Thing #13 – Digital Images


Have you noticed yet that there are exclamation points behind every one of my topics in these postings??  It’s only because each and every “thing” I encounter is better than the last, and I’m SUPER excited about sharing all of it in my classroom!  The newest, most exciting thing of all was found at Voki.  I was able to create my own ultra-cool avatar at, I included a background image of my favorite place in the world, Aruba, and I recorded a welcome message before posting it all to my Weebly site.  Take a look at that!


Voki Avatar


I plan on including the link to my Weebly site with the orientation letter that will go home to parents in mid-August, and I’m anxious to hear reactions from students when they encounter my Voki!



This is another site that I can imagine using frequently.  My Student Council representatives take a lot of pictures for the yearbook, and I have typically stored everything on my classroom computer.  This year, the switched out my computer halfway through the year, and I ended up having to download all of the pictures all over again.  With a photo-sharing site such as Snapfish, this would have been so much easier!  As I am looking at this site, I see that there are so many gift options and projects to create.  The possibilities are endless!  I uploaded a beach scene, taken from our last vacation.  The site below should take you to my saved Snapfish photo.


I have heard educators talking about Photopeach before, but I was never sure what all the fuss was about.  Wow!  Yet another amazing “thing” that has immediately sent my mind racing.  With students always wondering where in the world they will ever use math outside of the math classroom, I put together a few slides that will get students thinking about the fact that math is indeed everywhere!  This is a quick icebreaker that I would like to start students with on the first day of school, and perhaps they could even add their own photos to upload to me.  That would definitely make the Photopeach slide show even BETTER next year!  You can find the brief show by clicking here…

ISTE Standards

1a Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness – My Voki avatar that appears on my Weebly site will be the first indication to students and parents what kind of year it will be experienced.  My intention is for my students to be more engaged, opening up that innovative and inventive thinking.

2a Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity – With the photo sharing and editing capabilities of the resources that were shared, student creativity has not limits.

3b Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation – Again, the photo sharing and editing resources will make for an excellent yearbook this year.  Academically, students can use their own photos to create unit projects that will speak volumes as to what they have learned.

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – When students are allowed to edit and share their own photos, they quickly become aware that they are in charge of their own learning.

CITW – Best Practice

1 Non-linguistic representations – Working with photos, editing them, and even creating their own avatar, students will be working with the best practice of non-linguistic representations.  There are no words, but each pictures if worth a thousand of them.

Identifying similarities and differences – Students could take a look at two different pictures, determining what the similarities and differences are in each set of pictures.  Furthermore, they could create a Photopeach slide show that would highlight the similarities and differences in two different math concepts, such as linear and exponential functions.

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – The instructor of a math classroom could have students create an advanced organizer that will show real world connections that can be made when discussing integers.  There is just SO much that can be done with this “thing”!


Thing #12 – Interactives

Google Earth!

I simply adore this interactive site, and have often been found looking up places here.  For a math class, I could have students locate the birthplaces of famous mathematicians as we explore the history of mathematics.  For our good friend Pythagoras, we need to locate Samos, Greece.  Nearby, there is Vathy, a natural harbor that is near the home of Pythagoras.  It doesn’t appear that Google Earth will allow me to put a placemark, and my desktop was not playing nice with Google Earth, but you can see from this screenshot that there has already been a point created at Vathy.




Vocabulary is something that I struggle with and promise myself that my students need to do more with EVERY year.  With Quizlet, I may actually have found a resource for my students to become more familiar with what vocabulary words we will be using in class.  I created a short set of flashcards with ratio vocabulary words at .  I plan to provide a set of flashcards at the beginning of each unit, encouraging students to practice the words with the promise of a quiz on those same words at the end of the unit.  In the SAMR model, I think this would be an example of the ‘substitution’ area simply because with a given list of vocabulary words, students will not be creating or analyzing anything, they will simply be defining, explaining, comparing, and so on.


Students LOVE games, regardless of what they may or may not be learning along the way.  With MangaHigh (, students can practice specific math content areas through high interest games.  Hovering over each game will give the user an idea of which types of skills will be addressed in the game.  This would be a great site for my Math Remediation class.  These are the students that already feel as though they aren’t very good at math, and the majority of the hour is spent building their confidence.  If students can be successful through a short, interactive game, they may slowly build the positives for math.

ISTE Standards

1 – Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – I think that any instructor that can provide the high-quality, interactive resources that were described in this “thing” will have students eager to take part in their own education.

2b Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress – The Quizlet site, in particular, will allow students to quickly see how well they know the given vocabulary.  They would be able to set individual goals (such as getting at least 80% of the vocabulary words correct) and through the site, the students will be certainly be able to see how well they have achieved these goals.

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – With math interactive sites such as Illuminations and IXL, the instructor is able to provide a variety of lessons that are geared towards several different learning styles, meeting those diverse needs of students.

CITW – Best Practices

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – Students can be asked to locate two cities in the United States that they would like to visit.  Using Google Earth or Google Maps, the students could calculate distances and develop a budget for a vacation that would include the two places.

Assigning homework and practice – The teacher could assign students to practice math vocabulary words through a Quizlet set or through VocabularySpellingCity.  This would provide strong and valuable practice for students.

Non-linguistic representations – The reality of the images provided by Google Earth will not leave anything to the imagination.  Students can look up an actual picture of the Eiffel Tower or the war-torn area of Israel rather than simply trying to visualize the places.  The street-view and ground-view features make the places come to life!

Thing #11 – Content Area

Audio and Video Resources!

AUDIO – I found the PBS Learning Media site to be very helpful for locating strong lessons paired with audio resources.  The site is incredibly user-friendly, and given that it’s a PBS site, it wouldn’t take much to determine that the high quality of the resources and lessons provided.  One particular lesson that fit with math content was a lesson called “Double Charged: The True Cost of Juvenile Delinquency”.  This is a Youth Radio special edition that focuses on the statistics and costs behind courtrooms and house arrests for juveniles and their families.  As more and more of my students find themselves in the world of courtrooms and probation (and oddly enough, they are proud of this status), this may be an eye-opening experience.

AUDIO – Another great site that could be used to locate audio resources would be the M.O.R.E. section of the Michigan eLibrary at  Simply typing in “audio” in the search box will give a list of audio files that could easily be used by English teachers.  I found a number of audio files that contained authors reading their own work, an invaluable experience for students.  This is another site that is very easy for teachers to use, and I plan to use it frequently!

VIDEO – I used the Khan Academy ( extensively last year as I stumbled across it over the summer.  This was the basis of my remediation math class for students.  I was able to do a quick diagnostic check on students early in the year, and then I assigned them specific skills to complete each week.  They could use hints to help them if they did not understand how to do particular problems, and there were numerous videos that would show them each and every step to find solutions.  This was a very easy site for students to access, and as a teacher, I was given weekly emails that highlighted student progress – we had much to celebrate at the end of each week!

VIDEO – The Teaching Channel ( is another resource that I found very easy to use, and I definitely would share this one with my colleagues.  While it is not directly geared toward student use, teachers can find a number of videos to enhance a variety of teaching aspects.  There are videos for new teachers, classroom management tips, divergent questioning techniques, team teaching strategies, etc.


The sheer number of audio/video resources located in the iTunes stores with their selection of podcasts is simply mind-boggling!  In the math content area alone, you can get tips on Mental Math, 2nd grade math, math history, math songs, Algebra 1 help, and so on.  One resource that I found particularly interesting was the Math Dude that gives a weekly podcast that gives quick tips to make math easier.  There are a variety of topics that you can quickly scan and locate, and will certainly share this resource with my students in the fall.  For now, I was able to share this information with the other math remediation teacher in our building, and she was thrilled!  She hasn’t taught math in awhile, and she was planning to use The Math Dude herself to help knock off the rust in her math mind.  For my students, this will be yet another provided tool that reminds them that math is not as scary as they can make it.

M.O.R.E., Michigan Learns Online, and TWICE!

There is a Bouncing Tennis Balls lesson that I was able to locate through the M.O.R.E. services.  It appears as though the NCTM Illuminations site that I was directed to has undergone some renovations, and I needed to do an additional search to find the lesson.  At any rate, the lesson itself is wonderful!  Students are asked to bounce tennis balls and collect the data from the height of each subsequent bounce.  This leads to graphs, regression lines, and further predictions.  This lesson does a much better job of giving students real world examples of exponential functions than what I have done in past years from the textbook.  I am so excited to try it out on students.  (

TWICE is another resource that I am excited to use this year.  Our 8th grade classes traditionally take a trip to Washington, DC, every April, and through the TWICE program, a teacher could set up a visit with a legislative staff member, either before or after the trip.  (  The cost of this “field trip” video conference is free, but the benefits to students would be priceless.  It looks like students can prepare questions before the video conference on current issues.  This is definitely something that I will be sharing with the social studies staff when we get back to class.

ISTE Standards

1a Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness – The instructor can open up an entirely new world of instruction to students through the use of audio and visual resources.

2a Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity – A cooperative learning group of students could be asked to solve a real world math problem through text and video resources located at Khan Academy or any of the other numerous resources that were listed in this “thing”.

3a Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning – As an instructor works with students as a facilitator of student learning, he/she can consequently provide students with the numerous content tools available to enhance their learning.

5c Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning – The Michigan Learns Online as well as the Teacher Channel provides educators with articles, videos, and even online professional development designed to help them implement the most current digital tools in the classroom.

CITW – Best Practice

1 Cues, questions, advanced organizers – With every type of audio and video resource made available to students, it will be a simple question that the instructor can pose to the class, small groups, or even individual students.   From there, the students can use the resources to help them find solutions to the questions.

2 Generating and testing hypothesis – Given a topic or simple real world problem to solve, again, students can simply head to the seemingly infinite number of resources to develop a strong hypothesis and then find the resources to test that hypothesis.

Thing #10 – Search Strategies

MeL Educational Databases! I sincerely think this course name should be changed from “21 Things for Teachers” to “21 Things Teachers Will Immediately Fall in Love With”!  I am embarrassed to admit, although here it all is for the world to see, that I’ve heard of MeL, but never really considered it as something my students would use.  WHAT??  This is a resource that every Michigan student MUST be made aware of….as soon as school starts!!  At any rate, moving forward and never looking back at my ignorance, I took a look at two databases recommended for the middle/high school level.  I used SIRS Discoverer Deluxe and SIRS Renaissance to do a search on Pythagoras.  I typically ask my students to do a little of thinking and research on mathematicians that made significant contributions to the content we are studying, and Pythagoras comes up quite often.  SIRS Discoverer Deluxe brought up articles that were very brief and straightforward, and some of the articles even included a brief glossary of terms within the article.

SIRS Discoverer Deluxe Sample  “Pythagoras of Samos.” Mathematicians Are People Too (National Center for Education Statistics). Jan. 7 2002: n.p. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 25 Jul. 2014.

Discoverer Deluxe

SIRS Renaissance Sample  Williams, Michael R. “He Lived with Numbers.” World & I. May 2001: 140-147. SIRS Renaissance. Web. 25 Jul. 2014. Renaissance

The SIRS Renaissance search provided some longer articles that had more in-depth information, consistent with what a high school or even college student would find helpful for conducting research.  Overall, in the fields of appropriateness, usability, content, and credibility, SIRS Discoverer Deluxe is a perfect match for my 7th and 8th grade students while I would recommend the SIRS Renaissance database to my colleagues that teach at the high school level.  As for the Best Practice of generating and testing hypotheses, MeL has provided a wealth of resources that are appropriate, usable, related to content, and credible for students that is beyond the garbage that can be found with a regular Google search.  The handy citations at the bottom of each article make it incredibly easy for students to properly cite their work.

MeL Databases to Share With Students!

I have shared GeneralOne File with students on my website.  Rather than answering their incessant “When will we ever use this?” question, I would like to encourage students to look for current articles that have some type of relation to math.  This goes for InfoTrac Junior Edition as well.   The Learning Express Library would be a great place for students to see which types of jobs require a math background, and it even looks like there are some practice math tests provided.  Here is a quick shot of what my Math Resources page is starting to look like on my Weebly account.

Weebly Resources

Bogus Sites – BEWARE!

  • I checked out a couple of websites and used Joyce Valenza’s criteria  using the ADVANCED (Secondary – CARRDSS) level.  The first place I went was The Time Travel Fund site at  Clearly, as you will see, there is no WAY this is a legitimate website.  It fails every portion of Valenza’s test.

C – Credibility – The site looks sketchy from the start.  The picture on the homepage has a load of people gathered around a Christmas scene holding up some very amateur-looking certificates.

A – Accuracy – The site directly states that they “do not know” what they can do, but they can only make “reasonable guesses”.  Warning flags!

R – Reliability – In once spot, it says that international orders are not being taken, but then right below, it says that international orders take an extra dollar to process.

R – Relevance – The entire site is based on whether someone in the future would want to bring you to their place in time, and you have no choice as to where you go.  Why would anyone not want to have that choice?

D – Date – There is not a date located anywhere on the page.

S – Sources Behind the Text – There are no sources listed at all.

S – Scope and Purpose – There is no real purpose behind this site other than to collect $10 from you.   I’m a little worried about the PayPal certification, too!

C – Credibility – The PRNewswire logo at the top of the page looks pretty impressive, but there is nothing aside from the logo to indicate there is anything credible!

A – Accuracy – Redistributing the condiments 180 degrees so that the burger fits better for left-handers?  Just turn the burger around and you’ll get the same results!

R – Reliability – The burger is said to become available in the UK on April 1?  Perhaps the April Fools date will tip off some readers.

R – Relevance – It’s a round object, there is no reason to even consider how it would “fit better” into a left hand or right hand.

D – Date – There is no date located on the article or on the page itself aside from a 2013 copyright logo.

S – Sources Behind the Text – The source is list simply as “Burger King”.  Quite generic if you ask me!

S – Scope and Purpose – There is no distinct scope or purpose behind this article.

Consequently, after investigating the PRNewswire contact information, it appears that ANYONE can submit a story to this site.  Interesting! Having a few simple things to look for to evaluate the legitimacy of a website will go a long way towards making students more computer literate.

Citation Makers!

I have used these citation makers in both of my Masters programs, and I can’t imagine life without them!!  I had to write several papers, each requiring a number of various resources.  Creating the citations by hand early on was overwhelming and frustrating, but the moment I stumbled across a citation maker (I used the LandMark Citation Machine), life became much more pleasant.  Through Google Scholar, I went back and searched my good friend Pythagoras and located a couple of quality articles that would be great for student use.  For this assignment, I chose to use BibMe mostly because I’ve heard so many people talking about this one and wanted to check it out.  WOW!  This one is so much more user-friendly than what I was familiar with, and I was quickly able to locate two sources (a book and a website), and the citation was created with the click of a button.

  • Boyer, Carl B.. A history of mathematics. New York: Wiley, 1968. Print.
  • “Digital Commons @ Butler University.” – Undergraduate Research Conference: From Pythagoras to Johann Sebastian Bach: An Exploration in the Development of Temperament and Tuning. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2014. <

ISTE Standards

1b Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources – Through the exploration of real world problems and their solutions, students will be required to do research.  Using smart search strategies will help them to find reliable and accurate information for their solutions.

2a Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity –  Honing in student searches to assignments that are relevant to them will certainly engage them and keep them on task.  If the cumbersome task of citing resources can be made less overwhelming through citation makers, students can continue to focus on solutions to real world problems.

3a Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations – Through the use of MeL and the databases, the instructor will be able to take the old-school library searches to something more current and accurate online.

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Again, the MeL databases are so diverse, there is certainly a resource and problem-solving opportunity available for each and every learning capability.

5c Evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning – I cannot stress enough how valuable the MeL databases can be.  There is a particular section just for teachers that has what seems to be an infinite number of lessons and topics to keep teachers apprised of the current pedagogy and research in the education field.  The MeL site should be visited regularly and frequently by EVERY teacher!


Generating and testing hypothesis – Having the MeL databases available to students as well as the citation generators will allow groups to formulate and research their real world problems.  If they are able to approach each resource with a critical eye for what is accurate and credible and what is complete garbage, they will become better users of internet resources rather than straightforward consumers!

Cues, questions, and advanced organizers – A teacher could pose a real world problem to students, allowing them to use internet sources and smart searches to discover potential solutions to those questions.

Assigning homework and practice – An instructor could assign students to look up the origin of the idea of quadratic functions, finding the history of this concept that they could be addressing in math class.  They could be required to write a short paragraph using credible sources that must be cited.

Identifying similarities and differences – A potential assignment for a collaborative group could be for them to research and locate the similarities and differences between how the Chinese and the Greeks contributed to mathematics and how their viewpoints on problem-solving compared.

Thing #9 – Be Legal and Fair

Copyright Quiz!

I was aware that there are copyright laws on the pieces of information that I share in class or that my students use for their projects and presentations.  After taking the quiz, I received a score of 16.  I think this demonstrates that awareness is pretty important.

Copyright Quiz

However, simply being aware is does not make me exempt from unknowingly breaking copyright laws.  This past year, I was short on textbooks from my Connected Math series.  These are very small textbooks, they look almost like workbooks, and for one of the units, I didn’t realize I was 3 books short until the day I passed out the new units.  I quickly went to make copies on my planning hour for students to use, and those students continued to use the copies for the entire unit (which typically last 4-6 weeks).  This copyright infringement may have affected the publisher of the textbooks, Pearson-Prentice Hall, because they did not receive the additional funds for those extra students because I copied the textbook rather than purchased new ones for the students.  Next time this happens, and I’m sure it will, I intend to perhaps use the photocopies in a pinch for a couple of days until I put in an order and get student copies for each of the students, rather than using the copies for the entire unit.  I would also collect and destroy the photocopies once students have their own books.  I could also have students pair up if I am short on books until the extra student copies arrive.

Creative Commons Licensing!

I was able to go to the Creative Commons site and create a license for my Weebly page.  I work very hard on the documents I share with my students, so I chose not to let anyone to make changes to or commercialize my work.

Weebly Creative Commons


Plagiarism Checkers!

Our English department has encouraged us to use for a couple of years now, and I could never really get used to it.  In math, I don’t have students do a LOT of writing, and this service just always seemed so cumbersome.  DupliChecker seems quick and easy to use.  I submitted my husband’s Human Anatomy and Physiology final research paper to see that he did a very nice job of using his own thoughts and ideas.  The only thing DupliChecker found were the direct quotes that he used and properly cited.  In my own classroom, I can definitely see using this as I assign quick homework writing assignments to my students.  I often ask them to pretend an alien has just arrived from outer space and does not have ANY idea how to subtract rational numbers, for example.  Students will then write a comprehensive explanation of exactly how the would explain this concept to our visitor.  These brief writings could easily be submitted to DupliChecker to make sure the students haven’t found too much “help” online.

ISTE Standards

4b Address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources – Making sure that students are not unknowingly infringing on copyright laws by encouraging them to search images, music, and other media using the Creative Commons website would ensure that they are gaining access to the appropriate digital tools and resources.


Summarizing and note-taking – If students are accurately and effectively summarizing what has been learned and taking notes on the information in their own words, plagiarism checkers such as DupliChecker and PlagTracker submissions should illustrate that the work is definitely not “cut and pasted”.

Assigning homework and practice – Instructors could assign research papers or other smaller writing assignments, making sure students are not copying the work of others.  Students could be directed to find illustrations through a Creative Commons search rather than a regular Google Images search, and they could also assign a Creative Commons license to their own work, making them more aware of the essential copyright laws.

Cues, questions, advanced organizers – Creating an organizer for a project involves students producing an original piece of work, the perfect occasion for a Creative Commons license!

Capstone 1-7

I chose to create a Prezi for my capstone assignment.  I know several have been writing lesson plans, but I feel like I want to learn about more “things” before I start putting a lesson plan together.  My Prezi presentation will give a clear connection between the tools and content learned in Things 1-7 and the best practices that were discussed at the very beginning of this course.

A few notes, I have attached some music for your enjoyment as you view the Prezi, don’t be startled!  🙂  You can mute, if you choose, in the bottom left corner.  You can scroll through the frames at the bottom of the presentation, and there are other tools at the bottom right such as full screen, autoplay, etc.


Capstone 1-7 Prezi

Thing #8 – Digital Citizenship

My Digital Citizenship Weakness – Lesson Learned!

As I reviewed the nine themes of digital citizenship, I found that my weakest point was Protect… that goes for rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and digital security.  The problem being, I am consistently the one in the crowd with rose-colored glasses, despite the 43 years of “life” I have experienced.  One would think I would learn something and begin to protect myself or at least be a bit more wary and conscious of what could go wrong.  Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that the three areas under the “Protect” category were my weakest spots.  The rights and responsibilities of the digital world have never really occurred to me, and I was equally ignorant when it came to physical and psychological issues that pertained to technology and Internet usage.  I think the most eye-opening aspect was the security issue.  This is really an area that I needed to research because if I don’t protect myself and my identity, there is the potential for days/weeks/months/years of hassle and headache that can be easily prevented with just a few precautions.

The first step in building on a weakness is recognizing that there is a weakness.  A quick reading of the “Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship” took care of that.  I also reviewed the resources provided in the area of digital security on the Common Sense Media site and 21 Things for Students.  I took a couple of the quizzes, read through the lesson plans, and found that I am WAY too trusting of everything!  It was time to take some action!  The first thing I did was to Google myself, seeing what was out there that was all about me.  I was surprised to find that there wasn’t very much on me aside from a couple of pictures, but it was a little unnerving to see that my boys (ages 21 and 19) were on there a bit more.  Being actively involved in sports and extracurricular activities in high school, I guess it was to be expected, but to see that anyone could look them up, find their home address and phone number – it doesn’t set too well with me.  The worst thing EVER was the White Pages experience.  Not only did it pull each member of my family up, showing that there was a connection to all of us and our ages, but with the click of a button, you can see a Google Satellite Map of my house as well as the names, addresses and phone numbers of my 20 closest neighbors…and we live out in the middle of nowhere!!

What I have learned in the area of Digital Security may seem like a small step to some, but for me, it’s HUGE!  I now realize how easy it is to find information about me and my family.  If it’s that easy to find us, how hard is it really to discover social security numbers, passwords, banking information, etc.  Being aware will certainly lead me to take more precautions, and I am grateful for this “thing”.

Adding Digital Citizenship Resources to the Weebly Page

The community where I teach could certainly benefit from the Educate area.  I teach in a small rural community that is centered around a state highway that directly connects two major cities, leading to an extremely high transient population filled with families that are “between” jobs and permanent homes.  Digital awareness is an area that can easily be overlooked, but through my Weebly page, parents have easy access to a number of excellent resources.  I just added a “Parent Support” page under my “Home” tab for parents and guardians that include videos and fact sheets from the Common Sense Media page.  My plan is to add to the list weekly because putting everything there all at once may overwhelm and scare parents away.  The information will directly tie into the topics discussed with students in class, giving a discussion point at home for parents and their children.  Don’t be afraid to check it out ~

Classroom Activity

The Common Sense Media site is FANTASTIC!!  Our media specialist makes sure students know how to use word processing software, data base software, presentation devices, etc., but there is very little presented in digital citizenship.  Therefore, like parents, I want to focus on the Educate area for my students in brief lessons this year, especially as I will be requiring them to me more “digital” than ANY other content classroom in the district.  I want to start with the basics, and Common Sense Media has a lesson entitled Digital Life 101 that will get students started on being aware of how vulnerable they are and how permanent everything can be when it comes to digital communication.  I expect students to be eager to learn about everything that is digital as this is the world they live in – and it is totally digitized.  I also suspect students will be humbled, as I was, by how much they don’t know and are not aware.  I look forward to sharing this information with my students.

ISTE Standards

1b Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources – Using resources such as Common Sense Media, students will begin to see the true nature of what digital citizenship means.

3a Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technology and situations – Quick weekly lessons in digital citizenship, such as the proper and safe way to create an online identity, will keep the education updated and current.

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – Through lessons such as those provided by Common Sense Media, the teacher will be able to directly address the responsibility and importance of security in the digital age.


1 – Setting objectives/providing feedback – Through a lesson on cyber-bullying, students can easily be informed of the cyber-bullying issue and how to prevent it.  With a quick chat on Chatzy that surrounds the classroom activity, the teacher can provide feedback to student comments and questions.

Reinforcing effort/providing recognition – As mentioned above, a Chatzy session would allow students to participate that normally wouldn’t, and the teacher will be able to encourage students and communicate the numerous thoughts and conversations that would surround a topic like cyber-bullying.

Cooperative learning – Digital citizenship is an area that will be a high interest topic for students, simply because this is an area that they are very comfortable.  The teacher could certainly put students into a cooperative learning group and ask them to put together a presentation that would include videos and screen shots of social media conversations, demonstrating examples of cyber bullying and what the students could do to prevent it.

Thing #7 – Productivity



This is a tool that I used VERY briefly at a time when our school was still filtering out YouTube.  There were so many great educational videos out there, and I just had to share them with my students.  Therefore, I never went much beyond converting the YouTube videos at home to formats that I could show at school.  Converting any word processing document into an mp3 file??  That will certainly help any student that is visually impaired.  They can actually hear what is on the page.  The example converted was a letter that was sent home to parents regarding our new school safety procedures that were adopted after recent school violence issues.  If this mp3 version was posted on my Weebly page, even parents that have difficulty seeing or reading would be able to hear what the letter had to say.  Phenomenal!

Google Calendars!

My instructor partner in the Blended Learning class showed me how to use Google Calendars, and I even got my husband hooked on them!  Now, I can make a dentist appointment for him without worrying if it will fit into his schedule because he’s shared his Google Calendar with me.  In the classroom, this would be a tool that could be embedded into the Weebly page as a friendly reminder to students and parents of upcoming assignments and assessments.  At the bottom of this blog page, you will see that I have embedded my 21 Things calendar.  I have set some deadline goals for myself to complete this class before Blended Learning begins, and I see that I am a little behind.  Still catching up!


Way back in Thing #5, I put a Shapes of Algebra lesson into my Google Drive account.  If anyone wanted to access that document, they would have to type in if the link did not work.  That’s 84 characters, and who has time for that??  The TinyURL site was able to considerably shorten my document to 26 characters, is much easier for students and parents to see.  The longer links may tend to overwhelm and frustrate anyone involved.


That’s it!  I suppose I will never forget anything ever again, right??  Evernote is an extremely useful tool that students could use to help them remember their homework, what the assignment was, details of an upcoming big project, and so on.  As mentioned before, this could also be helpful for my Student Council members.  When they are putting together the 8th Grade Dinner Dance (a graduation of sorts), they could take pictures of ideas for decorations, thoughts on themes, suggestions from their classmates for guest speakers, and so on.  Anyway, you can see an example of an Evernote that pertains to the first three parts of this post at the links below.  Of course, I felt the need to shorten it a bit as well.  Either will work.


I feel as though yet another mystery has been solved.  There is an excellent Algebra I teacher online that has created a comprehensive Algebra 1 course, beautifully aligned to the Common Core, and all of her resources are stored in LiveBinders.  I used to pick and choose which activities to share with students, but now I can share the entire binder with them on my Weebly page, and I will be able to use even more of them.  Under the Algebra tab, you’ll find links to her LiveBinders under Units 1 and 2.  I’ll keep adding them in as time permits.

ISTE Standards

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – With Evernote and LiveBinders, the teacher can put more responsibility of education on students, becoming more of a guide through the school year rather than the dictator.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – Converting Word documents to mp3 files will certainly open up an entirely new learning environment for students of all capabilities.  Through the use of Evernote and LiveBinders, the teacher will be able to address individual learning styles and abilities.

Model digital age work and learning – If a student sees a teacher using such tools as Evernote to help organize details or TinyURL to help make those cumbersome links more manageable, that teacher is paving the way for students to try the tools as well.

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – The Evernote and LiveBinder tools will provide students with a strong model from their instructor of how to use technology through proper social interactions as they communicate and collaborate with each other.


Cues/questions/advance organizers – The Evernote resource will allow students a venue for their limitless amounts of questions and thoughts.  If I asked my students to keep track of their questions, I would never have to worry about another student being too afraid to ask a question.

2 Summarizing and note taking – Obviously, Evernote is the prime example.  Rather than writing everything down in a notebook, and then subsequently losing that notebook or leaving at home, students will have Evernote with them wherever they go.  They can practice summarizing ideas and taking note right within the program.

Assigning homework and practice – Zamzar can be used to put ANY type of file into something that fits every situation in the classroom.  Furthermore, using LiveBinders for students to access various resources and activities, even homework assignments, would be an excellent use of this technology tool.

Thing #6 – Communication


I simply LOVE this tool, and I have been using it for quite awhile now.  The recent updates have made this tool even easier to use.  My best friend from high school (aside from my husband of course) has four children…that go to school…..that frequently need math help…  Aunt Bev meets with them regularly during the school year to go over any homework problems they may have.  The two hours it takes to drive to their house is just a nuisance when it comes to tutoring, so we decided to do it with Skype.  🙂

The oldest boy is going into the 8th grade this year…. I just happen to teach 7th and 8th grade math.  His school coincidentally is using the same Connected Math series that I use.  When he gets stuck, he’ll often take a picture of the assignment and send it to my iPad.  I’ll take a quick look at it, and then I’ll meet with him to see what questions he has.  I can write on my own paper, and then hold it up for him to see.  He’ll move the iPad over his work so I can see what he is doing.  It’s perfect!!  This boy has gained so much confidence in math over the last couple of years, just because of the “communication” component provided by Skype.  Last Christmas, he received an iPad, and we use a lot of FaceTime as well now, but Skype is where it all started.

The screenshot is of my friend from high school.  All of the kids were outside playing when I called tonight, so he was stuck talking to me!  Just so you know, an hour passes VERY quickly when talking with good friends!



ISTE Standards

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – The possibilities are limitless when you throw in tools that allow students to see and hear each other in “real time” and can communicate synchronously.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – Anyone that taught 10 years ago never would have imagined technology reaching this level.  With Skype and backchats, the teacher can assess without being in the same room, or even the same state, as the student.

Model digital age work and learning – If I can communicate with students via web conferencing or backchats, students will see a clear model of technology used to learn.

Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – Through backchats, the teacher can both encourage and model appropriate online behavior.  With such social networks as Facebook and Twitter where students say whatever they want about whomever they choose, communication tools such as Skype and backchats and web conferencing will show students more positive uses of technology tools.

Engage in professional growth and leadership – The web conferencing in Adobe Connect that is held for this course is a prime example of how communication can lead to professional growth and leadership.


Reinforcing effort/providing recognition – With the communication tools addressed in this “thing”, EVERY student will have the capability of being recognized.  The quieter students will be able to type in their ideas through a backchat or even in the chatbox during a web conference.

Cooperative learning – Students can use Google Hangouts to meet about a specific classroom project, outside of the classroom.

Assigning homework and practice – After assigning a homework assignment, any of these communication tools could be used if students have questions or ideas about their assignment.




Thing #5 – Collaboration

                                                         Google Drive!

Google Drive

Thank GOODNESS this mystery is solved!  You would think as an instructor for the Blended Learning in the Classroom course, I would be quite proficient with this tool.  I often found myself stumbling through the documents that were shared with me, often pretending that I really knew what I was doing.  However, after being “forced” to both create a Google Doc, share it, and add comments to an existing document, I feel as though I am understanding the process.  I was even able to access the documents from the last course I taught, the same ones that I was quite certain had disappeared into the unknown!

I was able to transfer a lesson that I use in my Algebra class every year, The Shapes of Algebra, into Google Drive and provide a couple of questions in the comment section to make it even better.  I was able to personally invite a few to look at the document, but if you are currently bored out of your mind and would like to take a look, I have it open to anyone that has a link. Feel free to use the “comment” button to add your ideas.

In the classroom, teaching students how to use Google Drive and Google Docs will be an invaluable resource.  In my math classroom, collaborative learning groups could be formed.  I could put an example of student work in Google, share the example with my students in the Drive, and then have the students determine if the student solutions are correct, or if there are errors to correct.  Students could even fix the incorrect solutions.  There is room in the comment sections for students to collaborate and communicate with each other to explain thinking.  Wow!!




There are often times when I go back and forth with colleagues, students, and even parents about what time works best with whom to meet.  There are sometimes as many as 10 emails that go back and forth before a time is decided.  Where has Doodle been all of my life??  In reference to my Shapes of Algebra lesson, I asked a few people to let me know which dates/times would work best to meet and discuss some updates that need to be made to the lesson.  Rather than going back and forth in those emails, I now have the power to take a quick look at a table to determine when we will meet.  This could be used for a group of students that need help in making test corrections, Student Council member that want to meet about yearbook questions, or colleagues that want to meet about curriculum changes.  The possibilities are ENDLESS!!




Well, I must confess that I am a sticky note addict.  I have them everywhere, and even my students know that if it’s not written on a sticky note, it may not ever get completed.  I have instantly fallen in love with Lino, and I suspect this will be a long-lasting relationship.  I realize that there will be several uses for a site like Lino, and I have created a Lino board that will help students through the Shapes of Algebra lesson.  I currently have a few resources posted, and after I am able to meet with someone to update the lesson, I will add even more suggestions and resources.  If you would like to check it out…

HOWEVER, as I was watching the Lino tutorials that I stumbled across, I immediately thought of my Student Council students.  As the junior high adviser for Student Council, I thought this would be an excellent site for students to access.  There is always a list of things that needs to be addressed, anything from Homecoming games to yearbook responsibilities, and with a central location for all of those “things” that need to be done, nothing will be forgotten.  I will give students the capability to add notes, particularly if they have questions that need to be addressed at the next meeting or think of something that needs to be completed.  The different activities could be color-coded to avoid confusion, and I have also included an area for items that need to be finished within the week.  I am very anxious to get this one up and running as the school year will start right off with Homecoming.

ISTE Standards!

Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity – That collaboration component will allow students to work cooperatively, and their creativity will thrive in the environment that Google Drive provides.

Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments – Without the use of the archaic flash drives and paper documents, accessing documents that are available from any computer, any place is certainly a digital age learning experience.

Model digital age work and learning – As I use resources such as Google Drive, Doodle, and Lino, students will see the technology tools in use, encouraging them to use them as well.

CITW Standards!

Cooperative learning – As students are able to comment on a specific document either synchronously or asynchronously, they will demonstrate cooperative learning characteristics.

Non-linguistic representations – The document that can be shared in Google Drive could easily be an image or organizer that can be updated and adjusted in a shared file.

3 Summarizing and note-taking – Students could easily be assigned to summarize what was learned about linear functions or even share some of the notes taken in class.  These items could be shared in Google Drive.

Assigning homework and practice – Due to the “any place, any time” feature of Google Drive, students can be given a homework assignment, even on snow days through Google Drive.