Thursday, March 26, 2015

EdCamp: Brookings- Saturday, March 28th

The edCamp is a great concept. If you have no idea what it is, well, let me explain: An edcamp is a chance to get together (for free) with passionate educators to discuss, share, create, and connect. It is an "unconference" which means the day is not organized until the teachers get there. Instead of showing up and being told what to do, the attendees of the edcamp gather in the morning and decide for themselves what they will be working on, sharing, discussing, etc. For example, if teachers want to work on assessment strategies, they go to a classroom and work on it. If a group of teachers want to work on SLO's or math strategies, differentiation, etc, they form a group/session and get to it. You can stay in the session for as long as you want. When you are ready, you simply move on and check out a different session of interest. When  you've had your fill of great PD, then leave!  You are not bound to stay a certain amount of time.  Granted, this takes place on Saturday, which is a day off for us teachers, but give it some thought. 
Brookings, SD
Camelot Intermediate School
Start time: 8:00 am
Bring your own device

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Google Drive Strikes Again! Review Games with Google Drive

Can Google Drive get any more awesome? It seems everywhere I turn, there is something new and innovative being produced by Google-things to make our jobs as teachers more efficient and effective. is a tool that allows you to create review games/tools through Google Drive. provides flashcards, completion certificates, progress meters, and my favorite, Game Show templates. At, download the template you want to use, make a copy for your Google Drive and edit it to produce your custom review game. The game show uses the spreadsheet feature of Google Drive. Simply enter your questions and answers, publish to the web ("File"--"publish to web") and then the spreadsheet will kick out the link to share (the link you give to your students). 

Application for Education: This tool/game can be used for all types of content/classes. It's great to provide for kids to use when studying on their own, as it keeps track of your points so you can see how well you are doing or what you are weak in. I've also used it for students to partner up and play against each other. It can also be used as a whole class review game. You can anywhere from 0 teams to 6 teams when keeping track of the score. 

Monday, March 16, 2015 Games with a Purpose

Recently at Sharapalooza, I shared some tech tools that teachers could start using now. I would like to share them here since I know many of you wanted to come but were unable to make it. allows you the opportunity to create review games in which you want your students to identify something. It is a user friendly set up in which all you need is content, an account, and an image to upload.
Application for Education: This review game would be a great option in many content areas. A few examples: Upload a picture of the United States. The students are then given the capital and they need to click on the correct state. In science/anatomy, students could identify the parts of the body, nervous system, rocks, clouds, etc. How could you use this in your class? You can also search the site for games that have already been created. The game is "timed" giving it a bit of a competition feel to it. Kids can challenge others or themselves to see who can do it the fastest.  In my class, I have my students identify the countries on a map of Europe, the different pieces of armor on a Knight or the various tools of mummification. The example below is a review on Greek Mythology. Try it out! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The most versatile word in the Teacher's Vocabulary

Is there a more versatile and useful word in the teachers' vocabulary? I think not. If you stop and think for a moment, better yet, if you continue reading I think you will agree with me. Wait. What is the most versatile word, you ask? Well, if I told you right away, what fun would that be? Where's the suspense? 
I believe the most versatile word in the Teacher's vocabulary is the word......"buddy." Let's take a moment to dissect this word and look at it through the lens of a teacher. I don't know about you, but I use this word about 500 times a day. It just always seems to work in any situation I find myself in. Whether it's a fun atmosphere, a serious one, or some other type of situation, it seems the word "buddy" just pops out of my mouth, as natural and effortlessly as breathing or blinking. 

Let's look at how versatile the word truly is. 
If you are congratulating a student: "Good job, buddy!" 
If you are consoling a student who is having a tough time: "It's okay, buddy." 
If you are upset with a student, "Hey! Buddy! Sit down and stop talking!" 
If you are getting serious about something with a student: "Hey, buddy, I really need you to come through on this project." 
If you are showing thanks: "Hey, thanks buddy!"
If you are surprised by a student, "Whoa! Buddy, I didn't see you there!" 
If you are really excited about a students accomplishment: "Yeah!!! Great job buddy!" 
If you are trying to build up a students' confident: "I know you can do it, buddy. I have confidence in you." 
If you are just having a casual conversation with a student, "That sounds like a fun trip, buddy." 
If you are in a hurry and don't have much time, go with "bud": "Not now, bud, I gotta get going."
It can easily be tagged at the end of almost any question: "How was your weekend, buddy?" "What are you doing this weekend, buddy?" What's your favorite team, buddy?" "Hey buddy, how's it going?" "Anybody have any questions?.....Yeah, what is it, buddy?" 
If you are listening to a story, but not really paying attention, "Hey, that's cool, buddy." 

And finally, it can (almost) be used as every word in the sentence: "Hey Buddy, that buddy over there is looking for a buddy. Why don't you be a good buddy and see if he wants to be your buddy, okay buddy?"  (see?) 

Anyway, I hope you learned a lot from this blog post. I think it was very informational and enlightening. The next time you find yourself using the word buddy, appreciate the versatility of the word.  Or, if you find yourself in a pinch and don't know what to say, just say buddy. 

Thanks, buddy. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shared at Sharapalooza

In case you missed it or forgot to write down what was shared, here it is! (web and apple/android app. Free)
Get instant feedback from all your students without needing devices.

Use Google Drive to create game-show type review games

Create a social network that you and your students can use to communicate and share

Too Noisy Pro (ipad app. $2.99)

Noise detector. Great for classroom management. Screen “breaks” when the noise volume gets too high. Students/classes can earn “gold stars” for prolonged times of being quiet.

Create identification games. Upload a picture and set the points of identification.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sharapalooza Coming to BV!

Come join me for BV's first Sharapalooza! It is an event with one purpose: Share! I think there are a lot of great things out there that we do as teachers, things that might benefit us all, which means benefiting the students! I think we need more time to get together and share with each other, think with each other, work with each other. I am will share some things that I think you can start using right now in  your classroom, which will increase quality and effectiveness. I also hope you bring something great to share as well!
Hope to see you there.