Turning your laptop screen into a touchscreen with AirBar

AirBar brings the capabilities of a touchscreen to your laptop. No tools or software are required, just a simple USB plugin provides you with the ability pinch, swipe, zoom, tap and draw using your finger, a stylus or even a paintbrush.  Presently AirBar works on computers with Windows 7, 8, or 10 or a Chromebook. Just plug it in and create an interactive screen.AirBar

Turn on the closed captioning to boost literacy skills

Closed captioning was initially created to provide access to video recordings and television programing for individuals with hearing impairments. However, turning on the closed captions has been found to support literacy skills for struggling readers. The use of closed captions has lead to improved foundational reading skills including, phonics, word recognition, vocabulary and fluency. The use of closed captions increases access to print and provides another way of presenting print. Listen to the research and turn on the captions to boost reading skills for all students to improve their speed and fluency. When using captions students are more engaged and increase retention of information because they are actively participating in the learning process.  Students are more focused on the information that they are recieving visually and auditorially especially when provided with high interest material.

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Closed Captioning Gives Literacy a Boost – Education Week

Captioning to Support Literacy | Reading Rockets

Using song lyrics to improve fluency

Music reading

Reading fluency is the ability to read text quickly and accurately with expression and comprehension.  Reading fluently involves a reader’s ability to use multiple skills simultaneously. As a reader reads a text it is important that he/she is able to decode and comprehend  individual words, complete phrases and sentences that he/she encounters. When the reader has to stop at each word and spend time trying to pronounce it or determine its meaning it impacts their overall understanding of what they are reading.

Using song lyrics can help build fluency skills through repeated reading of familiar text that has a rhythm to it. Using song lyrics can be a motivating activity for reluctant readers who are struggling with reading fluency. Incorporating familiar or popular song lyrics can also help provide a confidence boost as they are reading what their peers are reading.

Read on to see how some teachers are using song lyrics to help build fluency skills with their students.

Reading Sage: Songs and Lyrics for Intermediate Students

Use Popular Music to Improve Reading and Inspire Writing

Using Music to Improve Reading: Close Up and Fluent!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher: Fluency Through Music




Minecraft breaks down classroom barriers


Who would of thought that a video game that gives kids the tools to build with 3D blocks and dig holes in a virtual reality would lead to improving skills in the classroom. Minecraft is a game of discovery, construction, and learning, and it’s being used in a variety of school settings for mathematics, physics, history, and reading comprehension. Scott McKenzie, a teacher, uses Minecraft in his classroom to help remove barriers and provide students who struggle a means to show what they know.

Pool noodles

Summer is a great time for some easy DIY projects. A summer pool noodle can be used in the classroom to help when working on literacy and math skills. Check out these quick and easy projects that can be created with pool noodles.

noodle 7noodle2noodle1                   noodle 5noodle4         pool noodle place valueResources:

  • http://www.secondstorywindow.net/home/activity/
  • http://blog.heidisongs.com/2013/09/pool-noodle-color-words.html
  • http://aneighborhoodkindergarten.blogspot.com/
  • http://literacyteachermomof3.blogspot.com/
  • http://indulgy.com/post/AvzJlTIDX2/use-pool-noodles-as-place-value-manipulative






Google Drive Checklist for Teachers

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.37.46 PMFiona Bessey-Bushnell, Occupational Therapist, Chesterfield County Public Schools suggested that we share a link to a recent post in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  This post highlights a Google Drive Checklist for Teachers.  This checklist includes sections to help students better understand Google Drive,  Google Docs, Google Presentation, Google Forms, Spreadsheets and Drawing.  Check it out!


Talking classroom posters

Last week’s TechKnowledgy webinars were a wonderful opportunity to hear how technology can be used in the classroom to enhance, develop and share concepts. Many of the ideas from Google apps to websites and strategies could be implemented with all students. One such strategy was giving the posters hanging on classroom walls a voice. Kelly Fonner suggested adding a programmable voice output button to anchor charts and posters. By allowing students to record the messages and access the information easily there is now a purpose for the posters, beyond making the classroom look inviting. What a great way to give all students access to the information found on posters or anchor charts.




Newsela is a chrome app that publishes daily news articles at 5 reading levels from grades 3-12. You can explore a library of high-quality, engaging nonfiction text for your students. Topic areas include war and peace, science, kids, money, law, health, arts, and sports.   Newslela is free.

Download Newsela in the Chrome App Store: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/newsela/bfpeiapdhnegnfcfkdfihabadngjagfj

Flipping for Adpated Books

Adapted books are a wonderful resource allowing all students opportunities to build literacy skills through accessible books.  Keeping all of the components of an adapted book together however can be a bit of a challenge.  This video shows how one teacher organized the pieces of a book by creating a flip out page allowing for a choice board and sentence strip to remain attached to the body of the book. When finished the choice board and sentence strip flip back inside, creating a book that is easily stored with all of the pictures neatly tucked inside.


4th Annual Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference


Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 11.38.23 PM

The 4th Annual Virtual TechKnowledgy Conference 2014 kicks off November 5 with a  keynote address by Kelly Fonner, “Broaden Your Students’ Educational Horizons through Assistive Technologies”.  On November 6 & November 7 tune in to hear the sessions “Free Technology Tools for Struggling Readers” and “Free Electronic Books and Software for Struggling Students”.  Registration is free.  Future sessions will be held in February, April and September 2015.

For more information click here.