Month: April 2016

EdCamp Review

Guest Blogger: Rachel Boatwright, Murray Avenue Library Media Specialist


I am always looking for opportunities to earn free Act 48 credits and ways to improve what I’m doing in the classroom. When I was hired for my .6 LTS Librarian position at Murray Avenue, I almost immediately went to mylearningplan to look for professional development opportunities. When our technology coach Mary Agnew told me about Edcamps as a source for free Act 48 hours, I jumped at the opportunity and signed up for Edcamp Lancaster. I started getting emails about using Twitter and #edcamplanc16 and getting ready to “unconference.” I am now a firm believer in teacher-driven professional development that encourages walking out of sessions, sharing ideas through social media, and quality discussions and networking called Ecamp. Here’s why everyone should check one out:

1. Edcamp is free. Free stuff? You have my attention. Free stuff I can use to make me a better teacher? Sign me up. Not only did I earn free Act 48 credits, but I got free breakfast and lunch from Panera and Turkey Hill, and there were opportunities to win gift cards to Starbucks, Panera, Target, Echo SmartPens from Livescribe, and classrooms resources and swag from Waggle, Brainpop, Class Compete, eSpark, and Acheive 3000. Of the 90 participating teachers, substitutes, and administrators, about half left with a prove earned simply by tweeting or being present for the day.

2. Teachers design the sessions. When you come in, teachers post session ideas on a wall, then organizers put like ideas together to come up with the day’s schedule and locations for each session. After the welcome from a member of the Lancaster/Lebanon IU team, the website was updated with the schedule and locations for the day. No one told us what we were learning about or where to go. The sessions were exactly what we asked for and led by us the participants. I attended three sessions: literacy, summer reading, and STEM/STEAM.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.56.16 AM3. Anyone in the room can be a presenter: Anyone who attends an Edcamp is eligible to present. I heard ideas from substitutes, teachers, librarians, an assistant superintendent, and principals. I felt free to discuss my experience grading essays on Google classroom, and I learned ways other teachers are grading writing online and the free tools they use to do it better than I used to. We all had the opportunity to take notes, share, comment, and encourage each other on a topic we all cared deeply about, instead of what I was used to in my old district – someone lecturing at the front of the room, with a powerpoint and, God forbid, making me do a worksheet of some sort.

4. The law of two feet.  Edcamp encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs: As anyone can host a session, it is critical that participants are encouraged to actively self-select the best content and sessions. Edcampers should leave sessions that do not meet their needs. If the conversation doesn’t provide you with something relevant to you, then you can go to another session that you were interested in. See two things happening at the same time that you want to participate in? Split the session is half – someone is in that room taking notes on a public Google doc anyway.

Edcamp was a great way to spend half a Saturday. I was having so much fun, I felt ready for two more sessions. By the time I left I was full of free food and had a ton of notes on resources I could use to be a better teacher and do great things for my students. I free flying pig from Waggle was pretty cool, too.

Learn more about EdCamps at

Learn more & snag some resources/notes from the day about Edcamp Lancaster at

Upcoming Edcamp Opportunities:

Saturday November 19th: Edcamp New Jersey

Best Sites for Google Cheat Sheets

If you have ever started a project in a Google App that you are using for the first time you know that learning all of the options can be a little daunting. To address this issue a lot of websites have been creating “cheat sheets” that give you an easy visual way to provide you and your students with all of the tips, tricks and how-to information to become a GAFE expert. Below are the two best sites for Google Cheat Sheets along with links for each cheat sheet:

Wednesday Web Resource Round-up: Video Slideshow Creation Tools


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Over the past few weeks I have had several teachers looking for video slideshow tools for a variety of projects from student presentations to end of the year school videos. So I have rounded up the best tools that I could find to help you make easy, engaging and entertaining video slideshows. Note: I am not including iPhoto because I have a previous post on how to create a slide show in iPhoto


Animoto is an online video creation program. You easily can make videos  inserting pictures, videos, and text into a template video style. As a teacher you want to sign up for their Animoto Classroom Plus account  which is free for one year and allows you to create up to 50 accounts for your students.  They also have a Blog with ideas and lesson plans for using Animoto in your classroom.


PhotoPeach is a fun way to allow younger students or students who are not very tech-savvy to create video slideshows.  Students can create a rich slideshow in seconds with  background music, captions, & comments. It is very easy to use and because it is so simple kids shouldn’t need much help navigating it. Although they offer a PhotoPeach Class premium account for educators there is  cost so I suggest creating a free account which will
still allow you & your students to make great presentation.

We Video

WeVideo allows you to website create stunning and creative video slideshows with videos & photos.  Since it is a cloud, you can access your media from almost anywhere using any internet-enabled device and you or your students can work collaboratively on projects. They have a K-12 educational plan that can be purchased by teachers or school districts but you can also sign up for a free account that still works great but with limited features. They also have a very informative educational Blog that focuses on integrating video technology into the classroom in general and WeVideo Academy gives you access to tutorials and lesson ideas.

ProShow Web

ProShow Web makes the slideshow creation process very easy. All you have to do is pick a theme/template, import your pictures, chose a song, click ‘create slideshow’ and you’re done. It allows users access to a full library of royalty free music.  has a large collection of themes and allows you to share your project over social media. You can sign up for a free account  with limited features. makes the slideshow creation process very easy. All you have to do is pick a theme/template, import your pictures, chose a song, click ‘create slideshow’ and you’re done.


Kizoa is another great video creation video editing online tool. You can make a slideshows, an animated collage, or a video. You can get a free account by signing up for a “basic account.  One Drawback is that it  does not have blank templates to be filled in with color so you have to select pictures that can work as backgrounds.



Creating albums & slideshows in iPhoto

Creating Albums  in iPhoto

An album is great way to record key events or document a particular subject.  In iPhoto you can organize an album with images arranged in the order you want and you can include the same image in multiple albums without making multiple copies of the image.

To create an album, just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Open iPhoto
  2. Add an album by clicking on “file” and then click on “new album”Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 1.07.51 PM
  3. Give your album a titleScreen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.42.45 AM
  4. To add a photo to your album, click on the photo in your iPhoto library & drag it to your album. To add multiple photos at once, hold down the shift key & click on each image & drag them to your album.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.43.59 AM
  5. To view your album click once on your album title. You can arrange your photos by selecting the organize button & dragging your images so that they are in the order you want.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 12.02.42 PM
  6. To remove an image from an album, click on the  image & press delete. If you want to To remove a group of images,  hold down the shift key while you select each image & press the delete key (this will remove the images from your album but will not delete them from your iPhoto Library). To remove an entire album, select the album & press the delete key.
  7. iPhoto saves automatically so you can exit when you are done

How to Create iPhoto Slideshows

Slideshows are a great way to showcase your iPhoto albums. iPhoto slideshows allow you to combine pictures, soundtracks and special effects to create an engaging experience for your viewers.

To create a slideshow, just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Choose the album or groups of photos you want in your show. Click the Add (+) button on the toolbar and then click the Slideshow tab. The name for the slideshow may automatically fill in with an album name. You can change the name by clicking on the slideshow in the source list on the left hand side and typing in the name you want. The name of your slideshow is now in the source list under a Slideshows heading. You can also add videos by importing them into your iPhoto library and then including them in your album.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.59.55 AM
  2. Click “Create” and drag pictures in the order you want them to play in the photo browser at the top of the viewing area.

  3. Click on “Themes” to change the theme of your showScreen Shot 2016-04-20 at 1.19.49 PM.png
  4. Click on “Text Slide” to add captions or information to your slide showScreen Shot 2016-04-20 at 12.08.27 PM
  5. Click “Music” to choose a soundtrack from iTunes, GarageBand, or sample music included with iPhoto.
  6. Click “Settings”, make your selections- Choose how long you want to play each slide, the transition between slides (dissolve, page flip, twirl), scale photos to fill the screen, zoom in on photos, show titles, etc.Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 12.14.27 PM
  7. Click OK.
  8. To preview the slideshow, click “Preview”
  9. To play your slideshow click on “Play”
  10. Click export your slideshow as a file, a webpage or to iTunes by click on “export” under “file” in the top menu or clicking on “export” in the slideshow menu

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How to assign each student their own copy of a worksheet in Google Classroom

One of the benefits of using Google Classroom is that due to your Google Drive integration you can electronically assign each student in your class their own copy of a worksheet to complete and turn in. To accomplish this complete the following steps:\

1..Go to

2.  Click on the class in which you wish to create the assignment

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3. At the bottom of your class page you will see a plus sign in a circle this is the “Add” button, click Add  and click create an assignment 

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4. Enter the title of the assignment.

5. Enter instructions for the assignment

6. Enter a due date for the assignment

7. You can only assign each student their own copy of a worksheet when you are linking to a Google Drive item.  Click on the drive symbol and then form the drop down menu choose: Make a copy for each students This will allow each student to  receive an individual copy of the file that they can change.

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Note: Students should click  “turn in” on their Google Doc to turn in their assignment


How to Export Grades from Google Classroom

One of the major drawbacks to Google Classroom is that it does not export to grading programs such as eSchool or Sapphire however you can export your Google Classroom Grades to Google sheets or as a CSV file which should help with transferring grades. To accomplish this follow the steps below:

Export grades to Google Sheets

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Exporting Options

1.     Sign in to Classroom 

2.     Click the class and then click on any assignment in the class stream.

3.     Click the setting gear and choose: Copy all grades to Google Sheets.

A spreadsheet with all the grades for the course is created in your Classroom Google Drive folder.


Export grades to a CSV file

1.     Sign in to Classroom at

2.     Click the class and then click on any assignment in the class stream.

3.     Click on the settings gear and select one of the following options:    

  • Download these grades as CSV.
  •  To download all assignment and question grades, select Download all grades as CSV.

The grades are downloaded to a CSV file.


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Example of Exported Grades in Google Sheets


Teacher Tech: Google Drawings

Google Drawings Reviewed by Colleen Quinn-Maxwell (LMHS Health & PE Teacher)

Website: No web address it is one of the tools in the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Suite

Google-compatible: YES

iPad App:  There is no iPad App available however you can get to Google Drawings on an iPad via your web browser

PROS: Easy to use for presentation of information, instructions, online posters, directions, etc.  It is easy to use, has creative options for colors, shapes, backgrounds, is a google app. Students can collaborate & work on same drawing at same time from different computers.

CONS:  Small slide/frame space to work with so limited to what you can display.
Students had difficulty entering text at first and learning to navigate the shapes I created on the drawing attachment.

Specific Teaching Activities:

Health Topic Poster

I utilized google drawings for instructions for a summative online/virtual poster project for my students to demonstrate their comprehension of our last unit where they were able to choose to make a pro or anti campaign poster on a topic that we discussed.  Students had the option to continue to use google drawings to produce their poster or use a powerpoint slide.

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WaWa Webquest Meal Planning

I also utilized google drawings for students to present information for their nutritional 1 day meal plan after completing a 1 day Wawa Web Quest.  It provided clear formatting and display of information for students and myself for grading/submission

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Wednesday Web Resource Round-up: Video Assessment Tools

So last Wednesday Round Up I found  some of the best sites for educational videos. Today I am going to focus on using digital video as a learning tool to convey contenScreen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.52.19 PMt to students. If you assigning an online videos part of an online, blended, or flipped class you want to make sure that it is effective.  From understanding who watched the video and for how long, to whether or not students grasp the material, instructors need to be able to measure a video’s effectiveness.

Interactive video assessment tools allow you to easily embed custom questions into assigned videos and  are helping to meet evaluation needs through detailed analytics and embedding assessment at precisely the right moment. When you feels it is important to be certain the concept is successfully covered, you can require that a question be answered before the student goes on to watch more of the video.

  • Interactive video assessment tools allow the teacher to:
    • Search existing video on the Internet from sources such as YouTube and Khan Academy.
    • Customize the exact video clip, starting at any point and ending at any point, to assign a specific “snippet”.
    • Record your own voice over the assigned video for narration or to add additional information.
    • Embed custom assessment questions (true/false, multiple choice, open format) into the assigned video at any point on the video timeline.
    •  Review individual student and course-level assessment analytics to identify the percentage of students who have completed the assignment.
    •  Students can create their own video assessment projects as a class assignment.
  • Interactive video assessment tools engage students through:
    • augmenting face-to-face instruction
    •  enhancing blended classes
    • use in flipped classrooms
    • student projects

By not including tools such as these during the learning experience, you miss opportunities to increase student engagement and retention of defined concepts. Just showing a video  does not work for today’s media-intense learner. For example, having  students merely watch a video is an inherently passive type of learning on the part of the student. By making videos an active learning experience, students are required to increase their engagement with the material. In addition, adding interaction within video can help to individualize student learning and enable you to scaffold material to support students who are having difficulty.

 Most importantly, many interactive video assessment tools collect student assessment data and compile it into reports showing learning trends by class as well as individual student progress.  Teachers can use the collected data  to easily see which students have completed watching assigned videos and understand the concepts. Class-level analytics allow a teacher to see how the class is progressing with the assignment. For example, if the analytics show that 50 percent of the class missed a particular question or set of questions, the teacher can drill down into the data to determine which individuals answered incorrectly and also look to see if there is a trend in selecting the same wrong answer, indicating that there is a common misunderstanding or misapplication of the information being taught. With the data available, the teacher can pinpoint the misconceived information and reteach the concept. Similarly, teachers can easily spot the student who consistently answers incorrectly and in turn can assign appropriate support material to improve the individual student’s learning success.

Great Examples of Video Assessment Tools

  • EDpuzzle  is  free and incredible-easy-to-use. It can help you save time, increase student engagement and improve student. It also collects data as students watch and interact with the video. You can take a video from Youtube,
    Khan Academy or TeacherTube and crop it to use only what you need for your lesson, record your voice
    on top to explain, add clarifications, or add a video introduction. You can also  Embed quiz questions along the way, to check for student understanding, track who watched the video, prevent skipping, and see quiz results through the simple to read student reports. It also allows you to post directly from the Edpuzzle site to your Google Classroom.

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    Lesson  Editing Page from EDpuzzle
  • Zaption- is similar to EDpuzzle but has some major differences. EDpuzzle only allows you to load one video per assessment whereas Zaption allows you to load multiple videos. With EDpuzzle you can add narration, audio notes, an open ended question, multiple choice question, or comment. The last 4 elements will pause the video. With Zaption you have quite a bit of control over the interactive elements: where it shows up, how long it shows up, whether the video pauses or not, etc. You can insert text slides, image slides, drawings, open ended questions, multiple choice, check boxes(survey), a discussion thread which is similar to backchat, and a ‘jump to target’ that ‘jumps’ to a specified location in the video.  When you insert a text (comment or caption) slide, B I and U are available, and you can change the font size too. You can also change the alignment of the text or part of the text, use bullets, and insert a hyperlink. Another example is when you insert a quiz question. With Zaption, not only can you designate the correct answer for later data analytics like with EDpuzzle, but unlike EDpuzzle you can include a feedback comment for the student and set the video to jump to the corresponding spot in the video automatically. Zaption also allows you to post directly from the EDpuzzle site to your Google Classroom.

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    Example of  Zaption Analytics Page
  • eduCanon– is similar to Zaption and Edpuzzle but is much more limited in what it can do. Edpuzzle & Zaption had a search option that allows you to search for videos to insert in your assessment. eduCanon does not have this ability. Like Edpuzzle, Educannon only allows for one video to be uploaded into the assessment. As for interactive elements, EduCanon allows you to insert  multiple choice questions, text slide/cards, image slide/cards, links to video content, notes and audio narration. It also has the “update time” option, which is somewhat helpful to make sure that you are linked to the most updated version of the assessment and it also has a running list of questions and interactive elements added to the video which is a really great tool. Educannon is very limited when it comes to analytics
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    eduCanon lesson editing page with running list of questions