Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Idea for Web Quest

Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor have I collaborated with anyone from  This post was created because I love using the website with my students.

When I started using technology in my classroom I was determined that it was not going to be used for playing. As I look back over the past year I realize I really did not have a clue what students could accomplish by using technology.  I initially starting thinking what apps or tools can students use, and quickly switched to thinking what apps can students use to create and show what they are learning.  I wanted to ensure the tech was being used for learning.  How was I going to create a learning environment that would engage students and be easily managed?

Although Google Drive has been a fantastic (can't live without) solution that worked well for our classroom, another great resource was Smore is a website that allows users to create web based flyers.  These flyers are great to use for project based learning activities.  The flyers are very simple and fast to create and can easily be shared with students.  The flyers can include activities, videos, web links, rubrics, or quizzes.  Different kinds of flyers can be created and educators can create an unlimited number of these flyers.

Why would I want to make a flyer for my students? I use it for project based learning activities. During the past year I created several educational flyers at for my students.  The flyers included step by step instructions to complete a project, similar to a web quest.  Some of these projects were completed with a partner in our classroom and some were completed with students in another building within our district.  These flyers are easy to use and make it possible for students to collaborate on projects with students around the world.

A project in is very easy to make.  You can:
  • create text
  • add a picture
  • embed a link
  • include audio
  • embed a video
  • include a form (for assessment)
  • link to a rubric

I LOVE Smore because I can include everything from standards in kid friendly terms to assessments and rubrics right on the flyer.  There are so many possibilities.  I've included a social studies project below that was created at

After the flyers are created at you can easily share them by:
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
My students do not have email access but they all have Google accounts.  I usually share a link to the flyer in their drive or create a quick QR code for the students to scan.

Another plus...if I change my mind on an activity or need to correct something, I simply login to my account, make the changes, and the changes will automatically be made when my students go to the flyer.  I also love the possibility of reflecting on a lesson and making the changes right after the lesson instead of waiting until the next year and trying to remember. I'm too old for that.

I challenge you to give a try.  You will find it is easy, quick, and fun.

Have you thought a way you could use in your classroom? Leave a comment or example below.  My readers would love to read them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Headed to the Superbowl

Two Days and I’m headed to the Superbowl.  I can hardly wait.  Oops, let me explain.  I realize it is June. This Friday, 17 Webb City techies are taking flight to the Superbowl of all tech conferences.  Our team is headed to the International Society for Technology in Education Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Our Superbowl gear may not be war paint, crazy hats, and signs…but we are loaded with our laptops, iPads, Chrome books, and cell phones. What better gear can you have for the Superbowl of ed tech?

I’m beyond excited.  Last summer I followed the conference on Twitter and was dreaming about attending. This year it is becoming a reality (I hear the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song playing…oh wait, wrong sport).  I’m pretty sure I’m more excited than a real Superbowl (sorry, football friends). Last year over 18,000 educators from around the globe attended the conference in San Antonio, with over 800 concurrent sessions.  You see it really is the Superbowl of ed tech.

Every time I read a blog about #iste14 I’m a little more excited.  Being a “newbie” to the conference I have tried to read as many blogs as possible and tried my best to prepare for what is going to take place during the 5 day event.

The count down...

Registration – check
Sessions and vendors favorited – check
District Preparation meeting – check
Airline confirmation – check
Room assignment – check
ISTE App downloaded – check
District Twitter hash tag (#wciste14)  – check
Business cards – check
Comfy shoes – check
Luggage ready (extra space to bring home souvenirs) – check

Why am I excited about attending such an event?

I’m ready to discover sources of inspiration and meditate on how to incorporate this knowledge into curriculum so our students become more engaged thinkers and creators.

I’m looking to be recharged and invigorated with new ideas presented by the experts.

I’m excited to connect with educators around the globe and soak up all of their creativity. 

I’m eager to collaborate with fellow teachers to create meaning and give life to educating our students.

When football fans go to a Superbowl they are filled with excitement.  They anticipate...having a great time with old and new friends, watching a fantastic game in hopes their favorite team will win the national championship, and returning home to celebrate their new experiences.  As we head to this Superbowl of conferences we are anticipating...collaborating with veteran and new teachers, watching and participating in amazing presentations, and returning home to share these experiences with other educators and students.

It’s going to be a great event!  Go #ISTE14

Stay tuned for Superbowl Pics headed your way.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Google Gathering

Summertime is a time for relaxing, refreshing, and … oh yes, PD.  Twenty five of my Webb City friends recently attended the Google Gathering in Girard, Kansas.  What a great way to spend a summer day!

photo (35).JPG
Webb City Staff with our Bright Future T-shirts
Our team generated a lot of new ideas. I attended sessions by Kyle Pace, Judy Griffin, and Ryan Loots. These sessions discussed using Google forms to assess student learning, Google Drive, using Google Hangouts (GHO), and creating an online textbook using Google Sites. The day also brought about an aha moment, “our team has learned SO MUCH about technology in the past year”. It was encouraging to gather new ideas during this gathering, but we also celebrated how much we have learned and applied in our classrooms already.

Things we have learned in the past year:

1. We can't live without Google Drive in the classroom.

We use it for reading, writing, spelling, math, social studies, and science.  Did I leave anything out? We use it in EVERY subject.
You might ask how we use Google Drive.  There are so many possibilities but I’ve listed a few examples below.

  • Responding to reading
  • Collaborating with other students (even in other buildings)
  • Assessing using Google Forms

  • Creating blog posts and using the comment tool to gather feedback from students and teachers

  • Creating word sorts
  • Sharing with teacher

  • Sharing student created videos with classmates and teachers

Science/Social Studies
  • Collaborating with students in other classrooms
  • Sharing projects
  • Researching
  • Writing, editing, and sharing research

2.  Google Drive requires trial and error to accomplish great things.  It's amazing that my techy friends and I made it through the past year. I'm pretty sure our patience grew 10 fold over the year. We became experts at practicing the stress relief activities our school counselors always talk to our students about...but in the end I wouldn't change a single thing.  I LOVE THE TECH IN MY CLASSROOM and I LOVE what students are creating.

3.  You can not be successful in the techy world ALONE.  Find a buddy teacher, Twitter friend, or expert. Share and collaborate! This is a must!

Finally, I've learned I can't teach without technology, especially Google Drive. It has engaged my students, fostered creativity, and become a tool my students use daily.

If you need more information about using Google Docs in your classroom, check out these resources:

Do you have a creative way to use Google Drive with your students/staff or a great resource? Please share.  We LOVE new ideas.