Helping kids play safely online

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This is a great guide from ACMA designed to help parents better undersand their child’s online gaming.  In particular, it lists 5 simple steps for ensuring children have positive experiences.   Get the full article here.

Engaging the Students on Twitter

Many of us are now comfortable with Twitter and see the benefits of using twitter for our own personal development. The next step is to get the students involved. There are many lists of ideas out there on how to use Twitter in the classroom. See the links I’ve added below. Here are the steps I’ve taken and the resources I’ve used:

1. Set-up a class twitter account (if the students are too young to have their own). Mine is @SIStechclass. Make sure you establish clear rules about how you expect the students to tweet. They will each need to initial their tweets on a class account. Also, establish clear guidelines as to what can and can not be tweeted.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 11.47.44 AM2. Tweet via email. The class as a whole can all log into the same account. However, I wanted more control over my younger class so I set-up a Tweetymail account. This allows the students to tweet by sending an email from a specific account. This also means you will need to set-up a new email account for the class. This limits the access the students have to twitter and allows the students to tweet from outside of the classroom.

3. Teach them how to add hashtags. For posting blog links, add #comments4kids at the end of the post. This hashtag,  started by @wmchamberlain, is aimed at promoting more comments for class and student blogs. See how Kurt Callahan used this hashtag to get comments on his kids’ realistic fiction pieces:

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4. Engage in a Twitter chat. You can always set-up your own hashtag to create your own chat. You can also find specific hashtags set to specific chat times — these are called hashtag chats. Here is a list of current twitter chats and a list of educational twitter chats.

Screen Shot 2013-01-20 at 1.49.49 PMTwitterfall is extremely useful for hashtag chats. Here is a video about using Twitterfall for hashtag chats.

Here are some other ideas for classroom projects using twitter.

Mrs. Kruse’s class page. Follow @sistechclass

Ms. Beabout’s class page. Follow @sistechies

Mrs. Carino’s class page. Follow @3aelearners

~ Katie Kruse


Device use at breaks


At SIS we encourage students to use their devices for creativity and learning purposes.  Here are some guidelines for before school and breaks.  

1.  Devices must stay in your bags for the first 20 minutes of lunch so you can eat and talk to your friends.

2.  You can then use your device in both the library and amphitheatre.  Feel free to read both electronic and paper books in the library.

3.  Please use your device for positive, collaborative and friendly purposes.   Supervising teachers will assist you with making these choices.  Violent games or inappropriate content are never acceptable at school.  All visible content must be appropriate for our youngest learners.

4.  You can use your device before school for creative or school related purposes.  Gaming is not appropriate at this time.

5.  Devices must be placed in bags and not used in between classes.

Digital Storytelling

Recently, students in Mrs. Cho-Young’s (@cho_liz) 9th Grade English class were given the opportunity to use a variety of different technologies to showcase their original stories.

As part of their Multi-Genre Paper project, each student was asked to write a minimum of four written pieces, such as short stories, poems or articles, with one recurring motif tying them together.  Students were given the option to choose an original piece or narrate another author’s work in a digital format.

What’s so inspirational???  These students were only given exemplars in different formats, shown how to split clips in iMovie and how to split tracks in GarageBand.  After that, we left them to discover their own process.  These examples exhibit our students’ creative writing skills coupled with digital production:


Using Storybird , Using GoAnimate , Using imovie , using videoscribe

Mobile Reading Transformed

Redefining how you read is essential in today’s world, especially how we move from one location to another. This how to, will transform any website into a electronic publication(ePub) that can be read in your iBooks App or App of your choice. This begs the question on what is a .ePub or ePub file? An ePub is file that is designed for reflowable content, meaning the reader is able to interact with what they read. This would entail highlighting text, underlining, defining words, commenting, sharing, and digging deeper with direct access to the web. This is a must “add” on your mobile device browser, bookmark bar. Click on the image below for set up procedure.

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Purchasing iPad apps

Purchasing apps for your child

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Here are three ways you can purchase paid apps for your child.  If your need assistance with purchasing apps, please ask your child to see either Ms Beabout (elementary) or Mr Ruthai (middle school).

1. Gifting an app (not available in some stores)

If you have your own Apple ID and the account is in the same store as your child’s (E.g. both in the US store) you can gift an app.

Simply search for the app in iTunes (on your Mac, PC or iPad), click the down arrow or share button and then select gift.  You will need to enter your’d child’s Apple ID (email address).  You can do this for each app they require.

See detailed instructions here

2. Add credit (not available in some stores)

If you have your own Apple ID and the account is in the same store as your child’s (E.g. both in the US store) you can give your child credit (e.g. $10) and allow them to purchase the apps themselves.

Go to the main page of iTunes on your PC or Mac and select “Buy iTunes Gifts”.  You can then select “Email Gift Certificates” and send the credit to their Apple ID.

See detailed instructions here

3. “Add Money” from a Chinese Bank Account.

If your child has a Chinese App Store account you can add credit from your Chinese Bank account.

Go to the main page of iTunes on your PC or Mac and then select “Add Money”.

See detailed instructions here


Reporting Tips Using Pages

When writing reports using Pages, here are two really quick tips that should be helpful:

“Document Statistics” (word counts, character counts):

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Removing “Automatic Lists” so that the * remains when inputting into Denbigh

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Google Drive with the iPad

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Most teachers are familiar with Google Docs as an excellent set of classroom tools. The new update of Google Drive for the iPad makes using Google Docs on the iPad an excellent workflow option for the iPad classroom. The app is free. With a gmail account, students have access to collaborative document and spreadsheet editing.

I have used Google Docs as a means to share benchmark progress and ESLR observations. I share this document individually with each student. Now I can roam the classroom and update my observation sheet and the student has immediate access to my observations and notations. More importantly, the students can create documents and spreadsheets right on their iPads and share them with me or other students for collaborative projects and constructive feedback.

Also, although the app version is limited, students can sign into the web version on their iPad for access to all of the other Google Drive features. This is useful for students to email a document as a .pdf (and many other possibilities).

For more detailed information:

One explanation of how Google Drive can be used in the classroom.

Another explanation with a video demonstration on how to create student portfolios with Google Drive.

Basic instructions on how to share a file on Google Drive.

~ Katie Kruse