Celebrate Digital Learning Week With Online Resources

As we recognize Digital Learning Week in our classrooms, our job is to emphasize that whenever students use any type of technology, they are expected to be good digital citizens. Digital Citizenship goes beyond the classroom curriculum. It's important to empower today's generation with skills so they can actively participate in social justice through positive engagement with social media. Celebrate Digital Learning Week in your classrooms with the online resources I've provided. 

Here a girl sits at her computer which says "Digital Citizenship Week" - where she is celebrate digital learning week.
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5 Easy Tech Activities for a Chilling Halloween

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the colors, the crispness in the air, and all of the fun activities. In this post, I'm sharing 5 easy tech activities so your students will have a Chilling Halloween.

I've shared some fun Halloween learning activities for your students. These include FREE products, activities for the iPad, and Google.



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Teaching Characterization With The Most Magnificent Thing

I've joined fellow bloggers from the Reading Crew to Build a Love of Reading With Mentor Text. Each one of us has selected a book to share along with a skill to teach. In my post, you'll learn how to use Pic Collage Kids (PicKids) in teaching Characterization With The Most Magnificent Thing. Plus, I have a freebie you can download.

Teaching characterization does NOT have to be a challenge with the ideas & FREE download presented here. Plus your elementary students will utilize technology, which increases engagement. Use these activities with your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom or home school students. Teaching the reading skill of character traits will be a breeze. Plus the step by step directions included make this an easy lesson plan. Click through to learn more! {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders}

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Donating to Hurricane Harvey Relief - Proud to Be a Texan

Even though I was born and raised in Louisiana, Texas is my home. Both of my girls were born here in Austin and most of my years of teaching were here in Texas. And, my husband's family lives in Houston and Beaumont. So, you can understand the personal impact this disaster has had on our family. As I look at ways people have been Donating to Hurricane Harvey Relief, it makes me so proud to be a Texan.


We all know how devastating and deadly Hurricane Harvey was in Texas in 2017, so now it's our chance to help our Texan friends! Find out how this one proud Texan teacher is watching her community support the relief efforts in multiple ways. You may find ideas you could do in your own classroom or community. Click through now to for donating inspiration or links to help rebuild!


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Incorporating STEM and STEAM into Project Based Learning With FREEBIE

When planning a project based learning unit, there are so many elements that you want and need to cover. Most importantly, you want to make sure your standards are infused in a meaningful way. Are you also feeling pressure to try STEM or STEAM activities in your classroom? Why don't you try incorporating STEM and STEAM into Project Based Learning? 

Incorporating STEM and STEAM into project based learning can be a breeze with the FREE download provided here. It's perfect for your upper elementary 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom or home school students. Click through to see how PBL can easily be integrated into your STEM or STEAM projects and activities. Plus make sure to grab the freebie that meshes the two components.


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10 Questions to Ask Before Going Digital (with a FREEBIE)


As schools introduce more and more technology into their classrooms, teachers feel the pressure to use these digital tools and incorporate technology into their lessons. This has been an ongoing issue ever since I started teaching technology. However, implementing these tools is easier than you think, and you may already be doing it. Before introducing technology into a lesson, here are 10 questions to ask before GOING DIGITAL.
See if technology integration is right for you and your students. You'll find the 10 questions to ask before going digital. There's a FREE checklist too. Click through to learn more for your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade students. You'll be considering 21st Century Skills, enhancement, going paperless, student engagement, differentiation, and more about technology integration in the classroom.

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Go Digital with Project Based Learning Interactive Notebooks

When implementing a project based learning unit, organization is a key element to any project's success. I highly recommend using interactive notebooks as a guide in project based learning. Instead of using so much paper, why don't you go PAPERLESS with DIGITAL Project Based Learning Interactive Notebooks. Your students will stay organized, they'll be able to collaborate, and learning can be student-centered.

Start using project based learning interactive notebooks. Your upper elementary students will love them, and the technology component makes them even easier! Learn why your PBL time should go to interactive technology, focus on more effective driving questions, and let students focus more on inquiry. Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will get more voice and choice in their learning while you cover needed standards. {third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, upper elementary}

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Characterization and Emojis in the Classroom

Bring characterization to life by using emojis in the classroom. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students will love this method of learning a reading strategy. You can choose to teach reading skills through a digital or technology format with this download. Click through to learn some great new ideas, support the standards, and get your students engaged and excited about learning! Reading, vocabulary, and other ELA topics are all covered. {second, third, fourth, fifth graders}
How do you feel when you see emojis? Do they make you laugh, sad, angry? Do you have specific feelings when you see them? We use emojis to express our emotions and to convey a message. This is why using emojis in the classroom can be such a great activity!

When reading a story, common core standards require students to "describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events." 

Using emojis in the classroom can help students with the vocabulary to describe personality traits or feelings of people or animals in a story. In this post, you'll learn how you can use emojis in the classroom to teach characterization.



Bring characterization to life by using emojis in the classroom. Your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students will love this method of learning a reading strategy. You can choose to teach reading skills through a digital or technology format with this download. Click through to learn some great new ideas, support the standards, and get your students engaged and excited about learning! Reading, vocabulary, and other ELA topics are all covered. {second, third, fourth, fifth graders}


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Using Technology to Promote Summer Reading

As teachers we want to ensure that our students continue learning through the summer. Did you know students lose at least two to three months in reading and most students lose two months of math skills in the summer? It's important for us to make sure that all of our children are stimulated. For those who have access to technology, I have a some ideas in using technology to promote summer reading.

Many teachers and parents are using technology to promote summer learning, and now you can too! There are great websites, apps, programs, & more for elementary students here. As a teacher, you can promote these to students AND their families. Great for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade. Ideas for a book club, online reading, book reviews, book creation, apps, and website. Perfect for the parent seeking technology integration into the summer routine. (second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders}
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Using Digital Comics to Motivate Reluctant Readers and Writers With Sample

Using comics or graphic novels in your teaching is a fun way to keep your students motivated. Reluctant readers and writers tend to get excited over using comics because comics writing is less intensive. Students can be imaginative in their writing and creative in their choice of characters and props. Using comics can even increase a student's vocabulary. Jennifer Haines wrote an excellent article about Teaching With Comics. In this post, I've provided ideas for Using Digital Comics to Motivate Reluctant Readers and Writers.

Using digital comics infused into your reading or writing curriculum is a great way to motivate your reluctant learners. The different online apps & websites listed here are great resources for your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th grade classroom or home school students. It's a great way to bring technology into students' day. Science, social studies, & various ELA topics can all be covered depending on which technology component you use. {second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders, upper elementary}

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Integrate Technology and Reading With the App ChatterPix Kids

Integrating technology and reading is so easy with the ChatterPix Kids app. I love to use this tool with my non-readers in the primary grades. It allows them to give a much more detailed response than they are able to write by hand, which helps me know how much they understand about what they just read. In this tutorial, I am going to show you the basics of what the ChatterPix Kids app looks like and provide 9 ideas for you to try with your students.

Thank you to Brittany Washburn for our guest post.

ChatterPix Kids is a great app for integrating technology and reading. In this tutorial I am going to show you the basics of what the ChatterPix Kids app looks like and provide 9 ideas for you to try with your students.



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Engaging Presentations With Shadow Puppet - Plus Freebie

If you're looking for an engaging tool for student presentations, I highly recommend Shadow Puppet. The educational version works so well for any grade level. This app would be perfect for any type of subject area because students can include images on the subject, text and sound. Students can create videos to explain an idea, presentation of research, send a personal message or greeting, or tell a story.

Shadow Puppet App for Education, Apps for video, perfect for student presentations, you can download a free storyboard and checklist
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Assessing Students During Project Based Learning

Do you wonder how to go about assessing students during project based learning? One big reason teachers shy away from implementing the unit is not knowing how to assess students. Because a project based learning unit spans several weeks or even months, it's important to assess students throughout the unit. Assessment can be formal like we typically use during a regular classroom environment. But, for the most part, it can be informal.

Assessment can be helpful during a project based learning unit by letting us know if students are learning the skills and if they understand the purpose of the unit. We also want to make sure the unit isn't straying in a non-productive direction. In this post, I'll provide different ways we can assess our students during a project based learning unit.

Assessing students during project based learning does NOT need to be a challenge. Click through for some FREE tips & ideas to use in your elementary or middle school classroom. You'll get technology websites to help you, learn why high engagement equals high achievement, find various rubric ideas, and more. PBL will come to life in no time. Perfect for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade classroom or home school teacher and their students.


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iPadpalooza 2017 - Day 1 Filled With Learning on the Go!

The theme for this year's iPadpalooza is Learning on the Go! In fact, you can walk around and see the different keynote speakers teaching in the commons areas of the conference. When I walked into the cafeteria,  there was a demonstration of art with the Sphero, Ozobot, and other robotics.

I love the relaxed atmosphere of iPadpalooza! It's such a non-threatening environment for educators to learn more about technology. Carl Hooker has a gifted way of connecting with attendees so everyone feels like they are part of one big family. Day 1 was filled with Learning on the Go.

iPadpalooza is a fun learning experience in Austin every summer. Teachers learn as they enjoy entertainment, food, and friendly competition. The conference is filled with nationally recognized speakers and classroom teachers.

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6 Tips to Promote Writing Through the Summer: With FREEBIE

We want our students to return back to school refreshed and ready to learn. But, we also don't want them to fall behind. Summer is a great time for students to continue working on important skills. With all the activities going on this summer, it's really easy to create opportunities for kids to write. In this post, I have a 6 tips to promote writing through the summer. And, guess what! I've included ideas with technology!

We want our students to return back to school refreshed and ready to learn. But, we also don't want them to fall behind. Summer is a great time for students to continue working on important skills. With all the activities going on this summer, it's really easy to create opportunities for kids to write. In this post, I have a 6 tips to promote writing through the summer. And, guess what! I've included ideas with technology!
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Planning a Project Based Learning Summer Camp

If your school offers summer programs for students, I highly recommend planning and implementing a summer project based learning camp. Beat the "summer slide" with motivating projects that include 21st Century Skills and curriculum standards. The Buck Institute for Education has a list of project based learning units that can be found on their website. If you're new to project based learning, BIE provides templates for planning your project. So, take the plunge and host your own project based learning summer camp.

Plan your own project based learning summer program. Keep students learning in a fun way with high-interest activities with 21st Century Skills and core standards.


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5 Tips in Planning a Fantasy Vacation: a PBL Writing and Math Project

Many of your students may not have an opportunity to go on a family trip during summer break. So, let them plan a fantasy vacation with this fun Project Based Learning Writing and Math Project! While learning about a state or country, your students can plan the vacation. You may even have students who want to plan a "Stay-cation" and research fun places to visit around their own town or city.

Make this the best end of year activity yet with this PBL writing unit where your 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade classroom or home school students plan a fantasy vacation for their family. Your students will work on research, math, and writing skills while engaging in this fun project based learning unit. See the five portions of this resource that will have your students learning and engaged from the first moment. {third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth graders}


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Why End the Year With a Project Based Learning Unit?

I'm sure your students and you are tired from testing and ready to end the year! Are you students losing interest in school? Are you having to deal with behavior issues that you didn't have earlier in the year? Do you wonder how you're going to keep your students engaged with just a few weeks left? In this post, I'll give you a few reasons why it's a good idea to end the year with a project based learning unit.

Why end the year with a project based learning unit? Students will be engaged and motivated to learn. Let your upper elementary students solve real world problems and complete challenges today. These ideas are great for after state testing in your 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom. Even home school students and families will love these ideas. STEM, PBL, student ownership and leadership, and much more can all be accomplished in a fun way. {third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders}
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3 High-Interest Economics Units for Project Based Learning

Are you kids already bored this summer? Are you trying to figure out how to keep them entertained in a meaningful way? I have just the solution for you! Why not open a ice cream shop? Or, open a bake shop or pizzeria? I have 3 high-interest economics units for project based learning units that your students or your own children can do now and this summer. And, they can learn about economics and experience running their own business. I can't think of a better way to uncover standards, 21st Century Skills, and real-world learning.

If you're on the lookout for high interest economics units for project based learning (PBL). Your upper elementary students will love the ideas presented here! Use these during the spring and summer months, or any time your 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom students want some STEM or STEAM fun utilizing 21st Century Skills. Check out the ice cream shop, food trucks, and mini golf. (third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders - home school - homeschool}


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Celebrate the Mexican Culture With Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated every year on May 5th. In Texas, there are festivals all over the state. Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican militia over the French Army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is not Mexican Independence Day, which is September 16. I have some ideas you'll love as you Celebrate the Mexican Culture With Cinco de Mayo.

Your students can learn about other cultures and their celebrations. This post is filled with activities about Cinco de Mayo in Mexico. These activities work well with grades 2-5.

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Teaching Characterization Through Spring Mentor Text

It's spring! And, there are so many wonderful books you can use for teaching reading and writing skills. The Reading Crew has joined together to share our our love of literacy. We have a collection of ideas and lessons in teaching mentor text. In this post, I've provided you with a wonderful spring book for teaching characterization through spring mentor text. (Make sure to look for the secret word typed in BLUE.)

Need ideas for teaching characterization or character traits? This post gives you ideas with a spring mentor text. Click through to see how to use the book Summer Birds. Your students will learn how Maria Merian used illustrations to change how butterflies were viewed. With the FREE Google Drive download, your 2nd, 3rd, & 4th grade classroom or home school students will better understand the concept while working on necessary reading comprehension skills. {second, third, fourth grader - freebie}
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Spring Project Based Learning: Environment, Animals, & Economics

For a break during or after testing, try implementing a spring project based learning unit. Your students are guaranteed to be engaged with hands-on, real-world challenges and activities. With project based learning, curriculum standards will still be covered, along with 21st century learning skills. In this post, I'll provide you will pbl units about the environment, endangered species, and economics. These units can even be used for Earth Day. Let's celebrate spring with project based learning!

Spring Project Based Learning is a great, hands-on way to get your students thinking about and solving real world problems. This post shows you PBL units about the environment, endangered species, and economics. These will work great for your upper elementary 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade classroom or home school students. You'll be covering the curriculum standards AND 21st Century learning skills. What more could you want? {third, fourth, fifth graders, springtime}
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Using Online Resources to Study Women in History

As an instructional technology specialist, I always emphasized the importance of learning about the history of technology and important people who invented tools and techniques we use today. One famous woman in the history of technology is Dr. Grace Hopper. With National Women's History Month being celebrated in March, I've provided online resources to research biographies about important women in history.

Find great online resources for various social studies research projects, but particularly for learning about women in history in the upper elementary classroom. This blog post gives you great, credible online sources where students can find great information - including the Library of Congress, Newsela, WhiteHouse.gov, Bio.com, and EdPuzzle. Click through to see how you can use these tools with your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom and homeschool students today.


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Why Teach Media Literacy? Distinguishing Between REAL and FAKE News

Why teach media literacy? With information overload, it's becoming more and more difficult for our students to distinguish between real and fake news. A recent Stanford study has reported that today's students lack the skills to determine the difference. Media Literacy is an important skill to teach in today's classroom.

Help upper elementary, middle school, & high school students with media literacy by teaching them to distinguish between real and fake news. Learn why what students research and read needs to be up-to-date. Watch videos learning more about legitimate websites, and find out what to look for to spot great information. Tips and tricks are included in this blog post. {3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade classroom or homeschool students, reading, writing, research, PBL}

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Ideas for Teaching Digital Citizenship With EdPuzzle

Classrooms all over the world are sharing the many innovative ways technology can be used in learning, which is why today's post is all about teaching digital citizenship

"Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live." 

I'm sharing ideas with 5 other technology lovers from the Tech With Us Community. We are teaming up to share our tips in teaching Digital Citizenship which can be infused into your curriculum throughout the year. 

Celebrate Digital Learning Day (or any day where you want to incorporate technology) by using EdPuzzle in the classroom. This post will show you how to find and customize great videos to use with your primary, upper elementary, and middle school students. You'll be teaching digital citizenship in no time! Click through to see example videos and get started today! {Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade classroom or homeschool, computers, lesson plan, unit study}
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Teaching Tolerance and Acceptance Through Project Based Learning

At most main intersections, you will see signs that say, "Will Work for Food!", "Former Vet", "Lost My Job", "Two Kids", "Anything Will Help."

How do you react when you see a homeless person? Do you wonder if you should give them some cash, a Granola bar, or water? Or, just try to ignore him or her and act like the person isn't there. Treat the homeless as if they are invisible. We can help by teaching tolerance and acceptance to our students through project based learning.

Allow your upper elementary, middle school, & high school students to research the different causes and effects of homelessness. Then use this project based learning unit to allow student to plan a community for the homeless with services and activities. This PBL unit focuses on a real world problem, while also incorporating 21st Century skills. You'll also be teaching tolerance and acceptance of others. Great for the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade classroom or homeschool.

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Building Growth Mindset During Project Based Learning

Building growth mindset does not have to be a challenge, especially when integrated with project based learning (or PBL). Stick around to learn more. 

Building a growth mindset in your upper elementary students does NOT have to be challenging. Learn how to integrate it with your project based learning unit. Check out the PBL video here, and get five ideas for how you can start this in your 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom today. Resources and book recommendations are also included. Click through now to learn more! {third, fourth, fifth, sixth graders}

"Every time they (students) are pushed out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in the brain can form new stronger connections and over time, become smarter." - Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist 

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Apps for Setting Project Based Learning Goals

If you're like me, every year my goal or New Year's Resolution is to lose weight and spend less money. Even though these are great goals for me to achieve, I need an organized, systematic way to achieve my goals. And, setting goals helps me with short term and long term motivation. After I decide on my achievable goals, I need to decide what tasks I need to complete in order to achieve these goals. 

In setting goals for our students, especially during a project based learning, there are important elements we need to remember. Read more to learn these elements and about a great app I use to help students in setting project based learning goals.
For setting project based learning goals, I recommend several including Mindmeister, Popplet, Idea Sketch, and Simple Mind. This blog post highlights using Simple Mind for Mindmapping. I've included a sample as students learn how to use the app.


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Random "Apps" of Kindness: Teaching Character Development


Teaching your students different ways of showing acts of kindness is important in teaching character development. Today, with the emphasis on anti-bullying, there are many ways for students to do good deeds to show empathy, appreciation, and display a caring attitude toward others.

Teaching character development does not have to be difficult with these random "apps" of kindness. See which of the six would work best for your students to share some random acts of kindness in the classroom. It's a great way to integrate technology into your classroom, homeschool, or your character education lessons. Click through for all the details and to see how you could make these work with your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th grade classroom or homeschool students.

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Using Mentor Text to Study Folktales

This post is about using mentor text to learn about folktales from other cultures. The Polar Bear Son is a beautiful tale that I've used as an example. Freebie included.

The Inuit people inhabited the Arctic regions of Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, and Canada. During the long, dark winters, families would play games and tell stories. The stories were about animals, strong hunters, and the supernatural. The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Taleretold and illustrated by Lydia Dabcovich, is a story that has been handed down for generations. It's a tale about an old woman who finds a polar bear cub and raises it as her son. Even though the old woman sends the polar bear away, he remains faithful by continuing to supply her food.

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