AnswerGarden is a great tool for getting quick feedback from your blog audience.  This tool is completely free and does not require an account in order to create your AnswerGarden. Give it a try.  Type the answer to the question and press SUBMIT.

If you would like to embed your own AnswerGarden, go to the site, type your question, and the press the CREATE button.  Copy and paste the coded under the heading EMBED NORMAL SIZE.

If you encounter any problems, make sure you activate the ADDITIONAL TAGS plugin.  If you still encounter problems, go to Settings (in your dashboard), select EXTEND KSES, and then make sure all of the boxes are ticked.

How can you use AnswerGarden with your students?… at


Tagxedo is a tool that you can use to turn words into art.  It is similar to wordle in that you can create word clouds using text from a specific URL or text that you add.   Both tools allow you to choose font, layout and style.  Tagxedo offers more choices when creating your word cloud.

To add words to  a word cloud you can enter a url, twitter ID news keyword, search term, or RSS Feed.  You can also enter your own text.  I created the following word cloud using the URL of this blog.

All words are from this blog site- I just entered the URL

A few of the shape options

Using tagxedo, you can make a unique word cloud in minutes.  Once you have a group of words that you want to use, the real fun begins.  You will want to choose the shape of your layout.  You are also able to choose the font and theme.  After you create your customized word cloud, you are able to save this in a variety of ways.   (I did try to use the html code to embed the image into the blog, but it didn’t work.)

Do you need some ideas on how you can use this tool?  If so, have a quick look at this presentation,  101 Ways to Use Tagxedo

Fotobabble- Talking Images

Fotobabble is a web tool that I picked up during the ISTE Conference in Denver.  This tool allows you to upload an image and record a narration.  Once you create your fotobabble, you will want to share it.  You can share it by using the web link, embed code or through other web applications.

This tool can be used in a variety of ways with multiple age groups.  I could see this tool being used for book talks, current events,  reflections, and a way for students to share their understanding.

You will need to activate the Additional Tags plug-in before you can embed the HTML code.

How could you use this with your students?

Change it up! Making the switch from iNove to Nelo

Nelo Theme in Blog Layout

The Nelo theme offers a variety of layout choices for your blog.  You want to make sure that you choose the layout that will meet your needs. In the dashboard, got to Theme Options, you have two layout choices, blog homepage or custom homepage. If you choose blog homepage for your layout choice, your posts will appear just like they did when you were using iNove.

The custom homepage layout gives you the choice to show only a custom post, recent post, or both custom post with recent post.

Custom Post

Nelo Theme Custom Post on Custom Homepage

If you choose to show only a custom post, the image and post you create will always be displayed on your blog homepage.
Think of it like a static page.  It may look like all of your content is gone- don’t stress! Your other posts are on your blog, but will have to be accessed through category links, tags, or pages.   If you want to change the image for the Custom Image and Custom Post, you will need to go to your blog dashboard, then Appearance, and select Custom Homepage

Recent Post

This setting will show your most recent posts on your custom homepage. The most recent post, will wrap around the custom image that you upload to your custom homepage.  The your recent posts will appear under the Latest News heading.  If there is an image in your post, it will be displayed to the left of the post summary.  The text of the summary will start at the left margin if there is not an image present in the blog post.

Custom Post with Recent Post

Use this setting if you want to have a static image and post appear on your homepage along with the most recent posts that you have added to your blog.  When using this setting, however, you may run into a problem.  If you have added images to your media library, the most recent image will be repeated.  So if you want to keep the custom post and show your recent posts without having a repeated image, you can just add a plain white image to your media library.  Then, the plain white image is repeated, but you can’t see it if you are using a white background.  I know it is not the most “technical” solution, but it works!  The Nelo Theme developers are in the process of fixing this issue.  We will let you know when the problem has been resolved.

Nelo is a great theme once you understand the difference between the blog homepage and custom homepage.  If you are looking for some inspiration on ways that you can use Nelo to set up your blog, check out the following elementary blogs.

Mr. McCallum- ECLC

Ms. Grabow- Grade 1

Ms. Juteau- Grade 1

Mr. Rea- Grade 2

Ms. McGrath- Grade 3

Ms. Hines- Grade 4