6 Great Apps to Support Pre-Writing

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT


Here is an overview of six apps recently shared in Cube for Teachers that support Language Arts Writing (pre-writing/ brainstorming) and potential cross-curricular connections to other subject matter.


Image result for corkulous

Corkulous, is where your traditional bulletin board meets the digital world!  This virtual bulletin board makes a great digital brainstorming environment for students to throw around ideas, make connections between information, and classify points. Some of the app features include sticky notes, cue cards, label arrows, checklist templates, and more! Students are also able to upload photos to help support their brainstorming ideas and spark inspiration.  Learn more.

MindMeister:Image result for mindmeisterMindMeister provides a more advanced digital platform to brainstorm and even pre-write. One of the best features of MindMeister is how it supports a collaborative network. People can be added to edit and share on a mind map using their email. Through cloud technology, students, teachers, or administrators can edit and share their ideas together around a particular topic. Learn more.


Popplet is another wonderful mind mapping app for students to brainstorm ideas on potential topics or to demonstrate what they have learned. An important feature of Popplet is its’ ability to have students collaborate within the same network. Much like the app, MindMeister, discussed above, students can share their ideas by making comments, uploading pictures, and connecting information. Learn more.

Pic Collage:

Pic Collage provides a unique and more simplified way for students to organize their ideas through pictures. Pic Collage could be used as a way to differentiate the pre-writing stage for students who may struggle to express their thoughts in written form. Pic Collage at least gets the ideas flowing for these students and could help scaffold them towards richer ideas for a story. Learn more.


On Stickyboard, students are able to use sticky notes to write their ideas and begin to make connections about a topic. One of the unique features about Stickyboard is its dual function as a white board! Students can then organize their sticky notes through connecting lines, diagrams, columns, or through arrows. Learn more.


Inspiration allows students to begin pre-writing through mind-maps and further provides many pre-made mind mapping templates in Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math. All of these mind maps have built in graphics and symbols to support the pre-writing or brainstorming process. The app further allows students to record audio within the mind map to explain their thinking and communicating of ideas. Learn more.

Have you registered for Cube for Teachers yet?

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. To date nearly 25 000 web resources have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

Gamify & Digitize Math!

by Rochelle Tkach, OCT


I recently shared the following Mathematics resources into the Cube for Teachers database under ‘Curriculum Resources’:

1) Prodigy
2) Digitize Math Manipulatives
3) Playpower

Are YOU Ready to Make Math Magical? Try Prodigy!

What student doesn’t like wizards, duels, rewards, and challenges? With over 1.5 million student users and growing, Prodigy has designed an engaging and meaningful way to gamify math for students. While students play Prodigy, they will have to duel against other players (other computer players not other students). The duel means that students are required to solve a math problem. Prodigy has a database of over 300 curriculum aligned math questions that target grades 1 through to 8. Furthermore, teachers can choose specific math questions to include in the game and assess students on these concepts without them even knowing they are being assessed. It all just seems like a game! Prodigy includes other features to differentiate instruction based on individual students, inform teachers based on data driven assessment, provide scaffolding throughout the game, and engage students through fun reward systems. Read the full review of Prodigy on my Teaching with EdTech blog!

Digitize Math Manipulatives!

Why not combine hands-on activities with the digital world? Clarity Innovations has created a set of free high quality math manipulatives for the Math Learning Center. These apps still provide the visual/symbolic representations of math concepts that traditional manipulatives have for years. However, now with the math manipulative apps, educators can support the unique learning needs of students today in the 21st century! Furthermore all of these math manipulatives have a whiteboard feature built in. This means students can not only use the digital manipulatives, but they can further write numbers, equations, or explanations of their thinking as they work with the manipulatives. Read the full review about these high quality math manipulative apps on my Teaching with EdTech blog!

1, 2, 3…BLAST OFF to the Math Planet App by Playpower!

Playpower is an organization that creates many high quality math education apps for grades 1-8. Playpower has really jumped on the trend of gamification in learning to make math more meaningful and fun for students. Math Planet was developed by experts at Carnegie Mellon University and has been tested across hundreds of classrooms to improve and enhance the richness of math learning. It has also won many awards! This app provides a gamified learning environment to learn many math concepts in a virtual outer space. The strands Math Planet focuses on include: Number Sense and Numeration, Geometry, and Measurement! With 9 different games and over 100+ levels, math planet makes a great addition to reinforce important math concepts. Read the full review of Playpower’s Math Planet app on my Teaching with EdTech blog.

Cube for Teachers is a community of thousands of educators sharing, searching and saving their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database. To date nearly 25 000 web resources have been shared in Cube for Teachers by educators.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

iPad App Reviews: App Ninjas, Toontastic, BrainPop

by Rochelle Tkach


I have recently shared the following Innovative Mobile Apps into the Cube for Teachers database under Curriculum Resources.

1) App Ninjas! Emergent Literacy and Basic Numbers
2) Toontastic by Launchpad Toys
3) BrainPop


1) App Ninjas! Emergent Literacy and Basic Numbers

Have you ever heard of a little game called Fruit Ninja? Innovative Mobile Apps have come out with the cleverest apps to support emergent literacy and basic number sense. Three of their apps including an alphabet app, sight word app, and number apps have a similar design as Fruit Ninja! I really believe that these apps not only provide a rich learning experience to work on emergent literacy skills, but they are further designed on a platform that speaks to the digital learner. Read the full iPad App Review on my Teaching with EdTech Blog.

2) Toontastic by Launchpad Toys

Toontastic is fantastic! This app provides educators with a unique way to teach creative writing. There are many curriculum expectations in Language Arts that could be taught through this app. Basically, Toontastic provides a fun and engaging way for students to draw, animate, and share their stories. Find out my top reasons for why you should incorporate Toontastic into your next writing lesson by reading the full iPad App Review on my Teaching with EdTech Blog.

3) BrainPop

BrainPop is one of my favourite educational websites/apps that I keep in my supply teacher backpack! BrainPop provides many educational videos and games for a wide variety of subject areas in K-12 education. I believe BrainPop makes for a great hook to many units or specific lessons. BrainPop has an app for K-3 classrooms called BrainPop Jr. and an app for older grades called BrainPop. BrainPop further has a French and ESL app! Read the full iPad App Review on my Teaching with EdTech Blog.

Cube for Teachers is a community of educators sharing their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database.

If you’re interested in writing for Cube for Teachers, email us with your ideas.

For additional inquiries, contact Susan Kwiecien, Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers.

iPad App Reviews: Sesame, Kids Discover, MyBlee

by Rochelle T


This week’s blog includes three apps I’ve recently shared inside Cube for Teachers:

1) Sesame: Assessment app
2) Kids Discover: A collection of Social Studies and Science apps
3) MyBlee: Mathematics app

1) iPad app Review for Assessment: Sesame

::Desktop:sesame.pngSesame provides K-12 educators with a smarter way to communicate, capture, organize, and plan assessment. Sesame allows educators to organize their assessment documentation based on classes and then individual students. Through the Sesame Snap app, teachers can then take pictures, videos, and make accompanying notes on students’ progress. In the sesame website, educators are able to then easily create assessment tools by choosing pre-made criteria that aligns with the curriculum (i.e., Ontario or Alberta curriculum). These assessment tools will then show up in the app where teachers can assess students’ work based on the curriculum expectations they are teaching. The reason this app is such an important and useful tool for educators is because formative assessment measures that focus on students’ progress rather than their products are so valued in 21st century education. Sesame is a powerful 21st century tool. Read the full review of Sesame at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

2) iPad App Review for Social Studies and Science: Kids Discover

Kids Discover is a great app to enhance science and social studies lessons. Each app focuses on a single non-fiction subject. These apps are extremely interactive and provide developmentally appropriate reading, videos and activities. I would highly recommend these apps for grades 4 to 6 as they align well with the Ontario curriculum expectations for these grades. Some features include: HD images and videos, 360º virtual tours, scrollable animations, and audio narration. Read the full review of Kids Discover at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

3) iPad App Review for Mathematics: MyBlee

MyBlee is an effective app to promote self-directed learning in mathematics. I have used this app for the past two years with the student I tutor and highly recommend it. Some of the quality features MyBlee has to offer include: individual student profiling, specific lessons on key concepts within math strands, built in scaffolds, immediate feedback, multi-modal interactivity, and motivating reward systems. Read the full review of MyBlee at the Teaching with EdTech blog.

Rochelle Tkach is a graduate student in the Masters of Education program at Brock University. Her research interests focus on how educational technology can enhance students’ 21st century skills in science, language arts, and literacy. Rochelle is also working as an Elementary Occasional Teacher for the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN). She is currently completing an internship with the DSBN/Brock Educational Research and Innovation Hub and the start-up edtech company, Cube for Teachers. Follow her @RochelleTkach on Twitter.

Cube for Teachers is a community of educators sharing their favourite web resources into a free curriculum-aligned database.

For more information contact Cube for Teachers at info@cubeforteachers.com.

Reflection: FETC 2015

    By Susan Kwiecien: Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

The FETC Conference

Recently, I attended one of America’s largest Edtech conferences with colleagues from Ontario.  FETC   (Florida Educational Technology Conference)  is an international conference for the integration of education technology into the K-20 school community that had over 9000 attendees and showcased 480 vendors (video). I was amazed by the number of sessions running throughout the day – people gathering to share their learning in conference rooms, concourse hallways and even on the exhibit floor. There was definitely no shortage of learning going on!

By attending FETC, I was delighted to see that no matter which side of the border educators reside, we all share one goal in common – strategies and resources to best support our precious learners.

Many teachers I met were on a quest to find relevant teaching resources. Sessions that shared resources appeared to be very popular to educators. As these resources were presented, I was simultaneously checking inside Cube for Teachers and saw that the majority had already been shared. It was a testament to teachers using Cube for Teachers, that they have been sharing valuable web resources.

I will be sharing many of these resources in upcoming Cube for Teachers blogs.

Tom Whitby


The FETC experience is not solely an 8am-5pm experience. There are usually PD events that extend into the evening as these events are also about building one’s network and collaborating with peers. As a result, I attended a fantastic ‘tweetup’ and  connected with many people I’ve come to know through my Twitter PLN such as Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) and Steven Anderson (@web20classroom) who have co-authored a book called, “The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning” that discusses the importance of connecting with educators online.

A great book…I highly recommend it.

While at the tweetup, I also bumped into Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1), who has compiled an extensive list of subject and topic specific resources on his website (cybraryman.com). If you’ve ever participated in an educational hashtag chat on Twitter, you’ve likely seen him sharing valuable resources with educators. It was great to learn that Cube for Teachers already has a place on Jerry’s Canadian resource page. Thank you Jerry.


Cybraryman - Jerry Blumengarten

In Canada, our next big EdTech conference will be Connect 2015 (@CanConnectEd). It is the Canadian National Conference that connects educators with technology for 21st Century teaching and learning. This year will be The Cube’s 3rd year attending and participating at this event. We look forward to reconnecting with our Canadian and American PLN.

New to The Cube?

Cube for Teachers (@cubeforteachers) is a collaboration portal for educators and contains nearly 25 000 shared web resources and continues to grow on a daily basis as teachers continue to share their most favourite links.

Best regards,

Susan Kwiecien
Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers

Why Cube?

By Susan Kwiecien: Co-Founder of Cube for Teachers 

As educators, how many of us have searched endlessly for educational resources in numerous locations such as massive search engines, through word of mouth, printed lists from in-services, emails, wikis, etc?  Also, how many of us are constantly on social networks in the hopes of catching that valuable resource before it slides off the bottom of the page into the depths of the abyss?  Regardless, as locations for resources continue to expand it spreads our time even more thin as we search for ideas in order to meet the needs of our precious students.  Getting your hands on those resources when you most need them has always been the greatest challenge.

Looking for effective resources and support materials should not be an ongoing game of treasure hunt.  As a teacher I can speak for all of us when I say that the motive behind this exhaustive search is to simply meet the needs of our valuable diverse learners.  However, as educators, our time is valuable and best spent in front of our kids, not searching the world for resources. It was because of this premise that Cube for Teachers was created.

As educators ourselves, we understand the importance and necessity for collaboration. The Cube’s philosophy was to create a platform for teachers to collectively share their favourite educational resource links into a central, organized and efficient hub. There are thousands of sites out there with amazing resources, we simply point to them from one location thanks to the ongoing collaboration of teachers like you. Providing teachers with a platform to house all of their favourite links in one location is paramount with Cube for Teachers.

Cube for Teachers is Ontario’s curriculum-based bookmarking community made exclusively for K-12 educators – and it’s free!

As well, not only can teachers share, search and save educational links to resources, they can also create their own personal teacher “Groups” (professional learning communities) for resource sharing and ongoing discussions for ideas, support and professional development.  Collaboration and Communication: two essential skills that define 21st Century learners.

Although there are already over 24 000 links inside The Cube, imagine the power if educators from across Ontario were to each share just one their most favourite educational resources!  Three minutes of work could result in a few hundred thousand links – not a bad trade-off you might say.

We’d love to hear from you.  Send us an email and let us know how The Cube has met your needs or ideas as to how The Cube can better meet your needs.

Together We Are Building Better Education.

We wish you all a successful and rewarding New Year.


Susan Kwiecien,
Cube for Teachers

A Great Opportunity for Teacher Graduates and Candidates

           Pic from Flickr User, Benson Kalahar

Are you a recent Faculty of Education graduate or are you graduating in the coming months? Either way, you’re ready for the next step – employment.

The truth is…the landscape is saturated. Graduates seeking employment exceed the number of positions available.  Compounding the problem is the addition of a new cohort of graduates vying for the same teaching positions.

The reality is that it may take a few years to secure a permanent position only after countless hours of volunteering and competing to get onto a supply list.

In today’s market, you need to stand out!

Your Digital Footprint

A digital presence in this profession is increasingly the norm. Every resource and tool you share online, defines your brand as a qualified educator.

A well-established digital footprint relevant to education demonstrates your knowledge, your dedication and your ability to curate credible information. Your digital footprint is your portfolio – it highlights your resourcefulness, your ability to collaborate and your willingness to share knowledge with an established educational network.

Your digital footprint matters. It has become an essential part of today’s teaching profession.

Your digital footprint distinguishes you from other candidates seeking the same permanent positions.

Cube for Teachers

Cube for Teachers is getting graduates noticed. Through the curation of credible links, understanding of pedagogy and the sharing of thoughtful blog content, graduates are defining themselves as a valuable addition to teams.

Cube for Teachers is inviting passionate teacher candidates and graduates to share their knowledge on various resources through Cube for Teachers’ blogs.  In doing so, you’ll be reaching and helping thousands of teachers, administrators and system leaders – providing them valuable resources while getting your name out there.

While you are helping Ontario’s educators learn about valuable web resources, Cube for Teachers is helping you build your digital footprint so you can demonstrate your knowledge to peers, administrators and system leaders.

Blog Content Ideas

  • Write a critical review of a specific curriculum resource;
  • Describe the benefits of a teaching tool and how it can be integrated into a lesson;
  • Write a review of a cluster of resources with a similar theme (i.e. inquiry-based resources);
  • Offer a reflection regarding a particular topic, blog, etc.

Consider a recent post in the Cube for Teachers’ blog.


Whether you choose to write one blog or many, The Cube’s Administrators will provide feedback and advice to put your best ‘footprint’ forward.

That’s It!

The Cube continues to unite educators and system leaders.  Don’t miss your opportunity to participate and build your digital portfolio.

The infrastructure is already built.
Your audience is waiting.

To learn more about opportunities for blogging, contact The Cube Support Team.


The Administrative Team
Cube for Teachers

FDK Blog Post 2 – The First Week of Full-Day Kindergarten

By Melissa Calder


As the final stage of Ontario’s FDK program is rolled out this Fall, many educators find themselves teaching Kindergarten for the first time. My social network circles are buzzing with conversations about “surviving the first week of FDK” and how to start the year off on the right foot.

Below I have included a handful of links full of information, wisdom and suggestions from seasoned educators.

Setting the Stage for Success (in Kindergarten)

12 Tips To Start A Successful Kindergarten Year
Leslie, the author of, kindergartenworks.com, shares her top 12 tips for fostering a successful year in Kindergarten.

8 Survival Skills for the First Day of Kindergarten
What does a kindergarten teacher need to do to survive? Here are eight handy survival skills from Edutopia.org

The Big List of Kindergarten Routines
Routines are BIG in FDK and Kindergarten Teacher and blogger, Karen Jones offers a list of the routines and procedures that she has found helpful in her classroom.

The Flow of the Day
Another wonderful resource from EduGAINS (Ministry of Education, Ontario). Learn more about the important pieces involved in planning the flow of your day through these short videos.

Past FDK blog posts: The FDK Blog Series, The Basics

We’d love to hear from you! Are you teaching FDK this year? What resources would you like to see here? Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.


The Administrative Team

FDK Blog Post 1 – The Basics

By Melissa Calder


In this first post of our FDK Blog Series, we delve into the foundation of the Ontario Full-Day Kindergarten program. You’ll find links to the Ontario FDK curriculum, an FDK primer from TVO, plus essential Ministry of Education documents.

SIX Essential Resources

Past FDK blog post: The FDK Blog Series

Cube for Teachers contains thousands of shared web resources worldwide and organizes them into 3 main topic areas:  Curriculum Resources, Tools and Technology, and Other Teaching Resources (including strategies, best practices, current topics).


The Administrative Team

The FDK Blog Series

By Melissa Calder


Are you teaching Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) this Fall? If you are, you are certainly in good company! FDK will be available in all boards of education across Ontario as of Fall 2014.

We know that preparing for a new school year is a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety (we’re teachers too!) so we’ve put together an FDK Blog Series here at The Cube to explore play-based learning and the wonderful world of Kindergarten to help ease the transition into the new school year.

Below, we’ve included a few links to resources that delve into the history and evolution of FDK in Ontario. Stay tuned for our next post in the series entitled, “FDK: The Basics

Quick History: Resources outlining the history of FDK in Ontario

In 2007, the Ontario Liberals announced their commitment to the province-wide Full-Day Kindergarten program, as part of their election platform. Full-Day Kindergarten was not new to Ontario, as some school boards operating in marginalized socio-economic communities did receive support funding for all-day Senior Kindergarten prior to 2007.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario document provides further information about the beginning of the FDK Program in Ontario.

Former Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, asked Dr. Charles Pascal (OISE) to to recommend the best way to implement full-day learning for 4- and 5-year-olds.
This document provides the highlights of his advice:  Implementing Early-learning in Ontario.

We’d love to hear from you! What types of resources and/or topics would you like to see shared in this series? Although we have great blog posts planned, we love the challenge of finding ‘just right’ resources for The Cube community. Simply send us an email and let us know your thoughts, questions and ideas.

Looking for additional teaching resources pertaining to curriculum, strategies and tech tools?  Be sure to check out  Cube for Teachers with 22000+ shared links by teachers.


The Administrative Team