Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Homework Reminder

Many students struggle with Executive Functioning.  According to WebMD, "Executive Function is  a set of mental skills that help you get things done. These skills are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe. Executive function helps you: Manage time. Pay attention."

One option for helping students that struggle with managing time or paying attention is My Homework Reminder

My Homework Reminder is an extension that provides a simple way for students and teachers to create reminders and to-do lists from within the Chrome browser. Because it is a Google Extension, users can quickly add items, create due-dates, and view completed assignments without having to disrupt what they are currently working on.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Misunderstood Minds

In 2002, PBS aired a 90-minute story called "MisUnderstood Minds". It is a documentary about kids that struggle with learning disabilities. It discusses some of their struggles, successes and failures. It is worth the time to watch. The information shared in this video is still relevant, even 15 years later.

PBS also created a companion site to the publication: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds/intro.html

Throughout the site there are some very interesting "Try It Yourself" links. The links provide you with a very eye-opening, insightful look into what some of our kids struggle with every single day. They give you a great look into what an individual who struggles with focus and attention sees and/or hears when they are faced with different situations.

Please check out the webpage and "Try It Yourself" for some great insight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Google URL Shortener

Some of the greatest learning materials are now available online. Websites can be long and complicated for students to type or remember. One way to help with this is to use a URL Shortener.

Google has a URL Shortener: https://goo.gl/

With the Google version your shortened URLs are saved and can be used over and over again. It is quick and simple.
Create a shortened URL
  1. Visit the Google URL shortener site at goo.gl.
  2. If you aren’t signed in, click the Sign in button in the top right corner.
  3. Write or paste your URL in the Paste your long URL here box.
  4. Click Shorten URL.

goo.gl URL Shortener also has a Chrome Extension. The Extension shortens the URL of the webpage you are currently on. It is quick and convenient. In the extension settings you can also grant access to add the shortcut to your goo.gl dashboard.  The Chrome Extension also generates a QR code. QR codes are another quick and easy way to help our kids get to the correct website, but that is for another blog post :).

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Android Apps Are Coming To The Chromebook In 2017

The district that I work in does not have many Chromebooks, but I know that many schools do.  Attached is a link to an article in Forbes titled, Android Apps Are Coming To The Chromebook In 2017.  There is some good information in the article that I thought was worth sharing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Set a Time Limit on an iPad

As discussed in a previous blog post, Guided Access can be used to set time limits on iPads, while locking a student into a specific app.  This is a great option for academic purposes.

To create a time limit for a break time or a free choice period, here is an additional option.

How to Set a Time Limit on an iPad

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Many schools are not a 1:1 device environment.  Most schools do not have a whole classroom set of iPads, laptops or desktops even.  This makes it difficult to do quick, whole class, electronic assessments.  

Enter Plickers!

Plickers is a set of cards that can be used to provide real-time formative assessment data within your limited tech environment.  Plickers can be used for quizzes, entrance/exit tickets or to quickly check for understanding during a lesson.  They can be used in any classroom setting including math, art or physical education.  Plickers provides a chance for all students to engage in learning without feeling self-conscious.  
Plickers is easy to setup and use.  Teachers need a computer, projector, tablet or smartphone and a wifi signal.  Students need a paper Plickers card.  
Each Plicker card is a unique visual code.  The code has 4 sides, each lettered A, B, C, and D.  The student holds the card so that the letter they choose to answer is at the top of their card.  Teachers gather the answers instantly, using the Plickers app on a wireless device.  Scan the room.  You have just collected the answer to a question and can tell exactly which student got it correct and which student needs additional help in this area.  

With a little bit of set up and planning you have a quick interactive way to check for knowledge and receive real time information from your class.  

I found a great YouTube tutorial for setting up and using Plickers.  It contains step by step information and great tips and suggestions, all in under 9 minutes.  

Get your set of Plicker cards today!  
To get the app follow the links for the App Store or Google Play here.  
For additional information, check out the FAQ’s page or the Help page on the Plickers site.  

For great ideas and inspiration you can also follow Plickers on Twitter or check out additional YouTube videos.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dyslexic Font

Do you have Dyslexia?  Your brain can sometimes do funny things to letters.
OpenDyslexic tries to help prevent some of these things from happening. The letters in the OpenDyslexic font have heavy weighted bottoms to add "gravity" to each letter. The weighted letters help you quickly figure out which part of the letter is down. It can help keep your brain from rotating letters. Consistently weighted bottoms can also help prevent line jumping while reading. The unique shapes of each letter has been proven to help prevent confusion through flipping and swapping.