Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let's Get Connected

Technology makes is so easy for people to stay connected. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest give us the opportunity to share information in real time so we can stay up on what's important to us - family, hobbies, old friends, even technology. 

I would love for you to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Pinterest. I'll share new web tools, apps and instructional best practices when using technology in the classroom. I will pin, post, tweet and retweet resources and tools that will assist you as you use technology to increase your productivity and engage students in the classroom.

So if you would please, click on one (or all) of the links in the Let's Connect section of my blog to get information delivered right your social media of choice! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Research Tool in Google Docs

Google Docs provides one of the best tools for students when it comes to conducting research and developing research papers and reports. The research tool in Google Docs allows students to conduct research from inside their document. It also allows them to cite their sources in APA, MLA or Chicago formats. Citing also includes pictures.

Take a look at this short YouTube video to see how easy it is to use the research tool in Google Docs (you may have to turn up the volume on your computer, her voice is very soft).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Adobe Voice - Just a Few Steps to Great Videos

Adobe Voice is a free iPad app that has me jumping for joy!

Adobe voice combines great search tools with simple layouts and easy voice recording to create an outstanding finished story in a video format. 

Check out this video to get a quick overview of what Adobe Voice is all about - Adobe Voice. Show Your Story. In Minutes.

Then check out the Adobe Voice Channel to find tips and tricks to make your Adobe Voice the best it can be. You'll also find videos for using Adobe Slate - another great free app from Adobe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Favorite Font Website -

I must admit, I'm addicted to fonts and I absolutely LOVE all of the different fonts to chose from on This website provides you will thousands of different fonts organized by category. 

Not all of the fonts are free, but many are -- so be sure to check the license agreement.

If you need help downloading and installing fonts to your computer, here's a step by step guide - Installing Fonts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Creating a Contact Group in Outlook 2013

Instead of typing 25 names into the To box of an email, why not set up a contact group instead?

A contact list allows you to set up a group email list one time and then you can use it over and over again.

Here's how to set it up - 
1. Open Outlook
2. Click People
3. Click New Contact Group
4. Give the group a name (eg. Principals, 1st Grade Teachers, etc.)
5. Click Add Member > From Address Book
6. In the Search Box, type in the name of a person that needs to be in the list. When you see the name in the list, double click on it and it will be placed in the Members area of the list. Continue adding people until they are all in the members area.
7. Click OK.

Now you have a list you can use to send email messages.

To send the group a message - 
1. Open a new email.
2. Click To.
3. In the Address Book, click Contacts.
4. Find the list you created and double click on it.
5. Click OK.
6. Type your message and click Send.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Quick Assessment with Plickers

We don't always have time to or need to give our students a test to do a quick check of the class -- that's where Plickers comes into play. 

Plickers is a simple app that allows teachers to collect formative assessment data without student devices. Use the site to create a teacher account, set up your classes, assign your students a plickers card and create questions. You will also print your cards from the website. Once you have everything set up, install the plickers app on your mobile device (any mobile device) and use it to scan student answers. 

Plickers has a great help section to get you started or you can go this Plickers playlist on YouTube for additional help. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Free Graphics from Pixabay

Who loves free stuff? I'm all about it as long as it's something I can really use. Well, hold on to your hats, because I have a website full of free graphics that can be used on websites, documents, presentations, and more. provides you with over 470,000 public domain photos, graphics and illustrations. All of the graphics I've used from this site are great quality and easy to download. Instead of going directly to Google to search for images, try going to Pixabay. You don't have to worry about copyright and can feel confident the images you use will be a great addition to any project.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Using the Clearly Extension in Chrome

Many of websites we view have numerous advertisements, additional search ideas and other related articles for us to review. All of the distractions on a site can be a bit overwhelming -- that's where Clearly comes in to save the day. 

By using the Clearly extension in chrome, you get rid of all the distractions on the page so you can focus on the content of the article you are reading. Take a look at the two images below. The one on the left is before Clearly and the one on the right is after.

I think we can agree that the one on the right is much easier to read.

Many of us get distracted when we are online -- so do our students. Using the Clearly extension to help us remove those distractions is a must. Just go to the Web Store and search for Clearly - by 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pic Collage - The Ultimate Photo Collage Creator

Pic Collage was one of the first apps I downloaded on my iPad and I've been using it ever since.

Using the simple layout options, select the best one for your photos,  and then add photos from your device or from the web. You can also add text and stickers, change the background, and create special effects for your photos. 

Your creations can be saved to your device, instagram, twitter, facebook, or tumblr.

This app is an absolute must for students. It can be used in any subject area and can be as detailed as you want it to be. 

Need some ideas? Just click on this Pinterest search to be inspired - Pic Collage App Search

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Sky's the Limit with Padlet

I remember back in the day when Padlet was Wall Wisher. That was a while back - I loved Wall Wisher, but it seemed to have a few issues - well NO MORE! Along with the name change, Padlet has gotten it together and is now one of my absolute FAVORITE websites (and apps) for sharing content and ideas. 

So what is Padlet you ask? Padlet is, at the most basic level, an online bulletin board or virtual wall. You and your students can post information for others to view. But really, Padlet is so much more than that. Here are just a few ways teachers and students can use Padlet in the classroom - teachers can post questions that students can answer, students can provide feedback/evaluation of a project, students can upload their work for others to see, teachers can use it as a communication tool for parents, students can write book reviews, teachers can post links to video tutorials or websites to be used in research, and the list could go on and on.

I encourage you to take a look at (and the app). Here's a link to a video explaining how to use Padlet and it also has a few examples -

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Removing a Background from a Graphic Using PowerPoint

We've all been there. We find the perfect graphic to use in our presentation or in a publication and it has an awful background around it that ruins everything. Have no fear, there is a way to remove that background. 

I like to use PowerPoint to remove backgrounds - just insert the graphic onto a slide and use the remove background option to get it looking good. 

Here's a quick video to show you how it's done.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Creating Videos with Shadow Puppet Edu

Using Shadow Puppet Edu makes video creation super simple. With only a few clicks, students can create videos to tell a story, share ideas, or show what they know. 

Using images from the iPad or the built in image search including the Library of Congress, NASA, Creating Commons and much more, students can create videos with up to 100 images per video and up to 30 minutes long. They can also add narration, background music and text to each slide. When the video is complete, students can save it to the camera roll and then easily share it through social media, email or copy to Google Drive, Classroom, or OneDrive. Best of all, there are over 30 activity ideas built into the app to help everyone get started.

Check out the Shadow Puppet Edu app in the app store.