Posted in 21st Century Learning, Ideas, Links, PBL, Presentations, Projects, QR Codes, Roanoke County Schools, STEM

Presenting the Oak Grove Digital Archive

The teachers at Oak Grove Elementary decided, during a faculty book study meeting, to create a digital archive on their school website to display all the wonderful projects there students were creating for STEM, PBL, and 21st Century Learning.  They wanted a way for parents and students to have “copies” of the three dimensional group projects the students were creating. Also, they wanted to showcase digital projects that their students were creating with iPads and other devices.  Take a look here:

The Oak Grove Digital Archive

The newest step in this adventure is to also post QR codes around the school.  Parents can scan the QR codes to see the virtual projects or read more about the things their children have been creating in class.  It is a physical way to display work in the hall with a digital link.  Take look at some of the teachers’ displays:

I’m really excited about the ways teachers are taking technology to the next level at Oak Grove.  Stop by their site and see what you think!

Posted in Ideas, Links, Math, Reading, Roanoke County Schools, Science, Video

Flocabulary (Hip Hop Videos for the Classroom)

Have you heard of Flocabulary? It’s a website that does hip hop songs to help students remember certain facts. It started with SAT vocab, but has expanded to all levels and subjects. To have access to all the videos/songs you need to pay a fee, but a few are free…including the one for Egypt, which you can watch here.

Note the lyrics below the song (they are clickable) and the resources to go with it on the right hand side of the page. I will warn you…you will be singing the chorus to this in your head all day after you hear it, or at least I did! 🙂

There are other free videos too worth checking out on the site, including Confessions of a Planet (Space), On Trial! (Test Taking Vocabulary), Let Freedom Ring (Civil Rights), This Ain’t Working (American Revolution), Place Value, Scientific Method of Madness, and more!  There is a vocabulary section broken down by grade level and tons of other great videos in the paid version. You can also download songs in iTunes (for $.99 each).  Take a look (and listen).  I think you will love these!


Posted in Links, Roanoke County Schools, social studies

Make Your Own Presidential Ad!

Want to be President?  Well, you can at least make your own commercial!  Try it out here:

Presidential Campaign Ad-o-matic

You can definitely grab your students attention, or have them make their own as the beginning to a writing prompt.  During the process students will need to upload their pictures, choose their political party, and choose the items in their platform.  Very fun!

Posted in Ideas, Links, Roanoke County Schools

Newspapers in Education (Roanoke Times)

If you teach in the Roanoke Valley, you have access to Newspapers in Education. If you’ve used this service in the past, chances are you received paper copies of the Roanoke Times delivered to your classroom each day, for FREE. Now the service has improved even more…the Roanoke Times can now be viewed in a digital form, online, for FREE. It’s available for use in the computer lab, on your laptop, on your activboard, and even at home. And students can access too! It looks exactly like the paper version, but since it’s digital, it’s even better.

Electronic Edition of NIE

With the digital version you can

  • search for specific things using a search box
  • email or print articles with both text and pictures
  • get inserts from any area in the county
  • see past issues of the paper (up to a month)
  • highlight certain sections, scan headlines, flip through pages
  • And yes, you can get the coupons!! 
Article Options
Article Options
Back Issues
Back Issues

I can see this tool being used by students of all ages.  Students can use pictures as writing prompts, find and highlight certain words, view articles about their community, or use the coupons for math lessons.  The weather section is great for all sorts of science and math activites, and  older students can print or email specific artilces to their teachers along with their reactions or summaries. 

In Roanoke County, we’ve set up accounts for our elementary schools to use.  Just visit  Newspapers in Education (  Please see your ITRT for the student login/password (hint: it’s the same student login/password as the computers in our school).  If you work for another division in the Roanoke Valley, or want your own teacher account, just enroll!  You can also contact Trent Currin at 540-981-3286 or email her at

Posted in activboard, Links, Math, Online Testing

Virtual Manipulatives

virtualmanipulatives1I found this great math site by Glencoe on a blog I recently started following, InTech InSights by Karen Ogen.  I am always looking for ways to practice the online tools that are similar to those used in testing, and this site has both a ruler (which doesn’t have the zero line at the end) and a protractor.  Not only is is great for testing, there are tons of other manipulatives, workmats, storyboards, and game mats available (Base Ten blocks and boards, balance activities, calendars, grids, clocks, money, shapes, spinners, thermometers, counters, fraction pieces, and a bunch of other items).  The site is great for PK-8th grade, and will work well on the ActivBoard!  Check it out!virtualmanipulatives2