Week 9

  • New Tool: Storyjumper is an online storybook creator. Students can go online and create their own storybook by choosing a background, props, and characters from the ones provided or from their own saved pictures. Next they add the text for their story and voila! Instant storybook. After they are finished making their book, students can email the book to others or print out a copy. The books can also be ordered in a hardback form but that costs money. One of the best parts about this site for teachers is that you can create a classroom and assign your students their own usernames and passwords without having to enter an email address for them. The site says that it is for elementary school students but I could see this even being used in middle and high school to showcase writing. Here is a video tutorial that shows you how to use the site.
  • Computer Tip: The computer tip this week is actually a list of tips for using Google. Google has become so much more than just your standard search engine but most people have no idea of the many ways you can use it. My favorite tips are for using Google as a dictionary and as a calculator. Here are the top ten unknown Google tricks.

Week 8

  • New Tool: Popplet is a fun mind-mapping tool, bulletin board, or presentation tool to use on the internet or as an app on an iPad. It can be used to brainstorm ideas for writing, to collaborate with other students on ideas, and as an alternative to presentation. You can type, add pictures and videos, or draw in each of the bubbles. This tool could be used in multiple grades and in various subjects. Here is a short tutorial for you and your students on how to use Popplet. Mr. Townsend used it recently in his 6th grade Social Studies class. The students worked in small groups on presentations about Ancient Egypt. Here is a sample of one of the projects:


  • Computer Tip: When sending a document to parents or other faculty members, remember that some of them may have a Mac or an older version of Microsoft making it hard to open your documents. The way around this is to save your document as a PDF file. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is, if you have Microsoft 2010, when you try to save your document it gives you the option to choose a file type. When you hit save, it will ask you to name your document and right under that line it says ‘Save as type’. In that drop down box, choose PDF. The other option is to choose to print your document. When you hit print, you should have the option of the printer called ‘CutePDF Writer’. If you choose this as your printer, it won’t actually print but will ask you where you want to save it instead. Once it is saved, it is a PDF file.
  • Relevant Article: Why do you choose to shop in one store but not another? Why do you choose to go to one independent school but not another? When I found this article, I couldn’t help but think how much it relates to our school. The article is geared toward retail shops but could easily be used in an independent school atmosphere.  Families choose independent schools for the experiences we give them just as customers choose certain stores for the experiences they get there. Read this article and think about how we can use these ideas with our own loyal customers.