Category Archives: Uncategorized

Canva – Michaela Gives Us A Great Review

Canva is a great website for designing. You can choose from a wide selection of designs, such as a photo collage, poster, presentation, and many more. All of these designs come with their own layouts and designs.  If you want to, you are allowed to customize your dimensions.

First to get started, you can go to, and a window will pop up asking you to either sign up with your email or a Facebook account. Either one works, but once you have done this, you will be directed to the “design page” as I call it. You can then choose which design you would like. After you have done this, you will be directed to a new page with a blank design.


Then, once you have been brought to the page, it will show the wide selection of layouts, and you don’t have to use a layout, but I chose to use the bakery layout. If you want a use a basic layout, but want to use a little more creativity, there are layouts available that aren’t as advanced. Once you have chosen the layout that fits your liking, you can start by either searching for pictures or uploading your own. One problem with searching for pictures is any picture with Canva written on it, or a dollar sign next to it, does mean it is available for purchase. If you would like upload your own images, you can do this by clicking the upload arrow. Next, you can upload photos from your computer, or Facebook if you are logged in with your Facebook account. Once you have uploaded photos, you can either drag them into the design, or you can just click the picture and it will show up over your layout. If you would like to change the filter of the picture, just click on it and click filter. You can also change the brightness and contrast.


If you would like to add text sticker, click on the T for text button on the sidebar. If you would like to add one of the text stickers onto you design, just click on it. To change the text, double click on the type, and type what you would like. To change the color of the text, click the colored circle, and choose what color you would like to use. To change the size of the text, click on the numbers, and either type in your desired text size or choose a default size. If you would like to change the font of the text, click on the box to the farthest left, and then choose your desired font. To resize a picture, sticker, or text box, click on the item, then click on the little circle in the corner of the item and drag until you have the size to your liking.

When adding a sticker or little picture, click onto the magnifying glass on the sidebar. Most of these stickers are free and come with the site. You can choose from any category you would like, and then easily just add it to your design.

To add a background, you are going to click the striped box on the sidebar, and if you just click on a background, it will show up behind your layout.  If you would like a solid background, you can just choose from the colored circles above the other background selections. Once you are finished, you can share or make a new design. To go back to the “design page” just click the Canva button, and it is automatically saved for you.

In my preference, this is an easy website for anyone to use. You can really make a blank page grow into a cool project. The first time I used this site, I had minimal difficulties. My only problem was the cost of some pictures, and at times the website did make my computer slow when I overwork it. I really enjoyed using this website for this project.

Please click here to see the video tutorial.


iMotion HD

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 9.46.19 AM
A great app just became free in the Apple App Store.  The app is called iMotionHD ( and it is a very fun and simple app to use if you want to create a stop motion animation.  Please be aware that there are some in-app purchase that could enhance this app but I really didn’t see value in making those purchases.
Create a stop motion animation and have some fun with your technology this weekend.

Looking forward to some fun in the MS Maker Space!

A very fun project will be underway shortly here in the MS Maker Space.  One item that seems to missing and that will make the space a bit more organized is storage.  So after looking for some storage to buy, I came to a realization that this is a Maker Space and that we should be building our own storage.  Isn’t that the true essence of a Maker Space in the first place?

With the possibilities of a number of options for storage, I decided on a storage unit that will not allow only functionality but practicality.  This storage unit will serve two purposes:  1.  a storage unit for student materials/projects and 2.  a bench for students or onlookers to use while in the space.

Mr. Jacobs has graciously agreed to help me with this project.  We looked at the scheme and decided that it not only was very doable for us but also very doable for the students.  We are working to get a plan together to meet with the students to measure out the materials and to come up with a plan to put this storage unit together.

With all this in mind, we are not going to have the students jump right in and work with power tools.  We will be doing the all of the cutting/drilling and any other major part of the project for now, but the students involved will be learning as we go.  The ultimate outcome would be to have the students earn a badge so that we know that they have learned how to use some of the tools of the trade.

Ultimately, this is the way that this space will run.  Students will need to be tested before they use a tool.  Granted, not all tools will require a test of skill, but all power tools will be tested, learned and earned.

We are really excited about this opportunity to build this project.  Pam Nosbusch knows that both Mr. Jacobs and I are really excited to get this space moving.  As she stated in an email, “You two are like two kids in a candy store!”

We will keep you posted on our progress.  Storage Bench

Totlol – a kids safe video site created by parents

A great post by a fellow blogger Anne Livingston. This post is very informative and extremely helpful. Please keep in mind that there isn’t an app that can do what a watchful and involved parent can do!


totlol iconTotlol is a safe video site for kids built by parents for parents. The idea for Totlol came about after Michael Avni, one of the founders and father of 3, discovered that even after setting parental controls on all of his computers and mobile devices, his little girl still stumbled upon an inappropriate video. 

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Kapersky Lab found that kids, clicking on YouTube’s suggested videos displayed beside children’s programs, were just three clicks away from adult content. In 3 clicks, kids can go from counting Elmo to swearing Elmo. YouTube’s safety mode helps, but with 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it is impossible to check every video. This is where Totlol comes in.

Totlol is a free curated video site for kids under 12.  Instead of trying to block inappropriate content, Totlol starts by uploading only kids safe videos. Who decides…

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Pediatricians Urge Parents to Limit Screen Time


“How much recreational screen time does your child or teenager consume daily?”

“Is there a television set or Internet-connected device in the child’s bedroom?”

clipboardThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is encouraging all pediatricians to ask these two questions at every well-child visit. These questions are one of many suggestions in the updated AAP policy on Children, Adolescents, and the Media. The policy makes recommendations for how to guide kid’s media use for pediatricians, parents, schools, PTAs and other organizations. For parents, pediatricians are encouraging them to set limits on unsupervised screen time. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation found on average 8-18 year-olds spend 7 hours and 38 minutes each day on entertainment media including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. In fact, children and adolescents spend more time with media than they do any other activity except for sleeping. When kids are spending 7 1/2 hrs in front of screen, they are sacrificing other…

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Digital Citizenship Flashcards for Parents

As we’ve stated in all of our 1:1 Orientations, we really need you, as parents, to step up and help us with your children to be aware about on-line safety and being a good digital citizen. With that in mind, I have come across a great resource to help you. This is from an incredible blog, which I follow, as should you, called Kids Privacy: Raising Kids in a Digital World. On this blog is a link to a website titled,, where they have created Digital Citizenship Flashcards for parents. These 9 flashcards cover everything from safety and privacy to literacy and online responsibility. These flashcards are a great resource for you and can help you to start a conversation with your child about the importance of being safe on-line and being good digital citizens.

iPad Implementation Survey Results

Thank you for taking the time to complete the most recent iPad Implementation Survey. After compiling the data, the overwhelming results indicated USM should keep the orientation dates scheduled in August,  and to focus on getting set-up information to the parents ahead of time. Therefore, additional resources will be provided this spring on the 1:1 page in the portal to assist parents with setting iPad guidelines with their children, how to use classroom apps, and why a separate iTunes/iCloud account is needed for each student’s iPad.  Thank you for your feedback; it will improve next year’s iPad implementation for school families.

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