First Four Presidents – iPad Edition

Last week we showed how to create an infographic with Google Drawing, which works great on Chromebooks, Laptops, and Desktops.  If you liked the idea and have students using iPads, consider having your students do an AppSmash with Pic Collage and Thinglink.

You may already know from my previous post on Pic Collage that I love this app, yes I had to make that red!  It is free, no accounts are needed, pictures are sent to the camera roll, and you have the choice to make your background mustaches.  Does it get any better?

Here was my workflow for this project on the iPad:

1.  Find pictures of the first four presidents via Google Images.  Head over to and search for “George Washington” select “Search Tools” and I recommend you select either “labeled for reuse” or “labeled for noncommercial (meaning you won’t make money off of it) reuse.”  When you find images you like save them to the camera roll.

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2.  Create a new Pic Collage.  Within Pic Collage you can create a picture layout, and change the background image.  You can add pictures, video, text, and stickers.  Watch out for in app purchases…

3.  Create a collage using those images.  Once your collage is done export your image to the camera roll by selecting the icon in the bottom right and under “More Actions” you will find “Save to Library”

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4.  Start creating your ThingLink.   When you open the ThingLink app you will be asked to choose an image from your camera roll, so go ahead and select that beautiful Pic Collage you just created.  You can add Media, which would be anything from your camera roll or any YouTube video.  You can also add text, url, and twitter handles.

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Click to view ThingLink

I recommend creating a classroom ThingLink account that all of your students can access via their iPads.  You can make your ThingLink “unlisted” which will only allow users with the direct link to view it.



The First Four

Why not have your kids answer questions with an infographic?  Many people associate infographics to data and mathematically thinking, but infographics can be used for anything.  Google defines infographic as “a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data.”

Lets consider these two Eighth Grade Social Studies standards:

  1. Describe the country’s physical landscapes, political divisions, and territorial expansion during the terms of the first four presidents. (California State Standard 8.4.1)
  2. Outline the major treaties with American Indian nations during the administrations of the first four presidents and the varying outcomes of those treaties.  (California State Standard 8.5.3)


Click the image to see the full Google Drawing

Each star represents something different, we can call them my “markers” for now.  White tells you who the picture is of, red tells you when they were President.  Blue could provide a link to a Google Doc where I answer some of those questions above.  Which as you can tell, I didn’t really do.  My goal is to just show WHAT can be done.  Students can find pictures of landscape from that time and create a “marker” that will send you to that link.

Here is my workflow

  1. Create a new Google Drawing.  Google Drawing only works with chromebooks, laptops, and desktops – those still exist, right?
  2. Find pictures of the first four presidents via Google Images.  You can do this right from Google Drawing!  Select “Insert” and then “Search” the images that will pull images that are labeled as “for commercial reuse with modification” which is pretty specific.  This copyright means you can’t make money off of it, and you can alter the photo.  If you pull images from Google Images you can narrow down the search to just “labeled for reuse” – Check out our blog post here on how to do that!
  3. Create a collage using those images
  4. Start creating your markers.   These will provide the viewer more information.  Viewers will be able to click on various markers for pieces of information, rather than just reading a full length essay.  Within Google Drawing you have many options for shapes, which will become your “markers.”  Once students choose which shape they want to use as their markers – I went with stars – they can highlight one marker and either leave comments or link to outside sources.

For turn in purposes I always suggest a Google Form!  Click here to read our past blog post about this.

Stay tuned for our blog post next week where we can show you how to do this on iPads!




Using Thinglink to Link Things

I was introduced to Thinglink a few months back and was amazed at how great it was!  Then life happened and I forgot all about it.  It resurfaced when I noticed it has an iPad app.  Thinglink – yes it is really one word – lets you make your images interactive.  You start with an image and can link other images, text, youtube videos, and even videos from your iPad.  In reference to the infamous SAMR model, this thing (get it?) has redefinition written all over it!

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Students will need to create an account to start using ThingLink, but have no fear it allows you to sign in with your Google account.  Cue Pharrell’s Happy Song now!  I am honestly sold on anything that allows me to log into their services with my Google account.  Hint, hint to all you start up companies out there.

Yesterday I started to look at the Social Studies standards, because my default is math and I am trying to break out of my comfort zone.  Here is my creation of the fourth grade standard 4.1.5: Use maps, charts, and pictures to describe how communities in California vary in land use, vegetation, wildlife, climate, population density, architecture, services, and trans­portation.

Unfortunately I cannot embed the ThingLink,  but my work around is to have you click on the image below to see the real thing.

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How do you see this being used in your content area?

Have a Party with Your Photos

“Pics + Words + Stickers = A Party with Your Photos” is how Pic Collage describes this FREE APP on their website.  This is one of my favorite apps right now!  I have been talking about it every time I meet with teachers.  Check out some of the examples I have seen created.  Common Core aligned, of course!

K.MD.1: Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.

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3.NF.3d: Recognize that comparisons of fractions are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole.  **This standard is going to be HUGE to help students better understand fractions!

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4.OA.5:   Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule.

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PicCollage can be used in all subjects.  Just make sure kids – or adults – don’t spend their whole time choosing a background.

Social Studies: Identify certain various regions of any given state.  Pictures of artifacts from ancient civilizations.  Collection of important members to a specific time period. 

Science: Identify parts of a plant.  Photograph stages of a lab.  Different forms of rocks.

Physical Fitness: Identify proper skill and form for various activities.

Let us know your fantastic ideas in the comment section.

The Sweet Spot

Back in the day there use to be a model called PAC where it labeled effective teaching by understanding both content and pedagogy.  Sure you could know how to do math, but what makes you a great math teacher is knowing how to teach it.  I mean think about it, without that pedagogy aspect all Engineers would be teaching math.  Or maybe not…

Now another topic added – technology!

image taken from

Our group has defined that area in the middle as “The Sweet Spot.”  Throughout this month we have been meeting with Principals and Leadership teams in our district.  We are sharing our goal of Students Using Technology in their Individual and Group Learning Everyday.  Our purpose of these meetings is to get ideas from theses groups to learn about how we can help them get there.  During our discussion we are talking about this “Sweet Spot” and asking staff to talk about their vision of what that looks like.  Some teachers are sharing stories of how they are already there – yay!

A Lincoln Elementary teacher will be taking her first grade class on a trip to Petco and allowing them to take their class set of iPod touches.  With them students will be taking pictures of various things around the store, so that when they come back they can put together a presentation about what certain pets need.  Cannot wait to see the final product!

A Blue Hills Elementary teacher told us about how her fourth grade students collaborate on Google Spreadsheets to create review questions for upcoming tests.  Students are assigned a row and need to fill in a question for each section they have covered in the columns.

Collins Elementary teacher explains how her students are using Google Earth to visit various places around the world to assist with their Social Studies units.

Dilworth Elementary teacher has students creating Educreations to share their thinking, and then shares them with parents via Twitter.

DeVargas Elementary teacher has her first grade students creating an animal unit.  Students are going to the library and using the National Geographic App on her class iPads to learn about various animals and their habit.

Cupertino Middle School teacher talks about how the flipped model has completely changed his Physical Education for the better.  Students watch videos to learn proper form and are expected to come into class and discuss as a group.  He said students have really become the teachers of the class and the engagement level has skyrocketed.