Tag Archives: Elementary

Augmented Reality Isn’t a Dream

Augmented reality (AR) is no longer just embedded in some science fiction movie.  Today’s technology is enabling the general population to experience AR as they interact in everyday situations.

Imagining how AR could be used in the classroom may still seem like a far-fetched idea.  Or maybe you’re thinking it packs a high cool factor but lacks educational value.  I’m hoping by the time you finish exploring the resources in this post, you will see the possibilities.

For now, let’s just look at some AR apps (iOS) that you could use in your classroom…

Making books come alive

The children’s book, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a touching story with many themes.  From the far-reaching impact books can have on our lives, to the ways we can inspire those around us, this book is a treasure on its own.  But, then there’s the AR app…

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.09.24 AMFor $0.99, you can purchase an app that brings the pages of the book to life.  For some interactions, you are actually immersed in the story yourself.  Words don’t do this experience justice.  Take a look for yourself.  Go now.  I’ll wait.

I try to imagine a world where our students can experience an augmented reality environment with every book they read.

Interactive math and literacy

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.10.51 AMThe AR ABC Flashcards set will bring letters (and animals) to life.  First, you have to print the ABC animal flashcards to use with the app.  Then, as you hover over each flashcard, a 3D image of the animal appears.  You can tilt and turn to view the animal from different angles, and you can touch the animal on the iPad screen to hear the letter and animal name.  Take a look:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.13.47 AMFETCH! LUNCH RUSH is a math app that helps students practice addition and subtraction facts up to 10.  Students act as a sushi server, and they have to solve math problems by finding the correct corresponding answer card.  Teachers can post the printed cards around the room and students must go to the correct card, use the iPad to activate the card, and click the 3D image of the sushi to solve the problem.  This app is free from PBS.  Check it out:

Virtual field trips

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.11.28 AMHelp your students experience objects and places from inside your classroom walls.  For example, NASA’s spacecraft 3D app turns a printed image of a rocky landscape into a robotic explorer.  Choose from a list of interactive spacecraft.  Watch in it action:

Create your own AR

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.11.59 AMWe already live in that world where students can create their own augmented reality environments.  Tools like Aurasma (free app) are making it happen.

The possibilities are endless.  Take a look at how this app is changing how students interact with their environment and how it is helping create meaningful learning.

Aurasma education articles

Examples of using Aurasma in education – and a how-to guide

Augment Reality with a “Virtual” Routine Schedule

There are tons of videos on Aurasma’s YouTube Channel.

Want a couple more AR apps to explore?

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.12.34 AMWell, there’s the one called My Dragon Toy.




Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.13.04 AMAnd then there’s this one, colAR Mix, which is. just. plain. cool.   Print the page.  Color it.  And watch it come to life.  So amazing.



Augmented reality is changing things.
And it is going to help our students see and learn in new ways.


Exceptional Children Teachers: Discover What Your iPad Can Do!

Get the most out of your iPad! There are lots of features and settings on the iPad that you may not know about or may not have had time to explore.  Check out many of these features in the embedded document below, and see how you can maximize the functionality of this amazing tool!

Here is a sampling of iPad apps that can support the exceptional learners in your classroom.

App Icon
App Title and Link
(as of 12/2013)
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.49.01 AM Scholastic Storia
(5 free books)
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.50.54 AM Story Dice
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.51.31 AM Word Mover
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.52.10 AM Montessori Letter Sounds
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.53.34 AM Montessori Crosswords
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.54.19 AM MyScript Calculator
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.55.03 AM Little Digits – Finger Counting
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.01.22 AM Montessori Numbers – Math Activities for Kids
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.57.39 AM ClassDojo
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.58.21 AM Proloquo2Go
An expensive app!  But it is an all-inclusive communication app!
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.59.06 AM Dragon Dictation
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 7.59.40 AM SoundingBoard
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.03.54 AM SimplyNoise
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.05.03 AM Toca Hair Salon 2
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.05.46 AM Sock Puppets
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.06.16 AM Educreations
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.07.25 AM ChatterPix
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.15.46 AM Common Core Standards
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.09.24 AM IMAG-N-O-TRON: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” Edition
(Must also have the book.)
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.10.51 AM AR Flashcards
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.11.28 AM Spacecraft 3D
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.11.59 AM Aurasma
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.12.34 AM My Dragon Toy
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.13.04 AM colAR Mix
 Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 8.13.47 AM FETCH! LUNCH RUSH

(link to Scribd document)

Donna Murray’s Resources

Other Pinterest Boards

Find some free apps

Resources for using a switch with the iPad

Direct link to these resources posted on my professional development site:  http://navigatepd.blogspot.com/2013/12/exceptional-children-teachers-discover.html 

Higher-order Thinking With Twitter

This infographic may be helpful to you as you think of ways to use Twitter in your classroom.  In addition to using this tool with older students who have Twitter accounts, there are many opportunities to teach younger students digital citizenship skills and help students understanding how this social networking tool works.

Check out more resources on how to use Twitter in your classroom from the Langwitches Blog.


Tolisano, Silvia. “Langwitches Blog.” Langwitches Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Dec. 2013. <http://langwitches.org/blog/2012/09/19/twitter-hots-establishing-a-twitter-routine-in-the-classroom/&gt;.

Apps for Earth Science

Earth Now

earth now


“NASA’s Earth Now is an application that visualizes recent global climate data from Earth Science satellites, including surface air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapor as well as gravity and sea level variations.”

Top 7 Apps for Earth Science Teachers

top 7 apps

Ten Great Climate Apps

10 climate apps

Skeptical Science

skeptical science

“Skeptical Science helps you find out what the peer reviewed science has to say about global warming. The easy navigation by skeptical argument allows you to take a statement and find out for yourself whether it is based on credible science or not.”

Wonders of Geology:  An Aerial View of America’s Mountains 

wonders of geology 2

$12.99 app “As we swipe through each photograph, we hear Collier’s smooth, accessible narration telling us where to look on the mountain, what to look for and what it means. He introduces the processes that build and shape mountains: .Tectonics .Volcanoes .Glaciers .Faults .Erosion”

Space Images 

space images

“NASA/JPL’s Space Images app offers a unique view of the sky via hundreds of images taken by spacecraft studying planets, stars, galaxies, weather on Earth and more. Save to your device as backgrounds or wallpaper and share them with friends on Facebook, Twitter and email as you scan through our extensive photo albums and rate your favorites.


nasa app

Fragile Earth 

fragile earth

$2.99 app “Fragile Earth is a stunning photography app giving a birdseye view of climate change, urbanization and nature’s raw power. It shows what happens to our planet when rivers flood or dry up, mountains erupt, glaciers melt and cities sprawl outward.”

Just Science 

just science

“”Just Science” highlights the easy-to-understand video map of climate change recently released by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study.  The app features a color-coded map of the world that displays how the Earth’s land temperature has changed between 1800 and 2009. Monthly data from local recording stations produce a red, green, and blue global visualization of the temperature’s deviation from historical average.”


imoon u

$0.99 app “iMoon is an application that will display the current phase of the moon. It will also allow you to enter any date, and see what the moon phase will be or was. Monthly moon phase calendars can also be displayed. There is also a countdown feature that will tell you how many days are left until the next full moon.”


earth observer

$0.99 app “Explore your planet as never before with the mobility of EarthObserver. Use your fingertips to travel through terrestrial landscapes and across the ocean floor. Visit frozen icecaps, study geological maps, scout mountains to climb and trips on coastal waters and exploit a rich atlas of other earth and environmental imagery. EarthObserver brings to you the latest compilation of detailed ocean floor relief gathered by oceanographic research ships using modern swath mapping technologies, combined with land elevations from satellite stereo imagery.”

Puzzling Plates for iPad on the iTunes App Store

puzzling plates

$1.99 app “Puzzling Plates provides an interactive, engaging experience that inspires you to explore the large, tectonic plates that make up the surface of Earth. The app includes three levels, each with a hands-on activity and a bonus round. In Level 1, you’ll first learn how tectonic plates fit together by moving them into position like a jigsaw puzzle. Get it right on the first move or you lose points! See where earthquakes and volcanoes form on Earth’s surface and explore Earth’s interior in Level 2. In Level 3 you first see how plate boundaries collide and split apart and then you actually move tectonic plates in different directions to find out what type of boundary is shown.”


iPad Resources


Want to create/use a personal Apple ID to download apps/music to your school iPad?

  • Tap “App Store” icon
  • Tap the “Featured” option on the menu at the bottom of the screen
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen
  • Log out of the school Apple ID

BEFORE you continue… if you want to create an account and NOT attach a credit card to the account, skip to the next bold section below…

  • (Scroll back to the bottom and notice that the button now reads “Sign in”)
  • Tap “Create New Apple ID.”
  • Complete the following screens with your information (create a user ID, password, billing address (which you have to enter even if you don’t use a credit card with the account), etc.)

Want to create a personal Apple ID without attaching it to a credit card?  There’s only ONE way to do that.  Here’s how:

  • Find a free app to download (usually, there’s a free one on the highlighted on the “featured” screen.  If you can’t find a free app, click on “Top Charts” on the menu, and you’ll see a list of popular free apps.)
  • Beside the app icon and description, tap the “FREE” button.
  • The button changes to “INSTALL APP”.  Tap the button to install the app.
  • A pop-up screen will prompt you to log in.
  • Tap “Create New Apple ID.”
  • Complete the following screens with your information (create a user ID, password, billing address (which you have to enter even if you don’t use a credit card with the account), etc.)
  • When you get to the screen asking for payment information, choose “None.”
  • You can still purchase items, but you will have to use an iTunes gift card.  Beside the “Sign In” button on the main App Store screen, you will see a “Redeem” button where you can enter the code for an iTunes gift card.

Instructional technology resources for YOU!

You can also find some iPad resources on my instructional technology website.  (You can get updates from my website by email, Facebook, and more!)

Get updates by email  http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=murraygirl

Data Collection on the iPad

data collection apps

Looking for ways to collect student data on your iPad?  Here are a couple of resources for you.

Check out this Pinterest board with a bunch of data collection apps:

Or you can create a Google form and fill it out on your iPad:

Classroom Library Manager (for free!)

Want a way to manage your classroom library? Need an easy way to track which students have borrowed which books? Want students to share reviews of books from your classroom?

Oh, have I got a (FREE!) tool for you!

Recently, a teacher approached me and asked if I had heard of an app that will enable you to scan and document details about books you have in your classroom library. A short time later, after a search for an app with this functionality, I came across this site:


Watch this short video to see how Classroom Organizer works and/or read my tutorial below (with screenshots) to help you get started.

Create a free Teacher account.  Note that the Classroom name and Password will need to be shared with your students in order for them to log in for check in/out. There is a separate area later to set the teacher admin password.

The Teacher Page is the dashboard for setting up your “classroom library rules,” adding/editing/deleting books and students, and viewing reports.

Here is a screenshot to show where I added my daughter as a student.  I was able to enter a reading group name (if desired), and even an image.  You will need a unique ID for each student.  (You can import your students from Excel, but you will have to enter the data into the Excel template.)

Here is a screenshot to show where I added a book to my library.  I manually entered the ISBN number.  The remaining data populated automatically (including the image of the book).

The reports available are great for tracking the types of books you have in your classroom as well as the checkout history of your students.

When you log in with your classroom login on the main site: http://classroom.booksource.com/, you will be able to choose whether you want to enter the teacher or student area.  (You will have to enter the teacher admin password to access the teacher area.)

When a student clicks “STUDENTS,” this is the screen he/she will see:

The student can then click “Find Me” to find and click his/her name.

Then the student can type in the ISBN number or type in a keyword, then “GO” to find the book.  The student can then click the “Checkout” link to log the book as checked out to him/her.  (The process for checking in the book is similar.)

To make the process of building your library database a bit easier, check out the free app that lets you scan your books into the system!  There is an app in iTunes as well as an Android app.

Login, then begin scanning in titles by clicking the “Scan” button.  (If you want to log your books by “location” in your room, click “Manage Classroom” first and set up your locations.)

I began scanning the barcode on the back of library books in an elementary school library to test the app.  I found that about half of the books I tried to scan could “not be found,” but it sure could save a lot of manual entry even if it only recognizes some of your books.

You can select the location (if you set up locations) and then “Add to Library.”  When you log back in to the website, your library data will be updated.

This just seems like a great, easy, free tool for managing your classroom library.  If you use it, let me know what you (and your students) think about it!