude

Mission 005

Need a fun, cross curricular way to introduce Latitude and Longitude to your students?  Here’s a Math/Social Studies Lesson using spies, secret codes, and google earth.  What can be better than that?

It addresses Math SOL 4.15, 5.14 and Global Studies SOL GS.1.

First, make sure students understand how to use Google Earth to find specific points on Earth using latitude and longitude.  You will want to make sure that the status bar in google earth is showing (View>Status Bar) so that you can clearly see the latitude and location of your point on the globe. You will also want to cut off all layers except those that show countries.

If you are using the Google Earth App on an iPad (or iPod), make sure to change a few settings.
Check out How to Change Settings in Google Earth by Tina Coffey on Snapguide.

Students also need some background in finding patterns in a series of numbers.  It may also help if they’ve done a bit of code breaking before (although it’s not necessary).  Then, present groups of students with their secret envelope and access to Google Earth, and sit back to see what they can figure out!

Here’s are the documents to create your own Mission packets:
Mission 005 – Latitude and Longitude

I’m working on a follow up STEM activity that has students designing their own codes.  I’ll add it when I’m done.


Character Counts with Technology Too! (Trustworthiness)

trustWhat does it mean to be a trustworthy digital citizen?

Here are some questions for your students to consider:
1. What does it mean to be trustworthy with technology devices at school?  
  • Computers?
  •  iPads or iPods?
  • Printers?
  • Laptops?
2. What does it mean to be trustworthy online, at school and at home?
  • When doing research online? (copyright)
  • When gaming, especially gaming with chats?
  • When uploading photos or videos to websites? (consider what types of pictures you are uploading?  Have the people in the picture given permission for you to upload it?  Is it something you want the whole school to see?  Your grandmother to see?)
  • With passwords or personal information?
3. What does it mean to be trustworthy with a phone, iPad or iPod Touch or any other device that allows you to send text messages and pictures?
  • With what you text…
  • With who you text…
If you need any more discussion starters or information on a specific topic, let me know.  It really will work best if you integrate this within other topics so it’s more of a conversation than an “internet safety” lesson…use those teachable moments. Blogging and using devices like iPads or laptops will hopefully help those moments arise more organically.  :)