! So amazing I can’t imagine life without it!!

Yay! I love you,! You’re amazing!

I heard about a few months ago on #1stchat (a weekly conversation about 1st grade on Twitter every Sunday at 7:00 CST).  I believe the amazing Karen Lireman  tipped me off to it and since then, life hasn’t been the same.

croak-it is a free website that allows the user to record 30 second audio clips.  The audio recording is then uploaded to a personalized website and available to anyone who has the link.  The developers created the site for users to  “Push. Speak. Share.” and the simplicity is amazing.  Even more unbelievable is that also has a FREE app available for iPhone and Android!

So what does this mean for education?

In my class, I’ve loaded each iPad with the app.  It’s so easy for students to capture audio recordings as they simply push the white circle to start and stop their 1

Once they stop the recording they’re directed to the sharing screen…

photo 2 …and then email the link to me or copy it to embed in another location.  As the teacher, I can share their Croak via Twitter so our followers can get a snapshot of what we’re learning.

Because each recording has a personalized web address, it eliminates a lot of the “middleman” work I use to have to do as the teacher finding a home for students’ audio recordings.  Previously, I loaded audio recordings to my classroom website or a dummy audio recording storage space for students to access via the web. Now, their audio recordings already have a “web home” so I can quickly and directly link to it.

This has dramatically enhanced our use of QR codes in the classroom.  Before, it was cumbersome to create a site for the audio, publish it, and then link a QR to the site. Now, I simply drop the link into the QR site and viola! We have a QR that links to audio.

This is tremendously helpful for differentiating instruction. When I want to provide verbal directions for students on an assessment or increase access to an article that may be too challenging for some students to decode, I create an audio file using and link that to a QR code students can scan.

We’re also using them to create book talks.  Students use to create a short audio book reviews.  They email me the link to their Croak and then I create a QR code for the link (below, an example from


I print out the QR code and students attach the code to the book they’re recommending.  When students shop for a book during independent reading, they can scan the QR and hear the book recommendation their peer created using  Book reviews created by students, for students are empowering for my young readers as they are excited to hear what books their peers suggest.  As early childhood educators have long known, students are capable of comprehending and telling much more than what they may be able to express in writing; this is evident as we depart from the traditional book review and provide opportunities for creating these audio book talks.  These audio book reviews create energy for reading and a book “buzz” for what’s hot right now in 1st grade.  In addition, they help readers find “just right” text and foster independence as kids have tools and strategies for locating the perfect read.

IMG_1641Scan the QR below to listen to a student book review:

Book review Pippi Longstocking

As you can tell, I’m very excited about and suggest you check it out! It’s versatile and can be used across the curriculum as something students can create or as a tool teachers can use to differentiate and support student learning.  I think of new ways to use it almost every week and am thrilled to have it as a tool in my classroom.  So go ahead,!

About Kristin

Kristin Ziemke has spent her career teaching and learning from children in both urban and suburban school districts. A first grade teacher in Chicago, Kristin engages students in authentic learning experiences where reading, thinking, collaboration and inquiry are at the heart of the curriculum. Co-author of Connecting Comprehension and Technology, Kristin pairs best practice instruction with digital tools to transform learning in the classroom and beyond. An Apple Distinguished Educator, National Board Certified Teacher and Chicago’s 2013 Tech Innovator of the Year, Kristin seeks opportunities to transform education through technology innovation. She inspires educators around the globe as a staff developer, speaker and writer. To learn more about her work follow her on Twitter @KristinZiemke.
This entry was posted in 2.0 Tools, Active Literacy, Apps for Education, Book Reviews, iPad, Reader's Workshop, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to! So amazing I can’t imagine life without it!

  1. judyarzt says:

    This idea is so cool. Love how you integrated Croak.It with QR for students to get audio book recommendations when picking up a book. Empowers students, and could encourage reading based on peers’ recommendations. Very clever. How are students responding?

  2. K. Lirenman says:

    Okay, first off you totally make me laugh when you call me amazing. Seriously, look at what you do, and have done. You make my brain hurt! I love what you’re doing with Croak It. The student iPads that I have access to do not have e-mail on them. I have used dropbox and evernote to get content off and my students use the kidblog app to upload their work to their blogs. But I’d love to find a way to allow them to use croakit on the iPad and independently get the link, and put it into a QR creator . Are your students doing that or are they just pasting the link into an e-mail and sending that e-mail to you. So many great ideas Kristin. As I said at the beginning you make my brain hurt.

  3. Love this, & thank you for sending the QR as well. Tell your student it was fun to hear about Pippi Longstocking! I’ve taught a tech tools class the past 2 years to varied students-they are so eager, & I will share this with teachers (I’m a lit coach-all ages), but I struggle to get the teachers to try tech stuff. Perhaps they will like this easy recording idea? Thank you very much for giving so much detail too. It helped me a bunch!

  4. Pingback: Mobile Learning K-3 Resources | kfrisk12

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