Digital Creations with EdCanvas

“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.” By James Russel Lowell

Edcanvas is a tool I shared during the Edulum’s tool smack down and figured it needed more explaining then just the two minutes I had. Edcanvas is a place where you can create presentations, projects, share resources, flip the classroom and so much more. You can create meaningful content on any Common Core or Essential Standard in minutes, yes minutes! You can also use any device as it is mobile responsive.

Once you create an account and are logged in you will see that on the left hand side you can see your canvases, classes and gallery. To start a canvas, click on creating a canvas and enter the title for the canvas at the top. You can search for resources using the search options on the right. Notice there are many options of things you can use such as YouTube, Google Drive, Flickr, Website Links and Educreations. Once you have the resource you want drag it to a box and drop it. That is it, how easy! At the top you can change your theme and templates. Notice when you scroll over a box you can add text and/or embed a quiz!

One of my favorite features is the sharing options Edcanvas has. You can share the canvas so many different ways but it also has a unique way as well that I haven’t seen on many web tool sharing options. On Edcanvas sharing you also have the option of creating a QR code; how convenient is that!


Here is my Edcanvas that I made in 5 mins.

Creating a class is just as easy and a great way to help you differentiate. To start click on add class, select a new class and then name your class. It will give you a code that you can post on your workflow platform. Your students will go to and select sign-up then click the student tab. Have them register using the course code. (Notice no email address is needed as it is an option only.)

Other Awesome Features:

– Autosaves (great for students who forget to save)

– It can integrated with Edmodo

– Gallery of resources from other educators

– Click on play to present your Edcanvas

Flipped Classroom and Common Core Standards

“The focus of flipped teaching is different from other examples in that the technology itself is simply a tool for flexible communication that allows educators to differentiate instruction to meet individual student needs and spend more time in the classroom focused on collaboration and higher-order thinking.” Jac de Haan, educator and founder of Technology with Intention

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A year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about flipped classroom for elemntary classrooms and since then a lot has changed.  I think more people are realizing that flipped classroom is not just a buzz word or catch phrase but a shift in the classroom approach while redefining homework. Educators are focusing needs to be on having the students master the content rather than just covering it. The Common Core has helped with the shift, as it is deeper, not wider.  The Flipped Classroom lets you attend to each students individual needs and making differentiate easy. There are a lot of newer sites that can help you do this easily along with connecting the Common Common Core standards already done for you. My two new favorite sites are Ted Ed and Learn Zillion.

The Ted.Ed site offers a structured access of content through subject or series. It allows teachers to “flip” any video on YouTube—including TED-Ed videos, Khan Academy or ones you have created on your own You Tube Channel. With each ‘flipped’ video you can add quizzes, links and other resources to the video. It also progress monitors for you as well. Check it out here and test it for yourself introducing Ted Ed. Other great features are that it is free and if you like a video that has been flipped already but you don’t like some of the questions etc you can customize it to your liking! You can also use the Khan academy site, that has a Common Core Toolkit and match the Common Core standards as well. I also love you can embed this into your wiki, Gaggle assignment, Edmodo or other platforms for your work flow.

Learn Zillion site offers great lessons that are linked to Common Core standards with there Common Core navigator.  You can then download lesson slides and resources that help you teach the lesson, depending on what you need. They have a coach’s commentary that you can listen to, to get expert explanation of the lesson and Common Core State Standards. (This is very helpful when you are still trying to understand these new standards. You can also assign lessons and track student mastery by setting up your class. This site is also free as well!

Flipped Learning Resources:

My Flipped Classroom Wiki

Google Doc by Dan Spencer

TechSmith Flipped Classroom 

Twitter chat #flipclass (Monday @ 8:00)

If you have used another site that allows you to flip your classroom and connect Common Core standards, I would love to learn about it.

Creating and Using Infographics in the Elementary Classroom

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” By Edward de Bono

I am an a self acclaimed advocate for 21st Century Teaching and Learning. I truly believe that students need to be learning through creating, collaborating, critical thinking and communicating (4 C’s); that is why I am a fan of using infographics in the classroom. Infographics are a way to show visual representation of information. When making an infographics students have to use all 4c’s in order to complete one.

Infographics can be a great way for students to present data to the class on a research project they are doing or an arguments such as books verses ebooks. Infograohics align with many of the Common Core and Essential Standards objectives.Remember the data used for infographics could be data just from your classroom, school or community as long as that is stated.

Examples of how each subject can create infographics:

Science: If a student is studying the Great Garbage Patch during their ecosystem unit they can inform the class about it through an info graphic. For example how much trash there is and how many animals it has hurt.

Math: Students can do any topic they want because infographics are all about math data and graphs.

Literacy: Students can compare and contrast any two books. The students can also chose a hot topic they are writing about, For example, if schools should be year round or if schools should have uniforms or not.

Social Studies: Students can create an infographic on any time period such as the Civil War by making a timeline infographic.

P.E.: Students can make an infographic on nutrition or benefits of exercise and how it correlates with grades.

How do the 4c’s apply:

Collaboration: If students are working together on making these infographics they are collaborating ideas.

Critical Thinking: Students are critical thinking about what information should go in the infographic and why.

Communication: Students are communicating with each other and also communicating information.

Creating: Students are creating an info graphic product.

Step by Step process on how can you make them in your classroom:

1. Have the students start with a topic/idea and research to gain more information. I would also recommend the students create a rough draft on paper as a basic outline.

2. Create the infographic using Pages (or see below for other sites). I like Pages best because it is simple and user-friendly. You can also keep changing the page size to make it longer for infographics. (Inspector, page set up and then paper size scroll to custom) you can also create your own graphs using Pages. Remember too…

  • Keep it simple and pleasing to the eye.
  • Decide on a color scheme
  • Reference your facts in the infographic (Sources)
  • Look at others to gain ideas how you want yours set up.
  • Make them interactive by adding QR codes or videos

3. Once you are finished, export it into a picture – j.peg, so you can embed them into a wiki or the students can post them on their blog etc. Here is one I created using Pages with a friend Doug Thompson- that’s right we collaborated! (We also did add some graphics using Photoshop but you don’t have too)

Other Sites students can use to make infographics easily and free!


Popplet (Limits you)

Kathy Schrock has great resources for classroom teachers on infographics too.

Please let me know how you have used infographics or created them in your classroom so we can learn from each other!

Using ShowMe App for iPad in the Classroom

“Technology is not a new tool for learning. It’s a whole new way of learning.” Dan Roberts

Recently at an iPad chat, I discussed along with other educators, the benefits of certain apps for the iPad in the classroom. The app I discussed was ShowMe, which allows you to create whiteboard tutorials and share them online. I was surprised how many educators did not know about this app so I decided it needed to be my blog topic this week.

Why is this app ShowMe amazing? Here are 10 reasons!

1. It is a free app, as educators we need that

2. Once you create an account there are numerous already created tutorials’ in the ShowMe community

3. You can create videos for your “flipped classroom”

4. It is so easy to use; 1st graders I worked with were able to use it

5. Great way for teachers to assess student’s knowledge

6. You can change the background from the whiteboard to a map (or any background) and use it to enhance your lesson

7. Can be used for any subject (Ex. Math-how to add fractions)

8. Receive information through visuals as well as audio

9. Can be shared easily by embedding it into your website or sending a link to email, Facebook or Twitter

10. Videos can be as long or as short as you want them to be. I taught the students how to use the application in just a few minutes.

Below is a fifth grader using the ShowMe app as a way I assessed his knowledge. I gave him the task, “Using this app, describe the water cycle.” I walked away and worked with other students. When I came back, I taught him how to save the video with his name and topic. I then was able to go back later and view his water cycle video. I was able to see that he understood the water cycle and the key vocabulary.

Some of you may be saying, but he could of just drawn the water cycle on a piece of paper and handed it in. True, but having him complete it on the ShowMe app he has able to take it a step further and explain how it works verse just drawing it. This shows true comprehension of the topic.

Flipped Classroom in Elementary School

‘It is today we must create the world of the future.’ Eleanor Roosevelt

The new buzz word in education is the ‘Flipped Classroom’. I have used the flipped classroom and have found it quite successful. Many people say to me, ‘I am intrigued by the flipped instruction, what is the best way to implement this in my classrooms?’ I decided to blog what I have found works best for me in my classroom.

For those of you not familiar with flipped classroom also known as flipped instruction;  the basic ideas is that as educators we flip
our instruction so that students watch and listen to lessons for homework, and then use our class-time for tackling difficult problems, working in groups, collaborating, and creating. Students are expected to watch the vodcast, take notes, and understand the concept being taught. During class time you would do a quick review then work on an activity where the students can collaborate with their classmates on more challenging real world problems.

The first time I tried the flipped classroom, I tried it with my fifth grade math class. I was lucky that all my students had computer access. The students watched a Khan Academy video on how to multiply fractions. The expectations given to them were to take notes as if I played this video in class (I modeled my expectations many times with also guided practice before assigning a video for homework).

I considered it a success as all the students had mastered the concept based on my quick assessment.  They loved the hands-on multiplication activity we did in groups. The students also had great feedback to make it better! As part of my closure I had students fill out an exit slips answering this question, ‘What is one thing you like and disliked about the flipped classroom experience?’ One thing they didn’t like about it was they couldn’t ask questions. One way to solve this problem was to use Edmodo, a wiki or a wall wisher so the students could post questions and I or another classmate could answer them. Many students loved that they could watch it multiple times and stop it when they needed to. They also liked that if they didn’t understand something shown in the video, there was videos on the side that could also help them understand or they “googled” it.

I think educators should try the flipped classroom.  My advice (I am noexpert) for those that want to try this in their elementary classroom is:

1. Model your expectations in the classroom. Show a video and stop often to show students how to take notes. Then move to guided practice before assigning it for homework.

2. Remember not all students have computer access at home so have a “back up plan” such as having students stay after school to use your computers or see if your technology teacher would let you borrow the computer lab.

3. Think about what your goal is. Ask yourself exactly what do you want your students to master.

4. Start small. Try one subject and see how it goes for your students. Make adjustments as necessary.

5. Use videos that are already made
from sites such as,
or to start you off.

6. Try making your own videos once you get the hang of it. The kids love seeing and hearing you!

7. Use it as a way to differentiate!

8. Read up on it! There are lots of great articles out there and if you are on twitter follow #flipclass and see what educators are doing and saying all around the world

Using the flipped classroom will help your students take ownership of their learning, a great 21st century skill we want all students to master! It will also help them become independent problem solvers along with collaborators.

My favorite component of the flipped classroom is it changes the role of you, the teacher! You become more of a facilitator and guide their learning. The classroom becomes an inquiry and/or problem based learning zone verse lecture.

The flipped classroom is not for every student, but it puts forth the best way educators can increase in-class learning. If a student or small group of students needs more instruction that still can be done without holding others back. You won’t know unless you try, so take a risk and see what happens! If you have used the flipped classroom and have other tips or insight please sure by commenting below!

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell