Mind Mapping with Popplet

Mind maps, graphic organizers, webs- everyone calls them something different.

Regardless of what you call them, as educators, we all see the value in using mapping tools in the classroom. Popplet is a great, free online tool that is available on the web and as an iPad app.

It has a lot of great features like:

  • zoom in/out
  • presentation mode (think: slideshow)
  • collaboration
  • commenting
  • social media sharing
  • save the Popplet as a jpg, png or pdf
  • add items from YouTube, Vimeo,  Flickr or your computer
  • add a map from Google
  • drag a saved Popplet into a new Popplet
  • timewarp- see the revision history of your Popplet
  • and more!

With a free account, you can make up to 5 Popplets (mind maps). Since you can save them, I have encouraged students to save the Popplets to their Google Drive accounts and then they can delete them from their Popplet account. This frees up space to make another Popplet.

Sharing on Google Drive

On a computer, users can choose to export their Popplet as a photo (jpg, pdf, or png) and save it directly to Google Drive (I strongly encourage users to have the Google Drive client installed on their computer). Once in the Drive, students can share the Popplets they created with teachers.


If students are working in a group, they can easily invite others to collaborate on a Popplet with them. Using name tags, Popplet.com places each students name on top of the Popple they created- this is helpful for the teacher to make sure that all students worked on the Popplet.


5th grade students at Greenmont Elementary School in Kettering Ohio created Popplets and used them as a part of their class projects, which were proudly displayed in the hall for all to see. 

Check out all of the features of Popplet here:

Vocaroo- Easy, Free Voice Recording

Vocaroo is a voice recording site that is extremely easy to use, hit record to begin, stop when you’re done.

That’s it.

These recordings can be linked to a QR code, emailed to parents (or others), and embedded into a website.

Personally, I used Vocaroo when recording my students voices for our weekly poetry podcast and to record them reading stories aloud.

Here are a few ideas to use Vocaroo as a way to infuse audio recording into your classroom:

  • Create podcasts with your students! In my class, we did a weekly poetry read aloud. I used the embed code to put it into my website- the parents lovedhearing the poem each week.
  • Have your students record themselves reading a book! Great in the primary grades for fluency purposes, they can listen to the recording and you can discuss things they are doing well and areas for improvement as they build their literacy skills.
  • Record the children reading and email it to their parents! I never got a complaint from a parent who received a link to listen to their child read.
  • Role Playing! Pair students off, have one student be the interviewer and have the other student take the role of a historical figure or a character from a book they have recently read. They can record the interview and it can be put on a class website or used as a form of assessment, just to name a few things.
  • Week in Review! Why not choose a few students, different students each week, to do a week in review? As a whole class, brainstorm a list of all of the things you covered during the week and the chosen students can record themselves sharing what the class learned over the week and give some information about each thing. This could be a weekly podcast as well that you post onto your classroom website.
  • QR Codes & Reading A-Z! Since the district has a license for Reading A-Z, why not have the children record themselves reading a Reading A-Z book, print out the QR code and tape it to the back of the book they read? This way, when other students choose to read that Reading A-Z book, they can scan the QR code and hear one of their classmates reading the book.
    • You can also record yourself reading books aloud and tape the QR code to the back of the book, giving students the opportunity to hearyou reading the books to them.
I am sure that there are so many other great ways that Vocaroo can be used in the classroom. If you think of any, feel free to add them to the comment section of this post.
Check it out! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.
** Disclosure: This post originally appeared on KCS Tech Coach, a blog written by Dawana for Kettering City School District.**

Twitter in the Elementary Classroom

I’ve been talking a lot about how great Twitter is for growing your PLN (Personal Learning Network) and I’ve even spoken with some high school teachers on how they can use Twitter in the classroom with their students.

It may not seem like it, but Twitter can also be a great addition to primary grade classrooms as well.

I want to share some ways that you can use Twitter with your elementary school students.

First, check out the Twitter feed of Kathy Cassidy (@mscassidysclass), a first grade teacher in Canada who actively uses Twitter in her classroom with her students.

Mrs. Cassidy tweets the daily ins and outs of her classroom and her students tweet as well! Giving parents a very interesting peek into their classroom. I LOVE following her kids on Twitter.

Check out this tweet by little Dawson:

Her children tweet pictures of arts and crafts, the pheasant eggs that they were hatching and even their lunch!

Don’t think it’s all just pictures. They tweet math riddles for others to guess and lines from stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” My favorite, though, are the math riddles. They played “Guess My Number” using the hashtag: #GuessMyNumber and played with a school in Italy! Read more about this here.

Looking to connect with other classrooms that Tweet? Check out this huge list of classrooms (ranging from Pre-K all the way up through high school).


** Disclosure: This post originally appeared on KCS Tech Coach, a blog written by Dawana for Kettering City School District.**

Tackk.com- Perfect for Content Creation in Class

Tackk is a great, free tool that allows both students and teachers to create content online quickly and easily.

You don’t need an account to get started, simply go to Tackk.com and start adding text and photos to build your own, one page website!


Tackk offers a lot of perks for teachers:

  • Embed your Tackk easily onto your district website or classroom blog
  • Add videos, photos, text, audio, maps, contact forms and more to a Tackk
  • Students can go to the Tackk website and start creating a Tackk right away no sign in, nothing!
  • Once completed, your Tackk ready to publish on the web right away
  • Use Edmodo? Tackk integrates seamlessly with Edmodo allowing teachers and students to log-in to the Tackk website using their Edmodo credentials

Looking for inspiration? Check out the Tackk blog or better yet, check out the Tackk education page. There are some great examples of how teachers are using Tackk in the classroom, including: lesson planning, project planning, posting student assignments, displaying student work, collaboration (both in and out of the classroom), and more.

This teacher is asking her students to create a digital graduation announcement in the form of a webpage using Tackk.

Here’s a Gettysburg Address lesson plan. Students have to use Tackk to create their own version o fthe Gettysburg Address.

The possibilities are great with Tackk. Also, check out the Tackk edu blog for more ideas.

** Disclosure: This post originally appeared on KCS Tech Coach, a blog written by Dawana for Kettering City School District.**

Creating (and printing) a QR Code

QR (quick response) codes are great, interactive tools that you can incorporate into your classroom in many ways.

Before I get into how you can use them, I want to answer questions regarding how to create them. It’s easy- seriously.

QR codes can link back to a website, an email message, a You Tube video, audio, plain text and more. There are LOTS of websites available to help you create your own QR codes. Simply Google “QR Code Generator” or click here to see our running list of available QR Code Generators.

Check out the video below on how to create and print a QR Code:


Most QR Codes are static, this means that you cannot change what they link to once they have been created.

With a Dynamic QR Code, you can change where it links to without having to reprint the QR code. There are quite a few QR Code generator sites that allow you to do this. In your account (on the QR Code generator website) you can usually change the content that the QR code is linked to. Many sites even give you stats for the QR code such as: how many people have scanned it & viewed your content.

Here’s a long and fancy write-up on the difference between QR Codes & Static Codes.

** Disclosure: This post originally appeared on KCS Tech Coach, a blog written by Dawana for Kettering City School District.**