ChatStep: A New Online Chat Room

We recently tried a new online chat room called ChatStep, which was recommended by my teammate Brooke.  After reading a Time for Kids “GreenTips” article (for Earth Day), I had my students respond to my prompt “What can YOU do to be more green?”

All I had to do to set up the room was give it a name, enter my name and click “Create.”  Then I linked the room to my class website for my students to easily access.  

If you've ever used Today's Meet, ChatStep has a very similar format.  It does have an option to add images though, which I think is a really cool feature.  

I would use this site again similarly to how I've used Today's  Meet—for  class discussions, exit slips, and reading response.  How might you use ChatStep?

Student-Created Interactive QR Code Bulletin Boards

It’s no secret that I love using QR codes in my classroom, but this year I’ve been trying to incorporate more student-created QR code activities.  I recently made an inference activity I’ve been doing for years more interactive by turning it into a student-created QR code bulletin board. 

After having some fun with this inference riddle website, my students created their own inference riddles in a similar fashion.  I had them type their riddles in Powerpoint and then generate a QR code with their top-secret answer.  To generate the QR code, they went to and clicked the “Plain Text” option.  Then they typed their answer in the text box and clicked “Download QR Code.”  The last step was to drag the QR code into their Powerpoint presentation.

Once I had their riddles printed and hung up, I let a few students at a time go up to the board and try to solve their peers’ inference riddles.  The QR code on each riddle told them whether they were correct.  Here are a couple close-ups.
We did a similar QR code bulletin board in math using student-created word problems.  I let my students create any type of word problem using concepts we’ve learned this year.  We ended up with a nice variety of concepts and difficulty-levels.  I was happy to see my kiddos actually get excited about solving word problems when it was time to go up and try out the bulletin board.

I can't wait to share our new interactive bulletin board with you very soon!:)

We Are Loving Kidblog!

Have you tried blogging with your students?  Ever since reading this post by my sweet friend Holly, I’ve been meaning to try Kidblog with my fourth graders.  I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and my kiddos have been absolutely loving it!

Kidblog is FREE and extremely user-friendly.  It took me less than 5 minutes to set up my class.  Logging in for the first time was super easy—students simply select their name from a dropdown menu and enter their password.  (I gave all my students the same password to start off.)  Their blogs are private and you actually need to log into our class to my kids’ posts.

Kidblog is a great way to publish student work so their peers and teacher can read and comment on it.  We published a couple of informational writing pieces on there already and I noticed that it definitely raised the quality of their work since they were writing for an audience.  Here’s a screen shot of part of one student’s Winter Olympic writing piece and the comments she received from her classmates. 

In addition to writing and reading responses, my students recently started publishing their lit circle jobs on Kidblog.  They worked extra hard on their jobs last week knowing they’d be published on Kidblog.  Here’s a picture of one group in their meeting.

I feel that we’ve just scratched the surface of Kidblog—the possibilities seem endless to me.  I want to look into connecting with other classrooms.  Let me know if you’d be interested in that!:)