Friday, October 23, 2015

Focus Friday

Although I have no scientific evidence, I've recently tried two music web-based resources that have helped with my productivity.  In addition, the focus tracks seemed to help my little ones while doing homework.  

A Few Educational Implications:

- Play while students work independently
- Play during tutoring sessions
- Play as students brainstorm and write

Brain Shift Radio is a subscription-based music resource to help you sleep better, focus better, get more energy, etc.  The user selects a category from brain boost, energy, meditation, uplift, calm, focus, and sleep.

The user plays the rhythmic music to reach their intended goal.  Volume level is dependent on the selected category, instrumentation, tempo, intensity level, and brain type. More information on volume selection can be found here.  A free two week trial account is available for evaluation.  The subscription cost is either $9.99 per month or $59 per year.  Read more here or follow the Brain Shift Radio blog.

Focus At Will also specializes in music that will keep you focused.  Like Brain Shift Radio, Focus At Will offers a free two week trial account.  Click the FREE TRIAL button, fill in the form, and click the GET ME FOCUSED button.  The main categories include:
The LABS category displays the beta categories that Focus At Will introduces each month.
Read more here.  View pricing information.

Other Related Articles

How Music Can Inspire Strong Student Writing and Discussion
How Repetition in Music Affects Your Thinking

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Writing Resources is a safe place for students to publish their writing with an authentic audience.  Teachers can set up groups that are closed or open to the public.  Student identity is protected while their writing can be published.  Write About provides hundreds of thought-provoking images that inspire writing.  The free account allows teachers to create 40 student users with up to 5 posts. Find pricing information here.  With the limited free account, the visual prompts could be used with other online tools for writing.

Ginger offers several writing tools, yet the grammar checker is my favorite.  I installed the Chrome extension and use it while composing emails, filling in forms, writing documents, etc.  Ginger highlights my incorrect sentences in blue and when I hover over the highlighted portion, suggestions pop out above the sentence.

StoryToolz offers many resources including a story idea generator, random conflicts, word count meters, readability analytics, a half title generator, and a cliche buster.

Hemingway Editor analyzes writing for readability and style.  The tool focuses on making your writing "bold and clear."  Read more here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Flippity has several wonderful tools that can be used by teachers and students along with their Google account.  If you can enter information into a Google sheet, you can utilize all of the resources at  Each tool includes FREE instructions along with a FREE demo and template doc.  Look for the following options found under each tool along the right side of the webpage:

The template docs force the user to create a COPY:

Flippity Random Name Picker

The random name picker can be so valuable in quickly selecting students for classroom jobs, checking for understanding, and answering questions.  In addition, the tool can quickly create groups based on number of students per group or groups per class.

Click the template link found under Flippity Random Name Picker to begin.  Replace the fake names with the preferred names.
Continue to follow the instructions.

Flippity Quiz Show

The quiz show acts very similar to a Jeopardy game board.

The tool allows for images and helps in keeping score by adding or subtracting points based on the question location on the board.  Simply click the check for correct answers or the X for wrong answers and points will be awarded to the appropriate team:
Follow the instructions here to create your own quiz game using the template.  

Flippity Certificate Quiz

The certificate quiz can be used to create a student-paced quiz that earns a certificate for mastery.  Simply use the template provided to enter in questions and answer choices of your own.  In addition, images can be added to both questions and answers.  YouTube video links can also be added to questions.  See instructions here.

Flippity Progress Indicator

The progress indicator is a fantastic tool to track student progress.  The template offers a few ideas, such as pages read, miles ran, books completed, or questions answered.  The progress indicator could be used along with student goals throughout the year.  Like the other resources, excellent directions and a template to get you started can be found on the website.

Flippity Flashcards

The flashcards tool can create an effective study tool for students.  Simply copy the template found at, modify the spreadsheet cells to match your content area, and follow the instructions for publishing a link for your students.  In addition to flashcards, students can view a list of questions and answers, visit a auto-generated word cloud, and print a quiz over the material.

Visit the FAQ page to find out more.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Verso is a free online delivery method for flipped content.  In addition, teachers can gather feedback very easily using Verso.  The unique feature found in Verso is the anonymity of the writing and feedback.  Although the teacher can view who writes what, students cannot.  So, students can view and respond to each other's writing in a safe and anonymous class environment. 

Teachers and students can use their Google account to login.  Students must provide a username, password, and class code to connect with their teacher's class:

After logging in, teachers can create an ACTIVITY consisting of files, links, and Google docs.

In addition, the teacher can specify the number of responses per student.
Embedded in the tool, are strategies to guide the teacher toward better questioning and deeper student learning.  See example here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Edtech Podcasts Part 2

In December 2013, I wrote about listening to podcasts with the Stitcher app.  I am still enjoying the learning I glean through the edtech podcasts.  If you have not experimented with Stitcher, I want to strongly encourage you to try this tool for a quick and easy learning opportunity.  Several podcasts I've begun to follow:

The Google Educast

Truth for Teachers

TechEducator Podcast

Edtech You Should Know

To find a particular podcast or topic, click thebutton found in both the mobile app and the web app.  Experiment with different topics as the podcasts are easy to organize into station playlists by clicking the PLUS SIGN:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Team Shake

Available in the App Store | Available at Google Play Store

Team Shake can assist teachers with grouping students and also selecting individual students.  The $.99 app can be mastered in minutes.  The app opens with a default group.  To add students or members, tap the plus sign.

From the menu found in the lower, left corner, tap , then tap Save as New List or Rename List if working with a previously-saved list.

Tap the preferred amount of teams needed at the bottom of the screen.

Teams or groups can be made by shaking the device or tapping the Shake button.

To select a random player, tap the icon at the bottom of the screen.

Read more here.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Edshelf is a search tool for all things technology, teaching, and learning.

From the site, a student, teacher, or parent can search for many different resource types including mobile apps, desktop apps, Chrome apps, websites, or physical products.  The tool allows users to search by price, platform, subject, age, and category or a combination of these.

Edshelf provides a page for each resource including helpful videos, features lists, reviews, support links, and pricing information.
Shelves can be made to bookmark resources. The shelves can then be shared in various formats including social media, lists including URLs, lists including QR codes, and widgets.