Monday, February 20, 2017


I'd heard about InstaGrok before but was reminded of it again while at TCEA a few weeks 
ago and decided to check it out again to see what had 
been added & how it had changed. 
What I found was that it is a GREAT resource for students 
and bonus... it's totally free!
{Only downside is that it doesn't appear their iOS app is working anymore!}

What is InstaGrok
InstaGrok is a research tool that allows users to build a concept map
 that they can pin notes, websites, videos, and facts to- 
keeping all of their resources in one place.  
Users can then open a journal that cites all of the resources with active hyperlinks, 
creating a fully interactive journal that can be saved and shared.

A user starts by typing in a search term & clicking Grok after creating a free account. 

A visual concept map will appear with lots of different words connected. 

Clicking each item gives you a box with lots of different options to select from: 
Key Facts, Websites, Videos, Images, Concepts, and Notes. 
You can scroll through each tab and select those items you want to keep 
by clicking the pin button on the right side of each item. 

There is even a difficulty level at the top that you can slide to 
make the results easier or more challenging. 
There are also buttons at the top that allow you to customize the colors. 

On the Journal tab you can review the information and use it to help your write a paper. 
On the far right side it has both a list of pinned items and a bibliography of those items. 

An InstaGrok can be shared in a variety of ways or even embedded on a website!

You can check out a sample InstaGrok HERE
What a great tool for researching!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

American Democracy Collection

I blogged a few weeks ago about some Presidential Inauguration Resources that would 
be great for using next Monday on President's Day but came 
across another great resource recently that I just had to share. 

Google Arts and Culture is one of my favorite Google resources. 

Google Arts & Culture has collaborated with over 1,200 international museums, galleries and institutions from 70 countries to make their exhibits available for everyone online. Google Arts & Culture is a place you can meet the people, visit the places and learn about the events that shaped our world. Discover collections curated by experts from the most famous museums. Be moved by stories depicted in thousands of photos, videos, manuscripts and artworks on every type of screen and in virtual reality. Find your favorite artworks, create your own collections and share them with friends.

There's even a great app you can find HERE

For Presidents' Day they've partnered with 30 cultural institutions to bring
 us history from the United States presidency in a single collection: American Democracy. 

It includes over 2,000 new artifacts, photos, pictures and more and 158 exhibits 
that will help students remember and celebrate the history, 
lives, and legacies of the 44 US presidents. 

Students can learn about presidential pets, 

and view lots of other collections including viewing 25 presidential portraits 
captured using Google’s Art Camera. 
These gigapixel quality images allow you to zoom in and explore 
details of these portraits more thoroughly than you could with the naked eye.

Such a treasure of fabulous resources! 
Thank you Google!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Twitter Advanced Search

Have you ever tried to find a Tweet you know you (or someone else) posted, but can't? 
It used to happen to me all the time until I discovered that
 Twitter has an Advanced Search page!

It's awesome because you can use Twitter's Advanced Search 
to easily search through any user's tweet history! 

The Advanced Search page allows you to search by 
words, hashtags, places, and even dates!
As long as someone's account is public, you can search their tweets!

So my awesome friend (& fabulous principal) Jeff Mann often posts about mustaches (because he has a great one!) so if I do a search for the word mustache and include his Twitter account handle, I get a list of all his tweets including the word mustache!

So next time you are looking for a tweet and can't find it, 
check out the Twitter Advanced Search! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Sometimes you need to quickly collect votes on a topic from students or teachers. 

Next time you do, try using Dotstorming! 

Dotstorming is a super easy page to set up and it is free!

To get started you create a free account 
(which is just name, email, and password)
and then add a topic. 
You give the topic a name, a description, 
and choose how many votes each person gets and then click Create. 
That's it! 

Then you add items either as an idea (text) or an image. 

Once you are finished adding ideas and images, 
you click the Share button which gives you an option to either share 
via a link or embed on a website. 

You can check out a simple example HERE

Once on the website you just type in your name in the top right corner and click Join. 

To vote you simply click the circle of the item you want to vote for. 
You can even leave comments under items. 

Simple and free- what more can you ask for? 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

TCEA Presentation Resources

As always I had an amazing time at TCEA in Austin this year!
It's always such a great week of learning and connecting!

I was blessed to be able to present three workshops this year and loved each of them. 

Below are links to each of my presentation websites- 
feel free to share with anyone you think might be interested in or benefit from them!

This workshop covered how to learn HOW to search efficiently
 and effectively to find what we are looking for, quickly using some
great Google searching tips and tricks!

This workshop covered over 850 different FREE resources divided by topic!

This workshop was full of free resources for early childhood students divided by topic!

Monday, February 6, 2017


I'm at the fabulous TCEA conference in Austin this week!

If you are heading to TCEA, I'd love for you to join me in one of my sessions:

Can't attend this year? 
No worries- just check out my TCEA 17 Pinterest board where I'm 
pinning some of the great handouts, sites, and apps I find! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Interactive Music Resources

I had a teacher ask for some online music resources recently
 so I started doing some searching. 
And what I found is that there are a TON of great music resources online!  

I've linked a GIANT list at the bottom of this post of some great interactive
 art and music sites, but here are a few of my favorite music ones: 

Chrome Music Lab is such a great resource for music teachers!
On this site you can play with sound, rhythm, melody, and more. 
Chrome Music Lab is all built for the web, so you can start playing instantly, 
whether you’re on a tablet, phone, or laptop.

The Early Bird Singers is such a fun site!
You simply click on the birds to make your own tune or click to play 3 Blind Mice. 

This Orchestra game is a fun way to practice identifying instruments by sound. 

Did you know you could practice just about any instrument virtually?  You can! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Treat Tags: Smartie Pants

One of my favorite things to do is send happy mail to folks in our school district. 
This year I actually put items on my calendar to remind me to 
do so and I've made an effort to do it for any meetings I hold as well.

It may seem silly to send folks little bags of snacks with a cute note, 
but it's funny how something little bitty with a note reminding someone 
that they are loved and appreciated- can make a HUGE impact. 

As I complete my little thank you treats I'll post the printables 
so you can make your own.

This week I picked up some Smarties and created a tag that said:

Hey there, smartie pants. 
Thanks so much for all that you do!
We appreciate you so! 

and taped a Smartie in the center. 
Easy and cute! 

You can print out your own copy HERE
Some files are a PDF with four per page on it,
some are PDF files with four pages per file, 
and some are JPG files that you can print in any size.
(That's how I printed these- wallet sized)
If you aren't sure how to print four per page from a PDF, 
you can find directions for doing so HERE

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