Monthly Archives: January 2013

Take Your Presentations to the Next Level with Nearpod!

image credit:
image credit:

I am a big fan of using Nearpod to create interactive presentations to use with my students and colleagues.  You can transform a PowerPoint into something spectacular and grab everyone’s attention by adding some interactive qualities such as polls, quizzes, videos, weblinks, and even a “Draw It” which allows individuals to respond, by writing or drawing a picture, to a prompt that you give.  This is perfect for students of any age because it requires them to apply what you are trying to teach them.  If you have an upgraded version, you can even view saved reports to analyze individual student answers to questions.

People have approached me and asked if I had anything that would help them learn to create their own.  I created a step-by-step guide (complete with pictures) to help alleviate any confusion.  After a little bit of practice, I know that you too will be making your own Nearpod presentations to dazzle your students or colleagues.  Enjoy!

Creating a Nearpod Presentation How-To Task Analysis


Vocabulary Instruction

As teachers, we know that students come to us from a variety of backgrounds.  Some children have limited vocabularies and some have well developed ones.  Vocabulary instruction is essential for all students, not just English Language Learners, because all students are academic language learners.  This slideshare presentation looks at research supported vocabulary instructional methods as well as what the Common Core requires students to be able to do.  I created the accompanying brochure to guide teachers as they think about where to begin and what methods to use.

vocabulary instruction

Going Paperless?


A Great PDF Annotation App
A Great PDF Annotation App


Are you interested in learning about how you can transform your iPad into a record keeping tool?  Would you like to use it to conduct and organize running records?  Perhaps you’d like to use a PDF annotation app with your students and have them complete graphic organizers and write directly on the iPad without the need of making paper copies.  Whatever your purpose is, the process is the same.  With the use of the apps “Dropbox” and “PDF Notes” you can store information at your fingertips while saving paper.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to work with a group of enthusiastic Kindergarten teachers in my district that were interested in uploading the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment forms onto their iPads so that they could record student running record data.  Together we went through the whole process, and to help I created the following step-by-step guide.  I know from my own experience that the questions come after when I am working on something in my own at home.  Hopefully you will find the guide helpful as well.

Whether you are uploading graphic organizers or running record forms, the process is the same.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Setting up your iPad to conduct and organize running records

Tips for Making Successful Retellings

In an earlier post, I described how my students were using the “Puppet Pals” app to create animated retellings of stories that we are reading in class.  For those of you interested in giving it a try yourself, I have found the following things to be extremely helpful in the process.

1. Teach students to plan out their thoughts before jumping in and creating digital retellings.  To do this, I use the format described in Debbie Miller’s book “Reading with Meaning” as well as in “The CAFE Book” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I model the process a few times first, and then release the students to try it with a partner.  The following template has proven to be helpful as students organize their ideas.  retelling template

2. Be o.k. with the fact that your students’ initial attempts may not be perfect.  As with anything we teach, students need modeling and guided practice to become proficient.  Start early in the year and take time to revisit the concept (perhaps weekly). 

3. Make time for sharing.  Our students sometimes learn from their peers better than they do from us.  We model, talk, and try to shape student learning.  One student will pick it up and then another.  Sometimes it is what a child says during share time that “clicks” with another child and “Viola!” they too get it now.

I have begun posting some retellings on our classroom website to keep parents connected to what we are learning.  Once I figured it out, the process was fairly simple.  For those of my colleagues that are interested, here are the steps below (They may vary a bit for you depending upon your school website):

1.  Connect your iPad to your computer

2.  Open up the app and click on “saved shows.”

3.  Choose “export” and you will get an “Export in Progress” message.

Saved Shows Screen Capture
Saved Shows Screen Capture

4.  Your video will be copied to your camera roll.

5.  Log in to your website (or blog).

GSD website page upon log in
GSD website page upon log in

6.  Click on “subsites” to edit your page and add your video(s).

7.  I created a page called “Showcases of Technology” to save the videos to.  The page “type” is a “document library.”

8.  Click on “create new” and choose the file that you want to upload.  (I first had to transfer the file from my iPad camera roll to my computer.)

website screen capture

9. Click “save” to prevent your hard work from being lost!