Search skills for you and your students

google search

Google is offering a two week course to learn Power Searching With Google.  Research skills are embedded through the Common Core so these skills are applicable throughout your curriculum.  Learn them and pass them on to your students:  Power Searching with Google
You might also want to check out Advanced Power Searching with Google

If you haven’t checked out the Google Search Education website, check it out.  They have lesson plans, activities, and challenges for your students to learn search strategies.


Common Core Explorer

Great tool to look for Common Core-aligned edtech.  Intuitive filters will guide you through the Common Core State Standards to display a list of tech tools that address that specific standard in Math or Language Arts.  Looks like they are working on Science.  Great tool to keep handy

Common Core Explorer

Creating & Using Rubrics for CC Assessment

These are two great resources to easily create a rubric for your Common Core assignments/projects:


A rubric is a criterion referenced assessment tool used to score assignments or performances. Work is scored/graded based on how well the finished product lines up with the criteria listed on the rubric. A rubric is a very powerful device for performance-based assessments, such as oral presentations or projects, but also makes grading essay questions and narratives quick and easy.

Tips to writing a strong rubric.

If you are using various technology tools with your students, Kathy Shrock has this great list of rubrics based on the tool and project you are assigning your students.

Assessment and Rubrics



Many of you have been asking how to use Engage NY PDFs (or any PDFs) in a 1:1 environment so students can put their answers on the PDF.  I found this great tool that does exactly just that.  But not only does Formative allow you to upload PDFs, makes them into an interactive page where students answer questions, it gives you live results.  Students can show their work, enter answers, give short answer explanations and draw their answers.  You can add content such as a video that explains the concept you are teaching.  Formative will grade any questions where you have provided the correct answer, show you any drawings they have made and ask you to grade any open ended questions.  Great tool, lots of capabilities.

Watch this video to get an idea of the capabilities:

How to transform a PDF:

PBS LearningMedia

This is a great resource for digital media.  PBS LearningMedia has 100,000 digital resources aligned to Common Core State Standards.  Resources can be searched and sorted by grade level, subject or CC Standard.  Assignments and Projects can be assigned to students who join your class with a code.  Support materials are provided with some of the media resources.

“… PBS offers digital content and services for teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is a free and paid media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and delivers research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences to engage students in exploring curriculum concepts that align with National and Common Core State Standards.”

Apps to Explore

Book Creator:  the free version offers you one book that you can play around with.  Some of you are having the students create stories.  This one is a great app because it lets them put in photos, pictures from the camera, they can draw, add text and sound.  Some of  you have been trying out the free Story Creator, which is not as robust as Book Creator, which costs $4.99.  If there are plenty of you that try it and like it, let me know because we get a discount if we purchase 20, price drops to $2.49.  Students can create fiction or nonfiction books, how to manuals, photo books, etc.

Seesaw:  digital portfolio for each student in one place.  Students can add videos, photos, text and drawings.  Teachers can comment on student work.  Parents can then access this work.  Free for teachers

Explain Everything:  create presentations, lessons, tutorials.    You can import movies, PDFs, different types of documents. Students can learn how to present using multiple forms of expression through technology.  Teachers can record lessons of concepts covered in class to share with students who need review or who were absent.  Costs $2.99

Show Me:  similar to Explain Everything but is free and doesn’t have as many options but similarly, can be used to record lessons for students.

Partipate in the Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week (Dec 8th-14th) is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to bring a little programming into your classroom!

What is the Hour of Code?  The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed.  The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics.  Watch this video and more info on this page:

Interested in having your students participate:

  1. Go to this website and sign up to Host an event: The hour can be anytime during that week.
  1. Send students to this website and have them watch the new video to explain Hour of Code.  Then they can click on Try it.  Students can sign up with their google accounts, so it’s very easy.

This website is self-guided so students can go at their own pace and choose their level.  Teachers don’t need to know how to code.  There are several websites to teach coding.  If you’d like to explore, check out my Coding Livebinder.

Why teach coding?  This article has good facts:

Coding is more important now than ever before. With computer related jobs growing at a rate estimated to be 2x faster than other types of jobs, coding is becoming an important literacy for students to have and a more integral part of education and curricula. The handy infographic below takes a look at some of the interesting statistics about coding and computer science jobs.

The goal of teaching coding is not to make every student into an app developer, just like teaching writing or art does not make every student a journalist or a painter. Coding empowers students to think logically and critically, to collaborate, and to create meaningful learning.

Coding: The Job of The Future

  • It is estimated that by 2020, computer related employment will increase by 22%
  • This will mean about 1.4 million jobs in computer science
  • The strongest demand will be for software developers
  • Computer programming jobs are growing at a rate estimated to be 2x faster than other types of jobs
  • Less than 2.4% of graduates graduate with a computer science degree
  • If current job trends continue, US citizens will only fill 30% of our country’s computer science jobs
  • Beginning in September 2014, England is implementing a compulsory computer coding in schools at all grade levels
  • A new bill has been introduced in the US which would qualify computer coding as a foreign language, and allocate grants for schools to teach coding as early as kindergarten
  • According to one CEO, an employee who understands how to code is worth $500,000 to $1M towards a company’s acquisition price



Teachers can create presentations using text, links, video and interactive assessment.  Students connect to presentation with a code and are viewing the presentation along with the teacher, so you control what they see, what they view and what website you want them to explore.  As the class views the presentations, teachers can view real-time student activity and response to quizzes, polls or open-ended questions. Students in turn can watch videos, take notes and instantly see result to their answers. Great for assessing and an alternative for content delivery.  Without the upgrade, you are able to create your own nearpods, but there are many already created for you free in the content library.  This link takes you to a video on how nearpod works.


zaptionZaption-a tool which allows you to create video-based quizzes.  You can display questions for students to answer as they watch a video.  Teacher creates a tour for the student using either video and/or images.  Zaption pulls videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After choosing your video, start watching it then pause it when you want to add a question. You can add questions in the form of multiple choice, open response, or check box response. When students watch the video they will see your questions appear in the context in which you set them.  Teacher account is free and students do not need an account to take a tour.

Google Classroom for Google Apps

Once you start using Google Apps such as Google Docs, Slides and Sheet, with your students, you will assign writing or presentation projects.  Google has just released a great new tool for distributing, assigning and collecting these projects.  It is called Classroom.  You can get all the info on their Introducing Classroom Page and here

Classroom will allow you to create classrooms, which your students will join with a code uniquely generated for each class.  Once you have created your classes and your students have joined, you will be able to post announcements, send out documents, or post assignments.

When a student is ready to turn the assignment in, they attach the document and Turn In.  The document they attach can be any type of document, not just Google Docs.  So if students use Office, they can still turn it in here.  Classroom will create folders to organize your student work and set up the permission on the document for you to view, edit and comment.  Once the document is turned in, the student will not have permission to edit the document.

If you are using Edmodo, Edmodo already does this so no need to switch over.

Google Classroom Tips Infographic:

Classroom Tips