Virtual Field Trips on Steroids

Bringing Curriculum to Life with the Expeditions App  Google Expeditions

Google has done it again. They’ve raised the bar and taken virtual field trips to a whole new level.  You can purchase the entire Google Expeditions Kit with a device for each student, but it’s extremely expensive.  Teachers rarely have that type of budget!  However, you could always write a grant or use sites like to get your project funded.

See the beginnings of grant writing hereGrant Proposal Outline       The Beginnings of a Grant


Google Expeditions at Best Buy

  • 30 students = $10,000
  • 20 students = $7,000
  • 10 students = $4,000

Pros: The phone screen splits in two, and feeds a slightly different image to the left and right eyes which gives the 3D effect. The accelerometers in the phone detect movement as you move your head around and adjust the view – so you can look all around, above and below you.  The overall effect is an amazingly immersive experience. Children could quickly be transported to another part of the world, and describe their experiences to the rest of the class.

Cons: The drawback of this technology is that it’s a single user experience – you are going to need lots of these devices to work with a whole class and costwise that’s probably out of the reach of schools right now. But using with small groups, rotating use through a lesson, could be an option.


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Totally Twitter

twitter 1twitter 2

Last year, at Hollywood Elementary School, I started my schools Twitter page (@Hollywood ES). ABC7 News Stormwatch team came in for an in-school “field trip” with my students to explain what a meteorologist does and how they do it. During their presentation, they live tweeted and shared photos and videos of the students. Parents were able to follow all the action on Twitter as well!

When looking at the ISTE Standards for my Johns Hopkins courses, I felt as though the Twitter page is a clear example of Standard 3.

 Standard 3: Model Digital-Age Work and Learning: Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

  1. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
  2. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
  3. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
  4. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning.

Have any of you started a Twitter page for your class as a way to share answers similar to TODAYSMEET? Or a way to curate current event information? Please share how you use Twitter in the classroom 🙂 



How to Use Games in Math

Princess Pascucci and the Fraction Fiasco

Introduce the game with a trailer using iMovie. My students LOVED this and it was an incredible hook to make them excited for the game. Click here to watch the trailer –> Ali and the Fraction Fiasco Movie Trailer

I also showed them how I made a digital storyboard to plan out the sequence of events so I was able to link this math lesson with the reading block and with sequencing a story. See that here –> Math Game – Storyboard

Finally, the students played the game! It was a multilevel game that took a few days to complete. Students worked with their team members. It worked out great! Princess Ali and the Fraction Fiasco


“Decide Now”decide now
Educational Cool Tool


Ensuring excellence and equity among students is a common concern for teachers across all grade levels. Equity refers to the principle of fairness; however, being fair is not always as easy as it sounds for educators. Equity sticks are commonly used to keep students engaged, ensure we are calling on each student rather than a selected few and making students responsible for their own learning. “Equity” takes away the judgment of the individual teacher when determining which student to call on in class. It allows for random selection. In today’s wonderful world of technology “cool tools,” popsicle sticks are a thing of the past. Decision-making on a larger scale can be accomplished with an app called “Decide Now.”
As you can see in the image to the right, I have used “Decide Now!” to input my entire class roster. One spin of the wheel and a student is randomly selected! “Decide Now” doesn’t just allow you to input the names of students in your class and make it easier to randomly select a student to answer in a fun and engaging way, but it can be used for reinforcement ideas, as a “prize wheel,” for classroom jobs, for trivia game topics, to choose partners, centers, the ideas are honestly endless! In an effort to be fair, “Decide Now” makes it easier than ever.
In essence, it is an extremely easy to use app based on a wheel of choices similar to “Wheel of Fortune”. You can input choices and name spinners along with picking color options. Using your document camera you can display the wheel on the board and excite the students as they anxiously wait to see the decision that is made. As a method for breaking up the monotony, this app offers a great way to break from the routine.

This program:
• Works on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
• Requires iOS 4.3
• Allows teachers to establish equity in their classrooms in an engaging way using an alternative method
• Provides customization of labels
• Attach to a projector with a VGA connector and create a whole class activity
• Adds chance and excitement to once tedious tasks

Image Citation:
Catforce Studio (2014) Decide Now (Version 1.6)
Retrieved from!/id383718755?mt=8

Elon & Infographics

Elon Musk is a business magnate, engineer and inventor. He is the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors.  His daring dream of rocket recycling and reusability is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality. On July 28th, 2016, SpaceX engineers  successfully conducted a full duration engine test firing of a 156-foot-tall rocket. Click here to read the full article on SpaceX.

Elon Musk is an absolute inspiration. I am fascinated with him and the way in which he approaches the world. He does things that others say he cannot. He challenges the status quo and finds solutions to problems that no one else even contemplates tackling. My “Elon Admiration” only intensified when my school leader (principal), Casey, introduced our back to school professional development with discussing Elon Musk and SpaceX. Follow up Reading: Current News on Tesla.

I think the infographic below accurately depicts Elon Musk’s life, but also marries the goal and purpose of my blog which is to incorporate technology effectively. An infographic is a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data. Infographics are everywhere these days because our brain craves these visuals.  Merging words with graphics helps imprint the information on our brain. Students can create their own infographics too using sites like Infogr.amPiktochart, or Venngage






Assessment Tools


Here is a review of some of my favorite assessment tools to use in the classroom.  All of these tools are engaging and allow teachers to receive prompt and immediate feedback about their class’ understanding of the material, however they have their pitfalls as well.  In classrooms where 1:1 technology is lacking, I suggest using plickers.  They are WONDERFUL and I have included the link to the download the free plicker cards. All you need is 1 smartphone with the app downloaded on it. The other sites work best with multiple or 1:1 devices.

*These are even a wonderful way to engage teachers and staff members during Professional Development or staff meetings!