Tag Archives: resources

Feedly or Bloglovin’?

June 28, 2013

Well, for as long as I tried to deny it would actually happen- Google Reader really is going away. In fact, after this weekend, it’s gone for good! There are tons of blog posts out there offering suggestions for replacement RSS Readers, and after trying out a couple options I’ve narrowed it down to two I like. I thought I’d just offer up my opinion of both Feedly and Bloglovin.

So here are a couple observations about each of these services:

Ease of Setup
Both Feedly and Bloglovin make it super easy to import all of your feeds from Google Reader with just one click of a button. If you’re a Reader user anyway, this is a huge plus! However, I did notice that when I did this, Feedly kept the blogs that I had in different folders or labels separate  while I’m having to put all my blogs into categories again on Bloglovin.

Feedly categories capture

Bloglovin Screen Capture


As far as layout goes, I am leaning towards Bloglovin at this point. They both have a simple, organized layout, but I am enjoying the way unread posts display in Bloglovin a bit more. I also like seeing the categories on the right so I can quickly gauge how many unread posts I have.
Adding Content
For me, Bloglovin wins this one. I have really enjoyed being able to add new content, or just test out reading new posts or blogs by glancing through the Popular Posts and Top Blogs sections that are listed at the top of the screen. These are also available on the app, which is great since (during the summer at least) that’s where I spend most of blog time. Of course you can also add content by typing in a blog name, keyword, or URL. While I do prefer Bloglovin for this, Feedly makes it easy to add content as well! I’ve had success adding to both readers using # searches. Here’s an example of the results when I searched #education. I would love to see an education category added to both services…maybe with Reader leaving us that will eventually happen?
Feedly #education search
Bloglovin #education search

 So, those are a couple of the things I looked for when deciding on a replacement for Google Reader. For me, Bloglovin wins for now. (And it should be noted that their app is pretty awesome too!) You can follow this blog on Bloglovin using the link at the top of the post!

What are you using to replace Google Reader?

App Icon Alphabet for Word Wall

August 18, 2012

So I’ve made some major changes in the job department in the last month, but I’ll be back later to give an update on that! First, I want to share something that I think is a super cute idea.

As I was doing my morning ritual of scrolling through Pinterest before I got up this morning (that’s addiction y’all), I saw a super cute idea from one of my favorite Pinners for teacher resources, Jennifer Jones.

The idea was to use the App icons as headers for a Word Wall. Totally cute, right? So I repinned and tweeted the pin. After doing so, I realized that the link to icons was not to the individual icons, but to 1 image of all of them compiled. So of course, being the super geek that I am, I spent a little bit of time this afternoon finding icons and compiling them so they’d be simple for my teacher friends to print out. After a bit of searching, I was able to find all the letters…and even found multiple choices for a couple. I hope these are useful to some of you! You can see a preview of these letters to the right…but you can download the whole thing using the link below!

App Icon Alphabet for Word Wall

So what do you think- can you guess the apps these icons represent? Any changes I should make? Let me know if you have other apps that would make for better letters!

My Favorite Apps: Top Three for Keeping Up

March 15, 2012

This post is Part 2 in a series of My Favorite Apps. Here’s what you might have missed:

There are thousands of apps out there that will allow the iPad to be used in many, many ways. I have to say that in my house, unless I’m going to be formatting a research paper or something of that nature, it is the device I pick up the most. At work, it is my go-to device for when I’m traveling from school to school and want something quick and light-weight to carry around to take notes, check emails, do web browsing, and more. As I mentioned before, right now in my district administrators can purchase iPads for their use and we are now accepting applications for a student pilot of iPads in the classroom. Since administrators are the ones who have iPads in hand right now, I’m still keeping my focus on apps for them and teachers.

Don’t judge me for the US Weekly and Disney feeds!

So today, I’d like to share my favorite apps for taking in content. By content, I mean the apps I use to keep up with the blogs I read, news, current trends, and a little social media.

My first love for this is Flipboard. The first great thing about Flipboard? It’s free. So what does it do? Well according to the makers of the app, it’s a social magazine. Great, but what does that mean? Basically, you tell it what content you are interested in, and it pulls that specific content into a visually appealing magazine like format. All in one place. So no more going to twitter to read tweets, google reader to reed feeds, specific news sites to read the news. Everything is all there in one place. For those of you who are thinking, well I do that already with RSS feeds in a reader, well I did too! The reason I like Flipboard so much for this is because it displays the content in a more visual format, kind of like a magazine. You can see in the screenshot of a page of my Flipboard screen, I have a mixture of blogs, bundled folders from my Google Reader, magazines, and twitter hashtag searches all feeding into Flipboard. And I can turn the pages by swiping my finger. Also, I can easily share anything I find interesting by tweeting or Facebook-ing it, or I can send links via email. Pretty cool right? I think so too.

A second app that I really like is Zite. Instead of pulling your specific feeds into the app, you pick out sections from categories such as Technology, Education, Social Media, Pets, and more. You can also enter your own keywords to create sections. You can also connect to your accounts such as Google Reader, Facebook, and more. Zite pulls in stories, and you can “like” them, kind of like you like songs on Pandora or rate movies on Netflix. The app uses your preferences to send you more stories. It’s a great way to get information and see articles you know you’ll be interested in. And of course you can also share what you’re reading with the click of a button finger. Be careful…this app by default does make a whistle noise when it shares…it drives my dogs crazy every time!

And finally, even though I do love Flipboard for getting my read fixes in a visual way, I can’t not give props (is that still a saying?) to the Hootsuite App. I first started using this one more than Tweetdeck at the urging of Jason Mammano over at Have Technology Will Travel, all because he loved the little owl that pops up when you send a tweet. Seriously though, I think it is great for many reasons. You can add multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, add hashtag searches to your streams, see all your direct messages, mentions, retweets, and more. You can also view analytics from this app, and follow people straight from the app. The other clincher for me is that if I’m not using my iPad, I can log-in from the web and everything is all synched together. For some reason there were times when my Tweetdeck columns weren’t synched between devices, which gave Hootsuite the advantage for me. Also great was the one time last summer when I tweeted a question to @hootsuite about an issue I was having, they replied back in less than 5 minutes. The free Hootsuite app and site both have a few ads, but I barely notice them.

So those are the apps I use to keep up with content- what are your favorites?

Have you looked at Thinkfinity lately?

March 12, 2012

A site that has been around for a while, but kind of fell off the radar for me is Thinkfinity. After hearing a couple of colleagues talk up Thinkfinity based on a session they attended at TCEA, I decided to give the site another look. Well, it turns out that I have really done myself a disservice by not using Thinkfinity in the past! So, what is it? Powered by the Verizon Foundation, Thinkfinity is a great website that houses K-12 lesson plans as well as other interactive lesson materials. Not only are lessons linked to state and common core standards, but there is great content available from Thinkfinity partners such as National Geographic, Read Write Think, NCTM’s Illumimations, Wonderopolis, and more. Part of the power of Thinkfinity for me though is not just that there are thousands of resources that are already available, but that you can also join the Thinkfinity Community, which gives you access to resources that other educators are finding and using as well. Once you’ve joined the community, you can save and organize your favorite resources and join in on discussions about those resources. It turns Thinkfinity into a PLN of its own, which I love. Since the majority of my time is spent planning and providing professional development for teachers on different technology tools and how to integrate those tools, one of my favorite finds in the Thinkfinity Community has been the Integration Framework for Educators, which is a 5 step process for successful integration of technology into an instructional activity. I like that it asks specific questions and really takes teachers through the thought process of implementing technology tools while keeping instructional content the focus.

Have you checked out Thinkfinity? What did you think?

MLK Day Resources

January 9, 2012

We just got back from Christmas break, and soon we will be
celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. If you’re looking for a
way to incorporate a Social Studies lesson on this topic before break,
hopefully you will find something of use in one of these resources!

I’m sure a lot of you have tons of MLK resources, but just in case, here are a few:
Scholastic’s MLK Day Resources page includes lots of info, links, and a Notebook lesson: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/collection.jsp?id=149
Remember you can get the full “I Have a Dream” speech transcript (print and audio) on American Rhetoric: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm or on Discovery Education
school system has compiled a plethora (I just love that word) of
resources, including background info, blackline masters, lesson plans,
technology links, and a list of Discovery Education clips: http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/holidays/mlk/mlk.htm
Ferlazzo is an ESL teacher who compiles list of website resources for
different topics- this one is 2 years old, but has some good ones that
would be great for EC, ESL, or lower level students. For example, the
first site listed is a biography of MLK created by students that is
text, but can be read to students. http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/12/21/the-best-websites-about-martin-luther-king/
Here are some resources from different government agencies http://www.free.ed.gov/keywords.cfm?keyword_id=954
And finally, if you search for MLK lessons on the SMART Exchange, this is what you’ll get: http://exchange.smarttech.com/search.html?m=01&&q=martin+luther+king&tab=resources&sf=d
Hope there’s something in here you can use in the next couple weeks! What’s your favorite MLK Day resource?

The Polar Express and Holiday Ideas

December 6, 2011

Every year as the holidays draw near, it seems like I see more and more great ideas to use in the classroom. Keep reading to see a few of this year’s favorites!
How many elementary school teachers read The Polar Express with their classes before Christmas break? When I taught 3rd grade, one of my favorite days of the year was Polar Express Day. Of course it was great fun to wear pajamas to school and end the day by watching the movie and drinking hot chocolate with candy canes, but my favorite part of the days was collaborating with the rest of my grade level to come up with Polar Express activities that were so fun that students didn’t even realize they were learning!  All the students on our grade-level rotated around in the morning so everyone got to participate in all the activities we had planned. In one room we used Storyline Online to let students read and listen to the story followed by a retelling or sequencing activity, in another students decorated snowmen cupcakes (cause you gotta have a snack) they could later use in a creative writing activity, they created a chalk drawing of the train, and more! This year I’ve seen even more Polar Express resources, so here are a few…

Click below for a great Polar Express “I have….who has….” game as well as a math facts freebie. Even though the math one is meant to use to practice addition facts, I could easily see it working for multiplication if you just change the number on the tickets. Make it a center activity with your SMART Board by using the interactive dice in Notebook.

 A blog that has quickly become one of my favorites for elementary resources, Pitner’s Potpourri has several freebies created for using with Polar Express. Check out her site for awesome activities to reinforce sequencing, abc order, parts of speech, and synonyms.

Finally, you can download this SMART Notebook lesson for free from Teachers Pay Teachers. (You do have to create an account, but it is free.) It is a Jeopardy style game that compares the book to the movie.

Even though this is not Polar Express related, I couldn’t finish this post without including the following- which is an awesome free cause and effect activity to use with How Santa Got His Job, which is one of my favorite books to read before Christmas!

What is your teaching favorite find so far this holiday season?

My (P)Interesting Obsession with Pinterest

November 14, 2011

Have you checked out Pinterest yet? Pinterest is a site that basically lets users create virtual pinboards. You can create different boards to keep your pins organized, and you can also browse the boards of other users. So what is a pin? According to the Pinterest site, a pin is an image you add to Pinterest. It is super easy to install the Pin It button to your toolbar in any browser by following the directions here.

Pin It button
Once you’ve installed the Pin It button, you’ll see this in your bookmark bar 
Yours most likely won’t have a pink background…but that’s how I roll in my browser themes 🙂
Once you have the Pin It button installed, you’re ready to start pinning! Basically, anytime you see something you like on the web and want to remember for later, just click the Pin It button. As long as there are images on the page, Pinterest will pull all of those images and ask which you’d like to Pin. For example, the last page I pinned consisted of these images
I was able to click Pin This on the image I wanted to add to my board. The next step is choosing which board to add your pin to.
From here, I can simply choose the board I want to add to (or choose create a new one). You can see in the picture above that I chose to add this pin to the board called SMART Activities and Sites. You can also choose to add a description to your pins, and if you have your account connected to Facebook and/or Twitter, share your new pin with those followers as well.
Even if you’re not into pinning, I have observed Pinterest quickly becoming my go-to place for finding great ideas and resources for the classroom. You can look through pins without having accounts- so you can search for a keyword you’re looking for, or just look at pins in a certain category. The list below only show about half the categories available, but I wanted to make sure you saw that Education is there!
Here’s a link to the education category on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/all/?category=education, and check out a small shot of what I saw when I clicked it a few minutes ago:
Right now, there may be a wait list for Pinterest accounts. If you’d like me to send you an invite, just post a comment with your email address.
So what are some of my favorite resources I’ve found so far on Pinterest? Check them out below!

So, what are the best pins you’ve found?