Discovery Education Board Builder

Just left a Summer Institute class in Mooresville Graded Schools where the student board builder was shared!  Wow!  So excited about this tool for students this year.  Hoping soon that teachers can build boards as well.  Hint Hint DE!  If I have peaked your curiousity then search Paul Revere Board Builder and you can see a sample.  Students find it under their tools.  Board Builder Rubics are available for teachers when you do a search.  Just think this is just another great idea from DE!!!  Check it out!  Shout out to Veronica Franco for sharing the goods with us.

edcanvas: A great classroom organizational tool


edcanvas is a different way to present lessons and material to your class.  If you have groups working on several different activities and they will need different material for each this can place it all in one location, or maybe you need to provide detail steps to a process or project.  Rubrics, presentations, or whatever your classroom need put it all on one canvas for you or your students to access.  edcanvas allows you to search for youtube videos, google images or web searches, your google drive, or to upload any material from your computer.  Whatever students need or teachers need for a lesson can be in one location with plenty of room for standards and notes to also be posted.  Check out how easy it is today to set up your account using your google account and create your first edcanvas.  Here is a screen shot of my first canvas on Big6 research skills.


I just have 3 boxes but mutliple boxes can be created!  Get started now on yours for your next lesson!

Muzy and picmonkey

As my heart continues to break over picnik closing I have been search of new picture sites to use.  In that search I decided on picmonkey but found Muzy along the way. is a photobox collage site that is really cool.  Actually students do not even have to have an account to use the site but would need to be able to screenshot their work and then they could use it wherever they needed in projects or just alone for an assignments that revolves around pictures. Without even setting up an account I created two pictures.  The first one using the templates under photobox where you just select pictures and edit simple text.

The next example is using photo collage where you create your own collage and text.

I can see some many quick uses of this tool in the classroom to get students to think in terms of pictures and outside of the box.  It is super simple and easy to use.  Give it a try!

I loved picnik and miss it dearly and although nothing seems to have replaced it for me the best site I have found that is simple to use is picmonkey.  I used it for my e-Christmas Cards this year and was pretty happy with the site overall and I used a few before I decided this was my favorite and easiest to use.  This can be used without an account so students could decorate pics before using in something like Muzy.

Online Research Skills

Here I go getting ready to get on my soapbox about research and the skills our students need to be taught.  I just read this article from Edudemic which I encourage all to stop and read and now I am trying to look at some new ways to ensure our young technology savvy students know how to properly research and evaluate resources.  Students today have so much so fast at their fingertips that they do not even stop to think about the resources.  Back in the day when we trudged through the stacks or microfiche evaluating our resources seemed obvious and expected, but today students just have not learned or been taught the value and one day this lack of knowledge will cost students a great deal. Educators we must be the leaders, role models, and teachers of these skills just as we were taught years ago.   So here are my tips:


1. Students must not begin with Google.  We must teach students the better databases and search engines to use.

2.  When using a search engine even Google, students need to know how to use Advanced Boolean search tips such as using and, or, not, and using keywords and phrases placing “phrases” in quotation marks.  I am linking here to Edudemic and an article titled 50 Search Engines You Probably Don’t Use Yet.

3.  As students are searching the Internet and using various search engines they must learn and know how to evaluate websites.  Here is a link to a mini-poster from Kathy Schrock titled The 5 W’s of Website Evaluation.

3.Teach students a process to their research.  The Big6 is one I advocate for but their are many different ways but teach and model a way to do research.  Here is a link to Kathy Schrock Information Literacy Page where you can find some different models and much more!

4.  By all means everyone must site their sources.  Here are links to just a few sites where students can easily create citations, but I always tell students databases are the best these have citations already created for the user.




Citation Machine


The big issue is first as teachers we must model these research methods to ensure our students know we are serious when we teach these skills.  One last great research site I want to share is well done by the Upper School of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas.  My advice to educators let’s use all these resources to help our students to become stewards of information literacy.  Now I am stepping down.

International Dot Day

International Dot Day is September 15th.  I have been reading so much about it I decided to share it out myself in an effort to help encourage more classrooms to join in.  It is last minute but if you have not signed up head over to International Dot Day and sign up NOW and receive a free Educator Handbook!  Here are just a few things to check out.  Angela Maiers is the featured partner and the Choose2Matter movement.  Make a stop at Celebri-dots to view the growing collection of dots submitted by authors, illustrators, and other celebrities.  Find even more at the fablevision blog for Dot Day!  Don’t miss out you can could celebrate on Monday September 17th!  Here is a sneak peak at my favorite Celebri-dot by Shelagh Armstrong-Hodgson is an illustrator from Toronto. She illustrated an award winning book, If the World Were a Village by David Smith.

Be Connected

So many exiting things are going on as we head back to school!  First I have been enjoying Connected Educator Month.  There is still time to check out the daily connectivity so if you have not visited the site and followed the starter kit here is the link Connected Educator Month.  Enjoy learning all the great tools and ways to connect as an educator. Be sure to download the starter kit which provides a day by day guide for the month of August on getting connected!

Just read yesterday and DEN connect with Discovery Education.  This initiative sound so exciting and I can’t wait to see teachers here at MMS getting connected around the country and around the world with others.  What a great move Discovery!  If you missed the blog post from yesterday here is the link again.  Direct Link to the new website is DEN Connect

New to me sites

Sitting here watching the closing ceremony of the Olympics and thought what a great time it would be to share some gold medal sites that I have recently been shown and I want to share just in case others have not found them yet.

1. symbaloo- a great visual bookmarking site!

2. penzu-journaling website.  Looks just like notebook paper. 

3. mentor mob – a presentation/playlist tool

4. meograph – a sequencing and timeline creation website

Check them out and put them to work in your classroom this fall.

Summer Institute

Just want to shout out to MGSD!  The school district I work for is hosting a Summer Institute for all their teachers.  We are having a great time learning, collaborating, planning and creating for the coming school year.  Just to name a few we have been learning about Project Based Learning, Rubrics, Digital Portfolios, Global Connections, Flipped Classrooms and the list goes on and on.  The excitement is contagious!  Thanks MGSD for providing this great experience every year for your teachers.  Check us out on Twitter at #MGSD12.

Discovery Atlas

Just wanted to mention here the Youtube video highlighting the Discovery Channel series Discovery  Atlas which highlights are now available on Discovery Education.  I was immediately hooked and had to go and check out some of the actual full highlights.  This series will be a great supplement to Social Studies classrooms and World History classes.  I know that the Social Studies teachers that I work with are always looking for new and different additions to their lessons and this will be one for this coming school year!  I can not wait to share with my Social Studies Department.  Don’t miss out and check it out!  Here is the Youtube link:



  My new thing is blogging this year so this will hopefully be one of the those ways I share with the Discovery Ed family.  I plan to set aside time each week just for blogging.  I really enjoy sharing this way.  So many ways to share funny things unique things and only those who take the time to read the blogs get to enjoy sometimes the humor in your life.  I will trying out a new blog with teachers this year with sites and tips that they might want to try in their classroom or that I try in the media center.  As well I will share those here!  For the purpose of sharing how I blog here are my links….

Book Blog ( I have had this one for a really long time):

MMS Media Tip Blog ( This is brand new for teachers this year and I will dual post to the DE blog):

Enjoy blogging it is a great tool for sharing both personally and professionally your ideas, etc.  Also I want to be a better tweeter so more to come on working on that.