New tools for old projects!

Looking for to jazz up that same old project?  Feel like you have been doing the same thing year in and out!  Here are two ways to integrate multiple content areas while building creativity and incorporating technology. For the sake of this post we are going to use the 4th grade Mission project as our lesson that needs a new twist.  Instead of having students create a model of their Mission using tools like cardboard, pretzels and twigs let them create a 3D model using an app.  Sketchup is a free 3D modeling app by Google.  It is intuitive, easy to learn and fun!  Google offers great training videos that students can access on their own while creating their design. Another great modelling app is MineCraftEdu.  You have probably heard of it, as MineCraft it is very popular with students. What you might not have known is that there is a version of the app for educational usage. The education version has a custom mode, which is a customized modification of the game, that allows teachers to make the game more effective and focused. There are also many how to videos available on YouTube for this game but chances are your students already know how to use this one.  There are also great resources for teachers starting with MineCraft Teacher blog that offers a list of other resources or the MineCraftEdu site. Check out these final products!

Sketchup example:


MineCraftEdu Example:

Of course these apps can be adapted for many other uses, I am sure you can think of one right now! The added benefit is that when using either of these tools kids are using math skills like proportion and scale.  They also will need to understand and properly use the X, Y and Z axis.  They will be introduced to building and architecture materials and terms, all while playing a game for homework.


Weblock Ad Blocker for iOS

Wouldn’t it be great if you could let your students browse websites on iPads and iPhones without having to worry they will be distracted by or accidentally click on advertisements? Weblock – AdBlock for iOS is an app that you can install to block ads on iPads, iPhones, or iPods, and it will work no matter what browser or application your students have open. You can use the predefined lists they set up or you can create your own rules to allow or block any website, page, or domain. There is a little bit of set up required, but the app provides good instructions. If you are interested in downloading this app, you will want to act soon. It normally costs $1.99, but it is free for a limited time. Get it while you can!


WeBlock logo

Pause and Think Online

To help kick-off the elementary CyberSmart Week here is a great video you can share with your class!


Timeline Creators

Timelines are a great way for students to conceptualize and understand events.  They allow students to visually depict a sequence of events over a period of time. They can also be used for project management where users can collaborate and set due dates and goals. Using a digital timeline creator has many advantages. First there is always the need for more space.  I am sure all of you have had that timeline handed in on a piece of paper where the student has run out of space so the events get smaller and smaller and unreadable.   Using a digital timeline will alleviate that problem.  There is infinite space for students to work with.  Digital timelines also allow students the ability to collaborate and share their work via the internet.  Students can work from their own home on the same project. They can also add videos, photo’s and links to the timeline. Digital timelines are easy to use and easy to update if needed.  Teacher’s can also comment and grade the timeline online and link them to their website easily.  There are many timeline creators to choose from so I have chosen my top three,=.  Each one has a different look and feel so they lend themselves to different projects.


Dipity ( offers interactive collaborative timelines that allow users to easily create events. Events may consist of images, embedded video, links, text and mapping features.

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Timetoast ( is a place to create timelines that you can add to your blog or website. You can create historical timelines of important events, or build a timeline of your vacation.

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TikiToki (  is a great application for multimedia timeline making . It allows its users to create stunning animated timelines. TikiToKi is very easy to use and above all its basic version is completely free .

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