Back to School Glogs

Last year when I taught grade 8, one of my students mentioned that he was running out of baby pictures to bring in for the annual back to school autobiography project. So this year, I’m changing things up and having them do a “back to school, All about me” Glog.

(Glogster EDU is an online poster program. I’ve paid to upgrade to premium because I wanted the extra features but I used the free version of Glogster for several years and it was great too. Make sure to go to Glogster EDU – not just glogster. It lets you set up a class, monitor their progress, set projects – basically gives you the control we teachers all like to have.)

Here is the example I created. I’m not going to teach them how to use glogster – instead, I’m going to show them what it can do and let them explore and create their own. I find they discover way more features than I could ever teach them (or even know myself). It is possible to add audio and video but I want to print these out in colour for my bulletin board so we are going to stick with the visual part!

Edcanvas is now Blendspace

This post is an update on the previous one I made about edcanvas.

They have changed their name to “Blendspace” but it’s the same site. It also has some new features. For example, you can add a quiz and it tabulates the student responses for you! The audio feature is now part of the paid version. It’s worth upgrading especially if you are teaching students who have learning disabilities. You can record audio instructions and have students record their responses.

Blendspace is great – it lets students work at their own pace, it helps to differentiate their learning, collects their immediate feedback so you can assess their understanding, and allows you to include a variety of media in your activities. See my previous post for an example.


We’re using this new site called EdCanvas.  It’s a great way to organize all your links, images, info in one slideshow (it allows you to embed sites and videos too).  Plus it’s interactive – we can post questions and students can comment on the content or the question – either by typing their answer or recording it orally.  Students can work at their own pace, catch up on missed work and ‘hand in’ their responses without any paper!   Here’s an example I created and my class tried out. (Either open it in edcanvas – or to see the side comments, click on the arrow at the top right.)


I just found a new online site called PowToon.  It’s pretty neat – and after a little bit of playing around, I’ve created this presentation for my Gr 8 history class.  I’m hoping it makes the lesson more interesting for them – and inspires them to try a new tool themselves.

History Glogs

The Grade 8 Ontario History Curriculum isn’t always exciting.  (And I love history!)  Glogster Edu helps to liven up assignments and gets away from the typical bristol board projects by allowing for online content, videos, moving animations, etc.  In this example, the student  created an advertisement poster to bring settlers to the west in the 1880s.

The assignment was based on this online lesson.

Menu Choices

It’s amazing when you give students choice, how much less complaining you hear about assignments.  Here’s a copy of my latest novel study menu choice for my grade 8 students (based on “The Outsiders”).  And what is even cooler is that several have created their own technology/media options based on their own creative ideas!  outsiders menu choices

Livescribe Pens

Last year, we were part of a pilot project to test out livescribe pens.  One of our students did so well using the pen as an accommodation, that he wrote a guest blog post about it to share with several sites (for our school board and for the live with livescribe site).  I should have posted his work here at the time – but better late than never!

I am a grade 7 student and my teacher has been using livescribe pens with us.  I have used one many times and I think it’s great. I use livescribe for anything, math, science ,history.  Even when I’m done my work I can use an app called piano that’s really fun. Apps are the best. You can get apps when you hook it up on a computer or when you are on the menu. My favorite app is translate. You take the pen and say or write  something in any language and it will say it back to you in the different language and tell you how to spell it.  In math, if you use something like ICE (illustrate calculate explain),  you can draw with the pen, then it calculates, then explain with your voice if you don’t like writing it down or your hand just feels tired.  You can use it for a history project if you do it at home or ever need to send it anywhere you can use imail or if you have a Google account.  The livescribe pen helps me put things in my head onto the page. It can help any student and it will help for so much more in highschool when I just can’t get stuff on the page and I’m so frustrated. I just use my voice, no problem. If you want it to bring home or just want one to play around with and use for you own purposes, it only like 90 bucks and so worth it. Livescribe helps me out  and it can help you and your students out too.


Sound Gecko   Sound Gecko is a great site to help convert website articles  into audio files.  Enter the url and within a minute or so, it will convert the text to speech in an mp3 format.  Kurzweil can do the same thing (you can see instructions for that on our Kurzweil page) – but this is very quick.

Education Benefit:  Students with reading difficulties can listen to online articles on their mp3 players, without needing Kurzweil or even a laptop.

Document Cameras

Bev and I had lots of fun at Earl Rowe Elementary School this afternoon for the PD day.  We talked with staff about document cameras.   They obviously use assistive technology well at the school because they wanted to know how to capture images to insert into Kurzweil.  So after some experimenting, we figured out that if you use the SEA Kurzweil version (more current), you can save a lot of time by capturing the image with the doc cam instead of the scanner.  It’s always great when you present at a workshop and end up all learning new things together!   Here is a little prezi that we used as an intro to get our discussion started.