Boom Writer

Are you looking for ways to get your kids excited about writing? What about creating a class book? BoomWriter seems like a great place to start!

BoomWriter is easy and free (two things teachers LOVE, right?) You can even get a free copy (an actual printed book!) of your first class book.
  • The teacher selects or produces his or her own story start, and the students let their imagination and writing skills take over.
  • One chapter at a time, the students write, read, and then vote on the submissions they like the most. The winning chapter is then added to the story and the process continues.
  • The teacher determines the total number of chapters to be completed, and when the competition is over a new book is ready to be published.
Want to learn more? Check it out ...

If you create a class book, be sure to let us know by adding the link as a comment!


Election 2012 Resources for Students

Election Day Resources for Kids

Are you looking for resources for your students before the Presidential election? Check out some of these ...

BrainPop: Presidential Election (FREE movie, no login required)

PBS Kids

Time for Kids: Election 2012


Free Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduler

Parent-Teacher Conferences are right around the corner in our district, so this is the perfect opportunity to share VolunteerSpot!

Top 3 Ways VolunteerSpot Makes Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduling Easier
  1. Schedule and sign up parents - fast, easy and FREE!
  2. Save time planning and coordinating (up to 85% faster than clipboards, online groups, phone tag and email!)
  3. Automated reminders increase parent turnout
VolunteerSpot was originally launched in 2009 as a way to easily organize volunteers for schools, clubs, churches, neighborhoods, and more. Now it can be used to easily schedule parent-teacher conferences! Check it out ...

You will need to register for a "Register Organizer Account" at VolunteerSpot, then set up your conferences (HINT: If you are setting up times on multiple days, get one of them set up and copy/paste it to other days!)

WOW! I think this could be a GREAT tool! Let me know what you think.


How Do I? "Email Signatures Edition"

After my recent post about email signatures, I received some really good questions. Maybe you had the same questions! If so, keep reading ...
Do you have more questions related to email signatures? Add them to the comments - I'll be happy to answer them!

Email Signatures

One popular topic in our district these days (or will be soon!) is how to create email signatures. I've created a couple of {short} videos to walk you through these simple steps.

Creating an Email Signature in Outlook 2010

Creating an Email Signature in the Outlook Web App
If you access your email by logging in at live.com or by using the link on the Employees page of the district website, you are using the Outlook Web App. This video is for you:

I Forgot My Flash Drive

Whether you call them flash drives, jump drives, thumb drives, or pen drives, you probably own one {or seven}. For years, they've been quite handy when transferring documents from computer to computer, from home to school, from classroom to computer lab, etc. Flash drives are great until you lose it or forget it at home.

Cloud Storage sounds like something to do with weather fronts and storm systems, but it actually refers to saving data to off-site, online storage systems. Rather than save your files on your own personal computer or on a flash drive, you can save them to a remote database that you can access just about anywhere. Many cloud storage services offer free space (everyone likes FREE, right?). Most services will be more than happy to let you BUY additional space, if necessary.

Some of my favorite FREE online storage solutions are:

  • SkyDrive - this file hosting service allows users to upload and access files from a computer; EM-S ISD employees have access to SkyDrive with our email accounts. 
  • Google Docs - allows you to upload documents, spreadsheets, and presentations; users can edit files and can publish them so that others can access them or even edit them. 
  • Dropbox - like SkyDrive and Google Docs, this online file hosting service allows users to upload, manage, and share all sorts of files. Although I shouldn't admit it, it really is my favorite. =)
  • Office Web Apps - allows users to upload, create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents directly within a Web browser or even on a smart device. These documents are stored in SkyDrive.
  • YouTube - quite possible the most well-known online video host (Similar sites for teachers: TeacherTube, SchoolTube)
  • Picasa Web Albums - Google's tool that allows users to store, manage, and share image files is called Picasa. The actual application runs on your computer and allows you to work with the images saved anywhere on your computer (it has some really cool photo editing tools!) Picasa Web Albums (PWA) is an online storage system for your images. (Similar sites: Photobucket, Flickr)
Other notable online storage sites include Amazon Cloud Drive (to back up music purchases and Kindle tables), Apple iCloud (syncs files, photos, videos, and more across Apple devices), Box (similar to Dropbox), Google Drive (similar to SkyDrive, works seamlessly with Google Docs).

What online storage solutions do you use? 


ScootPad is a user-friendly, FREE (even ad-free!) site that delivers personalized math and reading "practices" that are tailored to each student's specific learning needs. It's advertised as "the ultimate way to master math and reading skills. Self-paced and personalized practice keeps kids engaged and challenged."

ScootPad is available on any browser, anytime ... this means students can work in the classroom or from home on a computer or any other internet-enabled device.

This Prezi (another one of my favorite tools!) is a quick tour of ScootPad:

Want to learn more?
This 2 minute overview walks you through all you need to know to get started with ScootPad

Are you using ScootPad with your students? What are your thoughts?


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