Match Up Partners with Emojis

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If your classrooms are like mine, then you know that whenever you say “pick a partner,” kids automatically start looking around the room to make eye contact with their future partner.  Often times they want to work with the same partners time after time. I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is an AMAZING 4/5 grade teacher in San Diego, Dena Glynn (@Glynn_ed), and she mentioned that she matches kids up using emojis from an Emoji Memory Game. I thought this was a great way to get kids partnered up at random. So, instead of going out to buy the game, I decided to create my own. You can download the PDF I created (emoji-matches) which includes 42 cards.

If you want to make something like this on your own, here’s how I did it!

  1. I used Keynote and changed the size of my slide to a custom size to view my slide in portrait rather than landscape. Change the size of the document to 768×1024.
  2. I added shapes for the background of the emojis and made sure my emojis were brought to the front of the shape.
  3. One of my favorite sites is copypastecharacter.com and there you will find many of your favorite emojis. I like using this site rather than emojis within the keyboard on the Mac for projects like this.screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-9-06-22-am
  4. After your cards are complete, print them out and laminate them! You could also use these cards to play a fun memory game!
  5. In addition to creating these fun memory cards, there are so many other uses for using symbols and emojis from this website! Here’s an older post, where I wrote about creating rebus puzzles using emojis! Try it out! 😀

 

 

 

 

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Remove Ads and Change Viewing Options in Online Flash Games

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Many teachers and parents want their child to practice skills with games that are available online for free. However, one of the main concerns I have as an educator is when I allow students to play these games and they come across advertising from outside websites (even with an Ad Blocker on). You know what I mean…the constant ads and it never fails…a kid is likely to click on one of those because they are shiny and blinking! Once they click on those ads, they are taken to a new site. This is especially difficult with younger students. Whenever I can, I like to create add-free games for my students when they go to the computer labs or for practice at home. I also like to increase the viewing size to a full screen so my students can see the game better. When you remove all of the ads and create a full screen for kids, it removes all distractions and allows them to focus on the learning game you want them to play. I searched for what feels like forever to figure out how to turn a flash game into its own file with a link. I finally figured it out! I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me! It’s a bit more work, but so worth it! Here are the steps in creating your own links!

Step 1:

Install the Live HTTP Headers as an extension in Firefox.

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Step 2:

Go to the site you wish to remove the ads and view full screen (see all the ads as well as the small screen in this game?)

(example: http://www.abcya.com/dolch_sight_word_bingo.htm)

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Step 3:

Once you are in the game, Click on Tools, Live HTTP Headersscreen-shot-2017-01-30-at-11-28-31-am

Step 4:

You will then come to a window that looks like this:

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Step 5:

Now, it begins to generate the request. You need to save this as a .txt file.

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Step 6:

Open the file and search for the URL that ends in .SWF. Once you find it, copy the link and paste it in a new browser window (you can use any browser now that you have the new link).

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Step 7:

Paste your new link in your browser window and have fun! No ads and now it is in full screen!

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Digital Citizenship Projects

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Each year I do a large unit on digital citizenship with grades 3-5. I introduce the topics and really have great conversations with my students about this very important theme that is so relevant to our kids. In 5th grade, we dive deeper into social media and the positive and negative effects it has on kids. For this particular project, I let students choose a topic from this list:

  • Digital Citizenship and Identity
  • Privacy and Security
  • Screen Time Management
  • Information Literacy
  • Digital Etiquette and Empathy
  • Cyberbullying Management
  • Digital Footprint
  • Self Image and Reputation
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I love this graphic by @sylviaduckworth

I give students choices to how they will present their information and allow them to be creative and expressive while addressing the topic they choose.

  • Create a PSA
  • 10 Facts About…
  • Create a commercial
  • Author a book on the topic
  • Record a puppet show
  • Create a presentation
  • Create a movie
  • Create a movie trailer

Apps Used

  • iMovie
  • Adobe Spark Video
  • Puppet Pals
  • Keynote and Quicktime
  • 30 Hands
  • Puppet EDU

The overwhelming majority of kids chose to use Adobe Spark Video to create their projects.

Sample Videos from My 5th Grade Classes

Check out Common Sense Media for a wealth of information on digital citizenship, including amazing curricular resources.

 

 

Become an Apple Teacher

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In September, Apple Education announced its Apple Teacher Program, a program aimed at helping educators unlock the magic and potential of Mac, iPad, and apps in the classroom. Teachers sign up and learn new skills, test their knowledge, and earn badges to be ultimately recognized by Apple as an official “Apple Teacher.”

The best part about this program is that it is self-paced and teachers can participate while in their pajamas at home! Teachers can decide if they want to focus their learning for the Mac or the iPad and choose the path that works best for them. Once teachers complete a module, they will be given a quiz. No pressure if you don’t get the questions correct, as you can test again. The purpose of the test is so that educators can truly get the most out of these modules and the tests force you to master the concepts rather than skimming through.

THE BADGES

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Once you earn a badge in each one of the categories and learn not only to use the app to get the best results, but you also learn how to infuse this into the classroom as a powerful teaching tool. Each module is full of ideas that relate to classroom content and help bring its use to life in meaningful ways teachers will appreciate. Click here to get started.

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You will use your Apple ID to get started.

I am a huge supporter of this program.  Apple’s commitment to education is evident and I appreciate the way Apple continues to give teachers quality tools to enhance learning and teaching. My favorite tools as a creative professional will always Keynote and iMovie. I couldn’t live without those two apps and neither could my students. If you choose to accept the challenge of becoming an Apple Teacher, I promise you that you will learn something to take back to your classroom TOMORROW as a result and perhaps you will have a new favorite tool.

TEACHER RECOGNITION

Since I am the instructional technology teacher and leader of the technology program, I am encouraging teachers at my school to join the program and earn their badges. I put together some fun rewards to recognize the commitment and time teachers put aside to further their learning in this area. We are an Apple school and we have access to all of these applications and tools, so I can’t think of a better way for teachers to learn on their own time, and I do think they should be recognized for their commitment!

  • Upon completion of the Apple Teacher program, teachers will earn a spot on the “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.
  • Teachers will also receive a certificate showcasing their skills at this will be hung outside their classroom.
  • Teachers will receive a “shout out” on our school Facebook page to congratulate them on their extended professional learning.
  • Teachers will receive the official logo from Apple to use in their professional email signature.
  • Most importantly, teachers will gain knowledge in unlocking the  potential with these great productivity and creative apps that are already on their iPad and Mac. These are the native apps and most people don’t realize the potential in these applications and how they can be used as tremendous tools in the classroom.
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The “Wall of Fame” located in the hallway of our school.

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Wall of Fame photo and school Facebook page recognition.

OTHER WAYS TO OFFER INCENTIVES

I have seen other schools and teachers provide a variety of incentives for teachers to earn their badges and expand their professional learning. Here’s two examples:

Do you have another idea? Please share it! #AppleTeacher

 
Here’s the link for further information: http://www.apple.com/education/teachers/
 
Here’s the link to get started: https://appleteacher.apple.com/auth/#/signin/
Good luck and happy learning!

Custom Folders on Your Mac

 

keynote-folders-001A friend recently shared how she found out how to change the colors of the default light blue folders on your Mac. It’s fairly easy and can make a gal like myself jump for joy at the thought of another way to organize my files. 🤓

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Steps to make colored folders!

  1. Go to this site: Colored Folders
  2. Download the folders (free download)
  3. Drag the colors out of the downloaded folder onto your desktop and rename them. Delete the unwanted files inside the folder to the trash.
  4. Add your files just as you would any other folder on your Mac.

Another fun thing you can do is search for images of folders that other users have created and are available to download for free. Example below:

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CREATE YOUR OWN! 

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I really wanted to learn how to create my own folders with textures and colors. I went to my go-to tool, Keynote. Here are the steps to create your own custom folders:

  1. Open Keynote and use the shape tool to draw with pen. You can search for an image of a folder to use as a guide to trace over. Trace over the image of the folder and then delete the folder. You can fill the folder with your own custom color or a background image that you like. A great royalty-free background is from this site: backgroundlabs.com. There are many others out there, as well.
  2. Once you have your folder the way you like it, you can take a screen shot of the folder or you can save the Keynote slide as an image.
  3. Now, you need to get rid of the white or colored background on the slide. To do this, open the image using Preview. Use the instant alpha tool in  Preview and save the image as a transparent (.PNG) picture.
  4. Create a new folder on your desktop (File>New Folder)
  5. Click on your newly created image of the folder and press Command+i or use your secondary click and click GET INFO.
  6. Press Command+A to select the entire picture and then Command+C to copy the image.
  7. Click on the new folder you just created and press Command+i and click on the small image of the folder and press Command+V. You will now see that the folder has changed to your custom created folder.
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Using Instant Alpha to delete the background image of the Keynote slide.

 

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The folder will change once you paste the copied image.

**Important tip: I would recommend creating your custom colors that DO NOT include the color of your background image. For example, if your background color of your Keynote slide is white, I would recommend not using any white in the image of your folder. When using instant alpha, it is very difficult to not take out the same color as they bleed together.

Hope you have fun creating these folders! It does spice up your organization if you like that kind of thing! Plus, it makes your MacBook look more unique than anyone else’s! 🖥

 

Use Numbers or Excel to Create a Mystery Pumpkin Spreadsheet.🎃

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A great way to introduce Apple’s Numbers program or Microsoft’s Excel program is to have students paint cells within a spreadsheet. Students will use the Format tool and fill the cells with colors to create a picture. Additionally, it’s a great way to reinforce columns, rows, or coordinates. Once students get finished with this, I always have students that want to create their own pictures by filling the cells with colors. This example below is using Numbers to create a jack-o-lantern, but this can easily be modified if you are an Excel user.

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You can download the PDF with instructions here. halloween-picture-in-numbers

 

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Use the handout to create this pumpkin.

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Under the Format tool, click on the cell tab to fill a cell or cells with a color.

Hope this gives you some fun pumpkin inspiration all while learning how to use a new technology tool with your students! 🎃

Does the New iOS 10 Home Button Feature Have You Down?

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Ever since I updated my iPhone to iOS 10, I’ve been having a difficult time getting used to using the new way of unlocking my iPhone. I love the option of unlocking my iPhone with my fingerprint and the new way added another step that I wasn’t used to. To put it simply, if you use the Touch ID (fingerprint) to unlock your phone, Apple added an additional step to this process. So, as I was searching for accessibility options today for a friend of mine, I stumbled upon this and knew I had to share it! Certainly I wasn’t the only one struggling with this new feature! Here is the handy step-by-step photos that show you how to fix this on your iPhone!

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