Creating a Student Technology Team at Your School


SWAT Team 2014

2013-2014 SWAT Team at North Star Elementary

A student technology team is a great way to create a student-led culture and promotes:

  • Student leaders at school
  • School & community outreach and engagement
  • Teamwork
  • Coaching & mentoring
  • Coding Skills
  • Flexible learning environments
  • Compelling evidence of success
  • Public Speaking
  • Confidence
  • Content creation
  • Customer service
  • Student voice


SWAT Team 2014

I am getting ready to begin my new SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology) for this new school year. It’s become such an important part of our student culture at my school. I have it open to 4th and 5th graders and they must submit an application and a resume to be considered for the team. In previous years, I have had 20 students on the team. Some of the things we’ve done in the past consist of the following: App reviews and ratings ( identification of how the app is related to instructional goals and content creation), Student Genius Bar (engagement with community and other teachers to get tech support from the students on the team), creation of Tips and Tricks Video Tutorials, tech training for teachers, community service (cleaning iPhones for parents and teachers at school), and an evening event to teach teachers and school leaders how to use iPad apps in the classroom (App Speed Dating).

I think the first step in getting a team going at your school is generating buzz about what students will accomplish by being on the team. Having a name for the team also helps get excitement brewing. Some other school tech teams call their teams Genius Squad, Techsperts, and iWizards to name a few. Next, it’s important to create a competitive application process to ensure you have students that are motivated to work towards accomplishing the goals for the team. I have students complete an application as well as a short resume. Not only does this take time to thoughtfully craft answers, but it allows students to learn how to create a simple resume. Later, I seek input from the home room teacher and carefully review the applications and resumes. Then, the fun begins! The activities you complete with your team will vary depending on the needs of your school.

Click here to download the application and sample resume that I used for recruiting my team.

Click here to view an older post about my SWAT Team’s big Speed Sharing Event.

Click here to see how we conducted our App Reviews

Click here to see our App Speed Share Event website

Best of luck to all your future tech leaders!

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iTunes U Course: Array City in Keynote

I am excited to share my new iTunes U course called Array City in Keynote!

Keynote is my favorite tool for both iPad and Mac. I just love figuring out new ways to use it and I get inspired by seeing something on paper and thinking about how I can bring it to life with Keynote. So, I decided to create a course with one of those ideas and I hope you will think it’s as fun as I do. I saw a lesson on Pinterest that had students making arrays with buildings, but they were using construction paper and glue. I thought it would be cool to take that idea and use the shape tool in Keynote, thus, Array City for Keynote was born!

Using Keynote (iOS), students have the ability to connect the real world to math by constructing large city buildings with the shape tool in Keynote. This is a fun and engaging way to demonstrate knowledge of multiplication & arrays and allows students to be creative while using technology. So much more than just math standards are addressed with this lesson! I hope you’ll subscribe to my course and check it out! The course is for teachers to replicate this idea or lesson with their students. All you need is an iPad with iTunes U, then click on this link to download the course! Thanks in advance for giving it some love! :)

iTunes U Course: Array City

iTunes U Course: Array City

Create a Custom Bingo Game and Play on Your iPad or Computer

If you’re at all like me, then you like to play bingo. I have used bingo as a teaching tool for as long as I can remember. I recently stumbled upon an online bingo creator that allows the user to create a game, distribute the URL to students, and have them play on their device. The easiest way to distribute the game is to create a QR Code (my favorite QR code generator is Students will scan the code and open up the bingo game on their iPad. If they are using a computer, you can distribute the URL for the game however you wish (I would publish the link on my site or distribute URL via Air Drop). Once students open the bingo game, they TAP on the square (iPad) or CLICK in the square (computer). The great thing is that it is very rare to have two users with the same bingo cards, as they are randomly sorted so that a whole class can play the game and have one unique winner. Bingo is a great game to play for reflection on a particular unit of study, math facts, definitions (they have to know the definition of the word if they call out “Bingo”). Even adults enjoy playing bingo as a reflection tool for professional development or have parents participate in a bingo game for open house. The possibilities are endless. Now, let’s go through the steps in creating your own bingo game.

1. Go to

2. Click to add a title and click in each box to add text. Press generate when you are finished adding text.

3. This is one of their examples for Addition Bingo…this is what it will look like when you are finished. The URL you will want to distribute is where the red arrow points and says, “Play Online.” Even though each participant uses the same URL, it will generate a new bingo card in random order each time.

4. Other features include a call list, the option to clone and edit a game, and an option for saving a game for editing by creating an account. I always just keep the URL handy and have never created an account.

5. This is what the game looks like from the participants point of view. (The yellow squares reflect the participant clicking on the square if it is called)

Hope you have fun playing this game in your classroom!


Hello, friends! I have been away from blogging and posting technology integration ideas for the past year as I truly set out to follow my career dreams. I left my teaching job for a year to work for the best company in the world where I had the great ability to “Think Different.” As I reflect on my year away, I can only be grateful for such an amazing experience where I was able to make a difference in the lives of many teachers and students. To follow the pursuit of your dreams and go in a direction to where you truly feel led, is both scary and exciting. I am happy to announce that I will be going back and working with students to redefine what’s possible when learning is paired with technology! So excited for what lies ahead and I know that this is just the beginning of a great year filled with possibilities! Stay tuned for more educational technology integration ideas for the K-5 classroom!

Organize Your Desktop Background!

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I wish I could take the credit for this awesome idea, but I actually stumbled upon it when I was on Pinterest searching for desktop wallpaper. If your desktop looks like mine, then you’re a cluttered mess. I usually know where everything is, but when you use three different computers like I do, you tend to forget what file is in which location. Plus, I feel like I am always working on various projects, taking screenshots, grabbing images, and saving files. I like to save files to the desktop because I can SEE it all right there. When I came across these desktop wallpaper organizers, I knew I had to make my own! So, here are some examples and then I will go through some steps to create your own. It takes about 10 minutes TOPS! For the example I am going to show you, I used Keynote to create the desktop wallpaper image.

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)

This is what my desktop usually looks like (YIKES!)


This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

This is what it looks like AFTER you organize your desktop!

So, here is where I got my great inspiration! Pinterest: Desktop Wallpaper Organizers. Most of those sites have free downloads for wallpaper organizers, but I think it’s fun to create your own and then you can create headings that work for you. These steps are for a Mac…


1. In order to make a wallpaper that has the resolution you want for your particular computer screen, you need to find out the size of your display. To do this, go to the Apple and click on System Preferences. Click on Display. In order to see what your display is, click on the button that says SCALED and you will see which display your computer uses. Now, you know what size to make your wallpaper.

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2. Open Keynote. The first thing you will want to do is format your slide so that it is the same size as your display. This is over on the right hand side of your Keynote screen.

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3. Now the fun part begins! You can insert shapes, change the color, and move them around so that the layout fits your needs. Insert text at the top of each shape. You could also fill the shapes in with a background image and adjust the transparency, but to keep it simple and clean, I just chose solid colors.  As you insert the shapes, keep in mind that you don’t want to take the shapes all the way to the top of the slide or the bottom. Leave room for the menu at the top of your desktop as well as your dock.

4. Export your slide as an image and save it to your desktop!

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5. Now, either right-click or go to System Preferences>Desktop and Screen Saver and drag in your photo! Have fun arranging your desktop and stay organized! If you want to use my desktop wallpaper organizer, just drag the below image to your desktop (my display is 1920×1080)…maybe I’ll make some more to put on here that my friends could use! Stay tuned! :)

sample desktop organizer.001



Tools to Increase Collaboration and Engagement

Web 2.0


I really want to share with you 6 of my favorite Web 2.0 tools. These tools really change the face of education because they allow teachers to collaborate with students like never before. Additionally, these tools allow and foster collaboration among classmates. These tools increase the opportunities students have to truly participate, respond, and become deeply engaged in the lesson or topic. These tools are alike in many ways, but the main similarity is that they are all tools that allow for collaboration with the teacher and class. You can use each of these tools to do a quick assessment, get instant feedback, entrance/exit slips, and allow students to participate in their own way. If there is one tool you haven’t used…try one out and see how they can enhance your teaching and your students’ learning!


The links below have some informative information in using these awesome tools with your students.

SOCRATIVE *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

NEARPOD Nearpod Link to PDF

INFUSE LEARNING *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

KAHOOT *This awesome explanation from GCCISD Educational Technology

PADLET Padlet Link to PDF

POLL EVERYWHERE Poll Everywhere Link to PDF


Bring the “Alphabet Book” to Life!

Untitled designIf you’re looking for a sweet way to share student work, make a video book! This example is a basic Alphabet Book created by my first graders.:

For this project we used Kid Pix, but you could easily use any drawing app ( Doodle Buddy, Drawing Pad, Draw Free) on the iPad. The cool thing about using Kid Pix was that we were able to add the letter as an animation. Each student got to pick a letter and they were to illustrate their letter. Because their letter contained an animation, we exported their drawing as a movie. We used Airdrop to transfer their videos to the main computer and from there, we imported their video into one iMovie. Once all movies were added, I called each student over to record their voiceover. When it is finished, it creates an adorable keepsake with their sweet little voices and artwork. This same type of project could work for any “video book” you wanted to create. Happy creating! :)