Category Archives: Teacher Tools

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.


Using Dartfish EasyTAG to keep track of PSHE lessons

Image from dartfish websiteThe PSHE teacher at my school, who is quite tech savy, has been looking into software he can use with iPods and iPads (if possible also Android) in his classroom. He found the free Dartfish EasyTAG app that he has been using for the past two weeks that he feels gives adds greatly to his lessons.

This app allows the students to track what is happening in the games that they are playing in real time. For example if they are playing a game called Speed Ball the people who are not participating in the current game can keep track of the stats for their classmates. You can set up different scoring panels for different types of games. You can keep track of different match-ups as well. Another great aspect of this app is that you can export the results either via email or through iTunes.

Dartfish EasyTAG app screenshot 1 Dartfish EasyTAG screenshot 2Dartfish Easytag screenshot 3

For more information on the product you can visit the Dartfish EasyTAG website.

Or you could just download the FREE app and give it a try.

Download from the App StoreDownload Android App



Glogster Y4 Egypt

The project

The Year 4 students were working on a UOI (Unit of Inquiry) about how water usage helped in the creation of cites and civilization. Together with the classroom teachers, we decided to Create a multimedia poster showing the history of river technology. The posters would have to show 3 different tools used water in technology to help civilization form and grow. They were required to choose at least 3 different tools that were used by the ancient Egyptians. They needed to explain how they worked showing examples (images) of them.

The process

Here are the steps that they followed

  • Research various technologies used by the Egyptians that is water (river) related
  • Collect information and organize it for their presentation
  • Learn how to use
  • Create and present information in


We had them do research on the subject using the history of irrigation museum website along with other historical sites. They were told they could only get one of their tools from Wikipedia and that they needed to find the rest on other websites.
Collect and organize information

The students were asked to collect their information in MS Word or Pages in a folder on our school server where they would also save the images they wanted to use. Some students also took pictures of the shivu that they made in class, while others recorded audio about, and others yet made videos explaining one of the other examples.
Learn how to use

This was the first time I had used the software, so it was a learning experience for all. I signed up for a free teacher accounton the website and added my students to my account.

[UPDATE: The account I had is now only available in a very limited version most of my students work is blocked because Glogster changed their policy and I can no longer access them unless I pay. Not Happy!!]

The students then logged in and were shown some example “glogs” and I showed them the basic steps that were needed to create their glogs. They learned how to add text, shapes, images, audio and video.They also learned how to change the background and wall, which seemed to be a little distracting.

Create and present information

After these short lessons the students worked in groups of 2 or 3 to create their posters. We were all very pleased with the results. It is a very high quality free software to use.

[UPDATE: The preview of student work is no longer available. As mentioned before Glogster changed their policy so all of the student accounts that I had created before are no longer available]


I used a rubric to grade the students work.

Great sites to find free alternative software

Working at a small private school, I need to be creative with my budget. Many schools can just buy licenses for all the software that they need. I do not have that option. I am constantly seeking free or open source alternatives to the standard software being used in schools.
 Most people are aware of Open Office as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Some people are familiar with Gimp as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Now if you are a power user these alternatives may still be lacking, but for the average user they are excellent options.
To find alternatives to many of the programs that you use daily you should use one of the following sites:

My first choice for finding alternatives to both desktop and mobile applications.

Another site where you can search for alternative software.

Google SketchUp Y5 Ancient Art & Architecture

The project

The year 5 students were working on a UOI that focused on history. One of the focuses was on the change of Architecture over time. In order to show this we looked at different forms of architecture in the past and the materials and techniques used to create them. Every few weeks I would introduce a new for of architecture. We looked at the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Maya among others. They were asked to try to recreate some of these structures using Google SketchUp

The process

  • Present students with a slideshow of different architecture from different times around the world (Pyramids, Arch of Constatine, Temple of Chizen Iza, La Sagrada Familia, Frank Llyod Wright building, The Guginhem Museum in Bilbao, etc.)
  • Ask students to think about what materials and techniques were used to create these structures
  • Introduce Google SketchUp and basic techniques by having the students create the Arch of (You Name) based on Constatine’s
  • Introduce more advanced techniques while having the students try to recreate Citzen Itza and a Pyramid
  • Give the students an opportunity to create personalized building of their choice

Examples of student work


Observational notes, Rubric


This was a very successful project mostly because many of the students went home and installed the program and began experimenting at home. This is one of the best types of success one could have, creating interest to learn more on their own.

Digital Portfolios with WordPress

Our school requires digital portfolios for the students who are in Year 4 and higher. The students write reflections on selected work that shows their progress over a period of time.

How it was done before I arrived

The previous teacher had the students use a simple WYSIWYG software to create their portfolio websites. They were then housed on our school’s internal server.

What I changed

Coming from a web design background I knew that I wanted to use a simple CMS to allow the students more flexibility to keep their portfolios up to date. I reviewed a few programs and narrowed it down to either Concrete or WordPress. In the end, I chose WordPress, maybe more because of my previous experience working with the software. It was also much more flexible with all of the available plugins.
I installed WordPress MU on our school’s server and create all of the students accounts for them. This was very time consuming and in retrospect maybe I could have done it differently. I also created a WordPress theme for the students to use for their portfolio.
I held PD workshops for the teachers and spent most of the second half of the year helping the students insert their work into the portfolios. This was a problem mostly because the students could only work when connected to our school’s network. We only have 11 portable computers and the computers in the lab for the students in all 7 classes to work on. This issue will have to be resolved next year because I lost to much actual teaching time working on the portfolios.