Interview with a Teacher December 4, 2009 No Comments

Video: Games in the Classroom No Comments

Here’s a video we made about using games in the classroom. 

Hope you enjoy it!

How to Select Items In Your Picture Using Photoshop Lasso Tool December 3, 2009 No Comments

Photo editing can be useful in most classrooms, but learning how to edit photos using Photoshop can be quite overwhelming. This tutorial will teach you how to select items in your picture that you want to change. There are a few ways to select items in your picture, but I find that Polygonal Lasso Tool to be the most precise and easy to use. Learning how to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool may be a small part of photo editing, but using this tool can make a big difference in the outcome of your picture. While using Photoshop, follow the steps below to learn how to select an item in the photo you wish to edit.  
Step 1: Download the picture you wish to edit.
Step 2: Immediately make a duplicate layer of your picture! This is essential in the editing process. To make a duplicate layer go to the right side of your computer screen. Right click you mouse where it reads “Background”. When you right click on “Background” a selection should pop up that reads “Duplicate Layer”. Click on this option. After clicking on “Duplicate Layer” an additional “Background Copy” should show up just above the first “Background”. The picture below may help to guide you through this process.
Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 7.38.33 PM
Step 3: Now that you have made a duplicate copy of your picture you are ready to begin selecting the items on your picture you wish to change. On the left side of your screen there is a vertical tool bar. This is where the lasso tool is located. Click on this tool and scroll down to “Polygonal Lasso Tool”. Once you select this you are ready to outline the desired item in your picture. Use the screen shot below to guide you to the Lasso Tool if needed.
Screen shot<br /> 2009-12-03 at 7.34.15 PM
Step 4: Begin outlining the area of your picture you wish to select. Click and drag the mouse around the item. Once the item is fully inclosed, dashed lines should encircle the object you have selected (note: if you accidentally double clicked your mouse in the outlining process, hold the shift key down on your key board and the part you have already outlined should come up). Once you have dashed lines around the desired item you are ready for the next step. Below is an example image that has been completely selected with the Lasso Tool.

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 8.33.03 PM

Step 5: Right click on your selected image. A list of options should appear. Select the option that reads “Layer Via Cut” as seen below.

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 8.31.02 PM

Step 6: Check to see if your item has indeed been selected. You check by looking on the right side of your screen. There should be a “Layer 1″ above your Background copies. It will look similar to the image below.
Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 7.40.26 PM
You have now successfully selected a certain item to edit in your picture! Just make sure that layer 1 is selected when you want to edit this particular part of your picture. Again, there are may ways to edit a picture, but learning how to select a certain part of your picture to edit is one of the main parts of photo editing.

Miss Nelson’s Thoughts on Using a Classroom Blog No Comments

Every teacher’s questions about using a classroom blog are answered in this six minute interview with Miss Launa Nelson, a 5th grade teacher.

FAQ for ActivClassroom No Comments

How can you use ActivClassroom in a classroom setting?

Yes, that is what it was developed for. The company Promethean (the creator of ActivClassroom) their mission statement is “Promethean aims to create, develop and support technology that unlocks the potential of human achievement in kindergarten, primary, and secondary education around the world. As a global leader in learning technology, we bring the promise of 21st century learning to life, improving engagement and results for all types of learners and teachers.”

How much does ActivClassroom cost?

The cost of ActivClassroom is a large range. It depends on what products you want. The ActivBoard alone can range from around $1,795 – $2,000. The clickers the students can use in class also are a bit pricey. The basic clickers start at $1800 can range from a Class set of 32. Also the clickers that have more functions can start at about $2700 for a class set of 32. There is also an ActivSlate that can be purchased that students can write on and have the answers appear on the board and they are about $400 per slate. Another product is the ActivSound. It allows sound to be amplified so that students can hear the teacher better.

How can students participate in ActivClassroom?

There are several ways that students can participate. There are clickers called ActiVote or ActivExpression. ActivVote is a tool that allows the students to sit at their desks and click and button that will submit their vote. The ActiVote is only capable to do a multiple choice. The other option is ActivExpression, it has a few more capabilities than the ActiVote. ActivExpression can be used to send in sentence answer, true/false, multiple choice, math equations, symbols, and numbers.  ActivExpression is also capable to write complete quizzes and alter lengths of time for answering.

Are they worth the cost?

It depends on how much you use the ActivClassroom technology during your lessons. If you plan to use and will use the technology everyday or very often then it is definitely worth the cost. It makes class more interactive for the students and easier for the teacher. The tools keep the students active, engaged, and on task.

How can I afford ActivClassroom for my classroom?

ActivClassroom is rather expensive but it isn’t impossible to raise funds to get, all it takes is a little bit of work. You can write grants and find funding in your district that you can use.

If you want to learn more you can visit Promethean’s website at

Photoshop Video No Comments

This is our video with Photoshop sample projects. These projects are designed to engage the student’s and maximize classroom efficiency. The projects involve the multiple learning styles of the students, Enjoy!

Office Tools and Google Docs Movie No Comments

An Introduction to Classroom Blogs No Comments

A video clip providing a teacher testimonial and a step-by-step guide to setting up your own classroom blog.


FAQ: iPods in the Classroom 1 Comment

*NOTE: There are many different versions of iPods. Not all iPods will perform the same function. Be aware of what your iPod can do before attempting all of the functions listed below.

Q. Is listening to music the only thing to do with an iPod?

A. No! Although music is the most commonly used feature of iPods, there are many other applications for your use. For more information, refer to questions 2 and 3.

Q. What applications are available on my iPod?


  • 1. Audio books
  • An audio book can be a recording of a book that you can listen to word-for-word on your iPod. An audio book can also have added sound effects and background music to the story.

    More Information about iPod Audio Books

  • 2. Games
  • Games on an iPod can be similar to the games you would find on a cell phone. Some examples of games are Tetris, Pac-Man, Solitaire, Texas hold-‘em, etc. However, there are also many educational games that are available.

    More Information about iPod Games

  • 3. Music
  • Multiple songs can be uploaded to an iPod for your listening pleasure. They can be imported from CDs, downloaded from the Internet, bought from online stores, etc.

  • 4. Video
  • Movies, YouTube clips, personal videos, etc. can be uploaded to an iPod and watched for your entertainment or for educational lessons.

  • 5. Podcast
  • A podcast is like an Internet version of a radio talk show. These can be found most commonly in the iTunes store under Podcasts.

    More Information on Podcasts

  • 6. Photos
  • Personal pictures or pictures from the Internet can be uploaded to an iPod.

Q. How can you use iPods in your classroom?

A. iPods can be a very useful tool in helping children of all achievement groups in many areas of the classroom. You can have them listen to an audio book while following along with a hard copy. Audio books model how to read with fluency and expression, and can increase the children’s desire to want to read.

iPods can also have educational games that your students can play that relate to math, science, reading, and other content areas. You can also use music in the younger grades as clean up music, wiggle songs, or learning songs. Short video clips can teach your students about science concepts and clue in to the visual learners as well as your audio learners. Along with showing videos, you can upload pictures of the concepts and demonstrate different ideas through images. You can also use iPods to share educational podcasts with your students.


This video is an interview with Kurt Johnson, a 3rd grade teacher at Edith Bowen Laboratory School. The question asked to Kurt is how does he use audio books in his classroom in connection with reading.

Q. Can children operate an iPod on their own?

A. Yes! With simple training and basic steps, children can operate and access any function of an iPod on their own. It doesn’t take much time to learn the basics of an iPod. Depending on the children in your classroom, they may already know how to use an iPod since technology is becoming more and more relevant in children’s homes.

Q. How much do iPods cost?

A. It depends on the model and make of the iPod, and where you shop. To give you an idea of the difference in models, we have included this link that is a straight comparison of the four current iPod models as of 2010.

Comparison of 2010 iPod Models

Q. Are they worth the cost?

A. It depends on how much you are going to use iPods in your classroom. If you use them every day to enhance your teaching methods, then yes—it’s worth every cent.

Q. How can I afford to get iPods for my classroom?

A. There are various grants that you can apply for to get money for your classroom. If you specify what you are going to use the iPods for, there are a lot of grants that will give you the money to purchase them. Some teachers will give the option to sync the child’s personal iPod to the classroom audio library and they can listen to everything at home. This doesn’t allow for a classroom set, but can give the child extra opportunities to be involved with reading on their own personal time outside of the classroom.

ActivClassroom in Action No Comments

Mrs. Wilkes, a Math teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Logan, Utah, demonstrates how she uses the ActivClassroom technology to enhance her daily lesson plans and create a more interactive, up-to-date classroom environment for students and teachers alike.