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Posts Tagged ‘students’

100th Final Post – Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet

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Three years ago Friday Flash was created to inspire the new Instructional Technology Specialist in my district. This is the 100th and final post of Friday Flash at irewired. It is time to move on and explore new creative ways to share with others. Sharing has been a passion. From my beginning newsletter posts in 1999 and 2000, I began sharing resources for the educators in my school. Learning to post on the web was a passion but in the early days I am not sure the amount of time to learn and share made an impact on my small audience so I kept evolving. In 2002, Munch and Learn was created and professional development was supported with snacking and recipe sharing. The following years e-link shared information and was pushed out as html in Outlook. It was great to learn and make things pretty but time was limited and in the years that followed simple emails delivered information. After retirement and becoming rewired, Friday Flash grew from those push emails and passion to keep learning led me to Word Press. Now it is time to move on from these posts and share my passion in other formats. Remember to evolve and keep learning everyday to make a difference for all learners. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! You can continue to follow my journey @kathyadkins.

Four for Friday – Ways to Share Your Passion

Simple Booklet provides a free online flip booklet maker. There is an educational version now available. Free version does contain ads as seen in this simple booklet, Twitter Resources.

Snapguide is a another easy approach to make guides for learning. There is a free IOS Snapguide app to view and share guides. Lisa Johnson shares iSnap 2 Learn: Snapguides 4 the Classroom on Pinterest.

Edcanvas is an online canvas where teachers and students can share knowledge. Richard Byrne recently shared Use Edcanvas to Organize and Share Classroom Materials at Free Technology For Teachers.

Flipsnack lets you take your pdf files and create a flash page flip digital publication. The books work great on mobile screens of different sizes.

Image credit: g215 / 123RF Stock Photo

Be Awesome – Be Inspiring

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Signs of inspiration are posted everywhere these days. From stenciled quotes on walls to decorated images and photographs, meaningful text is shared to provide encouragement and direction. On a recent walk through at one of our schools, you could not help to notice the artful displays created by the school’s art teacher to encourage young learners such as the “Be Awesome” at the water cooler. Many of us do not have the talent to paint on walls but there are many resources to draw from, no pun intended. Krissy Vensodale, shares free posters for the classroom on her blog Venspired and even provides how to directions on a previous post - Make Your Own Classroom Poster. What kind of inspiration can you share with your learners? Will you inspire them to be creative with their own artwork and meaningful text? What will you want them to be?

A Few For Friday – Creating with Meaningful Text

Quozio creates a beautiful image from meaningful words. No account, sign up or email address is needed to quickly create signs with different styles to promote the words.

Cool Text is a great logo generator. Text can be generated and downloaded to save. You can also copy and paste or drag the text into your word processor.

Visual Poetry is an IOS app from Image Chef that allows you to create collages using text, images and symbols to convey the message. The only draw back is the $.99 cost.

A Dozen Words for 2012, a previous post, shares more ways to use meaningful text. Be Creative!

Art work above provided by Julie Hubbard, Chestatee Elementary’s Art Educator. Frame created in Adobe Photoshop Express, a free IOS app.


Art Journaling

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Pinterest continues to be a source of great ideas for inspiration. On a recent timed browsing trip, Melissa Taylor’s board, Art Journaling for Adults and Children was discovered. Taylor’s board and pins lead to more discoveries and a budding interest in art journaling. Dina Wakley states on the get it scrapped blog, “Simply put, an art journal is a journal in which you combine art and words to express yourself.” She also shares, “There are no mistakes in journaling so leave your inner critic at the door.” With more exploration, ideas for classroom journaling and creativity resonated from the usage of old texts and printed paper to how our BYOT classrooms could utilize many of these ideas for written expression on mobile devices from doodling, to collages and photo snapshots. From Kristen McKay’s Journaling Ideas, to using the one little word, from Monica Wright, these ideas will inspire your design and thinking of ways to share art journaling in your classrooms. Connecting the arts with content areas and bringing together these teachers could only make the learning experience more engaging for students. How will you use art journaling in the classroom? See more ideas at the Incredible Art Teacher and inspire others.

Five for Friday – Places to Share Photos, Doodle and Journal

Common Sense Media shares reviews on Journal Apps, Online Dairies and Digital Scrapbooks for different age groups. Some of these are costly and others are $.99.

PicMonkey is a free online feature rich photo editing site that contains a collage section. Create individual images and then load into the collage maker. You can check out some of its features at Constant Contact.

Big Huge Labs has a variety of output for digital content from a mosaic maker, motivational poster to magazine cover. Take a learner’s creation from a doodling app or take a photo of a paper creation with a device to import and share.

Image Chef App for IOS can do amazing things with photos and text as shown by the image above. It is free and has additional layouts you can download.

Skitch is free and its integration with Evernote makes it a great tool for art journaling.

Related Post – Let them Doodle – Tools in Hand

Image above made with Image Chef App



Blank Canvas – How will you frame it?

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As a veteran educator it is such an inspiration when young staff members step up and guide others. This week Alena Zink, Instructional Technology Specialist at Shiloh Point Elementaty, inspired me with her post, If We Stop Throwing Glitter in the Air…. Glitter meaning templates and cookie cutter activities. Yes, I have been guilty of throwing glitter over years as viewed in one of my newsletters from 2001 where templates were shared for the younger set as encouragement for teachers. Thankfully there were a few ideas shared that could have led to more creativity.  Zink states in her thought provoking post, “In a glittery classroom, I see students sitting in front of laptops, completing template-based projects that answer only right-or-wrong questions. Each product looks exactly the same as other 25 in the classroom and does not lead to students remembering what they have learned.” Zink lists six important features of what today’s classrooms would look like if we stopped tossing glitter. You can follow Zink on Twitter @ZinkED_u. How will you frame your instruction with open-ended questions so students critically think, create collaboratively and share their voice? Will you provide that blank canvas without throwing out all the glitter?

“Our tasks as educators lies not in force feeding students but in making them hunger for knowledge.”    Amy Pruitt

Five for Friday – Blank Canvas Productivity Tools

Wixie combines paint and artwork with text and voice recording to create the perfect canvas. How you frame the instruction using open-ended questions will provide students opportunity to be creative and own their learning. Tech4learning provides a trial download of Wixie with many resources for educators. Be sure to check out The Creative Educator, their publication that provides articles, stories and lessons on trending topics.

Paint and draw with Sumo Paint, a free image editor for older learners has many tools for creativity. Sumo Paint for the iPad app is $1.99.

Kerpoof is another easy to use drawing program online for younger learners. What directive could you share to inspire young learners to think and share?

ArtPad is a very simple digital canvas that replays the drawing and provides a few frames to frame it.

Electronic whiteboards are large blank canvases begging for creativity in many classrooms. Let them create and share! With learners at the board, allow others to collaborate and design online at Board800. With BYOT initiatives try Jot Whiteboard, a free iPad app with very simple tools for young learners or experiment with Educreations.







Is Your Parking Lot Full?

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Our libraries – media centers, are the best rooms in the house but for some schools these learning spaces are missing the key instructional leader, the media specialist. As districts move toward building learning communities to support professional development to ensure student learning and growth, the role of the media specialist will ever more be an important key to build the media center as the heart of a school. As team leaders of the learning communities, media specialist provide professional development opportunities and collaborate with teachers to create authentic learning opportunities for students in a place that provides more than “just books.” Todays’ media centers are hubs for learning, equipped with new technologies and learning spaces that should be supported by the best of the best in educational leadership. Who will manage and support these learning technologies as students bring their own mobile devices into this very important room? Will your library parking lot be full or will it just be a place to check out books?

Five For Friday – Media Centers – The Heart of Schools

BYOD and the Library – Doug Johnson shares how indispensable librarians and library programs are in these technological times. Johnson shares thoughts on how librarians -media specialists are vital to support BYOD in the library and not DOA.

Time to Reboot the Universal Symbol for Library? - Buffy Hamilton, a high school librarian known as The Unquiet Librarian, is internationally known and shares her tremendous wealth of knowledge as a modern school librarian.  Check out her recent presentation, Taking Embedded Librarianships to the Next Level: Action Steps and Practices. Follow the Unquiet Librarian @buffyjhamilton.

Librarian Serves up”Appy Hour”The Digital Shift highlighted, media specialist Kathy Kaldenberg’s Appy Hour and how she reached out to her community of learners. Kaldenberg’s purpose was to increase that exposure with apps for note taking, formatting citations and streaming news. Kaldenberg share her favorites and hopes to ensure that all learners have access.

Twenty Ways Libraries are using Pinterest Right Now – Edudemic provides a great list how Pinterest offers creative and cutting-edge ways to engage all communities of learners. Librarians-media specialists are helping spread the word about these great innovative social media forums and guiding learners on social etiquette.

Research in the Elementary Classroom – It’s Not About Finding Information Anymore – Mary Beth Hertz knows that it is not about the regurgitation of facts but deeper understandings for even the youngest of learner. She states, “It is about teaching them how to develop their path to research to find meaning in the information and use it in ways that require critical thinking and creative applications.”  We need media specialists to support teachers in building these research skills and support the community of all learners.

Photo Courtesy – irewired


Peek, Lurk and Learn


Millions of social media interactions take place every minute of every day. Royal Pingdom posted Internet 2011 in Numbers and shared 2.4 billion social networking accounts exist worldwide. This blog post alone was tweeted almost 6,000 times. Last month Social Jumpstart shared how millions are connecting via an infographic, 00:60 in Social Media. There is no doubt the affection for Pinterest is growing. These conversations on Twitter and pinning of educational resources on Pinterest continue to bring professional development opportunities 24/7. When will you take a peek and lurk to learn? Yes, it is okay to lurk as shared in a presentation from Eric Longhorst via Wes Fryer – Twitter a Powerful Collaboration Tool for Teachers. Longhorst suggests you begin lurking by using hashtags to follow topics of interest. Take time to peek, lurk and learn.

Five For Friday – Twitter Resources – Model Responsibility

The Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen, recently posted how educators are using Twitter on her blog, Twitter for Administrators, Teachers and Students.  Follow Nielsen @InnovativeEdu.

Nicholas Provenzano, The Nerdy Teacher, shares guidelines for communicating with students on a recent blog post at Edutopia- On Twitter: To Follow or To Not Follow. Modeling responsibility is key. Follow Provenzano @thenerdyteacher.

28 Creative Ideas for Teaching with Twitter, from Tina Barseghian -MindShift, shares great ideas for educators. Follow Barseghian @MindShiftKQED

10 Women Who Rock … and Teach, is an excellent post from Lisa M. Dabbs, the facilitator of Edutopia’s New Teacher Connections group. You can follow Dabbs on Twitter @teachingwithsoul. She writes and inspires to support new teachers at Teaching With Soul.

Twitter is blocked from students on many districts’ networks. How can you use these ideas to educate young learners on social media? Use TodaysMeet and build learners’ knowledge on using social media responsibly.

Photo captured by irewired.

Metaphors – A Pencil, a Waterbed and the Bus

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Metaphors can give maximum meaning with a minimal use of words. Two recent blog posts shared metaphors that centered on change and resistance. The Sharp End, from Steve Wheeler’s Learning with the e’s blog, captured the pencil metaphor with a great graphic to describe six types of people in any organization. Wheeler’s pencil focuses on innovation and use of technology and definitely pushes the pencil metaphor. The Journal shared, The Waterbed Effect in K12 Education, focusing on the change from print to digital resources and the faster changing technology infrastructure. The waterbed effect interacts by the ripple and looks at all parts and sees how they can make connections.

These are two great metaphors but a pre-service teacher, in an assignment to select a metaphor to articulate their belief system of teaching and learning, shares a third, a bus. Ten themes emerged from this assignment with only a few metaphors focusing on student centered learning. You can read more about the research and assignment at The Use of Teaching Metaphors in Pre-Service Education and learn from the metaphor, the bus.

I view myself as a bus, carrying with me the hopes and aspirations of my students. The schooling environment in which I will operate can be likened to a busy highway. There are certain twists and turns that I must safely negotiate in order to get my passengers to their desired destination, adulthood. Through this course, my passengers would learn that I am more than a service, respecting me as a friendly and helpful resource. I would take my students aboard and throughout their journey, make stops to ensure that all were on the right route and heading in the same direction. When considering teaching as commuting, it is essential that I as the bus of learning, flow with the other influential traffic on the highway of life so as to ensure students flourish in a safe and caring atmosphere. This of course means that alternative routes may have to be taken so that each individual reaches their potential and enjoys their developmental trip through the subject of health and physical education and life. Just like a bus, I return to where I began to commence another journey of guidance, this time with a new set of passengers. All aboard.!! Teaching metaphor written by a preservice teacher, prior to commencement of his teaching career.

What would be your metaphor for teaching and learning in 2012? Will it be focused on what is important – student engagement and learning? Don’t let your bus rust!

Few For Friday – Rich Sites to Gather Engaging Activities

Thinkfinity is a great resource to search and gather ideas for engaging lessons. A keyword search with metaphor results in ideas from readwritethink and EDSITEment.

HotChalk’s LessonPlansPage provides free lessons written by teachers. Check out Hip-Hop Similes and Metaphors. Could students record their rap songs at using their mobile devices?

Lesson Planet is great search engine for educators that shares a ten day trial period. You can still search for free and grab ideas from the short descriptions. Here is a simple search that resulted in many ideas for metaphor lessons.

Photo courtesy of Nick Thompson -


Gift of Curiosity – QR Codes

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How we communicate with our staff and students is ever changing with mobile devices and social media. In 2006, the far left tree was created so students could easily select an ornament (button) and visit a site for fun and little bit learning. This past week Jackie Aurisch, one of our district’s Instructional Technology Specialists, created the tree on the right to share her monthly Techie News with her staff using QR Codes. Aurisch sparked curiosity with her staff with the pdf file via an email and explained, “I decided to introduce you to something cool that is wonderful idea for those of you who are interested in BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) but not sure what kinds of things you can do or think it’s too much work.” She guided her staff with directions in her email and shared a QR code reader with a photo to show how to capture the codes. WOW, what an excellent way to inspire curiosity and introduce  a new way to engaged learning.  Thank you Jackie Aurisch for sharing your gift of curiosity - December Techie Times! What gift will you give your staff this holiday season to spark curiosity and impact learning?

Five For Friday – QR Codes in Education

QR Treasure Hunt Generator from can be a great starting point. Give it a try and see what kind of scavenger hunt you can create. Check out the QR Challenge – The Twelve Days of Christmas. This site creates the teacher page as well as one to print codes or use online with your students as shown with The  Twelve Days of Christmas. You can find answers to the quiz by scanning the 12 Days QR code below. QR Challenge – The Events of the Civil War is another example.

40 Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom is another site from Tom Barrett that is generated from educators everywhere! Barrett also shares QR Codes Improve Web Access and taking the code to the reader.

Ten QR Codes in Ten Weeks are 10 excellent posts from Allanah King, a New Zealand primary school teacher, teaching at a small rural school. These resources and ideas were shared this week at the K12 Online Conference and feature QR Creation sites, Pick-a Path Stories, Geocaching and other ways to link QR codes. You can view Sandpit QR Code Presentation as well as other great presentations at the K12 Online Conference 2011.

The Best of QRCode! curated by Miss Noor shares so many great ideas.

QR Codes in Education is a LiveBinder from Steven Anderson that shares a wealth of information under the tabs.

Happy QR Coding!

2006 Tree

Techie Times

12 Days

Holiday Reading






Above Image Courtesy of:
Jackie Aurisch – December Tech Times
Kathy Adkins – 2006 Tree


Busy as Bees – What is Important?

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The beginning of this year seems extremely busier than years past. We are working as busy as bees and dodging barriers and obstacles just as this bee is avoiding the thorns of the thistle. But just as this bee seeks the nourishment from the flower, we too need to reach out and seek new ideas and ways to learn and provide better instruction for all learners. Our learners today are different and are unlike any other generation. Angela Maiers(@AngelaMaiers), a veteran teacher, parent and mentor, shares 12 Most Important Things About Kids Today. This is an incredible list that she proudly shares to inspire and make you so proud of all our young learners. Maiers also challenges us to maximize our partnerships and relationships with them because they still want and need our guidance. How can you take this list and support these important things about kids? Challenge and seek what is truly important to our learners.

Five for Friday – Professional Learning Communities/Networks

Edutopia, provides incredible resources for innovation and learning contributed by professionals from all over the globe. (@edutopia)

HP Teacher Experience Exchange provides professional development resources from lesson plans, webinars, to forums and how to videos. (@HPTeachExchange)

Classroom 2.0 is a social network for educators interested in Web 2.0 and social media in the classroom. (@classroom20)

The Teacher Learning Community offers many free webinars on current topics conducted by educators. August 24, from 2:00-2:30 you can tune into Web Tool Smackdown and receive a free copy of SimpleK12′s ebook – 101 Free Tech Tools for Teachers. (@TLC_edu)

Educators PLN is a personal learning community and great spot to connect with other educators as well as gather material to share with your professional community.

Photo Courtesy of irewired – Colorado Rockies

Sunsets – Relaxing and Recharging with Mobile Photography

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Photo taken with iPhone

As the sun sets on this school year, thoughts move toward vacation and time to relax with family and friends but the question often surfaces whether to find time for professional development. Do you decompress and relax or do you seek time to embrace new learning and expand your horizons? From experience, refueling by taking breaks from the load of the school year keeps you energized and recharged. However as life long learners, turning completely off doesn’t really happen. A recent Edutopia Poll asked, “Should teachers spend their summers developing their skills or relaxing?” With just over 1300 votes, 87% replied “Both – Ideally, teachers should spend time engaging in both educational development and non-work-related recreational activities.” How do you relax and recharge for the new school year? Whether you are chilling or refueling your skill set, keep that camera close by and capture the moments and the  glowing sunsets.

Comment from Poll – “What’s “relaxing?” I need to be thinking and learning to be happy!” Bonnie Yelverton, Secondary Math and Science Teacher

Motivational Poster Feature Using ezimba

A Few For Friday -
Mobile Photography

Mashable recently posted Mobile Photography - 20+ Resources for Apps, Snaps and Inspiration that will recharge your thinking and learning mobile photography as an art form. Why not create an A-Z Photo Gallery of your summer journey?

Ezimba is an incredible online web photo editor that creates so many art forms from an original photo. Be sure to undo before you apply a new effect unless you wish to layer effects. See some of these effects at Digital Diva/Digital Dude or all on this Flickr Ezimba Search. Create posters with the online version.

iPhotography is iphone photography and videography blog that reviews useful iphone apps. Check out the 6×6 App Review and one of many – Through the Lens Challenges. Could this challenge you this summer to develop your skill set and design a “Through the Lens Challenge” for learners?

Favorite Photography Apps

Photoshop Express – Quickly edit and share your photos. (Free)

PhotoPad – Works with iPad, ipod and iPhone to quickly edit photos with several options. (Free)

ezimba free – This is a fully functional free version of ezimba for the iPhone. For androids click here! (Free)

Color Splash – Quickly convert photos to black and white and retouch with color splashes. ($.99)

Videolicious – Turn raw video clips and photography into great looking videos. Check out the web site for more details. (Free)

Photo Transfer App – This is a great photo transfer app that allows transfer to computer or other device. ($2.99)

Friday Flash will be traveling to relax and recharge. As you travel this summer, remember it is not about the destination but the journey.

Photo courtesy of irewired. Taken with iPhone on a recharging trip to Charleston, SC on May 14 aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Pointe.