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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Assistive Touch Tool

The Assistive Touch Tool is a "button" that will stay on your screen, providing you quick access to some handy features like "Speak Screen" and "Screenshot". This could simplify use of some of these features that are hampered by the child safe cases that are on student iPads. Here is how to set up the Assistive Touch Tool.

  • Open Settings
  • General
  • Assistive Touch 
  • Turn on by swiping the button to the right. It should turn green.
To Customize the Assistive Touch Tool with the features you want to use follow the instructions above. Click, Customize Top Level Menu...
  • Click the + button to add features (options include: Home, Notifications, Device, Siri, Control Center, Lock Screen, Rotate Screen, Volume Up, Volume Down, Gestures, Triple-Click, Shake, Multitasking, Screenshot, Lock Rotation, Pinch, Double Tap, Analytics, Dock, Restart, Speak Screen)
  • Choose up to 8 features
  • I recommend that students use the Screenshot feature and the Speak Screen feature.

Screen Reader

This is the new screen reader that will pop up on your screen and read aloud the text that is up on your screen. The turtle symbol will slow down the speed of the text and the rabbit symbol will speed it up. If you click on the first circle with the less than symbol, it will minimize the tool bar and keep it on your screen to use again when you are ready. 
  • Use a two finger swipe from the top edge of your screen to bring up the screen reader.
  • You can also add the screen reader to your Assistive Touch tool. It's called, "Speak Screen". (GENERAL-ACCESSIBILITY-ASSISTIVE TOUCH-ON-CUSTOMIZE TOP LEVEL MENU-(+)-SPEAK SCREEN)

Monday, May 15, 2017


It's the time of year when we would all like to spend more time outdoors. What a great time to learn more about the critters in the ARTHROPOD family, especially those that we need to be cautious of, like ticks! It's also a perfect time to observe the pollinators that are in our gardens, like bees and butterflies? In the learning commons we will be learning about INSECTS and ARACHNIDS, and all of the things that bugs do that help as well as hurt us.
This playlist has informative videos about bugs as well as information about how to be safe from ticks.

For additional information about ticks click on these links:

Brain Pop has videos about Lyme Disease as well as Arachnids, Spiders, Insects, and Ants. You can also read about Arthropods at Brittanica Encyclopedia Online using the Marvel Database.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April is National Poetry Month

The Poetry Maker Space in the Learning Commons has lots of activities students can do independently and in small groups, or you sign up to bring your whole class. Please stop by to get Poetry Passes for your student and see what times are convenient for them to stop by. This could be a reward for students that finish their work early or a way to recognize students that are able to follow classroom expectations and are able to work independently. Students that come independently should be able to read directions and work on their own. Some activities will require use of an iPad. Here are the activity choices:

  1. Create and decorate a pocket for Poem in Your Pocket Day. Choose some poems to fill your pocket.
  2. Choose from a selection of poems to illustrate.
  3. Record the poem you illustrated for a school poetry book.
  4. Create your own mini poetry book filled with short classic poems that are copyright free.
  5. Listen to poems from recommended websites.
  6. Write, illustrate, and record your own Haiku.
  7. Write, illustrate, and record your own Limerick.
  8. Write, illustrate, and record your own Acrostic.
  9. Write, illustrate, and record your own Black Out Poem

Even the youngest students like to perform simple poems. Take a look at Shel Silverstein's website for the poem, Eight Balloons. Also check out Giggle Poetry in their Poetry Theater section for poems that are suitable for performing. They also have a lesson on performance poetry. A great way to showcase student performances is to have a cafe style poetry slam. If you are interested let me know and we can plan an event in the learning commons.

There are various national competitions for performance poetry. These will give you an idea of what performance poetry is. Some of them are a little intense so preview them to make sure they are appropriate for your grade level.

The Spider and the Fly is a great read aloud. There are some other classic poets here as well.

This playlist has information about how to write poetry. Brain Pop has a video about poetry and another about simile and metaphor. Brain Pop Jr. has a video about Poems.

Our school library has an excellent collection of children's poetry. We have Paul Janeczco's, "A Kick in the Head; An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms" It includes samples of almost 30 different kinds of poetry with information about how to write each style.
Also in our library by Paul Janeczko, "A Poke In the Eye; a Collection of Concrete Poems. 

Joyce Sidman has a wonderful collection of children's nature themed poetry books. Most of them have a poem on one side of the two page spread and information about the animal on the other. We have many of them in the library including:

 Sidman's newest book, Round, which we don't have yet, is all about, you've got it, round things in nature. It came out in March and has already received rave reviews. I can't wait to see it! We will order it for fall.

Online Resources:
  • StoryNory has a great collection of poetry read alouds. These are audio only so they are a great way to build on listening skills. Listen to a poem one time through, then listen a second time and draw pictures to illustrate. 
  • Poetry Zone is from the UK. They publish poems written by kids so it's a great resource for student work and a great place for aspiring poets to get published.
  • Poetry4Kids has a rhyming dictionary, Poetry Podcasts, Poetry Lessons, Poetry Games, and of course, Poems!
  • Poem in Your Pocket Day from
  • Giggle Poetry is a poetry activity site for kids. Poetry Class includes poetry lessons. Poetry Fun has tongue twisters and riddles. 
  • Ogden Nash
  • Limericks

Sunday, February 26, 2017

MEAs 2017

MEAs 2017

1.Every staff person that is administering or proctoring the test must watch the following training videos and familiarize themselves with the Test Administration Manual by March 17th.

2.Every staff person that will administer or proctor the test must sign the Test Security Agreement and turn it into Justin by March 17th.
3. Monica and Jenny will coordinate accommodations.
4.Every person that administers or proctors the test must follow a script. Scripts are in the Test Administration Manual.

5.All students should be familiar with test taking strategies and online test technology features and login. Sample tests and test taking strategies must be done by March 17th.
6.Test Administration
  • Student logins will be provided to classroom teachers.
  • Students will use an app that has been pushed to their iPads. 
  • Students do not need to be locked into the app. They will be locked in automatically.
  • Proctor Passwords will be used when students have paused their test for longer than 30 minutes. Keep Proctor Passwords confidential.
  • Test completion:
  • Click FINISH
  • Click TURN IN
  • Click TURN IN again

Monday, January 23, 2017

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.

South School subscribes to BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. It is a wonderful online library of videos and educational games. They can be used to deliver content to your class or used independently by your students. Each video includes an online quiz and related games. Teachers can create classrooms, assign videos and games, and monitor student progress. Click on the links below for more information or schedule training time with me during your CPT time, planning period or mornings between 7:30 and 8:30.

Brain Pop Overview

You will find a list of Videos and Lesson Plans in the Educators Section of BrainPop. Just click on "Getting Started" then click on the "Topic and Lesson Directory". 
The directory is divided into Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr. content, then divided into broad subject categories. You can also search by standard.
This is a selection of science videos in Brain Pop JR. Videos in BrainPop Jr are for grades K-3 and videos for BrainPop are for grades 3-8. You can link to videos and lesson ideas from the directory.

When you click on Lesson Ideas from the directory you will see a description of the video, background information for teachers and families, and lesson plans. Lesson plans include Common Core Standards that are aligned.

The "My Brain Pop" feature helps you to create individual student accounts and assess student knowledge of topics presented in videos and games.
Educational games are provide in collaboration with various partner groups like the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Click the link above to see a directory of games. Games can be assigned and lesson plans are provided.