Are you looking for a new way to assess your students, allow them to express themselves, and generate discussion? Take a look at flipgrid.com. It allows you to use simple video recordings to ask questions and collect answers. It is very popular among foreign language teachers.
Here is a quick video introducing Flipgrid! Let Mike and Molly know if you want to try it out!

Teacher Tech Spotlight – Jenny Coeur

We promise every spotlight won’t be on using Google Slides – but what a wonderful way to see the same technology used in two different grades. Our next Tech Tip will be some great resources for Google Slide Templates that help teach effective presentation design (and look great too.) Thank you, Jenny!

Teacher(s) name(s):  Jenny Coeur

Subject: Third Grade

Specific topic being taught: Myths of the First Thanksgiving – Plymouth Colony’s Harvest Feast (Social Studies)

Learning Goal: To synthesize information learned from our unit about the first harvest feast in Plymouth Colony, focusing on common myths or assumptions about what took place in 1621.  To become familiar with Google Slides and basic functions (typing a title, typing in a text box, changing text color and background, inserting/resizing/moving a photo found from the search feature).  To practice clear writing and oral presentation skills with the intent of sharing the slides during the K-3 Thanksgiving Common Time.

Technology used: Google Slides and Google accounts in the Marshall computer lab; digital projector for the Common Time presentation.  Classwork with plimoth.org’s Thanksgiving Interactive activity preceded the Slideshow work.  https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/thanksgiving-interactive-you-are-historian

Description: I set up a blank Google Slide show (in my Drive) with 11 slides, one for a title page and one slide for each student in my class.  I set up the Slides as editable, and put a shareable link on my class website so that my kids could get to it easily.  Each student suggested a myth/fact about the first harvest feast remembered from our earlier work and was assigned a slide number, and over the course of a few periods in the Marshall lab, created a slide for it.  They were asked to create a title, to write a small paragraph with full sentences explaining the myth/fact with clear detail, and then were shown how to change the text color and background if desired.  The final step was inserting a picture from the search feature.  I did the final tweaks/editing as well as the title page.  Each student read his/her slide aloud at the Common Time before Thanksgiving break.

Pros: The kids were very excited about using Google Slides, which was new to them.  They were excited to type, to pick colors and pictures, and to know that we would project this slideshow as a presentation instead of making paper posters.  The project really nicely tied together our typing, technology, and social studies work, and it helped make the presentation prep easier, too!

Cons: Because you can’t remove the slide thumbnails from the left side of the page, because this was a shared file, and because third graders are still gaining coordination on the computer, some slides did get deleted accidently.  However, the handy history feature allowed us to go “back in time” and find the missing pieces, though it did require the kids to re-do a few things.

Would you use this technology tool again?  Definitely! It was a great addition to the curriculum and a good use of time.  I’m happy to add this to my kids’ list of tech tools.

Is there anything you would do differently next time? I may consider having the kids make a slide in their own accounts and then share the slides with me to be compiled.  However, I do like the ease of having them all work in one document, and I think it was a cool introduction to the collaborative features of the Google suite.

You can find the finished Slideshow HERE, or in the Social Studies section: http://mrscoeur.weebly.com/web-resources.html




Are you thinking of flipping your classroom or using blended learning? Here is a great tool to help you add some videos with built in assessment to your lessons.

EDpuzzle is a free website that will let you take either videos you make yourself or videos you find on the internet and edit them to just the parts you want and add some assessment questions to make sure the students are watching and understanding them.

Here is a link to a great review of the website. http://www.edudemic.com/edpuzzle-review-easy-use-tool-lets-teachers-quickly-turn-online-video-lessons/

Check out the review or come to one of the next Technophiles meetings when Mike and Molly will demo it for you.


Hour of Code & Thinglink

Hour of code  hourofcode

Next week is Computer Science Education Week so It’s time for “Hour of Code” again. If you have time next week and you want to give your students a sampling of what it is like to program, then this is for you. We have done this for the last couple of years and the kids seem to enjoy it. Here is a link to this year’s tutorials.

Star Wars and Minecraft are the two new themes. The Frozen themed activity from last year is also still available. If you are interested in hosting an hour, let Mike know.


The week prior to Thanksgiving all lower school students spent some time in library talking about being thankful for books and/or literacy. The highpoint of the week was definitely the Thinglink created with the thoughts, stories and memories you shared about books for which you are thankful.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 6.38.12 PM

Click the image to see a Thinglink in action

We spend so much time telling kids how important it is to read; instead of “telling”, this activity let our personal history as readers show them the power of books and reading. The strength of this lesson was definitely the stories, but Thinglink provided a great way to display all of the information in a format that gave direction of the class to the students.

Thinglink is easy to use, and a basic account is free for you. An educator account is $35 and that subscription allows you to have students create their own Thinglink projects. To create a Thinglink, you upload a photo you want to use and then add tags which appear as colored circles on the image. What  you link to your “Thing” is up to you. This project just uses images and text, but a great addition would have been to use recordings of each teachers’ voice telling their own story.

For more information you can watch their video introduction or talk to Molly or Mike.


Many Eyes

Take a dull data set, and turn it into an eye-catching, easy-to-understand, and manipulatable visualization. Many Eyes is a very cool tool to turn numbers and words into pictures of all kinds– graphs, trees, word clouds, phrase nets, and even world maps. You can use the existing visualizations and data sets, or upload your own data set (in the form of words or numbers) and select how you’d like to see it.

Many Eyes is useful in the classroom to show relationships between concepts, and relative sizes of facts and figures. You can make it as simple (words from a page of text) or as complicated (a set of statistics) as you want.

In order to see the visualizations, make sure that you allow Java applications.

Microsoft Slidefest Do and Don’t

I absolutely love the videos on this site. Microsoft, while promoting a contest, created a series of videos on the do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint presentations. These videos are really funny, and they point out the five most common errors people make when creating PowerPoints. They’d be great to show before assigning a PowerPoint presentation.

Little Bird Tales

Little Bird Tales is another quick and easy way to create digital stories. Beginning with images (photos or drawings), children can record a voiceover to tell a story. This site is very similar to VoiceThread, though it is designed specifically for use in education, so you can actually manage a classroom’s worth of accounts from one login. It’s also different from VoiceThread in that it actually has an integrated art pad application so that you can create illustrations right there, rather than upload them.

Fakebook and Twister

This is a really fun and innovative way to gain interest from students by putting information into the format of well-known social networks.

With Fakebook, you can create a fake Facebook-like page for literary characters, historical figures, or anyone else you can think of. You can also explore pages already created by other users. It’s a fun way to interact with the format without having to deal with advertisements or issues of privacy.

Twister, a fake version of Twitter, allows students to create fictional status updates. The creative uses of these tools, which were originally made by teachers, are endless!


This service makes shortening video clips incredibly easy. If there’s a YouTube video that seems perfect for your class, but you only want to show certain parts of it, SnipSnip.It does most of the work for you. No trying to download the original file, no uploading it into iMovie and playing around with it. Simply cut and paste the link into SnipSnip.It, select the part you want to show, and voila! You are given a link and an embed code with your newly snipped video! Very cool. (special thanks to iLearn Technology for opening my eyes to this handy tool.)