Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Snow, it’s me: Teacher’s Adele Parody Goes Viral

February9

snow dayOne week ago the most famous groundhog in Pennsylvania saw his shadow. According to legend, that means we will be experiencing six more week of winter in our part of the world. Well, unfortunately (for me anyway), it looks like furry Phil’s prediction just might be accurate as those of us living Central PA got blasted with our biggest snowfall of the season late last night.

As you can imagine, kids throughout our entire region are rejoicing after receiving the news of two hour delays and cancellations. But they’re not the only individuals doing a happy dance.

Meet Mary Morris, a third-grade teacher at Rush Strong School in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee… I think she’s the only educator who wishes for snow days more than me! In fact, she really, really, really wants not one, but two or maybe 23 snow days so she made a major plea for some of the white stuff by producing a high quality video parody set to Adele’s smash hit Hello—one that has become an Internet sensation since being released last year.

With lines like “If it’s got to be so cold, the least that it could do is snow” or “If I have to keep my students inside one more time, for recess, I’m gonna lose my mind”, it’s no wonder this masterpiece has already been viewed over 4 million times (and counting).

Whether you’re a teacher or not, maybe this video captures how all of us feel on any given work day! Check it out below… It’s definitely worth the next six minutes of your life! And if you’ve never wished for a snow day before, I guarantee that you will now!

Two thumbs up for Mary Morris, a very talented and creative teacher. Thanks for the laughs! I truly hope your wish (and mine) comes true! ♥

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Freeze Frame II: The BAMS Mannequin Challenge

November21

freeze-frameAfter watching B-A’s first-ever Mannequin Challenge video, my middle school Tech Club students vowed they would not be outdone by their high school counterparts. And so they put their minds and creativity to work and planned their very own rendition of the super popular trend that has hit the social media scene.

So here you have it… Frozen in time from the set of the Bellwood Buzz, our morning announcements program, here’s the BAMS rendition of the Mannequin Challenge!  Yeah, there are a few blinks and some legs swinging, but it’s still pretty sweet! Check. It. Out!

Props once again to junior Kermit Foor for filming the BAMS freeze and then producing another YouTube sensation! ♥

Classroom Connection:

Sure, generating this video was alot of fun, but there’s always educational value when students have the opportunity to collaborate, plan and create a finished product that is shared with an audience beyond the four walls of the classroom.

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Moving Forward, Together… Because Kids Deserve It!

November11

united-we-standOK, so we are all very well aware that it’s been a divisive and draining election; one of the most negative in modern-day history. The United States is fractured now more than ever. Whether you’re celebrating victory or are feeling despair in defeat, it has been an exhausting process for the citizens of this country.

But there is a silver lining in all of this turmoil… We are Americans. All of us, regardless of the vote we cast last Tuesday. So it’s time to do what we do best: Come together for the common good and make this great land we live in the best it can possibly be—not just for this generation but for many that follow.

If you’re reading this post, then it’s most likely you’re an educator. In my opinion, there is no better group on this planet more capable of instilling hope and being the pillar of stability in times of change and uncertainty. We have the opportunity to teach tolerance, acceptance, kindness and respect. Most importantly, we have the ability to build a future where people are more connected, not more divided.

To help get the conversation—and healing—started in your school or classroom, tap into another excellent video from none other than Kid President. His words of wisdom and humor are always worth a listen…

Just remember: When life gets difficult, just take the advice of Kid President: Stop. Breathe. Love. Let’s treat people like they are people, people!

Oh, and don’t forget to… Dance!

Post inspired by the words of Hadi Partovi, Founder of Code.org.

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Freeze Frame: BAHS Jumps on the Mannequin Challenge Bandwagon

November10

clapper-boardA few of my colleagues and I caved to the latest social media craze and at the same time had a little bit of fun with our B-A BluePrint and Tech Club/SWAT Team students by producing our very own Mannequin Challenge video.

Check out our one take, one hit wonder below!

Props to junior Kermit Foor for filming the BAHS freeze and then producing our YouTube sensation! ♥

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Visualize Text with Doodle Splash

April19

tech it up tueday

It’s Tuesday again and time for me to roll out another tech-isode in my “Tech It Up Tuesday” series in which I will share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

Before revealing this week’s resource, we’re going to kick things off with some words of wisdom from Fran Claggett, an educational pioneer in the use of images to teach literature.

Through the use of graphics, students have opportunities to experience all four functions as they interact with the books they are reading and the essays, stories, and poems they are writing.

Yep, it’s true! Teaching students to visualize what they are reading and/or having them create graphic symbols to represent text helps them develop as readers. So, what types of activities can you do to ensure this type of learning takes place in your classroom?

For one, check out Doodle Splash, a cool interactive from ReadWriteThink, that combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking about a text by pairing an online drawing space with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and what they have read.

The image below not only illustrates the Doodle Splash work space, but it is a student example as well.


Worried about whether or not students can complete their work in one class session? No problem! Learn how work can be saved and finished at a later time by viewing the video shown below.

 

Classroom Connection:

Doodle Splash can be used for a whole-class discussion of a short story (or part of a novel), small group work, or individually—all situations in which students can use symbols, drawings, shapes, and colors to construct a graphic of their story, chapter or article. After completing their individual or group images, students have the ability to print out their final versions for sharing, feedback and/or assessment.

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Hello with a Snow Day Twist

January24

snow dayOK, so I thought I was the queen of wishing for snow days… But Mary Morris, a third-grade teacher at Rush Strong School in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, has me way beat. She really, really, really wants not one, but two or maybe 23 snow days so she made a major plea for some of the white stuff by producing a high quality video parody set to Adele’s smash hit Hello—one that’s going viral since being released just four days ago.

With lines like “If it’s got to be so cold, the least that it could do is snow” or “If I have to keep my students inside one more time, for recess, I’m gonna lose my mind”, it’s no wonder this masterpiece has already been viewed over 1.5 million times (and counting).

Whether you’re a teacher or not, maybe this video just captures how any one of us really feels! Check it out below… It’s definitely worth the next six minutes of your life! And if you’ve never wished for a snow day before, I guarantee it that you will now!

Even though Central PA got smacked with 19 inches of snow yesterday, it doesn’t look like I’ll be having one of those coveted snow days tomorrow. But at least I’ve had plenty of time for the past two days to watch Netflix in my PJs!

Two thumbs up for Mary Morris, a very talented and creative teacher. Thanks for the laughs! I truly hope your wish comes true! ♥

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BAMS Students Sing Santa Claus is Coming to Town (with Classroom Instruments)

December22

santa-clausAmong other numbers, Late Night’s Jimmy Fallon has become known for his skits with various music superstars and the band Roots singing popular tunes using instruments you’d find in an elementary school classroom.

For some reason, these performances just crack me up. So, after recently viewing his latest rendition with Adele and her smash hit Hello, I knew what I needed to do…

Well, what do you get when you mix a few teachers (who have lost their minds), 11 middle school kids, 12 classroom instruments, 12 ugly Christmas sweaters and two iPads with a whole lot of courage and laughter? Um—there really are no words! Just check out our holiday musical production below to get a load of B-A’s newest rock stars!

Our video was featured this morning on the Bellwood Buzz, the morning announcements program in our middle school. Like I said, there are no words! Well, except maybe these: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, here we come!

#livelaughlove #stupidfun #besilly #merrychristmas

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Don’t forget to be awesome!

August25

It’s back to school for this geeky girl—for the 44th time to be exact! Oh, my! I know—I’m becoming a fossil, but just to clarify: It’s only my 27th first day as an educator so you can do the math with the rest of all that! In any event, I’m ready to roll with a brand-new attitude—one that developed after encountering many new life experiences—some challenging and some rewarding—throughout the past summer. And it looks something like this:

be awesome

Yep, it’s true! Regardless of what we might encounter on our respective journeys—both the positive, the negative and the unexpected—we always have the freedom to choose how we handle all of these circumstances. That means we can either allow others or events beyond our control to ruin the moment and wound our spirit, or we can decide to move forward step-by-step even though we might not be capable of seeing the entire staircase at any given time.

So, with all of that said—if you’re looking for a super cool motivational video to kick start the year in your classroom and/or school… Or maybe you need an inspirational video to set the tone for a professional development session… Or you might just need a boost to rejuvenate your own mojo… Whatever the case may be—one or all of the above—then here’s the perfect solution to “get your learn on” for a new another go-round of being awesome!

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Turn Up the Awesome with Kid President Videos

January22

kid-presidentSometimes we just need to forget the curriculum, the standards, the test prep and interject some fun, some inspiration, some motivation into our daily routines. Well, I can’t think of a better way to do so than via the super popular Kid President videos.

This YouTube sensation, the brainstorm of Brad Montague—one based on the belief that kids have voices that can change the world—features the uniquely humorous yet meaningful words of wisdom from ten year old Robby Novak. Ironically, Robby has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a brittle bone condition which has resulted in him having over 70 breaks since birth. But despite life’s struggles, Robby not only keeps going—he dances as well because after all, “It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.”

Check out an example of a Kid President video shown below. This particular one—entitled “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You”—is one of my all-time favorites. The message not only encourages viewers to create something that will make the world awesome, but it also contains a special shout out to teachers and students. ♥

Classroom Connection:

OK, so like I said, the best way I personally believe the Kid President videos can be utilized is to break one out one of these gems when you feel the need to share some encouragement with your students—or colleagues for that matter. We recently began featuring a select video during our morning announcements program in the middle school, and our students love, love them.

Of course, if you want to go beyond just showing the video, follow-up with a class or small group discussion and/or a writing response to the particular message that was promoted. The Pinterest Board located here has some really neat ideas that could be modified to suit your needs.

You could even inspire your students to create their own motivational video as well. Now that would be awesome!

So, what are you waiting for? Get your learnin’ on and make some history. I’m out…

Happy 49th Anniversary to my really swell parents… Love you guys! ♥

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The Monster Trash: A Recycling Video Sensation!

September25

Slide9Last spring my Tech Club students wrote and produced a video about the importance of recycling in our school and submitted it to a contest sponsored by the Intermunicipal Relations Committee of Blair County. Not only did their work earn top honors in the local competition, but the winning video was automatically entered into the State Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania FilmFest Contest for a chance to win statewide recognition as well as a cash prize.

Well, the votes have been tallied and you guessed it: We recently received word that “The Monster Trash” won first place at the 7th annual competition which was held this past July in Washington, PA.

How cool is that? Even better, the video will be used in future public outreach and educational programs around the state.

When asked about the victories, Aubree Reiter stated, “I am very proud that the Tech Club won the video competition because I think our video really explained the point of the recycling contest.”

Fellow techie Kermit Foor added, “I think that out of all of the videos we have made, this one was the best one yet. We worked for many hours during and after school to make this video. Without the help of our teachers and friends, it would not have been possible.”

A shout out to my Tech Club crew—especially Aubree, Kermit, Alex, Blake, Corey and Quintin—for your dedication to this project. It’s proof that hard work really does get noticed and rewarded! I am beyond proud of your efforts, and you should be too!

Be sure to check out “The Monster Trash” below.

So, is that video just awesome or what? My most favorite parts are those in which these trashy students used stop animation to create various scenes! And yes—doing so was their idea!

As I’ve previously mentioned—I love, love the skills my girls and boys continue to learn and/or hone as they create these kinds of projects! Can you say rigor, relevant and real-world? Does it really get much better than that? I don’t think so!

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Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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