My Interactive PD Calendar – Created with ThingLink

I’ve been engaging in some constructive play and exploring the use of the new custom icons and slides available at ThingLink EDU. 

My first slideshow is an interactive Professional Development Calendar. I believe the calendar will be able to grow with me throughout the year and I think it will be a lot of fun to use.

My First ThingLink SlideShow & Calendar

Click the side arrows to view this ThingLink_EDU Slideshow

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Create Images with Buncee

I love to create with images and multimedia so today I am excited to discover Bunce. Here is the official description of Buncee.

“Buncee gives teachers and students a whole new way of creating interactive lessons, project, and presentations, by incorporating digital media in a fun and easy way.”           –

My First Buncee

I created a Buncee to illustrate all the things you can do with Buncee. My brain is spinning with ideas for teaching and learning. At first glance, it is certainly a nice image creation tool.

Why I Love Buncee

There are many possibilities for creating and expressing learning here. This flexible, multi-media supported tool has a great collection of backgrounds and images to start with and it is a breeze to use.

My Wish List for Buncee

I am always looking for a way to precisely rotate objects and didn’t run across one here yet. Embedding could be slicker. Buncee doesn’t play well with Chrome.

Try Buncee 

Sign up for a free account at

Elf Yourself this Season

If you want a few genuine laughs this season, why not take a few minutes to put those camera photos to use and Elf Yourself? Choose your music and create an elf dance with the ones you love. 

You can use your your laptop to easily share a link to your video for free, or create an elf dance right on your mobile device and purchase the inexpensive video clip to download and share on the spot.

Enjoy a few laughs in the spirit of the holiday season and try ElfYourself

Class Badges to Promote Digital Literacy

Badge – I Teach Above the Line

Class Badges is a free online tool designed to help teachers use digital badges as rewards for accomplishing learning goals. The badges can be a useful tool for teachers to keep track of individual student accomplishments as they help learners focus on making progress.

I really like Class Badges because the badges serve as a useful reminder for teachers to work with students on an individual level to set goals and assess progress. If used appropriately, they can improve students’ self-esteem as they work towards attainable goals. I believe this tool that can help teachers get a little closer to a 1-1  learning environment.

Last year at this time I created a glog to promote digital literacy through the use of ClassBadges. Unfortunately there was not a lot of interest at the time, so I put the idea on hold for a while. Upon revisiting the ClassBadges website, I discovered a feature that allows users to easily create their own badge design so I decided to try it again, one year later. I designed the Teaching Above the Line Badge with some artwork created by my good friend, Janet Barnstable, and awarded it to a few teachers at my school who shared some great examples of Teaching Above the Line at a recent staff meeting. 

Here is the glog I created to promote Digital Literacy with Class Badges. I used MentorMob playlists to create step by step guides for earning the starter badges. My goal for 2014 is to introduce the idea of ClassBadges again and hopefully get some early adopters to join the campaign.

Click to View

A Playlist to Guide the Learning

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Uses in the Classroom:

  • Work with individual students and their parents to identify their own specific attainable goals and create a Google Doc for reflection and progress monitoring. Use comments to provide students with feedback.
  • Attach badges to your grading rubrics and hold regular mini-conferences with students at checkpoints as they work towards completion of the assignment to increase their motivation to take their learning to the next level.
  • Reinforce positive behavior and increase students’ self-awareness by focusing on badges designed to reward students for demonstrating specific behaviors that might be useful to increase instructional time. For example: Reward time on task or organizational skills.
  • Make sure the badges are designed to encourage self-improvement rather than competition among students in the class.

Get Started with ClassBadges

Teachers can request a free account to generate a class code for students. Just add your students and design your badges. Try it yourself at

The Hour of Code – Join the Movement

We live in a computer powered world. Coding is the language our computers speak. 

Computer science is a top-paying college degree. Jobs in this market are growing at 2 x’s the national average, yet the number of students pursuing computer science degrees has dropped in the last decade. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020 there will be 400,000 computer science students in the United States and 1.4 million computer science jobs. Women and minorities are extremely underrepresented in this group. Why such an enormous gap?

Have you ever encouraged a student to try coding?

The Hour of Code is a weeklong global awareness endeavor to introduce students to the world of coding in as little as one hour. More importantly, it is designed to encourage schools to offer students opportunities to learn this important language. Currently 9 out of 10 high schools don’t offer computer programming classes. In fact, in 36 states, computer science doesn’t even count towards required math and science requirements. The goal is to involve 10 million students. 

I learned all of this and more from the resources found on the Hour of Code website and it is my hope to encourage readers of this blog to check them out and participate too. If you don’t have an hour to spare next week, perhaps you can schedule one hour at another time this winter. Our students deserve to be introduced to Hour of Code and the activities provide us with a fun way to help students develop problem-solving skills.

Explore this interactive graphic, created with ThingLink