Friday, November 3, 2017

How Google Home, changed our home in 24hrs!

Welcome back, Friends!

I have been waiting to write this post for awhile but just haven't had the time, read... made the time, to do it. So here it is.

I finally bought into the voice-activated "toys". For the longest time I thought, why would I ever need that. Well, I found it on SUPER sale and had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I pulled the trigger.

Let me tell you.... I now have a Google Home and I am not quite sure why I waited so long! (A Google Mini is on my Christmas list for our bedroom!)

Here is a low down of the first 24 hours with our Google Home!

1. ?Hey Google, Set A Timer!" My 6-year-old was able to set his own 15-minute timer to let him know when he could stop reading.

2. "Hey Google, What time does True Value close?" I knocked the socks off my FIL when he asked me this question and I asked Google. No more fumbling to find my phone and type in the store name.

3. "Hey Google, Play Moana soundtrack." I have my Spotify synced with my Google Home so I am able to play any sound, playlist, album, singer, I want to. Crisis diverted when I need to make dinner the kids are supposed to be "playing nicely".

4. "Hey Google, Remind me #GAFE4Littles Twitter Chat starts at 7:00." Yes, I need constant reminders, and this helps me to not miss a beat!

5. "Hey Google, add cumin to my shopping list." Confession, I haven't found a great way, until now, to track what I need to get at the grocery store. I have a Google Keep note, but that requires me to get my phone out and add it to that list, I have a whiteboard by the door which I have had my son write things on the board when I need something and then I take a picture as I walk out the door to get groceries but none of those are working 100% until Google Home came along. Now I can tell it to add things to my shopping list and then I access the Google Home app at while I am shopping and everything is there!

These are the most popular questions or tasks I ask Google. However, there are so much more Google Home can do and I can't wait to learn more! I have started a new serious called #heyGoogle to share more about how I use Google Home in my home! Come join me! @digitalplaylearn on Instagram!

Friday, May 26, 2017

GAFE4Littles - Identifying Key Details and Graphing

This month I found #GAFE4Littles. I love seeing young students engage in G Suite apps. Many of the classrooms I work in have Chromebooks and sometimes struggle to see how young students can use G Suite apps. If you want to learn more about #GAFE4Littles check out Christina Pinto's website

Since following this hashtag I have created a few examples of how to students can create using G Suite apps while sharing their learning. 

This first example is how Kindergarten and 1st Grade students can share key details from their reading by inserting pictures (snapshots using the camera, Google Images, or emojis) to the table. The students can then insert text below to describe their picture. (I have also included the Kindergarten and 1st grade Common Core standards for each example.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Items To Add To Your Newsletters To Get Families To Read Them

Each Friday, at about noon, many teachers start thinking about that weekly newsletter that gets emailed or printed each week. We can only hope each family reads it but we know it can get lost in the pile of mail. Here are my top 5 things that encourage families to read each newsletter and increase their involvement.

1. Pictures, pictures, and more pictures! We live is a picture world, we want to see pictures of our kids! Have students help capture and choose the photos.

2. Questions, each week choose up to 5 questions for families to ask their children, we know kids get sick of hearing "what did you do at school today?" Try things like "What book did Mrs. Dahl read today? What was the setting of the book? Show me how you can count to 100. What sound does the letter t make? Questions like this will help families ask better questions. Try to have them match your objectives for each week, which may be helpful to share too!

3. Website/Apps students use in your classroom, let families know what websites and apps your students are using. f]Families ask me all the time about good apps or websites, if they know which ones you use at school they can engage with their children at home using these apps.

4.The 3'Cs, color, clipart and consistency. Be sure your newsletters are easy to read flow/layout. If you have the reoccurring information newsletter be sure to put new information at the top or in a consistent spot that way families know where to look for the more important information. Adding some color and clipart makes it more interesting and eye catching in the pile of papers each week. We wouldn't look forward to reading a magazine or newsletter article full of black type.

5.  Go digital! Share it via email/Remind message. or class blog. Be sure not to use a Word document because not all families have Microsoft programs. Save your newsletter as a PDF to allow easier viewing and still have active links. Other options include; BloomzS'more, Sway, Tackk, or Seesaw.

Here is another resource to help create newsletters using technology 3 Tech Tips for Parent Newsletters.

I have included 2 examples from my classroom.

Let me know your favorite thing to add to your newsletters that gets families to read your newsletter!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Seasaw: the #1 app/website for teachers

Are you using many different parent communication resources? Do your students have paper portfolios that may get overwhelming to manage and parents only get to see them during conferences?

If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, you need to check out Seesaw. Seesaw is a digital portfolio resource. The basic features that most teachers are using are FREE! Seesaw is available on the web and Android/Apple devices.

Seesaw empowers students to independently create their own digital portfolio. Students are able to capture videos, pictures, web links, drawings, and voice to reflect on their learning. Teachers can enable parents to join the class so they can see, and listen to their child's work. Parents can enable notifications on their device to get notifications when their child uploads work.

Here is a sample of a student's post.

Brayton is using Kindergarten Smarts Fall Number 10 Frames. I have used these in my classroom before and when I didn't have Seesaw I had to go around to each student and check their work and listen to them count. With Seesaw, I can have students video each other which will cut my assessment time in half AND I can share the artifact with parents quickly! It is a win-win! We all know we spend way too much time assessing student work, and parents want to see want their child does throughout the day! Think of all the ways this will save time in your classroom and empower students to show and reflect on their learning!

Capture video of students:
  • route counting 0-10 or 0-100.
  • roll a dice and tell me what number it is and then count up to 20 from there
  • read their sight words
  • read a fluency passage
  • retell a story

I love how this app opens up the communication between home and school. It gives parents a glimpse into their child's school day. It may also give parents ideas on how to support their child at home.

Many teachers are using this resource for all of their parent communication. I have even seen teachers create videos in place of their paper newsletters.

Want to get started today? Check out one of these tutorials!

How To Set Up Your Seesaw Class - Class Code Sign In (for younger students and/or those with no email fo Google sign-in)

Seesaw has many great resources that have already been created, here are just a few!

Seesaw offers a paid version as well, which allows teachers to assign skills and teachers can leave private comments. If you would like to test these features for 30 additional days scan this code (Android Users Settings -> Scan Code, iPhone Users Click on the QR code next to the Settings gear) after you have set up your course.

Thank for checking out Dahl's Dugout. Have a wonderful school year. I am excited to be Seesaw Ambassador so let me know if I can support you!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Get Ready for Hour of Code Dec 7-13

I am excited to share my robot book with you to prepare for the Hour of Code. The week of December 7-13 students around the world will have the opportunity to learn about computer science. For more information about Hour Of Code. check out

For more computer science activities for ages 4 year olds - High Schoolers check out this list of resources or this list of resources.

Preschool students and Kindergarten students will enjoy reading this book about robots. Check out the photos and links below. Click here to download it from my store.

Be sure to check out the Robot Guided Reading FREEBIE Book! Click to download from my store


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sight Word Donut Bundle with FREEBIE

I am excited to share this donut interactive guided reading bundle. My daughter's birthday is donut themed so I put together a packet for you, and your students to enjoy!

Kindergarten Sight Word FREEBIE

Kindergarten Sight Word Donut Bundle

Includes 4 books: 1 easy reader with dots for voice print match, 1 easy reader with no dots, and 1 harder reader. Also includes comprehension questions, sight word fluency strips, sentence structure practice, and like sight word practice sheet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Engaging students in Creativity | #SuperherosAreReal - Taking Risks & ITEC 2015

We ask our students to take risks every day, many times we may not even know they are taking risks. I also ask teachers to take risks all the time. So I knew I had to model risk taking.

This year for ITEC (Iowa Technology Education Connection) Conference I took a risk. I wanted to have participants to be creative. When teachers experience being creative they remember what it like to be creative as a kid. I had 45mins to explain why it is important for students to be creative and share a few creativity resources, which isn't a lot of time, but I wanted to make sure I left enough time for explore/play time! I didn't want the participants to feel like they were drinking from fire hydrant, instead I wanted them to play in the splash pad!

Participants were asked to create a superhero who resembled the strengths they felt that had. My examples is below. If I was going to ask a room full of teachers to do this, I had to model one.

Unfortunately, the internet wasn't working well during my session so many people couldn't participate but a few didn't give up, they tweeted theirs out later using the hashtag #superherosareread. I even had an educator share that she was taking a risk today after going to my session a few weeks ago.

That wasn't the only risk I took during this session, I also wore an Avengers Shirt, instead of my usually professional attire, if I want to go all out maybe I will wear the cape and everything next year.

Here is a link to the presentation:

 Engaging Students in Creativity ITEC 2015

The newest creativity app that I learned about when putting this presentation was Drawp, you have to check it out! You can set up student accounts and link it to each student's family members so they can receive artwork with a simple swipe. (not an advertisement)

Are you taking risks? Are your students encouraged to take risks? Are your teachers encouraged to take risks?