Thursday, May 2, 2013

Paper Slide Video

Here’s an innovative way for students to show you what they’ve learned.  Have them create a Paper Slide Video!  It’s super simple.  All you need is paper, markers, and a flip video camera (or an iPad or a cell phone that takes video).  To make a Paper Slide Video to explain any concept, follow these steps:
1.    Write a script (1-2 minutes max)
2.    Write info and/or draw or find images to illustrate/explain the script (6-10 paper slides)
3.    Practice, Practice, Practice!
4.    Record video in quiet place in one take…no editing 
5.    Publish to SchoolTube or Vimeo (your account) or just show from the network
The video will ONLY show hands and paper illustrations…no acting required!  This activity can be done by all grade levels and all ability levels.  Perfect for a collaborative group project: writer, narrator, graphic artist, and camera man.  Show your students some of these sample videos and let their creativity flow!
Jackson Pollock (artist)

Although this is a great assessment tool for students, it can also be a fantastic teaching tool for you as the teacher.  Absent?  Create a Paper Slide Video for the sub to show…and YOU are still teaching the class.  Publish your video to SchoolTube or Vimeo (or other video host site) and your students can access your lesson as often as they need.

Introduction to Paper Slide Video (an absent teacher’s lesson)
How to Make a Paper Slide Video (for a “flipped” classroom)
Storyboard Template #1 (for paper slides)
Storyboard Template #2 (for slides and notes)
Storyboard Template #3 (for slides and notes)
Sample rubric for grading a Paper Slide Video

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


authorSTREAM is a FREE online slide sharing platform, which provides multiple options for sharing PowerPoint presentations both online and offline.  I prefer it to SlideShare because authorSTREAM retains animations, transitions, audio narration, and in-slide video viewing.  SlideShare does not.  

Go to the authorSTREAM web site and sign up for a FREE account. Once you have signed in you can upload your PowerPoint presentation by clicking the yellow Upload button and choose the file you plan to upload.  It’s that simple.  You can also embed your PowerPoint in a blog or web site, download as a flash presentation or a PowerPoint, or convert to an MP4 video format for up to 5 minutes for free.

You can also search for and USE any of the PowerPoints that have already been uploaded by others without signing up for an account.  Just use the search box in the upper right corner.

This is an excellent resource to store your PowerPoint presentations to be accessible on any computer because they are online.  If you lose a flash drive or crash a PC, your PowerPoint is always there. Sharing is the best part.  Not only can others benefit from your ideas, but now you can access a multitude of presentations already online.

If you have presented a slide show in class and need an absent student to view it, upload it to authorSTREAM and link the PowerPoint on your web page of the district’s web site. 

Note: Slideshare is a larger PowerPoint sharing site.  You may want to search its database for ready to use slide shows for your classroom.  You can also upload and store your PowerPoint presentations there, but again Slideshare does not retain all the extras you may put into your slides.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

QR Codes

QR Codes are those little black and white square boxes of dotted patterns that you see everywhere—on products, billboards, and advertisements.  The QR stands for Quick Response and that is what they were designed for—to give a person more information via the Internet on those items by scanning them with a smartphone.  Although created for advertising purposes, they can also have an impact on education too.  Besides, students have those phones out anyway…why not put them to good use!
Scan for IISD home page

To read a QR code, all you need is a smartphone or tablet with a webcam.  Download a free QR code reader app.  Point the app at a QR code and it automatically takes a photo of the QR code and takes you directly to the web site, which you can open, share, or copy to a clipboard.  I recommend the free NeoReader for smartphones or free QR Reader for iPads.  It’s that simple. (You can also scan QR codes straight from a computer screen, such as these three examples.)

Scan for a written message
It is just as easy to create your own QR codes.  This is what you will want to do if using them in your classroom to direct a student to a particular web site for more information.  Use a QR code generator such as Create QR Code, and do one of two things—1) copy and paste the web address into the blank space to link to a web site, or 2) type in a message that will appear on the smartphone when scanned. Then simply click Create QR Code and your QR code appears.  Right click on the code and either save it or copy and paste to print and use now.  Add some pizzazz to your QR code by creating one that speaks.  Go to QR Voice, type in the message in the space to replace “say what?” Click the blue QR code square and your bar code appears below it.  Slide the blue circle to size your QR code.  Again, right click to save or copy the QR code.  It really is that simple….and FREE!
Scan for a voice message

NOTE:  Because of our school’s filter, linking to a YouTube video will not play in our district.  Also other videos that use Flash Player will not play on iPhones or iPads.

Of course, not all students will have a smartphone or tablet, so consider working in teams with the team captain the student with the mobile device.  Elementary students could use an iPod Touch.

The possibilities for classroom use are endless, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking.  Students, as well as teachers, can use the QR code generators online.  And remember you can link to a web site, image, your own written message, or a voice message.

--Print out a QR code to give to students and parents that links directly to your page on the school web site.
--Jazz up the tired old poster project. Illustrate posters with some images or text and use QR codes to refer to more information, related topic, or map/graph/chart online.  Then exhibit all posters and have students answer questions based on the QR code sites
--Create digital scavenger hunts around a classroom, library, or outdoors with QR codes as clues to the next stop.
--Attach QR codes to a large desktop size calendar for assignments or daily sponge activities.
--Create a virtual museum or art gallery tour by posting images in the classroom with QR codes to the actual museum where it is located.
--Post a large map in your room and dot with QR codes at battle sites.
--Post an extra credit math problem QR code outside your door or ask an extra credit question in class and post the QR code where the answer can be found.
--Create an entire worksheet of math problems presented as QR codes.
--Use QR codes to link to tutoring or homework help sites.
--Present a question in class and have students record their answers on QR voice and email to you.
--Have students create 3D models and attach QR codes to videos for explanation.
--Use SurveyMonkey (also explained on this blog) to create short quizzes or questionnaires and link the QR code to it.  Great way to get feedback.
--Use QR codes in stations to direct students using maps, graphs, charts, diagrams, models, etc. online.
--Create a periodic table with a QR code linked to a video on each element.
--Record your oral instructions for an activity on a QR code.
--Create an interactive resume.
--Recreate the traditional tri-fold science fair exhibit, and attach a QR code for a video of the student performing the experiment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Web Poster Wizard: Teacher Worksheets

Web Poster Wizard: Teacher Worksheets is a FREE online Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers to create online worksheets containing a photo, text, and links to related web sites to publish online.  No more need to print out worksheets and waste time telling students how to get to a web site.  The assignment/questions and links to answers are all on the same page…just a click away!  What a time-saver!

If you have already registered with Web Poster Wizard, then you are ready to being…just log in!  If you need to register, then follow Step 1 below.

Step 1: Register: Teachers must first register so they can manage classes and worksheets.  It is the same process as registering to use the Project Poster feature. Teachers only need to provide their name, email address, and create a password.

Step 2: Manage Classes: Once a teacher logs in, this section is pretty self-explanatory as it provides directions right on the page.  Teachers can set up classes in which students can sign in with a class code to complete assignments.  However, you don’t even have to give students class codes if you link your list of assignments on your page on the district web site!

Step 3: Create Worksheet: Beside each class name on the far right are icons. To create a new worksheet, click on the Manage icon and then click Create Worksheet.  From this page you can also edit or delete a worksheet.  After a worksheet is created, it is assigned an ID number link.  This link alone can also be linked on your page of the district web site so students can go straight to the assignment.

Step 4: There are only 4 steps to creating a worksheet and wizard walks you through each one.  1) Header and Body Layout, 2) Page Content, 3) Links and Image, and 4) Fonts and Colors.  That’s it!  Just follow the directions on each page.  (Note: when choosing background and font colors consider the readability.)

Create an assignment worksheet for a project or activity with links to use for reference. 

Create a question worksheet with links to find the answers.  Students record their answers on notebook paper.  Think of the copy paper we could save by not printing worksheets!  This will create more meaningful internet researches with specific questions to answer.  It will also foster better directed online research to reliable sites you pick…a great way to avoid random Google searches, Wikipedia, blogs, etc.

Create a scavenger hunt with the links to search.  All your worksheets are permanently saved on the web and can follow you from district to district.

Create a video and post it or find a relevant video on SchoolTube or TeacherTube (or a non-blocked online video).  Link that video on the worksheet to have students watch and answer questions or post an activity for them to do after watching or have them create a Project Poster to post. 

The high school library has created research paper worksheets for each grade level 8-12.  Scroll down to Research Paper Projects and get an idea of what a worksheet will look like.  Here are some examples of other teacher worksheets:
The Nut That’s Not - PEANUTS
Fuel for Thought

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Web Poster Wizard: Project Poster


Web Poster Wizard: Project Poster is a FREE online Web 2.0 tool that allows K-12 students to create online project posters containing a photo, text, and links to related web sites and immediately publish it online.  No more need to buy posters and construction paper or hassle with messy glue.  


Although Web Poster Wizard has other features that allow teachers to create their own web pages and worksheets, this tutorial focuses on using the student created poster feature as an assignment tool.  It’s easy…really!

Step 1: Register: Teachers must first register so they can manage classes.  Student posters are created through teacher accounts so there is no need for students to create accounts. Teachers only need to provide their name, email address, and a password.

Step 2: Manage Classes: Once teachers login, this section is pretty self-explanatory as it provides directions right on the page.  Teachers can set up classes in which students can sign in with a class code to complete assignments. The centralized login combines students and teachers in one account.  By clicking the Help tab at the top, you will find complete directions with pictures!

Step 3: Manage Posters:  Once a teacher creates a class, Web Poster Wizard creates a Class Code.  Click on the Manage button to the right of the class.  On this new page, click on the Manage Poster tab at the top to manage student created posters. Teachers, make sure you select the archive option to keep student projects live online for more than a month. Use the Teacher Feature option to create one web page of your class' archived projects. You will be able to put your created web page link on your class page on the district’s web site.

Step 4: Student Created Posters: On the Manage Poster page, teachers can click Print Class Handout that shows the class code, teacher name, and class name exactly as it should be entered to distribute to students.  Direct students to the Home page or Students tab where they click Create a New Poster under Student Login (login area is used to return to a poster to edit.)  Directions for creating a Poster Wizard are printed right on the screen in an easy step-by-step manner. Students will upload one photo, insert text written in Word first, and post up to 16 related web links for others to explore the topic.  Students can use original digital photos or web photos which must show attribution to the source.


Some uses for this simple tool: book reports (take a digital photo of the book cover), biographical posters of famous people (images from the web), posters about community members such as veterans of World War II whom students interview and photograph, author or scientists posters, fictitious character studies from novels, science posters on processes or terms with accompanying digital pictures to illustrate, animal studies (even add an audio link file for an animal!), etc. To discourage web “copy and paste” plagiarism, students could research and write from library print sources and post reliable links to more information online. The possibilities are endless. Once students know the tool, they can use it over and over. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The free version of Animoto allows you and your students to create 30-second videos or presentations with photos, video, music, and text.

Educators can apply for a free Animoto for Education account for use in the classroom, but before you do click on the Features tab to get a great overview of the program by clicking on all the links to the left. Applications are processed in the order they are received and may take a few weeks to receive an educator's code that can be used to let students over 13 sign up for an account. Students under 13 use the teacher's account. An educator account is good for six months and then just reapply. However you can sign up for the basic account and start creating videos immediately.

When you are ready to begin, click Create Video. Pick a Video Style that sets the mood for your video. Click Create Video and the click the small print: make a 30-second video for free.

Step 1: Select your images or videos, either your own, from the Animoto library, or from another website. Please remember copyright laws! You cannot upload your video to the web if you are using someone else's images or music without permission. Your best bet is to take your own videos and photos. Here you can also add text to your photos.

Step 2: Choose your music. Animoto has a large library of music to choose from (both with words and instrumental) or you can upload your own. Again if you are planning to publish to the web you should not use copyrighted music without permission.

Step 3: Finalize. When your video is composed, you will receive an email. The program sets your video to music with transitions to fit. It's just that easy!

You can create videos of concepts from math functions to history lessons to play in the classroom. Many times students relate more to something visual rather than to audio alone.

Use Animoto as a free replacement for PowerPoint to create videos on biographies, field trips with your students, digital storytelling, science projects, commercial or public service announcement, simulated field trips, photo brochure of country, etc.

Although a student must be at least 13 to create an account, elementary teachers can use their accounts and students can create a video as a class guided by the teacher using the video projector to show the class the steps. Students still have input; the teacher just punches the keys.

You can share your videos via email, on a blog or website, export to YouTube or TeacherTube, or download to your computer for use in presentations.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is a FREE online web-based survey software that generates surveys and question and answer testing formats. There's nothing to install. Just sign up and go! It comes with a variety of question formats. It also has templates to use, or you can create your own. Get real time results where you can randomize or sort answers. You can collect data via weblink, email, Facebook, or embed on your site or blog. It has 15 pre-set visual color themes and auto-numbering for pages and questions.

You must register for a FREE basic plan which allows you to have a maximum of 10 questions per survey and 100 responses per survey. Get started by clicking the green +Create Survey box.

Type in a title and choose to use a template or create on your own. Next choose a color theme or create a custom theme. Then simply follow the online screen directions. Under Edit Page Options you can edit the page information or randomize the questions.

For each question, click +Add Question. (Click the arrow down button to add an image or text.) Then choose a question type. Type in the question and type in the answer choices (if applicable to question type.) You can also sort, random, or flip choices.

You can check to require an answer to a question or leave it optional. Make sure you check this box if you want a question answered. An asterick appears by the question. If the responder does not answer the question, an error message will appear before they can finish. You can also change the question size and placement. Now click Save Changes.

You will now see your question and and the answer space or choices. Just keep clicking +Add Question until you have up to 10 questions. You also have the option to go back and edit any question after it is saved.

Once you've finished typing your questions/answers, click Preview Survey. Proofread and make any corrections. You can also set a cutoff date to stop collecting responses for the survey under Collect Responses > Change Restrictions. Also under Collect Responses > Change Settings you can allow more than one response per computer which is recommended in a school setting.

To post your survey, click on the Collect Responses tab at the top and choose how you wish to post -- a copy and paste web link, embed html code on your web site, or show through Facebook. If you do not have a web site., the simplest is just to copy and paste the web link onto a word document and have students click the link to open the survey or quiz.

To get results, click the Analyze Results tab at the top. A basic Response Summary shows to tell total numbers for the survey. Click on Browse Responses on the left to see individual results. There is no automatic grader, but the the Browse Responses will show individual surveys/quiz answers.

Ways to use SurveyMonkey in education:
* surveys of interests
*pre- and post-quizzes and tests
*gain background information of knowledge learned in previous classes
*teacher/student evaluations
*understand how technologically literate each student is
*practice exams
*project grading sheet
*survey prior knowledge of teaching topic pre- and post-teaching

Go here for more information on creating quizzes and tests. And if you really want to know ALL about SurveyMonkey, here's the user manual. Watch this video to tell more about getting responses. Scroll down to III on this web site to view some lesson plans using SurveyMonkey.