September 6, 2014

Five for Friday... Tech Style!

Hi, Friends!  I have been sharing my passion for teaching on social media for a while now, and by far and away, the most asked questions I get revolve around technology integration. 

 I'm going to take a few minutes of your weekend to share some of my favorite tech-related tidbits that I utilized in my classroom this week.

1.  Camera/DoodleBuddy/Educreations
That's right... My favorite app to use with my students is actually the camera.  You can do so much with the camera.  For one of our very first lessons on using the iPads, we used the camera to take selfies to use for our home screen images.  You can imagine the results.  We have some future photographers, some silly posers, and some pictures of just eyeballs.  They may not be perfect, but they are their own.

We also used the camera to go on a color scavenger hunt during our color unit.  Each group was assigned a color, and they had to find 4 things around the room in that color to take pictures of.  The kids went wild for this activity!  We are still learning, but the results were fabulous.

We also use DoodleBuddy and Educreations a lot in our classroom.  This week, we used DoodleBuddy to illustrate our vocabulary words for the week.  Each table group was given a vocab word, and they had to show and present their work at the end of the activity.

Funny kindergarten side note... One of our words was brave (to which my boys would always yell out, "It means to face your fears!!!").  One of my little guys drew a great picture of The Undertaker (yes, from WWE fame), and said, "I am brave to draw this picture of The Undertaker, because he scares me!"  Out of the mouths of babes. :)

Educreations works the same way, but it doesn't include all of the fun stamps and stencils.  There is a place for both in the primary classroom.  We use both equally.

2.  PicCollage
After taking the pictures of our assigned colors, I reflected one student's iPad onto our big screen.  We use the Reflector app to do this in our classroom, but it could also be done with an Apple TV.  We downloaded PicCollage from the App Portal, and then went to town creating a collage of our colors.  The kids chose backgrounds, played with the pictures, and some even added text.  The kids GOT IT in no time.  How much more engaging is this over a worksheet?  I need no answer there. :)

Here are some examples of this activity.  Aren't they precious?!?!

This guy had the color blue... I love that he took a picture of his BLUE shoe. :)

Can you find the text on this collage?  How creative?!?!

This little girl had blue also, and she proceeded to take a picture of my maxi skirt.  LOL...

3.  KidBlog
Quite possibly my favorite app to use with my students is KidBlog.  I've been using KidBlog in my classroom for a long time.  We have always done it on the laptops, and boy...let me tell you... It's Simple Simon on the iPads!  What would have taken a full hour on the laptops took what felt like a second.

Again, I reflected a student's iPad onto the big screen, and I was able to walk the class through the process a step at a time.

Side note--I cannot stress how important it is to baby step all of this.  Don't throw a ton at your students, whether they are in kindergarten or fifth grade, the first time they are using devices.  Although you will likely find they are digital natives, meaning this is just what they know, it will make the management and your sanity a lot better if you baby step it.  They will take off, just don't throw it all at them at once.

Anyway...  The objective of this assignment was to create a self-portrait in DoodleBuddy.  Then, we went into KidBlog to upload the image.  If you think about it, we are just starting to write in our journals at this point in the year.  We are focusing on matching a picture to a prompt.  While this student blog post is just an image (which they can upload from their device using the KidBlog app), it is so very developmentally appropriate for this time of year in kindergarten.

The kids were so proud to be published authors!

This week, we will be KidBlogging at two times, and maybe more.  We will begin to focus on community helpers this week, so our blog posts will focus on how people can help their communities.  

As the year goes on, we will baby step into the kids writing independently and with choice on their KidBlogs.  I envision it being part of their morning work options as the year goes on.

If you haven't, check out KidBlog for your classroom.  Whether you are a kindergarten teacher or a high school teacher, it can work for you.  

4.  eBackpack
Our district has adopted eBackpack as our assignment submission app this school year.  This week, the students learned how to upload an assignment to eBackpack.  To set it all up, I created an assignment.  The assignment was pushed out to my students, and then they uploaded it to eBackpack.  While I am not giving them assignments to be graded at this point, it has been very helpful to use to get projects they are doing on their devices.  It's extremely simple to use, for both the kids and me.

If you don't have eBackpack, look into Showbie.  Showbie does the same thing, and it's free.  

Yesterday, I was featured on Sheila Jane Teaching's BlogTalk Radio show.  I went into much more detail on my beliefs on using technology with even the youngest students, PBL, and lots of stuff in between.  Go to her blog to read all about the interview

You can listen to the actual interview here!

Check Out Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Sheila Jane Teaching on BlogTalkRadio


  1. thanks for sharing about kid blog! I used to use edublogs when I was in the classroom, but their dashboard was always so confusing to me. I might see if I can try kidblog with some fourth and fifth graders this year!
    BigTime Literacy

  2. Thanks so much for sharing all your great tips and apps. We have gone 1/1 iPads this year and I was feeling a little unsure for ways to incorporate it into our everyday learning. Just fantastic!

    Luv My Kinders

  3. OMGoodness! I love all of these idea, Brittany! I wish we had 1:1 iPads. I'm currently working on securing at least three/four. I can't wait to read your interview! GREAT ideas!

    One Sharp Bunch