Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thank you Edpuzzle, good-bye Zaption

I have been a fan of Zaption for the last couple years and sorry to hear that they're shutting down at the end of September.  I decided my project for the weekend would be to transfer my videos from Zaption to Edpuzzle, the service I had decided to use instead.  Video formatting isn't my forte and I thought I would have to spend hours figuring out how to move my content and retain the trimming and questions I had in Zaption, or even worse yet re-create that video personalization.

I was so excited when I created an Edpuzzle account and discovered that Edpuzzle has made the process easy.  In less than 10 minutes, starting at, I was able to move my videos.  The trimming and embedded questions and comments all transferred beautifully.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Amazon Education Has an OER Platform

A few months ago Amazon Education launched a private beta open education resource platform.  I've been lucky enough to be a private beta participant and I'm enjoying the site.  It's easy to find resources and get ideas from other innovative and effective educators.

Currently the site allows invited educators to post and search for K - 12 resources.  Educators can search the site by grade level, subject area, standard, and creator. 

The open resource movement is a fantastic way for educators to collaborate throughout the world and provides a free way to find high quality teaching resources outside what has been purchased in a box from a school district.

Back in October 2015 the U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of #GoOpen to encourage such collaboration.  Amazon was named as a collaborator in that announcement.  Fourteen states (unfortunately not California) have launched statewide initiatives.

 If you'd like to join the wait list for the platform go to

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Upstander Comments Using MC Squares

The last activity of the year that we did with the MC Squares was to write positive comments about each classmate.  Each student wrote their name in the middle of their MC Square.  We passed the squares around and each student wrote a bucket-filling comment about each of their peers.  When students got their own square back they took a picture of themselves holding the square and had a chance to read all the positive feedback.  It was a great feel-good end of year activity. (no photos for privacy reasons)

Disney Imagineer Lesson with MC Squares

In June 2015 I wrote about a Disney Imagineer lesson my students worked on.  I updated it this year to include the use of the MC Squares.  Students used the squares to map their ride.  When they shared their ride with the class they were able to point to different aspects of the ride on the map as they described it or showed pictures either on paper or a digital presentation tool.  Most groups used 2 squares for their map so they had space for a map key and the details of the ride.

Friday, May 27, 2016

MC Squares reading response

Earlier in the week I read The Secret Shortcut by Mark Teague to the class.  I then asked students to  independently create their own shortcut from home to school.  They needed to show their shortcut by making a map, including a map key (missing from some on the initial attempt). Students then had an opportunity to act out the shortcut for the class.

MC Squares to Solve Math

Yesterday my students worked in groups of 3 to solve a math problem.  We used several of the steps that make up CueThink (what do you know, what do you need to find out, what strategy do you want to use, solve, check work, does answer make sense).

Students created a final set of information to share with the class and this was done with the MC Squares.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MC Squares Just Out of the Box

A 24 pack of MC Squares arrived for me yesterday, purchased as a pilot by my district office.  MC Squares are individual whiteboards about 1 square foot in size that snap into mounting frames.  Students can easily take down a square, draw/write on it with a dry erase marker, and hang it back up again.  Check out their website here.

The mounts won't be installed in my classroom until the summer, so right now the students will lean them against the wall at the front of the room.  Based on a session about vertical learning that I attended at the FutureNow! conference in San Diego last month, I plan to hang the squares in 6 groups of 4 at standing height for my students.

Since I wasn't sure exactly when they'd arrive, I hadn't planned any lessons for this week. However, we had a few minutes at the end of the day and had just finished PE, so I asked students to draw and write a caption showing their favorite PE activity of the year.