Presenting “L’iPad dietro e davanti ai banchi” at Teniamoci per mouse in Milan

I had the privilege of presenting at “Teniamoci per mouse” an event I have attended the past four years. After getting to know the organizers I was asked to take part in the event this year as a presenter.

TeniamocipermouseThe title “L’iPad dietro e davanti ai banchi” bascially translates to “The iPad behind and in front of students desks”. I wanted to show how we at my school are using the iPad both with the students and as teachers. The important thing that I wanted to get across was that even with a limited supply of iPads (my school only has one per class and six available in a cart) you cans still do amazing things.

For what the students are doing, I spoke about using the Book Creator App that allows our students to create their own textbook that demonstrates what they have learned in their units. Another app for students was Keynote where we are having our year 5 students work together in groups to create a pechakucha. A pechakucha is basically a very organized presentation where you show 20 images for 20 seconds each while you present.

For the part about the teachers using iPads, I mentioned how they are using the iPads to document learning and uploading information to the school website and twitter accounts. The app I featured is NearPod which allows teachers to share a presentation and collect real-time answers from students.

I did make a side note about the ColARmix App which creates an augmented reality from a child’s coloring sheet.


It was a great experience for me not only because I was able to present but that I had to present in Italian. It was probably the largest crowd that I have spoken to at a professional event in my second language.

Year 4 Infographics Migration

The project

After working on infographics with the Year 5 class and helping the Middle School teachers use infographics in their lessons I wanted to see how it would work with year 4 students. The students were doing research on immigration emigration and migration of people as part of their Unit of Inquiry. In math they were focusing on charts and graphs. This combination led perfectly to having the students work on infographics. The students were divided in groups and were given a country to research. The countries were chosen based on the high number of immigrants from each country in Italy. They were asked to look at the statistics and inquire about the reasons for their countries immigration and emigration statistics.

The process

  • I did an introductory lesson on Infographics and gave the students and opportunity to explore the and websites.
  • The students were then free to choose between the two sites for their infographics. All groups chose because of the wider selection of graphs and charts that could be used.
  • We gave the students countries to research for and directed them to a few websites where they could find the information:
  • We discussed the expectations with the students for the visual presentations.
    • They needed represent their data in a clear and understandable way
    • They needed to keep the images and graphics on topic.
    • They needed to cite their sources
  • We asked the students to answer the following questions
    • What is the population of these countries?
    • Where are the countries?
    • What countries and bodies of water surround these countries?
    • Where do the people from these countries emigrate to?
    • How many people emigrate from these countries?
  • When the students had finished collecting their information they began inserting the information into their infographic.


  • To assess we are using observational notes and a rubric.


This was a very successful unit, in large part because of the collaboration with the classroom teachers. We all worked together and held only co-taught lessons. This had a huge advantage, it allowed the teachers to get first hand knowledge with the software which in turn allowed them to work throughout the week directly with the students on the project.

Example Student Project

ICT in the PYP part 3

In our school I (the ICT Specialist) have made great strides in integrating ICT more into the curriculum. We still have a computer lab and assigned lab times, but little by little I am working my way into the classrooms and co-teaching lessons with our primary and middle schools.

I officially meet with each class bi-weekly (although I tend to have informal meetings much more often) to discuss integration into either their units or their stand alone lessons. We are a bilingual school and I tend to work most with the English speaking teachers mostly because they are the ones who are working during ICT time. I have integrated and co-taught some lessons with some of our Italian teachers as well.

It is not always easy with many teachers wanting to create “projects” without true integration. I think my time as a classroom PYP teacher in the past helps me try to guide them away from this idea. I try to either be part of the summative or formative assessments in each unit so the teachers can see the integration better themselves. I might start working with a class in co-teaching or in the lab and the students need to then work in their classrooms (with portable computers) to finish.

I try to connect to the UOI whenever possible but I don’t want to force any connections. Doing so tends to lead to more of a “Project based” rather than “Inquiry based” Learning.

When I cannot find a relative connection I also will connect with stand alone lessons. For example now with our year 1 I am connecting with maths and we are exploring place value. I have worked with our year 4 class in maths with creating charts and graphs, we then took those lessons and used them to create infographics for their following unit on migration, immigration and emigration.

I am Poem iMovie slideshow

In Year 5 English the students were learning about poetry. I met with the teachers and showed them a video that I saw in a presentation by Allison Mollica (@amollica) at the Google Apps for Edu European Summit in Prague. Her students wrote a poem about their home and made a video presentation of their poem. You can visit her site to see the original example.

We decided to use that video as a starting point. During our meeting we talked about making the poem and video more personal and also incorporating the bilingual capabilities of our students.  We decided that the students were free to write their poems in either English or Italian. One of the teachers remembered using an “I am” poem from and after reviewing it we made copies in English and Italian for the students to use as a template.

Before we started working the classroom teachers and I talked with the students and we developed a rubric that would be used to evaluate the students work. We talked about what makes a good visual presentation: the quality of the poem, the images selected for the video, the speed of both the written and spoken words and the lack of distracting transitions etc.

While the students wrote their poems in class, I worked with them on their image research skills. We looked at the advanced search tools on Google. The students were taught to filter their searches based on the images dimensions, colors, and types of images.  We talked about citing the images they used. We had a wonderful discussion about fair use and copyright for both school related work and non school related work.

Once the students had selected their images they began piecing together their iMovie presentation. We asked the students to read their poem in one language and put subtitles for their poem in the other language. They worked for two weeks in iMovie during co-teaching lessons, meaning that both myself and the classroom teacher were present during the four hours of work time that the students had.

Below is an example video, I had to cut a few parts of the movie out because of privacy issues.


Read Write Think “I am” poem writing prompt (


Piktochart Y5 Government Infographics

The project

Instead of just doing a presentation or a presentation in general I thought it would be a good idea to have the students create infographics about governments. Their unit focused on the different forms of government (democracy, monarchy, etc.). At first when we I met with the teachers to propose this project we had decided the students would just do a simple infographic that would describe on type of government. The students would have worked in pairs and found out statistical information about their selected form of government.

After the first few weeks we decided to take the project in another direction. We talked about their summative assessment for the unit and their third line of inquiry (what is life like in each form of government). We decided that the students should research statistics that related to standard of living in two countries that had different forms of governments. The would look at the following statistics: Population (male/female), Life expectancy (total/male/female), Average years in school (total/male/female), Unemployment (total/male/female), Labor force by occupation, Population below the poverty line, Internet users and Mobile Telephones. They would then have to compare the two countries in their infographics.

The process

  • I did an introductory lesson on Infographics and gave the students and opportunity to explore the website.
  • We gave the students specific information to search for and directed them to three websites where they could find the information:
    • The CIA World Handbook,
    • The UN Database
  • We discussed the expectations with the students for the visual presentations.
    • They needed represent their data in a clear and understandable way
    • They needed to keep the images and graphics on topic.
    • They needed to cite their sources
  • When the students had finished collecting their information they began inserting the information into their infographic.
  • When the students finished they needed to download their infographic and email it to all the teachers involved and post it to their blogs.

Examples of student work


To assess we are using observational notes and a rubric.


I really enjoyed this project. The students seemed to enjoy it as well, the process of creating the infographics. I liked how the students were really enthusiastic about their work. When you can create that enthusiasm in the students it is always a great satisfaction. If I would do this project again I would make sure to spend more time working with the students on how to organize and present their information. I would also like to give them time to reflect on their findings. I would ask them which country’s system was better for the people who lived there and to explain why using the data in the infographic as a reference.

ICT in the PYP part 2

I was recently asked if I felt the work I assign for our students could become monotone. I don’t feel that what the students at my school do is monotone. If my class time was used only to do the research for all of their projects, then yes it definitely would become very monotone. As I said before that is basically how my lessons were seen. Time to research for something they were doing in class. Other times I would try to make my own projects but in 6 hours per unit we would never be able to create something worthwhile. They would either not have enough time to do proper research or not have enough time to finsh their work.

I will try to give you an example of how I worked with our year four class this unit. In the planning meetings (before the unit) we were discussing which ways to create a summative assessment. We didn’t say that it needed to be an ICT based project or not, we just wanted to see what we thought would best show the students understanding of the central idea. It just so happened that we decided that we would have the students create a presentation.

We decided that the students would cover information each week in class about their city of choice (their unit was about how civilizations and cities developed around water). Each week they would look at the reason why cities developed in those areas and they would do research in class or at home.

During my first lesson for this unit we were in the computer lab for one hour where we discussed the idea behind their project and reviewed They had used the program in year 3 but it has been updated. I discussed the importance of citing their resources (providing examples) and how to search for images and information more successfully using Google advanced search techniques.

During the next four lessons, we were in the classroom with our portable computers. The students would then have 2 hour lessons instead of 1 hour lessons because we normally have half groups in the lab. They would use this time to work in prezi inserting the information they found and searching for images and videos that fit into their project. Each week I would show them a tip or trick that might help but for the most part they were busy working.

In the third and fourth week the teachers signed out the portable computers and lab on their own and worked with the class on their own using the ICT skills they learned in our co-teaching lessons to help the students.

During the final week of the unit the teachers had the students present their work and they were graded using a rubric that we developed together.

Any Place, Any device, Any time

Last weekend I attended the Google Apps for Education European Summit in Prague. It was definitely an eye opening experience. Even though I feel that I do a good job of integrating ICT into the lessons all over my school, It was nice to see some new and innovating ideas floating around. Obviously they all centered around using Google Apps in schools, which in a way was refreshing to see how many different ways different schools are using them. There were educators from all European countries except Norway, and many other parts of the world; coordinators, teachers and admin, it was just a very eclectic group of individuals with a common goal. Will Florance, the head of Enterprise EDU for Google EMEA, put it best when he said their focus was “making learning magical” to all students.
One of the concepts that I liked the most was the fact that, even though they were allowing us to play with chrome books during the event, they were not trying to tell us that we had to buy their products. Their platform was “Any Place, Any device, Any time”. I really feel that that is where the future is heading. You cannot expect schools, especially smaller ones like mine, to ever be able to buy every student a tablet or an portable computer. Nor can you expect the families to purchase a specific device because a school told them to.
The fact that you can create, edit and do almost anything with Google Apps on almost any computer or tablet would allow for this to happen.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Google Apps work better and more fluidly on an Android device or a Chromebook. Just a few days after the event one of the presenters tweeted the she was “giving up her iPhone to get more out of Google Apps on an Android device”. That also doesn’t mean that it is a mediocre product on iOS or other devices. In my opinion there would be an advantage in keeping the iPhone and maybe getting an Android tablet. Which is what I may do down the line.

iBook Project Year 1

The project

The year one students were working on a UOI that talked about rights and responsibilities. Along with the teachers we decided to have the students create an iBook using iBook Author. I knew the students would not have been ready to use the iBooks Author software, so I had them do their work in Pages. Each group of 2 or three students worked together in Pages, taking turns writing.

The process

  •    Write sentences that explain one right and one responsibility for different areas in the school and at home. [In class]
  •    Learn how to use Pages (Titles, font family, font size, font color, etc.) [in ICT lab]
  •    Make drawings that illustrate their sentences. [in class]
  •    Write/Copy sentences into pages [in ICT lab]
  •    Scan drawings onto server [Teachers]
  •    Insert image into pages (not all were able to do this step) [in ICT Lab]
  •    Combine all Pages documents and create iBook with iBook author [Teacher]

iBook Rights

Prezi food webs in lower primary


Our Year 3 teachers were working on a unit that dealt with how things are connected. They wanted to make food webs that would help show their understanding of how all things are interconnected. They were trying to figure out the best way to have students create these webs dynamically. I introduced our year 3 teachers and students to I have used the program before with Year 4, 5 and even the Middle School. This was the first time that I had used the program with a lower primary school. Most of this project was done during regular class time and the ICT lab time was used to introduce to the students and


  • Students needed to select an animal to research
  • Students were introduced to and they were asked to create a practice presentation inserting images, frames and creating a simple path.
  • Students researched their animals looking for their animal’s predators and prey and other parts of their animals food web
  • Students then inserted their information in their Prezi.

Example of student work


The teachers and I created a rubric that we used to grade the student’s work. I looked mostly at the technique and use of prezi, while the teachers looked at the content and understanding.


This project was a great success both for the students and teachers involved. What was nice to see was that later on in the year the students had to work on another project where they could use any media to show what they learned. The majority of students decided to work in prezi.


Resources, tips and help for teachers