Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Beginning the year activities for your students

I had a few teachers towards the end of last year that asked me for some ideas of how to start the year with their students. Here are some of my ideas.

  1. Create a Google Form ‘All about Me’ graph the results. Here is an example.
  2. Make changes to photos, cartoonise them and use them as avatars 
  3. Use the Concept Cartoon idea to discuss contentious issues or to set class rules. If you would like a copy of this email me info@jsharp.co.nz 



 4. Use Adobe Draw (or any other drawing programme) on iPads to draw their self portraits, (make sure the last layer is transparent) find photos of places of where they would like to visit or favourite places they have visited and then add the downloaded image .

5. There are many different types of digital cartoons, use these for setting rules and routines of the class.
Storyboard that


or Make Beliefs Comix


6. Make an iMovie where students prepare questions at the beginning of the year for each other (these could be their goals for the year, what they think the year is going to be like) and then do one at the end of the year and make a comparison or talk about if you achieved your goals for the year. Students will get a great kick out of seeing how much they have changed in a year.

7. Pechakucha for presenting to class about themselves, 10 slides 20 secs each all about them, pictures only.



8. Students can create a Time magazine cover about themselves. I would recommend that you find examples to show them yourself and put them together in a presentation. When you search for 'Time' covers on Google you can view some that are not suitable for students. With this example below, you place your photo so it covers the grey box, then you move it to the back so that the text comes forward. If you would like a copy of this email me info@jsharp.co.nz 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Big City Maps and Computational Thinking

You might already have one of these 'Big City Maps' playmats in your classroom, if so, you can use it for great 'unplugged' and 'plugged' Computational Thinking activities.
For unplugged use arrow cards that are roughly the same size as the cars that come with the mat. Students can guide the driver by planning their 'drive' to reach different buildings.
For plugged all of these robots move easily over the mat 'Blubot, Edison, MBot, mini sphero or large Sphero. These are all great position and orientation activities. Get students to design their own scenarios and plan trips, this could then integrate into writing as they write where they are going to and why.

I purchased my mat from Mitre 10 for $45. When you look on the website you will see different maps with different sizes. I saw a smaller one for $26.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Helping shy readers to read aloud

I saw this idea in Stephanie's room at St Joseph's School in Opunake. She plays the audio for the students and they hear it on their headphones (so not disrupting the rest of the class). They read along with the audio. Students generally speak louder when they have headphones on so Stephanie can hear each child as they read. This is great for those shy readers who do not like others hearing them

Monday, 25 June 2018

Junior Writing Idea for when students forget what they want to write


Image result for explain everything app
Use the Explain Everything app.
Use the Audio tool from the + menu.
Students record what they want to say.
When they stop talking they stop the audio.



If they think of another idea they record again.
They listen to the audio when they are doing their writing.
This will remind them of what they want to say in their story.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Google Tip: Saving a file to two or more folders

Has there been a time when you have wanted to save the same file to more than one folder and for it to be simultaneously updated at the same time?


  1. Go to Drive
  2. Click on file to be saved in other folders
  3. Press Shift - Z



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Split screen and Slide over on iPad

Split Screen and Slide over on the iPad is one of those hidden gems that most people don't know about. I had a teacher tell me today that she had one child who completes 95% of his work on the iPad because of his dysgraphia condition. But he also needs to use 2 devices particularly if he is researching as he finds it difficult to switch back and forth between apps, so he uses the iPad for his recording of information and a Chromebook for his researching. I showed them today how they could use 'Slide Over' and 'Split Screen' and only use one device.
The Slide over works on most apps
but allows only a slim view of the other app
The Split Screen works on only some apps and gives 2 apps
half the screen each 


Swipe left from the right hand side of the screen and this will show the 'Slide Over', tap and hold on the handle in the middle and drag to the middle of the screen and this will be the Split Screen. You can see both screens and work independently in each screen at the same time. If you want to choose a different app, swipe down from the top 
You can't do this in all apps but there are loads you can split screen like... Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Safari, Chrome, iBooks, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Photos, Drive, Explain Everything, Dropbox, Calendar, Canva, Classroom, Edpuzzle, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Inspiration, iTranslate, Mail, Maps, Notability, Notes, Padlet, Google translate, Twitter, Youtube and many more.

I was disappointed you couldn't use Split Screen with Kindle but what you can do is open the Kindle app, do the Slide over and open Docs, Slides, Word etc. If you want to copy some text, do the highlight - copy on the Kindle (the Slide over will disappear) and then do the Slide over and paste into the Doc.
I can see so many applications for this functionality. Be aware though that Slide View works on iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and up and the Split Screen works for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and up.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Add MP4s and .MOV to Google Slides


Google has just recently added a new functionality to Google Slides. Previously the only way to add a movie to Google Slides was through Youtube. You can now upload movies from your Google Drive without sending them to Youtube. You can also set the Movie to Autoplay when in Present Mode and... you can choose where you want the movie to start and end. I can see that is a feature that I will use a lot in my math workshops. Now I will be able to start the movie just at the parts I want the students to see, instead of having to watch it all, or scroll through.
For privacy issues, teachers will like that they don't have to put their school or student movies onto Youtube anymore, and there is less of a process to go through.



Friday, 10 February 2017

Experimenting with Rocketium

Rocketium is very easy to use. The only thing you can't do is adjust how the graphics appear with a free account. Make sure you make all graphics landscape rather than portrait, as you can see in mine that some of the portrait graphics are cut off. This is a great tool for younger students to use when publishing their inquiry or writing work. It could also be used as a great reflective tool.




Friday, 13 January 2017

Reading Activity Idea using QR codes and movie making

Create a book trailer in iMovie using the Trailer option which makes it approximately a minute long

  • advertise the book for others to read
  • tell the synopsis of the story
  • explain one part of the story in more detail



Create the graphics by using the Free Adobe Illustrator Draw app. Follow instructions for how to use the app on this post 'Creating Clipart, Cartoons and Avatars'.






Once the movie is made and uploaded to a Youtube channel, copy the Youtube URL and make a QR code of it on QRStuff

Print out the QR code and stick it to the cover of the book. Build up a series of books that are kept in the Library.

12 ways to energise Learning

I came across this infographic by Atomic Learning '12 ways to energise Learning'. Some of these you may already be doing, consider using some of the other ideas in your daily planning.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Maths: Symmetrical Patterns

Found this great app through Facebook today 'Amaziograph'. It does cost NZ $1.29 but it is worth it.

You can create Geometric patterns using Reflection, Rotation, Symmetry and Kaleidoscope.

You can make mandalas. It is best used with a Stylus.

Here a few examples that show how you can do it.





How could you use this in the classroom?

  • Draw Mandalas
  • brain break
  • symmetry and reflection activity
  • make patterns for others to colour in (make a colouring book)