Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Newsletter

November PCSC Technology Integration Newsletter
This picture was shared with me by Dee Laswell and it really hit home.  There are so many programs out there for us to use, but do we really use them?  We share many different resources and it can be overwhelming, but we do not expect people to use each of these tools!  Find the tools that seem interesting to you and your students, then use them.  It’s just like when you get a new textbook series.  The amount of materials that are given is scary.  How could someone ever use all of these tools?  Most would just use what they felt comfortable with and add more resources as needed.  Treat all of the technology tools the same way.  Pick out some of the technology resources that are fit your class and use them well, then you can add little by little.

Tech suggestions for November
1. Animoto -  Presented by Lori Smith, PCMS
My Language Arts Applications classes just finished a unit on advertising, in which students had to design their own cereal using pathos, ethos, and logos.  For the culminating project, they used to create a commercial for their cereal.  This site was user-friendly and quick; their commercials were completed within two class periods. We then viewed them together in class and discussed their various attributes. My blog is at and the projects are available for viewing there.

The link at the top is to the education part of Animoto.  As a teacher you can apply to get a free account. You can also check out examples of what others have done on Animoto to get some starter ideas.

2.  Google Drive -  (If you are interested in using any of the pieces below, contact Phil Clauss so he can get and your students signed up.)
If you want your students to be able to collaborate with each other while not sitting with each other, be able to share documents with the teacher, or be able to access their files from anywhere with an internet connection. Let Phil or Beth know and we will make sure you and your students have accounts so you can begin.  We would love to work with anyone on ways to begin using some of these Google tools. Below are some ways that our teachers have been using some of these Google tools.

I like for my 2nd graders to use Google Docs for several different reasons.  My students are currently composing a narrative in Google Docs.  I taught my students how to share their documents with me and I was able to login to Google at home and edit their narratives.  I really like that I can highlight text and add notes to my students about their documents. This allows me to conference with them without taking the time during the day to talk to each student individually.  Google Docs is very user-friendly and it is wonderful that it more lost work!  In the past I have used Google Docs in partner work.  A couple of years ago our epals in New York worked on an Earth Day project and added to/edited the same document so that we had a collaborative final piece.  -Terra Knust, Otwell

Using Google Docs, my English 11 students collaborated to write stories. Each student started a story with one sentence, then moved from computer to computer, adding one sentence to each story. Near the end of the period, after moving back to their own computers, the students then had to correct any errors in their stories, write an ending, and verbally share them with the class. This is always a fun assignment, while students also learn the aspects of writing a short story and collaboration. - Alice Sims, PCHS

Google presentation is a lot like PowerPoint but simpler to use.  My 2nd graders this year have made a couple of different Google presentations.  The first presentation they made was on deserts.  They used information we’d learned in class along with online research through sites I posted on Bundlr and made a short presentation of about 4 slides.  They inserted clipart from Google images.  The second presentation was documenting the life cycle of a caterpillar that I brought to school.  This presentation was longer and took a couple weeks to complete.  My students inserted pictures of our caterpillar that I posted to our blog.  These projects were great practice for writing complete sentences, using capitals, endmarks, correct grammar, and spelling.  The students enjoyed working on these and especially had fun adding slide transitions and animations.  Both presentations were posted online for parents to view. - Terra Knust

I have started using Google Forms for quizzes and tests.  Overall, my students really like it.  And of course, I do as well because it does the grading for me.  I have a lot more to learn, but it works for me right now!
 - Kyle Brames, PCHS

3. Pinterest -  Presented by Beth Bohnert
With the holidays approaching many of us will be looking to Pinterest for ideas, but Pinterest is also an excellent resource for teaching ideas. Pinterest allows you to “pin” ideas onto virtual bulletin boards and has a variety of material available.  Check out our corporation Pinterest boards for various subjects and teaching resources. If you have items you would like to share on our Pinterest boards, let us know and we will be happy to allow you access to become a guest pinner.

4. Thinglink -

Making Pictures Come To Life
By:  Lori Richardson

Welcome to the next generation of interactive pictures.  At, you can add custom hotlinks to any picture to create a fun, interactive experience.  There are tons of possibilities and uses for your classroom.

Check out this quick example I made for you:

You can create thinglinks for your students as review tools or have your students create one for you over any topic!  No classroom computers, no problem.  You can visit one of our school’s wonderful computer labs or project your thinglink on your overhead projector and hover over the links for your students see. 

There are many benefits to using the website.  For instance, the images embed nicely into Moodle, websites, or blogs.  If stats are your thing, the site also offers you some basic stats where you can check how many views and embeds your image has received.  Or if you need ideas, you can browse and use the many already created thinglinks.

Need more convincing to give it a try?  Well, you can download the thinglink app for free from itunes.  Or you can follow them on Twitter @thinglink.  As an educator, you and your students can take advantage of the free education upgrade at:

So head over to today, sign up for your free account and start creating images that inspire and engage your students.

6. Facebook Following
A lot of our staff are Facebook users and spend time checking out what your friends are doing. There are also a lot of pages on Facebook that are beneficial to teachers.  Here are just a few.  If you have any others that you would recommend, please share with everyone.
            Encouraging Teachers - I love this one.  Teachers can ask anything and get tons of help.  Instead
of just asking a few people you know, liking this page will allow you to ask thousands of other                                               
teachers the same question. You will also be able to help others with their questions.
            Scholastic Teachers - Resources shared and ideas that are also available on their website.
            Teaching Resources - Lots of ideas shared.
            SimpleK12 - I just started following them, but I have loved the resources I get from their website. 

Teacher Spotlight for the Month - Lori Smith
Lori Smith is our spotlight teacher of the month.  Her use of Animoto in the class was a big hit by her students.  Some of her classes also took the challenge of writing their thoughts about the the “Day Made of Glass” Youtube video.  Feel free to follow her blog and keep updated with what is going on in her class. Keep up the good work.

Student Spotlight of the Month - Bailey White
Bailey White is our spotlight student of the month. Bailey recently completed a web page project for the Pike County Public Library’s Zombie Run.  Bailey used Weebly to create his site and worked with Mrs. Oldenkamp, the librarian, to obtain insight into what she wanted on the webpage.  When finished, Mrs. Oldenkamp was kind enough to write the following, “He (Bailey) was really good about asking me specific questions such as if kids or dogs were allowed. Asked a lot about the set-up, how I’d like the layout of the site, what sort of information I would want. He did some high caliber work, and I was very happy with the outcome. The graphics and font types were especially great.”  You may view Bailey’s zombie webpage at If you see Bailey, tell him congratulations on a job well done!

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