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.

National Digital Learning Day…What Are You Doing?

“To achieve goals you have never achieved before, you’ve got to start doing things that you never done before.” Stephen Covey

National Digital Learning Day

Today’s students need to achieve 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. In order to cultivate this, I believe in building upon a child’s curiosity and encourage them to pursue new knowledge. What better way to kick start this then on National Digital Learning Day on February 6th, 2013! National Digital Learning day is a great day to start transforming your classroom if you have not already and if you have, then try something new, such as a new web tool, a based learning approach or going paperless!

Our school district is encouraging each school to do something for National Digital Learning Day no matter how big or small. As a district we are also having an ‘unconference’. An unconference is a low-key place where educators will learn, share, exchange ideas on different topics such as digital literacy, iPad integration, flipped classroom and BYOT. We will also be having a ‘petting zoo’ so educators can see different devices that could be brought in for BYOT as well. The teachers will be able to see how to put it onto the network along with the devices features.

So I ask my blog family, what are you doing for National Digital Learning Day? Please share in the comment section so we can gain ideas from each other!

To learn more about how to be a part of this groundbreaking event, sign up at here. NDLD site has a great Tool Kit with Lesson Plans and Ideas.

You can also “like” Digital Learning Day on Facebook at and follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDday and @DLDay2013

Tips and Resources for a Paperless Classroom

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” By Paul J. Meyer

paperless-greenYou can go paperless, or at least reduce the use of paper in your classroom many different ways. It is easier if you are a school that has Bring Your Own Technology/Device (BYOT or BYOD) implemented but not impossible to do without devices. Below are a few tips/ideas to help you get started along with some other Paperless resources.

1. Decide on a workflow. Have students submit assignments and homework via online. Use sites such as Gaggle, Edmodo, Moodle  etc

2. Use web tools for productivity! Have student’s….

– create ebooks using flipsnack or scribble press

– present material using PowerPoint, Slide Rocket or Prezi

– keep a digital portfolio via Evernote, WikiSpaces or Mahara

– collaborate in real time using Google Docs, Zoho Documents or Mur.ly

– represent their knowledge (informal or formal assessment) through Todays Meet, Edu Glogster, Show Me or Poll Everywhere

3. Have your students blog instead of writing stories, reading responses or essays.

4. Use individual whiteboards to work out problems or brainstorm.

5. Use a doc camera or interactive whiteboard instead of showing examples on paper

6. Have more class discussions and debates!

7. Have students collaborate using 1 piece of paper verse 4. It also allows them to practice 21st century skills of collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

8. Keep a grade book online or by using a spreadsheet

9. Create eNewsletters, use email or vodcast to share out what is happening in your classroom.

10. Use a wiki or website to display hotlists, webquests and resources so students are active in their learning instead of passive.

This year in my personal life I have been trying to go paperless as well, to practice what I preach. Some of the things I have started changing is having all my bills as online payments, grocery lists are now in my Evernote or Notes App and I am having stores email me my receipts.

Paperless Resources

Paperless Coalition

Prezi- The Paperless Classroom

Paperless Classroom Blog

Paperless Classroom Website

5 Applications to Help go Paperless

Please share any tips or resources you have for making your classroom or personal life paperless!

Connecting Common Core with Comics Using Chogger

“Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future.” James Bertrand


Chogger is a new website to me and I learned about during a #21stedchat a few weeks ago. I have been ‘playing’ and exploring with it and think it is a great new web tool for the classroom.

Creating comics is engaging and inspires creativity within students. Creating stories in comic board format helps scaffold students. In Chogger, you have 10 layouts/formats to choose from. You can choose to upload pictures from your computer, webcam, draw your own, or google search right inside Chogger.  This program is easy to use, and the possibilities are endless. Did I mention it is FREE!

Creating comics also promotes 21st century learning skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration (if they work on the comic with partners or small group.) The best part is you can easily connect many ELA Common Core Standards with Chogger. You can have the students…

  • Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson (RL.2 or RI.2)
  • Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. (RL.3 or RI.3)
  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language. (RL.4 or RI.4)
  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (W1)
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. (W2)
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. (W3)
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.  (W6)
  • Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.  (SI.5)

You can also connect Common Core with Math; as students can create ‘how to comics’ for any topic such as fractions, “How do you add and subtract fractions with like denominators.” If you are in NC, you can also connect the NC Essential Standards for example with Science by having the students create a comic that is about ‘The day in the life of a water droplet’ for the water cycle or any other RAFT activities.

Check out my Chogger Comic here

I am really excited that Chogger is coming out with an educators version! Making it a safer place where students can create web comics, share with their friends, and have fun learning. http://classroomcomics.com. I do wish they had an app! That would make it even better!

Chogger has other great features such as Chog it! Bookmarking to learn more: Click Here

If you have used Chogger in the classroom, I would love to hear how, as I know the possibilities are endless.

Tools for Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom

“I know only one thing about technologies that awaits in the future: We will find ways to tell our stories with them.” By Jason Ohler

Digital Storytelling is an important 21st century skill we need to be teaching in our classrooms. What is digital storytelling? According to Leslie Rule from Digital Storytelling Association, “Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights.”

Digital Storytelling can happen in any subject area and can be done using multiple technology resources. It is a great way to have students use all 4C’s for 21st century learning because the students are communication, critically thinking, collaborating (if done with partners) and creating. The most important piece about teaching Digital Storytelling for students is making sure the students are focused on the content, not the technology. To help with this, I suggest using the writing process of brainstorm, drafting etc. You can also use story maps, scripts and storyboards to guide this process as well. Below are FREE (I like free being a teacher) Apps and Web 2.0 tools I use in the classroom for Digital Storytelling.

Apps you can use for Digital Storytelling:

ScribblePress: Four of my favorite things about this free App is that it is user-friendly, has templates you can choose from for the younger students but you can also create from scratch for older students and you can use the art work given to you, draw in your own or use real pictures. The students can publish to iBooks too!

Voicethread: I like this App because it is also web-based too! Students can create digital stories but then others can comment on it as well bring in global learning.

Zooburst: I have been using Zooburst this year because a student introduced it too me. You can make 3-D pop-up books and they now have an app!! Yea!

PuppetPals: PuppetPals lets students create their own animated stories. It is very user-friendly. It is free but only lets you have a few backgrounds and characters but  for $2.99 you can get all of the. You can save the videos to your camera roll and then upload them to different places such as You Tube.

Sock Puppets: This apps is similar to PuppetPals but the characters as socks puppets. It is user-friendly as well and you can save to You Tube.

ShowMe: Is an interactive whiteboard that many teachers use but students can create stories with it too. The app records the drawing process along with audio to create videos that you can use for digital storytelling with authentic student drawings!

iMovie:  Students can create their own movie story and even make a movie trailer for their story!

Toontastic: Great app that students can use based on a story plot/map. Students record voiceovers telling their story.

Web 2.0 Sites you can use for Digital Storytelling: You can use these sites many different ways but one way is for students to create their own digital stories!



Go Animate





Another easy way you can incorporate Digital Storytelling without web 2.0 tools or an App is by having students create paper slides. All you need is a recording device and paper! The students can draw out their story and then tell it while taping themselves with an iPad, flip camera etc.

To Read More About Digital Storytelling Check Out These Resources:

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning, and Creativity. By Jason Ohler

How to Use Digital Storytelling in Your Classroom By Jennifer New

Storytelling – It’s News

I would love to hear what others do in their classrooms or what you use for Digital Storytelling! Please share in the comments.

Top Websites I use in the Elementary Classrooms

“The traditional school often functions as a collection of independent contractors united by a common parking lot.” – Robert Eaker

Recently I was asked what websites do I use in the elementary classroom and how do I use them. After this conversation, I decided to come up with a list of my top ten favorites but in no particular order!

1. Edu.glogster: http://edu.glogster.com (Free) What is not fun about making interactive posters! The students love that they can be creative and create their own poster for a topic. It is a great way to use formative assessment. I can see through their glog if they understood the main points of the topic. For example, I had my students complete a glog on simple machines. I could tell if they understood the difference between all machines along with understanding the definitions. Example of a glog http://jillthompson.edu.glogster.com/false-4394

2. Popplet: http://popplet.com (Free) Popplet is a mind mapping website. I have the students create circle maps on a topic and have them tell me everything they know in their notebooks. For example, ecosystems would go in the middle and they would write words around it that they know about ecosystems. What I like about Popplet is when we come together as a class and talk about what we know we create a Popplet as a class. Everything we know is displayed in one color, for example blue. I save it and then we go back to our Popplet mid-unit and in a different color we add what we know now. We do this again at the end of the unit. This helps to show the students how much they have learned about a topic from beginning to end. You can upload them to your site or make them into PDF’s as well.

3. Voki: www.voki.com (Free) I love creating vokis as much as the students. A voki is an avatar that people create to express thoughts. There are endless ways you can use vokis. I have see students in second grade make vokis and summarize books they have read. I have used vokis in the classroom to give directions during a transition time (They may love you as their teacher but they love hearing things from the voki more!) Here are other ways teachers have used vokis. http://www.voki.com/lesson_plans.php

4. Kidblog: www.kidblog.org (Free) This is a great site where a teacher can create a class blog and so do the students. Each student gets a user name and password. It is protected so only those invited get to view. I recently helped another teacher set this up in her classroom to have the students write about math. The students have been loving it and are doing math not only in the classroom but at home too. They have even been coming up with their own problems for each other as well.

5. Wordle: http://www.wordle.net (Free) Here students can create word clouds. I have had students create Wordles using different vocabulary words for a unit. I have had them copy and paste in their short stories and see what words come up the most often that they might want to change. There are lots of different ways to use Wordle and here are some more. http://issuu.com/ugaetc/docs/thirty_eight_interesting_ways_to_use_wordle_i/1

6. Tikatok: http://www.tikatok.com (Free) Here students can create their own ebooks. A teacher uploads a roster of their students and they each get a username and password. From any computer, home or at school, the students can create ebooks. You can also send them to their families and if the parents want to purchase it they have that option too!

7. Discovery Education: http://www.discoveryeducation.com (Paid) I use this site all the time as it doesn’t just have science but math, reading, social studies too! All the curriculum for each state is matched to the states standards and recently also to the common core. Short video clips are a great way to engage students for a new unit or for them to review a topic. DE has more to offer then just video clips but lesson plans, class assignments, quizzes etc!

8. Wallwisher: www.wallwisher.com (Free) This site is easy to manage and a great way for students to complete exit slips or to get their thoughts on a topic. They have to be able to summarize their thoughts in less than 160 characters so it makes for great way to have students synthesize information!

9. Prezi: http://prezi.com (Free) Prezi is a great way to present information differently. It is similar to PowerPoint but what makes it better (in my opinion) is that Prezi is more fun to create and engages the audience more. “The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and the connections between them. The results are visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.” (From about-prezi.com)

10. Edmodo: http://www.edmodo.com (Free) Edmodo is a classroom community! You can create groups for your class and have online discussions. If you want more individualized groups then you can create small groups for example for novel studies or book clubs. You can post questions, for students to answer or assignments. Assignments can include videos and articles links. You can create polls for students to vote on topics. You can also grade right on the site but it is private so only that student can see it.

There are sites such as http://pbworks.com that I loved using but have been blocked at school recently. I know there are other great sites that I haven’t tried such as www.Kerpoof.com (the next website I will be learning and trying). If you have a site that you use often in your classroom, I would love to hear about it and how you use it!