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Technology Tuesday – Supporting Differentiation in the Classroom

Differentiating Content:

Here are a few tools to help in finding content suited to the different levels in your classroom.

Twurdy – – Need to find content to help in differentiation in the classroom?   Twurdy searched the internet and labels results with a readability score.  The darker orange the background of the result is the higher readability level it has.  This would be great when searching  for materials for struggling readers and for the gifted students who need more of a challenge.   The have their own scale system so be sure to check out the feature to turn the age level to understand their system.

Google Reading Level – Google also has a search filter that will sort results based on Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Reading Levels.   Type in your search term(s) and then click on the reading level you want to focus on to see the websites that fall in that category.

Text Compactor  – – Create a summary of your text by pasting in the passage, drag the slider to show how much of the text you want to keep in the summary and then view the results.   You can also cut and paste the results into a text to speech program or into a language translator to help process the information even more.  This could be used for those ELL students or for struggling readers to comprehend the text.  Or use it in the writing process as students pasting in their own writing and determining if the created summary really reflects what was intended by the student.

Sweet Search – – A search engine designed to give results based on analyzing the credibility of the website so students will have access to information that is more accurate than random sites.   This website also contains widgets that you can place on your website so that students can use it as a launching point for searches in class and at home.


Differentiating Product

This is easy with Web 2.0 technology tools.  Students do not need to all create the same product, but choices can be given to allow them to choose a method that is more in alignment with their intelligences.  All these tools help students create.  According to the Digital Bloom’s taxonomy – creating is on the high end of the spectrum of critical thinking tools.  You don’t have to be an expert in all of these tools.  Tutorials already exist in youtube or by talking to other teachers who have the how-to papers ready to go.  Students are ready to learn the program to accomplish the product so let them try!


This list is not comprehensive, but this should get you started.

Management of Differentiated Products:

Worried about grading all these different products?   With the design of a good rubric grading can be easy as the content should always be what you are looking for no matter what the packaging is.   Rubistar is a great place to start in designing a rubric.

Tammy Worcester had a great idea of how to gather all the links/products into one place with a digital dropbox.  Using a google form, create a place for students to turn in their links for easy access to all products posted online.



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Technology Tuesday: Free Classroom Tools

In the training I attended yesterday the presenter used some pretty slick digital tools to time activities and choose people to call on.  Although that software was for sale, I also know there are some free alternatives that will do some of the same things.  Here are a few to explore before spending your money:

Triptico:  This is an installation, but once installed you have access to classroom timers, random number/name pickers and spinners.  All of these tools can be created ahead of time and saved on your computer for access use later on. Files can also be shared, so if teacher A creates a great spinner, then that file can be shared to Teacher B, C, D, etc without a problem.  This program also has several other templates including quizzes, scoring, and games. – offers free tools that do not require a download.  It has a classroom timer complete with your choice of soundtrack to run during the countdown.  It also has a random name/number picker for using to pick what student in each group you would like to call on.  These would have to be created as you need them and cannot be saved for future use.  You may want to save any lists you create in a word doc to be able to copy and paste over for quick access.

Online_Stopwatch:  Is also a free online tool that does not require a download.  This timer will count up or down and will go full screen to gain attention of the students.  This is one of my favorites to use!

Smart Notebook:  If you already have a smart slate or smart board in your room, check out the Notebook Gallery section and do a search for a spinner.  The default is for 4 sections, but that can be changed as can the labels and colors.   They also have a random number generator that can be used to randomly pick numbers in the number range that you set.  These can also be shared amongst the other smart slate users on a campus.

I also know several of my staff has iPads or other devices they bring to campus on a regular basis.  Check out the app store to find free apps for timers to use.

If you know of any other good tools to share (or apps), please leave them in the comments below.


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Twitter Tuesdays – September 27th

Video Resources:

YouTube Channel for Teachers:

@pseudotechgeek: RT @mheducation: YouTube goes live with new channel for #teachers: ~by @tinabarseghian #edtech

Another Good Professional Development Website is Teaching Channel: – a web site dediecated to bringing you good teaching videos to help you grow professionally

 Khan Academy – instructional videos in math, science and the humanities.   Excellent videos to post on your website for reteaching opportunities or to shos in class so kids can hear and see it a different way.

@educationweek: Blog: Learning Math the Khan Academy Way #edtech

Good Technology Modeling for Students:

Ideas on Way to be a good Technology Role Model

RT @pschoolsystems: 20 Everyday Ways to Model Technology Use for Students #edchat #edtech

 Digital Storytelling:

 28 Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators

 RT @missnoor28: Digital #Storytelling Tools for Educators | @scoopit #edtech #edchat



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Twitter Tuesday – September 20th

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Webtool divided out by Bloom’s taxonomy – great resource to find new tools

@shannonmmiller and @mrplough07-Tools for Teaching Students at the Top of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Digital Storytelling Tools

@cossie29: Updated- Digital Storytelling Tools on @scoopit So many fantastic tools out there to encourage a passion for writing!

QR Codes in the Classroom

@SadlierSchool: Using QR Codes in the Classroom via @edutopia #edchat #edtech @dgrice @rjacklin @dawblack :)

Flipped Classroom –

Firsthand accounts of teaching in a flipped classrom.

@haikulearning: 7 Stories from Educators About Teaching in the Flipped Classroom (via Emerging Ed Tech) #edtech

A great infographic explaining what a flipped classroom is and how it developed.

subatomicdoc: The Flipped Classroom [Infographic] via @Knewton #meded #edtech

Facebook and Summarization

The difference between using twitter and facebook is that Facebook statuses can be longer than 140 characters.  But keep in mind that facebook statuses should not be paragraphs of information.    Facebook posts are written to express your thoughts or opinions to you friends so a post should not read as if it is a report written for your teacher.  Most students have a facebook account or have at least seen or heard of facebook.  While using facebook is not advisable, you can take advantage of it’s draw to motivate students in your classroom.  This can be done with one computer and a projector or with multiple computers.

 Here are some ideas to have students summarize with using facebook in mind:

  • Write a status update from a historical perspective or from the perspective or a character in the novel or an element in science
  • What would Columbus have posted after landing in the New World?
  • What would Robert E Lee’s posts been during the Civil War?
  • What would Peeta have posted after the first day in the Hunger Games?

 Other ideas using facebook:

  • Respond to a status update – Show a sample status update on the board and have the students respond to it from different points of view:
    • Read King George’s status update after the Boston Tea Party – how would Samuel Adams have responded?
  • RolePlay – have students/classes assume different characters and interact with each other in a facebook like environment such as edmodo – or in a forum within moodle.

Ways to play this out in the classroom:

    • Roles assigned to each class period – As a class look at the postings on the screen and decide the best response
    • Roles assigned to different teachers  – Interact with different classrooms as a class – partner with teacher who teaches your same grade level/subject in the building or find classes outside of the building who will assume a character adn interact with your classes
    • break the class into groups and have the groups assume a character and decide together how to interact
    • Roles assigned to different students


Resources to make this happen:

  • Create a non-interactive fake facebook wall for a character
  •  Secure Social Networking Site for schools – – Create your own facebook like environment and have kids use the characters name as theirs to make posts.

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