Author Archives: Donna Criswell



Did you know the U.S Department of Education has a website that links to free teaching and learning resources compiled from dozens and dozens of federal agencies?  From photos, primary sources, animations, videos and more, FREE lets you browse by topic, grade level, time frame, media type and other criteria.  You can even sign up

Spring has Arrived!!

Let’s talk about some Web 2.0 Tools that will inspire Creative and Colorful Projects to pop up in your Classroom! Students love to learn new ways of expressing themselves and finding new creative outlets.  We have heard of some of the popular Web 2.0 tools that are classroom friendly like Wordle, Voicethread, and Animoto. Prezi

A “Word Cloud” is a visual depiction or graphical representation of word frequency. Some Word Cloud tools (Wordle, for example) will look for the most frequently used words (or tags) and display them as a random pattern, with the more common words or tags appearing larger in the cloud.   Some word cloud apps let you

Free Technology 4 Teachers!

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, it’s my job to help teachers find relevant technology resources, provide them with the latest tips and tricks, as well as ideas on how to integrate all of this into their day to day teaching.  One resource I think is worth it’s weight in gold is Richard Byrne’s website/blog titled

New Tools for the Creative Mind

I was recently introduced to an exciting site called Tagxedo.  This site takes Wordle to a whole new level (http:// You can create word clouds in the shape or image of different items. There is a gallery with numerous examples such as famous people’s silhouettes, animals, states, and countries. When you begin to create

Storybird: Collaborative Storytelling

Originally created to connect families and friends, Storybird is designed to have two or more people collaborate on a story, using the images created by various artists. “Storybird promotes imagination, literacy, and self-confidence. Kids who play with words and pictures early in life tend to score higher in cognitive and aptitude tests later on. They

Welcome Back!

 Welcome back to a new and challenging school year!  I say challenging because according to, ‘challenging’ can mean “difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.”  In a nutshell, this somewhat describes all that we do in education.  Our jobs are difficult but can be very stimulating to

Laura Burney – An "Activ STAR" Among Us!

Laura Burney, 4th grade teacher, Discovery STAR Educator and avid (Promethean) ActivBoard teacher at the Loring Elementary School in Sudbury, Massachusetts, was selected to be highlighted on Promethean Planet’s “Teacher Feature” section.  The “Planet” is Promethean’s version of the DEN … “created by teachers, for teachers, Promethean Planet is a unique teaching, sharing and support community—your place

Massachusetts New Literacies Institute June 21-25, 2010

  “Changing the World of Teaching and Learning” The Massachusetts New Literacies Institute, running this June 21-25 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA, will focus on helping Massachusetts educators prepare students for the online literacy skills required in the 21st century.  This week-long session, facilitated by leaders in the