Looking for inexpensive yet good iPad cases for student used iPads?

We want kids to use the iPad(s) we have in the classroom, and we don’t want to worry about it getting broken.  Having a good cover on the iPad is essential, yet the price can approach $100 for some of the more rugged ones.  Here are two covers that are less expensive, yet offer good protection:




TuffKase makes one for $25 that includes a built-in stand




silicone ipad case

One for sale on eBay costs just $10.79 and offers a good grip for young students as well as good drop protection


Teaching Digital Literacy and Citizenship

Last year at this time I listed a number of resources for teaching your kids digital citizenship and cyber safety. Our students are using the internet more and more in school, and of course are embroiled it social media and the internet at home.  With cyber-bullying becoming more common place, and bullying tragedies unfortunately too common, it’s important that schools include classroom discussions and lessons on responsible and safe use of the internet and social media.

commonsensemediaIn addition to the resources listed last year (here), another excellent source of a curriculum for teachers to use is the K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media. There are videos walking you through how to use these resources, which include lesson plans, handouts, videos, as well as resources you can have kids use.

Consider spending just a little time in your classroom teaching your students to use computers, smartphones, iPads, and other digital devices safely and responsibly.

Great STEM resource: STEM Central

sallyridescienceSTEM Central is a newly-launched website whose goal is to provide resources and materials on STEM-related topics to students and teachers. At STEM Central, which is part of the Sally Ride Science project, one can find links to videos, articles, apps, and many other resources on a variety of subjects  related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Use the Advanced Search to select resources by category, topic, grade level, media type, tags, and ratings.
Resources listed on the site were vetted for quality then cataloged and rated by a specially-selected team of teachers, researchers, and STEM professionals. However, beginning in November, the portal will be opened for all teachers to contribute to the collection by submitting and reviewing links and resources on STEM topics and careers as well as to share classroom-tested tips and tricks on using those resources. Be sure to check out STEM resources for your school and classroom at stemcentral.sallyridescience.com

Video as a teaching resource

Are you using video in your classroom to enhance your introduction to a unit or project? It’s easy –  and since kids love video, it engages them and adds excitement to the lesson. As teachers, it offers us a way to reach children with a variety of learning styles, especially visual learners, and students with a variety of information acquisition styles.

There are a growing number of web sites offering free videos for education. One you should be sure to check out is  WatchKnowLearn.org !
And don’t forget the service we pay for here in Central Oregon –Learn360.

Check out the National Teacher Training Institute’s web site for strategies on using video in your classroom.

Learn360 has a newsletter with thematic ideas for October and November which you can find here.
Every school in central oregon has access to Learn360. If you need the code access your account, or would like training on using the site, please contact me.  steve.prull@hdesd.org

learn360 image

iPads and other classroom technologies – what should we expect?

The amount and type of technology in classrooms is growing, and for good reasons. Smartphones, iPads, and other portable devices are accepted if not essential tools we all use in the workplace, thus how would we not teach their use to our classrooms? With the new technology embedded standards in the CCSS, we now have no choice but to include the use of technology by students in our classes.  Standardized test scores may or may not be directly affected, yet how students learn will be, and the educational process will be relevant and applicable to everyday life and the workplace, as well as to the Common Core Standards we are all teaching.  We are now at the point of deciding how – not if – we can innovate our classroom with technology – by looking at our curriculum, surveying the technology tools we have in our classrooms, and deciding how we can best use those tools to meet student learning objectives.

An article in from ‘District Administration’ titled ‘iPads Expand Time and Space’ sums it up well: “.. Teachers incorporate a wide range of tools: interactive whiteboards, webcams, class blogs, Google Apps for Education, iPod touches, and netbooks [Chromebooks], as well as iPads. But, in the end, … the success of any piece of technology hinges on how it is used in the classroom. It’s about what you do with the device, not the device itself”
Pulaski ipad Ken Westphal

Student Assessment using Mobile Technology

I’ve mentioned Socrative as a great online assessment tool. It’s free and allow students to use their own internet enabled device, such as a smart phone or iPad, in the classroom to answer formative assessments. Of course you could use computers or other school devices such as iPads or Chromebooks.

Another site that I just reviewed is Infuselearning.com , and I think I like this one even infuselearningmore!  It’s also easy to use yet has some features that Socrative does not have. It has a Draw Response where you can have an image/picture displayed on the student screen on which they draw or otherwise annotate. Students could label maps or diagrams, for example. You can also have a Sorting question where students sort a list – something not possible in Socrative.  You can also see the results of your assessment live, without having to download the results, and can see what each student has answered for each question. This is a great online tool and for using in the classroom.

Common Core for Math ~ Differentiated Instruction ~ Resources!

learnzillion iconLearnZillion is a learning platform that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a Common Core standard, starting with math in grades 3-9.  Starting by a school in Washington D.C., this web site has grown into a collaborative project among teachers from around the country. Use this site provide remedial or differentiated instruction for your students. One of the best CCSS sites with content you can use now.

Find Free Apps for your iPad

smartappsforkidsIf you use and iPad and haven’t signed up yet for SmartAppsForKids, you might want to check here: http://www.smartappsforkids.com/Every day is has a list of “Featured Free and Reduced Apps of the Day” where you can see a list of apps that the developers are offering for Free – on that day only. This site tends to be focused on Pre-K and Elementary level apps, yet does have a very extensive listing with numerous categories to help narrow your search.

Summer Learning – for You !

teachertrainingvideosWould you like to learn more about using your computer and online tools this summer – at your own pace, from home?  Take a look at this site – TeacherTrainingVideos.com – and you’ll find a wide variety of video tutorials – all Free.  There’s a great range of topics available, including the SmartBoard, blogging, screencasting, Prezi, Linoit, Dropbox, a great many web sites for digital story telling, and much more.  Teaching language is the primary focus of these tutorials, yet they can be applied to any discipline and almost any grade level.  Take a look this summer from your deck or easy chair – enjoy!

50 Free Online Tools for the classroom

50 Tools logoWith so many online tools available to teachers, where do you begin to look? This simple site with a list of some of the most popular tools is a good place to start. Created by the folks at eMints, there are two listing – one categorized by function and one categorized by blooms taxonomy.  50 Free Tools