100 Days of School with Technology

Days of School Activities with Tech

Are you looking for some fun ways to engage your students with the 100 Days of School by using Technology tools? Here are some fun ideas to get you excited about how you can use technology as a tool to create fun and engaging lessons and projects for students to interact with the number 100 (and all the numbers in between).

100 Gum Balls in Keynote I created this Keynote template that you can download here. You can use this on the Mac or iPad and have students practice inserting shapes using the circle tool. Students can format the circle by choosing a color. Next, they will practice using the copy/paste feature to re-create their circle. This is such an important skill for even the youngest of students. For a fun extension, students can animate the gum balls as the drop through the black slot! The gum ball machine is not clipart! It was created in Keynote with the “Draw with Pen” tool! Isn’t Keynote awesome!!!!

100 Gum Balls (appsolutelyapril.com).001


When I am 100 Years Old Using the app, Aging Booth, students can take a photo of themselves and see what they will look like when they are 100. From there, they can save their 100 year old photo to their camera roll and then use an app such as 30 Hands,  iMovie, or Explain Everything to tell a story about what they will have accomplished when they are 100 years old. For this example below, I had students create their photo and then Air Drop it to my iPad. From there, we created one large class recording in 30 Hands where students talked about what they would have accomplished with they are 100.

Personalize a 100 dollar bill with student’s photos. Click here to create 100 dollar bills. Once students save their image, they can drag it into a word processing app, such as Pages, and write about what they would do if they were president and had a 100 bill with their photo on it.



Typing and Formatting a Document Practice:

Type out a bulleted list of

  • 100 Animals
  • 100 Things that Make You Happy
  • 100 Favorite Things to do for Fun

Web Activities (whole group on Smart Board or individual)

Give the Dog the Bone

100 Balloon Pop

Splat Square

Ghost Blasters

Number Grid Fireworks

100 Snowballs

Before 100 and After



One Word Resolutions for 2016


Happy New Year! The One Word idea stems from an idea that a single word can help shape and change who you are and not just what you do. Traditional New Year’s Resolutions typically fail by late January, so this idea takes the resolutions concept, but shifts it into one word…an achievable goal that you can live by each day. I thought this was a great opportunity to talk with my fourth and fifth grade students and think about how that one word can help shape their focus for 2016. I showed them this video, which prepared them for our discussion. Choosing the word was the hard part. I had them reflect and write down the words that spoke to them. Next, I demonstrated many different typography apps to creatively bring their word to life. Students were given the opportunity to choose the app that gave them the ability to artistically express the word they chose. To learn more and download resources to use in your classroom, visit this site: http://getoneword.com

The apps we used:








iOS Apps:


Word Swag

Adobe Post

Font Candy



Once students were finished creating their words, I created a Padlet Wall for them to display their work. I asked them to write one sentence as to why they chose that particular word. The nice part about having these on a Padlet wall is that we can go and re-visit these words to see how they are honoring living out the word they chose. Additionally, I created a video to highlight student created images: https://vimeo.com/150816124

Here are a few Padlet wall examples:

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Here’s my #oneword2016



What’s the ONE WORD that will change your life in 2016?



Keyboarding Punch Cards


I am a big fan of Dance Mat Typing for elementary students. To make it more fun, I use punch cards for when students finish a stage within the levels. There are 4 levels and here is how they are broken down.

Level 1: Stages 1, 2, 3 (home row, e and i, r and u)

Level 2: Stages 4, 5, 6 (t and y, w and o, q and p)

Level 3: Stages 7, 8, 9 (v and m, b and n, c and comma)

Level 4: Stages 10, 11, 12 (x and z, / and ., and shift keys)

When a student finishes a level, they come up for a punch in their card. I think this makes students feel a sense of accomplishment and pride as they finish their levels and it also ensures that they finish an entire stage within the levels before moving on.

You can download the punch cards at the bottom of this post. Print them, cut them out and find a hole punch in a unique shape and watch how the determination increases by having something as simple as a punch card!

Click here to go to the Dance Mat Typing website.

Keyboarding Punch Cards with levels/stages from Dance Mat Typing

Keyboarding Punch Cards with levels/stages from Dance Mat Typing

Keyboarding Punch Cards (appsolutelyapril.com)

Here’s a picture of how I organize the punch cards since I teach so many different classes.




Online Holiday Fun

Online resources to use the week before break!Looking for some fun online activities for your students this week? I have browsed lots of holiday activities and sites and put my favorites on this one page. There are tons of holiday learning activities where students can get into the spirit of the holiday season while also learning and practicing various content areas. This is a great thing to have the week before Winter Break. Hope you enjoy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Click here to access online activities.

The site is broken up into these parts: Snowflakes, Snowmen, Gingerbread Houses/Cookies, Trees, and miscellaneous learning games.

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 6.15.21 PM

Screen Shot of website

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 6.28.00 PM

How We’re Kicking Off the Hour of Code


I love the Hour of Code project and I think it’s fabulous to get students as early as kindergarten thinking about how things work and how that might shape their future goals and career path. How cool would it be to create your own game rather than consume a game someone else made? How cool would it be to make other people’s lives easier as a result of something you created by becoming a computer programmer? Those are just some of the questions I am asking my students. This week, along with millions worldwide, my students are participating in the Hour of Code in each of my classes. I set up nine stations around the room and had the students interacting with robots, iPad apps, and Code.org resources, which allowed students the opportunity to experience writing computer programs. Here is a website I put together to have my students experience the Hour of Code websites, which encourages students to begin writing and creating blocks of code.


I had been wanting robots to teach my students programming for a few years now, so I wrote a grant, created a talent show video and sold the DVDs, and won a video contest to purchase the robots for my students to use. We have the Osmo, Sphero, Sphero Sprk, Ollie, and Dash and Dot. Additionally, there are great iPad apps where students can learn to program objects on their screens. Today, we used Hopscotch, Daisy the Dinosaur, and Scratch Jr. Code.org also has so many fabulous resources! I know my students will be trying those out as soon as they get home from school! Another fun thing I did was creating mazes out of painters tape–it was a hit today! The students loved trying to program the robots to stay within the lines and follow the course, but it definitely is harder than it looks and requires much perseverance! Today was critical thinking at its best!

If you’re looking for inspiration to put together your own Hour of Code, here are the stations I set up in the computer lab:

One more thing, if you are interested in learning a non-traditional way to teach coding, check out my iTunes U course, which is called The Key(note) to Coding. It is all about using Keynote for the Mac to create Tangram shapes while noting the size, placement, and rotation of the shapes to then write the code for someone to re-create!

Happy Coding!


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 copypastecharacter.com. 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.