Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Instagram is probably one of the scariest tools for teachers to consider using in their classrooms because of all of the security risks involved, but I encourage teachers to not shy away from it. I think that if we can teach students to use Instagram safely and respectfully, we will not only be enhancing their experiences in the classroom and curriculum, but hopefully outside of the classroom and privately as well. The way to deal with safety issues is not to pretend as though they don't exist, but rather to teach and prepare our students so that they know how to respond when these issues do come up.

I have linked below several websites that I have found that really explain to students and parents about how to be safe on Instagram. Of course these lists are not the end, but they provide a great place to begin when teaching students to be safe online regarding what they say and what they post. If you are hesitant to implement any social media in your classroom for fear safety, my advice to you is to read these tips and use social media. Teach your students to be prepared. Just because you choose not to expose them to these things, doesn't mean they will never be exposed to them. By exposing them you can teach students to be prepared and teach them to be safe! 

Instagram Page Tips

Kids and Instagram

5 Insta Tips


Edmodo has a feature that I think would save teachers a little time when creating assessments. I wouldn't necessarily use these for grades as much as I would for exit tickets, but it will create a quiz for you based on the common core standards you just taught in ELA/ or Math. Students can complete the quiz online, or their mobile device, or on a tablet and results are generated instantly. It truly is an easy and quick assessment.

To do this, all you have to do is click the quiz icon, and select create a quiz. The option at the bottom of the screen will say Edmodo Snapshot which will walk you through the process of selecting your group and standards to create a quiz.


Pinterest is more than just finding new ideas and figuring out how to create them. I have been able to use Pinterest to find actual resources that I can download and share with my team. Some of the things I find are too advanced for my class but would work perfectly in one of my teammates classrooms. It is so easy for me to find something and quickly send her the link to post on her own board.

For example, I found a cause and effect practice sheet that I know my teammate would love. To send this to her I would simply click on the image (shown below) and click the send button. This button gives me many options to share including by pinning it to her board or sending it through email. I select my option and just like that, I have shared a resource with someone in my school (or even in another school).

Voice Thread

I was exploring Voice Thread a little more and found a cool new way to use this tool in the classroom. Since I teach third grade and not all of my students have access to an email account, I thought it would be cool to create a "Theme Thread" for whatever topic we are discussing using my account. Then I would have students continue to add threads to the account with  them reading their own writing. This could serve two purposes, one is that it would give students an opportunity to practice speaking skills by presenting their work, and two it would provide students with an authentic audience as this link could be shared on our classroom webpage for their parents to see and hear (with a password for security of course). I like this idea, because if my school is not able to purchase a license for VoiceThread, then this gives us an alternative to using this tool instead of just throwing it out. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014



What is it:
Instagram is a social networking site that allows you to upload images and videos to share with your “followers” or friends. Although the site is limited to uploading pictures and video only, some users have found a way around this by uploading screenshots from notes they have typed on their phone or other device. Once the pictures are uploaded “followers” can like or comment on the images posted. The downside to this is that in order to use this application, you would need to have an email address which most students in the elementary level would not have access to.
One of the perks to using Instagram is that accounts can be set to private so that only people you approve can see the images you’ve uploaded. You can also turn the picture locator off so that your location is not posted. Applications can be downloaded to enhance picture quality or to create a collage of multiple pictures or images.  

What to do with it:

I think this would be a fun tool to use in small groups when discussing novels and characters. The students could “create” an account with a character of their choice from the novel they are reading and find or create images to show their understanding of the reading. They could use images to depict character traits within a particular chapter, a cultural norm they discovered, or something they found out about the family of the character. It would be interesting to see how the students represent their characters life through the use of images and symbols. You can also have the other students in the novel group comment on the pictures based on what they have read and their perspective of the character. As a novel group they can create videos to show an event that occurs in the novel to upload to their Instagram page as well. 

The link to the sample page and comments I have created is: Kyo's Instagram

These links show more ways you can use Instagram:
Instagram in the Classroom
Social Media in Classroom
Classroom Made Instagram


What is it:

Edmodo is a website that I have very recently checked out on my own, but many of my classmates have been talking about. I am still very new to all of its features, but it seems to me like it is a place for students and teachers to connect and collaborate, and share ideas and resources. I have played around with the teacher account and I was able to set up a news feed of topics that are of interest to me. What comes up are questions and suggestions other teachers have been posting about that same topic. Since I am a teacher who has not set-up my class, all of my posts are coming from teachers who offer their suggestions and ideas for different ways to approach a theme within the curriculum. I have found that you are able to create multiple groups for classrooms and students which would be beneficial for teachers who have different language arts and math classes, or secondary teachers who have many sections or periods. It also has a section called “posts” where you can actually post things that you would like to share, either with a group or with the larger network. In order for students to be able to use this, both the students and parents need to read and agree to the terms of service and privacy policy. There is no email address required for students; however a school group code is necessary to create a username and password to be able to join networks.

What to do with it:

Once the time has been taken to actually create the accounts, I think this would be a great tool to check for students understanding, especially after a math lesson. It would be easy to create a new note or post with a question to have students respond to. There are also options that can be used to create quizzes so that students can have additional practice or a quick assessment. I think in a school with a lot of computer access, or mobile device access this would be a great tool to use in the classroom. Especially since they have an app to “go mobile” so that students can access them any time. 


What is it:

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that allows users to view, upload, and share images, tools, and resources that they have found or created by “pinning” them to a board. As the name would suggest, people can search for things of interest to them by using keywords and “pin” them so that they can access them easily when they are ready to use. I like to think of Pinterest as a huge bulletin board that has moved online and that many people can now access and view. Once you view an item, you can “pin it” to your own board to view later. The board can be filtered or organized based on particular or common themes that you would find of interest. The downside to using Pinterest is that there are so many resources on the website that you either have to know, or have an idea of what you’re looking for, or have a lot of time to search through all of the things that are on the site.

The site will allow you to preview a few images that people have added or pinned before it prompts you to sign in. If you do not have an account, you will be required to use your email address to create one. Creating email address accounts is always scary because you don’t want to get a ton of emails, which happened to me initially, but after doing a little bit of digging on the website I was able to set the account to no email alerts. 

What to do with it:

Once you have an account, this is a great way to connect with other teachers to see what they are doing in their classrooms. I have gotten quite a few ideas already for things I want to start using in the beginning of the year next year. It also helped me come up with a great classroom theme this year after looking at so many different themes from other teachers.

Pinterest Resources for the classroom:

Voice Thread

What is it?

I’ve used Voicethread before in class, but this was the first time I’ve actually taken the time to explore some of the things Voicethread has to offer. It is a pretty interesting tool in the sense that comments can be made by using video, voice, or text. Of course to do this, you would need access to a microphone, or video camera on the device you’re using, but that’s also why it is nice that in place of this text comments could be made.  The comments or discussions can be focused on media, images, or topics from previous discussions, and once created, will stay on the account until they are deleted. This allows for a collection of tools to be gathered and reviewed.
Voicethread is free with an email address but for students in the elementary classroom, this is obviously more difficult to assign students to create because they rarely have email addresses that young, so there are two options. One would be, purchasing as Single Educator Membership for $79 per year or $15 per month. This type of account will allow up to 50 student accounts to be added by creating a username and password for students but no email is necessary. This subscription allows unlimited video commenting and Voicethreads for those 50 students. If more than a few teachers are going to use this, it would be more beneficial to attempt to purchase a School License for a minimum of $450 per year. This allows you to create a large number of student accounts (which can give you discounted rates based on the number of students “enrolled”). All of the tools in the school license are similar to those in the Single Educator Membership with the major difference being in the number of accounts that can be created.

What to do with it:
This would be a great tool to use in the classroom. One of the ways I would like to use this (if my school can purchase the license) would be during small group time.  If my students are reading a novel and we are having a discussion that runs long, we can continue the discussion through Voicethread that day while they are at their seats and I work with another group.

The link below has many more suggestions for using VoiceThread across content areas:
VoiceThread Across Content

The link below will give you more information on connecting and collaborating using VoiceThread.
Connect and Collaborate

My Created VoiceThread: Secret of the Seal

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Hello ET630 class,

Welcome to my blog for this class. Most of you already know me as the Type A obsessed with finishing grad school girl in class, but for those who do not, my name is Brooke and I am fast tracking my masters degree program. I started in the Fall of 2013 and intend to (if Dr. Marcovitz can find someone to teach ET610 and ET620) take my final class in the Fall of 2014. To most, this sounds like a ridiculous goal, but to someone like me who truly loves school, this is just my second step toward a doctorate degree in Education. If you can't tell this about me by now--I am young, I am driven, and I am focused.

I hope you will find many interesting things on my blog that you will be able to use.

Brooke :-)