Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday Teacher Tips - May 6, 2014 Rewordify, Notability & Understanding Science


I just learned about Rewordify this morning from Richard Byrne on Twitter @rmbyrne. In the article “By Request – Five Apps and Sites to Help Students Develop Reading Comprehension Skills” on the blog Technology for Teachers for Teachers, Byrne describes Rewordify, a free site developed by a special education teacher and former computer programmer.  The site allows you to copy and paste or type a complicated passage into a box, then it rephrases it.  Words that are replaced are highlighted in yellow.  This could be a great resource for students who need rephrasing, or for students who are struggling with a difficult section of text.  

Check out the video: http://youtu.be/yURGZ960wWc


Notability is a great app that was just listed as the iTunes app of the week.  One of the great features of the Notability app, besides the ability to create and manage your own notes, is that you can use the Notability app to annotate PDFs.  For the classroom teacher dealing with a lot of reports or for students who are working with different PDF file articles or even handouts, this could be a great tool for highlighting, making notes or providing responses. 

With Notability you can then email your notes and annotated PDFs or save them in your Google Drive or Dropbox.  Here at school a great option would be to have students send their work to you using WebDAV.  Don’t know what WebDAV is? WebDav is a way in which a person can access and save to a shared folder.  Stop by and see me and I can help you out with that or setting up a generic classroom Google Drive.

See the basics of using Notability below:

Learn how to pull a PDF into Notability, Annotate and Save.

Understanding Science: How Science Really Works

In last Thursday night’s #NGSSchat on Twitter, a science teacher shared out a link to the Understanding Science Webpage.  This is a great resource as we transition into the NGSS.  On the Teacher Resources page, you can find many exceptional links including: Teacher Lounges by grade level, a Guide to Understanding Science, Teaching Tools, a Resource Database, Image Library, information about misconceptions and research.  On the Teaching Tools page, you can find PDF versions of checklists, flowcharts per grade level and a toolkit.  On the Teacher Resources page, you can limit the results by grade level and discover new ideas for science related lessons and activities you might want to try out. 

#NGSSchat happens every Thursday from 9-10 pm EST on Twitter, check it out if you have time!  There is always great discussion and plenty of resources!   

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Using Notability to Weed the Library

This is my second year in my current elementary school library, and it is way past time to do a heavy weeding and reshape the fiction section.

I always struggle with the best report in Destiny to use, or making weeding decisions, as I can't seem to build a report that really gives me the information I want - a Library Statistics report doesn't include a barcode number nor can I figure out how to only show the circulations statistics for the last five years, and a Library copies report will only allow me to check the date it was last accounted - no circulation statistics, and for some copies that would've been the last inventory (this could be user error, I admit). As I was debating what to use, someone on our state's school library listserv posted that they use a Shelf List report #PalmToForehead, so that's what I created for the fiction section to start.

As I was organizing my pens, highlighters and clipboard, and getting ready to press print on my 60 page report, lightning bolts of inspiration struck.  Wait just a minute, isn't this what I've been doing with Notability for the last two weeks as I study up on the NGSS standards??? Why in the world would I print this report when I can do this all digitally AND never have to lose a highlighter in the stacks?? #PalmToForehead for the second time in 10 minutes.

Creating the Report

To create the report I logged into Destiny on my iPad and generated a Shelf List Report.

 I limited the results to the Fiction section with a count on Circulations from 2009-the current date, and selected the publication year be included, with an output as a PDF.  Then I ran the report.

When I opened the report from the Report Manager, it opened in a new tab.  I pressed near the top of the document and the "Open With" menu came up on the iPad, from here, I was able to select Notability.

The report opened in Notability, I created a new note and began highlighting all the books with zero circulations in one color, and those with 1 circulation in another, I also made notes to myself to check certain things when I got to the shelf.  I was able to analyze the report in an evening when watching TV, and the next morning I went in and started pulling books to be weeded.

How to Screencast

Here's a short screencast I made to show you how I got the report into Notability.

Need some More Info about Notability?

Here's another screencast I made about the basics of Notability.

As of today, May 4, 2014, Notability is still the app of the week, so it wouldn't hurt to download it, otherwise you can pick it up for about $2.99 in your device's app store