Creating Word Equations: A Rebus Puzzle


Have you ever created a rebus puzzle? I have to say that I think they are extremely difficult, but really fun. I have seen this really help students with critical thinking skills, perseverance, vocabulary development, and creativity.

So, what is a rebus? It is a picture representation of a name or phrase. Pictures (emojis) are made with letters and words, which form a cryptic puzzle. I think this is more difficult for adults rather than school-aged students because in their world, this is how so many of them communicate when texting or using social media. So, why not bring this in for learning?

Try these puzzles that my students and I have created to see if you can solve them? They vary in difficultly.REBUS.001

Answers at the end of this post! :)

Part 1: So, how to make a rebus? There are lots of online rebus generators, my favorite is here. This is a great way to get kids interested and understanding the puzzles. I would recommend having them start with their name. Then, they can start creating basic words, such as phone, flower, chair, colors, etc. I had my students take screen shots of their created puzzles and drop them on a Keynote slide. Then, they switched computers with a partner to see if they could solve one another’s puzzles.

Part 2: Create your own rebus puzzle and sentences. Here’s my example:

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.08.11 AM

For this, you can use the built in emojis in your computer or iPad (on computer: control+⌘+space). I find that the emojis are really difficult to see, so my favorite website to find emojis or symbols is This will also teach students to navigate through two open windows on their computer and practice copy/paste skills as well.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.37.22 AM

You can choose what characters you want to view. For this, I used the Emojis and the Numerals

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.37.37 AM

All you do is click on the character you want to copy and toggle back to Keynote and press ⌘V. Then, I just had students insert text to add the +- symbols as well as the additional text. This can be carried over into students creating stories with pictures (taking out the + and -) and using the emojis to create pictorial stories.

When my students were creating these, I was truly blown away at their concentration and perseverance to figure these out. Some of them were very difficult, but it was fun and kids have been putting a rebus puzzles under my door and on my desk with hand-drawn pictures, which I think is awesome!

Other websites/apps to practice creating a rebus:

The Rebus Show for iOS

My Rebus Generator

Rebus Creator

Answers to the puzzles above:

  1. appsolutelyapril
  2. tech
  3. keynote
  4. flower
  5. phone
  6. Sentence: “I went to school.”

My New Book Now in iBooks: The Key(note) to Storytelling


Key(note) to Storytelling

I am very excited to share my new book that I’ve been working on for what feels like forever! It’s called The Key(note) to Storytelling and it combines two of my favorite things: Storytelling and Keynote! I hope that it will guide you along a very powerful path in giving students the opportunity to tell compelling stories while using advanced tools in Keynote. My book will guide you through this unit and provide step-by-step directions in order to have students create compelling stories and stunning videos.

Description from the book:

Storytelling is at the heart of learning and teaching. It has always captured our hearts, caused us to asked questions and moved us into action. What if I told you that you could use Keynote, a tool commonly thought of as a presentation tool, to create a project where students could create something original and unique and use it as a tool for creative storytelling? What if we allowed students to use Keynote to create original characters and animate them to bring storytelling to life? In this project, students will go through the process of creating characters using the shape tool in Keynote, use the Story Spine as a way to creatively structure and capture their story, and bring their stories to life with animations and a green screen in Keynote before completing final video editing in iMovie. Get ready to learn the Key(note) to Storytelling.

Click HERE to download a copy of my book available in iBooks.

Create “Home Row Pumpkins” in Pages


Want a fun way to get kids inspired to practice their typing skills? This activity allows students to learn some of the formatting features in Pages (you could modify this to use Microsoft Word, as well) and gives students the opportunity to practice typing using the home row keys. I encourage students to practice without taking their eyes off of the paper and to practice looking at the screen and paper rather than down at their keyboard. When they are finished following the directions, they will love to see what all of the letters have created!

Click on Home Row Pumpkin to download the instructions.

Here is an example of what the pumpkin will look like once finished.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.14.04 PM

Happy Halloween!!


Fun with Place Value in Base Ten

Place Value

Teaching kids place value can always be something that may or may not prove to be difficult. I remember teaching students to use base ten blocks as hands-on manipulative in my classroom years ago. Today, I had second and third graders create objects (houses, creatures, or people) using base ten blocks. This particular application (Number Pieces) can be accessed through a web browser or iOS device. Click here for the web link and click here for the iOS app.

I love this on either the computer or iPad because students are able to click and drag (or tap and drag) the base ten blocks to create a picture. Once their picture is complete, they count up the blocks and write the number with the pen feature. It’s always great to give students the ability to be creative in math and I was very happy with what they created. This activity allowed students to interact with base ten blocks and revisit the place value system. Another option would be giving students a list of numbers to create and have them create the numbers using the blocks and have a friend check for accuracy. It’s all the fun with base ten blocks without needing the real blocks!

Here are a few samples from my class today:









The Key(note) to Coding

Key(note) to Coding

I am a huge fan of Keynote, both on iOS and OS X devices. I love the versatility in this tool. I enjoy using Keynote to demonstrate how this application goes way beyond a tool for presentations. When a tool constantly amazes you and allows you to learn over and over again, it becomes one of those that you cannot live without! Keynote is that tool for me and I love uncovering new ways to bring learning to life with the use of a technology tool such as Keynote!

I am really excited to share with you all that my iTunes U course called The Key(note) to Coding is now live in the iTunes U store! You can access the course by clicking here. Here is the introduction from the course:

There is a misconception when it comes to thinking about coding; some think it’s only for computer programmers and others think it’s too difficult. While we all weren’t created to be professional coders, we can encourage kids to understand the basic premise of coding. To put it simply, coding is giving a set of instructions to the computer to create an action. In this course, you will learn how to create a project with your students by using Keynote to create tangram shapes and learn the variety of ways to format shapes while taking note of the shape’s placement, size, and rotation. Once the tangram is complete, students will write all of the “code” so that another student can replicate their tangram. It would be very difficult to teach someone how to recreate a particular shape with precise measurements, but when given the exact “code” students are able to follow it and replicate the tangram with ease. In addition to coding skills, this project helps students develop positive feelings about geometry as they classify and short shapes. In addition, students learn vocabulary for working and manipulating shapes, such as arrange, flip, size, position, and rotation. It’s perfect as a stand alone project targeting STEM or within your geometry unit. This course is designed for the Mac because of the advanced tools in Keynote, however, students can use this course as a guide for building and creating tangrams on an iOS device as well. This course is geared for grades second and beyond, but can most certainly be modified for even younger students. Have fun as you learn the Key(note) to coding!

Hope you’ll download it and give me your feedback! I’d love it if people tried creating codes and shared them with others to try!

QR Code People

CreateQR CodePeople

At the beginning of the year, I like to have the students participate in technology integration projects where students get a chance to describe themselves to their classmates. This project allowed students to use written expression to describe themselves, create a QR code with text, and create a self-portrait. I did this project on the Mac, you can most certainly do this project on the iPad as well.

This project has three parts:

Part 1:

Have students create a QR code with 5 descriptive sentences. I have students use my favorite QR code generator, I like this site because it’s easy to create a QR code with text as well as a QR code that points to a URL. Simply click what type of QR code you want to create, type in the text, and download the QR code to your computer or save it to your camera roll (iOS).

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 4.08.17 PMPart 2:

The QR code will become some part of the “body” of the self-portrait the kids create. I suggested that they could use it as the head or body. I used Kid Pix for this project, but you could use any drawing app on the iPad that will allow the user to import the QR Code into the picture. NOTE: Do not get any ink or color on the QR code or it will not scan. I had students save their work as an image and put it on their desktops for the next step.

Part 3:

The last part of the project is always the most fun for students. Now is where they can scan one another’s QR Codes. Using a QR code reader of your choice, have students use their iPad to scan each other’s “QR Code Person” and read about that person as they determine who is in the self-portrait. Hopefully, this fun project using technology will allow students another way to get to know their classmates while incorporating written expression, typing skills, desktop drawing skills, and using QR codes as a way to get a quick response.

Here are a few examples:

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Dot Day 2015 with Technology Tools

Dot Day in Mrs. Requard's Classes

Dot Day in Mrs. Requard’s Classes

International Dot Day is always something I look forward to. Since I teach technology classes, I knew I had to plan special activities where my students could learn a technology skill while also interacting with the book. First, my students listened to the story using TumbleBooks on our SmartBoard. Next, we had a great discussion about what makes this book special and how each of us contribute unique gifts to this world. Here’s the activities with samples from each grade level:

Fifth Grade:

Students used the Adobe Voice app to retell the story in their own words. They used the app Drawing Pad to insert a drawing into their Adobe Voice project. This added a touch of personalization to their projects. Students practiced the art of retelling a story and also put creative touches on icons, music, themes, and appearance. I loved how these turned out. Here’s a few samples in one short movie:

Fourth Grade:

I had my fourth grade students create art gallery advertisements using Pages. Students added text, changed font, color, and size, and inserted shapes using the shape tool. Once the shapes were inserted, they played with the many features to format their circles. They played with the fill tool, added lines, added rectangles to create a picture frame, explored the arrange tool by sending objects to the front or the back. Students loved figuring out how to add depth to their shapes by adding shadows, reflections, and exploring the opacity of the object. Here are a few samples of my student’s creating their art gallery advertisement:


Dot Day Art Gallery Advertisements in Pages




Third Grade:

I had my students create art galleries in Keynote. Like using Pages, using the shape tool in Keynote was very fun for these students. My students explored similar features in Pages and created their very own art galleries followed by a tour of their galleries before class was over. Students practiced so many technological skills when doing this activity. Here are some of the pictures from our “art gallery” in class.


Dot Day Inspired Art Galleries using Keynote


Dot Day Inspired Art Galleries!


Art Gallery Tour


Art Gallery Tour


Art Gallery Tour

Second Grade:

Second graders used Drawing Pad to create their own unique dots. Once finished, I wanted to give them the opportunity to bring their dots to life and give their dots a voice by using Chatterbox Kids. This was a fun app smash project. Here are a few samples of their animated dots with voice:

Hope you enjoyed seeing how we’ve MADE OUR MARK this year! #DotDay2015