Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Talk Podcasts with QR Codes

With CCSS lexile levels are important. I have my students read books within their lexile range independently. This is the sheet I make them fill out as they read It takes them 10 days to read their book (I tell them they can pick to read on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday). Then when they have completed the book and their sheet they complete a book talk podcast and create a QR code of their podcast. To do this I first created a blog in Blogger. I used the dynamic template and called it Mrs. Morgan's Book Talk Podcasts. I also created an Audioboo account at Then in settings on Audioboo I selected Posting to Other Sites and selected Blogger. Then, I selected Mrs. Morgan's Book Talk Podcasts. So, now when my students record their podcasts in Audioboo they post directly to my class's book talk podcast blog! Sounds simple and it is! My students record their podcasts using the Audioboo iPhone app on our class iPads. On the iPads I just have to download the Audioboo iPhone app and log in with the same credentials I used when I created my account on the computer. After they have recorded they go to the blog and the students then create a QR code to take others to their book talk podcast using Here is the direction sheet I give my students to create their book talk podcasts and QR code I walk my students through the process once, and then they have it! They enjoy listening to their own podcast and to other's! You can even put the QR codes of exemplary book talks inside the book in your school's library or your classroom library!

Here is a link to last year's book talk podcasts -

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dot Day with Augmented Reality

Today my class celebrated Dot Day! We enjoyed reading Peter Reynolds book The Dot Then we worked on making our own mark with dots we would later use with the colAR app. We used the colAR app to make our dots come to life. It was great fun to do this in our classroom. But, it got even better when we connected through Skype with Mrs. Harju's class of 2nd graders at St. Stephen's School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mrs. Harju's 2nd graders guessed where we were Skyping from based on clues my 6th graders gave them. Then we shared our dots through Skype! The students took turns holding up their dots to the camera and the school on the other side of the Skype used the colAR app to bring them to life! It was just like magic...

Monday, September 9, 2013

QR Codes for 4 Kinds of Sentences Fun

At the beginning of each year in 6th grade grammar we review the 4 kinds of sentences. This year after we reviewed them we had some fun using them. I had found 6 amazing and thought provoking pictures from very old National Geographic Magazines. Then I created a google form for each picture. The form was basic and just asked them to type in their sentences to go along with the picture.
Then I created a QR code, using, for each of the forms so kids could scan the QR code and go directly to the form for that picture. The printed QR codes were taped to the pictures and hung up for kids to access as one of their centers for the week. The kids enjoyed this project and I enjoyed having all of their responses in spreadsheet form for easy grading!

App Smashing

On August 28 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. In honor of this historic day we shared our dreams visually as a class. To share our dreams we used the app WordFoto. Students took their own photo on iPads and then typed in their dreams. The app puts their words onto the photo as part of the photo. Then we used the app Telligami to introduce Dr. King and our project. The app telligami lets you create and share a quick animated message called a Gami. When we finished all of the WordFoto projects and the Gami we put it all into iMovie to create our finished project. Our final project is published on YouTube - Please enjoy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

1 Second Everyday

As the school year is about to begin for me I plan on making a video journal of sorts capturing one second of each day using the app It is a simple and easy way to capture just one second of the day and then compile those seconds into a short video recap of our week, month, learning topic, or entire school year. I plan on using it to recap our entire school year. The app is just $0.99. I plan on having students handle the taping every day. The student who has been assigned the iPad job for the day will be responsible for not only plugging in the iPads at the end of the day, but also videoing using the app each day. I am excited to see how this project turns out and excited to share with students and parents as the year progresses.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School Decorating with a Purpose

Yesterday was the first day I was able to get into my room and get some work done. I unpacked about 60 boxes and got my room back to normal. I still have a little bit more to do, but that will happen later this week. Inspired by things I saw on Pinterest I created 2 things that I really like. The first is a language arts focus wall that I put on one section of my white board. The other is a door decoration about being yourself. Below are pictures and PDF files of them if you want them!
Focus Wall -
BE -
BE Quotes -

Monday, August 5, 2013

Easy Homework Blog

In the past I have done a homework blog where I typed in the assignments every night. It worked, but it was not as easy as I would have liked. So, this year I decided to make it more efficient for me realizing that I was writing it on the assignment notebook board and then typing it into my blog. I decided that my homework blog would just be a picture of my assignment notebook board...easy! To do this I created a blog on Blogger. Then, I installed the Blogger app on my phone. Each day I will open the Blogger app and just take a picture of the assignment notebook board and upload it. Then, each day the parents will see exactly what was for homework.

This is the view from the Blogger app on iPhone - it is just so easy with the camera/pic insert right there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Does your classroom library need some help?

Last summer I brought home my whole classroom library to weed through old books, organize, and catalogue them. I could not believe just how many books I had and how tired I was of having books go missing when kids borrowed them and never returned them. In the past I had used the pocket in the book with an index card in it with the title written on it. When kids checked out a book they were supposed to take the index card with the title on it and then put it in a pocket chart by their name. Well this system worked for the kids who were avid readers and cared. For the seemed to be optional and so did returning the books. So, last summer I discovered on the web and the Classroom Organizer app This site and app revolutionized my classroom library, how kids check out books, how they return them, and gave me a way to make them accountable.

Once you set up your account online and download the app it is all so simple. You simply scan the ISBN number on the back of the book with your smart phone or you can enter it in on the web, and it will catalogue the book for you. You can put a location where the book should be found and returned to. You can even set it up so that when students return books they give a summary and rating! Kids can check out and return books by using the app on an iPad, iPhone or a computer. It really makes your classroom library like a real library and they seem to take it more seriously. After a year of using the Classroom Organizer/Classroom Booksource I only had 2 books not returned, but over 500 books circulated. Try it out for yourself and enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

QR Codes and Back to School

Last year I started out the year with two QR Code activities that my students really enjoyed. The first was a ticket to 6th grade and it had a QR Code on it. When students scanned the QR Code they found out where their desk was. They really enjoyed this new way to find their seats! The second activity had students create their own QR Codes that when scanned told others about them. It was a QR Code get to know you activity. These activities got kids ready to use QR Coded for the rest of the year in 6th grade. I am going to use them again this year, and you can too!

Below are links in Google Drive. You can make a copy of them and use as you see fit for your class and your students.

QR Code Tickets To Your Seat

QR Code Get To Know you activity

Check out this cool QR Code generator I ran across yesterday.
I have not used it with kids, but I made some cool looking codes with it yesterday while playing with it.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Class App? Why yes, I have one!

Today I built an app for my class to use using It was super easy and FREE! There are so many options for creating an app that you will have a great app built in no time.  I made my app link to my class homework blog on Blogger. Then as I take a picture of my class assignment notebook board and post it to my blog it will show up when students or parents go to the app. I also linked our class webpage and blog. There is also a contact me section, so students and parents can email or call me at school right from the app! It is pretty cool and super easy! I will make a QR Code of the app link to post in my room during Expectation Night (open house) and put it on my newsletters to get the word out to students and parents.

Try it today!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Close Reading

Common Core State Standards are rigorous, to say the least. This past winter I read Closing in on Close Reading by Nancy Boyles and was inspired to learn more. I am currently reading Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst and enjoying the practical strategies for close reading. To complement Notice and Note, I have been exploring Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading and Texts and Lessons for Teaching Literature by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels and Nancy Steineke. I also started a Pinterest board for close reading at

Here are a few apps that could help support close reading. 

I am also working on a Close Reading for Fiction and Nonfiction session at the Raising Student Achievement Conference in December 2013 with Jennifer Ruhl. I will post the presentation here in December.