Showing posts from June, 2013

Friday Freebie: Desmos - Beautiful, Free Math!

Today's Friday Freebie is a great one for all my math geek followers! Don't be ashamed. I'm a proud math geek myself! If you're not a math teacher, please read on - if you share this site with your math friends, they'll love you forever. is a free online graphing calculator that does some really powerful stuff. From plotting simple points to graphing linear and quadratic equations to shading areas between functions, Desmos does it all. (For you non-math readers out there, trust me - this is good stuff!)

You can enter multiple functions and color code each one. (See example below.)

You can even enter variables into the equation (like y=mx+b) and Desmos will create "sliders" for you so you can change the values of m and b and watch the graph change. This is a great tool to get students to explore and discover on their own.
If you create your account with your Google account, you can save your graphs directly into Google Drive. Then, they can easi…

Friday Freebie: Create a Storyboard with StoryBoardThat!

Yesterday, I had a wonderful day of training in my "Lights, Camera, iPad" class. I had ten teachers in the class and we explored using iMovie on the iPad to create original movies. In addition to learning the app, we also spent some time learning about "movie making".

Together we explored camera angles, camera shots, panning and zooming, lighting, and frame composition. We also talked at length about the power of storyboarding your movie first.

Wikipedia defines storyboards as "graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence." I define it as good planning!

When given a video project, I find that too often students jump straight to filming figuring they can "wing it" and "make it up as they go along." By asking them to storyboard first, we emphasize good planning and development and the resulting …

Reflections on Michael Fullan's "Stratosphere"

I just completed a stint as a "fellow" at a conference for The Schlechty Center. As part of the conference we read Michael Fullan's Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge. In the book, Fullan  "takes a close look at the fast-paced world of emerging technologies and argues that the inevitable influence of technology on teaching and learning must not be resisted, but rather embraced and applied in meaningful ways to positively impact school classrooms." (from

It was a great read full of thought provoking ideas. Rather than rant on and on about it, I thought I would simply share my favorite quotes from the book. There are a lot, so I've bold faced my favorites. Enjoy!

I call this triad “the stratosphere.” It includes technology with its huge, ever expanding storehouses of information, but also opportunities to learn differently, what I call pedagogy; and it incorporates change knowledge—what we should do with al…