Category Archives: Digital-Age Learning Culture

Gamify Getting Fit with Students

person wearing black work boots

Photo taken by Henry Xu

Every January, people reset their fitness and health expectations. Why not incorporate a gamified getting fit stream within your school day with students? Work with students to create a plan to incorporate a ‘1% better each day’ so that they can see what should be done in the way of being healthier daily. (For more on this 1% concept, I highly recommend you read Atomic Habits by James Clear.)


You can easily incorporate Phys. Ed., Health, Math, Social Studies, Science and Language Arts into this. A cross-curricular opportunity filled with great research on best ways to track, what is to be tracked, goal planning, timeline, sharing of successes and growth, etc. Check out some of the ideas and resources below:


  • Trackers – there are a variety out there from basic pedometers to fitness trackers to smartwatches. You may already have access to a class set that can be used during the school day. If not, reach out to local businesses or a sponsor to purchase your own set. Depending upon the age of students, they may already have one on their wrist or you can even just use one for the whole class (teacher has the smartwatch and shares information with students so they can utilize the information). Check out some of the best smartwatches, best fitness trackers, cheap fitness trackers mentioned in the last month.
  • Spreadsheet – Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are a great way to input daily steps, heart rate, mood, workout minutes or whatever you and your students decide they want to track. Information can be easily shared as visuals through the many different charts that are available with these two resources.
  • Map – local or international paper map or Google My Maps are able to track cumulative progress. Check out how Eric Curts explains it in Google Fit My Maps
  • Curriculum Connections 
    • Language Arts – students can reflect on how their fitness tracking has made them aware of certain aspects (their HR, how fast they walk/run…) Taking a before and after picture, they can remark how they feel and what daily healthy opportunities do for their learning.
    • Science – research what happens to the heart or the brain when you work out, share what has happened to their heart over time, share how their moods may have changed (for the better). Connect with an expert via videoconference.
    • Health and Phys.Ed. – has this tracking made them aware of other fitness opportunities? Have they become a better student or player in another sport? Is water the best thing while working out? Which foods are best to keep a body healthy?
    • Social Studies – tracking steps through the community may have students seeing different things in the community that they would like to share. Or one can add up steps to see where they can go anywhere in the world and research places that could be visited.
    • Math – charts, traveling distances, HR differences.


If this is a long-term tracking event (more than a month), I would suggest that you change you the tracking by adding challenges, individual and team opportunities to make it interesting. Show that being healthy can be fun.



3Delicious Learning

two brown and white textiles

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on unsplash

Three dimensional resources and learning doesn’t have to be scary. Opportunities to show students what 3D printers and 3D software programs are within reach via YouTube. Check out what Columbia Uni is doing:



Now, K-12 schools don’t necessarily have access to a 3D food printer, but they can have access to the digital resources. Delve further into this subject whereby you can have students not only experience three dimensions but to create them as well!



Get Techy with AR and VR

Biobreak PD: AR and VR

3D Tools, Libraries and Resources

Mobile Learning Initiative – AR

Mobile Learning Initiative – 3D

Mobile Learning Initiative – VR


Challenge students to view a variety of three dimensional items and try to either recreate or create their own. We’ve seen our students develop amazing virtual reality environments to demonstrate their knowledge on a particular topic. We’ve seen students create something physical in order to support/assist another student (braille blocks). There is no limit as to where this technology can be used to enhance, adjust, support and even design new experiences/habitats.


Tags: , ,

Increasing Oral Language Can be Easy as APPle Pie

three woman sitting near the flower

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Students need various opportunities to speak aloud, to share their thoughts in a safe forum and/or to increase language acquisition. If you have access to at least one iPad, then you can offer some fun, engaging and relevant oral language learning in the classroom. Check out the follow apps:

silver iPad on top of MacBook Pro

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash


Take a photo with this free iOS app, draw line (for a mouth), add your voice and voila! Students can create a 30-second script about a topic/concept. The script can easily be created on paper or via a Google Doc (with RW4GC talk & type or Google > Tools > Voice typing). They should practice reading their script aloud with partner and alone for oral mastery. Students are able to re-record if they make mistakes. Share the link via a site or QR code for others to listen to it.


Chatterpix Tutorial 

  1. In Safari, students find an image they would like to use that is related to the content. 
  2. Hold image down with one finger until SAVE IMAGE box appears. 
  3. Open Chatterpix Kids App 
  4. Click on GALLERY 
  5. Click on Camera 
  6. Click on Camera Roll 
  7. Select image and NEXT 
  8. Cut a mouth and RECORD 
  9. Next to add filter and stickers. 
  10. Export to Camera Roll (can also be saved to a GDrive from there).



This $5.49 iOS app allows users to take their face and stick it on various animations. Students could create a one minute script about a topic/concept. Once again, using an online document to brainstorm and write up the script is highly recommended. Have peer editing involved. Once the student creates the Chomp it directly exports to camera roll.


Chomp Tutorial 

  1. Open Chomp App and click on app squares 
  2. Choose a template to use 
  3. Click Record button twice. You know it is recording when there is a red box around the perimeter of the screen 
  4. Tap the screen as you record to make the animation change. 
  5. Tap Record to stop. The video automatically goes to the camera roll and then can be shared to a common GDrive or even as a QR code.



Share fun videos with text, effects, graphics and more with this free iOS app. As the students record themselves, their words appear on the screen! Clips has introduction templates and fun filters for the videos that make it easy to create a video.


Clips Tutorial

  1. Open Clips App.
  2. For Live Titles, click on the speech bubble to add words to the screen as students talk. 
  3. Double click on Live Titles to edit 
  4. For Live Posters, click on the square with a “T” to pick an introduction to your video 
  5. For Live Filters, click on the three rings and explore filters 
  6. Drag your clips in the order you like and export to camera roll.



This free app is where teachers spark discussions by posting Topics to a classroom, school, professional learning community, or public Grid. Students record, upload, view, react, and respond to each other through short videos. Students just need a Flip Code from their teacher to join Flipgrid and start recording videos.


Flipgrid Tutorial

  1. Teachers create their Grid and then share the Flipgrid URL.
  2. Students then join in.
  3. Click on the green + to record.
  4. Draw on the whiteboard or add stickers.
  5. Review or edit the video.
  6. Take a selfie.
  7. Watch other people’s video in the grid and respond to them.

No matter which iOS app you use or introduce your students to, helping them further develop their oral language skills is a great thing!

Resource for teachers: 




December – Connecting Picture Books to STEM


Book Suggestion STEAM Activity Extra Tech Tips
Gingerbread Baby


Create a bridge sturdy enough for the Gingerbread baby to cross the river or create a raft to float him over the river or design and new vehicle for the Gingerbread Baby to escape in. The Gingerbread cut-out must be supported by the bridge fit in the vehicle as it rolls down a ramp or stay dry in the water.  Stop Motion Animation (Chromebook with Stop Motion Animator app) – Students (with created props) will retell the story from the point of view of the gingerbread baby, explaining why he didn’t want to be eaten and how he felt about the world he explored.
You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Coding! Make an Anagram with CODING and have students write a phrase beside each letter of what they wouldn’t want to live without… > Activities then click the filters you want based on your students. Then choose the activities which will give links for students to go and code.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Students will team up to build houses for the Three Little Pigs out of index cards and masking tape. See Three Little Pigs STEM lesson plans. Code/create a windmill with micro:bit or even Scratch. Lots of great ideas on both sites – have students choose one to either recreate or design their own.
When Sparks Fly Students will build and launch a foam rocket. Lesson plans from JPL NASA included.


Create a balloon rocket and graph its movement.

Students will create a Scratch rocketship game. Rules and lesson included.
Kamik Joins the Pack Make 6 pointed snowflakes – need paper and scissors. Check out the instructions at Go to and find a way to make one of the apps make snow fall in the background.


November – Connecting Picture Books to STEM


Book Suggestion STEAM Activity Extra Tech Tips
STEM Day (Nov8): The Most Magnificent Thing Create a prototype for your own magnificent thing that improves the school or classroom using the materials provided. Students should follow the steps of design thinking. (Individual or small group.) Adobe Spark Video (let IT know student grade level access and connected to a teacher). Have students take pics of their prototyping and then they can add their voice to show their design thinking steps.
H is for Honor Although American, this book honors military families. Students could write letters to Canadian troops. See Write to the Troops. Have students learn the different parts of the Canadian anthem. Record students singing.
Strange But True from DK Create an unusual animal or place with Modular Origami. Draw out the item, create the 3D version using 15cm x 15 cm Origami sheets, take photos and add to a GSlide with a text reflection on the creation. Use Screencastify to discuss an unusual Canadian animal or place. Have a GSlide ready with an image.
Secret Coders by Yang and Holmes Decompose and then recreate one the Bitsbox apps found at Develop a robot that follows your coding in Scratch. Have it unveil a secret message.


October – Connecting Picture Books to STEAM


Book Suggestion STEAM Activity Extra Tech Tips
‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving


Students could create a Handprint Turkey Hat Craft.


Create a new type of balloon powered vehicle that the turkeys can use to escape from Farmer Mack Nuggett’s Farm before they become someone’s Thanksgiving feast.

The class could do a retelling of the story and perform it while some records it using iMovie or Video Camera (Lesson).


Pic Collage Edu – with iPads students take photos documenting the steps of the design thinking process and put them into a layout and adding effects, titles and filters.

Halloween: Skeleton for Dinner Build a skeleton out of Q-Tips, Pipe Cleaners, etc. Skeletons can be 2D or 3D depending upon grade level and ability to use glue guns, playdough, tape or staplers. Chatterpix Kids – a 30 second animation tool. Have students take a picture of their maker skeleton, draw a mouth on the skull and record their voice telling about the most exciting part of the story or a part they would like to change.
Skeleton Creek (series) Create a collage inspired by the events from the novel. Don’t forget to use some of the literary allusions from the video passwords and don’t feel compelled to stick with two-dimensional objects either. Explain your choice of symbol, subject, color, form and texture in a brief artist’s statement you also include with the project.


Create a playlist for at least two scenes of the book. Which music would you choose for the background? Why? If lyrics were used, which ones would be best?

Via a GDoc with a small group – Try writing a short screenplay inspired by Sarah’s personal uploads of the discoveries. What footage would best describe a day in your life? What details would be important to capture? What would you let people see from your home? Your room? Yourself? Consider how you will use the elements of media to enhance your production: light, sound, screen angles, and close-ups.


Use FlipGrid to work with a partner to tell a local ghost story in alternating words and video. Be sure to create intensity between the two mediums (print and video) and make the two parts of the story rely on each other as in Skeleton Creek. Don’t forget to let the mystery unfold in more than one episode so your reader/viewer discovers information along the way. Teacher creates the FlipGrid topic and invites students to add.

Get Moving! Or En Route!

from Pearson Turtle Island Voices

Race your car (hot wheels) from one end of the table to the other. This can be a head to head race or simply who can make it to the end. You may not touch your car or alter the track. You also can not lift the table. (no ramps) Have supplies like balloons, string, magnets, paper/cardboard available. Use Audio Voice Recorder Pro (chrome extension) to record a play-by-play of one of the car heats/races. OR Discuss how you created your car. Share with the teacher.


September – Connecting Picture Books to STEAM

Librarians/Learning Commons personnel and teachers  are always asking me for ideas on how to incorporate Makerspaces or easy Technology implementation ideas when they are working with students. Below you will find some Early and Middle Years ideas for one month. 

Book Suggestion STEAM Activity Extra Tech Tips
Back to School: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Teacher Guide

Use a box to design the Fastest bus for Pigeon to drive on his own. Bus must be powered with only one push from the designer. Measure the distance in little student feet or centimetres and larger feet and metres for older engineers. Have small Pigeon cut-outs for students to include in their design. (See How to Draw the Pigeon pp5-6 and Reproducible p9) Digital Portfolio – a good time to start using/adding to digital portfolio in whichever platform for K-4. Do an introductory activity or have them reflect about this STEAM Activity.
The Dot

The book’s hashtag #MakeYourMark will have a whole new meaning with this maker project. Use paper plates to have students use maker supplies to create a DOT that represents them. Add a different element by having partners interview each other and design a maker DOT for their new friend.  Sign up for the International Dot Day Celebration. There are many activities found on this site. As well, if you have access to iPads with the Quiver app, print off a Quiver sheet for students, have them create their dot and then see how it is transformed into 3D with augmented reality. 

In this innovative picture book, add an “A” to STEM to make STEAM. Using fine art, students practice mathematical problem-solving with four basic principles: keep an open mind, form unusual number combinations, use multiple math skills, and find patterns. Students are asked to find solutions to the questions poised for each painting. Have students either video or create audio excerpts discussing their painting. Connect the video/audio to a QR code and attach it to the original student painting. Parents can scan the QR code with their smartphone to view/listen to their child.
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Have students use cardboard (or other supplied materials) to create their own invention. Using Google Keep or other online drawing tool, have students draw out their own invention before creating it.