You’re supposed to try something scary, right?  Well, screencastifying a recent conference presentation was a new challenge for me.  I mean, who really likes the sound of their own voice?  However, if it means sharing your ideas with an appreciative audience, it’s worth it.   So I launched the screencastify extension on my chrome book, grabbed a snowball mic and a comfy chair, and hit ‘record’.

Apparently the YouTube video editor only allows 15 minute clips of video to be uploaded at a time, so my talk about moving ‘beyond the book report’ is broken into three sections.  I certainly wish I had a voice for radio…in person I’m the excitable teacher who gets red in the face and uses a ridiculous amount of hand gestures.  Somehow this doesn’t transfer over well when it’s just audio.

Nevetheless, here’s a first for me.  Thanks for asking, Lori McKee.  I just know you’re steering those pre service students into the next generation of inspirational teachers!






iPad Cart – ‘Making’

‘Maker’ has been one of the buzziest terms of the last 12 months.  I’m still trying to reconcile how this is different than a ‘creator’, but regardless of the term I think it is pretty cool that we are recognizing the importance of building and designing things – whether they be digital or concrete.  In the spirit of ‘making’ I tasked my handy dad with an iPad storage cart project.  My parameters were complicated. I only have two available outlets to charge a class set of iPads.  I also need to be able to securely lock up the devices when necessary.  Finally, my budget cannot even approach what the cost of pre-made iPad storage carts go for in stores (Yikes!!!).

Together we wrestled with a few concepts. Then my dad thought of something similar to a tool cart hack he already had in his garage and the project was a go!  Check out the tutorial video.  I’m so pleased with the final result.

Classroom iPad Cart Hack


Portable iPad Soundbooths


DIY time.  I don’t want to pay big bucks for something I can make.  $60 of materials and I now have five portable recording booths that can be used in the classroom!  Why?  21st century students voice-type, overdub, narrate and explain their thinking…primarily with iPads.  A room is super noisy, though, so how do you accomplish multiple recordings in a day?  More importantly, what are the quality of these recordings?  By placing the iPad inside this ‘studio’ students can almost eliminate all background noises – even while sitting at their desk in a busy space.  Students think they are doing something really important when they are asked to grab a mini studio – and they’re right!

STEP 1 – Purchase bins that are large enough to stick an iPad and a few hands inside.  Also purchase a bumpy foam bed topper. A queen size was perfect for the five I made.

STEP 2 – Start measuring and cutting.  This won’t be a pro job, so cut yourself some slack 🤔.  I used one large piece like a letter U for the wide sides and bottom.  I then cut two side panels from leftover foam.


STEP 3 – Attach foam with an adhesive spray or perhaps, as mentioned by a coworker after I had already finished, use Velcro sticker strips.  Much cleaner!

STEP 4 – You’re already done!  You just saved yourself money, created student buzz and made classroom recording a daily possibility.