Graphite–A Goldmine for Teachers!

Teachers…if you are looking for an “idea place” to shake up student learning, you have to check out Common Sense Media’s “Graphite”, a site just for educators.

You will find tons of reviews by teachers on apps, and website…what teachers found helpful, what did not work!

Over a year ago, I discovered this goldmine and became so mesmerized with the information I found on Graphite, that I became a “Graphite Certified Educator”!

Click below to check out my reviews, boards and App Flows. Follow me, and I will “follow” you right back!

Create a free graphite account, and post a review or two of your own! Teachers sharing with Teachers—a “win-win” in my book!

By peachy80

Creating Space for Teachers to Play, Design, and Collaborate

Edutopia  (  offers a great article on teacher collaboration from the lead game designer at Institute at Play.  

“Want to create a space in your school for teachers to play, design, and collaborate? To help you get started, here are eight rules of thumb that we’ve found useful to guide our collaboration:

1. Cultivate Trust

Be open and honest. Visit each other’s classrooms. Observe the dynamics of teacher to students, student to student, and teacher to teacher.

2. Don’t Be Married to Ideas

Follow the four Fs: fail fast, fail frequently. When working together, encourage all collaborators to generate as many ideas as possible early on. This creates a culture of iteration. Really push each other to think about different ways that a learning goal can be executed.

3. Apply the KISS Principle

KISS stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” No matter what you’re creating together (a game, project, or lesson plan), the more complex the rules or the structure, the more questions students will have, and the less time students will be engaged in the actual learning.

4. Playtest Often

It’s never too early to put your game or project in front of someone else for feedback. Even a very rough idea can be playtested. You never know how something will work until you try it!

5. Know When to Scale Back

Keep the product of your collaboration focused. Realize when the game or lesson is attempting to do too much.

6. Involve Students From the Beginning

Students are your target audience. They should be involved in every step of the design process, because they have invaluable feedback to give.

7. Use What’s Around You

You know what schools have a ton of? Paper. And markers. And math manipulatives. As you think about possible game or lesson components, keep in mind what materials are easily accessible. Bringing too much in from the outside can be a hassle and is often unnecessary.

8. Build on Strengths and Interests

Actively try to discover what all collaborators like and what they’re good at. Be attuned to moments of excitement and disengagement. Use each other’s passions to help sculpt the game or project.

Teachers as Learning Designers

As Mission Lab becomes a space of collaboration between everyone in our school, one thing is becoming clear to us: teachers can design games, even without the help of a game designer. They can support one another. But first, they must begin to see themselves as designers. By giving teachers a space to work together as designers, you’re giving them a space to develop, test, reflect, and iterate on their work — a space to grow. When teachers go through a design process and emerge on the other side with a designer identity, they have a greater degree of agency in blurring the line between teacher and student, and in supporting each other as they rethink what learning can be in the 21st century.”

Check out the full article here:

By peachy80

Christmas Scavenger Hunt!

Seriously, why didn’t I think of this?
We usually open one gift on Christmas Eve,
 but who wouldn’t love to have a scavenger hunt instead?
goose chase
Don’t have time to write out the clues?  Go digital instead!
Download the app  “GooseChase”, available for both iPhone and Android.
Free for personal use, parents and adults can track scavenger hunt progress!
By peachy80

Geo Guessr!

Have you tried this game?

It is a geography game, takes you anywhere in the word, and you try to figure out where you “are” by investigating your surroundings! Very fun stuff! My students had to stay inside on a rainy day, so we played this together. ( A student told me about it). We had a lot of fun, and some students were really great guessers!

By peachy80

Check in with students via Google Drive!

Worried that your  students won’t be able to get the help they need when you are away? Google Drive may be the answer!

I was away from school this week, and students were to finish their Research Paper drafts…..YIKES!    My students type their papers into Google Drive, and I have them “Share” their documents with me right away.

I did not realize how helpful that would become!

Tuesday, I logged into my “Drive” account and clicked on a student’s paper to start editing and sending comments to the student. I saw that “Robby” (name changed to protect privacy) was also logged in to his document. I typed a message to him….right beneath his last sentence…. ”

Me: “Hey Robby, great word choice in the last sentence!”
Robby: Stops typing for a few seconds and then types “hello?”
Me: “it’s me, Mrs. D!
Robby: “How are you doing this? Are you a ghost?”
Me: “Remember, you shared this doc with me yesterday? I can see it the same time that you can see it, and yes I am a ghost! LOL…just kidding no I am not!”
Robby: “Oh, yeah, that’s cool. Hey, wait…don’t go yet…’Marie’ is stuck, she needs help!!!! Can you go to her paper too?
Me: “Yes, tell her I will be right there.  I logged into Marie’s document and was able to help her with a formatting question.

Yes, it was a pretty awesome day…… Have I mentioned that I LOVE Google Drive?




By peachy80


If going paperless in your classroom is on your “to do” list, you may want to check out this link.  My students and I have used Google Drive for quite a while, but I was surprised to discover all the capabilities possible with Drive!

I love Drive for three major reasons:

  • Students can access it anywhere there is internet access.
  • Students can write documents, work with spreadsheets, and create presentations  instead of having to purchase  MS Office or other software.
  • I can comment on and grade pieces of writing in Drive, eliminating the need to print out, grade, and return papers.   Students love the quick turn-around-time!

The link above gives loads of tips on how to use Drive more effectively!

Spring Break

It is winding down, and I must say Spring Break has been restful and rewarding.  The most exciting event for me was the honor of becoming a Common Sense Certified Educator!

By peachy80