Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Make a Magazine Cover

I am currently taking a continuing education course and the first assignment is to make a magazine cover about what we learned using what makes a good magazine cover.

I love the idea of making a magazine cover to synthesize and summarize ideas in a creative way.

Assessing students by having them make a magazine cover seems like an extension of Project Zero's the headlines thinking routine.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Digital Readers Theater

I read the story, Ganesha and the Curse on the Moon, for my students and they really liked it. So, I started thinking about plenary activities for them to do and decided we would act out the book as a play.

Right away I could see the vocabulary would be a challenge and there would need to be a lot of time to practice lines. I also wanted a way to share their performance more than once.

I made the book into a script and printed out enough copies for all the students. Each student was able to choose a part. They could be a reader, someone who reads the lines, an actor, someone who controls the puppets, or a narrator. After they chose their parts, I highlighted it for them so it was easier to read.

I started by trying to record the audio separately and was going to put the audio together with the video. iMovie doesn't allow you to tag, or rename clips. So the audio and the video got jumbled and were difficult to put together. The actors did not know when to do what because they could not hear the readers.

One of the things I did right, was to use the mic on my earbuds to get better sound quality. And although we had to film in the hallway, and it got noisy, the mic made the sound audible.

In the end, I ended up just filming the students acting out and reading the parts and then doing the reshoots right then and there.

Sometimes simple is best.

Use Blogger to Create a Searchable Database of Your Twitter Favorites

When I first became a technology coach, I wanted to be able to share the interesting ideas I found on Twitter.

I used several different services that allowed me to save Tweets or Posts, but they all lacked the ability to tag posts. Searching for posts is great if you know what you are looking for, but I wanted to find a service that would also allow me to tag posts.

In my research to find the right tool, I stumbled on an applet on that saves Twitter posts that you favorite on Twitter, to a Blogger blog. stands for if this then that and is a site that allows you to create workflows between apps.

This was great because, with a blog, you can search the entire site as well as tag posts. (I suppose there is one for Wordpress too, but I prefer Blogger.)

Two ways to search

1. Head over to to get started

Sign up for an account if you don't have one. You will also need to connect your Blogger account and your Twitter account so ifttt can access and modify them.

2. Create a new applet

Find your username in the upper right-hand corner and click on it. Then select New Applet.

3. Select actions

You will need an if and a that. For this example, the if is a like on Twitter, and the that will be new Blogger post.

Click on +this and select Twitter.

Then choose your that

4. Customize the action fields
Since this is a new Blogger post, there are several ways to customize it: post title, body, labels. Select which ingredients you want to add. 

Here is how I customized my applet.

Be careful to add text to the Title ingredient, otherwise, your posts will look like mine did below.


In the end, you will have an applet that looks like this.

This is not the perfect tool for me yet, I still have to go in to adjust labels, but this is much easier than what I was doing before.