muse: n. a source of inspiration


Breakout or escape rooms provide an engaging way to integrate problem solving into your classroom. Basically, it’s a game where players use hints and clues to solve puzzles, which lead them to more hints to solve more puzzles. The payoff is “escaping” the room or breaking into a locked box.

There are commercial escape rooms popping up all over, and this has not gone unnoticed by educators who seek to leverage the craze and use it as an engaging activity for their students.

If you’re interested in purchasing a breakout box to use in your classroom, check out BreakoutEDU. You can buy their ready-to-go lock box with programmable locks, a lockout hasp, and  hundreds of ready-to-use puzzles and downloadables. It will also share with you cool ways that other educators are using the product.
BreakoutEDU’s product comes at a steep price, though. If you’re interested in creating your own Breakout box, this post has some great tips and list of the supplies you’ll need to purchase (hint: if you search for “breakout game” on Amazon, you’ll get a bunch of results that include locks, a lockout hasp, and locking storage boxes). You may even have some of these products already.

Any breakout game has the same premise: start with a story of some kind that poses a challenge. A typical breakout narrative includes a dilemma (someone or something is missing, or has been captured) and the directive that the students will need to solve clues to open the box and save the day. BreakoutEDU has resources for organizing your story on their site, including an organizer template.

Technology can be easily integrated in a breakout game, including QR codes (solve a clue, get a QR code to scan and get another clue) and Google forms.

For more information about creating your own breakout, you can view these videos:
Introducing Breakout EDU, Elementary Breakout; and read this  article.

In Your Classroom

  • Hanukkah is coming, and an Escape room can fit the Hanukkah story perfectly. Create a room where students have to find the pure oil, so that they can light the menorah!
  • This is a sure-fire way to engage your students in an end-of-unit activity that is going to be way more fun than anything else.
  • Breakout games can be a terrific ice breaker– and not just for kids! How about a breakout faculty meeting? Or a way to introduce new families to one another?
  • Ask older students to creating a breakout game for younger students. It can be a terrific way for everyone involved to review content that they’ve already mastered.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.


November 21, 2017 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Here’s a terrific article about a young woman who came up with an app to address social isolation. Check out her TED Talk!

This is so fun – now you can play 20 questions with Google! This would be a great class activity.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Hour of Code is coming! Okay, it’s not coming until the week of December 4th, but we need to get ready! How awesome would it be if every student spend some time learning about coding that week? Check out these resources about Hour of Code.

If you use your phone or iPad as a scanner – the app CamScanner is invaluable. Try it out!
If you want to step up your presentations or classroom graphics, check out Piktochart. You can start with a snazzy template or create your own.

October 27, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment


GooseChase is a free app and website that makes electronic scavenger hunts easy to create and even easier to play.

To create your own game, or “GooseChase”, first give your game a fun, catchy name. Then, create a list of missions that players need to complete as they go through your chase. For each mission, you can ask your players to submit:

  • A  photo of something they find
  • A video of their team completing a silly task
  • A reply to a question via text, or
  • A pin of their location via GPS.

To play, each team only needs one person with the GooseChase iPhone or Android app on their device.

If you’d prefer to run a GooseChase without prepping a whole new game, you can also choose to use one of the many existing games that have already been created by other teachers in GooseChaseEDU’s game library.

To use GooseChase, signup for a free account on their website. A premium subscription is available if you think you’ll be creating more games for more teams, but I would suggest starting with the free account to see if this is a good platform for you.

In Your Classroom

  • Break out of the boring staff professional development rut and create a GooseChase for your faculty.
  • Going on a field trip? Create your own GooseChase to help your students explore and enjoy your destination on a deeper lever.
  • After your GooseChase is complete, create a slide show of the photos the players submitted to complete their missions, and present it to the school for a fun recap.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

My friend Peter Eckstein has created a website with digital resources for the Jewish educator. Check it out here.

If you’re teaching about citations, this is a great video.

Are you teaching your students to write for a digital audience? Here are some great tips. Let me know if you want to explore more.

Lots of my colleagues are raving about Mystery Doug. Doug posts short videos about things about which students are asking. 

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , | Leave a comment

Cam Scanner

CamScanner is an app that I turn to frequently. As you might guess, it’s an app for, well, scanning documents. It’s turned my phone into a scanner and almost completely eliminated any need to use anything else.

CamScanner is very intuitive to use. Just hold your device over the document you want to scan and proceed. Once you have an initial scan, the app will crop, brighten and straighten out the image. Scans can be exported in a variety of formats including pdf and jpg and can be easily emailed or uploaded to social media. Best of all, the quality of the images made using CamScanner is significantly superior to anything photographed with the iPhone camera.

In Your Classroom

Cam Scanner makes it incredibly easy to take high-quality photos on the fly. Use it to:

  • Document students’ work
  • Save documents to your phone that you’d like to be able to quickly reference
  • Share documents with others or with your own cloud-sharing

To get CamScanner, download the iPhone app or iPad app. You can create an account to access cloud storage space (limited to 200 MB for the free account or 10G if you spring for a premium subscription) or just save your scans to your device.

This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.


September 26, 2017 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Jewish Interactive

Jewish Interactive is a not-for-profit organization that makes ios apps and Macintosh and Windows software that your students will love.

Here are just two of their offerings:

Ji Tap: With JI Tap, you can build your own Jewish themed games. (It’s very similar to the ios app, Tiny Tap, which we covered in Technology Tuesdays here.)  And here’s a plus: the JI website also features lots of pre-designed, JI Tap games that you can download and play right away.

JI Studio: Using JI Studio, students can create interactive books and posters featuring images, imported photos, audio clips, and Hebrew text. The vast selection of graphics, sounds (shofar blast, anyone?) and Hebrew texts is incredibly impressive!

Student creations can be shared via email or posted to the web. Visit Jewish Interactive’s  website to sign up for a free account, and check out their various tools, all of which are free at this posting. Educators can opt to upgrade to a premium account, which gives access to data and other features.

In Your Classroom

  • Use JI Studio to create an interactive Rosh Hashana card complete with audio greetings. What a great way to start out the New Year!
  • Import photos from your camera roll into JI Studio to create an interactive tour of your synagogue.
  • JI Studio includes prayers and Torah texts, which makes it a great tool for recording a student’s oral Hebrew progress. Start the new year out with each student making a recording, and then continue as the year progresses. Students will have an audio portfolio of their progress by the end of the year.
This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Behrman House Technology Tuesday, Mobile devices and apps | , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Looking for just the right font? Head over to Wordmark, type a word or phrase and hit “enter.” Wordmark will display the word in every font you have on your computer so you can pick just the right one.

Holy smokes! This is awesome. If you’re a Google Classroom user (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?), you will love this. Install the Chrome extension Share to Classroom to your Chrome account and you can push any website to your students’ computers. So cool! Sadly, it’s only for Chromebooks and computers right now.

Let’s talk about Chrome tabs. There are two distinct groups of people when it comes to Chrome: those who limit their tabs and those who, well, don’t (you know who you are). The problem with having oodles of Chrome tabs open is that this can significantly impact your computer’s performance, as Chrome is a nefarious memory hog. There are ways to control this, including tab managers that put certain tabs “to sleep” by suspending their activity, but I’d like to suggest a management tool that’s way more fun. Install Tabagotchi and make tab management fun again! Okay, maybe it was never fun, but you get my drift. Remember Tomagotchi, the kids’ toy of the 90’s? It was a digital pet that you had to take care of, or it would meet an early demise. Well, Tabagotchi works the same way with tabs. Each time you open a new tab, your little Tabagotchi’s health is diminished in some way. Ease up on the tabs and keep Tabagotchi spry! The tech team definitely recommends limiting your tab usage – multiple open tabs is often the reason for poor computer performance.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , , , | Leave a comment


Comic Life is an iOS app that you can use to create your own digital comic book as well as many other types of projects including certificates, newsletters, how-to pages, and yearbook pages.

You can start your project from scratch, or, you can use one of the app’s pre-designed templates.

You can easily:
1) add images to your project  from your own camera roll or from Flickr
2) add text in a wide variety of styles (and languages-You can even type in Hebrew!)
3) add speech or thought bubbles to characters, and
4) add fun comic book sound effect graphics like “Pow!” and “Crunch!”

Once you’ve imported your text and graphic elements, you can easily design and customize how they all come together by resizing, rotating and styling each element. You’ll also want to experiment with all those great comic-looking fonts.

Once your comic book (or other type of project) is finished, you can print it or export as a pdf or jpg, and/ or open it in certain other apps, including Google Drive, Dropbox or Explain Everything.

Download the app from the iTunes store for $4.99.

In Your Classroom

  • This is my go-to whenever I need to create a how-to page. It’s easy to include screenshots for my readers to refer to as they follow along.
  • Students can easily use Comic Life to create comics about any topic they’ve studied. For example, if you are teaching the story of B’reishit in time for Simchat Torah, ask your students to create a comic depicting the six days of creation.
This is a “Technology Tuesday” post via Behrman House, edited by Ann D. Koffsky . You can find more Behrman House Technology Tuesdays here.

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Technology Tuesdays | , , , | Leave a comment

Links You’ll Love

Tes is a teaching community out of the UK with some great resources. Check it out for lesson plans and articles as well as “Tes Teach,” which allows you to create interactive activities for your students.

Stockio is a great source for copyright free images, photos and even fonts.

This is so fun – Fake Ticket Generator is, well, a website that makes fake tickets. It’s a clever way to create a “ticket to learning” or similar graphic for your class.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Links You'll Love | , | Leave a comment

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