Animate your lessons with Stop Motion Video on your iPad

Lego MovieTurn your students into budding animators! There are a variety of easy to use animation apps, some of which are free, to capture and stitch together photos of characters and objects into seamless, fluent animated movies. Best of all, the process of designing, scripting and staging animations has tremendous educational potential, and can be a wonderful mix of art, science, history, language arts, and even math. Using these iPad apps, and materials such as clay, Lego’s, drawings, or toy figures, students can create short animated sequences illustrating or teaching a concept – all while involving student teams in collaborative discussion, collective imagination and creativity, problem solving, critical analysis and a lot of teamwork. Students will be completely engaged while you observe learning outcomes that they are not even aware of!
Here’s a few apps you can take a look at:

LEGO Movie Maker –  Free  (my favorite – can add sound effects, music overlay, and voice overlay, and save to photoroll)
Animate it 2.99
iStopmotion  9.99
StopMotion  Free
Stop Motion Studio  Free (has in-app purchases)
Stop Motion Recorder  .99
sMovie  6.99
Ostanovca   Free
Stop Motion Café  Free
Osnap  2.99  (Lite version is free)
MyCreate  4.99 (Lite version is free)

Where can I find Copyright Free music?

When creating a presentation, smartnotebook lesson,  or a video that uses music tracks, the sure way to avoid any concerns about copyright infringement is to use music you created. Unfortunately, often that is not a reasonable option for a lot of folks, including me! You can however find royalty free music on the internet that you can download and use in your creations. is a site made for education that has free clips, though the full collection is only available with a license fee.


royaltyfreemusicAnother site to look at is  Royalty Free Music, which charges the general public for their downloads, but students and teachers can download quite a bit of the music for free. To request an education account go here.

There are many other sites out there you can take a look at – here’s a site that lists a number of them and also has basic information on creative commons licensing.

powermylearningLooking for digital content for your ipads or chromebooks? PowerMyLearning is a collection of engaging free activities including academic games, interactives, and videos that are searchable by subject, grade, and Common Core standard. Curated by a team of educators, PowerMyLearning also includes several sets of tools for creating a class site, such as playlists, a student dashboard, and other tools. Quiz Packs, available for select content areas and topics, focus on a specific Common Core State Standard and contain one of PowerMyLearning‘s top digital learning activities plus two short quizzes.

PowerMyLearning Resources come from a number of well-known educational content providers such as ReadWriteThink, PBS, BBC, and LearnZillion. Teachers can set up level and interest-appropriate activities, or students can direct their own learning by choosing activities of interest to them. Both adults and students also have access to reports that monitor progress.

Digital literacy is integrated into PowerMyLearning by providing students the ability to choose avatars, create profiles, and tackle special challenges to earn more power for their “Wizmos.”
The PowerMyLearning collection is constantly growing and adding new activities and features. Create a free login and explore activities for your students at at

Use Youtube safely for your classroom

YouTube-TeachersYoutube has a wealth of resources for using in the classroom, yet you may be concerned about having inappropriate suggested videos’, or ads, popping up on the screen.  To remove those problems use YouTube EDU by going to

Once there, an easy way to search by grade and subject is to scroll down a bit and look for the “Classroom Videos” tab just right of center, below the featured video.  Not only will your search be focused on educational videos, those ads and images you don’t want to see will not be there.  Find engaging videos to introduce a topic or present a concept for class discussion – make it visual!

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

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 !
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.

learn360 image

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: 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 – – 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!