Cool tools and random finds

Check here for cool tool reviews and other great random finds from the net! Just select on the post topic and read more. 

5 Excellent Resources for your ESL Students

posted Mar 18, 2015, 11:13 AM by Samantha Fecich


I wanted to post some super ESL resources! These five resources provide you with lesson plans, flashcards, worksheets, and interactive games. 

  1. ESL-kids - Site full of flashcards, games, worksheets, songs, and links to use in your ESL classroom. 
  2. ESL Resource- This site offers many interactive learning activities about grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, and more!
  3. Mrs. Hurley's ESL - Great resource for all things ESL - even has smart notebook files to download! 
  4. General ESL Internet sources - Many great resources for ESL learners
  5. Activities for ESL - Quizzes, tests, exercises and puzzles to help you learn English as a Second Language (ESL) This project of The Internet TESL Journal ( has thousands of contributions by many teachers.

#educ204toi second week is complete!

posted Feb 1, 2015, 9:59 AM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Feb 1, 2015, 10:30 AM ]

    During the second week of class we focused on Danielson framework for teaching, bloom's taxonomy, and getting started with our digital portfolios. Read below to find the techy tools we came up with and strategies to implement blooms and Danielson's domains into your classroom. 
    The week started with finding tech tools that we can use to document the four domains of Danielson's framework for teaching. Students were divided into groups and assigned 1 domain. Students were required to identify 2 tech tools that could be used to show proof of competency for their assigned domain. At the end of the activity students jigsawed to show others how their tech tools fit their assigned domains. Below is a table documenting what we found. Click on the tech tool below to check it out in more detail. During Friday's class we created an app outline for bloom's taxonomy. We identified and presented 2 tech tools that could fit into Bloom's taxonomy levels. 
Domain 1 - Planning & prep Tech tool  What is it?

Teacher Vision We can use this website as a tool for getting to know you activities and different introduction games.

Share my lesson We can use this website to get lesson plans and worksheets that are aligned to the common core requirements.

Pinterest A database of creative ideas

Teachers Pay Teachers A website full of materials and ideas from teachers that can be used for materials or simply to gain ideas for your lesson. Some of the materials are free, and others have to be purchased. Often times you can adapt the lessons for your specific classroom.

Planboard Its a website that allows teachers to organize and plan their lesson online. It also allows them to share the document, track standards and collaborate. This website also has Chalkboard and Attendance board that helps further prepare the Teacher.

Skype It is a social media device that allows you to communicate with people via messaging or video chat

Evernote share our updated lesson plans to our supervisors.

Symbaloo To demonstrate coherent instruction design, we can use Symbaloo to organize the links used during the class.

Weavly Video Collage

Glogster interactive poster

Teachnology lesson planning, rubrics, printable resources, tips, worksheet makers, etc.

Schoology It is a learning management system that contains mobile apps that engage instruction as well a ssystem wide collaboration on any of the devices
Domain 2 - Classroom environment  Tech tool  What is it?

Acrostics Use acrostics to motivate students to stay on task and under control during class time. A fun and creative way to get their attention and give students room to follow the rules and guidelines without being overpowering and demanding.

Wheel decide Use a spin-the-wheel for students to spin when they act in good behavior. They can chew gum, sit in the teacher’s seat, trade a seat, receive candy, homework pass, etc. based on whatever option they spin.

Spotify Music stations

Happy Class Seating chart maker

Funbrain Funbrain is a learning gaming site for studnets to play educational games to help improve their knowledge of math and reading

Too Noisy a noise detector

Poster my wall Poster maker

Digital Badges (specifically something like edmodo) Students can do a lot on this site, such as connect with other students, access other homework, see grades, and earn badges for good behavior and/or achievements.
Domain 3 - Instruction Tech tool 1 What is it?

PollEverywhere summative assessment to see if there needs to be further review on the topic or clarification depending on the understanding.

Ted Talks introduce or help broaden the students understanding on a certain topic.

kahoot quiz/discussion

prezi a powerpoint-esque slideshow

Socrative A site where teachers can create quizzes and "space race" style assessment that can be shown on screen.

Screencast-O-Matic record lessons and post to edmodo so they can review it later on their own time if they want.

Quizlet students may assess themselves outside of class.

padlet Way of responding and discussing. Each student is actively involved.

EDpuzzle Video lessons This website allows teachers and students to create any visual theme on-line (called "vhemes")
Domain 4 Tech tool 1 What is it?

All conferences connect with other teachers; professional development

Linked In Connect with other professionals

Podcasts Iphone app that allows you to listen to various podcasts including current educators nation wide Create a blog that is updated at least once a week and shares with the parents what is going on in the classroom. connference in Florida; ablenet for online conferences

LearnBoost Online gradebook and lesson planner

#educ204toi is off to a good start in Spring 2015

posted Jan 25, 2015, 5:55 AM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Mar 18, 2015, 11:17 AM ]

This is a reflection of my first week in the EDUC 204 class, a course I teach to pre-service teachers. In this course we explore the what, how, and why of edtech based on Danielson's Framework for teaching. By the end of this course students create a digital portfolio based upon this framework with artifacts from this course and others plugged into it. 

    To start off the week we reviewed the syllabus. Not just by any ol' lecture but with  Kahoot to review important parts of the syllabus. I learned about this tool during the SAS Institute in December and also through a former student. It was fun to see the students get engaged using this game based tool, the hardest question was where my office was located! I plan to use it again very soon in the upcoming week. 

    In preparation for Wednesday's class students were required to view a webinar by @EdTechTeacher21. This webinar was discussed previously in this blog, here (See below for video).  Wednesday we hit home the power of a positive digital presence. I really wanted to instill in the students that we need to think before we post because as @sammorra explains, anything online can be found, archived, edited, remixed, and shared. We need to promote ourselves in a positive, professional manner when online and let that shine through when an employer is "googling" us online. We discussed the importance of keeping our personal lives private but our professional thoughts, tools, resources public to find. We identified several ways to do that by creating a linked in account, creating social media geared towards education for example, a Pintrest board of educational resources, and making a digital portfolio. 

Students viewed this webinar using a new tool by Columbia University called @Vialogues.  Students were prompted with questions and food for thought throughout the video. As a teacher I thought this tool provided my students with many features, such as:

  • A safe place to comment and reply to others all around a video in the same space
  • I could set up a class account for multiple users to be signed in at the same time
  •  I could moderate comments 
  • Questions and prompts were time stamped throughout the video and lit up red when they were asked
  • Received notifications each time a new comment was posted

In class, this tool was compared to Voicethread, YouTube comments, and discussion boards. As a class we identified some ways to use @Vialogues as a tool in a future classroom, dependent upon grade level: 

Use in PreK-4 / Spled

Middle / Secondary (Note some ideas are only for those 13+ because they can sign up for an account )

  • Demonstrations or simulations
  • Task analysis of skills
  • Provide directions for centers
  • Get parent feedback after a lesson
  • Parent/student feedback after a lesson 
  • Students ask/answer questions to one another around a video 
  • Remediation materials or absentee 
  • Flipped learning
  • Students create their own videos and have a group discussion around it

    In order to be ready for Friday's class students were required to create a Twitter account. Friday's class was interesting, there were a mixed bag of emotions when came to thinking about Twitter as a PD tool. During my second section class, I had three alumni students come in and talk to current students (in small groups divided by majors) about the power of Twitter for professional development. Unfortunately during my first section, I had to lecture about it & I felt it was less effective. I feel that having the message come from a peer was more powerful than my lecture. I also think that students will need to explore and dig around Twitter to see it's usefulness as a professional. I shared with students my reservations about Twitter when I first got an account at a workshop (in 2010). I told them my struggles: I don't know what to say, I am never going to use this, I don't want to know what others had for breakfast, what is all the Twitter lingo, no one is going to follow me, I have no audience. After even a few months of using it I couldn't be more wrong. Twitter has been my most powerful professional development tool. All the tools for this class is from my PLN. I couldn't be more thankful for this tool in my life and from day 1 I used it as a professional presence. I also have to thank #nt2t for having a very relevant chat last week about the W's of Twitter - what, who, why etc. I did take some snippets from what people said there and wove it into my presentation for class! 

    These are just a few thoughts I have on my first week. If you have any questions or comments please send me a tweet @SFecich I look forward to hearing from you. 


Dr. F 

YouTube Video

Communication with students and parents, questioning, and discussion..oh my!

posted Nov 17, 2014, 7:24 AM by Samantha Fecich

Week in Review…


Danielson framework component

Elements of the Component

Tech to support the component

3A- Communicating with students

-Expectations for learning

-Directions and procedures

-Explanation of content

-Use of oral and written language

3B- Using questioning and discussion techniques ( Used to deepen students' understanding)

-Quality of questions/prompts

-Discussion techniques

-Student participation

4c- Communicating with families

-Information about the instructional program

-Information about individual students

-Engagement of families in the instructional program

See our twitter feeds for tech:

  • Glogster - uses for glogster in the classroom identified by pre-service teachers in #educ204toi

  • Communication - tools for communicating with parents and families about your classroom. Also talk about why it is important as a future educator to communicate with parents and caregivers about their child’s progress.

  • Discussion - Learn about different tech tools for discussion and questioning techniques for your classroom.

11-3 Danielson framework for teaching and technology integration

posted Nov 9, 2014, 9:15 AM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Nov 9, 2014, 9:22 AM ]

Hello readers, 

This week we discuss
ed three components in Danielson's framework for teaching: 2D, 2E, and 3A. These components are in regards to  managing classroom behaviors (positive and negative), communicating with students, and organizing the classroom. First, we used Remind101 and Class dojo as tools to help manage behavior and communicate with  students. Remind 101 is a tool that can be used to send text messages to students and parents. This tool is a great way to send out messages about homework, reminders about events going on in the school or classroom, and of course, to send positive messages home. Some other ideas to integrate remind 101 into your classroom can be found here. To find additional classroom management tools click here for our class storify. 

Image:,. (2014). Retrieved 9 November 2014, from

    After learning about different ways to arrange our classrooms based on how we want to teach, we created our ideal classroom in these programs and came up with some fantastic layouts. Check back soon for some screenshots of our future classrooms. To create a classroom floor plan, I recommend using Kaplan Floorplanner and Classroom architect. These tools are fantastic to get the lay of the land, and figure out where you want items, desks, rugs, technology, and more. 

Danielson framework component

Elements of the Component

Tech to support the component

2D- Managing student behavior

  • Expectations

  • Monitoring student behavior

  • Response to student misbehavior

2E- Organizing physical space

  • Safety & accessibility

  • Arrangement of furniture and use of physical resource

3A - Communicating with students

  • Directions and procedures

  • communication - oral and written

10-21 through 10-31 - 10 days of ed tech in review related to the Danielson framework

posted Nov 2, 2014, 5:37 AM by Samantha Fecich

Hello and welcome to our 10 day week in review of ed tech used to demonstrate several components within Danielson framework. During these few days we focused on components 1f and 2C

Danielson framework component

Elements of the component

Tech to support the component

1f. Designing student assessments


Congruence with instructional outcomes

assessments aligned with instruction

Criteria and standards-clear and understandable

Design of formative assessments 

Use for planning-making decisions based on


·        Thinking further than the lesson-Google form
·        Discussed flubaroo and how it could be used in the classroom.
·        Flubaroo is an add-on to automatically grade the quizzes made through google form.
 ·        Kaizena – a google add on  to provide feedback (audio, resources and typed) on a document. infographic learned about a great tool to spice up a flyer with images, texts and graphs

            -Began group project about using to address a specific issue that affects education in America


Component 2c: “Managing classroom procedure”

·        Management of transitions

·        Managing instructional groups

·        Supervising volunteers and paras

·        Management of materials and supplies

·        Performance of Non-instructional Duties



Created a google doc to identify several web tools or apps to address each element – check doc for more information!


·        Learned about Netiquette

·        Being a good digital citizen

·        Teaching our students how to be responsible when online


Created a poster of netiquette skills to use in our future classroom using 


10/10 Week in review - poll everywhere and blooms 2.0

posted Oct 15, 2014, 12:15 PM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Oct 17, 2014, 8:40 AM ]

During this short week, we reviewed several tech topics around Danielson’s framework. We discussed Components 1c, 1e, 1f & 3d

Component 1c – Setting instructional outcomes and elements


Component 1f – Designing student assessment and elements


Component 3d Using assessment in instruction


Value, sequence, & alignment

Outcomes show high expectations and rigor

Demonstrate IMPORTANT learning in the classroom

Learning follows a logical sequence


Outcomes must refer to what students will learn

Various methods of assessment

Outcomes are clear and understandable


Reflect different types of learning

Suitability for diverse students

Outcomes must be appropriate for all students

Take into account needs of students



Congruence with instructional outcomes  

Assessments aligned to outcomes

Assessments are adapted to student needs   

Criteria and standards

Assessment is clear and understandable

Design of formative assessments 

Formative assessments are well designed

Use for planning

Results are used to inform decision making


Assessment criteria  

Students understand what is expected of them.

They know how they will be evaluated

Monitoring student learning

Teachers understand, monitor, and guides students' learning.


Timely, meaningful, and consistent

Student self-assessment and monitoring progress

Students assess themselves based on criteria

They assess their own understanding of a topic

High level - may need to be taught

For these components we learned about Poll Everywhere. Poll everywhere is a web 2.0 tool that we can use to encourage discussion outside of class, see if your students have knowledge/opinion of a subject, and ask a question to see if your students understood the lesson. Poll everywhere allows you to create several different polling options such as open ended, multiple choice (with text and image responses) and clickable images. We can have students respond via texting or their computers given the web response link. We created four polls and shared 1 with our classmates to respond to. Then we embedded our polls into our portfolios.

Next,­­­­­­ we learned about component 1e: Designing Coherent Instruction. This is the heart of planning which reflects knowledge of content and students, intended outcome of instruction and available resources. It really brings together our knowledge of our topic area, pedagogy, and our students. When planning coherent instruction, it is important to plan how you will advance your students and teach them throughout the school year.  The elements within 1e include:

-Learning activities

-instructional materials and resources

-instructional groups-based on abilities, students choose

-lesson and unit structure

We talked in groups of 2-3 about what component 1e was and its importance.We also learned about Bloom’s Taxonomy and the different levels of cognitive learning and how it applies to teaching and learning:

Bloom's taxonomy 2.0

            -Remember-(define, identify, label, etc.)- Remember previously learned information

            -Understand-(describe, paraphrase, review, etc.) Demonstrate understanding of the facts

            -Apply- (change, discover, show, etc.) Apply knowledge to actual situations

            -Analyze-(breakdown, compare, identify, etc.) Break down objects or ideas into simpler parts and find evidence to support generalizations

            -Evaluate-(categorize, rearrange, summarize, etc.) Make and defend judgments based on internal evidence or external criteria

            -Create-(choose, describe, explain, etc.) Use your gained knowledge and evidence to further explore and teach others

-We found Web 2.0 tools that fit into each level and discussed them in our groups.  

Image:,. (2014). Retrieved 17 October 2014, from

To tweet or not to tweet?

posted Oct 10, 2014, 7:40 AM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Oct 10, 2014, 7:41 AM ]

Today in class...well, maybe I should back up to August. I teach a course that discusses many tech tools for educators. This course has a lot of online requirements such as discussion forums, handouts, presentations, recorded lectures, etc.  Early in those summer months while planning the course, I decided that my students will be required to set up a twitter account for professional use ONLY. We talked about the importance of a professional digital presence, and being found online. I explained to my students how we could use it as a tool connect to one another, along with professionals and organizations outside of our four walls. We have been using Twitter as a tool in our class for about 2 months now. Today I decided to ask them which tool they prefer: Twitter or discussion boards? Keep in mind we used 3 discussion board forums prior to this informal survey. 

The results...drum roll...

To put this into a number count 33 preferred Twitter, and 10 preferred discussion forums. As with life, there are pros and cons to is what we came up with: 
 Twitter pros
  • Up to date information
  • Connections outside of class period (to other class periods and professionals)
  • Educational information 
  • Able to search for content
  • 140 character limit
  • Go back and look at what others tweeted or posted. 
  • Use of favorite tool to save information 
  • Cross platform - use phones
  • Keeps conversation going during the week 
  • Always something new being posted
 Twitter cons
  • Confusing layout
  • Information overload
  • 140 character limit
  • Not a fan of social media 
 Discussion board pros
  • Elaborate on topics
  • Sit down and really think deeply about a concept
  • Once you post, you are done - check off the list. 
Discussion board cons
  • Feeling like you are too wordy just to fit the grading requirements
  • Have to go back and check to see if someone messaged you back.
  • Only respond to the minimum number of people required.

Reflection: Thinking about some of these responses, I would have to agree with most of them. Yes 140 characters can be a pro and a con, it make you become concise and focus in on what you want to say, but it may not be the best vehicle when you want to think deeply about a topic. In this sense a discussion board may be more appropriate. However, you don't want students to be wordy just to fulfill the requirements. I understand that Twitter can be confusing and in a sense information overload to new users, but with some tools like Lists or Hoot suite you can really narrow down the stream of information. Depending on what you want your students to accomplish depends on the tool you can use. For instance, I want my students to make connections, build their positive digital presence, and add to their PLN. Something you can't do in a class discussion forum.  What do you think...To tweet or not to tweet?

Wevideo - Teaching philosophies come to life - Reflection

posted Sep 15, 2014, 8:52 AM by Samantha Fecich   [ updated Sep 17, 2014, 9:17 AM ]

Wevideo is a video editing site and app (ios and droid) to add photos, video clips, audio, and voice over to create a professional video final product. It can be either very complex or simple to use depending on the type of timeline you select to use. It is a basic drag and drop interface that allows students to  add multiple pieces of media into a video. Wevideo also has copyright free music in their library so need to search for a song. 

For the past two weeks my students have been taking their written teaching philosophies and making them come to life through wevideo. First, students collected copyright free images (and their citations) through our library's subscription to Britannica image quest. Once they had their images and text (along with proper citations) we got our hands on wevideo. Students were required to first add their images in the order that they wanted them in the storyboard view. Then we added text to our images by either adding a text slide or caption to the image. If you would like to edit where the text shows on the image I would suggest adding a text slide, not a caption. 

During the next few meetings we worked through adding transitions to our images and fading text in and out through clip opacity feature. The fading in and out of text proved to be a valuable skill to harness when making our videos flow. Lastly, we added a theme and background music to our videos.  A note of caution, when using a theme and if you already added in your transitions be sure to uncheck the option to add theme transitions or it will overwrite the transitions you painstakingly put into your video. Same for music, if you found the perfect song for your video from wevideo music selection remember to uncheck use theme music. All in all, we are looking forward to seeing the end product on Friday. 

I would recommend this tool for anyone creating a video for class. It is easy to use and @Wevideo could not have been better on Twitter. They responded to my students' questions and commented on their ideas for video usage in the classroom. Thanks Wevideo for a great product and keep up the good work #educ204toi! 

Sam's reflection

What went well?
  • Students were required to get out of their comfort zones with making a video
  • Students helped each other with the technology 
  • The interface was drag and drop, but could become more complex as student saw fit. This is a great differentiation tool built right in.

What would I do differently?
  • When searching for images I would have students add images to their file and then download all images at once via Britannica image quest
  • Make sure student's had updated chrome browser and adobe flash
  • Have students bring in ear-buds or headphones so they can work on music/themes privately. 
  • Add storyboard into rubric for grading. 
  • Maybe push this assignment to the end of the semester ( may be too soon for freshman)
  • Change it from teaching philosophy to thoughts on teaching video (how, what, and why you teach). 

Wonderful World of Wordle

posted Aug 31, 2014, 5:33 AM by Samantha Fecich

Last week I did a lesson with my students about Wordle is a word cloud web 2.0 tool. It is a great way to display words in a visual sense. The best way to describe it is through what else, but a worlde! This example shows my class rational and description in a Wordle. As you can see the words that occur most often appear larger on the actual Wordle. 

Wordle of class description 

How to create a Wordle
Wordle is very simple to use. Follow the steps below to create your own Wordle. 

  1. Open your internet browser (I prefer chrome)
  2. Navigate to , when you are there you should see this website
  3. Select create your own
  4. Before typing in your text into the wordle text box, I would suggest opening up a word doc to input your text first. The reason being is because once you click Go in wordle you can not go back and edit your text. 
  5. Once you have all of the text you want in your word doc copy and paste the text into the wordle text box.
  6. Click Go
  7. My students ran into some issues at this point, many needed to download the latest version of JAVA. I would suggest doing this step as well. Here is the site to download java. 
  8. After your Java is downloaded, you may need to click run in Wordle. 
  9. Once you click run you should have a beautiful word cloud ready for you to customize. 
  10. To change the design of your wordle click randomize until you find a design that fits your taste. 
  11. You can also customize the layout, font, and color scheme of your wordle to match your needs. 
  12. To save your wordle you can save it to the public gallery or take a screen shot. 
How can I use Wordle in my classroom?
Wordle is a very versatile tool to use in any class across any grade level. Here are just a few suggestions, please add a comment about you plan to use or have used Wordle in your class. These ideas are just some of the ones that we generated in class:
  • Introduction activity for students - as the new school year starts have students create a wordle to describe themselves. They can put the finished product on their desks or lockers. 
  • Word wall/spelling word list 
  • Vocabulary list (across disciplines)
  • Synonyms list - words that are synonyms of a target vocabulary term. 
  • Building relationships - Students can create a wordle to describe each classmate. Each student adds one word to describe each student. 
  • Holidays -- create a wordle card 
  • Take text from a reading passage to identify the most common words in the passage. 

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