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Friday, November 29, 2013

Google Chrome Extension: Voice Comments for Google Drive

For those districts using GAFE (Google Apps For Education) and specifically the ability to collaborate on work with staff and students and who have used the "Comments" part of any document, you might be interested in using "Voice Comments" extension.  With "Voice Comments" you can quickly give and receive feedback on documents within Google Drive.  This extension works well and is easy to use.  A nice newly added touch to Voice Comments is the ability to add external links such as Youtube videos that might just help students get a little more information about their topic.  Give it a try, I think you will be impressed.

1.  First you need to install the extension by going to this link.  Voice Comments
2.  When you first install Voice Comments you will need to click the "Accept" button.

3.  When you first enter the site you will need to click whether you are an educator or not.
4.  You will be asked to pick a file that you want to open.
5.  Once the file is open just highlight a specific area of text.  You can't highlight images though.  Above the highlighted text you will be given 3 options.  The first is to give a voice comment.  The second is to give a comment by typing.  The third is to add a resource to the highlighted area.  Click on any of them.
6.  If you are leaving recorded voice you will need to make sure you allow the site to use your microphone.  Just click "Allow" and "Remember" and then close the window.
7.  You might also get a note at the top to "Allow" or "Deny" in your browser.  Make sure you click "Allow."  I only had to do this once when first configuring Google Chrome.
8.  Just click the "Record" button for voice commenting.
9.  You and your students will just need to click the "Play" button next to the time and you can hear your comments.
10.  The feedback button just lets you type some comments in like you normally would.
11.  The resource button allows you to add links to more information about your students work.
12. On the student's side of things they will go to their Google Drive and check the document that they want to view feedback in.
13.  They will click the "More" button at the top of Google Drive and select the "Open with" option and then select the "Kaizena" option.  Your students will also be asked to go through the configuration process granting permission to use Google Drive and their Microphone.
14.  Your students should now be able to view your comments and add or delete comments themselves.
Comment below describing any experience you may have had with this extension and how you might be using it in your classroom.

Students create graphic/visual reports using Create your Own Museum

Thinkport's "Create your Own Museum" is a great way for students to graphically showcase information that they might have gathered while creating a report for your class.  With the "Create your Own Museum" activity students can upload images that they gather based on some educational concept and then create a museum  that can be printed or emailed.  They can add information to each image to demonstrate their content knowledge and then share it with you as their teacher.  Below is a quick tutorial on how to use "Create your Own Museum."

1. First go to and then click the "Make a New Museum" button.  You might consider having your students create their own account so that they can save their work.

2.  You can use the arrows to select the museum layout that you would want to use.

3.  Now click on one of the gray numbered boxes off to the right of your museum's layout.

4.  Use Thinkport's Image library or your own.  Most likely your students will want to upload images they found on the web.  Click the "Upload New Image" link found directly under the "My Idea Box" radio button.
5.  Fill out the information as needed.  The neat thing is that you can add searchable keywords, grade levels, and subject areas to your images.  Click "Browse" to find your image on the computer.  Once you have added the image click "Begin Upload."
6.  You should now see data about your image.  Just close this window and go back to your museum page.
7.  Now when you click the "My Idea Box" radio button and the "Find Image" button your new images should be visible and ready to use.
8.    Your students will title the image as well as give it a description.  Click the "Save and Exit" button when you are ready.  Have them create an image for all 15 museum slots.
9.  At the top of the page you should now see where you can open a gallery, save the current one, print it, or even reset the whole thing back to new.
Your now have a digital museum that can show case their work.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Students create stories, drawings, cards and movies using Kerpoof.

Kerpoof is a website that is owned by Walt Disney.  It allows students to access their creative side and allowing them to share their work with others.  Kerpoof has many built in scenes and ideas to help students come up with a story that they can be proud of.  They can then take their work and share it with parents or the teacher.

Teachers can give students an opportunity to create a movie that involves writing, sequencing events and thinking about cause and effects.  I use Kerpoof with my special needs student that we are home schooling this year.  He enjoys taking the 100's of images and creating birthday and holiday cards, animated stories with music and sound.  There is also an activity called "Spell a Word" which will pull out images based on words that they are spelling.

Below is a tutorial on what you will find if you decide to use Kerpoof with your students.

1.  First go to and you will see the 6 educational ideas you can use Kerpoof for.

2.  As you start to spell words images of possibilities start to show up.  Once the word is complete you will be left with images that you can grab and put in your picture.

3.  If you are creating a story you will be asked to choose a story line. There are quite a few creative ideas to choose from.  Use the yellow arrow to scroll through all of the story line options.  Click on your story choice.
4.  Next you will be asked to choose the story's scenery.  Just click on the one that you are interested in. 
5.  Once you are looking at your scene you can now choose some objects to add to your story.  Just drag the image from the right column onto a location of the scene.
6.  Below your story you will now see some methods on how you want your objects to act on the set.  You can have them move across the scene, say something, turn invisible, and rotate.  You can also have the entire scene perform a task, like showing titles, playing back ground music, fade to black or cause weather to happen.  These methods though change with the different scenes and story lines.
7.  Just drag the methods to your timeline or image.  You will get pop up messages asking for more specifics as you add methods to your story.  Below is a picture of a pop up message for playing a song during your scene.
8.  On the left hand column you will see where you can email or print your movie.  Just play with the different functions until you and your child become professionals.
9.  With Kerpoof you can easily create cards for special events or occasions.  Just select the template you want to start with.
10.  One of my favorite parts to Kerpoof is the Story book your students can write.  Just have them choose a story line.
11.  They just need to type their story into the "Text" boxes and drag and drop backgrounds and images to their pages.  Like all Kerpoof activities they can then save and email their finished products.
If you get a chance to use Kerpoof in the classroom, comment below on how it went and how we can use creative tools to go even further.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reteach and Remediate Math lessons using Hippo Campus

Hippo Campus is truly an excellent tool for helping teachers create reteach and remediate lesson for their students.  Hippo Campus has lessons that are interactive with video and exercises that are very well done.  The terminology used is excellent and easy to understand.  You can watch video of a teacher giving a graphic lesson and then practice the concept taught right away. 

The Math lessons range from basic comprehension of mathematical ideas all the way to higher Algebraic and Geometric concepts.   Hippo Campus also embeds some of the lessons straight from Kahn academy.

Your students can also "Launch" a lesson that can be tailored to them.

Also note that there are many more educational content areas that Hippo Campus has lessons but I find that their math content is the most extensive.  (Areas:  Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Economics, History, Psychology, Sociology, English, and Religion)

Below is a tutorial and a show and tell as to what you might find at Hippo Campus.

1.  Go to

2.  On the left column you will see all of the mathematical concepts that you can learn and that have tutorials and guided practice.  In included the scroll bar so that you can see there are plenty more.


3.  Just click on any of the topics and you will get a list of sub-content.  For example if I click on "Developmental Math-Beginning Algebra" you will see,

4.  Now when you click on say "Solving Multi-Step Inequalities" you will get video that really does an excellent job a slowly speaking to student who might not currently understand the concept.
5.  Now if you want more than just a training tutorial click the "Launch a Course" button at the top.
6.  This will take you to a list of full semester courses with the same great content from above.
7.  Click on a course and then click the "Click to Launch" button.
8.  Your computer will now open up a new window with an entire course outline.  Click on any concept.
9.  You will now see another window open that contains a lesson, guided practice and review quiz over each mathematical concept.
I see students who struggle with math being able to go through a course and really get some extra help on difficult math concepts using Hippo Campus.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Use Rewordify with your students to improve literacy

I came across a neat site last night called Rewordify.  This is a pretty neat idea and I can't believe it hasn't been created before now.  Have you or your students ever found an article that can be hard to read because much of the vocabulary consists of words you might not know or understand?  Rewordify allows you to copy and paste text or even link to a website and it will rewrite and simplify the text.  It will highlight everything it changes and allow you to see the definition to the words.  As a teacher you can then even take it another step further because the sight will allow you to create a word and definition/synonym list that can then be printed and used as a study guide.  This website is really worth looking into.  There is a video from their site at the bottom of my tutorial that give you more of a visual.


2.  Copy and past text or a website URL into the text box.  Then click the "Rewordify text" button.

3.  You will now notice that some of the text is highlighted.  Those are the words that have been changed and simplified.

4.  If you click on the highlighted area it will show you the original word.

5.  As part of Rewordify you also get information about the text you are reading.  You can see that it will tell you how many letter, words and reword (word that have been changed).  One of the neat aspects of this chart is that it also lets you know the reading level of the text.

6.  You can also click the "Save & share" button which will generate a link to that exact rewordified text.

7.  Rewordify also can take those words and create definition and word lists, quizzes, flashcards, worksheets, etc... with just a single mouse click.

8.  Below is an example of a "List with Definitions."

9.  At the top you will see a "Settings" button that will allow you to decide how you want your highlights to be.  There are quite a few options worth exploring.  The default for me is enough, but you might want to change settings that might fit your or your student's needs.

Here is a video tutorial on using "Rewordify."

Leave a comment to let me know how you are using in your classroom.

Monday, November 18, 2013 online children story books, poems, and songs.

Mightybook is a pretty cool website, not really a Web 2.0 too, but a great website that has quite a few children books that are read and animated for students.  There are many poems, songs and short stories that students would love to see and read.  There are many other activities that students can participate in as well, such as educational puzzles, art and games.

Unfortunately you need to subscribe to get all of the content for an OK price.  I am a big fan of free content, but some content is worth buying and Mightybook does well at producing valuable educational content  The material also spans across grade levels K-4.


Below are some screenshots of what you might see when using their site.