Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Free High-Quality Fiction and Nonfiction Literature

Website Wednesday

CommonLit offers a free collection of fiction and nonfiction literature for teachers to use in the classroom to help strengthen student literacy skills in grades 5-12. It has a wide selection of poems, short stories, news articles, historical documents, and excerpts from classic literature. 

Teachers can create a class, assign assignments, and monitor student progress. With each selection a teacher also has the option to use the teacher guide, related media, or paired text suggestions. Searching for articles or literature is made even easier with the Search by Theme option. Assignments can be assigned to an entire class or individual students. This enables a teacher to tailor the learning to the student's needs and interest.

Text that is assigned to students comes with many other features and useful tools. The toolbar that accompanies the selection contains a highlighter, dictionary, translator, and text to speech. Text-Dependent and Discussion questions are also included with each selection.  Because the selections can be saved as a PDF, students can save that in their google drive and then open it in KAMI to use all the annotation tools that KAMI provides. *KAMI is a free app and extension that is compatible with google classroom and can be found in the Chrome Web Store.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Caring for your ipad

Tech Tip Tuesday

Here are some tricks and tips to get the most out of your ipad. 

1. Quick Recharge: Put your device on airplane mode, and it will charge twice as fast. 

2. Keyboard Click: To turn off the sound of the keyboard click, go to Settings>Sounds>Keyboard Clicks. Slide the button to off and your done.

3. Split Keyboard: Sometimes students when typing will accidentally swipe two fingers across the keyboard and it will split. To bring it back together have them place a finger on each side of the keyboard and swipe their fingers together back to the middle. 

4. Space Needed: To see how much space is available on your device, go to Settings>General>Storage & iCloud Usage. The fastest way to free up space is to delete photos and videos. It's also advisable to free up space by deleting apps that you are no longer using. Deleting apps are easy and can be done from your home screen. To delete an app, hold your finger down on the app icon until all the icons on the screen start wiggling. Next, tap the cross on the top-left corner, and you'll be asked if you want to delete it. Press delete. You can delete as many apps as needed. Once you are finished deleting apps that you don't need anymore, press the home button and the icons will seize wiggling. Don't forget that if you need the app back, you can download it from the app store just click on purchased to find it. 

5. Organize: You can organize your home screen by creating folders for your apps. To create a folder, hold your finger down on an icon until they start wiggling and then drag one icon on top of another. It will group them together. From here you can name your folder. To add more icons to the folder, just repeat the step above. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Trading Cards from ReadWriteThink

Mobile App Monday

The Trading Cards app from ReadWriteThink gives students of all ages a unique and fun way to share their comprehension and knowledge. The app is super easy to use and offers a variety of choices. 

Students can show-off what they know and learn by creating their own trading cards from one of the seven categories available: 
  • Fictional person
  • Real person
  • Fictional place
  • Real place
  • Object
  • Event
  • Vocabulary word
"Each category has specific guiding questions for creating a dynamic, information-rich trading card. Summarizing skills are critical as they drill down to the most important information to fit on the card. In addition, they become aware of writing for an audience because they can share their cards with others.

Part of the appeal of trading cards is being able to sort them into collections. Have kids and teens build a collection of cards for characters from their favorite book, landmarks in their favorite city, events from a period in history they find interesting, or vocabulary words by school subject." (from readwritethink mobile app)

Once the trading cards have been created, students can print them out and display them or save them to their google drive and share them. This educational app can be used with any subject or grade level. Click here to get lesson ideas for using the interactive trading card app. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Windows Snipping Tool

Tech Tip Tuesday

A terrific tool in Windows is the Snipping Tool. This tool allows you to "snip" anything on your computer screen. You can then save the snip as a graphic, copy and paste it to another program or email it. You can also use the drawing tools in the program to emphasize a certain area of the snip.

Here's a quick two minute video to show you how it works.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Adobe Spark Post

Mobile App Monday

Create Professional looking Graphics in Seconds!

Adobe Spark Post is a free app for your iphone or ipad. The graphics you create can easily be posted to your social media application. Graphics can also be used in a video or a slide show.

It's easy to create a graphic from one of the many templates provided using the remix option.
  • Pick a photo. 
  • Add some text. 
  • Apply a new theme or add an animation. 
  • Resize graphic to fit your needs. 
  • Press Done and Export.
It's that easy. 

Or create a graphic from scratch. 
  • Click the +sign and select your background to get started. Backgrounds range from solid colors to a wide selection of photos provided by Adobe or choose a photo that you took. 
  • Choose a size.
  •  Enter Text, Themes, or Animations.
  • Export it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Web Sites for Social Studies

Websites Wednesday

Attended a webinar today from TCEA and wanted to share some of the spectacular social studies' apps from the session. 

Tween Tribune from the Smithsonian Institute - Find free current event articles. Teachers can differentiate for their students by choosing different lexile levels. Quizzes, lesson plans, and other resources are also available. 

Newspaper Archives from the Library of Congress - Read all about it. Primary sources from 1690 to present. Get first-hand accounts of important historical events and people. 

National Archive - Enhance and support student learning with digitized primary sources. Provides political cartoon resources and online exhibits. 

iCivics -  Students experience civic roles and address real-world issues through the sites interactive games. 

Google Arts and Cultures - This site offers historical online exhibits and virtual tours. 

Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!: Civic Resources -  This site has lesson plans, videos, notes pages, and games that focus on landmark court decisions to help Texas students master TEKS in US government and history. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Permission to Access???

Tech Tip Tuesday

Are you receiving this message when clicking on a link to a google doc or google form when in your SAISD email?

Need Permission to Access

Try one of the three solutions below:

Solution Option 1:
*If Chrome is not your Default Browser follow the steps below*
  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Sign-in using your SAISD google account.
    • Username: 
    • Password: ID#lastname or your network password
    • If your password still does not work, please contact help desk.
  3. Copy and Paste the form or document link  in your email into the omnibar. 
  4. Complete and Submit the Form.

Solution Option2: 
*Make Chrome your default browser.*
  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Sign-in using to your SAISD google account.
  3. Click on the More Menu(Options) 
  4. Click Settings.
  5. Scroll down to Default Browser 
  6. Click Make Google Chrome the Default Browser
  7. Click on the link from your email and it will now open in Chrome.
  8. Complete and submit the Form.

Solution Option 3:
*Make Chrome your default browser for Windows 10.*

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Sign-in to your SAISD google account.
  3. Click on the More Menu (Options)
  4. Click Settings.
  5. Scroll down to Default Browser 
  6. A new window will open. Scroll down to Web browser and click on the Internet Explorer.
  7. Click on Google Chrome. 
  8. Close the Window.
  9. Click on the link in your email and it will open in Chrome. 
  10. Complete and submit the Form.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Free Money for College

Mobile App Monday

An Opportunity for ALL. 

Everyone knows that paying for college is expensive. As many high school juniors and seniors are finding out, the process to find and fill out scholarship paperwork can be extensive and time consuming. 

Scholly is an app and website to help students find scholarships for college. With a free Scholly account, student can access scholarship-winning essays, tips, and advice. For a small fee of $2.99, students fill out a form that will create a personalized list of scholarships that best match the student's needs. It also offers resources that assist students with scholarship  essays, tracking, and deadlines. As of today, Scholly has awarded students $50 million in scholarship.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Connected Classroom and More on Google+

Website Wednesday

You're probably asking yourself, "What is Google+?" Simple answer: A wonderful Google product that is a should have for ALL teachers. Google+ is a social network owned and operated by Google. If you have a Google Account then you can access Google+. 

Google+ has many communities which are groups created on a specific subject. 

After purchasing Google Cardboard, I was left asking myself "Now What?" I made my way to Google +, found, and joined a Google Cardboard Community. Now I'm able to chat with other educators about how they use Google Cardboard in their classrooms. I also have access to Google Cardboard resources and videos. 

Want to take your classes on virtual field trips? Go to Google+ and Follow Virtual Field Trips from Learn Around the World. 

In preparing for our monthly focus of Global Connections and how to take classrooms beyond the classroom walls, we stumbled upon an amazing community - Connected Classrooms a community on how to utilize technology to enhance education. It is a community for educators to collaborate and share technology resources, classroom strategies for integrating technology effectively, and ideas on how to use technology in and beyond the classroom.

Reading a novel? Working on a Science Lab? Completing a History Project? And your class wants to work with or discuss ideas with another class from a different state or country? This is the social network for you. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Voice Typing in Google Docs

Tech Tip Tuesday

Do you have students who don't know how to type or type slow? 

Google Docs has sped up the typing process with Voice Typing. It turns any words into text. 

It's a super easy way to put words on a document. Students can type, edit, and format with their voice in a Google doc. Because it also offers a variety of languages, students and teachers can translate documents. 

  1. Make sure you having a working microphone. *Chromebooks and ipads have built in microphones. Just make sure that they are enabled. 
  2. Open a New Google Doc or an Existing Google Doc. 
  3. Place your cursor where you want to type. 
  4.  Click Tools > Voice Typing
  5. Click the speaker icon and speak your text. 
    • Speak in a clear and normal voice
    • Speak any punctuation, spacing, or formatting 
    • Can even speak words for images. 
  6. When finished, click the speaker icon again. 
Click Here for a list of Voice Commands.

Please leave comments and share with us on how you and your students are using Voice Typing in your classroom. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fun Way to Explain Everything

Mobile App Monday

The Explain Everything app is a must have for all classrooms. This app is a collaborative interactive whiteboard that can be used to literally explain any and everything. 

Explain Everything is an easy-to-use collaborative tool that gives students the opportunity to share their knowledge and understanding of curriculum concepts. Students can annotate, animate, narrate, record and then share.

Here are just a few of the features in the app - 

- Writing tools - draw, shapes and text
- Laser pointer
- Insert images, videos or audio files
- Create math equations
- Edit (rotate, move, scale, flip, copy, paste, clone) any object
- Record everything you do within the app
- Record yourself with the front facing camera
- Export projects in numerous formats
- Post projects to Evernote, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube and more.

It's well worth it for the low price of $5.99 in the app store or google play store. 
Explain Everything is also available for Chromebooks for $2.99 per user. 
Click HERE to view ipad tutorials from Explain Everything on YouTube. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Website Wednesday

A wonderful website for creating screencasts is  You or your students can record up to 15 minutes of video with the free version. Then download the completed video directly to your computer or post to YouTube without even creating an account.Creating a free account allows you to store your videos on Screencast-O-Matic and use a link to share your creation. 

The paid version of the program  is ONLY $15.00 a year. With the upgrade you can create longer videos and edit using overlays, cutting tools, audio inserts, and more.

This tool is perfect for teachers that want to flip their classroom or just want to create and share how-to tutorials for their students. 

Here's a short video on YouTube that shows how to use the site -

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Add-ins for Microsoft Products

Tech Tip Tuesday

Just as Google has Add-Ons to add functionality to your Docs and Sheets,  Microsoft offers Add-Ins for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 

To find Add-In:
Open Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint
Click on the Insert Tab
Choose Store from the Add-in Section
Suggested Add-ins to Add to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint: 
  • Pickit Presentation Images - Free HD images and icons
  • Pexels - Free Stock Photos
  • Lucidchart Diagrams for Word - Draw and insert flowcharts, mind maps, and more
  • Translator  - Translates words and sentences
  • Assignment Buddy: Research Assistant - Helps you find information form the web
  • GeoGebra Tube - Insert interactive GeoGebra worksheets for learning and teaching math and science
  • Compare Text for Office - Compare a text with another to find differences
  • To-do - Helps to create to-do list
  • GeoGebra for PowerPoint - Insert interactive GeoGebra worksheets for learning and teaching math and science 
  • Khan Content from Microsoft - Insert free videos and exercises from
  • PhET Sims - Free, fun, interactive simulations for science and math to embed in your presentation
  • CK-12 Science Resources - Embed into your presentation videos, real-world examples and texts dealing with a variety of science concepts
  • CK-12 Math Resources -   Embed into your presentation videos, real-world examples and texts dealing with a variety of math concepts