Tech Me 564

Vol 5: Balanced Literary and Technology Integration

Digital Citizens

Using Common Sense Media, we have continued to study how to be good digital citizens. Ask your students about the 3 rings of responsibility. The students have enjoyed completing activities on Digital Passport too.

Last week, I have also began enrolling students in Edmodo. The students' first activity was to create their own Edmodentity - expressing their identity with an Edmodo avatar. You can do it too.

Please make sure your students have returned the Edmodo and Apple IOS permission forms. (Additional copies are available in the office.) We will be using this program and device often throughout the year. Please make sure you have updated the Google Doc containing you class info about who has/ has not returned forms. This information will be shared with the Specialist team. (Mr Hooker is eager to start using Edmodo for grades 3-5.)

Be An 'Agent for Change'

The first 'Agent for Change' I'd like to spotlight is Chris Davila. Chris has begun using Kahoot with his class. Kahoot is ' is a classroom response system which creates an engaging learning space, through a game-based digital pedagogy.' His students had a blast reviewing the reading expectations using this program. They were so excited and enthused about learning. Chris then shared Kahoot with his team. They, in turn, planned to use it with a Social Studies lesson. Ask Chris for more details. Create a free account and get your students using Kahoot today.

Wow Websites and Awesome Apps

Do you have a great website or app that you are willing to share? Perhaps you have a creative use for a tech resources. Please share your ideas on this form. I will post you ideas for all to see.

Computer Lab Sign up

Please sign up to use the computer lab when no classes are in session. A sign up sheet is posted outside the lab door. In order to share the space, please limit your sign up to 2 additional class sessions per week. If available, I am happy to assist you during this time. Perhaps we can help the students use some of the resources I have shared.

Please respect the space. (I removed 8+ large loads of debris.) Please leave the space ready for another user by: returning all equipment to correct location, leaving computers on and at log in screen, pushing in all chairs, and removing all personal belongings (pencils, paper, etc.) Let's get techie!

Professional Development

Friday Finds

Join me next Friday on Oct 3 at 8:00 for our first Techie Tips 'Friday Finds'. We will learn how to use the ActivExpression voting machines as well as other assessment resources.

Free Resources


As we continue to look at ways to integrate technology into the curriculum, we need to be mindful of student & teacher accountability. One way I held my students accountable was written responses. I provided each student with a prompt sheet that contained specific sentence starters for each activity. The prompts were answered in their Reading Response notebooks, on Edmodo, on Kidblog, using a Google doc/ form or through the use of a creation app. After each rotation, I quickly 'checked' student work - later in more detail. In the beginning, we meet as a whole group and assessed the quality of the responses. We defined clear expectations on how to answer each prompt and the detail necessary to fulfill the requirements. This ensured that the students focused on the task not the tool. The ultimate goal remained to improve reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension.

Independent Reading/ Read to Self

Integration ideas:
  • Students can record their reading using a digital voice recorder (e.g. iPad microphone) or program/website (e.g. Audacity, Audioboo, Vocaroo).
  • Students can read online content such as online magazines and e-books (NatGeo, Ranger Rick, Tumblebooks) .
  • Students can read current articles from newpapers (Newslea, Tween Tribune).
  • Students can read projectable books and highlight difficult words while they read


Vocaroo has got to be the easiest audio tool on the internet. Press the button, make your recording, press another button and send it to whoever. They have updated the interface and made it even easier to use. You can download and embed the recordings too. This would be an excellent tool to use during readers theater. (You can even use this tool provide audio feedback/ comments on projects.) It works on multiple devices.


"Newsela is free for students to explore a world of nonfiction and test their comprehension. Updated daily with real-world news from major publications, students can participate in conversation about the most urgent topics of our time, all while becoming stronger readers." I love that teachers can create classroom accounts and make assignments. Most of the articles have corresponding quizzes - all tied to Common Core standards. Plus each article can be set at 5 different reading levels based on Lexile scores.

TIP: You could copy an article in Google Docs. (Remember to cite source.) Next, allow comments from anyone with link. Post link for students to use. The students can then comment or answer questions directly on the article. Awesome way to collaborate.

Tween Tribune

With features similar to Newslea, Tween Tribune is an online student newspaper sponsored by the Smithsonian. It "features topics about animals, fashion, entertainment, school, science, technology, national and world news written by kids and professional journalists." It includes "Lexile leveled current events, lesson plans, quizzes, and assessments." It is also available in Spanish. One of the things I liked best about Tween Tribune was that it had articles available down to a K/1 reading level (TT Junior) up to high school. Last year, my students loved reading these newspaper articles and discussing current events.

Online Stories

There are a wealth of free online stories for students to read. Many contain both audio and text while others are just audio. Please save this growing Symbaloo with links to a variety of online stories, news articles and magazines.

TIP: When reading online stories, instruct students to choose stories 1 or 2 levels above their current reading level. Remember, we are able to comprehend on a higher level when text is read aloud to us than when attempting to read it ourselves. Push students to reach that next level of proficiency.

Tumble Books

Did you know that your students can choose the type of book and level to read on Tumblebooks? On the home page, students can choose Storybooks (F) or Nonfiction (NF) books. To search by level, first, use the drop-down arrow that says 'Sort by Title' and change it to 'Sort by Reading Level'. Now students can select books by AR level, Grade level or Lexile level. (I found it helpful to convert the Fountas and Pinnell level to an AR level for students.)

Read&Write for Google™

Install this Google Chrome extension. "Boost reading and writing confidence. Offer support for Google Docs/web to students with learning difficulties, dyslexia or ELL/ESL. Read&Write for Google™ offers a range of powerful support tools to help students gain confidence with reading and writing, including: • Hear words, passages, or whole documents read aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting • See the meaning of words explained with text and picture dictionaries • Hear text translated into other languages • Get suggestions for the current or next word as you type • Turn words into text as you speak." This looks like a very useful tool.

Spelling, Vocabulary & Grammar / Word Work

Integration Ideas:

  • Students can use visual thesaurus and dictionaries to learn about new words.
  • Students can practice spelling and vocabulary skills using online resources.

No Red Ink

No Red Ink was my favorite grammar activity. You can "use it to create assignments and quizzes without doing any grading. It is designed to target Common Core skills using your students' interests." The students were able to choose the names of celebrities, friends, and family as well as interests to include in the questions. It "provided students with unlimited help whenever they needed it. You could also track growth using our color-coded heat map." Plus there is a free Edmodo app - so no additional log in was required.


Zondle is a free games-based app/website. It allows students to practice recalling information. Ask your students to create their own games using their spelling/ vocabulary words. It is fun, quick and easy to share. Learn more here or watch this video. I love the flexibility of Zondle. It can be used in so many creative ways!

Google dictionary

Did you know that if you type 'define' before any word in the Google search bar, the definition will be given? Give it a try now.


Lexipedia is a free online dictionary and thesaurus that shows relationships between words. Discover nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, synonyms, antonyms, and fuzzynyms related to a given word. Check it out. &

One of the most popular dictionary and thesaurus sites with definitions, synonyms, antonyms, idioms, word origins, quotes, audio pronunciations, example sentences, and more. Check out the Word of the Day to increase your vocabulary.

Spelling Bee

Students can play the Spelling Bee game by Arcademic Skill Builders. Or check out the Spelling Bee game by TVO Kids. Visual Thesaurus also has a Spelling Bee game. There are many spelling bee games available.


Bluster! is a free app where children match rhyming words, prefixes, suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives, and more in a cool weather-based game where they have to "battle the elements." The multiplayer mode makes it even more exciting.

Many of these examples and more resources are available on the Balanced Literacy & Instructional Technology website

For Your Info...

Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept 15 - Oct 15

History Myths Busted

Did you know the Museum of History offers a free open house for educators? Here are the details: "Join us onThursday, October 9, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. for light refreshments, history myth busting, and exploration of our legendary resources. While you’re here, we’ll show you The Story of North Carolina exhibit and History in Every Direction: Tar Heel Junior Historian Association Discovery Gallery, and you can meet folks at information booths from other resource groups. Earn CEU contact hours while you visit!

...This FREE event requires registration. Please complete ouron-line registration form to attend. Certificates documenting contact hours will be given at completion of the workshop. Questions? Contact Susan Horton, or 919-907-7982."