Tag Archives: education

Tech Tool: Tackk

Tool: TackkTACKK

Cost: Free

What it does: Create digital “posters” or pages that are easy to create and navigate. A variety of media and web tools can be incorporated as well. Other users can use the commenting feature to add content, comments or questions.

Integration Ideas: 

  • Use it to gather resources for a lesson
  • Flipped Learning
  • Post a video or article, have students respond to a question asking them to provide evidence(web resource, image, video, etc) for their response.
  • Students can use Tackks to share information
  • Share classroom information with parents
  • Present information to students
  • Share students work and connect with others
  • Create Digital Portfolios

Accounts for Students?

  • You don’t technically need an account to publish a Tackk, although any that are created without an account expire after 7 days.
  • Students under 13 can publish anonymously through the use of a code, provided by their teacher. If they want to go back and edit, they must be using the same device they created it on. Learn more here.

Example: Here is a Tackk I created to share information about TPACK. I used it for a course that I teach online, before using the Tackk I had all of the information on a single page in the course space, I thought the Tackk made the content more visually engaging and allowed others to easily add resources or comments.

What I love about it…

  • Can easily be embedded in other webpages, blogs, or wikis
  • You can embed many other tools (find some options here)
  • Ease of creation and navigation



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20/20/20 Morning in the Classroom

About two weeks ago I discovered the 20/20/20 morning through Robin Sharma. The idea behind this is that you wake up at 5:00 AM, do twenty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of planning/writing, and then twenty minutes for your own learning. You start your day with a ritual, and I’m finding that over the past two weeks I have adjusted this ritual to meet my needs and situation.

I am blown away by the changes that it has lead to for me and it’s only been two weeks. I’m writing daily and the time for my own learning has been amazing. For example, I signed up for a MOOC-Ed for the second time, first time around I only participated in the first week, but this time, I’ve been an active participant and I’m getting a lot of the course. The main reason being, those 20 minutes gave me the time to get invested in the course, so now I’m checking in more often.

I’ve started thinking, what if schools started their days like this? (Except the 5 AM part!) What if students came into the class, did twenty minuets of some type of movement, twenty minutes of writing, and then twenty minuets on the topic of their choice? Maybe not even 20 minutes of each…but ten? I know that time is very precious in the classroom, but I wonder if it would lead to students being more productive and on task? Giving them a solid transition between home and school?

I think back to my own classroom where the first half-hour of the day was when students settled in, did morning work and had breakfast…I had that half hour to use and this would have fit in nicely during that time.

I’m really curious has to how this would play out in a classroom and the affect it would have on students, here are some of my wonderings:

  • Would students be more engaged throughout the day?
  • Will it help them focus on school, rather than what happened on the bus or at home that morning?
  • Is there really time for something like this in a classroom with all of the other demands?
  • Would it inspire students to write more?
  • Would it inspire students to find a passion?
  • How would it affect their learning?

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#28daysofwriting, Day 7, What I’ve Learned so far

When I first signed up for the #28daysofwriting challenge, it was on whim…one of those things that I thought would be a great idea and while I always have the best intentions, I was worried that I was setting myself up to fail….but here we are day seven and I have published something everyday. It’s been a fun journey and I’m excited for what the next three weeks will bring!

Here’s what I’ve learned so far: 

  • I’m not the only one, as I read through other 28 day posts, I noticed a few people shared being nervous about putting things out that weren’t perfect and that it’s a challenge to write consistently.
  • There are many places to look for inspiration, I was over thinking things greatly!
  • Not every post is going to be perfect, and that is ok.
  • I think I was getting stuck on writing for other people because I want to be supportive and create a resource for others, but I’m learning that my blog can be a place for me to dig deeper into my interests and learning as well. Maybe it can be a mixture of both?
  • I’m on twitter more, and I feel like having a focus on twitter has helped me utilize it more effectively. While I enjoy scrolling through, sometimes it can be overwhelming so I don’t get too much out of it. But when I get on and specifically look at the #28daysofwriting content, I’m more likely to engage with people, and follow the links.

Moving forward here are some of my goals: 

  • Right now, this gets pushed to the end of my to-do list (at least it’s not getting pushed off, like it used to be!), this means when I’m writing, I’m exhausted. I want to try to write earlier in the day, move it to one of the first things on my list.
  • While I’ve been reading many of the other #28daysofwriting posts, I haven’t commented. My goal for this next week is to try to comment on at least three other blogs(bonus if I can do one a day!).
  • I want to set up a flipboard to organize my twitter feed.

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28 Day Challenge…Here we go

On a whim I decided to join Tom Barrett’s 28 days of writing challenge….yesterday.

It’s a stretch for me….a big stretch, this blog has been in the back of my mind for three years now, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do…but when the to-do list gets going, this gets pushed to the bottom.

But now..I have to do it, 28 minutes a day, for 28 days. I’m a little nervous I’ve set myself up to fail, but at the same time hopeful it will turn into something positive and move this blog to the top of the to-do list daily.

I figured since I decided to do this so last minute I would use todays time to list out some ideas, think about the purpose of this blog and what I hope to accomplish through this blog.

First, the purpose: To support teachers with resources, ideas and encouragement for making changes in their classroom.

Second, What I hope to accomplish: I hope to become a safe place that teachers can come to, where they will feel accepted and supported as they think about new ideas or look for new things to try.

Some ideas: 

  • Coaching Course…experiencing being a newbie again
  • Teaching Online…what I’ve learned (making the transition from face-to-face 5th graders, to teaching adults online)
  • Tools
    • Google
    • Explore a variety of Web 2.0 Tools, I have an ever growing list of ones that I have not yet had a chance to explore
    • iPad Apps, I really need to explore these more
  • Making Changes
  • My Goals as an eCourse Facilitator
  • How I hope to change my courses
  • Find quotes/images to use as writing prompts

That’s all I have so far, I’m looking forward to more coming through as we get going. I’m also hoping that through these 28 days, I learn what works for me when it comes to blogging and how I can move forward to make this a useful resource.

I’m nearing the end of my 28 minutes…although this first round I let myself get a little distracted, and probably didn’t use time most efficiently, I think I have a good direction and I’m excited for the month!

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Common Core Inspiration?

As I began to develop a course on the Common Core, I wanted it to be positive. I didn’t want to focus on all of the negativity that surrounds Common Core…and I have to say, I am finding this extremely common-core1challenging!  I’m not saying that the resources aren’t out there….I see many blogs creating and sharing resources, but I was looking for a quick inspirational movie or picture.

There are so many inspirational movies and posts about 21st Century Learning, these get us excited and motivated to make changes and try new things…where is that kind of thing for Common Core?

I understand that the Common Core isn’t perfect and that there is still a way to go….but all of the negativity is not going to help our students or teachers make this transition.

I was able to find this video, after a long time of searching and trying many different key words, but this isn’t even truly what I was looking for:



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Reading Reflection: The Connected Educator

I recently started the Connected Educator by Sheryl Nusssbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. I’ve been fortunate enough to connectededtake ecourses from both of them through Powerful Learning Practice. They have both inspired and supported me in so many ways, so I was very excited to read their book.

After completing the first two chapters one thought that kept going through my mind is that all preservice teachers should be reading this bookIt sets it up so clearly what it means to be a connected educator and how important it is to be a part of multiple communities. I can think of many instances in my first year of teaching that I would have liked to turn to a personal learning network for support and ideas especially because I was still getting to know many of my colleagues and building relationships. (Don’t get me wrong, I had incredibly supportive coworkers, but when I was  still building trust, I didn’t always feel comfortable asking certain questions.)

One aspect of the first chapter that has really hit home for me is the DIY mentality that Sheryl and Lani talk about. I took some time off from education to be with my son, while I had the best intentions to stay on top of things, being a new parent became my main focus for a while. Now that life has calmed down a bit and I’ve rediscovered my passion for education, all of my learning has been DIY. I try to get on twitter at least once a day, I’ve been reading blog posts again and I’ve signed up for several newsletters, all of these things have helped me catch up and stay current with all that is going on.

Throughout reading Chapter 4, I found myself highlighting and agreeing with a lot of it. The main focus of this chapter is building relationships and how important they are if we want to begin to change our schools. This one quote really struck me, in a section talking about making changes, how it affects us to let go of a practice and the importance supporting one another:

“Working in teams ensures that individual issues are addressed rather than ignored  often without putting at risk the speed of adoption, morale, or achievement.  Make time for members in your learning community to talk through and adjust to change initiatives and the transformation taking place in order to build a community that will last and be effective.”

This is so important and I think it is a vital part of the process that gets forgotten when changes are being globalconnimplemented. Many times teachers are told how they have to change their teaching practice and how they feel about this change is not considered or addressed.

Another aspect of this chapter that I thought was really important was the idea that if we want our students to be connected global citizens, we have to model this for them. I think this was an area I fell short of when I was working through my teaching transformation and I’m sure if I was still in the classroom I would be working towards this. Our connections as teachers give our students ready made connections in a safe network. By showing them how we built trust with our PLN, we are modeling safe relationships and the power of reaching out and making connections.

As I read chapter 5 I was introduced to a tool that I haven’t used before and other ways I could expand the uses of tools I use already. I found Sheryl and Lani’s advice very practical and Sheryl makes a great point when she says:

“However, I feel it is a disservice to children when educators become so enthralled with the tools that they lose sight of what is most important-the learning. Our focus should always be on what we can do with the tool. Tools should be used to serve the learning. Blink, and online tools change, so be careful where you invest your time.”

While this points out the importance of mindfully using tools, for me it also brings up the importance of teaching students how to be adaptive, tools are constantly changing. We don’t know what tools our students are going to be using years from now. This is the primary reason I introduced new tools to my student by letting them explore and learn on their own. I would do a short quick lesson on the main points and then give them time to play.

The last few chapters focus on creating a learning network and community for yourself and your school. They realistically bring up all aspects of developing a Connected Learning Community, and how you can push past obstacles and encourage the development of this community.  The advice and resources come from Lani and Sheryl’s direct experience with building and supporting Connected Learning Communities, so you know it has been successfully applied in real situations.

In the beginning of this post I said all preservice teachers should read this book, after completing the book, I think anyone involved in education would benefit from reading this book. For teachers there is practical advice on growing their network and how they can use that network to support their teaching. The activities at the end of each chapter ease the reader into becoming a Connected Educator and help educators that are new to the tools feel comfortable with exploring. For administrators and leaders, the final chapters are key in supporting the development of a Connected Learning Community. If you’re looking to change the culture of your classroom or school, this book will be a valuable tool! 

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National Poetry Month: Web 2.0 Poetry~ Voki


Another Web 2.0 tool that can be used to share poetry is Voki. Voki allows students to create an avatar, chose a background, and record their voice(or use a computer generated voice). This is a great compromise when you are not able to post videos of your students to the internet.

Here are some ideas to try for Poetry Month: 

  • Have student chose a favorite poem and recite it. This allows students to practice fluency and gives them a creative option to share their favorite poem. Voki is asking people to submit their favorite poems in Voki form in honor of National Poetry Month. You can even find examples on their post
  • Chose a historical character and write a poem from their point of view explaining an event in history.
  • Have students chose their favorite form of poetry and record a Voki, then have their classmates listen to the Voki and guess what form they used.
  • Chose a current event to write a poem about, create a character and chose a background that accurately represents the event.
  • Introduce your students to a new poet, poem or poetry form by creating a Voki.
  • Create a digital poetry slam on your class webpage. Have students record original poems, stressing the idea of inflection and portraying emotion through their voice.

If you haven’t used Voki before, they provide a Getting Started Guide and a Voki Classroom Guide. Love the tool and want to use it in other ways? They even have a lesson plan resource guide that includes teacher submitted lessons.

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