Monday, February 29, 2016

Kiddle = Kids + Google

The Google search bar has changed the way we find things on the internet, and has become so popular that the title has actually become a verb used in every day language. Don't know something? Then you simply "Google" it. Google has everything, and for teachers, sometimes we don't want kids looking at everything. Sometimes we want kids to be able to search for information about items we are discussing in class, but only want to be able to find things that are kid appropriate. Well Kiddle may offer a better, safer way to search for items on the internet without ALL the results presented.

Earlier this month, was released. This site uses the power of Google to search for items on the internet, but only produces results that are filtered through Google's own "safesearch" and also human editors to weed out inappropriate content. The results typically include simple language, as well as images to help sort through the content. While the results are much "cleaner" than a typical Google search, it doesn't catch 100% of things that a teacher or parent might not want to pop up, but it is definitely much safer than an unfiltered search.

So if you have kids doing research, may just be one of the safer starting points for them to search articles, images, news articles and videos. (Note, the site uses the .co ending, and not .com.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Using Google Forms to Create Poems

At Alcott Elementary, Mrs. Amici's 5th graders recently completed a Google Form to answer the question, "What makes you special?" Students were instructed to share the first positive thing they thought of about each of their classmates. This was accomplished by Mrs. Amici creating a Google Form with every student listed.

"Using Google Forms made the process of collecting student responses much easier," said Mrs. Amici.

Under each student name, the class had to write their one positive word to describe their classmate and submit the Form.  Mrs. Amici then shared the collected positive words with each student and they wrote and decorated a "What makes you special?" poem.  The poems were then shared with each student and parents to celebrate how each student is special and unique.

Google Form used to collect Student Responses

Google Sheet used to Compile Student Responses

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Google Art Project Combines Art, Life and History

Google Art Project is a collection of digitized art from around the world.  The Art Project provides users with 738 collections from around the world including 13,106 artists and 245,009 items showcased in the collections. Users can search by Collections, Artists or Artworks as well as by featured Projects such as Art Projects, Historic Moments and World Wonders.

For example, search Art Projects, Collections and choose MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art. The Collections gives users a description of the museum, any available Exhibits, a Museum View which allows users to virtually walk through the museum, and all Items available in the digital collection.  The first piece shown is "The Starry Night." When the user chooses the artwork, the artwork appears, a description is available in the details as well as any available videos and audio files and a map of where the artist lived. 

Another example, search World Wonders, and navigate to the Grand Canyon on the map.  The collection will open to show scenery from the area in Street View as well as images including paintings and photographs from the location.  

If you have not checked out Google Art Project we strongly recommend doing so. It is a powerful way to connect art, life and history.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom

For years teachers have displayed their students' work on school walls and bulletin boards. However with the new digital age and more schools going paperless student work has become more easily shareable, accessible and more easily organized.  

Both students and educators need to share their achievements and to reflect on what they learn. Portfolios provide them with the ability to quickly and easily collect, organize, and share their work with others.

Schoology makes this feature fun and streamlined with their new e-PORTFOLIO feature. Located in your Schoology personal profile, portfolios make it easy to showcase students’ work, interests, and talents.
Above is a sample collage of items that were easily shared in the student’s Schoology portfolio. 

If you would like to try the ePortfolio feature but would like a help getting started, please contact your EdTech Integration Coach.

Monday, February 8, 2016

EDCITE Digital Content Reviews Are Now Published at

During the 2014-2015 school year, over 70 Westerville teachers participated in EDCITE:  Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence project.  The intent of this Straight A grant funded project was to address the critical task of transitioning Ohio's school districts from print to digital curriculum. Through the EDCITE collaboration of five school districts, we were able to develop reviews of 300 core course products that will help educators make informed content selection decisions.

After wrapping up the EDCITE grant, we have transitioned to SpotOn™ The Classroom Content Selector ( SpotOn is an initiative of The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology, and is separate from the Ohio Resource Center, who we worked with primarily during EDCITE. SpotOn will use the reviews and rubrics developed during EDCITE and will continue reviewing digital content through academically validated methods. By fall 2016, SpotOn will host reviews of many types of K-12 digital content including paid and free material, ranging from core-courses to games and apps.

You can see the reviews today at We are adding new reviews continuously so be sure to visit the website often to find ideas for new resources for your classroom. SpotOn is continuing to contract with educators to perform reviews. If you or a certified educator you know is interested, please contact the Director of Professional Learning, Tanya Parisi at  

Monday, February 1, 2016


BLOGUARY Take the #29daysofwriting challenge

Have you started blogging? Why not?

One of the biggest reasons people don't blog, is because they never get started. Just like any good discipline, you need to set out your own personal expectations for what you want to achieve, and then stick to it. Blog posts don't have to be a monumental event. The idea of a blog is to record things that you are doing, share ideas that you have about many different topics, or pose a question for a readership. That's it. It doesn't have to be a dissertation that will be life changing for the reader. In fact, often times blog readers are looking for shorter snippets of what's going on or ideas over a long formal essay. So challenge yourself to just start writing. You'll be amazed what you can do if you just make time to do it. And it doesn't have to take a lot of your time...

Staffrm is offering an incentive to get started. They have started "Bloguary" where they are encouraging people to just get on and blog every day for the month of February. Because this is a leap year, February has 29 days, and they are encouraging you to set aside 29 minutes every day to post a blog. And if you do, and include the hashtag #29daysofwriting, Staffrm is offering a mug for you.

That's right. A free mug.

And one thing that is guaranteed to motivate teachers, its free stuff. 

So set aside some time to get your ideas out of your head, and share your thoughts with your blog followers. And if you haven't started a blog yet, click on, because its already associated with your Google account. (or click on one of literally hundreds of other blog hosting sites)