Tech Tips to help teachers teach with Technology

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I'll be giving tips and tools for using technology in the classroom.  I think you'll like it. 

Collaborating and Thinking

Weekly Tech Tip

This week’s tech tip will get all of your students participating and thinking!  If you want to get your students collaborating there thoughts into one location about one thing this is the spot for you.  You can post a picture, video, document or whatever and give your students the link.  They go to the link and post voice comments, typed comments, or even draw on it.  They can hear or read what other students think about the post as well as make there on comments.  This service is free to educators. 

Picture Writing Prompts will never be the same with this technology. 


Imagine doing a science experiment.  Post a picture as you start the project and have students leave comments about their hypothesis, then once it’s over have them go back and listen to see if they are correct.  Then they can leave comments about what they have learned from the experiment. 


The ideas are endless! 


Here is one that I created as an experimental test subject.  Play around with it post comments just to see how easy it is.  You can use your microphone, web cam, type it, doodle on it, or even have it call your phone so you can leave a voice comment on it that way.  You will need to create an account to leave a comment, but don’t worry it’s free.


Now Go and get those students collaborating and thinking!

Turning Points Tutorial

This weeks Tech Tip is a little different. Rather than the typical Tech Tip, I created a tutorial that many of you can use if you are utilizing the Turning Points System.

If you create your Turning Points Presentation on your teacher computer and transfer it to the computer with the Turning Points System then you’ll need to follow these steps to get going. Also, if you have trouble with the Turning Points Remotes follow these directions. Watch the tutorial as many times as you need to. Here is the link to the quick tutorial,

If you aren’t doing Turning Points you are missing out on a great teaching tool. Email me to set up a time that you and your team can be trained on how to use it. You’ll love it!

You will also find this and other tutorials on our Campus Web Page under RESOURCES.

Let's Get Random!

Weekly Tech Tip


This weeks Tech Tip is a random generator.  Have you needed to flip a coin or role a die to teach probability?  This site can help you do that.  If you flip 4 quarters how many will land on heads? 


In this case none landed on heads.  Let’s try again!   


This time we got 3 tails and one heads. 

How about rolling some die. 



I think you can tell now how this can be used in your class with your students. 


Have you need to put your students in a random order or pick one student out of your 32 students.  This site can help with that to.

Who is my line leader or the spotlight student this week? 


It’s student number 10! 


This site is full of randomness.  You set the perimeters and it randomizes it for you.  Go to for your useful randomness!  There are many more things that you can randomize besides coins, dice and students.  You can even work up some random clocks and fractions if you want.  Enjoy!





Digital Cameras and Math

Weekly Tech Tip

This weeks Tech Tip is Math and Technology focused.  One of the best tools I’ve seen to teach math concepts with is a digital camera, so let’s dust them off and charge those batteries.  Your students will have fun with this Math project!

Fractions – If you have a picture with lots of action, such as in my example, you can ask them questions like, “What is primarily happening in the 1/3 section of the image?”

Answer: The Coach is talking to the two boys.


“What is happening in the 2/3 section of the image?”

Answer: The boy is walking away and the girl is walking towards the camera.


Note: (Have the students write their answers in complete sentences and this will meet your writing TEKS as well.)


As you add more sections turning the picture into ¼, 1/5 and 1/6 sections the students can physically see the sections getting smaller and their answers change accordingly.  This helps them grasp the concepts of fractions and what happens when you make the fractions smaller.  The gist: The bigger the denominator the smaller the parts.

Here is the same image in ¼ sections: 

Here is the same image in 1/5 sections:


Angles - Using images to teach angles is fun!!!  Kids love going around their school taking pictures.  Have your students break into groups and then go out to take pictures of angles that they find.  They come back print them out and then mark the angels accordingly.                                 

For example: 

Of course the student’s pictures will be much neater than mine. ;-)


To extend this activity even further you can have specific angles that you want the students to take.  For example:  Today the assignment is to find al the right angles you can on hallway B.  Then have them print out a photo thumbnail sheet of right angles. 

Sending them to the playground to make “People Angles” is the most fun.  I’ll leave that one up to your imagination.  Yep, kids can come up with some creative stuff if you just let them. 


Area, Perimeter, Measurement – Pictures can be used to teach this as well.  You can come in with pictures already taken or send the students out to get a few pictures.  Have them take the pictures of the object then they must measure it.  After taking measurements they can find the area and perimeter of the object. 

Extended Learning – Have the students measure the real object and then measure the object in the picture and give the scale.  This would require some advanced Math, but I’m sure each of you have students that can do this and need the challenge. 


Thanks for taking the time to read and gather ideas for teaching Math with Technology!  Let me know if I can help you incorporate these ideas into your classroom.  I would love to join you and your class to help you implement your ideas.


Travel Leasure Tech Tip

Weekly Tech Tip:

This weeks Tech Tip incorporates Math, Social Studies, Reading/Writing and Technology. 

Students Can Meet the Following TEKS:

Math:  Charts/Graphs, percentages, decimals,

Reading/Language: Compare Traditions across regions and cultures and comparative writing, and read a variety of texts such as newspapers and magazines for information.

Social Studies: Apply critical thinking skills to organize useful information such as Maps and Graphs.

Technology: Use Communication tools in group projects, acquire and analyze information in a digital format, and produce an electronic product in a variety of media.


The Travel Leisure Magazine ( has put out a report for America’s Favorite Cities.  And, as you would expect Austin is one of the favorites.   Being the “Food Enthusiast” that I am, I noted that Austin is #1 for Bar-B-Q!!!  As a mater of fact Texas has 3 of the Top 4 Bar-B-Q cities in the country.  How Chicago got # 7 I’ll never know, but I don’t determine the results of the survey, I just teach utilizing the results. ;-)

We (Austin) got rated 23 for a lack of Big Name Restaurants.  But that’s fine by me; I like “Mom and Pop” places anyway.  What do your students like about living here??  Maybe they could write about it. 

This data can be used in hundreds of ways, but I’ve included two activities below that you may want to use. 


Activity 1* Your students can take two cities, one being Austin and the other being a place they think they would like to live one day.  Have them compare those two cities to one another.  They should then report their findings in a chart or graph and in an essay explaining what they found, and why they chose one location over the other.

Activity 2* Have your students write about the things they know and love about their city. 

Extended Activity 1* (higher order thinking) Have your students graph each city with the given data and try to make determinations accordingly.  Such as, we always hear about how friendly Texans are.  Well, does the data show this to be a fact?  How about those New Yorkers?  Can we develop new theories or are the stereo types we’ve already established proven here? 

Extended Activity 2* (higher order thinking) Have your students pick a subcategory such as “Ease of getting around / public transportation.”  Why is Austin #18?  Research what the top 5 cities have in their locations that make their Public Transportation better than Austin’s.  They should report their findings in some form of media presentation.  This could be further extended to actually writing the Austin City Council to persuade them to improve public transportation (or other sub category).


You never know, you may be teaching the next World Changer!  Ignite them while they are young!

"Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea." Jim Rohn


Power Google Search

Weekly Tech Tip

Google Power Search:  You can get better results out of your Google search by following these steps. 

Go to the Google Home Page.

Find the advanced search link.

This window will come up.  Fill in as many of the blanks as you can. 

Here is an example:

Babe Ruth =

Normal Google:  Results 1 - 100 of about 1,280,000

Exact Phrase Box:  Home Run King  Results 1 - 100 of about 32,500

Without the Words Box:  Bonds Aaron  Results 1 - 100 of about 755

Return pages Written in: English Results 1 - 100 of about 732

Don’t return results from the site Results 1 - 100 of about 727


Keep setting up rules and you keep getting different results.  We are down to 727 results from over a million.  Now we can get down to the Nitti Gritty of research. 


You can find even more Tips about Google Searching by clicking the Advanced Search Tips link in the top right corner of your Google Advanced Search page. 

Inspirational/Cartooning Extra

Last weeks Tech Tip about Cartooning started some interesting buzz.  I’ve heard of several teachers using a Cartooning site with their students for writing.  If you found to be difficult to work with, found objectionable material, or you just didn’t want to create an account here are two others that you can use.  These are also free and do not require you to sign up for anything.

Here is a link to a lesson that someone created for comic strips in Second Grade.

These two sites have several lesson plans for 3-5th grade.

There are lots more lesson plans out there for Comic Strip Lessons.  Google is a good thing.

Again with any site “you” preview it first before you let your students on it. Be Safe!

Btw: is working on a student version for kids.  I’ll let you know when that comes out.


This week’s new Tech Tip is more inspirational than it is a tip.  The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia web site is a site for education and technology.  It has a video that dignifies the use of technology in the classroom.  It is 5 min long and worth it.  Let it inspire you to use technology in your classroom.

By the way, is a great site for learning more about technology integration. 

Cartooning in Class

Now this is cool! One age old things that kids have always loved are cartoons. They like to watch them on TV, look at them in books and even draw them every chance they get. Why not use the things they love to teach with. allows you or students to create comic strips. It can be steps to a math problem or a quick little ditty about School Rules. The projects that can be done with this are endless. I spent about 5 minutes on this site and loved it. I even built a little cartoon of my own in about 5 more minutes.

As with any web site that is used with students, you need to personally preview yourself before hand and monitor the students as they use it. Our district does have policy about students and internet use, so make sure everything you are doing falls into those guidelines. For example: Students should not (must not) put their names or any other student’s names in the cartoons that they may make.

Teacher Collaboration

Teachertube is an awesome web site for teacher collaborating. These are videos created by teachers to help teachers. You’ll find everything from complete lessons to How to make a poster with Word. I really enjoyed Mrs. Burk the Rapping Math Teacher. Her Rapp about Area and Perimeter was quite entertaining. This site works just like YouTube, but it’s clean and only for educational purposes. Teachers are the most creative people on the face of the earth and this site proves it. I’m inspired by the creativity that these teachers incorporate into their classrooms.

Vocabulary, Writing and Search Tools

Schoolr is a web site with tools for both teachers and students. I could be considered a one stop shop for vocabulary. It even has a citation builder that helps students build citations for their research papers like this.

MLA style

Schoolr, . Schoolr The Only Resource You'll Need. 2007. 30 Apr. 2007 <>.

Schoolr has Dictionary Search, Thesaurus Search, Acronym Search, Encyclopedia Search, Citation Builder, Book Summary Search, A unit Converter and the cool one is the Text Translator. If it works correctly for Spanish, "I went up the elevator." Is translated "Fui encima del elevador." I wouldn’t know, so trust it at your own discretion.

It has other languages as well.

Convert Documents

Weekly Tech Tip

I’m sure there have been times that some of you have needed to provide a specific type of file for someone, or a student will bring a file and you can’t open it because you don’t have the necessary program. Well, there is this nifty little web site that can convert just about any file you’ll come across, at least all the majors. You’ll upload the file, it converts it and then it emails it to you. It is

For example: You need to email a document or letter to a parent. You don’t want the little red squiggly lines to show up because the spelling is right even though Word says it’s not, so you want to convert it to PDF file format. Upload the Word Doc and you get your PDF file emailed back to you. Awesome!

Do Not upload any private information of any student or teacher.

Gov Sites for Kids

Weekly Tech Tip

The first is a web site for Kids called It is a web site developed in partnership with our national government specifically for kids. On this site you will find activities, lessons, materials, etc. If you teach anything about the government or anything related to the government you’ll find it on this site. It covers everything from Money to Homework. I enjoyed my reading about the History of the US Marshals. Yes, the site was designed for kids, but I learned from it anyway! ;-)

Free Resources

As a teacher I’ve always loved free resources. I have found several resources for you to use in your classroom. Some of these resources will actually send you products to use (free) and others are online (free). Check out each one to see how you can utilize and adapt it for your classroom.

I have used several of the items below in my own classroom, so they can be useful.


They provide Free Videos and printable resources for teaching. It is sponsored by major corporations. Look and see!

Early Grades K-3

Provides lessons, printable, and even some video lessons. This page is worth exploring!


This is a nice site for when you are dong lessons on farms, plants and environment. It provides everything from videos to lessons.

You can use this site for resources on food cycle, health, science and plants. Lots of games, printables and just good ol information.

Older Grades 3-5

This is a must see for our 5th grade teachers. Order your free CD for your class!!! It incorporates Math, Science, Social Studies, English I ordered this CD. It is awesome!

A wonderful place for science resources for all grade levels. GO GO GO!!!

On of the best yet!!! FREE educational comics for your students. Most of them offer up to 35 complementary copies. You can get other books as well. Some of the books only offer one complementary copy, and some are available only by download. It’s wonderful for those of you who will be studying money, history and/or government. I have ordered from this as well. Yes, it’s free.

I hope you find something that is useful for you!

Online Photo Editing

This is an online photo editor. Probably the best I’ve seen. Your students can use this free of charge. It can be used for class projects, personal projects, publication pieces, etc. You can utilize pictures from your camera, Flicker account, web pages, etc. It has lots of tools like Red Eye Reduction tool, cropping, sharpen, autofix and others. You can try it for free or sign up for a free account. Sign Me Up!!

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