15-Digital Classroom Management

Class Dojo:

During this past school year one of my 4th grade classroom teachers would always request a report at the end of class related to how many bubbles I felt like his students had earned.  I could give them up to ten.  I actually never knew until now that those bubbles were for his whole ClassDojo.  I can’t wait to use this incredible resource with my students for the 2016-2017 school year.  Being that I at times see up to 240 students a day any help that I can get with classroom management is welcome!  I can see this resource helping me with recording student absences with ease, giving students immediate feedback on positive/negative behavior, and for overall record keeping.  I think my students would enjoy creating their own Avatars as a class assignment as well!

Here are some key points I would like to remember about ClassDojo based on watching the video below.

  • Attendance
  • Positive/Negative Sound to help students self regulate
  • On task/Off task
  • Award Multiple Students
  • Reset Bubbles
  • Reports for Parents
  • Can alter date range
  • Print Individual Reports
  • Can send whole class reminders (can see which parents have read the reminder)
  • Students can create their own avatar
  • What does it look like in my classroom
  • Suggest gaining and loosing points with students


Below you will see my ClassDojo account along with a follow up image of the 4 classrooms that I intend to pilot this classroom resource with for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.



Currently Blissfield Elementary has at least 1 grade level set of iPads per grade level.  Several grade levels have more than one set.  Each grade level is allowed to decide how they would like to “handle” their iPads.  Some keep their iPads housed in a cart and they check them out using a calendar…others divide their iPads up between classrooms giving each room around 10 iPads for their students.  This inconsistency in division has made it quite difficult for me as it relates to whole grade level lesson planning.  I do everything I can to “level the playing field.”  This past school year I had some 3rd grade Artists create Abstract Expressionist Artworks using Technology (using iPads) whereas others couldn’t participate in the same lesson as the App wasn’t available for use in the computer lab (obviously).  The students who have 1:1 iPads seem to show a greater sense of ownership over their device and are more efficient at accessing and exploring new resources.  I do believe that these classes show a greater number of actively engaged students.


I have set up a Remind account (complete with a paint palette icon of course) and have sent a message to you Sue!  At BES several teachers and our building principal currently use Remind to communicate with BES parents.  I can’t wait to use this communication resource this year!

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For the upcoming 2016-2017 school year I intend to use both ClassDojo and Remind.  I will pilot ClassDojo with my 5th grade students (I’ve already set up their whole class groups).  I hope to see an improvement in student behavior/ownership of behavior and data recording for grading (participation/behavior).  As it relates to Remind I intend to use remind to communicate with parents regarding fundraising for our kiln, student art shows, and as an advocacy tool for our Elementary Visual Arts program.



Powerful Presentations

For this “Thing” I decided to explore BlendSpace.  I had already used the other resources discussed/presented and wanted to explore something new.

I decided to use a 3rd Grade Standard that focuses on the Elements of Art:

Grade 3


Standard 1: Apply Skills and Knowledge to Perform in the Arts.

ART.VA.I.3.3 Describe, Discuss, and Model the Elements of Art to Communicate Ideas.

I structured my BlendSpace in such a way that I can use it to expose my 3rd grade Artists to formal definitions of each of the Elements of Art as defined by the J. Paul Getty Museum, individual videos on each of the Elements of Art, and finally included a concluding resource that I will personally use to guide my students through lessons on each of the Elements.

I find this Standard to be very cumbersome to instruct. I feel through the use of BlendSpace I would easily be able to present, expose, explore…and then revisit as needed throughout our unit while we create in each of the Elements.  I like how this resource has a search bar within the program so no outside searching is essentially necessary.  Videos, images, and text can all easily be found and inserted into each lesson.

One thing that I didn’t like about BlendSpace is that within its Standard search it only allows you to correlate with Common Core Standards for Math and ELA.  I would have liked to link it to the appropriate Michigan Visual Arts Standard.

Click here to view my BlendSpace Lesson on the Elements of Art.

As it relates to the integration of ISTE standards for students I could see taking my 3rd Grade Artists down to the computer lab (1:1 classes could respond within our room using their individual iPads) as a conclusion to this Unit and having them “comment” on each of the Element “Slides” with their own definition of each Element, this could even utilized twice as a pre-post assessment.  As an alternative idea students could create their own BlendSpaces that feature slides of their own individual works of Art that illustrate each of the Elements of Art (students are already in the habit of taking personal Artwork photos for the purpose of uploading to Artsonia).  Students could use the text function to describe/defend how they feel their Artwork falls within that category.  As it relates to collaboration students could engage in an informal critique by leaving an anonymous comment on a peers slides giving feedback as to how they feel that Artwork does/does not fall within that Element of Art.

ISTE Standard 2:

Communication and Collaboration

Students Use Digital Media and Environments to Communicate and Work Collaboratively, including at a Distance, to support Individual Learning and Contribute to the Learning of Others.

a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of Digital Environments and Media.

Digital Images


I am in LOVE with PhotoPeach.  I created a slideshow of my 2015-2016 5th Graders Contour Line Collage Self Portraits to show my upcoming 5th Grade Artists.  One issue I’ve personally been challenged with is creating samples of my own personal work to show students as inspiration.  What typically happens is that students think creating an Artwork just like mine is what I’m looking for even though I stress otherwise.  Using PhotoPeach to create slideshows of previous student work will allow my future students to be inspired by their peers towards creating quality, unique Artworks.  I can see myself using this website to show stills of process as well vs. in person demo.  This could alleviate students struggling to see (Elmo please?) who aren’t able to fit around my demonstration table.

5th Grade Contour Line Collage Self Portraits


I used Voki to create an Avatar that introduces myself to my upcoming 2016-2017 students.  I had a lot of fun creating my Avatar.  I decided on a Toon with playful hair and clothing.  I matched my hair color and eye color to the best of my ability.  I decided to add fun glasses and a paint splotch background.  I can see myself using this Avatar to actively engage my students in Unit Intros, Artist Bios, etc.  As it relates to student use I could see my “shy” students using an Avatar to present their Artist Research projects!  Click here to view my Voki Presentation.





I like this quote by 21things4teachers which describes the purpose of interactives, “Interactive websites are designed to enhance online learning opportunities and engage students in authentic learning processes.” I would argue that the word online could be omitted from that sentence.   I have been in full support of using interactives within my classroom in order to provide extended learning opportunities for my students.  This past year I had our Technology director, Matthew Cook, install a NGA kids app on all 3rd grade iPads, and the Artsonia App on 3rd-5th Grade iPads.  One of the big issues that Art teachers (and I’m sure general Ed. Teachers as well) face is pacing.  Students work at a range of different rates.  Some students will finish literally days before another student with excellence.  In the past I used to allow my students to do choice work, or to utilize drawing books toward improving drawing skills…Apps have now replaced both of these activities with the ability to focus in on extension to a particular unit of study.  For example the App below allows students to create using technology (which also helps me to hit on Grade Level Content Standards and Benchmarks) and to extend learning within the Artistic Mediums of Collage work, painting, sculpture and with a focus on the Artists Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Jean Arp, Elizabeth Murray, Sol LeWitt, Arshile Gorky, Jim Lambie, and Paul Klee.  The App also gives Art History connections and allows its users to watch videos of related Artists.  My ultimate goal with this “Thing” is to locate Visual Arts appropriate resources that will not be viewed by my administrators as “games” or my students as “time wasters.”

Lessons with multimedia:

Participate Learning

Once again Participate Learning allows it’s users to access Apps within certain genres that are available for free or for cost.  My favorite free K-5 appropriate Visual Arts Specific App was MoMA Art Lab.

MoMA Art Lab App

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Study/Practice Websites and Apps:


Seriously!??!?!  I am beyond EXCITED about this App.  This past school year my primary IDP goal was to develop and implement K-5 Visual Arts Assessments.  Administering, grading, and recording data for over 500 students 2x per year was a nightmare!  My reflection included a plan to revise said tools and a meeting with my building principal where we decided vocabulary specific tests to two Grade Levels vs. six might be a better approach.  This versatile app allows you to utilize already developed tests with a variety of term sets, create your own, provides many options for studying concepts, allows you to administer tests, and record data.  Students can choose to have the questions read to them while studying or even during the test.  I love that the testing function allows students to “show what they know” through writing answers, matching, multiple choice questions, and true false questions.  You can limit your tests to one question type or all.  When developing your own tests you simply develop a “Set Title” and then fill in as many Terms and Definitions as you’d like.  The App allows you to add an image (which might I add automatically generates based on the Term you set) to each Term/Definition pair for reaching your visual Learners.  I can’t wait to use this App for progress in my IDP based on advise from my Principal to focus on Vocab this upcoming school year!!!



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Content Area

Being an Art teacher is incredible…don’t get me wrong… But I honestly envy my general education teacher friends who get to come into work and open a Math Curriculum book and simply “deliver” what’s inside with the assurance that the content is aligned with State Content Standards/Benchmarks and GLCE’s.  Not so as an Art Educator.  We have to create EVERYTHING we teach.  Upon initially seeing this “Thing” I got very excited that finally I might be able to utilize/locate some already developed content/lesson plans for my K-5 Visual Arts students…why reinvent the wheel right?!

I tried to do a search on PBS Learning Media for “The National Visual Arts Standards” and although the search engine provided all 6 Strands it wouldn’t pull a single document for me to view.  I then proceeded to do several different searches using a variety of filters and despite advise to be specific my “least” specific searches provided results that were at least not frustratingly off topic. I did find, without attempt, several interdisciplinary (Math) lessons that I could use with my students next year.




I did another search with the filters: 2nd Grade, Collection, Video, Elements of Art and Principles of Design, and the Arts which produced off topic results.



Teachers First offered the similar results.  If I tried to add even one modifier to the search it produced 0 results. I had to simply search Visual Arts to produce a list of varied unorganized images.

Participate Learning provided a collection of Visual Arts specific Apps.  Not exactly what I was expecting from 21things4teachers as it relates to Content Development but I’ll take what I can get!   I did use apps this year to integrate technology and can see myself doing it again in the future.  This resource does allow for a Grade Level search of available Visual Arts apps.  I was able to learn of a new app called Touch Van Gogh that if offered for free that allows its user to learn more about individual paintings by Van Gogh through “Touch.”  Pop Art Design features a gallery of Pop Artwork and discusses it’s placement within Art History.

Sue, maybe this “Thing” is one that we can revisit when we are together during the next open lab session.  I have spent several hours simply trying to pull relevant Content data using filters only to produce results that are not applicable to what I’ve searched or what I need to teach.  Help!!




Standard 2: Apply skills and knowledge to create in the arts.

ART.VA.II.K.2 Use a variety of lines, colors, and basic geometric shapes and patterns to creatively express feelings and personal experiences.


Standard 5: Recognize, analyze, and describe the connections among the arts; between the arts and other disciplines; between the arts and everyday life.


Explore connections between the visual arts and other curriculum.


Assigning Homework and Practice:

Frame, Focus, and Reflection

Introduce or review the names of 2-D shapes—square, circle, rectangle, triangle, and square. Talk about how these shapes are called “flat” shapes or “plane” shapes. It would be helpful to review this concept throughout the lesson and each day. Show Shape House and have students spot these shapes in the classroom. Show the PowerPoint Let’s Look at Art and have students identify shapes that they see in the paintings. Allow them to come up to the board and point out the shapes they see. Have students use the language “above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to” to describe the positions of these shapes.

Pass out drawing paper and direct students to draw faces using shapes. Model on the board, using a large circle for the face with smaller circles for the eyes, nose, and mouth as students follow along. Then, draw a large triangle for a face and smaller triangles for the eyes, nose, and mouth as students follow along. Finally, challenge students to draw a face using large and small squares. Have students identify facial features using positional words. For example: “Your eyes are above your mouth.” “Your ears are beside your eyes.” “Your eyes are above your nose.”

Nonlinguistic Representations/Cooperative Learning:

Short Activity

Show Shapes All Around Me.

Give each student a sheet of construction paper or lightweight colored computer paper, a right triangle template, and a crayon. Instruct students on how to hold down the template with one hand and trace around it with the other hand. It might be easier for them to do this working with a partner. After tracing, students will cut out the triangles with scissors. Have them look at the triangle shape and compare it to things in the classroom. Example: room corner, table tops, etc. Then, illustrate how to put two right triangles together makes a square. Give students time to experiment with combining their triangle with their neighbor’s triangle to make composite shapes.

Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback:

Formative Assessment

What are the indicators of student progress toward or achievement of each learning target?

Math Assessment Problems

  • Distinguished: Students can identify all shapes and use positional words to tell where the shape is located.
  • Proficient: Students can identify all shapes and use positional words to tell where most shapes are located.
  • Apprentice: Students can identify some shapes and use only a few positional words to identify location of shapes.
  • Novice: Student cannot identify all shapes and does not use positional correctly.

Arts and Humanities

  • Distinguished: Student created a clear pattern of geometric shapes. All pieces are securely adhered.
  • Proficient: Student created a clear pattern of geometric shapes. Most pieces are securely adhered.
  • Apprentice: Student created a pattern of geometric shapes with a few errors. Most pieces are securely adhered.
  • Novice: Student did not create a pattern.


Search Strategies


Useful MeL databases for K-5 Visual Arts Students:



I’m especially excited about this database as upon investigation it would be an incredible/reliable resource for our 5th Grade Artist Research Project.


Here is a Biography search I did on Pablo Picasso. I also love how it has a read-aloud feature and English to Spanish function which would be useful for my ESL students.


This resource has a collection of Drawing Books within its Arts and Architecture tab!


imageimageMy favorite MeL database! Look at the plethora of Art related search options with the bonus of a read-aloud function! I can see myself using Kids Infobits with my 5th Grade Artists for their Artist Research projects or simply as a hook in a Unit of study!!! What an exciting resource!



And finally my last FAVORITE MeL resource, World Book for Kids. I love how you are able to filter by gender, Artistic Medium, Cultural heritage, and time period. I believe my students will benefit from this advanced/reliable research tool!

Web Evaluation:

Joyce Valenza’s Elementary Website Evaluation Criteria:



Click here to view a complete PowerPoint presentation on the topic.

Critical Evaluation using Joyce Valenza’s Elementary Website Evaluation Rubric:

Click here to view the All About Explorers Website.

  1. Content: Upon first glance the website looks reliable based on the available content.  Cross checks prove information provided is accurate.
  2. Authority/Credibility: If you scroll to the bottom of the page you will find that the website was produced using WordPress. This for me is a red flag. I’m creating this Blog using WordPress…enough said. If you view the “All About the Authors” Page you will find more information that leads me to believe that this website is NOT a reliable resource: “Gerald Aungst, BFA, MBA, DDS, is the Webmaster and Lead Designer for AllAboutExplorers.com. He works as a part-time custodian at Oceanside Community College in Casper, Wyoming, and frequently audits graduate level courses in differential histrionics when he is not sweeping and mopping the campus beach.” If you scroll all of the way to the bottom, however, you will find a hyperlink that says…”Hmm…not buying it? Click here for the real story” which links you to a “Site Authors: The Real Story” page which seems to be credible.
  3. Bias/Purpose: The website appears to have been created to inform an audience (students) about Explorers. It is a personal website (WordPress) and does not seem to present information in a biased matter.
  4. Usability/Design: The website appears to be legitimate based on it’s visual presentation.  All links work, layout is effective, a few noticeable spelling or grammar errors are present.

*Based on Joyce Valenza’s Website Evaluation Tool this website appears to be the hoax.  What is interesting is that you can easily see how our students would be tricked into thinking that this website is credible based on the fact that it appears to present information…and even passes several of the rubric quadrants!

Click here to view the NASA Website for Students.

  1. Content: The website appears to present accurate and complete information related to NASA.  The website appears to be up to date: last updated  June 21st, 2016.
  2. Authority/Credibility: If you use Joyce’s recommendation in “truncating back” in order to find the sponsor you find that the website started with the actual NASA.gov website…the recommended site can be found by clicking on the Education tab which is found on the original page.
  3. Bias/Purpose: It appears that the website was created in order to provide Education (Student/Teacher) NASA information. It is a government website (NASA.gov).
  4. Usability/Design: The website is easy to navigate, is free of grammatical or spelling errors, and all links appear to work.

*Based on Joyce Valenza’s Website Evaluation Tool this website appears to be the “Real” website.  Without an easy comparison such as this one I would think that students could easily be tricked into thinking that any website they visit is credible. Great Rubric to add to our Technology “Tool Belt!!!”

Online Citation Makers:

For my online Citation Maker I decided to use bibme.org.  I remember being in college and dreading writing citations!  How exciting that a resource is now available to assist in the writing of Citations! Here is my Citation generated with bibme for a book that I am actually waiting to receive to read!



Be Legal and Fair

Fun video to share with my 5th Grade Artists regarding Copy Right Laws created by Eric Faden of Bucknell University:


Plagiarism Checkers and Writing Tools:


For this “Thing” I decided to use a 3rd Grade students Artist Statement from their Artsonia account as a response to an Abstract Expressionism assignment. I require my 3rd graders to write 3 sentences which focus on process, content, mediums, or feeling. I honestly don’t see myself using a plagiarism checker with my (K-4) Elementary students. The intent/opportunity simply isn’t there. I can, however, see myself using such a tool with my 5th Grade Artists. I intend to add an Artist Research Assignment to their Curriculum. Using Grammarly and Plagtracker could be an excellent tool to aide students in revising their work. These tools could also help in reducing the workload on educators as it relates to seat time spent grading/correcting.  I really like how Plagtracker gives constructive advise regarding the content of individual students writing.