Weebly – A Classroom Website




Source: http://www.weebly.com/

What is Weebly? – And Why Have a Classroom Website?

Weebly is a website that allows you to create your own website. Weebly is free, but there are plans you can upgrade to for a fee (more on that below). Weebly allows you to create a website for your classroom – which is a great way to keep consistent communication with parents and students. On your website you can upload newsletters, photos of you classroom, student work, and students at work (make sure you have approval to put students images and/or work on your website). Your website can include a school calendar, reminders of field trips or other important news items, and include a way for parents to keep in contact with you through email and/or comments sections to updates. You can also include a short biography about yourself, including appropriate contact information. Further, you can include student-created blogs on your classroom website. These are only a few of the perks about having a classroom website.

Weebly Website Plan Options:

Free: This option is very basic, but allows you to have a classroom website. There are no privacy options, and your website will not be a traditional .com site. Your site will be, for example, mrpiesclassroom.weebly.com.

Basic: At this option you get everything from the free plan, plus you are able to remove the .weebly.com and add your own custom domain. You will need to buy this separately. You can do this at a website like GoDaddy.com. Domains typically cost $10-15 per year and you can buy them for multiple years. There is no privacy at this level. The cost for this plan is $49/year, but there are options at the six month and two year marks as well.

Pro: At this level you get everything from the free and basic levels, but now you can add password protected pages. The cost for this plan is $99 for one year, or $159 for two years. This is the plan that I would suggest for teachers due to the privacy you receive with it. If you work the website properly, you could even put multiple classes on the website if you teach more than one class. Each class can have a different password.

Educational Uses

Weebly, along with other classroom websites, allows you to easily create a customized website for your classroom. The website allows you to keep in contact with parents and students. If you take advantage of a service such as Remind101 that allows you to text parents for free, you can send out update texts informing them that the website has been updated. You can have students save their written work to a Word file, and then copy/paste their work onto the website as a student-created blog. Students can do this with their real names, or with a pen name. Some students may find motivation in seeing their personal writing in digital print, on a website – they have been published!


A classroom website can primarily be used for communication to parents. That said, if you incorporate blogging into the website, any writing standard can be used. Writing standards such as perspective and opinionated writing are good options for blogging. Since the blogs will be student work, you can assess their work from the blog.


Upside: You can use a classroom website created on a site like Weebly to communicate with parents in many ways. Classroom newsletters, updates, school and classroom news, calendar dates, student blogs, images of students and their work (in accordance with school policy), and many other options help to make classroom websites a strong tool in education.

Downside: Weebly is free, but in order to get some of the desired aspects of a classroom website, it is going to cost you. This is true about most, if not all, personal website building sites. The usefulness, ease, and price will vary from site to site.


A classroom website is becoming more essential as the years go by. You can create a classroom website for free on many sites, such as Weebly. To get some of the desired aspects of a classroom website, it is going to cost you. That said, if you properly utilize your classroom website, the cost will be worth it.

YouTube in the Classroom

images (1)Image Credit: http://sasafitness.hu/?attachment_id=2516

Source: www.youtube.com

What is YouTube? 

YouTube is a free website with millions of videos that cost you nothing to watch. The website is funded through advertisements which usually pop up before you watch videos. Sometimes you have the option to skip the advertisement after several seconds, but sometimes you have to watch the entire advertisement. You can find videos on YouTube on virtually any topic. To be safe, it is advisable to view any video you show in your classroom before sharing it with your class. There is also another similar website created for education called TeacherTube. Both websites have their benefits, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on YouTube. An important concept in YouTube are that there are channels. Each account owner has their own “channel” to post videos from. A YouTube channel is sort of like a profile.

TeacherTube Source: http://www.teachertube.com/

Educational Uses

18-YouTube-for-SchoolsHow can I use YouTube in my classroom? YouTube is a great resource because there are many educational channels on YouTube. Most of the channels are dedicated to a specific content area, such as math, science or language arts. For example, NASA has a YouTube channel. This channel is great for teaching a variety of science related standards. There are many channels that have old Bill Nye the Science Guy  videos. In addition to educational channels, there are many news related channels. YouTube is a great resource for bringing modern topics into the classroom. Students hear about various topics in the news; YouTube allows you to bring short news videos into your classroom to share with your students. You can connect modern news topics into the classroom by asking students to discuss their thoughts/opinions on topics. You can ask students to discuss the perspectives of the different sides of news. Then, you can have your students write about these perspectives, opinions and thoughts – all of those touch on standards in language arts. Depending on the news topic, it can touch on additional content area standards. Further, YouTube helps to teach in a diverse way, touching on various learning styles, and the content of YouTube can be multicultural. (Image Credit: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/12/youtube-for-schools/)

Standards & Assessment

As mentioned above, you can use YouTube to teach all content areas, and likely any standard. As mentioned above, YouTube can be used to teach perspective and opinion in writing (W.3.1). YouTube can be used to help learn and explain what nouns, verbs, etc., are (L.3.1.a).

There is no built-in assessment tool with YouTube, but you can develop lessons around what students see on YouTube. From there, you can create assessments.


Upside: YouTube is a free source that teachers can use to teach virtually any content area and standard. YouTube can be used to teach modern-events/news and be used to help teach in a multicultural way. Students can see all around the world, and not have to leave their classroom to do this. This can help to open up the minds of students, teaching about places that they never imagined, or could not otherwise truly appreciate without seeing. You can also choose to only use a portion of a video, which can help to speed up the learning process as many videos are long, while others are very short.

Downside: There could be some copyright issues with YouTube, depending on the content being viewed, and various legislation that could go into law. Since YouTube is a free site that anyone can upload to, there is a lot of content that is not appropriate for the classroom. It is a smart idea to watch any video you plan to share with the class before sharing it. There are also advertisements on YouTube that may or may not be appropriate for students to view, so setting up the video beforehand is a good idea.


YouTube is a great free website that can be utilized in the classroom. While there are some items to consider when deciding whether or not to use YouTube, and what video you choose to use, there is more upside than downside to the website. YouTube is a website that should be used in balance with other media options in the classroom. YouTube – the modern day educational video site.


The Wordle Hurdle

Source: http://www.wordle.net/

The Wordle Hurdle

Motivation. Creativity. Excitement. Fun. Reading. Writing. Social-Studies. Math. Science. Vocabulary. Studying. Expressive. Unique. Visual-Learners. Wordle.

Wordle(Wordle, 2014)

 Ask yourself – which is more interesting and which would you pick to look at for learning purposes? The series of words at the beginning of this article, or the image above, which contains the same words? For me, it is the picture. For many people, this sort of picture is a brand new idea, one that they have never seen before. Others have seen this type word-based imagery, but they do not know what it is exactly. In case you have not figured it out by now, this is what is called a Wordle.

Creating a Wordle is easy, and the most difficult part of the process is trying to figure out what words to include in the Wordle – which usually has a theme of some sort. I notice that the words are all the same size, except for the word ‘Wordle’. If you want certain words to be larger when a Wordle is created, simply type the words more than once. The more frequently a word appears in the text before a Wordle is created, the larger the word will appear when the Wordle is created.

Use in the Classroom

So, Wordle’s look fun, but how can I use them in my classroom? A Wordle can be used in the classroom in many ways. The easiest application can be found in language arts. Take for instance word study. A common practice in your classroom is a weekly spelling test. Giving your students a traditional spelling list, along with a Wordle with those same words, can give students multiple study options. In reading, students can identify a single character, scene or aspect from a book they are reading, and then create a list of words describing the character, scene or aspect, and then a Wordle can be created from that. This is a fun way for students to share what they know – and they can easily be used to hang in the hall to show off student work.

What about the other content areas? A Wordle can be used in all content areas. Take for instance, science. Your students are learning about matter and the specific properties of matter. You can have students create a list of words that describe matter, and then use that list to create a Wordle. This can be done individually, in groups or in whole-class form. Then, a Wordle can be created and hung up in the classroom to refer to.

In social studies, students can create lists that describe whatever they are learning, such as comparing rural, suburban and urban communities. What is specific to each of those? You could divide the class into groups and assign each group to become experts on their area (there could be multiple expert groups on the same area). Part of the assignment could be to create a Wordle of their area to share with their classmates. In math, a Wordle can be created to help learn various math terms, or real-life applications for specific areas of math. An example is where would you use money? A Wordle can be used to show all the areas where money can be used. Where do you use multiplication in real life? Create a Wordle that shows all the places you use multiplication. This will help students to see the ways that their learning can be used in everyday life. This makes learning more powerful.

The creation of a Wordle is a great tool for evaluation. It helps you to see exactly what students know about a specific topic. For example, what do the students know about a character in a book that is being read? A Wordle is great at getting down to the nuts and bolts of what students know. It sort of summarizes their knowledge. Alternatively, a Wordle is a great teaching tool at any point in a lesson. Students can create a Wordle to show what they know about a topic before they learn (pre-assessment) and create another one afterward to show what they now know (summative assessment). A Wordle can help students to identify important terms that need to be learned, and can be used to help study for spelling tests, among many other tests in all content areas.

I believe that the value of a Wordle can be very strong. A classroom with a lot of technology is best suited for regular creation of Wordle’s. The downside of a Wordle is that unless you have the technology in the classroom, and have the ability to let students create a Wordle on their own, you will be stuck creating them. If you are using them for whole-class or in small groups, it may be easier to create them yourself. Another drawback is that if they are done in black and white, they lose a lot of the attractiveness. Color is the best option when you create a Wordle.

Educational Impacts


Upside: They are a fun way to summarize a single idea. They can be used for studying purposes over a variety of content areas, and they are free and easy to make. 

Downside: To make one is quick, but to make many can take time. So, creating a Wordle over a topic for the class, or small groups, is easy and fast to do. Creating individualized Wordle’s for each student in your class will take time. 


Wordle is a tool that can be used to help teach almost any standard. As I mentioned above, they can be used to teach vocabulary/spelling, summaries of knowledge learned (any subject), describing whatever is being taught, and the list goes on. Of course, imagination is important when using Wordle, so some  standards will more easily be able to use this tool than others.


You can use the words/wordle’s your students make to assess how much of a specific objective a student understands. For example, if you ask students to create a Wordle with a them of what an urban community looks like, you can learn by what words the students choose how well they understand the concept. 


Wordle is a great tool that can be brought into the classroom. It helps to visually display the key components/points in any topic that is being taught. They help to teach in a visual way, and they can be used in pre and post assessments. Wordle can be used to teach, to study from and to use as a reference throughout the learning process. Depending on the grade level you have and the technology you have available, Wordle may be something that has limited use in your classroom as you may be responsible for creating each Wordle yourself. It is also best for a Wordle to be in color as it helps the attractiveness of it. The Wordle is a powerful tool – now the question is, are you going to utilize it in your classroom?


Wordle – Create. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://www.wordle.net/create

iLearning on the iPad


(The Reguligence Weblog, 2014)

Source: The iPad is an Apple product. You can view apple products by visiting their official website http://www.apple.com/ipad/

iLearning with the iPad

Has there ever been a piece of technology that has entered the classroom with the same level of excitement and interest that the iPad has created? If so, when did it happen? Did the SmartBoard enter the classroom with this level of excitement? What about the classroom computer? I remember my father telling me that in the 1970s they brought tape players into the classroom and had them listen to educational tapes. He said that, “we were considered technologically advanced as a school.” He also told me that he put tapes of Led Zeppelin into the tape player instead.

The iPad has burst onto the scene, and classrooms will never be the same. How do I use an iPad in my classroom though? Like any piece of technology, the iPad is only helpful and impactful in the classroom if the educator knows how to properly utilize it. First of all, you need to understand the basics of using an iPad. If you do not know how to use an iPad, you can use this good site to learn more http://ipad.about.com/od/iPad_Guide/ss/iPad-101-New-Users-Guide-Install-Move-Delete-Folders.htm

iPad Apps

An iPad has much of the functionality of a computer. You can access the Internet, do email, create written documents, and much more. Where an iPad becomes powerful in learning is when you have the right apps downloaded on an iPad. Apps, or applications, are both free and for purchase. Not all apps are right for every grade level and/or content area. Choosing the correct app is the responsibility of an educator. Ensure that you are familiar with an app before allowing your students to use it.

There are many websites and blogs that you can use to identify good apps for download. I will supply those websites below. The use of an iPad is not limited to teaching purposes. You can use an iPad as a teacher in many ways. There are apps designed for classroom management, attendance and grading, student profiles, and much more. The iPad is a great tool for both students and for educators.

Many companies nowadays have created apps so that you can use their product on the iPad. Companies such as Pinterest, Dropbox, Amazon Kindle, Webster’s Dictionary, Adobe Reader, Remind101, and various blogging websites all have iPad apps. Further, you can find tools such as running record calculators, traditional and scientific calculators, voice recording devices, timers, and various maps for teaching about the world and geography. You can also buy Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. These apps work just like Word (Pages), Excel (Numbers) and PowerPoint (Keynote). With these apps, you can open documents from their Microsoft counterparts, and save in a file format that allows you to open the saved work back in Microsoft.

Great Websites for Apps and iPad Learning

  • Using the iPad in the classroom by Apple: http://images.apple.com/education/docs/L523172A_EDU_App_Guide_062013.pdf
  • Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything iPad: http://www.schrockguide.net/ipads-in-the-classroom.html
  • List of Apps: http://www.teachhub.com/20-amazing-ipad-apps-educators
  • Another List of Apps: http://www.edison.k12.nj.us/Page/3092

Educational Impacts


Upside: The iPad is part of the future of the education, and it gets students excited about learning. Educational apps, in general, are built to keep the students engaged (albeit with the iPad itself and not with others). There are also apps like Kindle that will allow your students to read in a fun and technologically savvy way. 

Downside: The iPad is expensive, so you will likely need to wait on your school to supply them for you. That said, it is possible to get grants to help fund the purchase. Another downside is that students are engaged solely with an iPad when they use it, so there is a social downside. The usefulness of educational apps can also be questioned. 


The iPad is very diverse. There are apps that cover every content area; educators just need to learn which apps work best for their grade and content area. For this reason, nearly every standard can be taught using the iPad, though math, writing and reading are among the most represented content areas in the app store.


There can be some assessment built into the iPad through specific apps, but the iPad, at this point, is more for practicing skills than for being used as an assessment tool. Still, it is part of the future of education and it is essential for educators to embrace technology. 


The iPad is a great tool in education – and like any tool, you must learn how to use it properly. The iPad represents the future in technology, and the future in the way students will learn. The iPad and the apps have a long way to go before maximum benefits will be reached, but those days are on the horizon. It is time to learn how to properly utilize the iPad in you classroom. As educators, it is our responsibility to embrace new technology and to teach it to your students within the content standards. Are you ready to be an iEducator?


Apple’s iPad Trade Mark Bumped In China « The Reguligence Weblog. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://reguligence.biz/trademark/infringement-trademark/apples-ipad-trade-mark-bumped-in-china/

The Blog About Blogging

B(The Central Pen, 2014) 

Source: There are many websites on the Internet where you can create a classroom blog, such as Weebly, Blogger and others listed later in the article. 

The Mighty Blog

One of the worst things that an author can do is assume that the intended audience knows what something is – that is, that they have the background knowledge to follow what you as an author are writing. It seems that most people have some understanding of what a blog is, or at the very least, they have heard the word blog and hopefully connect the word to the Internet.

This is a blog entry about blogs, or more specifically, about blogging. It seems reasonable that before I take you, the reader, down the path of learning about blogs and their applicable uses in education, that a definition of what a blog is should be made. If I was in the classroom, I would create this definition through the ideas and words of my students – a powerful teaching technique. Since I am looking at a computer screen and have no idea who you, the reader, are, I am now left with creating this definition for you.

So what is a blog? First of all, a blog is located on the Internet. A blog may or may not have a unique web address. Many times blogs can be located on websites. For instance, news websites sometimes have blogs written by specific authors, but the website itself is not focused solely on blogging. Alternatively, a website may be focused solely on blogging. Some of these websites may include many different bloggers, or the website may have only one blogger.

Okay, so I know where blogs are and the different places blogs can be…but you still haven’t answered the question of what is a blog? A blog is a short piece of writing that is generally authored by one person and can be either fiction or nonfiction. Wow, that’s awfully broad. What goes into blogs are as diverse as the people who write them. People use blogs to write informational text, opinions on various topics, and they can even be mini-diaries. A blog can literally contain anything that the blogger wants to put in it.

Blogs in the Classroom

     The ways that blogs can be used in the classroom vary almost as greatly as blogs themselves. I have included a variety of ways that blogs can be utilized in the classroom setting. Depending on grade level, content area, access to technology and student background knowledge with computers, the suggestions may need to be altered. You, as an educator, know your class the best.


As an educator, blogs can be a great way to introduce students to a variety of writing styles and genres. If you can find a great blog as an educator, you can introduce your students to the blog and give them time to explore the blog themselves. If you find a blog/blogging website that is full of good information, you can guide your students to the website and have them use the blog as a resources. Make sure your students learn to cite their sources though – just because the information is not coming from a book does not mean you shouldn’t cite it!

As an educator, you could find two or more blogs that are written on the same topic (informational or opinionated) and ask students to compare and contrast the varying opinions and facts.


Blogs are great for writing. First, students can use blogs to find information and then write about that information. Students can read a blog and write their reaction to that blog. Students could even construct a response to the blog post and write it, and if possible, send those responses to the author of the blog.

Of course, blogs are a form of writing. If you have the technology and the proper permissions, you can create a class website that includes student blogs. This can be a powerful tool, especially if the student blogs do make it onto the website. I know from experience that when I see my own writing on a website, it gives me a lot of confidence and pride. Imagine that – giving students confidence and pride in their writing!

I do not have the technology available at my school to have my students create blogs online. If you do not have the technology to put student writing on blogs, then perhaps you could use the same idea to create student “blog books” that make their way into the classroom library. I have the technology, but I do not have the permission. If you do not have permission to post student work, it may not be the end. Work with your principal and parents on various ways the blogs can be posted. Some parents may be okay if the work is password protected (perhaps a good idea to begin with). Another idea is to have each student create pen names so that their real names never make it to the Internet. Combine that with password protection, and you should be able to convince most (if not all) parents to allow their child’s work to be published online.

Blogs for Educators

There are many blogs designed for educators. These blogs, often written by educators, help to give teaching ideas, classroom management ideas, and share information about various topics in education, among many other topics. Here is a list of various educational blogs http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/top-100-education-blogs/

As a blogger myself, I am working on a new website designed to help catch the interest of students, and help aide educators in their quest to teach literacy. The website is called The Fairy Tale Blogs, and is written from the perspective of various characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other folktale. Currently, there are four “bloggers” on the website – B.B. Wolf, Prince Charming, Peter Pan and Cinderella. After each blog there are suggestions for educators on how they may use that specific blog entry in their classroom. The blog is still in development, and will not be fully ready to share/advertise to the public until the end of the Summer when there will hopefully be enough entries for the website to be functional. Consider this a sneak-peak: http://www.thefairytaleblogs.com/

Some Standards

Blogs can be used to learn about any content area, and virtually any topic. That said, they can be used to teach/learn many different literacy standards. Some of these standards are listed below:

  • Retelling
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Opinionated Writing
  • Informational Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Narrative Writing
  • Determining Themes/Main Ideas
  • Perspective/Point-of-view
  • Print Concepts
  • Shared Research

Classroom Blogs

Where do I get my own classroom blog? There are a number of websites that you can use to create classroom blogs. First, check with your principal/IT department to see if there is already a blog system set up for your school. If not, then there are still options. I have listed a few free blogging websites below. Depending on your preferences, you may opt to use the pay options that some of these websites offer, as not all of their features are available in the free versions. For example, on Weebly.com, you have to pay more for password protected pages.

  • Weebly.com
  • Blooger.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Blog.com

Educational Impacts


Upside: Students get to develop their writing skills through blogging. The power of the blog is that the students get to see their writing in digital print on the computer – and others can see it too! Their work is published, and that can help to inspire and motivate students to write. If the students choose pen names, that can make the experience even more  fun. If blogging is right for your classroom, there are a number of free blogging sites available. 

Downside: Depending on school policy and parent consent, creating student blogs may require you to jump through hurdles. Further, while there are many free blogging sites out there, they often charge for features that classroom teachers may want, such as password protected pages. 


You can use blogs for almost any writing standard, such as writing opinion and perspective/point-of-view pieces, informational texts and narratives. 


Since student work is saved to the blog, you can assess their writing from there. This cuts down on paper, and adds the benefit of being able to grade the work anywhere. One item to consider is how well students are trained in typing. Students may make mistakes they would not normally make when producing hand-written work. 


Blogs can be used in many different ways in the world of education. They can be used in the classroom for reading purposes, for writing purposes, for learning information in literally all content areas, they can be utilized to learn more about the craft of educating. So, what are you waiting for? Blog on!



Starting a Blog | The Central Pen. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://blogs.centralpenn.edu/centralpen/tag/starting-a-blog/

Kindling The Inner Reader

scr2555-proj697-a-kindle-logo-rgb-lg(Amazon, 2014)

Source: www.amazon.com

 Kindling The Inner Reader

Children love technology, which comes in handy since we are in the midst of the greatest technological revolution in the history of mankind. One of the central questions that teachers have is: how do I get my students excited about reading – or how do I get my students to want to read? The selection and availability of a wide-range of book genres on a variety of reading levels is important, and having an enthusiastic approach to reading as a teacher is important too. When you have done all of that – what next? In this day of age embracing technology can perhaps make students excited about reading.

Within the last seven or eight years the ebook industry has taken off like wildfire. Many different companies have taken the lead in the creation of ebook readers and earning the copyrights to sell ebooks in their virtual stores. The Big Three in the world of ebooks are Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iBooks. All of these platforms are very similar, and they can each easily be used in the classroom. In fact, the majority of this article can apply to all three – but Amazon Kindle is the platform that has the most flexibility, and therefore is the topic of this article.

What is an eBook & eReader? 

What is an ebook exactly, and for that matter, what is an ereader? An ebook is a book that has been digitized so that you can read it in digital form. This is where the ereader comes into play. An ereader, such as a Kindle, has the ability to display the ebooks to readers. In fact, an ebook can often store hundreds, if not thousands, of books. Of course, the amount of memory an ebook has will have an impact on the number of ebooks that can be stored on it.

The Perks of Kindle

The perks of reading books on a Kindle are many, not the least of which includes the excitement of reading a book on a fun digital device. One of the struggles that readers face on all levels, but especially in the early years, is reading and not knowing what a word means. Kindles have a feature built in that allows you to select any word and it will give you that words definition. This is a great plus, but you will also want to ensure that readers are developing the skills needed to learn new words. Another neat feature of the Kindle is that it always remembers where you left off reading, so no need to forget where you left off. The Kindle also allows you the ability to place as many bookmarks as you would like, highlight text, and create in-book notes. Some books include “book extras,” which have details about characters, or in some books, a glossary of terms (especially if specific terms are created by the author). Other features include changing the font size (great for students who struggle to see), page background (white, sepia and even a black background with white text), and the brightness of the screen. Another great feature is that, depending on the device, you can have your Kindle read to you. Click here to see a video of how to do this on an iPad. 

Kindle Books

Not every book on Amazon is eligible for purchase on your Kindle, as there are copyright issues that prevent some books from purchase. In most cases, buying a book on Kindle is cheaper than buying the book brand new – plus, you get the satisfaction of being able to download the book instantly. The downside to buying books on Kindle is that you cannot resell the books later, and while the books are cheaper than brand new books they are not always cheaper than purchasing used books. On the plus side, you can download that book on up to six different devices – so it is like buying six books for the price of one. In addition, some libraries are beginning to have the capabilities of renting eBooks. This will allow you the ability to rent the book for free. Depending on your library, you can rent for generally two weeks, and may be limited on the number of devices you can download to. Still, this option may be good if you are reading a book to your class. The downside is that there is often a very long waiting list for books, and the selection may be much more limited than what you can find on Amazon.

The Many Ways to Use Kindle

There are many different devices that you can use with Kindle. Below we will explore some of the options, from cheapest to most expensive.



Google Chrome: Google Chrome, a web browser, has many apps that you can download. One of those apps is the Kindle Cloud Reader. This application allows you to read your Kindle books for FREE on your computer or laptop. Most classrooms these days are equipped with two to five student computers. If you have this application on each of them, then this suddenly becomes a very easy computer/technology based center. (image: Wikimedia, 2014)




Older Model Kindle: If you go to the Internet, especially a site like eBay, you can find many older model Kindle’s selling from ten dollars and up. Generally, you can get these models, depending on how new, for less than fifty dollars apiece. (image: Wikipedia, 2014)




New Kindle Models: Currently, Kindle has a number of traditional ereaders available. These range in price from $69 – $199. Click the link at the beginning to compare the models. (image: The Digital Reader, 2013)





Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is an eReader, but more than that, it is a tablet. The Kindle Fire is not quite the machine that the iPad is (in this writers opinion), but it is a major step up from the traditional eReading devices that readers had come to love. You can download many different apps from the Amazon app store, and some of them are educational too. The Kindle Fire starts at $139 for the entry level model, and goes up in price from there. Click the link a the beginning to compare the models. (image: The Digital Reader, 2011)




iPadAh, the tablet and device that educators are becoming more acquainted with as the months and years go by. The iPad has many wonderful educational applications. The Kindle App allows you to experience the Kindle on your iPad. There are many models available, starting at $299 for the iPad Mini. Chances are, though, your school has supplied the iPads for you. Nonetheless, click the link at the beginning to compare the different models. (image: Digital Trends, 2011)

Educational Applications

You may be thinking, how can I utilize the power of Kindle in my classroom? You can use a Kindle book any way you can use a traditional book. Still, below there is a list of different classroom applications. Depending on how many devices you have in your room, you may have to alter these ideas to fit your personal classroom.

  • Kindle can be used during centers. Depending on the number of devices you have, students can either read on their own, or they can read to one another. If the book is a longer one and you want to come back to it, you will want to have the students record their place with a bookmark. If you have many students, this could become overwhelming. In this case you can create a Kindle Form for your students and after they read they can record the book that they read and the page or location that they left off on. Depending on the book, you may have either page numbers of location numbers listed at the bottom of the page.
  • Reading groups are a great way to utilize your Kindle. It also helps to minimize any anxiety that goes along with reading groups, especially for students who are not on grade-level. Typically, these students are reading books with fewer pages, and every other student can see this. With the Kindle, there are no pages. The other students seeing the reading group have no idea how long or short the book being read is.
  • Teacher read aloud. The Kindle allows you the ability to read aloud just like a traditional book.

The Value of Kindle

The value of Kindle books can be immense. I know that I prefer to read for pleasure on a Kindle. That considered, I would not invest my own money in purchasing devices to read Kindle books on. These devices are expensive, and would be overly expensive to try to purchase multiple Kindle devices. With the rise of the iPad, and the increasing number of classroom computers, there is no need to invest your own money into a Kindle reading device for the classroom – although you may want to do so for yourself.

I would, however, put my own money into Kindle books for my classroom. These books are good forever, and are part of the classroom library in a sense. While Kindle books are no replacement for a fully-stocked traditional classroom library, they certainly enhance your classroom library. A word of warning. I would have a separate Amazon account for teaching than I would for my own personal Kindle library. I have an interest in books and book genres that are not appropriate for students, such as the Dexter book series. If you combine your personal collection and your classroom collection, all of these books will be available to download. In short – keep your accounts separate so that you do not have students reading materials that are not appropriate.

With Kindle books you can access your books anywhere you have the device. This means that if you want to look at a specific book for lesson planning purposes, you can do so from home if you have a device with you. Additionally, you can share these books with your own children without having to bring the books out of your classroom.

Educational Impacts


Upside: Kindle allows you to share books with students in a digital way – something that could help bring some students to the world of reading. The Kindle also helps students to learn what words mean, as it has a built-in dictionary. Further, when you buy books on your Kindle, you can use them on up to six devices. These devices can range from the original Kindle, the Kindle Fire, a computer with Google Chrome or even iPads. 

Downside: The start-up cost of using Kindle is significant, especially if you want to have multiple devices. That said, with the iPad becoming so popular in education, you may be able to get around the start-up cost. Kindle books can also only be used on a device that supports Kindle – so when you buy the book, it cannot go into your physical classroom library. Finally, not every book is available through Kindle – although the library is growing. 


All reading standards can be used with the Kindle, such as RL.3.1 – Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. You can also use the Kindle to teach about various topics in all content areas. 


There is no built-in assessment tool in the Kindle, though you can use what students learn from their Kindle reading to create assessments. 


The Kindle and other similar products are part of the future of education. If you are at the beginning or in the middle of your career, you should begin to invest in Kindle books. If you are toward the end of your career as an educator and do not have the technology in your classroom/school to utilize Kindle books properly, you may want to wait on Kindle. 


Amazon Kindle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Kindle

Amazon Media Room: Images – Logos. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-logos

Jobs unveils iPad 2: thinner than iPhone 4, comes in white | Digital Trends. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/jobs-returns-to-announce-apple-ipad-2-thinner-than-iphone-4-comes-in-white/

Kindle Fire Update Breaks Root – The Digital Reader. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2011/12/19/kindle-fire-update-breaks-root/

Report: New Kindle Paperwhite to Gain 300ppi Screen Next Spring – The Digital Reader. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2013/11/24/rumor-new-kindle-paperwhite-gain-300ppi-screen-next-spring/

Retrieved February 21, 2014, from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Chrome_Logo.jpg

Links not identified in article (in chronological order)

  • For iPad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgDdB4FhHrk
  • For Kindle Cloud Reader: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/kindle%20?hl=en-US
  • Older Kindle Readers: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=used+kindle&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1311.R5.TR11.TRC1.A0.H0.Xused+kindle&_nkw=used+kindle+reader&_sacat=0
  • New Kindle Models: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007HCCNJU?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=32921805324&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2009841085920469718&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_dddnsp8s8_e#kindle-compare
  • New Kindle Fire Models: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CU0NSCU?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=33040575804&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1255882859855132769&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_77dhs6v2cn_e#kindle-compare
  • New iPad Models: http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/

Remind101 – Texting Reminders to Parents and Students


(30 Day Challenge, 2012)

Source: https://www.remind101.com/

It’s All In the Text: Remind 101

    One of the biggest problems teachers face today is keeping in-touch with parents, and therefore, students once they leave our classrooms. For many years teachers have utilized classroom newsletters to keep in touch with parents. Newsletters turned into emails (although physical newsletters still go out). Email has allowed teachers to quickly and easily contact parents. In the last decade, classroom websites have been created to help students and parents alike access the details of classrooms whenever they want. There are issues with both of these methods.

The newsletter is only valuable when the parent actually receives it. This puts the student in charge of ensuring newsletters reach parents. Even then, it is only valuable if the parent takes the time to read it. Emails have been very successful, especially with the growing technological age. Still, it requires a parent to check their email. Some parents, especially in socioeconomic disadvantaged schools, may not have internet, which makes the classroom website unsuccessful too. The classroom website is also only successful if parents and students remember to check it regularly.

There is something new brewing in the world of technology and education though – text reminders. Most parents, and many older students, have cell phones that allow text messages. While the number of parents without cell phones with texting capabilities will be lower in socioeconomic disadvantaged areas, many of these parents still have cell phones. This new trend of text alerts has the ability to leave an enormous positive impact on the world of education.

Working the Text3593062

There is a free text reminder service for teachers called Remind101. This service allows teachers to create profiles for each of the classes they teach, for elementary teachers this may only mean one profile. To begin, go to remind101.com and create a profile. The set up process is straight-forward and the site will walk you through the steps. Once you create an account, you will be asked to create a class. From there, you will be given a class phone number and class code. The class phone number will not be your own personal cell phone number. This allows you to keep your privacy while still being able to take advantage of the service. The next step is just ensuring all of your parents and/or students sign up for the service. This may require newsletters and/or phone calls – but once the parents are signed up for the service, things will run much smoother! Once you have an account and your classes set up, now comes the time to use Remind101. You can send text messages from your computer, or if you have a smartphone you can send text messages through the Remind101 app. (image above: Remind 101, 2012)

Remind 101 Teacher Registration

(Remind 101, 2014)

How Can I Use Remind101 in My Classroom? 

     There are a variety of ways you can use Remind101. Below we have a list of some of the ways that this service can be used in a variety of classrooms. In addition to the useful suggestions below, an important feature of Remind101 is that you can set your messages to deliver at specific times in the future. This allows you to plan ahead so that text reminders can be sent out at appropriate times, and you do not have to plan your time around sending text reminders.

All Classrooms (Elementary May Exclude Students From Texts) 

  • Inform parents and students of homework/homework reminders
  • Inform/remind parents and students of upcoming tests
  • Inform parents and students of newsletters that are being sent home
  • Remind parents and students to send in permission slips
  • Inform/remind parents and students of school picture day
  • Inform/remind parents and students of regularly scheduled closings/delays
  • Inform parents and students of closings and delays (snow days)
  • Inform/remind parents and students of special events
  • Inform parents and students that grade cards are being sent home
  • Inform parents and students when the classroom website has been updated
  • Inform/remind parents and students of upcoming field trips
  • Inform/remind parents and students of parent-teacher conferences

Elementary Exclusive 

  • Inform parents of class parties
  • Inform parents of honors assemblies
  • Inform parents of the classroom specific information

Middle & High School Exclusive 

  • Inform/remind parents and students of athletic events
  • Inform/remind parents and students of social events, such as dances
  • Can be used for school clubs and other extracurricular activities


  • Update students on syllabus and calendar changes
  • Inform students if you will be running late to class/class cancellations
  • Request/remind students to bring specific materials to class
  • Inform students that grades for specific assignments have been posted
  • Inform students that something has been uploaded to class site
  • Anything that email is used for, or to inform students to check their email

As you can see, Remind101 can be used at any level of education. This service likely works best when implemented at the beginning of a school year or term, but even if you begin midway through, there are many possibilities. It would be unwise to at least try out this free service, especially in an age where people of all walks of life have cell phones with text message capabilities. So, what are you waiting for?

Educational Impacts


Upside: Remind101 allows you to keep consistent contact with parents and students. You can ensure they have the most up-to-date information. Remind101 is fast, easy and convenient. It also allows you to keep in contact with parents and students without giving away your own cellphone number.

Downside: Remind101 sends text messages without supplying your phone number. This means that if someone has a question about the message, they cannot respond to the text message in the typical text message way. Your students/parents must respond to you either by email or other phone numbers that you have supplied them with.

Standards and Assessment: 

There are no standards connected to Remind101 as it is for parent/student communication.

Useful Resources

  • The official Remind101 website: https://www.remind101.com/
  • To learn more about Remind101 (video included): https://www.remind101.com/learn-more
  • Even more about Remind101: https://www.remind101.com/resources
  • About Remind101: https://www.remind101.com/about
  • News articles about Remind101: https://www.remind101.com/press
  • Download App in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/remind101/id522826277
  • Download App on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.remind101&utm_campaign=get-it-on-google-play&utm_medium=homepage&utm_source=remind101


Remind101 is exactly what many educators have been waiting for. It allows you to have quick, easy, convenient and free contact with your students and parents whenever you want. Messages are sent discreetly, and done in such a way that your students and parents are very likely to receive the message. Remind101 – sign up now!


30 Day Challenge: Day 20 – Remind 101. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2014, from http://icats30daychallenge.blogspot.com/2012/11/day-20-remind-101.html

Remind 101 – Project iEngage. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2014, from http://www.projectiengage.com/8/post/2012/11/remind-101.html

Remind101 | Free and Safe Text Messaging for Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2014, from https://www.remind101.com/

Pin It On Me!

pinterest-logo(Gordner, 2014)

Pinterest: What is it?

Source: www.pinterest.com

     I have been told many times that when it comes to teaching, do not try to invent the wheel. It is quite appropriate to use the ideas of others in your classroom. Further, it is even more appropriate to use the ideas of others and tweak them into your own style. In today’s Internet crazy world, the teaching ideas you can get are not limited to the ideas of other teachers in your building or district. With the Internet you do not need to have subscriptions to dozens of expensive magazines to learn new teaching ideas. The Internet is a wonderful tool, and Pinterest is a website that offers a large variety of ideas from everyday teachers, and from professionals specializing in following teaching trends. Best of all – it’s free!

Pinterest is not exclusive to teaching, it has a wide-variety of topics in which one can explore. Pinterest is a form of social media, and you must have a profile in order to use it – you can easily connect it to your Facebook and Twitter profiles, among a variety of other websites. Your Pinterest profile is different from other types of social media. You are asked to create different boards, or files, where you will share various forms of media. You can search Pinterest for whatever topics you are interested in, such as teaching, and if you see something that you like and want to remember, you can hover your cursor over the picture, and select “Pin It,” then you will be given the option of pinning your content into whatever board you would like.

Pinterest: How to Use It

     Pinterest is free, so all you need to do is create a profile. When you create a profile, Pinterest will do a lot to walk you through how to use the site. Since Pinterest is a social media website, one of the ideas behind Pinterest is that you follow people, and have people follow you. Once you begin following other people (which Pinterest will help walk you through how to do this), your homepage will display all of the pins your friends/the people you follow post.

If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest, you may be wondering what a pin actually is. In short, a pin is a picture of an item, and often times there will be a link attached to the pin. There will also be text attached to each pin. When you pin something, you are sharing it with other people. Unlike Facebook, your profile cannot be set to private, so anyone can see your profile and what you have pinned. You do have some privacy options, however, as you can create secret boards to post pins in. For more information on the basics of using Pinterest, click here to read a well created article by PC Magazine.

PinIt(Rhiannon, 2012)

Pinterest: Impacts in Teaching

     Pinterest is not something that you would likely use with students. This is an excellent resource for teachers to learn more about the art of teaching from other educators. You can get ideas of how to decorate your classroom, lesson plan ideas, teaching strategies, ideas on literature in the classroom, learn about various educational games and strategies, and learn tips about interview processes, organization techniques, classroom management ideas and strategies, other teaching websites and many more.

Pinterest does have a downside, or weakness. You do not know the qualifications of those who originally posted the pin, or idea. You must be careful to consider the quality of the ideas you get from Pinterest. This weakness, however, is one that goes with anything you find on the Internet, other forms of media, and even you colleagues.

Pinterest is a great way to learn about what other people in the world of education are doing, and unlike many other websites and media that offer this sort of information, Pinterest is free. Be careful about anything that you bring into your classroom, but also make sure that if you bring it into your classroom that you make it your own. It is also always wise to give credit for the ideas you use to where you got the ideas from. If you bring something into your classroom from Pinterest and it is a hit and your colleagues ask you how you thought of it – give credit to where it is due. Also, in time, it is always nice to give back. Once you have learned how to use Pinterest, and you have an idea you want to share – share it!

An image of a Pinterest profile is shown below. As you can see, you can have an image of yourself, and a brief description. It also shows the various boards (or files) that you have pins in. You can view your pins by clicking on your various boards, or you can view all of your pins by clicking on the “pins” tab. You  can also see who you are following, and who is following you by clicking on those tabs as well.

Now the question is, when will you begin pinning? To begin using Pinterest, click here. 

Your Profile(Piemonte, 2014)


Upside: Pinterest has a lot of value for educators. It is a free source that helps to share ideas among fellow educators. It is a place that one can go to find lesson plans/unit plan ideas, classroom management techniques, classroom decoration ideas, and much more. Pinterest is not a tool for students. 

Downside: Pinterest is a community in which anyone can join. This means the teaching ideas you get can come from anyone. You will want to be careful what you choose to bring into your classroom – although this should happen regardless. 


This is a resource for educators only – therefore you cannot do assessment through Pinterest. 


You can use Pinterest to get teaching ideas on most, if not all, standards. 


     Pinterest is a great, free, resource that can help educators up their game in the classroom. The Internet and sites like Pinterest are the future of education. It is the suggestion of this blogger and educator that all educators should at least try out Pinterest – so Pin on! 


Gordner, C. (2014, January 2). How To Name Your Brand Pinterest Boards. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from http://socialfresh.com/how-to-name-your-brand-pinterest-boards/

Piemonte, M. (n.d.). Mike Piemonte is pieman458 on Pinterest. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from http://www.pinterest.com/pieman458/boards/

Rhiannon (2012, January 11). How to Add the Pinterest “Pin It” Button to your Blog Posts. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from http://bakedinthesouth.com/2012/07/how-to-add-the-pinterest-pin-it-button-to-your-blog-posts/





Kicking Defiance to the Curb

Kicking Defiance to the Curb

     Imagine – you want to end a conversation with someone, but the other person refuses to go away. Whether you want to end the conversation because it’s become heated, you have some place to be, or you didn’t want to be in the conversation to begin with – the reason is not important, the fact that you want the conversation over is. Sound familiar, right? It would be amazing if there was someone, or something, that had the power to override that person and end the conversation for good, or at least until you wanted to pick up conversation again. What if it were as easy as hitting a few quick buttons, would that sound appealing?

Image Credit: http://www.culturesmithconsulting.com/2011/06/how-to-leave-a-facebook-conversation/

     In real-life things are not so easy, but in the virtual life of a computer, hitting a few quick buttons can end a conversation, or in computer language, end an application (program). Many people who use the computer today are familiar with the Task Manager on a Windows PC. The Task Manager has a lot of uses, but the most common and simplistic use is to close out of an application – usually the applications that are being defiant and won’t close on their own.

Image Credit: http://www.solvusoft.com/blog/how-to-properly-use-windows-task-manager-part-i/

     The way  you access the Task Manager has changed some throughout the years, but today (using Windows 7), it is as easy as holding down CTRL + ALT + DELETE, and then selecting Task Manager when the new window pops up. This is a fairly simple and quick process, but when time management and efficiency are concerned, knowing how to do something quicker helps.

The easier way to access the Task Manager is as simple as holding down CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. Once you hit these three buttons the Task Manager pops up and you are ready to begin closing out applications (programs), or if you know enough about computers, you can close out of processes too.  Of course, there are additional things that you can do with your Task Manager, but that is for another article.

Image Credit:  http://www.joker-6.ru/post205158682/

     You may be asking, “Why change my old habits when all I am saving is a couple of keystrokes and a couple of seconds?” I would then counter with asking you to think about all of the other shortcuts you use regularly and how much time they have saved you. Many of the most common shortcut keys include the ability to quickly save (CTRL +S), print (CTRL + P), copy (CTRL + C), paste (CTRL + V), and select all (CTRL + A). How much time have you saved over the years using these shortcuts – or how much time will you save now that you know of them?

Ultimately the keystrokes are all up to you – but then again, so is how much time you waste doing things the long way. How quickly will you kick those defiant applications to the curb?

 Image Credit:  http://cuveecorner.blogspot.com/2011/08/fermented-thoughts-kicking-pinot-noir.html




Images (in order of appearance):


How To Properly Use Windows Task Manager – Part I