What Are Digital Task Cards?

Digital Task Cards shown here on an iPad.

Go Interactive Digital task cards.  What are they? Good question. You haven't seen anything like it yet, right? 

If you love the traditional task cards activity, you'll love these. Creating digital task cards have been very rewarding. My students love when I set up a digital task cards activity. 

Digital task cards are original educational teaching and learning task cards delivered by web based file sharing services, operates in the internet 'cloud' and allows you and your students to access, edit and print the task cards file from any computer or device. In other words, the digital task cards are paperless!

How to Make a Video For Social Media With PowerPoint

Wouldn't you love to make really colorful, fun, and engaging videos for your social media? Then, you should use an app. Right? Well not necessarily. I still cannot find an app that is user friendly enough and able to handle multiple animations. So, I went back to the basics. 

I use PowerPoint all the time for my classroom presentations. The more animations and transitions that I add, seems to make it more entertaining for my students. 

Using PowerPoint to create videos is not a new concept. I did not invent this. But, I feel like I discovered a new way for me to create visuals. I recently started to play around with the features and loving all the possibilities.

You can use this tutorial to learn how to make videos for your social media. If you want to make videos for your blog or a video site (like Youtube), you can make the videos longer and more intricate. For this tutorial I focused on Instagram. 

The above video is my most recent example of how to use PowerPoint for creating videos. It is really easy!

Step One. Open a new PowerPoint file. In the menu, go to DESIGN> Page Setup> Custom > Then 6 inches by 6 inches. This is to ensure you  have a "perfect square." Instagram is a square image. I recommend being consistent with this.

Step Three. Bring on your creative genius! Channel your inner-designer! This first slide is the first thing your audience will see. So make it eye catching! 
Step Four. Select the text or object that you want to animate in your video. In the menu, select Animations> Animations group> click Entrance>Begin Exploring. 

Once you find the animation you want, select it. You can preview each one before picking the one you want.

Step Five. Timing is really important. Instagram has a video file length maximum of :15 seconds. Longer animations will result in longer video time. I recommend .25 seconds for each animation. 

Step Six. Always Preview! This is the best way to see firsthand how your video is looking so far. Don't forget, timing! Keep it short!

Step Seven. To add more slides and to show more images, this is when/where you will do it. To move from slide-to-slide you should apply transitions. Transitions are very similar to animations. If you add transitions, again, you will need to focus on timing. 

In the new slides, add more elements for your video. Refer to the earlier steps for adding animations.

Step Eight. You are ready! First, save your PowerPoint file. Then, save your file as a MPEG-4 Video file.

Here are two more examples of short videos created for social media. I used PowerPoint to create both of them.

For more, follow me on Instagram. ENJOY! 

Digital Interactive Notebooks Make Me Smile Link Up


Why Use Digital Interactive Notebooks? 21st Century Learning

What is the next frontier in education? What will we see next? 
That is what I thought of during the summer of 2015. In 2012, I went to a workshop on Google Drive. I loved it. The burning question for the next two years would be, "How was I going to use it in my classroom?" I had no idea. I slowly started with some really great student centered Apps. Then, student surveys. As a teacher author, I used google drive to store files, share forms, and collaboration.

The student shown above is using her digital interactive notebook as a reference for completing her essay organizer. 

During the summer, I purchased 60 composition books for the purpose of starting interactive notebooks in all five of my English language arts classes. They sat in the classroom in their storage bins for all of September before I decided, “We are not going to use that them. The notebooks are going back to Staples!"

Why would we want to use digital interactive notebooks? 
Our students today want to use technology. they want opportunities to get online. Students want to input their answers. Even your most reluctant writers will love being engaged in Google Drive educational materials.

More schools become one-to-one or even paperless educators will need to look for different ways to engage students using technology. School districts are purchasing truck loads of chrome books due its cost-effectiveness. The United States is moving toward web-based state standardized testing. Therefore, school districts are forced to implement and have accesses to technology. This resulted in the rise of classrooms with Chromebook carts and devices for each student.

Top ten reasons to use digital interactive notebooks 
  • Paperless. No printing. No cutting. No glue.
  • Students work directly in the file.
  • Preserve ideas and references
  • Improve students writing.
  • Infuse technology.
  • High engagement (you’ll see renewed interest).
  • College readiness.
  • Access anywhere.
  • Looks like a traditional paper and pencil notebook.
  • If you love how traditional interactive notebooks look (I do).
  • Happy students.
 Reading and Writing Digital Interactive Notebook
KWL digital interactive notebook "page" shown here on an iPad. 
The Google Drive apps are a free download. 

 Go Interactive Reading and Writing Digital Interactive Notebook
I love this one! The tree was hand colored and scanned. Then I "glued" (well, digitally inserted) to give it an appearance that it's in a lined notebook. This vocabulary organizer is great for root words.    
 Google Drive Toolkit

Are you ready to get started? Want to learn how to "go digital," in your own instruction? I created a visual tutorial that will give you step-by-step how to do it.
 Google Drive Toolkit

 Google Drive Toolkit

Vibrant crayon textured backgrounds for you to use in your personal and commercial product creations.

Digital interactive notebook templates to get you started. 

I'd love to hear about your digital endeavors. Go Interactive! If you have a question you can email me.

How to Get Google to Drive Your Lessons: Go Interactive in English Language Arts

There is something very exciting about seeing a teacher come into the classroom with a cart loaded with Chrome books
One by one students come up and take a Chrome book, they go back to their seats and within three to four minutes of class, everyone is logged on and ready to go. Students are looking up at the Smart Board and looking at their own screens. "Mrs. Knight did you share something with us?" Lately, my answer is always “Yes.” All at once with deep concentration, tilted screens, and light taps on the keyboards have taken over the room. The first step in the Google classroom file sharing is on the teacher's side. There must be something to share.

Students work directly in the file right in the Google Slide. All changes are saved automatically.

How does a teacher do this? Easy. The teacher selects the file, names it, and shares it with the students in the class. For this to happen, all the students must have an email address that is signed up for Google. Don't forget, it is free! 

Go Interactive Notebook using the Google Slides App on an iPad

Once the students open the shared file, they must make a copy. This ensures the original file is intact, so you need to send out the copy of the file. I always like to rename the file. For example, grade 9 or grade 11 with the name of the topic in the title. Then I send this out to my students and because we are still in the early stages of using the Google Drive in the classroom, I'll bring it up on the smart on the Smart Board and together as a class we open the file. Once they open the Google Drive, I can see who has it open and who is working in my copy. Most the time they do it on their own, we are at the point where there are still a few that seem to be a little behind on this. I don't start the lesson until they're all out of my drive copy, this includes them taking the file from me, renaming it and making a copy of the file in their own drives. 

Novel Studies are so engaging using web shareable docs. Your students can access information using the web for vocabulary, pre-reading web quests, author background, project based learning and more!

While I am waiting for them to make a copy, I open up their daily Do Now on their Google Drive. Today we completed the “ABC Brainstorm,” as a thematic essay warm-up for the short story “The Necklace.” We had a really fun time with it. I turned it into a contest.

Go Interactive Reading and Writing Strategies Interactive Notebook
I'm really excited for a new product line I called Go Interactive, it is a series of original educational materials for teachers and students to use during English Language Arts class. The goal is to be entirely paperless. There's no print/copy room, ink shortage, cutting, or gluing! I am returning sixty composition books to Staples that were intended to be interactive notebooks for all of my classes.

Since July, 2015 I would sit and try to picture my students opening an interactive notebook on the google drive. Something digital. But still something tailored toward the literature, writing lessons, and skills. I tried to come up with an idea on how to make the interactive notebook paperless, but to still have a look similar to the traditional interactive notebooks (which I love!). Go Interactive products can be engaging using a laptop, desktop, any iOS device (ipads, iphones), and tablets. You really only need internet service.
60 compositions packed up in my classroom ready to be returned to Staples. 

Google App is free
Downloading the Google App is effortless and easy. You and your students can open and edit files using the app. All changes are made automatically.

Makin' copies! Not so much anymore!
Needless to say, I still consider myself as being paperless because I'm barely making copies. With Go Interactive, I have eliminated the possibility of a teacher using the materials and editing the background file. This benefits everyone because it maintains the beauty of the page, the fonts and clip art are intact, the intellectual property and copyright is protected, and it's colorful and engaging.

I am having fun exploring the possibilities and adding to the product line.  More to come really soon!

Go Interactive is trademarked and owned by Danielle Knight

Finally! How Can Decorating a Secondary Classroom Inspire Your Students?

English Language Arts Classrooms Just Got Colorful!

There are many beautiful Pinterest boards of elementary school classrooms with the most wonderful themes, colors, decoration, and inspiration. Let's face it, decorating a secondary classroom is different.

How is decorating a secondary classroom different?
  1. You might not stay in the same room all day. Therefore, you are sharing a teaching space.
  2. Decorating for a particular subject matter can be tricky due to the lack of up-to-date and stylish decor.
  3. Many high schools are used on the weekend for community events. This opens up the chance for things to be moved, removed, and sometimes destroyed.
  4. As secondary teachers, our mindset is that our students don't typically get excited about a decorated classroom.

I've found a resurgence of excitement in decorating my classroom. I do it for my students. But I realized something. I also do it for me. It makes me feel really great to be in a colorful and inspiring learning space. The last two school years I've been lucky to be in the same classroom for the majority of the school day. 

I always loved classroom pennants. They look great on bulletin boards, hanging on walls, doors, windows, above a book shelf, draped on a teacher's desk, and even across the room hanging from the ceiling. I am most passionate about teaching literature and it is the center of my lessons. I tie everything in with our readings.

Literature + a pennant = ELA Classroom Decor: Make Your Own Pennant Banner

I took the three genres of literature I teach. I made a list of the novel studies I cover during the school year. Then, I went to the web to search, "top literature," lists for middle school and high school students. Finally, I came up with 26 British Literature titles, 60 Young Adult Literature titles, 29 American Literature novels, and 22 kindergarten-grade 2 books.   

I went to work! I had the template from two book themed pennants I made earlier this year. 
Here are mine printed in color. I laminated each one, too. You'll notice I mixed-and-matched my pennants. I teach two levels of English with many titles between the two. 

I had the wonderful privilege to have teacher friends on social media share their literature pennant pictures with me. 

i love how everyone displays their literature pennant in a different way.
I love the reading corner. Thanks to Mrs. McLeod's Classroom! 

I displayed my pennant by hanging the twine string across the wall. I did this without measuring and by "eye-balling," the length of the area I was going to fill. I didn't have to worry about going in a straight line, because pennants typically do not fly perfectly straight. 
Then, I attached each pennant over the string adhering it to the wall. This gave it the appearance like it was hanging from the string.    
Not only did I print the pennants of the novels I teach during the school year, I added some more titles based on what I thought would inspire my students (Divergent, Wonder, The Outsiders, Dracula, Tuck Everlasting, The Lightning Thief).

Are you ready to reveal your pennant? 

Here are the links to the four pennants available for your own classroom:

 ELA Classroom Decor {British Literature}: Make Your Own Pennant Banner

  Some of my favorites

I hope this gives you an idea of how wonderful it is to have a cheerful teaching and learning space. You spend a lot of time in your classroom. Why not make it inspiring and engaging to look at!

Visit my friend Secondary Sara's blog to learn how to make-your-own banner from an old book. She walks you through the process. It's pretty cool!  

Back to School with the Right Stuff...I'm Wanted, Read More and Thrive!

You Got the Right Stuff, Baby!
An alternative to interactive notebooks? Yes. I have one for you. It's student centered. Encourages ownership. Watch your students engage in independent thinking. A Study All Knight layered flip book covers the common core standards. And, there's only one trip to the copy machine.

Follow my Lead, Dancing in September
I always preach, "September is the most crucial time of the year to start routine and to model expectations."

I Got my Mind on My Flip Books and My Flip Books on My Mind

starting with flip books bundle is a beneficial teaching pack for the beginning. There's enough materials included to keep your student centered going until you decide what to do next.

 Short Story Flip Book is Included in this awesome back to school bundle

Bringing the Mini Flip Back.

The RACE mini flip is a useful reference tool that you students will refer to the entire school year. This is particularly true during state standardized testing.

 RACE Mini Flip

Crisp Air, Fall Leaves, Haunted Tales

Want add a spooky short story? During the week of Halloween you can be a big hit and show the film, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The flip book has a craft/activity for the cover. Your students will love the 3-D effect of he cut out headless horseman.

Going off the Rails on the Supply Train.

You'll need a classroom supply of scissors, a few staplers, crayons, and colored pencils.

Before school starts, cut, color, and assemble a flip book for your students to see. I pin one up above the white board as a good visual.

Stapled it off, Staple it off
Prior to giving out the flip books, I like to stack and staple them all. This way there's no "issues," with stapling. Let's face it, some students struggle with this and not all staplers are built to last.

I'm Wanted, Read More and Thrive!

Good luck this school year!  I hope your students "flip" over your class this year. You'll be the envy of your colleagues and the praise of your administration. Be sure to visit my secondary teacher author friends! 


They're Here! Are You Ready? TpT Back to School Sale! August 3rd and 4th

Welcome! The Literary League is a collaboration made up of secondary English language arts teacher-authors on Teachers Pay Teachers.  We've come together for this fun Back to School Sale promotion. 
Be sure to visit our store links below during the TpT Back to School Sale, on August 3rd and 4th.  Most stores will be discounted up to 28% OFF! Don't forget your promo code at checkout: BTS15.  

Danielle Knight (Study All Knight)
Darlene Anne- ELA Buffet
Room 213
The Classroom Sparrow
Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
Created by MrHughes
The Daring English Teacher
ELA Everyday
Juggling ELA
Literary Sherri
Making Meaning with Melissa
2 Peas and a Dog
Secondary Solutions-Simply Novel
Addie Williams
Linda Jennifer
Fisher Reyna Education
Stacey Lloyd
Brynn Allison
Open Classroom
Perfetto Writing Room
Secondary Sara
James Whitaker
The Superhero Teacher
Created for Learning
Brain Waves Instruction
The Creative Classroom
Tracee Orman
Back to Top