Tech Tip Tuesday

May 19, 2015

In this Issue: Hour of Code, Kahoot Ghost Mode, StoryBird, and King of Math Games!

Winding Down

Hello from the HISD again. Many of us educators in Huron County have about three weeks left until we can see a view like this on a regular basis. As your summer break approaches, here are some things to think about.

  1. How are you advancing your technology skills this summer? There are many PDs offered here at the HISD as well as many other ISDs around the State (there are 30+ different tech PDs on this list so far). Remember, your students will be growing in this area as they will be (more than likely) glued to a device all summer.
  2. Get connected with a Social Media platform such as Facebook, Pinterest (yes I have my own account.....), Twitter, Google +, etc. Build your PLC (Professional Learning Community) and you can gather so many neat ideas for the fall.
  3. As you think about next school year, I would love to help you on your road to using more technology in the classroom. I am available to sit down with you one to one, demo a technology tool with your students, or observe you teaching a lesson and give some tech pointers. If you have any needs this summer, feel free to email me at
  4. I plan on sending out a few tech tip newsletters this summer, so check your email if you would like to view them.

Hour of Code

In the last year, almost seven billion lines of code have been written by students in over 180 countries. If you haven't heard, the "Hour of Code" initiative is being pushed really hard in schools at ages as low as four. This campaign started to help students become familiar with computer science and learning the basics of programming. It helps with logic, problem-solving skills, and creativity. Writing code also helps students develop career skills at such a young age. Here are a few sites that will grab your students' attention and engage them while making their own popular games.

Hour of Code Statistics

  • This program reached 15 million users in 5 days (fastest ever). Instagram took 14 months, Pinterest took 2 years, Twitter took 2.5 years, and Facebook took 3 years.
  • More girls tried computer science in one week than in the last 70 years.
  • There was close to 80,000 Hour of Code events all over the world.

Kahoot: Ghost Mode

Here is an excellent way to engage in a review game as the end of the year approaches. Kahoot is a classroom response system, similar to clickers, which is by far one of students and teachers favorite tools. Kahoot recently added a new feature called "Ghost Mode" which will make you love it even more. "Ghost Mode" allows teachers to give students access to previous games, where they can race against themselves and their classmates' old scores. This is an excellent way to review for small or large groups of students as you can see the progress made or not made. To get an excellent tutorial on how this is done, check out for a step-by-step guide. Not only can this new feature be played at school, but teachers can share the "Ghost Mode" link with parents and have them participate with their child at home.


Storybird is a free program to help cultivate your students' creativity in the writing process. Their website states that, "Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. We curate artwork from illustrators and animators around the world and inspire writers of any age to turn those images into fresh stories." This is true as the illustrations are the focal point, which is where it will grab your students' attention. Creating a picture book, longform book, or poem is as simple as choosing a picture and adding text to it. The published books can then be kept private or public and can be shared with a link. As educators, this program also allows for teacher and student accounts. The teacher has the ability to create assignments and a class library. Check out the educators version here. Not only can students create books, but they can also search from thousands of books made by others. To view a sample book that I found (click the link below). Books can be created using a computer, iPad, or tablet.

Math Games is a great place to have your Pre-K though Grade 8 students practice math skills. The site is aligned with the common core, and has close to two million math questions. It can be used on any device or computer and does not require a login required to play. Of course, if you would like to track your students, teachers may create a free account to track progress. Games on this site are fun and keep students engaged. Currently, the interactive games do not work on an iPad. The iPad version gives students practice problems with a neat scratch pad feature, which allows them to show their work. Nonetheless, both versions are great tools for your students when they have the time.

Stay Techy This Summer!

Enjoy your summer break and do not hesitate to contact me for any tech support. I am looking forward to working with you all at summer PDs and in the fall.