Common Sense Media


There are 2 kinds of people in the world…

Those that look at this picture and reply,

“Challenge accepted!”


Those that look at this picture and think,

“Common sense isn’t that common!” 

Game Time and Place TBD! 

Unlike the opposing teams that naturally form from the image above, Common Sense Media is far from creating a division amongst teachers and parents. The mass amounts of parent and educator support provided at Common Sense media goes unmatched. With that statement, also comes this follow up: SET UP A LIFE LINE BEFORE DIVING IN!

From movie ratings to app ratings; from addressing parenting concerns like cyberbullying to addressing educator concerns like digital citizenship; from online game review to lesson plans with games built in, Common Sense Media offers a game plan of search, find, click and score….but click deeper, find more, and score again….but click deeper, find more…SET UP A LIFE LINE BEFORE DIVING IN!

It also happens to have a SIGNIFICANTLY long mission statement so here’s the quick pass…”Common Sense is the nation’s leading independent non-profit organization dedicated to empowering kids to thrive in a world of media and technology. Families, educators, and policymakers turn to Common Sense for unbiased information and trusted advice to help them learn how to harness the positive power of media and technology for all kids.”

Match point: it’s FREE. 

How to Play:

  1. Gather equipment- TIME and computer (pencil/paper optional).
  2. Set up a life line.
  3. Go to Common Sense Media for parents OR Common Sense Education for educators

How to Win:

  1. Explore to score!



Dotstorming- Digital Collaboration


Analogy ALERT!
This is a drawing. This is ONLY a drawing! This in NO way should be the means by which we extract information from students.

The person on the left—that’s you teacher. 

The floating head on the right—that’s your students.

Inside their heads is a big jumble of information, creativity, and possibility just waiting to get out.

Imagine, for a moment, that you want to know what incentives your students would be interested in having as part of the positive behavior support you offer in your classroom.

NO…this is not a debate on whether or not students should be incentivized…just commit to it in this moment for the sake of the (re)source. 

When you ask, they are overcome with excitement and begin brain dumping all of the possibilities….movie day, pajama day, DISNEY TRIP!

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA…let’s back the incentive train up. What incentives, that are REALISTICALLY in my budget, would you like?

And the brain dumping begins again while you hastily scribble all the possibilities that you will need to sort through later. Then comes the….”That’s a dumb idea!” “I don’t want a mechanical pencil as a reward!” “I want a DISNEY TRIP!” 

Enter me, or rather the creator of dotstorming, Gareth Marland, with a dotstorming board. 

Dotstorming is an online collaborative brainstorming session where organized brain dumping can happen and decisions can be made. With a simple and FREE sign up, you can create a board to share with your students. During the create a board phase, you will also set up how many votes each student gets, as well as, how you want to share the board with them (link or email). 

Enter singing angels…YES they get to vote on ideas that they like; YES it is all organized for you; YES you have just experienced organized brain dumping!

Once students have accessed the dotstorming board, they can begin brain dumping text, pictures, and/or links to respond to what you have asked them.

WARNING: you are inevitably going to get a picture of the Disney castle!

This (re)source has endless possibilities for classroom use and takes brain dumping to a collaborative, organized level. Click the logo below to join in the collaborative brain dump on how dotstorming could be used in your classroom! 



Illuminations- NCTM Math Resource


Welcome to the Monday Morning trap! 145 doors. Coffee not included.

Oh Monday, we meet again! Why must you enjoy my company so much that you keep returning?! Well, I respectfully decline your invitation to hang out. A….N……D….you’re still here. Alright Monday, if you insist on being entertained, let’s light you up with Illuminations.

Illuminations is a FREE math (re)source that offers over 700 lesson plans for grades Pre-K through 12. The lesson plans are searchable via NCTM’s Principles and Standards and by the Common Core State Standards. In addition to lesson plans, Illuminations offers brainteasers, interactives, and mobile games.

Want to break out of the Monday Morning trap? Check out  One Hundred Forty Five Doors at Illuminations. But first….COFFEE and a little wallowing music.


Wheel Decide- Student Chooser



It’s giveaway time!!!!

Did you click the picture?! Did you win?! Did you try?!

Once again, it’s FILM IT FRIDAY!!!

What student selection methods have you used?

✔️Popsicle Sticks

✔️Names in a bucket

✔️Random student name selector

✔️Choosing the most verbal student in the class in hopes you will regain his/her attention to the task at hand

✔️Choosing the student whose hand is waving so ferociously you can’t look at anything else because your afraid he/she is going to break a wrist with all of that whipping

Any one of these methods serves its purpose, but here is another one to consider…Wheel Decide. It’s features include editing (choices, color scheme, and length of spin), as well as the ability  eliminate choices that have already been selected, naming your wheel, saving your wheel and embedding your wheel. In addition, it can be used for more than just choosing a student. Check it out to gather ideas or browse the wheels that have already been created (can’t decide what to eat…there’s a wheel for that 😏).


Quizizz-Gamification of Quizzes

What do a quadrillion happy squirrels have in common?


All in good time squirrel friend…but first, Quizizz.

Quizizz is a FREE multiplayer quizzing platform that engages students in gamified practice. As the teacher, you can be the creator or borrower of quizzes that can be “live” or assigned as homework to students via any mobile device. Students can work in teams or as individuals earning rank on a leaderboard, laughing at memes, and delivering data to you for differentiated instruction.

acronFREE                              acronAssessment                        acronAssignment                        

                             acronDifferentiation                         acronChallenge                       

What do a quadrillion happy squirrels have in common?

Double Consonants!



Wizer.Me-Engaging Online Worksheets

Does it count as differentiated instruction if I print their worksheets in different colors?


HA! “Wize” guy!

Q: What is a FREE online worksheet creation tool?


Q: What FREE online worksheet creation tool offers teachers the opportunity to create worksheets that can include video, images, audio, and question variety?


Q: What FREE online engaging worksheets are easy to access by both students and teachers via Google Classroom, Edmodo, or Microsoft?


Q: What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?

A: It gets toad away. 

HA! “Wize” guy!

Q: What FREE online worksheet creation tool allows teachers to be creators or borrowers of engaging worksheets?


Q: What FREE online worksheet creation tool offers automatic answer assessment and/or teacher answer assessment?


Q: What FREE online worksheet creation tool has design templates, print options, and a teacher feedback for growth section?


Q: What’s another name for Santa’s elves? 

A: Subordinate Clauses

HA! “Wize” guy!




Adobe Spark- Film It Friday

It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend


Oh glorious end of the week…you do not come often enough, especially in December!

Alright…back to the work day ahead with some FILM IT FRIDAY. Each Friday, a video of a (re)source will be filmed for sharing here. First Friday launch is (insert drum roll)…………….Adobe Spark Video!

Adobe Spark Video is a FREE tool to create visual stories. It’s user-friendly FREE format includes options of voice recording, soundtrack integration, icon integration, templates, and more. HIGHLIGHT: there is a whole webpage to support teachers in the how of using Adobe Spark Video (lesson plans, teacher sharing, and student creations).

After the intro, comes the show….here we go (I think yesterday’s Dr. Suess channeling is carrying over!)


And here we FAIL…First Attempt In Learning. The space above is where the video SHOULD be! WordPress, oh WordPress…why must you charge me to add a video directly?! I teach for a living…I just want to share AWESOME, FREE Resources!!!!

Enough whining and talking to myself…check out the Adobe Spark Video here or by clicking the first mention of Adobe Spark Video or by clicking the generic film strip icon.


ReadWorks- Comprehension Resource



“The more that you read, the more things you will know.”

In order to understand what you’ve read, comprehension must grow.

Comprehension, that action, is understanding the text.

Characters, setting, plot, cause and effect.

Skill units, novel studies, and leveled reads

These are all resources we need to succeed. is a vast resource for sure.

Printables or digital, so much to explore.

The resource is FREE and has data support.

Passages, passages, passages and more.

Standards aligned with lessons plans complete.

Check out this resource and best part it’s FREE!


Dr. Suess has been channeled, now back to our regularly shared blog.

Readworks Org – a vast source of standards aligned, printable materials for teaching and learning

  • Skills and Strategy Units
  • Comprehension Units
  • Novel Study Units
  • Leveled Reading Passages
  • Article of the Day

Readworks Digital– a vast source of standards aligned, digital interactive materials for teaching and learning

  • Passages
  • Class Creation
  • Assessment and Data Collection

What’s the how? That’s important to know what to do. Below some ideas, but only a few. (Had to close with a rhyme for good measure.)

  • Literature Circles
  • Independent Reading
  • Guided Reading
  • Read Aloud

Teaching Challenge: speak in rhyme an entire teaching day and see if students catch on and join in!