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Showing posts with label digital tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital tools. Show all posts
The Best Graphic Design Platforms for Students

The Best Graphic Design Platforms for Students


Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.

Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home. 

Free platforms

Canva 

An amazing tool packed with templates for non-designers to create graphics, presentations, flyers and more.  Both you and your students can find a myriad of uses for this eye-catching technology.  It is free to use, though they do also have a paid option with additional features.


Adobe Spark

It’s easy to make science fair posters, social studies infographics, math flashcards, and so much more with Spark Post. Pick a template or start from scratch.  You can also create web pages and videos.  U.S. teachers with a G Suite for Education (Google) account and supported email domain can set up a Spark classroom account for free, as can licensed educational institutions and nonprofit educational organizations providing school- or district-wide access.  


GIMP 

This is a completely free photo manipulation program similar to Adobe Photoshop.  It is definitely not a plug and play technology, but if you’re looking to get some serious work done with older students this is a great option and there are tutorial videos available.


Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports 3D modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline.  It is another tool that has a pretty steep learning curve, but you can get a lot done with it!


SketchUp 

3D modeling software, free with a G Suite or Microsoft education account.  This one is usable as early as the primary grades, and has a great bank of curriculum to get you and your class inspired.


Vectr, Gravit & Inkscape 

These platforms are all free, fully functional & fantastically rated design apps that specialize in creating vector graphics.


Piskel 

Piskel is a free online editor for animated sprites & pixel art.  You and your student can create animations in your browser or download free desktop & offline applications for Windows, OSX and Linux.  You can export your work as animated GIFs for sharing, spritesheet PNG/ZIP for bigger projects, and you can choose to make any of your sprites public or private.


WordArt.com

A free online word cloud art creator that enables you to easily create amazing and unique word cloud art with your students. 


Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.
Paid platforms that are also worth a try!

Designsta

This is a monthly subscription, but I have been using it for nearly 3 years and it is FANTASTIC. Create amazing designs in minutes from easily editable templates. Choose from social media graphics, workbooks, worksheets, printables, planners, documents, web graphics, cards, posters, stickers, magazines, menus and more. 


ThingLink

An education technology platform that makes it easy to augment images, videos, and virtual tours with additional information and links. Teachers and students can use ThingLink to create accessible, visual learning experiences.  There are yearly subscription options for individual teachers or whole districts that allow course and assignment creation,  as well as enabling both you and your students to create content.  There is also a free plan for teachers to use, it just doesn’t include any student seats.


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Here are some free and cheap graphic design tools students can use either in class or at home.

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Brittany Washburn
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10 Ways to Use Flipgrid to Encourage Classroom Discussions

10 Ways to Use Flipgrid to Encourage Classroom Discussions


Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.

Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings. Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.
  • Create videos to recommend their favorite book. Using Flipgrid’s augmented reality (AR) feature, you can even use a video QR code to create an engaging way to share them. After students record their review, the teacher can print the QR code and tape it onto the corresponding book in their classroom library, and the student’s classmates can use their devices to scan the code and watch the review as a way to help them decide if they’d like to read that book.
  • Discuss a book the class has read. You can leave a guiding question (or a choice of several) to get your students on the right track, then let them respond. If things are going well they can use each other's videos to keep going deeper and bouncing around ideas!
  • Respond to a hot topic issue. Pick a prompt that touches on what is important to your students. You might even consider sending out a survey so your students can vote on which issue they'd like to respond to.
  • Answer an essay question. Your students can practice their speaking skills in addition to their writing skills with a video presentation of their answer to an essay question. With a limit on the length of videos, this is also a great opportunity for students to practice crafting answers that are succinct as well as proficient.
  • Record an ongoing story. The first student can think of a title, then the second record a 30-second beginning, then next builds on that and so on and so forth.
Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.
  • Activate prior knowledge on a topic. Have your students record a video sharing their background knowledge on a topic before you begin, and view one another’s videos as part of the first lesson. After the unit is over, students can even reply to their original video sharing everything new they learned.
  • Get brainstorming. Students can jump very quickly to planning or building before they get out their ideas in a brainstorming session. Slow them down a bit and capture their thinking by having them throw out and build on one another’s ideas on Flipgrid.
  • Do some debugging. After completing a math task, reading a passage, working through the design process or coding a computer program students can make videos to reflect on the process by identifying errors and sharing how they fixed them. Have students adding annotations either by writing directly on the video when they record it, or adding sticky notes with additional text. This feature is a great way for students to show their thinking.
  • Practice world language skills. With Flipgrid it is possible for teachers in different districts and different countries to collaborate. Students can make videos to practice vocabulary they’re learning, and instead of being limited to practicing with the people in their class they can engage and build their skills with native speakers or other students around the world studying the same language.
  • Catch-up students who are absent. Create a topic for work completed in class, and if a student is absent one of their peers can post a quick video about what assignments were completed in class so the absent students can easily find out what they missed. Build task management and communication skills for the whole class by rotating which students have this responsibility each week.
You might also like the blog post How to Use Google Docs with Elementary Students

Looking for a Flipgrid tutorial? Subscribe to the Technology Toolbox for Teachers. A one-stop library of technology tools tutorials for teachers. Click the image for more information and to see sample tutorials. 


Flipgrid is a great way to generate discussions in class through video, especially in distance learning settings.  Here are some different ways that teachers can use this platform with their students.


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Brittany Washburn
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4th Grade Digital ELA Activities

4th Grade Digital ELA Activities


If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.
If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

What is a Digital Resource Library?

In my Google Drive I have folders with the language and reading activities. I'm calling it a digital resource library because all of the resources are digital, and they are arranged for you to be able to quickly choose which topic you want to look at and use. 
If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

All you have to do is make a copy of each file in the folder (there's a google extension that makes this really easy) and then they are yours to use with your students.

Are they Common Core Aligned?

Yes, I used the common core standards as a guide when creating these activities and graphic organizers. There is an alignment guide in each folder. That being said, there are no CCSS indicators in the actual google slides files, so if you don't use the CCSS you can still use these activities. 

Along with this topic, they also don't have 4th grade anywhere on them except in the file title. If you rename it you can use it as differentiation for any grade level student(s). 
If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

Do I have to have Google Classroom to use this?

No! The folders are on my Google Drive, but the actual activities are in Google Slides, which can easily be downloaded as a PowerPoint file and it doesn't lose any functionality. All you have to take care of is a way to share the files with your students. Sure, Google Classroom makes it a bit easier to share a file, but there are plenty of other ways. You can even upload them to a password protected page on your class website, or into a learning management system like Schoology or Sharepoint in order for your students to access the files. If you have any questions about this, please ask. 

So these are like Interactive Notebooks, but Digital?

Yes, exactly! The Language activities have click and drag, typing, and related online games. The Reading activities are graphic organizers that can be used with ANY text. The best part is that each file has an anchor chart so you could even assign these as homework and the parents would be able to help based on the anchor charts! 
If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.

So, do you think your students would like to complete their ELA work digitally?

Pin this post to get back to later:
If you're sick of cleaning up after doing interactive notebook pages (paper scraps, glue sticks, missing pieces, etc.) then you are going to love these DIGITAL ELA reading and language activities for your 4th grade students.


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Brittany Washburn
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Review of the Parent Communication App ClassTag

Review of the Parent Communication App ClassTag


Learning about ClassTag truly made my job so much easier. The app allows me to streamline any engagement and communication I have with my student’s parents.
This is a sponsored post by ClassTag. All opinions are my own. 

Daily tasks, such as, lesson planning, instructing, and grading don’t even begin to cover the duties and responsibilities of a teacher. Many days, we find ourselves falling asleep on the keyboard. Teaching can be one of the most rewarding professions, but I often find myself searching for tips and tricks in hopes of creating a more manageable position. Although I am proud to identify myself as a teacher, I craved more organization and balance in my day-to-day life. It was during this time when I discovered an app called ClassTag.


Why All Teachers need ClassTag

Learning about ClassTag truly made my job so much easier. The app allows me to streamline any engagement and communication I have with my student’s parents. 
As an example, I used to spend many hours every week creating my classroom newsletter. This typically included reminders regarding upcoming events, testing dates, requests and various announcements. Once my newsletters were printed out and sent home with students, I often sat back, crossing my fingers, optimistically trusting they’d actually make it out of their backpacks and into their parent’s hands. 
Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case. As I would usually receive numerous phone calls and emails packed full of parent questions and concerns. I quickly recognized my student’s backpacks were similar to that of black holes. Just because it goes in, doesn’t guarantee it will ever make its way out!


The ClassTag app now allows me to post all classroom information with my students and their families through our online classroom portal. 
I normally post reminders concerning no-school days, early dismissal times, upcoming classroom parties, and field trips. ClassTag has also simplified the (previously) daunting task of requesting parent volunteers, chaperons, or classroom donations. This task alone used to take weeks of preparation and groundwork. Returning signed documents was rarely an easy-going feat for most students. In fact, this normally involved me spending even more time developing and sending home further reminders! Many teachers have also been confronted by a similar challenge when organizing parents-teacher conferences. 
Again, keeping track of my student’s sign-up sheets was demanding and hectic. Most of the time, the returned documents were covered in parent’s notes and questions. The back and forth communication via paper made it very difficult to stay well organized. The ClassTag app now allows parents to virtually sign-up on the dates and times provided. Instead of having parents show up at the wrong time or during another families conference, there is no longer confusion about their assigned timeslot.

ClassTag Rewards

As if ClassTag doesn’t already sound appealing, just wait until I tell you about the rewards you can earn just for using the app! If you’re a teacher, then you know how costly classroom supplies and materials can quickly add up. In my case, I work for a non-profit charter school. Sadly, many of our students are currently living in poverty and can’t afford common classroom supplies. 
Before using the ClassTag app, I found myself stopping at the store on a monthly basis to buy pencils, erasers, stickers, glue sticks, hygienic products, and more. 

Fortunately, the ClassTag rewards program allows you to earn coins for your classroom by simply engaging in parent interaction and referring other teachers to signup and use the app! The more ClassTag Coins you accumulate each month, the more FREE supplies your classroom receives! 
Learning about ClassTag truly made my job so much easier. The app allows me to streamline any engagement and communication I have with my student’s parents.
Not to mention, all of the gratitude and appreciation your teacher friends will express after experiencing all that ClassTag has to offer!


Utilizing the ClassTag app has transformed my career as a teacher. I now have more time to focus on my students and their individual needs. I also find myself less stressed, which means I can focus fewer thoughts on at-home correspondences and more thoughts on creative teaching strategies. 
My students are truly benefiting from this app, as I am improving and growing as an educator. If you haven’t already, try out the ClassTag app for yourself. Students, their families and your busy schedule will thank you! 
Connect with ClassTag on Social Media: 



Learning about ClassTag truly made my job so much easier. The app allows me to streamline any engagement and communication I have with my student’s parents.


Read more »
Brittany Washburn
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