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"Pop" Into A Conversation: Ice Breaker Activity

Looking for a great "ice breaker" activity?  How about trying "Popping" into a Conversation?  It's super simple and super easy!

I used this game as a way to introduce our new Character Ed topic: Courage.  It worked beautifully with students ages 6-11!  They were engaged, excited, and loved every minute of it.

Grab your directions here or click on the photo below to download the directions.

I would love to hear how you used this activity with your students!  Comment below to spark new ideas for fellow viewers!

Until the next post...

Create Green Screen Projects Without a Green Screen!

These two apps are all you need!

These video tutorials will show you how I used the Superimpose App with the DoInk App to create a three layered picture, WITHOUT an actual green screen!

Video 1: Green Screen Project Without A Green Screen Using Superimpose App

                                        How to Use Superimpose to Create Green Screen Pictures without a Green Screen Video

Video 2: Green Screen Project Without A Green Screen Using images (created in Superimpose) within the DoInk App

I hope this helps out when you are in a pinch and without a green screen!

Enjoy!  Until the next post...

Building Windows Not Walls: Teaching Global Citizenship

As the 2016 election came to an end, I took a moment to ponder how the outcome could affect my students.  This particular election, sadly, has exposed our young students to some negative discussions, news, and beliefs.  Our students do not study or understand the specifics of our nation's political decisions.  They simply hear the 60 second commercials or read news headlines, which can be very misleading.

As educators, we have a responsibility to teach our students about all that is happening around them. We are blessed with this opportunity. Teaching our students about the world, exposing them to different cultures, people, beliefs, and traditions will help educate our young ones so they can make their own opinions about the world in which they live.

I made the decision to educate my students about the world beyond our own city, state, and nation.  I chose to do so through technology and social media.  Connecting with people around the world today could not be more simple.  I chose to use a platform my students were currently using, Seesaw.  I created a Global Communication Class and away we went.

Click the image to learn more about Seesaw.

Over the past few years, I have connected with some wonderful teachers through social media.  I began to communicate with people of like pedagogical backgrounds from around the world.  It was great fun learning how other educational systems worked.  A few of us decided to provide our students the same opportunity.  We decided to connect our classrooms and teach our kids global citizenship.

So far my second graders have connected with students from Australia. They have learned common greetings, various names for everyday things, school day routines, wildlife, customs, songs, lifestyles, geography, and so much more through our written and video conversations. Honestly, I think the adults (teachers) enjoy it just as much as the students.

Below I will show you exactly how to make global connections possible for you and your classroom. It has been one of the best teaching decisions I have ever made.  My hope is more and more teachers will do the same and help spread global citizenship among our young students.

Step 1:  Use social media to connect with other teachers.  Twitter and Instagram are where I have found the most globally diverse members.

Step 2:  Set up a Seesaw account.  You can use Seesaw online at www.seesaw.mewww.seesaw.me or you can download the app from iTunes or Google Play stores.

Step 3:  One teacher will be in charge of creating a classroom for communicating globally.  This teacher will be the account manager.  He/she will be in charge of setting up and managing the classroom.  List each classroom as a student, or you can list each student separately if you would like them to communicate on their own.

Step 4:  Add videos, notes, drawings, pictures, or pretty much anything and post it to the class feed.

Step 5:  The managing teacher will be notified when a post has been added and then accept the post to the class feed.

Step 6:  Sit back and enjoy knowing that you are contributing to the health and happiness of our future global relations.

Here are some video tutorials on setting up your very own Seesaw Global Class.  If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at Link2Teach.

Click the photo to visit.

To learn more about how to utilize Seesaw click HERE.

Setting Up a Seesaw Global Class


Adding Notes, Videos, Drawings, Pictures To Seesaw Global Class


Click HERE to register.

Join the EdChange Global Classroom 24 Event


I didn't know any teachers globally in which to connect my older students, until recently.  I was super excited to stumble upon a post on Twitter explaining #ECGC17.  Through this connection, I learned about a great new website that allows teachers to meet others and connect their classrooms.  The site is called  Belouga.  Thanks to this wonderful site, my third graders are now about to meet up with students from Ghana!  And my 4th and 5th graders will soon meet their friends in Mexico.

Click the image to learn more.

Hope to see you on the 28th at the EdChange Global Classroom Event!

Google Classroom Differentiation Dream Come True

New Google Classroom features were just unveiled today that will allow teachers to individualize instruction.  When creating an assignment, post, or a question, teachers can choose whether to share it with the entire class or certain students.  As a reading specialist, this new feature will make Google Classroom an essential tool in my instruction!  The ideas and ways to use this new feature are endless!

You could now pose questions or posts to small groups of students or individual students in any subject for any reason.  You can now create assignments with scaffolded or extension additions for those students requiring more help or more challenges.

Here is the full article "New Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and build" detailing all of the new features released today.

I'm off to create some new individualized lessons my Google friends!

Enjoy your tech-filled literacy classroom!

Cultivating Digital Literacy Tip #2: Teach and Promote Internet Safety

Through my Google Classes online I have learned some great tips I'd LOVE to share with you about how to keep students safe while spending time in the online world both in and out of the classroom.

Our job as teachers has extended far beyond the old principle of the 3R's that its a little difficult to understand where our job stops in the 21st Century.  With new additions to curriculum and the explosion of technology we need to be aware of some safeguards that can protect us as teachers and our students as learners when it comes to the online world.

I have decided to present this in 2 ways. 

A simple listing with brief explanations

How can online users be safe? These ideas are meant to be presented and discussed with students.

Think Before You Click: 
How to Be Safe and Responsible Online

1.  Know How to Behave Online.  
-Who to interact with?
-What to say to online "friends"?
-Post personal pictures? Good or bad?
-What you do online creates your "digital footprint" that can be tracked and seen for years.
  1. Do not Respond to Bullies online
  2. Do not Retaliate 
  3.  Document it (screen shot, download, etc.)
  4.  Block Bully online
  5.  Report ot an Adult

2.  Be Respectful to Others
-Don't say it online if you couldn't say it in person.
-Only share others' information/material if you have permission.
-Be polite/show respect/use manners

3.  Practice Personal Privacy
-How to keep personal information to a minimum? What information should you give?
-Do not share your passwords with others unless they are your teachers or parents.

4.  Password Security
-Make your password strong and one you remember.
-Use at least 8 characters with a mixture of letters/numbers/special characters.
-Maybe replace a letter with a special character.
-Idea: Use first letter of each word in a phrase you like.  Example: Mve&JS9P (My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas-pneumonic device for remembering order of planets.)

5. Verifying Passwords
-Use a 2 step verification system
-Some use text messages that send you a code after you pass the 1st step in the verification.
-Some use predetermined questions such as "Where were you born?" etc.

6. Sharing a Device Security
-Use an incognito window for internet access.  It doesn't keep a history of sites visited.  All information is wiped clean when logged out.

A detailed digital presentation that may be used by both teachers and students 

If you would like a free copy of the Think Before You Click handout and slide presentation complete with presenter notes and links,  simply join the Link2Teach team by signing up on my home page under the slider.  Your materials will be emailed to you!

Online Saftey Quick Teacher Tips:

Grades K-2 Teachers:
-When creating passwords for younger students, it makes access for students easier if you select a pattern of keys on the keyboard so students are not searching for letters.
-Make the password easy to type and remember.
-Possibly use the same password for all students in case they need help.

Grades 3 and Up Teachers:
-Students should create and manage their own passwords.
-Teach students how to pick safe yet memorable passwords. (See Step 4 above)

All Teachers:
-Keep a list of passwords
-Collect through Google Forms which can in turn turn information into a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
-Teach and Reteach Privacy of passwords.  Never share with friends and strangers.

Enjoy your tech-filled literacy classroom!

Quick Literacy Tip #5: The Power of an Audience

When students know their work will be viewed by others, their effort level increases.  How often do teachers see a lack of effort on assignments and projects that are meant for a "teacher's eyes only". As a former classroom teacher I all-to-well remember the feeling of disappointment when grading students' work.  Most of the time, I felt disappointed because I knew my students could have done better.

As a reading specialist, I have learned to help students see the value of doing their best on their assignments.  Having small groups of students allows me frequent opportunities to have personal conversations with my students about taking pride in their work. When I ask to see work from their classrooms, they are either reluctant or eager to share depending upon their effort levels.  Knowing that my students perform better on their work when they know I will see it, led me to an idea.

My Idea...

I started implementing audiences for most all of our work by using multiple forms of sharing.  I use social media such as classroom Periscope and Twitter accounts.  These accounts can be very powerful "hand in" tools for teachers. Currently, I have added classroom developed tools such as Seesaw and Classkick to share students' work. In my room we use QR codes to share with each other as well. Projects are shared differently depending upon the type, but the idea of sharing is forever attached to many of our activities.

For Periscope I created a classroom account.  Parents and students are invited to follow our classroom account.  A permission slip is sent home along with the account information.  Even though our school has permission for web use forms on file, I still send home specific web permissions each time we use a different web platform for sharing work.  Here is a copy of my Periscope permission slip form. Feel free to click on the picture for your copy.

Twitter also requires a class username.  Twitter is a great way to teach students how to write succinctly and effectively too since their description is limited to characters. Below click the picture to access the copy of this form.

There are many other classrooms at various grade levels using classroom social media accounts.   You can connect with them and share with each other. Put out a query on any social media platform for teachers interested in connecting with you through classroom social media accounts.  Or simply keep it private for school and home use.  It's up to you.

There are two other ways I provide an audience for my students.  These methods are through safe school-based programs/apps.  The first on is Seesaw.  

You can find Seesaw at the links below.

Seesaw is a classroom portfolio system that allows teachers/students to post to a specific feed. The information posted is ONLY visible to those containing the login information.  I provide the code for parents that allows them to view their child's work solely.  Only students in the grade level and teachers with permission can view a class feed view which shows all students enrolled in that particular class. This tool is accessed with a code.

I also share students' work directly in my classroom to encourage a positive and supportive classroom community through use of our Star Wall. See below image.

I use QR codes generated through Seesaw that allow my students to share ANY assignment with anyone using a QR reader. This is how I display them on the Star Wall.

Here are some sample of my students' posts to Seesaw. You will need a QR reader in order to view. There are readers for ios devices and android devices.  Here are links to both.

This is one from a Kindergartener practicing the letters in his name. 

This is one from a 4th grader sharing a book she read.

This is from a 2nd grader showing his understanding of the character Frog from the Frog and Toad Series.

On sharing day (once a week) students scan codes, watch or view projects, write a compliment to the creator, and place the compliment in the creator's container.  We have a movie theme in our room, hence the popcorn and theater items.

The power of this Star Wall alone has changed the way my students view work and projects.  We post only the cumulative projects we do so students can "show off" their hard work.  If it is done for every project, I'm afraid the power and influence of sharing would be lost.

Classkick is a lesson planning and delivery tool that is also free!  It provides teachers with a tool to create and present lessons that can be tailored to each individual student's needs if desired!  It is by far my FAVORITE lesson planning tool to date!  It is also a great way to share completed assignments with other teachers, students, and parents. Lessons/assignments are shared through a code or through email.  I store my students assignments digitally but you can leave them right in the app/webpage as well.  I also use it for my Student Self-Assessments for monthly monitoring their reading progress.  If you'd like to learn more about how I assess using Classkick, I have a blog post here about it.  CLICK HERE.

Here are the links to view more about Classkick.


Show your students how powerful having an audience can be and watch the quality of their work skyrocket!

I am loving teaching ways to use technology in the literacy classroom.  Join my link2teach team found on the home page of this blog right under the slider bar and receive FREE video tutorials on integrating technology into literacy instruction. I will send out 1 or more each month. Would love to have you onboard!

Enjoy your tech-filled literacy classrooms!

Get Readability Levels on Any Website Instantly!

Looking for a quick way to find the readability level of an online article?  Look no further! Stackup is a Google Chrome Extension you can download right on your toolbar for instant access!

How do I use it?  Watch this short video below.

You can also use this extension to create reading challenges for yourself and your students.  
Set the challenge requirements.
Invite students using a code or through email.
Track students' progress.
Watch your students' reading take off!

Check it out today HERE!

For more technology-based literacy tips, follow the Link2Teach team!  Click HOME at top of page.  Scroll down under the slider post bar.  Sign up to receive FREE videos and tips to your inbox!

Enjoy your technology filled literacy classroom!

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