Engagement Strategies for Synchronous Learning

The Internet is full of wonderful ideas for engaging your students during synchronous learning. I’ve curated several strategies from other educators into a Google Presentation. I’ll add to this list, so check back often. Click here to view full screen.

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Virtual End of the Year Celebrations

As the end of a most unusual year approaches, you might want to begin thinking about how to celebrate student achievement virtually. Below are some ideas curated from Twitter. Click here to view full screen.

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Cinco De Mayo 2020

After you celebrate May the 4th Be With You, make sure to partake in Cinco De Mayo Taco Tuesday. Yes, friends! Cinco De Mayo falls on a TACO TUESDAY! Here’s a Google Slide activity for Google Classroom and a Seesaw version located underneath. Disfrutar!


Click here for the Seesaw Activity:

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May the 4th Be With You – 2020

One of my favorite Twitter peeps, Amanda Sandoval (@historysandoval) provided the inspiration for this year’s May the 4th Be With You celebration. Her gameboard like Google Slides template has gone viral and I thought it would be the perfect format to curate fun Star Wars themed activities. Click here to view the Slide full screen. Click here to make a copy


Click here for the Seesaw version.

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Daily Challenges to Move from Survive to Arrive

About 2 weeks ago I participated in a webinar hosted by Candice Dodson, Nadine Gilkison, and Lisa Highfill about Coaching in Crisis. It provided valuable insight for those of us who are supporting educators with little or no technology integration experience. Before school closures due to the pandemic, technology coaches often use the SAMR model to assist with transformational teaching practices. Dr. Jennifer Chang Wathall created a similar framework that illustrates the same transformation in an eLearning environment. She offers a great, in-depth explanation in this video:

In order to assist the teachers in my district, I started a 5 minute daily challenge that offers easy ideas to help move them from the survive stage to the arrive stage. Feel free to partake and share with your colleagues. Check back often as I will update daily. Click here to view full screen.


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Earth Day 2020 🌏 Clickable Learning Board

Clickable learning boards are my new jam. I got the idea from Kris Szajner, who is the ultimate Seesaw guru. I just finished up an activity to celebrate Earth Day. You can find the Seesaw Activity link here and the Google Slide activity here. For more information on how to create clickable learning boards as well as a plethora of other amazing Seesaw tips and tricks, please subscribe to Kris’s YouTube channel.

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Distance Learning Toolkit 2020

Distance Learning can be more than just digital worksheets. Platforms today provide engaging interactivity for both asynchronous and synchronous learning. Once you establish some continuity when communicating with your students, check out some of the resources below that will help you transfer your content delivery, feedback, and workflow into a digital format. Tools like Seesaw, Google Classroom, Pear Deck, and Zoom make it easy for every student to participate in distance learning. Please contact your campus ITS for assistance. 

Check back frequently as additions are being made often. Click here to view full screen.

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Stuff That Rocks for the Week of January 20

In this week’s edition of Stuff That Rocks, I got to play around with a different template in Genial.ly.  Yup, I’m addicted. If you haven’t checked it out by now, please do. It is my official happy place.

I’ve been perusing Twitter all week and found two amazing hacks I didn’t know you could do. Jake Miller shares how he sets audio to play for a subset of Google slides, but not for others. Kasey Bell blew my mind with directions on how to create an animated gif from a YouTube video. I love Twitter.

I also wanted to share 3 of my favorite tools that will make your life so much easier:

  • Virtual Manipulatives from The Math Learning Center
  • Windows 10 Video Editor
  • Template Tab by Alice Keeler

Hopefully you will find these resources useful. If you have something you think other educators should know, please let me know in the comments section. Click here to view the presentation in full screen mode. It’s going to ask if you want to hear the background music. Yes, you do.

iPad Best Practices and Project Ideas

Whether your district is a 1:1 iPad device environment or, like mine, you have only a handful per classroom, this presentation will hopefully give you insight into making iPad usage more meaningful. I’m very happy to see that educators are moving away from consumption based activities and are now allowing students to create products that demonstrate understanding. Apps like Seesaw and Doink have been a real game changer for my campuses. Documenting the learning process, communicating with parents, and ditching worksheets have all contributed to improving the teaching craft. I read a blog post not too long ago from EdTechTeam that described 6 ways to transform learning with the iPad. I turned it into a PD for my campuses and included built in iOS features that they might not be familiar with. Feel free to use the resource below and please add additional ideas in the comments section. 

Stuff That Rocks for the Week of January 13

RIP Rock the Lab. I decided last year to no longer maintain the site because of the time it took away from my personal life. The archived version that I moved to this blog had outdated resources and broken links, so I made the decision to permanently remove the site. However, I do want to continue to provide you with all of the content I was either making myself or curating from other content creators on the web. Stuff That Rocks will be a weekly post that shares inspirational lessons or tools that can support engagement and interactive lesson design. Check out 5 things I found recently that will hopefully rock your week.

The embedded presentation below is from a site called genial.ly. It. Is. So. Cool. Click on each number to see the content. If the font is too small to read as is, click on the 3 dots in the bottom right corner to make it full screen.

Rock Your December

As we welcome a new month, the Featured Lessons page on Rock the Lab gets some new December Bling. There are multiple engaging lessons that allow students to practice various technology skills, core content learning objectives and have a little fun to boot. Just click on Rock the Lab in the main navigation toolbar and then click on the December button under the Featured Lessons Section. 


I highly recommend you preview the lessons before using them with students so you can decide on your workflow. Assigning them through Google Classroom might be your best bet. That way students don’t have to share the activity with you and your email inbox will be quite pleased. Let me know how it goes in the comment section. Merry Techmas!

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2019 Hour of Code

Hour of Code will be celebrated during the week of December 9-15. I recently updated my HOC choice board you can use with your students. Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Their vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. This resource begins with videos of actual coders in the field discussing how computer science has a huge impact on our world. Students can choose to follow the fundamental courses that are designed for each grade level (K-5) or choose some of the other coding games like Harry Potter, Minecraft, or Dance Party. The last resource is a site where you can type your students’ names and print participation certificates. 

Click here to open the presentation choice board.


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Creating a SMART Command Center

SMART Boards can be so much more than an expensive display for your projected desktop image or something underneath a document camera. They have the potential to provide students with the opportunity to engage with content, facilitate task management, and promote an interactive learning space for both whole and small group instruction. Below are some easy ways to create a “SMART Command Center” for your classroom.

  1. Classroomscreen.com: This is a simple website that will help you facilitate any lesson you are teaching throughout the day. Think of it as control central for managing time and responsibilities. You can read more about Classroom Screen in my previous blog post.
  2. Annotate PDFs using SMART Ink Document Viewer: View PDF files with the SMART Ink Document Viewer and use SMART Ink to annotate over them. What makes this so great is that the digital ink layer stays in place as your document scrolls up and down.
  3. Quick Formative Assessments Using SMART LAB Activities: Gamify your exit tickets with these quick activities that make checking for understanding fun and engaging.
  4. Take Attendance and Lunch Count: Check out this curated list of already created Notebook files for each month
  5. Use your SMART Board as a station for Flipped Instruction: You can create a recorded lesson using the SMART recorder or students can use the SMART recorder to make their thinking visible!
  6. Flippity Skip the Spreadsheet: Create random name generators and word games without having to use a Spreadsheet
  7. Badge Tracker: This free tool allows you to award and display classroom badges.
  8. Bouncy Balls This site uses your computer’s microphone to monitor the noise level of your classroom.
  9. Go Noodle: GoNoodle helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day.
  10. Display a Learning Menu: Give students choice as to how they apply their newly acquired knowledge. (From Kasey Bell)
  11. Create an Interactive Word Wall: This tool makes it quick and easy to create interactive word walls
  12. Display Learning Strategies: This site contains a plethora of learning strategy ideas for whole, small group, and individual instruction.
  13. Smart Exchange is a website where you can download free lessons for your Smart Board and Smart Notebooks. From Jeopardy templates to a map of the 50 states, it’s worth a look to see what you can find!
  14. Virtual Math Manipulatives This site contains links to some amazing free to use sites that make math visual.
  15. Draw a Stickman: I’m not even going to explain this one…you just have to do it!