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What it is: Press 4 Kids, News-O-Matic is both a subscription-based app and a free daily email delivered in pdf format. News-O-Matic is a fantastic current event, news source for elementary students. It is a great resource for fresh, non-fiction material for your classroom. Recall, discussion, and comprehension...

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Buncee: Digital Creation tool

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, For Teachers, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, History, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 16-01-2014

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Okay, it is 2014…time to kick it into gear and get back to blogging. The awesomeness of what exists in educational technology is stacking up and NEEDS to be shared. I’m on it!

Buncee-digital creation tool iLearn TechnologyWhat it is:  Buncee is a super cool creation and presentation tool.  Buncee is useful for students and teachers alike as a digital canvas.  Students can use Buncee to create neat interactive presentations and stories. Teachers can use it to help teach new concepts, in a flipped classroom, or to share information with families.  There are three account types to choose from within Buncee.  The free account lets students and teachers share finished presentations with social media, upload your own photos, create Buncees with two slides, offers 500mb of storage, and lets you save the Buncee as a jpeg.  The education version cost $9.99/month or $59.99 for the year and includes: sharing to social media, uploading of files (audio, media, image), record audio, create Buncees with unlimited slides, storage of 2G, ability to save as a clickable pdf or jpeg, 1 teacher account to create and manage 30 student accounts, create and post assignments, and view/grade student submissions.

How to use Buncee into your classroom: Buncee is a great creation webapp.  As a teacher, use Buncee to assist guided reading by recording a read aloud. Use the recording as part of a classroom reading center where struggling or emerging readers can get a customized lesson.  Stop during the reading just like you would if you were doing a read along sitting with the child.  Include slides with questions that students can answer, ways that they can reflect on the story, etc.  While you are working with a small group of students on close reading, other students can still get some great reading support.  This is also great for those kids who don’t have a parent at home that can read with them- you can “go home” with your students every day!  Buncee can also be used for guided learning.  Create your own digital “textbooks” complete with multimedia, images, audio, and text.  I’ve often been let down by what a boxed curriculum provides for students, create your own resources for students to access. This is especially helpful for young students who won’t be able to independently research using the Internet on their own.
  Buncee could be a great help for the flipped classroom model. Send students with learning to complete at home in preparation for a project or activity that will be done at school with your support.

Students can use Buncee for multimedia presentations to demonstrate learning.  Students can create interactive presentations when learning a foreign language connecting vocabulary words with meaning.  Because it is so easy to combine multimedia types, students can create their own digital “textbooks” where they collect learning in history, government, geography, science, social studies, etc. and present it in new and meaningful ways.  These digital “textbooks” can be shared and commented on by other students.

Buncee could be a great way for students to reflect on a book that they have finished. They can complete character sketches, retell, or combine media types to create a book review.

If you have a digital camera (built in or separate), students can take pictures of a science experiment and create a digital review of the experiment including any hypothesis and conclusions.

Tips: With the education version, students can submit their work and it can be graded and commented on directly in Buncee. This could be a really great way for students to keep a digital portfolio that you, and parents, can comment on throughout the year.

 

Degree Story Teacher Contest

Presefy: Go mobile with your presentations and give everyone a front row seat

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, collaboration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 22-04-2013

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Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 1.10.18 PM

What it is: Presefy is a new tool that lets you present with your mobile device wirelessly.  The best part: those attending the presentation can view your presentations from their own web browsers (on a mobile device or a computer), and follow along using your unique “channel.”  Upload pdf or ppt(x) files, at the moment those are the two supported file types.

How to integrate Presefy into the classroom: Presefy would obviously be wonderful to use when you are presenting at a conference or to a large group, but I also love the implications in the classroom and school setting.  Have you ever been sitting in a conference or a session where your vantage point stinks?  You go right ahead and check out because you can’t see what the speaker is referring to anyway.  Imagine having the ability to follow along on your own device.  Now you are more engaged than ever!  The same is true for students, having something on a projector for all to see is great, but if you have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or a one-to-one setting, Presefy is a great way to share.  Students can follow along on their own devices.  Added benefit: now there doesn’t have to be a front of your classroom.

At Anastasis, we don’t have clear fronts of the classroom.  This is intentional.  We want to be able to share and discuss in a variety of ways and locations.  Presefy lets us do just that by taking away the need for everyone to be facing one direction, with one presenter at the front.  Instead, the teacher can present and be a part of the discussion and conversation in a way that is more organic.  Students can follow along on their own devices.  Everyone has a front row seat.  Everyone can see clearly and be part of the presentation.  SO much better!

With Presefy you can broadcast and run your presentation right from your mobile device.  You even have access to see your notes and jump to any slide.  Additional features are coming soon including the ability to poll your audience, ask questions, make notes, etc.

Tips:  Right now, you are limited to having two presentations uploaded at a time.  If you invite a friend to join Presefy, you will get to upload additional presentations.

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Presefy in your classroom.

PowToon: AMAZING free animation tool

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-08-2012

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What it is:  I have discovered my new favorite creation site.  Holy wow this is a cool tool.  Basically, it makes you (and your students) look like rockstars when they present.  You know all of those super cool animated videos that tell a story through drawings on a whiteboard?  Now you can make those all on your own with a super simple drag-drop tool.  Meet PowToon.  It is awesome.  I’m a little addicted to playing with video creation…no joke.

PowToon has a great mission: “to address all the frustrations that people have with power point and keynote and add animation and killer design.”  You don’t have to be super tech savvy or design skills to create spectacular animated presentations.   The goal here is to help people communicate in a way that conveys ideas.  Best of all…it is FREE!  Woot!  Also, PowToon loves education, they want to help teachers and students create great content that is visually engaging, captivating and fun to make.

Right now PowToon has 5 design styles (with more coming).  Added with your student’s creativity, these animations are going to be fabulous.  Finished videos can be shared all over: YouTube, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter, exported or embedded.

PowToon is currently in Beta version. Sign up for an early look at this super cool creation tool.  I got my invitation within a few hours.  #bam

How to integrate PowToon into your curriculum: PowToon is a fantastic way to share ideas and story.  Communication is a vital skill.  The ability to express ideas and story in a succinct, clear manner is crucial.  Today, students have another facet of communication to learn…visual communication.

PowToon would be a great addition to the design thinking routine.  Students can use PowToon to share their ideas or to “prototype” an idea.  Students can create videos to show math processes, explanations of complex concepts, review new learning, teach others, explain processes, tell stories, or present research.  The possibilities are really endless and students will come up with hundreds of other creative uses.

Teachers can use PowToon to create animations for students.  This is a great way to present new information or ideas for discussion.

Tips: The PowToon Interactive Tour and How to Create series are very helpful to watch prior to creating your first animations.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using PowToon in your classroom!

Qwiki Creator: Create the textbook of the future with a few clicks

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Create, Foreign Language, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 28-06-2012

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Play the Qwiki: Anastasis Academy

What it is:  I first wrote about Qwiki in 2010 when they launched their search service.  I just got word that you (and your students) can now create your very own Qwiki.  When students search using Qwiki, instead of coming up with a list of links to websites, images, and videos, a slide show of images and videos begins complete with computer voice narration.  It is truly an incredible experience.

With Qwiki Creator, it is easy to create your own Qwiki to share.  Creating a Qwiki is really easy and intuitive.  First, you find the content and media you want to add to your Qwiki.  This could be web content, video, images, maps, content from your computer, text or even a tweet.  Next you add narration and set your timing.  Finally you can preview your Qwiki and publish it.  I created the Qwiki above in about 5 min.

If you are looking for the original Qwiki, you can get to it at http://qwiki.com/reference.

How to integrate Qwiki Creator into the classroom:  Qwiki Creator is a fantastic way for students to create impressive presentations about their learning.  Students can quickly create mashups of web content and record or type narration to demonstrate understanding of material.  Qwiki Creator is also a great tool for teachers, create customized content for your students.  This is textbook 2.0 for sure! It can be tailored to the exact needs of your curriculum and can become an additional way for your to “flip” your classroom.

I love the idea of students creating their own digital textbooks as they learn about a subject. Throughout their learning and research, students can keep a table of contents of items they want to be sure to include in their Qwiki.  Students can create a Qwiki about the information they have learned, add text/voice/video narration to help describe the learning and publish it for classmates to learn from.  The Qwiki can be shared easily or embeded on a student blog or website.

Create your own series of Qwiki’s for your classroom blog or website where students can further their learning.  They can access any of the websites or resources you include in your Qwiki for a majorly upgraded version of a webquest.

Qwiki Creator could be used for digital storytelling.  Students can find images, videos and maps that help them tell their story and narrate the creative story for others to enjoy.

In a foreign language class, students can give a web tour where they narrate in the language they are learning.  This would also be neat to do in a geography or history class.

If you teach students who are younger than 13, consider creating Qwiki’s as a class using an interactive whiteboard and teacher account.  Students can help put the Qwiki together and the finalized Qwiki can be put on a class blog or website for students to learn from any time.

Tips:  Students must be 13 years old or older to use Qwiki Creator according to the Terms of Service.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Qwiki Creator  in  your classroom!

Google Digital Literacy Tour

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Evaluate, Internet Safety, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 04-01-2012

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What it is:  No matter what subject(s) you teach, digital literacy is something we all need to take the responsibility to expose our students to.  iKeep Safe (one of my favorites for Internet safety with Faux Paw the Techno cat!) teamed up with Google to create a curriculum for educators to teach what it means to be a responsible digital citizen.  The outcome is wonderful, it is designed to be interactive, discussion oriented, and hands-on.  Each separate piece of curriculum (workshop) includes a pdf resource booklet for both educators and students, videos to accompany lessons, and presentations.  The three workshops available are:
  1. Detecting Lies and staying true
  2. Playing and staying safe online
  3. Steering clear of cyber tricks
How to integrate Google Digital Literacy Tour into the classroom:  Google never disappoints, and the Google Digital Literacy Tour is no exception!  These are a great discussion starters for every classroom.  I like this Digital Literacy Tour because it doesn’t give a lot of drill and kill type exercises to find out if the student can tell you the “correct” answer.  Instead, it invites conversations and deeper thinking…exactly what is needed for true digital literacy!
The videos and presentations can be used throughout the year (and multiple times throughout the year) to open discussions about online behavior.  Too often educators assume that because students are adept at using technology, that means they know how to properly use that technology.  Students can understand the freedom and benefits that technology brings without knowing how to properly manage that freedom, that is what digital literacy is all about!  It is up to us to help students understand what their digital relationships represent in real life, and how their actions online can affect what they do in real life.
Use the Google Digital Literacy Tour as a conversation starter for the whole class or ask students to break into smaller groups to discuss before they share with the larger group.  If you have some added time for reflection, ask students to write about their own experiences, or reflection, on why digital literacy is important.  Every year I have taught Internet safety, I am amazed by what students tell me they have encountered online!  I am telling you now, no matter what grade you teach, your students have encountered something online that they didn’t know what to do with.  Help them navigate that!

Tips: Share these resources with parents.  They often hear reports that emphasize the negative aspects of online behavior and, instead of teaching students how to properly manage their freedom, restrict it all together.  This is okay for the short term but does nothing that is beneficial for students long term!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google Digital Literacy Tour in  your classroom!

Go Animate 4 Schools

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, collaboration, Create, Foreign Language, Fun & Games, History, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 07-12-2010

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What it is: I am really excited that Go Animate finally has an education version!  Go Animate is a tool I have written about before (actually I wrote about Domo Animate which is powered by Go Animate.) Go Animate 4 Schools offers teachers 100 students accounts for free. It operates within a secured, private environment where students and teachers can create animations and interact.  The moderation interface keeps teachers up-to-date with all of students creations.  The Go Animate Studio makes animation easy, use backgrounds, props, and characters to create an animation masterpiece.  The drag and drop interface is easy enough for all ages.  Students can create their own characters which provides an endless supply of unique characters for each story.  Private Social Networking tools teach students how to use social networks for sharing and commenting in a safe, controlled environment.

The Free Go Animate 4 Schools account includes 1 teacher account, 100 student accounts, 2 min animations for students, teachers have the ability to create characters, unlimited music upload, 6 text-to-voice voices to choose from, students get 50 text-to-voices a month, and unlimited mic recording.

Go Animate 4 Schools also has a Plus account with some additional benefits including unlimited accounts, unlimited time limits for animations, students can create characters, moderation, group management, 16 text-to-voice voices to choose from, up to 200 text-to-voices a month, unlimited image, video, and swf uploads. The School Plus Account starts at $12 a year (not breaking anyone’s budget!) you can request a quote for your school from the Features page.

How to integrate Go Animate 4 Schools into your curriculum: Allow students to present their knowledge creatively using Go Animate 4 Schools instead of requiring the traditional report, diorama, or poster plastered with pictures and information.  Students can create an impressive alternative book report by creating an animated book talk, interviewing a character from the story, or re-creating an important scene in the story.  Students can display their knowledge about a historical figure by “interviewing” the historical person of interest or an eye-witness of a historical event.  Students can write a screen play and then transform them into animations. Animations are also a great way to illustrate vocabulary words and story problems in math.  In the foreign language classroom, students can create short cartoons practicing the new vocabulary they are learning.   The possibilities are endless!  Hold a Go Animate premier party day in your classroom so that students can watch each other’s finished animations and learn from their peers.

Don’t forget that you (the teacher) can use Go Animate too!  Animate introductions to lessons, special notes to your students, or complex concepts.  If you are like me, this is the time of year that inevitably comes with a cold and a day without a voice. Use Go Animate characters to do that talking/teaching for you.  Students will love the change of pace and it will save you from an even sorer throat.

Tips: Be sure to check out the Lesson Gallery for some great ideas for using Go Animate with your students.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Go Animate 4 Schools  in  your classroom!

Qwiki- transforming the search into a story

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 12-11-2010

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What it is: Have you seen Wall-E?  Remember the scene when the captain finally starts taking charge and goes to his wall of computers to learn about Earth?  He tells his computer to “define Earth” and a wall of images of Earth pop up complete with computer narration.  In the definition of Earth he hears about the sea and interrupts the explanation so that he can have the sea defined.  This concept of information presentation is a reality…or nearly a reality.  There is a new way of information searching called  Qwiki.  Search using Qwiki and instead of coming up with a list of links to websites, images, and videos, a slide show of images and videos begins complete with computer voice narration.  It is truly an incredible experience.  Why are we still using textbooks again?

Qwiki is currently in Alpha which means that you have to request an invitation to get the full version of Qwiki, flaws and all. It is worth requesting an invitation; it is jaw dropping!  Even without an invitation, you can head over to Qwiki and get an idea of what it does. There are a few preloaded Qwiki searches that you can check out.  Qwiki believes that “just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list.”  Qwiki has transformed the search into a story.

How to integrate Qwiki into your curriculum: Qwiki is limited in its search capabilities right now (in that it won’t necessarily come up with a result for EVERYTHING you want to search), but the current Alpha version of Qwiki gives you more than enough great material to start using it in your classrooms.  I have searched everything from mitosis to the solar system to rational numbers to Romeo and Juliet to Shiba Inu to Google and World War 2.  Each had fantastic content, images and information.  Qwiki is going to revolutionize the way that we search and receive information.  The way that it pares a search down into a story is brilliant.

Use Qwiki on classroom computers as part of a center activity, students can dig deeper into science, math, history, geography, or literature using Qwiki to search.  Your students can learn more about any topic by searching related topics.  Use Qwiki to introduce new concepts to your students using a projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard for whole class learning and discussion.  Do you have reluctant or struggling readers?  Allow them to read along with Qwiki on their favorite topic or subject.  Teach older students? Involve them on conversation about the implications of making our searches “more human” while relying on a computer.  What could this type of searching mean for Google?  Does this type of searching change their views on learning?  Does this type of search feel too much like entertainment without offering enough information? What would they change or add to Qwiki?

Tips: Qwiki is currently in Alpha, that means if you would like to access the full version, you will have to request an invite.  I got my invite within 5 minutes of requesting.  As you run across features that you wish Qwiki had (the ability to slow down the narration, the ability to change voices) be sure to let them know.  If you run across glitches, report those. When a product is in Alpha, it gets better and better when people use it and comment on their experience.

What do you think? Are you as bowled over as I am? What implications do you see a tool like Qwiki having for education? How will you use it in your classroom? Leave a comment!

K12 Online Conference 2010: Free professional development!

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Web2.0 | Posted on 12-10-2010

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What it is: K12 Online Conference is a completely FREE online conference for educators around the world.  The conference focuses on innovative ways that web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning.  The conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone.  This year the theme of the conference is “Cultivating the Future”.  Yesterday was the kick off to the conference with a pre-conference keynote by Dean Shareski.  In the next two weeks (October 18 and October 25), 40 presentations will be posted online for participants to view, download and discuss.  Live events happen in the form of “Fireside Chats”, there are three live events this year.  The first Fireside Chat is scheduled for October 15 and will be hosted by Dean Shareski.  I have attended the k12 Online Conference every year since it started (2006) and each year I am inspired, and fueled with new ideas.  I am excited to see so many student voices and presenters this year, there is just nothing like hearing about education from the student perspective!  I am also excited to see so many familiar names from my PLN…there just isn’t anyone I would rather learn from!

How to integrate K12 Online Conference 2010 into your classroom: Check out the 2010 Schedule now and choose some sessions that you are most interested in.  Commit to viewing 2 or 3 (or if you are OCD like me, all of them!).  Take charge of your professional development and be inspired by fellow educators and students.  Make it fun and invite a friend to view some sessions with you.  Play sessions in the teacher’s lounge during lunch, take over a classroom with a projector and provide snacks, or invite a colleague over for PD and cocktails (for the record, that is the option I would choose!). Don’t keep all of this great learning to yourself!    In the past, I have found the student presentations to be inspiring not only for me, but also for my students.  Last year there was a presentation about applications called Wizard of Apps or Will they have an app for that or What we are loading (and learning) along the road presented by Joyce Kasman Valenza and students.  The presentation was a fun Wizard of Oz type play about different web 2.0 applications that they were using and learning with.  My students loved the idea of students putting together a play and teaching teachers.  If you are an administrator, be sure to let your staff know about this truly amazing professional development opportunity.  The line up of presenters is fantastic!  Then, encourage your staff to start building up a PLN (personal learning network) on Twitter.  They can start with the k12 Online presenters!

Tips: You can view the archives of past k12 Online Conferences for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using k12 online conference 2010 in your classroom!

Copyright Exposed: Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Character Education, Internet Safety, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 18-08-2010

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What it is: Copyright can be tricky for students (and adults) to understand.  Copyright Exposed: Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright does a good job of just that, taking the mystery out of copyright.  Here your students will watch a short video/comic that explains copyright.  Next, students can explore how copyright came to be by looking at the milestone files on record.  Reading the Fine Print helps students answer questions such as: “Do I have to register a copyright to secure protection?”; “If it’s on the Internet can I use it?”; and “Is it okay to use up to 5% of someone else’s work?”.  Finally, students can learn what steps they need to take to secure a copyright for their work.

How to integrate Copyright Exposed: Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright into your curriculum: Copyright law is important to teach our students of all ages.  As soon as we ask students to create original work, we should be teaching them about copyright.  I always found copyright difficult to teach, students had a hard time understanding what was fair use and when they were violating copyright.  It didn’t help that many of the adults in their lives weren’t model good copyright habits.  When students create their own original work, and you can walk them through the copyright process, it starts to resonate with them more.  Students may think nothing of “borrowing” something off of the Internet for their own use without permission but when they think about someone else claiming the work they created, they start to feel differently about it.  Copyright Exposed is an excellent presentation/site to go through as a class.  It helps answer those “sticky” situations of fair use, owning a copyright, and using content from the Internet.  The site is written in easy-to-understand language so students will have no trouble following along.  Students can navigate this site independently, but I prefer using it with a projector where the whole class can work through copyright together and discuss what they are learning with others.

Tips: I wrote about Cyberbee in 2008, it is another great site for teaching about Copyright!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Copyright Exposed: Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright in your classroom!

Ideas to Inspire

Posted by admin | Posted in Art, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, web tools, Websites | Posted on 30-03-2009

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What it is:  Ideas to Inspire is a truly wonderful site and wealth of resources for teachers.  On this site you will find a collection of Google Doc presentations that include a number of ideas for engaging lesson activities in a variety of curriculum areas.  The collection comes from inspiring teachers from around the world.  You can find Ideas to Inspire on Writing, Interactive Math, Incredible Science, Amazing Art, Marvelous Music, and learn interesting ways to use Google Docs, Pocket Video Cameras, Interactive Whiteboards, Google Earth, Twitter, Netbooks, Webcams, and Visualizers.  Ideas to Inspire also has great tips for non-techy teachers (I remember being one of those once-upon-a-time).  Ideas to Inspire is very easy to navigate and each presentation is jam packed with truly inspiring ideas.

How to integrate Ideas to Inspire into the classroom: It happens to the best of us, we get settled in our ways and fall into a teaching slump where we can’t come up with a creative lesson idea to save our lives.  Sound familiar?  Ideas to Inspire is the place to go, here you will find inspiration, helpful tips, and get those creative juices flowing again!  Take a few minutes and look through some of the presentations, you will be happy you did. :)

 

Tips:  This is my last post for the day, head over to Ideas to Inspire and be inspired today!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Ideas to Inspire in your classroom.