Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fix Your Glitchy SMART Board

Has your SMART Board been acting glitch since you returned to your classroom. If so, you may need to update your software. NOTE: There are two places you need to check for an update.

For both steps you need to make sure your computer is plugged into the SMART Board.


First Update
-Open up your Notebook software. Select the “Help” at the top of the screen.
-Select “Check for Updates and Activation.”
-Update any of the products that need to be updated. Simply follow the directions after you select update. 
Second Update
-Open up your Applications folder
-Open the folder “SMART Technologies”
-Open the folder “SMART Tools”
-Double click “Firmware Updater” and follow the directions.

Hopefully this will solve all of your SMART Board issues = ]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Technology in OUR Classrooms!

 Welcome to our new monthly feature focusing on our very own LVUSD teachers!  Each month we will be highlighting a teacher by sharing one of their lessons that showcases the use of technology in the classroom.

This month’s teacher is Jeanne Sbardellati a first grade teacher at Bay Laurel!  The title of the lesson is Using QR codes in Digital Storytelling.  Enjoy and thanks for sharing!!

Using QR Codes in Digital Storytelling:


During the summer program at Bay Laurel, I had the opportunity to try out a project in digital storytelling, language arts, and art with students going into second grade in the fall.


Part 1 introduced students to Paul Gauguin and his relationship with Vincent Van Gogh in the 1880’s in France.  Paul Gauguin painted a piece called “Gauguin’s Chair”. I had a copy of the work for them to see.  The students were told they were going to create an art piece called “(Their name)’s Chair”.

Part 2 was part directed draw (the chair) and part creative on the part of the children.  Students were asked to surround their chair with things that were important to them as did Gauguin.  I also asked them to put two picture frames on the wall that “told something about themself”.

This part of the lesson was divided into two parts.  On Day 1, they put in the basic items they wanted in their picture.  On Day 2 I observed some pretty serious thinking by these great 7 year olds!  They had each grasped the idea of putting things in their pictures that told something about themselves.  They returned to their work throughout the day and added “something important”.

Part 3 involved writing about their pictures.  Using the Step Up to Writing model for first grade, as a class we generated the following topic sentence:


Paul Gauguin painted a famous painting called “Gauguin’s Chair”.  I made a famous drawing, too, called ________________________________(Their name’s Chair).

First, in my drawing, ______________________________.

In the picture frames that I drew________________________________.

I also put many details in my drawing __________________________.

Write a Conclusion.

I met with each student to conference about their written work.

When the student was satisfied with their writing, to save time I typed up their work.

In Part 4  students read  and recorded their written work into GarageBand as an audio file/voice podcast.  Click on “New Project”  .  Voice  >  Create with Child’s name (I saved it on the Desktop) > Click on Male or Female voice and record. Note:  I used a Logi-Tech Headset with a built in Microphone because it reduces the ambient noises of the classroom in the background.  Be sure to go to System Preferences and click on Sound to be sure that the Input and Output are clicked on for the Headset.

Record student reading their written work.

Save As:  Student’s   IMPORTANT:  Look near the bottom and be sure to click on Compact Project (you need to do this for it to Save as an M4a file.  Otherwise it will save as an aiff  file and some people may not be able to hear it .

Part 5 – Scan student work and create .jpg file.  The pictures need a place to reside .  I found their easiest place to store these files was on my Moodle page. I gave each child/picture a place of their own by creating a Topic section for each picture.  I was then able to add their voice recording to match their pictures.

Part 6 – Creating a QR Code for each picture.  By putting each picture in their own Topic section of my Moodle page allowed me to have a unique web address for each picture.

Here is how to create a QR code:

  I inserted the URL of each m4a file into

  Clicked on “Details” to get to the generated QR code

  Saved the QR codes as an image file



Now anyone with a QR scanner on their Smartphone, iTouch or iPad walking by the art work, can scan and listen to the student artist’s audio reflection!


Here is a copy of the lesson for you to download Using QR Codes in Digital Storytelling 

If you have a great lesson that you would like to share or know someone who should be please contact




Thursday, September 6, 2012

App of the Week - Puppet Pals HD


Puppet Pals is a simple, creative Animation App that students can use to demonstrate their understanding of many subjects.  Students can work collaboratively, or individually, choosing a backdrop and up to eight characters to create a cartoon/drama.  Their voices can be recorded and characters can move all over the screen, while changing backdrops.

Cost:  Free for the basic package. Other packages can be purchased for $0.99 - $2.99

Check out this video tutorial to see how it works:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Introduction to Edmodo

By now you should have received an invitation to join Edmodo today. If you have not please email me so that I can send you your school code. Edmodo has so many great features that can be used both as a collaboration resource and classroom tool.

Here are a few reasons that Edmodo is a great classroom tool:

  • It’s secure, no weird advertisements

  • Teacher-controlled online environment

  • Facebook-like format, making it easy to navigate

  • Share documents with ease

  • Create assignments/quizzes/polls that are stored for multiple use

  • There is an Edmodo iPad app

A comprehensive webinar can be viewed to learn how to use all the features in the classroom here.

For those that work a little faster and can like working off written directions find them here.


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="250"]Image representing Edmodo as depicted in Crunc... Image via CrunchBase[/caption]