Tag Archives: technology

Send Me a Rainbow

If you teach older students who have their own phones, this might be a fun idea for an impromptu writing prompt.  The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has decided to make more of its artwork available to the public by digitizing it and allowing us to text requests.  Only 5% of its entire collection can be viewed in the SFMOMA’s physical building, but thousands more pieces are accessible through this new feature.  You can text the number 57251, and type, “Send me” followed by a keyword or color.  There’s something suspenseful about the whole endeavor that makes it a bit addictive.

I tried it out by texting, “Send me kindness, ” and received the following, somewhat depressing, reply.

Photo Jul 25, 5 35 54 PM

Maybe kindness was too abstract?  So I tried, “Love.”

Photo Jul 25, 5 36 25 PM

Now remember, this is the Museum of Modern Art, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the answer to my next request.

Photo Jul 25, 5 36 56 PM

Not really sure what the museum bot was trying to tell me there…

Anyway,  I soon discovered that trying to use this activity as a “pick-me-up” was a bit too unpredictable, especially after I received a sad portrait of the war in Iraq after I asked for “home.”  However, my daughter and I did have fun using emojis and asking for pictures of bread and dogs.  (It does work with emojis, by the way.)

Not to be outdone by artifical intelligence, I decided to end our texting communication by asking for something that couldn’t possibly be mis-interpreted in a bleak way by a computer. “Send me a rainbow,” I asked.

And it did.



Weebly for Education

Google Sites are blocked for our elementary students, so I show my 5th graders the Weebly for Education site if they are interested in designing their own websites. Sometimes students create them for Genius Hour projects.  This year, my students were so excited about the manifestos they created in Canva that I suggested they use the images as launching points for websites that reinforced their core beliefs.

Students seem to understand the Weebly tools very quickly.  In fact, as soon as they see all that they can do, they want to do it all – add images, video, quotes, links, etc… Many of them immediately went home the first day to add to their sites and are super proud to present them.

For this particular project, I asked the students to include their manifestos, along with a page that describes their “Dream Team” – famous people who lived lives that modeled the beliefs in their manifestos.  (They used Academy of Achievement’s “Role Model” tool to help them discover potential Dream Team members.) They could also include inspirational quotes and videos.

Weebly for Education is different from the main Weebly site because the education version allows teachers to have a dashboard of students for free. However, from what I have been able to see, there is no way to view a student’s website through the dashboard until he or she publishes it.  This is a little inconvenient as they are editing, but the benefit of all of the other free features far outweighs this issue.

You can see a screen shot from one of my student’s websites below, and click on the link to visit his site.

screen shot from “Manifesto Mania” site by Cristian on Weebly for Education 

Schoogle Your Content with Hyperdocs – #TCEA17

“Schoogle Your Content with Hyperdocs” was a TCEA presentation given this year by my illustrious NEISD colleague, Laura Moore.  Laura, who is also the author of, “Rock the Lab” and “Learn Moore Stuff,” is a guru of technology integration.  She is also an excellent presenter, so I knew that attending her session at TCEA would reap many benefits. I was right.

Laura will be the first to tell you that she did not create the concept of Hyperdocs.  For that, we can thank the Hyperdoc Girls – Lisa Highfill (@lhighfill), Kelly Hilton (@kellyihilton), and Sarah Landis (@SarahLandis).  You can find out more about them here.

On Laura’s site, you will find a fantastic step-by-step introduction to Hyperdocs that leads teachers from the definition through pedagogical best practices, examples of Hyperdocs, templates, and steps for creating your own.  It’s a great way to scaffold a staff development on Hyperdocs.

Teachers looking for a simple definition of Hyperdocs might settle for, “Google Docs with links.”  But those teachers would be wrong.  There really is no one-line definition for Hyperdocs.  To learn what they are, and what they aren’t, you need to see this page.

Plenty of Hyperdocs have already been created by many talented people, so chances are that you can dive right into using them by looking at the examples provided here. There are even Hyperdocs to learn about Hyperdocs available.

I definitely can’t do Laura’s presentation justice in a quick blog post, so I hope that you will take a look at her presentation site to find out more about this interactive method for digital learning that will engage your students on many levels.

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 6.03.12 PM.png


For the next few days I will be attending TCEA in Austin, one of my favorite annual conferences.  I may add some sporadic blog notes, but stay tuned next week for detailed highlights!


Smart Girls Build

I have raved about Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls site several times on this blog.  The work this former Saturday Night Live and Parks and Rec actress/comedian is doing to inspire girls and give them positive role models is phenomenal.  Now the site offers a new video series that pairs girls with the creators of The Sims video game to show how the talents and passions that the girls have can be used in a video game to express themselves and inspire others.

The “Smart Girls Build” series currently has three episodes that showcase dance, music, and photography.  They are relatively short (about 5 minutes each), but give great insight into how The Sims developers pay close attention to detail to make the game include realistic interpretations of each of the girls.

We need more girls to pursue careers in technology, yes.  But, even more importantly, we need them to see that their passion to create is valued and has enormous potential in an infinite number of hobbies and careers.

image from Amy Poehler's "Smart Girls Build"
image from Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls Build”

Tech Field Day 2015

Do you live anywhere near the San Antonio area?

Are you, like me, so busy you can’t fit one more thing into your schedule?

Well, drop everything else and head on over to Tech Field Day 2015 this Saturday, November 7th.

Seriously.  Stop being so rigid and so, “I need to plan things way in advance.”



A. I’m presenting (you gotta click on the link to see what)

2. I’m in the middle of losing my voice so you can see me trying to figure out how that’s going to mix with my presenting-in-front-of-peers-is-more-intimidating-than-students anxiety.

c. You might actually learn something if you attend any other session but mine.

IV. Door Prizes

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here’s the cherry on the chocolate volcano:

IT’S FREE (and worth credit, if that means anything to you)

So, mosey on down to the Tech Field Day 2015 this Saturday and find out how great PD can be when it’s hosted by Dr. Roland Rios!

Find me and say, “Cherry on the chocolate volcano.”  You won’t get anything. Just the joy of seeing my confused expression when random people come up and talk to me about dessert at a technology conference 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 10.05.26 PM

The Power of Love

You might wonder when you first start watching this video why I would choose to put it on an education blog.  But hang on for the last line, and you will understand.  Even though this is a phone commercial obviously aimed at parents, the message definitely applies to teaching as well.

For more inspirational videos for teachers, check out this Pinterest Board.