Monday, August 8, 2016

Rewordify- a Whiz-Bang technology tool you must have!

I’ve been using Rewordify with my students for the past 4 years in my job as a high school resource room teacher. I try and use tech tools that can help level the playing field for challenged learners. It is overwhelming when I am trying to differentiate reading material because there are just so many words that I have to address in each passage.

I found rewordify at . It is FREE! It is available to all my students. It is easy to use for them and easy for them to bookmark and use independently! It is a tech tool that once it has been introduced to a student, it is one thing they remember to ask for and use.
Basically, Rewordify takes a passage, an article, a webpage or a book and can sift through the vocabulary and whiz-bang produce a passage with understandable vocabulary with the same meaning.

Here is a passage I entered into the home page from a NOAA website.
An river is the thin zone along a (land next to a body of water) (such as bays, lagoons, sounds orsheds (skin, etc.)) where freshwater systems and rivers meet, and mix with a salty ocean,becoming partly salty.
Sometimes, freshwater from rivers mixes with large freshwater bodies creating a "freshwaterriver" that functions like a typical partly salty rivers.
The five major types of rivers are coastal plain, bar-built, delta system, (related to Earth's surface plate movement), and fjords.
Rivers are (like nothing else in the world) places that are valuable to (the health of the Earth/the surrounding conditions) and to (community of people/all good people in the world).

Original passage:
An estuary is the thin zone along a coastline (such as bays, lagoons, sounds or sloughs) where freshwater systems and rivers meet, and mix with a salty ocean, becoming brackish.
Sometimes, freshwater from rivers mixes with large freshwater bodies creating a "freshwater estuary" that functions like a typical brackish estuaries.
The five major types of estuaries are coastal plain, bar-built, delta system, tectonic, and fjords.
Estuaries are unique places that are valuable to the environment and to society.   

But that is not all! There are features that extend the learning beyond the passage!
I can get a read out of the statistics about words per sentence, letters per word, and much more.This image shows some of the great features. My favorites are the rewordified text, Cloze activity and the answer key! Use this link for a larger clearer image.   Understand what you read.png

This next image is a shout out to my ELL friends and speech and language therapists! The color coded passage with all the parts of speech is such a bonus! Larger image.  2.png
Go to!  Make your own FREE account. Begin differentiating immediately. You have time, the school year is just beginning!      Check back for my next post about Educator Central a part of the Rewordify page.

You are probably wondering who made this site and who supports it. I didn't have to look far to find out about Neil M. Goldman. Here is the scoop! Thanks, Mr. Goldman, this is a treasure. I am glad you found a way to help challenged learners.

Biography from Amazon

Neil M. Goldman spent fifteen years as a cubicle-bound computer professional and decided that he wanted to do more meaningful work than sit in front of a screen and write for-next loops.

So, he said a hearty goodbye to his marginally competent managers and a warm hello to the learning-hungry students in a suburban high school English classroom.

That first year of teaching was the hardest, most rewarding year of his life, and he felt he had to write about it. His first nonfiction book, Never Too Old To Teach, chronicled the joys and frustrations of that first year as a teacher.

Electric Dawn, his first novel, explores a scenario that's been on his mind for many years: what would happen if someone made a miraculous discovery of a device that would change the way the world works? Would that person be embraced and celebrated, or surrounded and destroyed?

When he's not writing books and grading papers, Neil enjoys motorcycling, cooking, and travel.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Maps-new ideas for tomorrow, no way start today!

Did you learn about Google Maps in 2010? Or 2005? Or 2014?
Did My Maps take a back seat to learning all the other google tools? Well, here is
your chance to learn why  you need My Maps in your daily tool kit.

Here are a few things that have changed that might interest you.
Google Maps is now MyMaps and you can find it right in Google Drive!
  • Rebuilt from the ground up
  • Experience the new look and feel
  • Get started with our welcome guide for new users
  • Work faster with improved performance
  • View photos and videos added on web
  • Get directions to saved points
  • Explore Street View imagery for many places
If you want to design lessons or projects for your students use some of these already built “my maps”. Log into your gmail account. Click here
Build on the shoulders of others! Take an idea and reinvent its purpose. Add your own  voice.  (photo)
Log into your gmail account. Click here
and begin designing. You can design a map, you can add the directions for your assignment, students can copy at the drop down where the arrow points,  and make it their own and add their details. Have them share the finished map’s URL with you, using a google form, publish the work and share with others.
Thanks to Donnie Piercey (@mrpiercEy) for  making this come alive at #CAGTI16.

After you use these tools please give feedback to the geoeducators!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A month into the school year and.....

 ...the school year is busy! Busy with students learning their schedules, busy with teachers learning their schedules, busy with parents getting back into the routines of early mornings, sports, homework and supporting the learning that exudes every moment of the day and week!  We are nearly at the point in the school year where our school is like a beehive, humming with the precision of nature, feeding the hive, tending the hive and working to support a community. It takes a commitment to and from our students, families and community for this success.

Our school celebrated Open House tonight. There were tired teachers, tired parents and tired students but that did not stop the Open House from humming! By the end of the evening the excitement and enthusiasm brought everyone together in a celebration of a new school year, new students and families and new dreams setting the stage for our school year.

Stay tuned.......
coakes photo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Co-teaching and co-planning for optimal student learning!

Co-teaching and co-planning

Summer time is a laid back time where co-teachers can think about, design and plan for the upcoming school year without the rush of the school day, school week and after school activities.  In my district staff members are given time to collaborate and work on classroom lessons, projects and assessments for co-taught classes. This co-planning time is valued and valuable. It is a good opportunity for co-teachers to share and teach each other the content and how best to differentiate materials for students.

Roadmap to planning

Choose materials and share with co-planners.
Review the course syllabus and match to the school calendar, be sure to include holidays, school activities, school vacations and plan to give major assessments at optimal times.
Design a course calendar with variations in instructional delivery, variations in projects, provide student choice and provide differentiated levels to meet the needs of all learners.
Design a course calendar and include  homework assignments, projects, video materials, with links available where possible to foster student independence and to simulate online learning.
Look at materials used from previous lessons and tweak and add accommodations.
Cull the Internet for best practices and awesome materials that others have built and shared. Be sure to acknowledge all their work! Share your awesome materials with others, leave a trail so that others can acknowledge your work, too.
Check individual education plans and 504 plans for more specific details on how you may accommodate the learning objectives and learning materials for your students.

Reflect and review

Plan time to reflect and review your plans and how the students are managing the materials and your instruction. Time is the biggest excuse we use and it is the one thing we have control over. Make time to make explicit changes based on  your shared discussions and shared decision making.

Ask your students

 Lastly, remember to ask your students what changes will help them, what projects they liked, what helped them learn the material best!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What is in your summer PLN?

Educators love summer! Some days it means I can sleep in a bit later, well maybe not later since Seraphina has her own clock.
 Somedays it means I can have that extra cup of coffee while reading through emails! Other days it means I can check in my Diigo account and look at the links that interest me. But the most fun I have is when I am on the workshop presentation  circuit. This summer I kick off with a google day at the NH Summit at Pinkerton Academy,July 22, 2015. Then I move on to Tilton Academy, Aug. 5 and 6th, 2015. Next is GAFE Peak in nearby York, ME on August 26, 2015.                                            

You can also engage through many virtual offerings. My good friend Vicki Davis, the energizer bunny, is presenting at the following. " I'll be presenting how to Differentiate Instruction with Technology at the Teachers Leading Teachers Online Conference this upcoming Friday. You can register and have the video delivered to you if you can't attend. Dozens of top teachers will be presenting their practical advice at this conference. Hat tip to AJ Juliani and John Spencer for putting this together! JOIN US.…/"  

There are many blogs you can check out and spend a whole day jumping link to link as you go deeper into the material. Some of my readings include:
From Maine
From my virtual listings

Share your favorite summer time PLN. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A bonus after shoveling for two days! Blizzard Juno 2015

Beth Goodwin and I are all shoveled out and ready to head to ATIA 2015 Orlando. Each year we present at this fabulous conference and share some of the digital tools we are using with our students from Maine.

Why do we do this? By presenting at this conference we share with other special educators, parents and service providers. We share tried and true ideas and digital tools that have worked for us.  

As a bonus, we learn so  much from participants in this conference! And what better place to be than in the sunshine when we get a day off from shoveling!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Catching my breath!

coakes photo 2013

The beginning of the school year is always a blur for the first few weeks. I am not complaining, I am not whining, it is just a fact! Finally, we have a long weekend in October where it seems like it's the first time to stop and notice that the weather patterns have shifted, the leaves have changed colors and happitly, I notice that I am back in a routine, my students are into a routine and it seems like juggling everything I juggle has settled into a manageable pace.
If anyone is looking to have some exciting online professional development, you should consider checking out the Annual offering of the K12online Conference 2014 Igniting Innovation! There are many opportunities for meaningful 20 min presentations to take advantage of. There are several strands available: 
  5. STEAM
My presentation was accepted in the Stories for Learning strand. If you are interested in learning about digital tools that help level the playing field for all learners then check out my presentation the week of October 20, 2014. In this teaser, Victoria takes the controls and demonstrates some of the tools that she uses in her learning. 

Victoria demonstrates the digital tools she uses to access the content for her general education classes. This demonstrates what happens when students have CHOICE in their assignments as well as CHOICE in the reading level. This is the backbone of differentiation and Universal Design for Learning with the student driving the direction of the instruction.
leveling the playing field
Victoria shares  her favorite tools.
Make a plan to schedule in some YOU time. The YOU time should be for your learning, your exercise, your entertainment, your enjoyment. Chris O'Neal presented at ACTEM 2014 and challenged all educators to schedule time for your own learning. Put it in your calendar, make a plan and stick to it. It doesn't have to be long, just a 15 min learning break will be a welcome addition to your daily schedule!

Plan to schedule some learning time during the two weeks of the K12online Conference 2014, you will be glad you did.