3-12, Apps, Creative Thinking, Education, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites

Using Canva for Reflections

My students went on a great field trip two weeks ago, and lots of photos were taken.  We have a class blog but I thought it would be nice to use the pictures for more than that.  I decided to try out Canva for a reflection tool.  I have exactly 18 students in my 5th grade GT class.  With 10 iPads and 8 laptops, Canva was the perfect choice because you can use either the app or the website to create. There are lots of free templates and text options to choose from, and the students also enjoy trying to different filters on the photos.

I have one class account for Canva that all of the students use.  This makes using the app easy because they can stay logged in.  Another bonus is that I could upload all of the field trip pictures taken by the group to that account from Dropbox, and the students could choose any pictures from the uploads to create their photo collages.

The students were assigned to find pictures that completed any two of the following:

  • One way the field trip connected to something I learned in GT was…
  • The field trip inspired me to…
  • My favorite exhibit was…

They could use any combination of pictures, and they needed to use some sort of captions to relate the photos to the above statements.

Here are some of their final products:

Every photo collage was different, and I really learned what was important to the students from doing this activity.

If you are interested in using Canva, you can sign up for free!

3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Games, Language Arts, Research, Science, Social Studies, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites

Crossword Puzzle Maker


For many years, I have been using Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker.com to create different types of puzzles, such as Fallen Phrases and Cryptograms.  I recently found another site that generates puzzles, “Crossword Puzzle Maker.”  I tested it out this weekend by making this puzzle to accompany the book, The Giver, by Lois Lowry, which my 5th graders are currently reading.  I was pleased with how easy the site is to use, as well as the variety of ways to share the resulting puzzle (printable html, printable pdf, etc…) and the answer key. This would be a great site to share with students so they can create their own puzzles to show what they have learned.

Art, Education, Games, K-12, Websites

Art Lab

It’s time again for our weekly “fun post”!  Art Lab is part of the Tate Kids Website (associated with the United Kingdom’s Tate Museum), which has a lot of other art-related games and activities that you might want to investigate.  In Art Lab, you get to be an art restorer.  You can choose from several pieces of art, and then go through the stages of returning a work of art to its former beauty.  The stages begin with brushing the dust off and end with adding paint where the canvas was once cracked.  When you have finished working on your chosen artwork, you can then see a comparison of the “before” and “after” phases, and even choose to save it to your own art gallery if you have registered for this feature.  Visit Art Lab so you can virtually experience the joy of saving a masterpiece!

3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Games, Gamification, Problem Solving, Teaching Tools, Websites

Codecademy After-School Club

Some of you may already be familiar with Codecademy, which offers free on-line courses in programming and web-site authoring.  Now, the site is offering a free after-school program that it states can be used with students as young as 7.  During the first semester, the students learn how to build a website.  The second semester teaches how to build an adventure game with JavaScript.

According to Codeacademy, even teachers who have little experience with programming can facilitate the after-school club.  There is a free, downloadable curriculum, and Codecademy also provides a mailed kit to the first 250 teachers to sign up, which includes stickers and “other stuff for your club”.

The program is self-paced, and there are no downloads or special pieces of equipment required.  As long as you have computers with compatible internet-connected browsers, you do not need to provide any other materials.

Codeacademy’s After-School Program looks like a great opportunity for younger students to begin learning the basics of computer languages.

Critical Thinking, Education, Games, K-12, Websites

Brain Curls

Brain Curls is a website with a multitude of links to games that will give your brain a “workout”.  My favorite game, so far, is “Wordies Time”, in which you must guess a common phrase based on the placement of the words.  “brainFlex” is a good game for practicing your multi-tasking skills.  I’ve always enjoyed figuring out analogies, but “Analogix” is a new challenge for me with the added pressure of time.
Check all of these games out, and more, on Brain Curls.  Thanks to my fellow teacher, Kim Ball, for bringing this site to my attention!
3-12, Art, Creative Thinking, Education, Games, Interactive White Board, Motivation, Problem Solving, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites


Drawminos is a website that allows you to choose from some “Favorites”, allowing you to drop a ball, and to see the shape created by the toppled dominoes.  The part that I think will engage many students, though, is the “Create” part, in which you can design your own shape to be revealed once the ball is rolled.  It takes some planning and patience to arrange the dominoes how you would like in order to achieve your final design.  Once done, though, you can save your design online, and receive a URL for its specific location.  This could be a great way to introduce a topic, or to have students integrate their learning, their creativity, and their understanding of Physics!