Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is new with CultureGrams

Click on the link below to see what is new with Culture Grams for 2017!

2017 Back to School Updates!!!

Through the use of CultureGrams, our students can travel to exquisite places in the world, researching new cultures, languages, foods, and customs. CultureGrams is a searchable database containing concise, reliable, and up-to-date cultural information on more than 200 countries, all 13 Canadian provinces, and territories, and each U.S. state.

This database provides online resources including a worldwide photo gallery, slideshows, video clips, famous people collection, recipe collection, and sortable, create-your-own data tables of selected information. This is a great primary source database used in World Languages, Family and Consumer Science (FCS), Social Studies, and English departments.

Students who learned about water in Africa, selected a video in CultureGrams to learn more about how water is collected.  Using a video like the one below levels the playing field for many of your students and allows them to fill in gaps in their learning.

If you need any help with using CultureGrams in your classroom please feel free to email me at

BrainPop: New and Improved!

BrainPOP is a great educational tool to help engage & motivate student learning independently, in small groups, and within the direct instruction. Investigate the multitude of topics/units in Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Health, Arts & Music, and Engineering/Tech. Students learn through video lessons and take quizzes to capture their learning.  There are games as well as teacher resources to access.   The next slide will give you an overview of what BrainPOP is capable of doing within the classroom. There is no need to use the BrainPOP app because BrainPop Jr and BrainPop are both mobile friendly. BrainPOP ESL is coming next to Mobile!  Click on the above Going Mobile link in order to see which features are enabled in the mobile environment.


New Beginnings

Today I start another journey in my career as a teacher. For thirteen years I have spent August like all teachers do, setting up a classroom, organizing supplies, and reading up on all of my new students. This August, I am embarking on a new journey as an Instructional Technology Coach at Elanco School District. Teaching and technology have always been a passion of mine. I am excited to start this new role. I am working with the most amazing and talented group of K-6 teachers at three different elementary schools. 

I have come to learn that when something is a passion it doesn’t matter what role you take that passion doesn’t wane. For my former students if you are nervous about starting this year in a new grade or a new school Mr. Geiman is nervous right with you. Many of your teachers will be feeling the same way as well. With our common understanding, we will all get through this year with patience and perseverance. Just keep reminding yourself that the journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

I can’t wait for this year to start and look forward to working with all of you. 

Unbounded Classroom: Webinar 5/30/17


Unbounded Classroom 

May 30, 2017 | 3:30 – 4:30 PM ET
Audience: Teachers/Educators, Instructional Technology Support Specialists, Media Specialists

This webinar is co-sponsored by The Pennsylvania Council for International Education (PACIE).

Join this webinar to learn how 4th grade teachers in Eastern Lancaster Elementary School District in rural Pennsylvania are taking their students around the world virtually using Google Expeditions and the Global Connections Framework to instill empathy, understanding, and deeper learning outcomes.

Unbounded Classroom explores the potential of using cutting edge technology to remove the boundaries of the classroom without ever leaving the school building. Students interact and experience a variety of diverse cultures and geographic locations within their own classrooms and globally, via virtual reality. These experiences engage students with their peers, with the curriculum, and with the global community. This webinar will introduce the global connections framework and how to implement virtual reality in K-12 classrooms. Presenters are Mr. Adam Geiman and Mr. Drew Arena, 4th Grade Teachers, Blue Ball Elementary.

Register by May 28, 2017 to guarantee your spot!

Unbounded Classroom: Global Connections Framework for VR

Unbounded Classroom Goes to Washington D.C.!!!!!

Amazing things are happening at Blue Ball Elementary! It’s official Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman went to Washington DC to present Unbounded Classroom! After Mr. Geiman presented at KINBERCON2017 Unbounded Classroom was invited to present at the Internet2 Global Summit in Washington DC. When Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman first wrote their VR grant their goal was to take their students and their work beyond the classroom. They wanted their students to understand that they are part of a globally connected world with different cultures, people, and topography. 

 global blogging; blogging; vr; classroom; students blogging

Since the start of Unbounded Classroom, their classes have connected with 21+ different countries from around the globe through their student blogs. Now Unbounded Classroom has surpassed their expectations. Not only has VR and blogging taken them beyond their classroom walls it has taken them to Pittsburgh and Washington DC where they have had the opportunity to present how they are using their global connections framework to incorporate virtual reality in their classrooms to level the playing field for their students.

Unbounded Classroom Virtual Reality

Mr. Arena & Mr. Geiman presenting at Internet2 Global Summit

Unbounded Classroom

  They were honored and grateful for the opportunity to present at Internet2 Global Summit!  From their presentation, at the Internet2 Global Summit, Mr. Arena and Mr. Geiman were asked to host a webinar on Unbounded Classroom through KINBER on May 31st from 3:30-4:30.  Look for the upcoming link and information about the Unbounded Classroom Webinar.


Farewell & Thank You!

Farewell & Thank You!

As you may have heard, I’ve resigned from my position as instructional technology coach in Elanco in early January. In addition to spending time at home with my kiddos, I hope to develop my educational consulting endeavors.

Thank you so much to all of you who have included me in your classrooms and project design work and who have attended any of the Wired Wednesdays or other professional development sessions I’ve offered. It’s been such a pleasure working with all of you and your students!

I will miss everyone at Elanco and wish you continued success and happiness. Continue challenging yourselves, and don’t be afraid to take risks with technology! You can’t break it! If it’s going to help students collaborate, communicate, and create in meaningful ways, give it a try! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever need anything! Email me anytime at

I’ll look to the #elancosd hashtag and your blogs to check out the innovative and exciting learning happening in your classrooms!

— Lyn Hilt

Tech Tidbits #6 – The first of the new year!

Now that we’ve wrapped our heads around new content providers and devices and Edublogs and a redesigned Google Drive and all of that good stuff, you’re probably yearning to read more about the latest news from the world of edutech! Read the latest edition of Tech Tidbits below to learn more! Last year, I used a tool called Smore to create our Tech Tidbits editions. Since the free version limits a user to 5 flyers total (boooo), this year I’ll try using Tackk to curate and share with you!

Snow Day? (Or two or three?) No problem! Let the learning continue!

One of the benefits of using digital tools to support learning in your classroom is that students can extend their learning and project activities beyond the school walls. While I do recognize that not all elementary students have access to Internet-enabled devices in their homes, certainly a majority do.

Through the use of your teacher website, blog, or wiki, you can post and share resources, activities, and videos to engage your students while they’re taking inside breaks from their outdoor snow adventures! Consider using Google Drive in grades 3-6 to create and share documents or presentations, and ask students to contribute to conversations around content area learning topics. Encourage your students to use their Kidblog spaces to write on their days off and share their snow day experiences or reflect on books they’re reading. Try creating lessons and activity sequences with LearnZillion or Power My Learning. These digital tools empower the learning to be self-directed through Common Core-related topics and activities.

The possibilities are endless!

Sadly, our in-service for Friday has been postponed, but I’d like to share with you some of the resources that were to be shared in this “flipped” professional development fashion, so you can access them at your leisure and use to support your own learning and integration of technology into your classroom.

Grades K-2

Many of you have expressed interest in learning more about resources to use with the interactive whiteboards. Here is the link to the resources I’ve compiled and shared regarding best practices with IWB and also Polyvision/Eno specific resources for you.

Some of you have used the Easiteach software that accompanies the Eno boards. This software helps fulfill the basic needs of creating whiteboard spaces to add content to and scroll through during direct instruction or when kids are interacting with the boards. This software requires an installation from a disc, which I carry with me from building to building. If you don’t have this software installed and would like it, please email me and I will schedule a time to install it on your machine.

Please know that you are not limited to using Easiteach with your board! Your board serves as a display for any/mostly everything interactive that you could display on your laptop. So if there are interactive websites your students use, you could engage them using the board for those activities. It does require the use of your laptop, of course, so if you’re envisioning the use of the board as a learning center during literacy block, you’ll need to plan for the fact that your laptop will be connected to the board during that time. There are many links to Polyvision/Easiteach resources on our Elementary Tech Blog. Here’s a direct link to elementary Easiteach activities shared through the Polyvision wiki.

Here are some great interactive resources that may work well with your board, geared to our youngest learners:

Kinderchat Symbaloo Mixes- a ton of well-organized Symbaloo mixes, categorized for your easy access  – I know kindergarten teachers and students will enjoy the StoryBots letter videos!

Language arts interactive websites and Math interactive websites via Kathy Cassidy (other category links at the top of her page)

Sites recommended by your colleagues: Turtle Diary, Math Play, Tvo Kids

If you have any sites you would like added to the K-2 Symbaloo, please email me the direct links! Contact me also if you’d like me to come in and work with small groups of students who are using the board during small group independent time. It is always helpful to have another adult there for support when kids are interacting with the board.

Grades 3-6

Formative Assessment Supported through Technology

Every day you make instructional decisions based on the performance of your students before, during, and after lessons and classroom activities. There are a handful of digital tools that can support formative assessment in the classroom and help your students be more active, engaged participants during the learning process. They also provide you with quick-access to student responses and feedback, thus streamlining the assessment process and giving you important data needed to continue to tailor instruction for kids.

Google Forms and Flubaroo

Creating and sharing a Google form is an easy way to have your students take a pre-lesson survey sharing their prior knowledge or contributing summaries of information learned after a lesson. Google forms has been revamped in the past year and you now have the ability to embed videos and images into your forms. All of the information submitted through a Google form is reported back to you in a Google spreadsheet. You can then easily sort through student responses and use to plan future instruction. For those of you feeling very confident with Google tools, check out the script called Flubaroo. It allows you to create “self-grading” forms that give you immediate feedback and student scores on objective assessments.

More resources here:

Using Google forms for formative assessment

Using Google forms for formative assessment

Creating formative assessment tools using Google forms


Socrative is “a smart student response system that empowers teachers by engaging their classrooms with a series of educational exercises and games. Our apps are super simple and take seconds to login. Socrative runs on tablets, smartphones, and laptops.” And, it’s FREE! And easy to use! I posted more resources about Socrative on this page of our tech blog.

Today’s Meet

Today’s Meet is a virtual space to support backchanneling. No accounts are required. Teachers can create a room, name the room, and share the link with students to access the space. Students enter their names and then respond as directed in the Today’s Meet space. Teachers set the room to “expire” in a set period of time, anything from one hour to a day to a month or more. Choose this based on how long you need access to the information, and of course scaffold the experience so students understand the task, purpose of the use of the tool, and expectations for use. More ideas for use here and in the video below.

Virtual Boards

Services such as Padlet and Lino allow you to create virtual boards where your students can post written responses on “sticky” notes and add other media. Think of the ways your students can use these virtual spaces for brainstorming, sharing ideas, summarizing, and answering essential questions. Share the links to the virtual walls via your classroom websites/blogs/wikis for easy student access.

Take a look at this presentation from math educator David Wees to view ideas for different formative assessment strategies. (You can only use think, pair, share so often, right?)

Please contact me if you’re interested in having me help you create these spaces for “intellectual collisions” and collaboration! I’m happy to do so and push into your classrooms to support your efforts, or meet with your teams during planning time to help you try out some of the tools.

Happy snow day, and happy learning!

photo credit: Daveybot via photopin cc


This blog will be dedicated to sharing instructional technology resources and tutorials for Elanco’s elementary teachers. It will be a work in progress for the next few months.

Please feel free to comment and share at any time. Contact Mrs. Hilt with any information you’d like to share or see featured and with questions you have!