Category Archives: Creation

Expeditions into Virtual Learning at ELANCOK6


The district has recently purchased three sets of 30 Google Expedition virtual reality kits – one for each Elementary building. Now every elementary building has the ability to use virtual and augmented reality to immerse their students into the learning.

Google Expeditions allows teachers to lead students on over 700 virtual field trips with 360-degree views as well as the ability to use augmented reality that not only immerses students in a virtual setting but allows the setting to come to life right in front of their eyes.

Introduction to Google Expeditions

Watch this short introduction video to Google Expeditions to help you get started!


How To Get Started with VR

Perhaps the best way to get started would be to:

  1. Watch the video above. This video will give you a brief overview of Expeditions and help you understand how it works.
  2. Visit the website Tim and I created – here you will find VR/AR Resources, classroom examples, as well as the Sign Out Sheets for each building. To sign out the VR kits simply click on the Sign Out Tab, select the building you work at, and select the dates that work best in your schedule and are still available.

Using VR does require some initial training before implementing it into your classroom. I will be periodically providing training on using the VR kits during my monthly Tech Tips throughout the year. If you are looking to implement them before the next Tech Tips, please reach out to me through email and I will be more than happy to train you how to use the VR kit.

All kits will be stored in your building tech’s office and will be delivered to your classroom on the day(s) of use. You are responsible during the week that you have the kits for keeping the charged. The kit will be delivered to your charged initially.

However, before leading your students through a Google Expedition Tour, teachers will need to participate in a training session or meet with Tim Leister or Adam Geiman to learn the skills of leading a lesson, as well as the proper maintenance of the devices.




Make-a-Movie with BrainPop

Hey edugeek Moby!

Brain POP via Compfight

Just announced: “the launch of Make-a-Movie, the newest addition to our suite of creation tools. Make-a-Movie empowers teachers and students to make their own BrainPOP-style movies, building scenes with images from our library or their own drawings. Moviemakers can then record narration, manipulate backgrounds, add cool transitions, and begin with a letter the way BrainPOP movies do.” – from

Visit the Get Started with Make-a-Movie educators page for a preview with step-by-step guides and screencasts.

Also visit the BrainPop Blog to explore the December recap of the new games and movies that are now available at BrainPOP. For more information about how to utilize BrainPop, visit the Elanco Elem. Instructional Tech Info 2016-17 document.



Back-to-School 2016 * Google Goodness for You!

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your summer days! There have been some exciting updates and releases this summer in the Google Apps ecosystem that I’d like to share with you, along with some other resources to help you jumpstart your technology integration efforts this year!


Google Forms Quizzes

Google Forms now has the ability to self-grade forms you create as quizzes. Released in June, this post from the Google for Education blog shares this new feature. Step-by-step tutorials can be found here. What can Google Forms quizzes do?

“…we launched Quizzes in Google Forms on Monday to help teachers quickly create, deliver and grade assignments or assessments. With Quizzes, teachers can select correct answers for multiple choice and checkbox questions to reduce repetitive grading. They can also enter explanations and review materials to help students learn. And to make sure students understand the lesson material, teachers can prevent students from sending themselves a copy of their responses. ” via the Google for Education blog

Exciting stuff! Check out a video tutorial here:

If you previously used the add-on Flubaroo to grade student Form responses, this post by Eric Curts gives a great comparison of the two features and when to use each.

Note: Stuck with anything in Google Apps? The Google Help Center is THE place to go to find the answers you need!!


Image via


As someone who built webquests for students in the early 2000s to promote interactivity with the web, HyperDocs appear to be a similar way to help students interact with online content in order to collaborate and create content of their own to build understanding. A HyperDoc is very simply a Google doc or Google Slides set that is built to include hyperlinks to resource sites, videos, images, and more to engage students in learning more about a topic. In order to make them most engaging, HyperDocs should include tasks for students and provide a variety of student-driven choice options when possible. If not thoughtfully designed, a HyperDoc can simply turn into a digitized worksheet. Try to avoid this at all costs by including maximum opportunities for student engagement, creation, voice, and choice!

The term “hyperdocs” was coined by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis in their book, The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps

Resources for you:

Image via

Image via

Project Ideas & More

Google Maps and Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions was a new program running at select schools last year, utilizing the latest in virtual reality (VR) applications to take students on global explorations. This summer it was announced that Google Expeditions is now available for use by all students! If you’re interested, talk to your building principal and consider applying for a Spartan Foundation grant to acquire devices and Google Cardboard viewers. The app is free for Android devices and is coming soon to iOS devices as well. Read more to learn about how students are using Google Expeditions!

There are many applications for Google Maps in the classroom. From math to social studies to geography and science connections, students can create custom My Maps, calculate distances, and explore landforms. Check out these resources on ways to use Google Maps in the classroom:


Fonts for Days!

I know you love beautiful typography for your classroom creations… kiss Comic Sans goodbye with Google Fonts. Did you know that while you’re working in a Google doc, you can click on your fonts menu and browse all the way down to More Fonts…. to be taken to another collection of fonts you can add to your apps?


You can also visit the Google Fonts website to browse the collection of fonts to find exactly what you’re looking for. From this site you can select fonts by clicking the red + sign next to the font (you can even type in the textboxes to see how they will look with words you type often!) and downloading the font file to your device and installing for use in other applications outside of Google.


Wishing you a wonderful school year, filled with opportunities for you and your students to connect, collaborate, and create together! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Tim with any questions or needs!

Created by Georgina Tanaka via

Created by Georgina Tanaka via


Follow the hashtag #gafe4littles to learn more about ways to incorporate the use of Google Apps for Education with even the youngest learners! Educators Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler recently held the first #gafe4littles workshop in California and are sharing their resources via the hashtag and elsewhere. Keep an eye out for some wonderful things being shared, and don’t forget to share what’s happening in YOUR classrooms via the hashtag and your blogs as well!

May 2016 Updates

Thanks, Mr. Leister! 

As the end of the school year approaches, please take a few minutes to complete the survey and explore some new technology resources:
  • Digital Learning Tools at ELANCO Elementary – At the end of each school year, teacher input concerning the paid educational programs at ELANCO is very important.  Please take a few minutes to complete the Elem Digital Learning Tools Survey to share your opinions on current programs, as well as to offer suggestions for future programs and professional development needsOne of our August in-service days will have sessions based on your suggestions. 
  • New Q&A Feature in Google Slides – A newly released feature in Google Apps for Education provides the option for presenters to allow their audience to submit questions and vote on them during Google Slide presentations.
  • Quizizz now integrates with Google Classroom – so that you can use the Google Classroom Share button to easily send out Quizizz games to your students.
  • Subscribe to your School’s Calendar in MS Outlook – Follow these directions to add the your school building’s calendar to your Outlook Calendar. 
  • End of the School Year Backups – It’s approaching the end of the school year and teachers will soon be packing up their classrooms for the summer break. However, teachers should also consider packing up (or backing up) their digital classroom as well.  Consider some steps that you could take to cleanup and secure your computer files, browser settings, and Email.  Yes, email….Take the ‘Inbox Zero’ Challenge and get to zero emails in your Inbox before leaving for the summer and claim your ELANCO Credly Badge here.  Remember that you can claim other Elanco Digital Badges for your many tech skills. 
  • May Edition of Storify at #ElancoSD – A collection of educational resources and social media posts from Elanco teachers and organizations. Check out posts and pictures of the Blue Ball Big Read, our HS spring sport athletes, GSHS Prom 2016, GS chorus concerts, and more. Include the hashtag #ElancoSD in your tweets to see your posts in future editions. 
  • The Elanco Leading Edge Flipboard Magazine – Read what’s new in the world of Teaching and Educational Technology. View on the web, or subscribe via the Flipboard iOS or Android App to read on your mobile device.

Spring Happenings

3716278873_4b49212edaApril is Poetry Month!

It’s the perfect time to have your students compose and share their creative writing! Storybird is one way to support students’ literary creations. With Storybird, students can build poetry, longform, or chapter book creations. Sets of stunning illustrations will inspire students to include creative details in their writing. I can help you set up your classroom accounts and show you how to manage student projects. Learn more about how Storybird is celebrating Poetry Month! There’s even a #dailylark challenge so your students can participate in the literary fun!

See also these ways to get involved with Poetry Month via Edublogs!

Digital Citizenship Lessons

Digital citizenship lessons in grades 1-6 have begun this spring during computer lab special. It is always exciting for me to spend time with students and learn about the ways they’re using digital technologies to create, communicate, and collaborate in their personal lives. Through these lessons emerge important conversations that focus on safe and appropriate use of technology, respecting the rights of others, and crafting a digital reputation of which we can be proud! Our lesson materials are from Common Sense Media. You can see the full scope of the lessons they offer here. Remember, while it’s nice to offer these lessons in isolation to give students more direct instruction in these topics, it’s up to us as the adults in their lives to model and talk about respectful, empowering online behavior whenever we use technology with our students to support their learning!

Googly Goodness

Many of you were interested in learning more about Google Classroom to use as a platform for sharing digital resources with students during rotational learning classes next year. Click here to access resources where you can learn more about the features of Google Classroom and how it can support your work with students. Please email me to arrange a time when I can meet with you and/or your team to show you what this tool can to!

Looking for a quick start guide for Google Forms? Look no further!

Chromebook tips every teacher should know

Happy Spring! 🙂 I look forward to working with you and your students!

Photo Credit: Ken’s Oven via Compfight cc

Digital Learning Day is Coming! March 13, 2015

Gallery_DateNext Friday, March 13, is Digital Learning Day, a day each year where we celebrate the ways technology can enhance teaching and learning and provide students with agency and voice in the classroom.

Learn all about Digital Learning Day here!

We’d love if you could share your digital learning activities on the official DLD website by completing this form! I’d also love to highlight the work you and your students are doing on this blog, so email me with the details/summary of activities and I’ll spread the word!

Perhaps your students will be blogging next week, or using Plickers or Socrative or Kahoot! for formative assessment in the classroom, or are creating digital stories using Storybird or sharing their learning via Google Slides or PowerPoint. Maybe they’re engaged in literature circle discussions via Wikispaces or connecting with one another in Edmodo or Google Classroom! Maybe they’re trying some activities from the ConnectED Are your students reading their favorite stories online via Raz Kids or BookFlix. No matter what the activity, there is surely something worth sharing with your school community on Digital Learning Day!

There are also a number of professional learning opportunities available to you through the Digital Learning Day Live! and other activities. Check out the website and learn more about how you can get involved! You can follow the hashtag #DLDay on Twitter to follow along with the day’s events, too!

Sharing from Pete & C

Pete & C was held this week and there were a number of great resources shared for all content areas and educators. I attempted to compile some of the highlights of sessions offered to share with you. Peruse the resources below and/or check out the main session listings for additional topics and resources. Let me know how I can help you plan to incorporate some of these ideas into your classes!

Participate in ConnectED Classroom Bingo!

Principal Brad Gustafson shared this exciting activity board for the month of February to celebrate “I Love to Read Month,” and I wanted to pass it along to you with the hope that you could plan to complete one or more of the activities on the board! The activities were proposed by various teachers and admin from Brad’s PLN. They incorporate a number of different technologies and can help enhance students’ literacy experiences! Do not be intimidated by the tools listed- if you are interested in one of the literacy activities, please contact me to plan for how we can engage students with the tasks in your classrooms. We can plan for alternate digital tools if the ones listed are unavailable or unfamiliar to you. Make it about the literacy learning, not about the tech component! This is not just for language arts teachers!! As Brad says,

We are striving to facilitate student-centered connections between authors, educators, and classrooms.

Please email me if you’d like to complete an activity (or two or three!) with your students! I will keep a master board and check off completed Elanco activities. Here’s hoping we can call Bingo!

ConnectED Classroom Bingo Game Board link


“Just one new thing” in 2015!

Created by mrsdkrebs

Created by mrsdkrebs

It’s a new year, and we’re settling back into the swing of things, so why not try just one new thing, one new way to incorporate instructional technology into teaching and learning in your classroom? Challenge yourself!

Think about your professional growth goals, and how your goal statements are incorporating the district’s Spartan Digital Competencies. Which areas are you most in need? How can we support you in your professional learning?

Want some ideas? Read the ideas shared below, then contact me to set up a time to meet and discuss and/or for me to assist you and your students in your classrooms!

Help students share what they’ve learned!

Edublogs can be used not only as a blog space for writing, but as a digital portfolio space. Students can share projects they’ve completed, can summarize key ideas and main takeaways from content area lessons, and more. With the ability to embed multimedia into posts, the possibilities are limitless! Students can then view peers’ projects, and you can even connect with other classrooms to promote cross-school collaboration. Your students will be thrilled with the feedback received by an authentic audience!

Write inspiring digital stories!

Using digital storytelling tools, students can share their writing using both their own illustrations (Little Bird Tales) or with gorgeous artwork in the Storybird galleries. I can help you set up accounts for students and intro you and your students to the applications. They’re both easy to use, perfect for even our youngest writers!

Make formative assessment fun!

Kahoot is a very exciting response application that allows students to engage in “game” modes to answer questions with their devices. Play as individuals, or as teams. Create your own Kahoot quizzes, or use those found in the public gallery. Learn more about Kahoot and other formative assessment tools such as Socrative on this resources page from our tech inservice day!

Explore all Discovery Education has to offer!

Teachers can create classes in Discovery Education and assign students Discovery Education content and assignments. One of students’ favorite creation tools is BoardBuilder – where they can combine multimedia and text to share what they’ve learned about topics. Students can search through the quality videos, images, and articles in Discovery Education and add that content to their boards. Here is our Discovery Education resources page to help you learn more.

Earn and claim your badges!

Elanco is using Credly to acknowledge the efforts of our staff members who challenge themselves to incorporate instructional technology into teaching and learning practices. Be sure to read more about Credly and how you can earn and proudly display your badges! Grab some today!

Looking forward to working with you all in 2015!