My Simple Show

My Simple Show

my+simpleshow+logo.png (235×86)

I was at a training a few weeks ago and saw an awesome, amazing tool that teachers and students can use to create presentations. So what was this amazing tool? MySimpleShow! I immediately started to play with the tool and made a video about Student Centered Learning. It was so simple and easy, I decided to use it with my 5th grade students as an end of unit assessment on digital safety. Their assignment was to create a show to teach their parents about internet safety. To ensure students were working safely, I created an account and had all of the students use the same account. Here is one example of my students’ work. I also found this example on YouTube that shows an example from older students.


Here is a quick tutorial I found online.


So let’s break it down by steps.


  1. Log in to
  2. Click create new movie
  3. Your options are to import a PPT file or write a script
    1. We chose to write a script
  4. There are multiple themes you can chose between business, education, or personal
    1. We chose a blank template
  5. Type your script using the template provided
  6. Click cho0se visuals
    1. You can only have 7 visuals per slide
    2. The words that are underlined have pictures available
    3. If you do not want a certain word included, click the word and click the X above the word
    4. To select a picture click the word, pictures will automatically show
    5. To look for more pictures, click on the word, then click on the search bar and type in a word to look for
  7. Click choose audio
    1. You can select a voice provided or record your own voice
    2. You can select subtitles on or off
  8. Click finalize video
  9. The link to share the video is the URL at the top.


I found an APP for making postcards a few months ago and wanted to share it with you. This is a simple, fun APP that allows you to create a postcard using a template. Users can add a “stamp” for location, add a picture, and add text all very simply. That is one of the reasons I love and recommend this APP is the simple intuitive-ness of it!

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Displaying image.jpegThey also have a website with directions and information.

Here is their video:

Here are the directions (and if you want a hard copy to share with kids click here):

  1. Open the APP
  2. Select the postcard you want to usesnapnwrite3snapnwrite 2
  3. Touch the + in the upper right corner
    1. Get Automatically
  4. Touch the + in the left middle
    1. Touch the camera
    2. Take a picture of the book
    3. Use photo or retake
    4. Done
  5. Touch the + on the right side
    1. Type your message
    2. Touch Done
    3. You can adjust font, size beside the text area
      1. + larger
      2. – smaller
      3. Font to change the look
      4. Col to change the color
  6. Scribble allows you to write with finger.
  7. Share – Save Image saves it to the iPad

So how could you use this in the classroom?

One of my third grade classes just used it to create postcards about their book Charlotte’s Web. They wrote to a character and made a self to text comparison. Beautiful work!

Other uses could be postcards from historical time periods, letters to parents, field trip reports, pen pal letters, and oh so much more.

Have other ideas of how you could use Snap n Write? Leave them in the comment section!

Research Unit

I am currently building a research unit for grades 3-5 and wanted to share and get some feedback on the unit so far. It is planned as a 5 week unit. I will be teaching the basics of researching, while the grade level teachers cover content and notetaking skills.

Objective: TSWBAT research a topic of choice or assigned by teacher and find reliable sources, use smart search techniques, take notes, cite sources, and keep information organized.

Main ISTE Standard addressed: Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Plan strategies to guide inquiry
Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
Process data and report results

Also touched upon:
Digital Citizenship
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Dates: March  14-April 15 Activities
Week one- reliable sources*digital safety reminders

  • review domain names
  • clues to reliability: domain, dates, contact information
  • wikipedia is not a reliable source- but can lead to reliable sources

Nearpod lesson

Week two- Citations,Creative Commons and Image searching

  • Last, first (date). name of article, source.  
  • if url- (stop at .com, etc)
  • how to search for images with free use, how to cite images
Week three- Book research
  • Using the online card catalog to locate books
  • Nonfiction room set up
  • Index
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright page
  • Locating information, writing specific page numbers
Week four- Smart searching
  • use – to eliminate
  • use “  ” for exact
  • site:edu will look just for edu sites
  • tool- advanced search – can set up last updated, more restrictions
Week four, five- Research and notetaking

Safe search engines: Kiddle, kidrex,, has multiple kid search engines

In order to teach the unit and have students walk away with a reference guide, I created a research workbook. Normally, I am not a paper pencil kinda person, but for this unit and the fact students need to research without me being present to remind them of what we discussed, I felt this was the best way to go. Below is the link. After looking it over, please leave a comment on the blog here about changes, additions, deletions you feel are needed.

Research Workbook

Another vehicle I am using to teach the information is Nearpod. I really like this product because as a teacher I am controlling what students are seeing/doing and I can make interactive lessons that are kinda cool! Again, please review the lessons and give feedback! It is kinda hard to get the full gist of the presentation, since I am not with you to talk through the info…but you can get the idea. I have it set up as homework, so I don’t control the content and progression. Go to at the top where it says JOIN SESSION type in the codes below.

Research week 1 Nearpod code TIZDA

Research week 2 Nearpod code AVPCD

Research week 3 Nearpod code LSIGK

I haven’t completed the Nearpod for weeks 4, 5-6. I will post them here when I get them finished.

So what do you think? Please let me know your thoughts on what has been created and what you think needs to be added. Feel free to use the materials I have created for yourself! Do you have a research unit and want to share? Please do! You can post links here or email it to me and I will add the resources!


Happy teaching and learning!


FETC reflections

Ya know Jetlag? Well I had FETClag. After 3 amazing days and 30,000+ steps I was overwhelmed with amazing-ness! And then Universal for 2 days and 40,000+ steps and then some kinda virus and now finally I am awake and aware and ready to reflect!

Tech Share Live is one of my favorite parts of FETC as it gives you a chance to see the amazing things you couldn’t even imagine (and afford). I also enjoy seeing Adam Bellow sing!

I am not a fan of keynotes…just putting it out there I don’t like crowds and often the keynote speaker at a big conference has nothing to do with education and it confuses me. (Ashley Judd ISTE2013ish) But at FETC the speakers are usually education-based and completely inspiring. And this year was no different! Man I was inspired and excited to listen to Reshma Saujani. The Verizon commercial she played was y inspiration to begin Girls Building STEAM. Reading the #fetc tweets I can see I wasn’t the only one who was excited to hear her story and inspired to go further to get girls into STEAM fields.

I attended several sessions on Digital Safety, as it is a concern for me and one of my topics we cover in-depth throughout the school year. It was great to see Common Sense Media, Digital Passport, and NetSmartz highlighted as well as a few other resources that were new to me for the higher level students.  High School teachers should definately check out It teaches the importance of paying attention while driving. Carnegie Cadets is an elementary resource shared created by Carnegie Melon students. Another one for kids is is a great resource for parents and teachers.

I happen to be a big fan of Diana Rendina and her makerspace. I have begun to dabble in the idea and we are doing a maker unit starting today. She had some amazing ideas in her MakerSpace201 class for organization and thinking about the whole idea. Her resources can be found at and her blog is

Augmented Reality was a big push at FETC. I completely adore my Google Cardboard and other tools. I am still working through how I can used them in the classroom effectively. I went to a great Aurasma session and have great ideas on how to incorporate Aurasma into the 4th grade Social Studies trip to St Augustine!

Can I  just tell you poster sessions are my favorite!!! I presented 2 posters and one concurrent session. i feel posters give you the best networking and also provide great content. If I see a poster session on a topic of interest I get to get more in-depth info on the topic than in a regular session. I can “pick the brain” of a poster presenter much easier than in a big group setting. As a presenter it allows me to hone my message to each person who stops by, giving them what they need and helping me to broaden my thinking as well!

My absolute favorite vendors this year were Imagine Easy, Science4Us, and Nearpod. ImagineEasy has a great bibliography program, among other things, that makes like so much easier! They published my blog post about blogging at conferences, too! This company is a fun group and has great customer interaction! Science4Us is a part of the SpellingCity family. They were kind enough to supply me with giveaways for my STEAM session! Their science lessons are amazing, interactive, and according to some teachers who are using them- addictive to students and teachers! Their team is super responsive and eager to help teachers! Nearpod also gave me some loot to share in my session and gave them MOST COMFORTABLE t-shirt ever! Nearpod is an amazing tool that allows you to share your lessons with students and control the pace of what students see and do! very cool stuff and another amazing customer experience! Notice a connection? All companies with great customer service who are truly interested in what teachers have to say!

I can not wait to use some of the tools and information gained at FETC this year! What were your take-aways? What was a great idea or inspiration you grabbed at the conference? If you were not able to attend FETC, you should check out Twitter and #fetc. Tons of twitter users shared their thoughts and learning during the conference!


I am so excited for this summer and my conferences! I will be learning and sharing at ST4T, ISTE, and ILA. More info to come!

Why I blog and you should too!

Who will read your posts?

  • At first your readers will be just the people you tell about your blog. At first, my blog was only shared with teachers at my school. Then I thought, well if I am doing all this, why not let more people see it. So I started sharing the link in Facebook and with my teacher friends via email. At FETC2014, I entered the Twitterverse and began to share my blog posts with my PLN, through Chats, and with hashtags. The more you promote your blog, the more readers you will reach.
  • My platform, Edublogs, has also promoted my posts on a few occasions, as well as FETC and other conferences I have attended. I share my blog site at each conference presentation I give. Connecting with or writing about a specific company will often get you more attention and draw more readers to your blog.

What platform will you use to publish your blog?

  • I use as my hosting site. It is free, easy, and can be used on a computer, tablet, or phone.
  • Other options include Weebly, Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. If you have GAFE, one of the Apps is Sites. You can use this to build a website where you post your blog. I suggest trying them out and finding what works best for you.

When will you publish at a certain day/time or as the mood strikes?  

  • There are educators who blog daily, like Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers. Vicki Davis, the brains behind Cool Cat Teacher, blogs several times a week. My husband and I agreed on once a week blog posts, if I wrote more I would never get anything else done! Now, every Monday I publish a blog post on my Monday Tech Minute Blog. I share a tool, an idea, or takeaways from conferences I have attended.
  • You can always write when the mood strikes and then schedule posts to publish when you want them live.

Where can I get more info on blogging?

  • If you would like ideas for blogging, search #tribeofbloggers on Twitter. This amazing group of educators are working together to help build blogging communities. There are also lists of educational bloggers to check out from WeAreTeachers, EducatorsTechnology, and of course the bloggers here at Imagine Easy.

Why should you blog?

  • When the blogging idea came around for me I was worried people would consider it bragging or showing off to tell what was going on in my classroom. I realized it is more about sharing my successes and failures with others so they can be inspired, build from my ideas, and in turn share their ideas with others.
  • Blogging helps you become a more reflective practioner of the teaching trade. Even if no one reads my blog I still would write it because I use it to better myself and my understanding of my teaching profession and technology integration.
  • Blogging expands your professional network. You connect with other teachers around the world and build your personal learning network. If someone has already created a how to guide, a rubric, or a lesson plan why should others have to do it again? Even if readers don’t use the products or ideas I share, they still get ideas to build on.   

How do I start?

  • If you aren’t sure about posting online, start with a notebook journal. Keep a list of things that worked and didn’t work.
  • Start with micro-blogging on Twitter. 140 characters keeps you on target with your message.
  • Find a group of people who will be your audience. Keep it small, write from the heart, and when are ready publish to the world.


One Word

I’ve been marinating on my one word the last few days. Words like learner, reflective, and flexible are all things I want to work on and be. But it just wasn’t enough. So here it is…my word: model. That is what I want to do and be this year.

I want to model innovation with my students and teachers. We are starting the year with a maker unit. I am scared and excited all at the same time. The unknown is huge, but the payoff could be even bigger. My students will have to be bold and fearless, and I will have to be supportive and a model of design thinking. For my teachers I want to model innovation through sharing what I am learning by blogging, on Twitter, and through my conferences.

I want to model fairness. My favorite saying is fair is a place where you eat fried Oreos and ride rides, it is not a state of being. So perhaps fairness isn’t the best term. I want to model fairness for students and teachers by giving everyone what they need when they need it. I have pushed some teachers more than others to use technology, present at conferences, and step out of their comfort zone. Others I have moved along more slowly. The same goes with my students. I push some students more in Accelerated Reader, class projects, and activities. I plan to continue pushing those who are ready, and pulling those who are not. I want to be more visible in that approach so students and teachers know what I am doing as see the difference between fairness and equality.

I want to model effectiveness. In my teaching, in my media center, and in my “other duties as assigned”. I want to work smarter, not harder. If it involves a technology tool, then I want to share that tool. If it involves grunt work, then I want to find the best way to do that.

Finally, I want to model happiness. I want to show my joy of learning, of life, and of growing as a professional. It is important for kids to see the joy you can get from reading, learning, and growing. Any time someone asks my mom how she is, she replies “teriifically,wonderfully, fine, thanks!” She says if you say it enough, you will believe it. I am going to model joy and happiness, even when I don’t feel it…until I do feel it!

So there is my word for 2016: model. What’s your word and why?


Reflecting on your teaching and lessons is a powerful, yet simple, act that can improve your practice. We are hitting the mid year mark and I wanted to reflect back on tools, lessons, activities that I have done this year and share some thoughts that may help you as you reflect or plan new units.

1. Innovate like a turtle – Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher

I want to do everything, try everything, teach everything…but I can’t. At Miami Device Vicki Davis shared that she only tries one or two new things each year. That made me stop and think. I want to do so much, but at what cost to me and my students? So I sat on that thought for a bit. And now I admit that if I do all new units, I will not do them all well. Something will fall to the side and not get done and I am not willing to let that happen. My innovations this year are my digital safety unit and maker unit. The rest of the year we will revisit activities from the past- and they will still be new because I haven’t taught them to this particular group of students.

2. Learn from your mistakes

I have always tried to do this with students, but this year it happened during a teaching unit. I realized I tried to do too much and needed to cut out something or never finish. I admitted it, kids said thank you, and we moved on. No big deal! I will go in and edit that unit for future use and make sure next time it is a better fit. I have a bulletin board up now called Fantastic Failures and it features Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and JK Rowling to name a few celebrities who failed and fought back harder. During the coding unit we are doing now and the maker unit next, I feel it is important kids know that they ARE going to make mistakes and they have to learn from them.

3. Be Connected

I can not express enough how much Twitter has improved my professional practice and my teaching. The resources, connections, and ideas I find there are phenomenal and FREE! I went from a chat lurker to a participant now! I share my ideas and get excellent tips from others. I have made connections with teachers around the globe! I am the only media/technology person in my school. It makes it hard to bounce ideas off of people, but on Twitter there are tons of others like me! Want to know more about Twitter check out the Tweechme App by Susan Bearden.

4. Share! Share! Share!

Share what you are doing with building colleagues and the world! Don’t hide your light! Someone else wants to do what you are doing but may need a push or a jump off and you can provide that. I blog and present and Tweet because I realized that as much as I am getting from others, it is also my responsibility to share back.

5. Take time for yourself

That is the hardest thing for me. I always want to do this or that and help them…but if I do for everyone else and not myself, I will not be able to continue. Give yourself permission to be selfish on occasion. Say that nastiest of words.. NO. someone else will pick up the slack, and if not, maybe it wasn’t that important.

6. Brand yourself

I have been adding my name to the world!,,, #mrspmedia Put yourself into the world as a business…because you are one!

7. Be happy

Don’t let others steal your joy! There are people who do not want you to get ahead, to flourish, to be joyful…don’t let them do it! Smile, nod, bless their hearts and move on!


As your reflect on the year so far, what have you learned? What will your resolution for the rest of the school year be? Feel free to share in the comments!


In January I will be presenting at FETC about blogging, Girls Building STEAM, and Helping Teachers with Technology. I will post my presentations and what I learn!

Maker Challenges

In January my 3-5th grade will begin Maker Challenges during Media for 6 weeks. Because my kids often need directions to start, rather than dream it up on their own, I have created a few challenges to pick from as well as open challenges for them to create something on their own.  For each challenge I created, I found a youtube video showing examples and sometimes how it can be made. Here is the Resources page.


Here is the directions form from my Problem Solving Unit Google site.

Maker Challenge



  1. Select your group of 2-3 people. You may work alone if you feel it is needed.

  1. Select a team name. Come up with norms for how your team will work.

Norms are how you will work, how you will make decisions, how you will speak to each other.

  1. Decide on specialties

  • photographer: takes pictures all along during the Challenge

  • materials: gathers the materials and ensures everything is neat and in order

  • communications: makes sure all notes are complete and that Mrs. P is informed

  1. Select a Maker Challenge (remember your norms!)

  1. Use the design thinking model below to begin and continue your process.


Step 1 Arrow, Black, Silhouette     Step 2 Arrow, Black, Silhouette         Step 3 Arrow, Black, Silhouette       Step 4 Arrow, Black, Silhouette Step 5

Imagine         Plan                 Create                    Test                 Adjust


                                                  Test and adjust repeats as necessary.


Use your thinking form while you do the steps above.


Challenge Timeline

week 1: form teams, select name, create norms, view the model challenge


week 2: select challenge, begin design process, submit materials request

HW: research using the resources page


week 3: begin build, test, adjust, reflect

HW: research and adjust plans


week 4: continue build, test, adjust, reflect, complete build

HW: complete reflection form on Edmodo


week 5: create presentation, load presentation to Edmodo

HW: invite parents to Maker Museum


week 6: Maker Museum and share

Below is the thinking form I created for the unit.


Here are the maker challenges I made for my students to select from: maker challenges

I can’t wait to see what happens! Thanks to T.E.R.R.A. for the amazing grant to purchase materials, like sewing machines, recyclable jewelry kit, robots, glitter, glue, googly eyes and more!


Font Candy

So I discovered a handy little APP for making cool posters called Font Candy.

When you open the APP it shows you your pictures.

Select your photo of choice and adjust the photo on the grid.

Click the check when you are done with adjustments.

Double Tap to write your caption. Touch the check when finished.

Now move the caption, select the font, color, etc.

You can touch the right arrow to add more text, artwork, and other editing options.

When you have finished touch the up arrow share button and select how your poster will be shared.  Options include Facebook, mail, message, and making your image into a T-shirt!

Here is my finished product:

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This is a free APP, therefore the watermark on the final products. You can pay to have it removed.


How can we use this in the classroom? The options are limitless. You can even import the final products into other APPS and smash something new!

Have an idea? Share it in the comments below.

Hour of Code: Offline Coding

For many, hour/day/week/month of code is an unrealistic expectation because they don’t have the devices needed in order to participate. Well, coding can be taught without technology. At Miami Device Jenny Ashby (@jjash) pointed out that sequencing, timelines, and even knitting is coding. You can find coding all around the world!

As an introduction to coding, I am doing a week of offline coding activities before we play games and work on Here are the activities we are using Kindergarten – Fifth grades.  If you want to print these activities go to my google drive here.

After the intros we will play! Here is the link to my website with activities per grade level

5th Grade code activity

Materials: 10 cups per group, final picture per group, symbols per group, pencils per group, 3 index cards/paper per group, timer, grid for tables, definition sheet for each group


  1. give color group assignments to students in their classrooms, find tables based on color

  2. stand in groups to hear directions

  3. Introduce vocabulary words: algorithm, coding, debugging, function, parameter

  4. Directions: Today we are participating in the national week of computer science. Students in our school in grades 5-12 are all doing an activity called hour of code. For fifth grade we are playing a game with programming, that does not use computers, yet uses the language and actions of a programmer. The goal of this game is to recreate a picture exactly as it is shown in the time given. Each group will write coded algorithms for a robot to use to recreate a picture. Each group has the following materials: 10 cups, a picture, a grid, a symbols sheet, a pencil, a paper, and a definition sheet. Programmers will write code using the symbols to have a robot create a cup sculpture. There will be 6 sessions of work and plan. Programmers will plan for 7 minutes, robots will build for 5, programmers will debug and write for 3 minutes, robots will build for 2 minutes, then a programmer will join the robot for 2 final minutes to WRITE code and finish the sculpture. Programmers are not allowed to touch the robot, the cups, the grid, or the work area during the task. Programmers are not allowed to talk to the robot at any time. During build time, there must be silence in the room. Robots are not allowed to see the picture of the final product at any time. If cups fall over, the robot is shut down, meaning they can not continue. A monitor will restack all cups and the robot will be restarted. You have all seen the demonstration video, remember the skills you saw and put them into practice. 10 minutes

  5. Groups chose a robot, send to holding area

  6. programmers create algorithms 10 minute plan time

  7. robots enter, programmers step to edge of room, NO talking, robots are given paper with code and must create based on code 7 minute build

  8. at end of 7 minutes robots leave, programmers return and view what robot made, programmers create a debugging algorithm NO TOUCHING – 7 minutes

  9. programmers go to holding area, robots enter 7 minute rebuild begins

  10. At end of 3 minutes robots are joined by 1 programmer who can give 4 additional algorithms in hopes of completing picture- no talking, use codes only- 5 minutes

  11. robots and programmers will all move to edge of room

  12. creations judged based on initial picture


4th Grade Code Activity


The ASCII Code

The ASCII code for capital letters is shown below. Unlike base-10 numbers, which can have the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, binary (base-2) numbers can only have the digits 0 and 1 (we usually call the binary digits bits). On this cheat-sheet card, the white squares represent 1 and the black squares represent 0.


Using this card, you can see that the word “CAT” would be spelled 01000011 (C) 01000001 (A) 01010100 (T). ASCII is also able to encode lower-case letters, spaces, and some punctuation, so you can refer students who are interested in those to a complete ASCII table.

Writing your name

The craft activity involves letting the students make a stylish necklace for themselves, where their names are spelled out in binary using black and white beads. To prepare for beading, the lesson plan includes printable worksheets where kids can color in squares to spell out their names. There are two versions of the worksheet: one with very large boxes for smaller kids, and one with smaller boxes for older kids (and longer messages). Here is what the younger version looks like (each row is one letter, because ASCII encodes each letter with 8 bits):



3rd grade Code activity

Graph paper coding

OVERVIEW: By programming one another to draw pictures, students will begin to understand what programming is really about. The class will begin by students instructing each other to color squares in on graph paper in an effort to reproduce an existing picture. If there’s time, the lesson can conclude with images that the students create themselves.

OBJECTIVE: Students will — • Understand the difficulty of translating real problems into programs • Learn that ideas may feel clear to them, and still be misinterpreted by a computer • Realize the need for formal programming structures like loops and functions

MATERIALS: • Sample Drawings/Algorithms Kit • Programming Instructions Card • Large grid graph paper • Markers, pens, or pencils (two or three colors) Main Goal: Help students understand how “coding” works.

VOCABULARY: Algorithm—A series of instructions on how to accomplish a task Coding—Transforming actions into a symbolic language Debugging—Finding and fixing problems in code Function—A piece of code that can be called over and over Parameters—Extra bits of information that you can pass into a function to customize it

Robots operate off of “instructions,” specific sets of things that they have been preprogrammed to do. In order to accomplish a task, a robot needs to have a series of instructions (sometimes called an algorithm) that it can run. To get more familiar with the concept of an algorithm, it is helpful to have something to compare it to. For this exercise, we will introduce a programming language made of lines and arrows.

Proceed to examples, code their initials.


2nd grade code activity

Write the letters of your first or last name in the first column.

Create a code using colors for the letters of your name.

If you have two of the same letters, the colors are the same.








color code


Locate the color beads needed for the colors you assigned to the letters.

Tie a knot at one end of the string.

Add the code to the string in the correct order.

Tie a knot at the other end.

Tape your code string to this paper with the code written out.


1st grade Code Activity

Follow the leader programming. The leader will create a code with the activity code cards. Classmates will attempt to follow the code and do what the programmer has input.


^ = jump one time

> = move right one step

< = move left one step

# = turn 180 degrees

S = sit down

U = stand up

C = clap one time

Z = say hello


K code activity


Introduction to Coding for Kindergarten

    Color the 1 red and 0 blue.


























    Color the 1 green and the 0 yellow.



























      Color the 1 red, 0 yellow, 2 green