You Might Be a Geeky Teacher if You Use Picture Editing in Your Classroom!

Picture editing can help you to enhance teaching tools, presentations and can even be used for assessment and technology assignments. Recently, I created a scavenger hunt that included links to edited pictures adding information to pictures in our school. You can add text or an avatar to a picture or change it and add effects. The tools that we list here do not require accounts and work quickly.  You can just upload a picture, edit and save!  Here are some of our favorites! 

Pic Monkey:  This is our go to site for picture editing!  We learned about it at a Google Summit Conference and one of the first picture editing tries involved creating a Death Star and labeling it!  They have added school resources just this week in their toolbar and you don't have to create an account to edit a picture!  It can make you look like a rockstar!  Check out the before and after of this quick attempt at editing a picture.

Cartoonize:  You can add items, effects or edits.  Here is a before and after of a picture that has been cartoonized!  The options are endless!


Cartoonized by Cartoonize.net

Gross Out:  Add Gross cartoon effects to any picture!  

Here is a link to a long list of great picture editing tools from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  What a great way to engage students in their learning!  


An Original Post: A Quick Kid Vocab Lesson

Well that got your attention right? An original post, not a repeat post, not a post that has been shared, tweaked, changed, or sent in a new direction. That leads us to the geek vocab of the week: OP.

A student used this term last week and I had to look it up! He told me I was behind the times. ( Thanks A LOT!) I try hard-- I just missed this one.

OP is short for original poster.

In an online discussion forum, OP is short for the original poster. Who's that? The person who started the discussion. Someone who is commenting on the post can garner the attention of the original author by referencing OP in their posting. Hmmm.... I'll have to try that one.


Primary Source Tuesday: Part Two ~ Inquiry Infographics

Well we couldn't leave it at one, we had to create two more. These resources are based on the immensly successful Stripling Inquiry Model which is employed by the Teaching With Primary Sources Program at the Library of Congress ~ your national library!  Included below are a student worksheet in the form of an infographic, and a teacher/student reference sheet referring to key questions using inquiry in the classroom. You will notice that many of the questions directly tie to excellent classroom practice as well as National Common Core State Standards. (In particular the evidence-based learning items which is one of the main shifts in learning in the literacy standards.)

You can find more information on the Stripling Model of Inquiry at : http://www.loc.gov/teachers/tps/quarterly/inquiry_learning/pdf/inquiry_learning.pdf

And the charts can be found at:

Teacher Resource Primary Source Inquiry Infographic:

Student Resource Primary Source Inquiry infographic:

Primary Source Tuesday... An Infographic for Teamwork!

These two geeks were looking for an easy way to share teamwork protocols with our student groups wo were using an inquiry process to dive into a set of primary sources. So Voila.... we designed this infographic using http://www.easel.ly/.  We hope you find it useful!


Blogs One Geek Follows... Via Symbaloo

I admit, although I am pretty organized in my life, my bookmark list has much to be desired. I use Diigo, I use chrome, and I have tried many others. I am still looking for the perfect tool to harness and collect resources to share with other teachers and students.

Several of my students and colleagues are extremely visual so I have started digging around in Symbaloo, a social media tool which I enjoy using for a variety of purposes. The main one is organization. I had a colleague ask about the list of blogs I regularly follow and instead of sharing the list with links I plugged in the tiles in Symbaloo and made them all green.  ( I am sure that will change when I group them differently later) but for now I can visually access this collection fast because in a sea of grids the green stands out. Plain and simple it is just easy to see. So I am sharing it here. The entire grid is too big so I have added a snapshot of a portion of it -- but feel free to click the link below  to access it and bookmark it if you'd like!

One Geeky Blogroll

Laura and I follow many of these same blogs and there are many others. Check some of them out~ I think you will like these amazing bloggers!


You Might Be a Geeky Teacher if you can Create a Survey or Poll!

There are some great web 2.0 tools you can use to create and conduct  polls and surveys instantly and for free! These tools are free and very simple to use. Most of them have embed codes to use when  sharing them  on your classroom blog or website.

  • Feedback from students and learners
  • Pre-Assessment 
  • Use in a Flipped Classroom senario for homework
  • Learning about students interests and progress
  • Quizzes and Assessments
  • Exit Slips
  • Reflection - we use a Google form to quickly evaluation how our lesson went and ways to improve
  • You name it!  
*My favorite is Google Forms!  We use these constantly for staff and students!  Anytime you need quick information, these are perfect!  The entered information is put in a spreadsheet and you can access and manipulate the results including graphs and real time information!  

*I have used Wiffiti and really like the pop up look of it in the past.  I discovered this week that they are re-branding and changing their name to Locamoda.  It still has the same great pop up features and you can use your cell phone to text in your answer!  Love to use this as a back channel for a conference or presentation!


*Kwiqpoll is a simple poll making tool. It does not require any registration. Just visit the homepage and start creating  you poll right away. You have the choice to provide multiple choice answers. You will also be provided with a generated URL to use when sharing your polls.

poll tools for teachers

* Flisti
poll tools for teachers
This is another great simple poll tool. It is very easy to use and resembles Kwiqpoll in that it does not call for any sign up. Just head over to its main page and start working on your poll. You can add as many answers as you want to your poll. Again , you can embed your polls in your blog, wiki or website

poll tools for teachers

This is another popular polling service that allows users to create free polls and surveys containing up to ten questions.


poll tools for teachers

Micropoll allows users to instantly create a poll using a set of questions and answers then one email address. It also provides embed codes to share polls online.

poll tools for teachers

Polls and surveys for Facebook, Twitter and Blogs!

*Kwik Surveys

poll tools for teachers

This is another great polling service. It allows users to design their own surveys, form, polls and feedback forms. It is free but it does require a sign up.


poll tools for teachers

This is a great polling tool. We love to use it on Texting Tuesdays when we allow the kids to bring their cell phones and answer questions and join in a discussion in real time during class.   It has different pricing plans and also has a free plan but very limited and allows for just 40 responses per poll. 

poll tools for teachers

This is another easy and simple poll creating tool. It basically allows users to create their own surveys or online invitations. It does not require any registration.

Survey Mapper

poll tools for teachers

This is a free real-time geographic survey and polling tool which has also the same basic functions as most of the tools above. There is also a featured tutorial on its homepage to walk you through the process of creating a survey. It requires a registration.


You Might Be a Geeky Teacher If You Can... Screencast at least three different ways!

We are introducing a new feature in our blog!  Every Thursday we will be offering a little test for people so that they can gauge whether or not they are a geeky teacher.  If you don't know how to do the featured geeky skill, we will give you directions and with practice, perhaps one day you too can be a GT too! 

Geeky Teachers always credit their sources so we are giving credit to Jeff Foxworthy for his You Might Be a Redneck Routines.  Here is a sample:

Screencasting Tools:  

Screenr is one of my favorites! Screen casting is all about sharing your screen with others.   It is a one button screencatcher and I can alway count on it to work quickly with great outcomes!  I use it for sub plans and introductions to lessons!  It is a great tool for flipping a classroom too! Click link for tutorial.

Screencast-O-Matic is free and easy to use.  With one click, you can start recording your screen.  Here  is a tutorial.  

Jing allows its users to create images and videos of what they see on their screen and share them with the world instantly and easily.  Jing has two versions.  One is free and the other is premium.  Free Jing offers 5 minutes of screen recording and some mark up tools for images.

Launchpad Edu

I just finished participating in a wonderful webinar from Launchpad Edu.  They brought together the creators of the apps and teachers implementing those apps in their classrooms.  To hear about the design and the actual implementation is powerful and has me thinking!  I can't wait to implement ideas like using Brainpop, Brainpop Jr., Brainpop ESL and Brainpop Spanish to differentiate for students! I think I will use the Brainpop daily video to begin the class thinking and asking "I Wonder" questions!  Motion Math Games can be quick opening challenges and introductions to daily lessons.  Toontastic creates writers in your classroom as students create these one of a kind animated movies.  It would be a great idea to create a Brainpop type explanation video in Toontastic!  The best part of these apps is that they are all tied to the common core standards and take the work out of flipping your classroom.  Understand the standard you are going to teach and then give you kids a menu of options to demonstrate mastery of that standard.  Using this list of apps is a great start!  Watch the webinar, it is short and worth your time as a teacher!  They have also launched a site that includes lesson plans and ways to implement this into common core!  http://launchpadtoys.com/edu/#leaders

Great Apps for the Classroom



Finding Apps as Easy As One, Two, Free!

Apps Gone Free: A top-rated app that finds the best free apps available daily. Recognized by USA Today and users as the number one search engine for free apps. Find it in the App Store at Apple.

TechChef4U: A search engine which helps locate free or low cost applications by theme or category for use at home and at school. Find it in the App Store at Apple. 

App Engineer: An engine that sorts apps for you based on your preferences and a set of simple filters which are easy to use and find. Find it in the App Store at Apple. 

Four Ways Quick Ways to Promote Understanding of Place
Through the Use of Primary Sources and Instagram

Have you found a neat primary source somewhere in your travels? Have you snapped a photo of it and said “I’ll use that later in the classroom?” Well here is a way to put those Instagram photos to work in the classroom (and gain a larger understanding about historic places and primary sources to boot!)

First: Access Resources Normally Unavailable. Have you ever wished you had a copy of a really great artifact? Or you are able to take one yourself without a flash so that you have it for use in the classroom? Be brave! Ask for permission (PLEASE check with your museum professionals about that requirement!)  and then shoot away and bring those resources into the classroom. Not only can you print or digitally share the resource to use in the classroom, but you can connect with your students through Instagram and let them review a series of artifacts to start an inquiry lesson.  You know the flipped classroom idea? Here is a way to have your students access them by:

·       #Hashtag a series of photos to have them analyze a group of artifacts or photos from a historic location to think about what they are seeing. Need a quick analyzation resource? Check out the Library of Congress resources located at http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html

·       Have them review an Instagram pic on a #hashtag with a key question in preparation for a classroom discussion the next day.

·       Are you travelling? Is a colleague or family member? #Hashtag a series of artifact or place photos to share with a team of colleagues. No need to print the pics ~ instead just share the #hashtag and encourage collaboration across schools on a common topic of study and share resources at the same time.


Second: Challenge students to investigate places they are unfamiliar with, a historic site, a connection to a place they have read about in a book, etc. by:

·        Following #hashtags on Instagram to see photos about events and people visiting the location at different times and sometimes in different eras!

·       Go to the site and snap a picture and share a description with other students on a common #hashtag. Better yet, put yourself in the shoes of someone else who has been there and tell a story about that place from THEIR perspective using Instagram photos.  Succinct writing about non-fiction, and evidence-based learning activities are tied to National Common Core, but more importantly to plain good practice!

·       Are you at a museum that has a collaborative #hashtag? Have students add their photos to that organization’s stream of photos if allowed. To extend the partnership, have students collaborate with a small museum, historic house, non-profit, or other agency and let students take the lead on filling their photo stream on Instagram with photos from their perspective which highlight their connections to a place. They will see things differently than an adult or historian and it will help provide capacity to that local site.

 Third: Change it up! Use Instagram as an editing tool for altering photographs to use in the classroom. Instagram can help you differentiate instruction by:

·       Instagram has great filters that spark creativity. Let students use them to their advantage and present photos in a different way to their friends and in presentations to spark engagement and interest and support creativity.

·       Consider shooting a picture of a map or other item dependent on color and filter it block and white. By removing color, the inquiry level is often raised and it will spark new and different conversations.

·       Use Instagram to as an impromptu cropping tool to take unwanted items out of a photo to help reduce learning distractions for students.

·       Use the crop tool to pull out sections of text from a primary source so that students can focus on it while reading instead of being overwhelmed by too much text on the document, or difficult vocabulary.


Fourth: Engage Others to Promote Learning ! The best learning comes from engaging others with the topic at hand. Although the above ideas tie into this idea because of the natural uses of social media, here are some extended activities:

·       Create a classroom #hashtag for your Flat Stanley project and share where he has been in addition to the traditional snail mail version of artifact collection! Create his own collection of primary sources that can later be used in the classroom but also are shared on Instagram in a public or private account.

·       Challenge students to post an Instagram photo to a common #hashtag and ask the question and answer it to using  “what is this?” Designs in architecture, bugs, historic sites, environmental challenges… the list is endless and let their imaginations run wild.

·       In the classroom, bring up the #hashtag images and use them as creative writing prompts, or map them on a wall map, Google or other social media sites for all to see!

·       Use re-photography and compare the then and now of a place. Print out a historic photo and take it to a place. Shoot a new one and compare! Take a look at examples at:


Webquests... Do you use them?

This is a Glogster TIPS page that we made several years ago.  It seems like webquests are making a come back.  Do you use them and if you do, what are your favorites?