Game-Based Learning

Game-Based Learning is an opportune way to engage our students in a motivational way that will encourage long term learning. The following is a link to my voicethread on game-based learning.


Tar Heel Reader Review

Tar Heel Reader is a site created through the University of North Carolina. It is useful for beginning readers from Kindergarten through at least second grade. Teachers or students with help can create personalized story books with pictures or other legal images and short sentences.


Here are instructions on how to use this site:

The script for the screencast is attached here:

Hi! This is the Tar Heel Reader website.  This is the page you will see when you first come to this website; however, you can’t do anything with the page until you create an account.

If you go to this dome picture in the upper left corner and click. There is a menu here. You go to help, and go to Frequently Asked Questions. You will see a question about a registration code. When you go to create your registration, you first have to send an e-mail to Once that happens you will receive an e-mail with a code. When you complete your registration there will be a place to put your code in there.

They say they are looking for spammers. They do not want spammers to have access to their site.

Now, once you come to this page. You will click on either “Find a Book” or “Write a Book,” and then it will take you to the registration page the first time you come to the site. After you register, you obviously have the option of finding a book or writing a book.

I am going to go up here (cursor goes to dome) because I have already started a book.

(From the dome)

You can see here there are also find a book. There are “Collections.” There are collections that you have created or there are collections on the site that you can go through and look at.

Now, going back over to the dome, you can create your favorites. You have an option here, like on the Home screen to write a book.

If you are not logged in you can log in here.

Announcements are what is currently happening with the site. You can see they have just begun to include French translations on some books.

I’m going here to “Your Books” to a book I have already created. The name of the book is “Where Did Kitty Go.” I will click edit.

When you first open this page it is blank. You have the option of clicking here (blank box under “Find a Picture”), and looking for pictures that are already in the Tar Heel Reader Gallery or you can upload one of your own pictures. I am going to upload my final picture for the book I have created.

You can see here that the picture is uploading. (Cursor points to a blue spinning circle under “upload your own pictures.”)

You can see the pictures that I have already in here. Each picture is its own page. You can rearrange the pictures if you like. I am going to put that back now. Once your pictures are uploaded, then you can fill in a short sentence. I will show you that after the other page uploads. The pictures that you use, you need to check that you do have permission from any copyright holders of the images that you have used. These images that I have used are pictures that I took myself, so I obviously have ownership of these pictures.

While the picture is still uploading there, you can see this is turning, it is still uploading.  You can fill in the title here. I called it “Where Did Kitty Go?”

Your user name that you use for registration will be here (under Author).  You choose which language you want to use. We will use English. You can classify your book for the Tar Heel Reader web site. I have chosen “Fiction” and “Animals and Nature.”

The Audience Rating:

This site was not actually created for children’s books specifically though it obviously can be used for that. With that in mind, you can rate your book “E” for “Everybody” or “C” for “Caution.”  Caution is there because this is a book that you do not want young children to see for whatever reason.

You have the option to “Save as a Draft” or to “Publish.”  If you choose to publish you book, the people who run the website will review it first before they will allow it to be actually published to make sure it is appropriate.

Here we have the last slide. I will click to edit here. (The cursor clicks under the picture in dialogue box). You can see how easy it is to add your sentences. (Final sentence is typed on screen.)  There, and that completes the book.

I will save this a draft first.

I will make sure we have covered everything over here. I believe we have.


You can use Flickr. Pictures outside of that must have a Creative Commons License.


I created a book as a sample which I read using a screencast here:


This tool works well with Maryland Common Core State Standards in ELA for kindergartners.

W3 Use combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

Classrooms on the Web

I looked at three different sites; Mr. Baldock’s Class Blog, Mrs. Morgan’s Superstars, and Mrs. Yollis’s Classroom Blog.

All three sites gave parents and other interested parties information of what was happening in the classroom in a very colorful way.  All three blogs also seemed to be used to teach the elementary students how to blog.

Mr. Blaylock’s 3/4 year students had various experiences from their Reading groups with Mrs. Pike to Loom Band making to their holiday experiences. There are a wide variety of icons on the upper right of the site’s web page that link to the various course content areas as well as a special tab just for spelling homework. This site has a lot of information for parents to keep up with what is happening in the classroom.

Mrs. Morgan’s second grade class had been active from surprise Skype calls from the Airman brother of one of her students. The site also listed other activities the students had been involved with. I like the links down the side of this site. The academic links are common sites her students can use at home to practice skills learned in class. Having these links in one place along with a running log of classroom activities makes this blog parent friendly.

Mrs. Yollis’s third grade classroom blog interested me in that her students are an active part of creating some of these blogs.  I liked the video of students giving the rules to creating comments to blog posts. This is a wonderful way to teach digital etiquette starting at a young age. This site also contains academic links on the lower right side with archived blogs listed just above. The students and parents also have access to other blogs.

Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Yollis’s class blogs also have links to a twitter account making more of a connection to the community.

These sites have wonderful ideas of being able to bring the outside world into the classroom.  I love that parents can not only see what is going on in the classroom, but also see what their own children have to say about what is happening. The children get an authentic opportunity to develop their digital skills under the guidance of their teachers.

I am encouraged now to one day set up a classroom blog for my own classroom.



Mr. Baldock’s Class BLOG (

Mrs. Morgan’s Superstars (

Mrs. Yollis’s Classroom Blog (

Teachers Provide Technological Information for the Classroom

I looked at three different teacher blogs; Edutech for Teachers, CoolCat Teacher, and Blogging about the web connected classroom.

The first site I looked, Edutech for Teachers, was nicely laid out in the form of a journal. The date tabs along the side of the virtual spiral notebook made each blog on the site easy to follow.  The site was loaded with links both within each blog post as well as in a side bar to the right of the virtual journal. The author reaches out to teachers with innovative tools to aid classroom learning by engaging students with technology. Tools can range from links to valuable web sites to quotes that inspire students in their learning.

This award winning site is an inspiration of teacher tools.

The next site I viewed was CoolCat Teacher. This blog shows ways to bring technology into the classroom. The author tackles topics like the use of effective e-mail and improving writing as well as the hot topic of BYOD to school. She also advertises for some software called “Work Wonders.”  She gives an example of a book trailer she created with Power Point which looks interesting.  I used her links to find out more of what exactly “Work Wonders” is, but only found more examples. I never really found a description of the product.  I did find it is part of Office.

The last site I looked at was entitled “Blogging about the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom.” The focus of this site is more of the purpose for including web based technology in the classroom. Web based media such as Twitter and other sites can be used to gather ideas to use to enhance learning in the classroom. He also discusses various apps that can be useful to collect and share ideas to be used in the classroom.

All three sites were full of supportive information for educators to enhance the classroom experience; however, the third site was lacking in links to other sites. All three sites met their informative goals and encouraged me in my development of my classroom.


Edutech (

CoolCat Teacher  (

Blogging about Web 2.0 Connected Classroom (