Category Archives: Lesson Plan

Free Mystery Skype Curriculum for Schools

Jennifer Carey:

Some great information here about how you can use Skype in your classroom.

Originally posted on Jonathan Wylie: Instructional Technology Consultant:

mystery skype curriculum

Do you use Mystery Skype in your classroom? If so, you are probably familiar with how it works, but if you are looking for some extra tips, or want to get some other teachers involved, you should check out the new Mystery Skype Curriculum that Microsoft has put together for teachers who are connecting their classrooms all around the world.

The curriculum is free for anyone who wants to use it, but you do need a Microsoft account in order to sign in and view the latest version. Microsoft accounts are free, and you may already have one if you have a Hotmail or email address. For some reason Office 365 for School accounts do not seem to be supported, but this may have changed by the time you read this blog post.

The curriculum is in the form of a OneNote notebook. OneNote, if you don’t already know…

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Free Technology for Teachers: Explore the World with the Google Cultural Institute

This is reblogged from my post on Free Technology for Teachers

I am a big fan of the Google Cultural Institute; it’s an amazing repository of Artistic Masterpieces, Wonders of the Natural World, Historical Artifacts, and more. By using it as a repository of digital materials, it’s an easy way to access cultural content from around the world in my classroom. I can pull up a high definition image of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and use its powerful zoom features so that students can see the impasto brush strokes. We can explore the Street Art of Sao Paulo with a Google Street View for a unit on modern art or the Ruins at Angkor Wat

Free Technology for Teachers: Explore the World with the Google Cultural Institute.


3 Ways to use Google in Art & Art History

This is reblogged from my post on Daily Genius


Google has become one of the most popular tools in schools today. With its broad and flexible system of apps, there are many ways to adapt them into a classroom to help you explore new and dynamic ways of presenting materials or having students build projects! If you teach in the art department (with either Studio Art or Art History), here are three ways to use Google to facilitate your classroom workflow and to allow students to showcase their work.


Google Docs is a quick and easy to master word processor. Where it excels, however, is in its ability to track progress, share your work, and collaborate with others both at your school and with peers from outside of your institution. My Art and Art History teachers love using it as a tool for students to write research essays, synopses, or other written assignments. Because of the collaborative elements, it’s an excellent tool for group projects and/or peer editing. When students are finished with a project, they can share the final version with the teacher. With the “revision history” feature, the teacher can track a student’s writing over a period of days and hours, witness group contributions, see how a student incorporated peers edits, and more.


Create Folder

Shared folders within Google Drive have so many uses in the world of Art! To create a shared folder simply open Google Drive, click “new,” and select “folders.” Give the folder a name and then share it by selecting it with a single click and then choosing the “share” icon. You can share a folder with a single person or a group of people depending on your needs. Students and others can then submit content directly to that shared folder.

My Art History teachers love using shared folders as a repository for presentations. Often, high-resolution images of art create robust files that are too large to email. With a shared folder, this is no problem because students can simply upload their presentations directly to it; with Google Apps for Education, there is no limitation on file size or storage, so space is not an issue! With a shared folder for presentations, students can continue to access the content for future reference.

In studio art, a shared folder is a good way for students to submit images or videos of their work in progress or as a finished product. As Google Drive has free apps for both iOSand Android, students can also upload directly from the camera roll on their smartphone or tablet!


Students in Art classes often have a portfolio of work that they are especially proud of and want to showcase. Google Sitesis a great place for them to highlight their work. A Google Site can be personalized and has the ability to embed images, video, documents, presentations, and even folders from Google Drive, allowing students to create and curate their own digital portfolios. With Google Sites’ shared settings, students can publish their portfolio only to themselves, broaden it to their community (a particular teacher, their classmates, the faculty as a whole, or the school or district), or to the world. Teachers can help students decide their appropriate audience based on their age, school or district policy, or the objective of their showcase.

Google’s tools support teachers and students as they produce, share, and curate material across a variety of contexts. While these are three ways that I have seen teachers in Art and Art History use Google in their classroom, how else can you envision using these tools and apps?

To learn more about using these tools, EdTechTeacher will be offering a Google & iPads Pre-Conference Workshop as part of their February 9-11 iPad Summit in San Diego.

Ebooks of Lesson Ideas for iPad Apps in the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post on FreedTech4Teachers.

iPads have entered classrooms at an unprecedented rate. In response to the prevalence of this device in schools, Apple has released a series of free eBooks outlining lesson plans for various apps. What makes these especially powerful is that they harness iPad’s unique feature of being a mobile creation device. All of the eBooks are free and the apps, if not free, are heavily discounted under Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for Educational Institutions.

Each of these eBooks focuses on a specific app and outlines a series of lesson plan ideas by grade level and subject matter. A quick note for educators, many of these Apps have iPhone and Android Options so these eBooks could be used for other platforms as well.

SketchBook Express Lesson Ideas

SketchBook Express allows students to draw, paint, and draft using just their fingerprints! Not just for art…

Read the remainder of the article here.

Free Common Core Resources via iTunes U

ASCD iTunes U content screen capture.

ASCD iTunes U content screen capture.

If you are looking for professional development and content focused around the Common Core, then check out ASCD’s (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development) courses and other resources via iTunes U. Courses cover a variety of content for Grades K-12 and are entirely free for teachers and other educators.

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Free Library of Congress eBooks for students

Jennifer Carey:

These are great resources!

Originally posted on History Tech:

As more and more schools are moving away from paper textbooks and materials, teachers are working to answer the obvious question:

where can I find digital resources appropriate for kids?

If you and your building is using Mac computers or IOS devices such as iPads or iPods, at least part of the answer is the Library of Congress. The folks over there recently released six free iBooks that can be quickly downloaded and are perfect for having students interact with primary source evidence.

The Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Based on the Library’s Primary Source Sets, these new iBooks have built-in interactive tools that let students zoom in, draw to highlight details, and conduct open-ended primary source analysis.

(Aren’t an Apple school? The LOC is still an awesome place to find online…

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Social Media is Learning Media

My last session of the day is “Social Media is Learning Media” by Patrick Larkin. I have seen Patrick’s work at iPad Summits for years and I’m excited to see him present again. I’m always excited to see administrators talk about Social Media in a positive, empowering way.

Patrick talks about the power of Social Media in his own career. When he was building technology programs at Burlington High School, there were not a lot of people doing similar work in Massachusetts or even the Northeast. Using Social Media enabled him to connect with other educators around the world. Education can be a lonely and isolating job; we spend most of our time with children and adolescents. Social Media can enable us to expand our experiences outside of the classroom, schools, and districts.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Patrick begins by citing Will Richardson’s article, “My Kids are Illiterate. Most Likely, Yours are Too.” What he was talking about was the fact that kids these days are not able to use media in a meaningful way, to curate, asses, and analyze online content. For example, have you fallen for one of those online hoaxes, like “Modern Family Cancelled!” If you had basic digital literacy, you could have quickly assessed whether or not the source was valid (The Onion generally is not).

Patrick then explains his own journey with Twitter. He got online because he was told to check it out at a conference, but didn’t quite get it. However, when it they announced that the President was going to give a “big announcement”, he did a quick twitter search and learned before it went live that the announcement would be the death of bin Laden. You must know and understand how to assess a reputable source. People get duped all of the time. So we need to teach our kids how to assess online content.

As a principal at Burlington High School, Patrick focused on the school’s mission which included educating students to be good citizens. He then argued that students need to be good digital citizens as well.

As Patrick grew as an educator and administrator, he also learned the power of blogging. By posting blog articles about various tools and policies, others would reach out to him. When he first became a Principal, they had a no cell phone policy in the school. Teachers, however, were frustrated that students couldn’t use smartphones to do quick google searches or to look up content. So they changed their policy!

He then was able to guest post for Richard Byrnes on FreeTech4TEachers. As their programs expanded, he was able to host a respectful communication and commentary online via his Principal’s blog! He said that it also empowered them to celebrate their successes. With these web tools, you can put out good news every day, from classrooms to teachers to district wide!

In addition to posting a blog, learn to follow various blogs. I appreciate the shout out to mine Patrick! Using an RSS reader, you can set up your consumption tools. You can also tweet out content. Feedly is a great service for doing this.

Students can use these tools in powerful ways. “It’s amazing what students can do when we just step back a little!” What a powerful statement. We all went to “traditional” schools and classrooms, so backing off and allowing social learning to proceed can freak us out. Patrick notes that we can’t go without good educators, but that empowering students coupled with skilled educators.

Patrick also discusses with us how he created a Social Media PD day with his faculty. He sat them down over an hour, had them set up a twitter account, established a hashtag, and engaged in a twitter chat for an hour. That is just awesome! Patrick is a strong Twitter advocate. He tells us that you can find out anything you want on twitter. Check out the hashtag #edchat.

Social Media also makes us think about what learning environments look like. We can now take things out of the classroom. If a student is out of school for illness, they can Facetime with their partners and complete the assignment. students can physically leave a classroom and learn as a group in other environment.

Using tools like Google Drive, they were able to encompass more dynamic methods of teacher evaluations. Using 8 topics (listed above in his source tools), teachers could share their own examples of meeting those standards. Using a google form to assess walk-throughs.

Another great tool for administrative meeting is using Google Hangouts. I love Hangouts, they’re a great way to engage with users who are (physically) all over. They are now under the GAFE umbrella, which means you can use them with students. You can also check out unhangouts from MIT.

Patrick also highlights that we need to celebrate those who are willing to try and fail.

‘it’s no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it.” – Chris Lehmann. I also love Kevin Honeycutt’s “Stop being secret geniuses!” You need to share and engage with others. Participate in EdCamps, build your online presence, engage with others professionals.

Social Media often has a negative backlash. However, Patrick is quick to note that the issue is the person, not the tool. Bad people with bad intentions are going to use whatever tools available to them. Tools does not turn good people into monsters.