Thursday, February 28, 2013

Using Evernote to Record and Track Fluency

In December I recorded a second grade student talking about how she uses Evernote (see video below) to track and reflect on her fluency. Since then, a few more classes that I work with have started using Evernote for fluency. What I really like about using Evernote over apps like ShowMe, Educreations, or iTalk is that students have their work stored in a notebook for future reference. The student's work is not stuck on an iPad or in an account that needs to be sifted through to find recordings to compare for growth. Students can organize their notebooks to make it easy to find their fluency work, which is probably mixed in with other school work if students are taking full advantage of using Evernote and Skitch. Students can add tags to notes and/or organize their work by creating different notebooks. All notes can be sorted alphabetically or by date created. I have found it very easy to locate a note when I need to find a particular one.

What I have been demonstrating in classrooms that want to track fluency...
1. Title the note "Fluency" and the date recording.
2. Take a picture of a story to practice reading fluently. Some classrooms are using fluency probes.
3. Touch just after the photograph to get the bouncing cursor and click return twice to allow space between the photo and the recording.
4. Click on the microphone and record reading fluently.
5. Play the recording by touching it.
6. Return the cursor below the recording.
7. Reflect on the fluency. Ex: What did they do well? What do they need to work on?
8. Work on their goal and record again in a few days or within a weeks time. If going for speed, students can stop after a minute of recording, take a word count, and then set a goal for their next recording.

Using Evernote for Fluency from Nicole Gleason on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Possibilities are Endless with Skitch!

I have been playing and learning with Skitch for approximately a year and I wanted to share some of the ways that I have found that Skitch can help enhance education and student learning.

Skitch can be adapted to any subject or activity. It is only limited by our imaginations. Because the user can annotate over any photograph or drawing and then save the end result in an iPad's photo gallery, Skitch can take other applications to new heights. Any photo that is created in Skitch can then be used in other apps like, Educreations, Splice, Fotoflo, ShowMe, StoryKit, plus other various creation apps.

With a free Evernote account, all Skitch work will automatically be saved into a Skitch notebook within Evernote. How handy is that? Where I have found web-based storage to be the handiest is for classrooms that are sharing a cart of iPads. Once the user saves the Skitch creation, they can sign into their account and access their work on other devices or computers. Students have done very well with signing in and out of their Evernote account either using the Skitch or the Evernote app. I also work with some classrooms that have 1:1 iPads and both Evernote and Skitch have been just as useful in a 1:1 setting. Skitch is also available as software for newer computers. I am not sure of the system requirements for PCs, but for Apple you must have Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later. Evernote is browser based on a computer and can easily be accessed no matter the brand or the age of the computer.

This Skitch is a smaller part of a larger project.
Students researched all seven biomes, collected
photos from the internet, and then annotated on
the photos using Skitch. Students then saved all 
of their Skitch creations into their iPad's photo
gallery where they then put all of their photos
into an Educreations. Students then recorded
themselves talking about each of the biomes.
Lastly students posted their Educreations 
onto their blog to share with the world.

Labeling Adjectives

Using Skitch, students took a photo of an object in the classroom and then labeled all adjectives associated with the photo. Students then sent their finished Skitch to their teacher by email.

Graphing Mtn. Range Heights

In this example students took a picture 
of a worksheet, a great way to cut down
on photocopying, and then they graphed
the information according to the data
provided. Students could also do their 
own research to collect data for graphing.

My school district is in the process of customizing learning for our students. We are in the second year of implementation. This is a form that some teachers are using for students to track their learning. If we start using forms like this... potentially a lot more paper will be needed. My hope is to go digital with these types of management pieces. Skitch is one way for students to track their learning. One reason I think it may be the best solution is because Skitch and Evernote are partners. There are other apps like PaperPortNotes that allows the user to type or hand write on a .pdf or .jpeg but there is no web storage. I think that is a vital component to any management system.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NoRedInk for Grammar Practice

During vacation I had some time to explore on the web, more than usual, and I found a really great site for practicing grammar. Many teachers will ask me if there is anything like TenMarks for LA practice. I had yet to find something that is free and loved by students and teachers. NoRedInk may be the solution.

The site is still under development. I have been in contact with Jeff Scheur, the developer, and he stated that they are updating the features to both the paid and the free versions. For now a teacher can create an account and give the class code to their students. After students join, they can choose topics of interest to them. Then all of the practice questions will include their chosen interests.

I had a class test it out for me today and they were excited when the sentence they needed to correct was about Tom Brady, Taylor Swift, or even a beloved pet. One girl raised her hand and I thought she had a question for me, but what she wanted to show me was that the sentence was about her. The look on her face was priceless.

Once students have practiced, they can check their progress and see what they need to work on. Teachers can also check student progress when logged into their teacher account. NoRedInk works on any device including iPads!

Planet Reports; What We Did

I have embedded a video below demonstrating how third grade students created planet reports on iPads using, Safari, Qwiki, Popplet Lite, and Educreations. In the rest of the short video I explain what our next steps will be when we come back from winter break. The plan is to have students embed their creation on their blog so that they can share their work with family and friends. Enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Loving Popplet Lite

Originally Posted February 11, 2013
On My Classblogmeister Blog

Popplet is a wonderful iPad tool for mind-mapping. In the example below students used the App to create an image to help visualize robust vocabulary words. This App can be used for any subject. Students can use it to help plan out a story, to create a report on any topic, or to even work out a math problem. I love the endless possibilities with this App. Of course this can even be taken to the next level by using the images created with Popplet in different applications like Educreations, ShowMe, FotoFlo, or Splice.

5:00 Addendum: A few hours after this post, I discovered that Popplet can also be used through a browser on a computer. Not only can you create a Popplet, but you can work/collaborate on it with other people. This opens up even more possibilities...


Drawing On a Map Using Skitch (iPad Lesson)

Originally Posted January 22, 2013
On My Classblogmeister Blog

Skitch is an App that can be downloaded onto devices or computers. The App has some really nice features including but not limited to adding text to photos, maps, and illustrations created right on the App.

The lesson below is a recording of a third grade class that I was working with on making predictions on a map using the Skitch App on iPads. We were involved in a project where a mini boat with a GPS locater was to be dropped in the ocean off the coast of Brazil. The boat did not quite make it to Brazil and set sail off the coast of the Carolinas. The students predicted where the boat will travel and they are now tracking the live results at

Drawing on a Map in Skitch (iPad) from Nicole Gleason on Vimeo.

The Three Bears Present Internet Safety

Originally Posted December 18, 2012
On My Classblogmeister Blog

Each of the grades that I work with have a different Internet Safety lesson that I guide students through. For my third grade classes, we watch a few internet safety skits created by other students, have a discussion about what Internet Safety means to them, and then students write their own skit and perform it. The students that do not want to act have other choices of what they can do to demonstrate what they learned about Internet Safety. I am sharing one skit that I think is particularly adorable and creative in the way that the mother bear taught her children about Internet Safety.

For more Interent Safety Videos and Games:

Using Evernote with the SAMR Model

Originally Posted December 3, 2012
On My Classblogmeister Blog

Evernote is a tool that can be used on both computers and handheld devices. At it's basic form it is a place to store written work. However, if you get creative, Evernote can be much more than a digital portfolio and reach all levels of the SAMR Model.

At the Substitution Level of SAMR: Use Evernote strictly as a portfolio. Any work that students could add to a three ring binder can be added to their Evernote notes. Students can write and store anything in written form. Students can take photos of projects that would normally be too big to fit in a binder. The Notes can be sorted into folders and be tagged to help students find their stored work quickly. What makes Evernote better than a binder is that it is paperless, takes up less space, and is environmentally friendly.

At the Augmentation Level of SAMR: Use Evernote with functional improvement to a binder portfolio by having students add voice descriptions to their notes/school work that they store in Evernote. On each note students could record their voice talking about their project or artifact and why it is valuable. They could also record themselves setting goals to improve their learning for their next submission.

At the Modification Level of SAMR: Evernote is an excellent place to have students store their fluency. What we have been doing in some of my schools that I work with... students are taking a picture of a passage in a book. Then the students record themselves reading the passage. After they record themselves, the students play back their recording and follow along. Lastly students evaluate their recording and set goals for the next time that they will record themselves reading fluently.

The previous example can be brought to the Redefinition Level of SAMR if students have the ability to email work, which would allow for students to evaluate each other's recordings and provide feedback to their peers. When suggestions come from peers, students often take the suggestion very seriously. Students could share their work with each other by switching devices or computers, however there is the chance for someone's work to get erased with this option. In my district all students from second grade on have an email account. Our 2nd - 8th grades students can only send and receive email from educators and students in our domain. I highly recommend having an email account for your students, if you do not already. Please feel free to use the comments section of this blog article to ask any questions you may have or to tell everyone how you are using Evernote in your classroom.

SAMR Model

Originally Posted November 26, 2012
On My Classblogmeister Blog

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of meeting Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the creator of the SAMR Model at an iPad conference in Auburn, ME. As I share ideas and uses for web 2.0 tools or iPad Apps in the future, I am going to mention where the concept/idea would fall on the SAMR Model. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to create a Thinglink explaining the SAMR Model. Click on any of the hyperlinks on the photo below to learn more about the SAMR Model.


A Quick Introduction to SAMR Using Educreations

Educreations Vs. ShowMe

I have written a few articles about Educreations and ShowMe, but have never really compared the two. They are both great apps on an iPad. Educreations and ShowMe are excellent tools for students to think out loud while working through math problems. They are also an awesome way for a student's teacher/coach to figure out what struggles a student is having while solving a math problem plus help students better their learning. The apps can also be a part of the final result to add voice to other creations from apps like Popplet Lite, Aviary, Skitch, or other similar creation apps.

Educreations is a tad better because you can create more of a slideshow effect and add photos from the web to the presentation/story with less dificulty than ShowMe. The other bonus of Educreations is that it can also be used on a computer through a browser. One thing to keep in mind is... once you start recording you have to finish and save or start all over again. There is no opportunity to edit something that you started using either application. I suggest creating one student account that all students log into. Then have the students put their initials on their work or in the title of their work. That way a teacher can log into one account and all of the ShowMes or Educreations are in one place.

I have pasted below a few student examples.


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Below you will find a great Fotobabble student example.

Second grade students created a letter to their parents mimicking a letter from "I Wanna Iguana" by Karen Kaufman Orloff. The students then drew a picture on their iPad using an art app, imported the photo into Fotobabble and then recorded themselves reading their letters. This type of project can be done using a variety of iPad apps besides Fotobabble like, ShowMe, Educreations, FotoFlo or StoryKit. If using a computer, students can create their drawing using Skitch and then import the picture into Educreations to record their voice.

Using Glogster