Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Friday, May 29, 2015

SumoPaint/Summer Reading Programs

The end of the year is a great time to test out a new web app. This year's students are fairly comfortable with their level of tech, and you get to see what the app can do and think about ways to use it the following year.

SumoPaint is a web app that can easily be used on Chromebooks. While I haven't played around with it very much, Lisa Highfill, whom many of you may remember was the Keynote speaker at last year's August USD Innovation Summit, has used it with students to paint a picture which they then use to add Thinglinks to. Here is an example of using the tools, and an example of the finished SumoPaint flower with Thinglink

Here's how to get your students started using SumoPaint:

Megan Mullaly's class is using some of SumoPaint's more advanced features. They are using the layer feature. To create this picture, students imported a photo background, and then one of themselves. Using the lasso tool, they deleted the background of their picture and, in an instant, transported themselves to Ancient Greece as part of their studies of ancient civilizations. Megan would be happy to share her directions with you on how to do this. Email her at

Summer Reading Programs

It's nearly summer, and students are excited to have a long break free of school work. But, parents are looking for ways to for their students to occupy their time, and teachers are concerned about the summer slide. Here are a few ideas to help combat those worries.

The SanJose Public Library sponsors a free Summer Reading Challenge every year. To encourage reading, there are different events scheduled at library branches, and participants have the opportunity to be entered in drawings for special prizes. There is even a writing contest sponsored by the San Jose Earthquakes, with the prize being tickets to a game.

Included on their website are recommended books from Easy Readers to Teen Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

You may be familiar with Newslea, the website that provides high interest, high quality non-fiction articles to help build deeper understanding and critical thinking. Susan Peers is a real fan having seen how her students' reading comprehension scores have grown with use. "I use Newsela everyday, current event articles, with my students--I know-I have said this before--but my students have reached their goal just this last week, 5/11:  completed 1272 articles read/quizzes taken at 77% avg. quiz score at 6.2 avg. grade level--I am ecstatic--their critical thinking skills have soared!" To help prevent the summer slide" Newsela has a free Summer Reading Program. Students who already have an account can continue to use it during the summer, but for those who don't yet have an account, parents can enroll them in the program.

A DIY idea came to me from a Twitter chat. The principal has students mail him a postcard every time they finish a book over the summer. Then puts them in a drawing held during the first assembly of the year. Google Forms can even be used instead of a postcard!


The Tech Teacher Leader Kick-off was held at the DO this past Tuesday. We are so excited to have so many enthusiastic teachers who have committed to spending part of their summer in training on how to best support student learning when integrating tech into their curriculum. Thank you all for your dedication!

Here are just a few proudly sporting their new t-shirts. Thanks, Lisa Mata, for posting this picture of smiling faces to Twitter.

If you are posting pictures to Twitter from your class, please add the #USDLearns hashtag. We love seeing the wonderful things you are all doing in your classrooms!