Friday, December 23, 2016

Getting control over your time

Five hundred twenty-five thousand, Six hundred minutes
How do you measure - measure a year?”
These lyrics from RENT ( Seasons of Love) popped into my mind while I watching this video. With coming new year and time for resolutions, it seemed like a good place to start. Rather than multitask or shave seconds off your routine activities, the speaker promotes focusing on your priorities and letting that drive your schedule (think about writing down the key goals for next year’s review).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Growth mindset or not?

So are you fixed or growth?  Growth mindset is a hot topic these days- I’ve been in classrooms that reflect the growth approach.  Here's a Q and A session with Carol Dweck about common misunderstanding and how she feels some teachers are promoting “false growth mindset”.  Please click here for the post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rx for Learned Helplessness

Here are 17 steps to help you prevent or reduce learned helplessness in our students.  I liked the format of the Middle Web article- If, Then, So do this made for easy reading and an effective tool.  Please click here for the link.

Start planning for next year

Check out this link from Discovery Education with upcoming events- from a  MLK Day Virtual Viewing Party to an Inauguration Virtual Experience followed the same month by a live NFL experience at the Super Bowl.  There are other opportunities for your students as well- which one will you select? Sign up for free now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Looking for images?

I was reminded this morning of one of my favorite images sites- Photos for Class.  Why is it my favorite?  Well, the pictures are school appropriate and every image comes with a citation.  When you download the images, the citation will appear in the black ribbon at the bottom.  This could become your site for images.

Even more things to connect in Google Classroom

From Vicki Davis’ Friday newsletter, I saw this post on apps that connect with classroom.  (She shares 35 ways.) It is from ShakeUpLearning- and while some I knew- there were other new ones.  Even if you are not using classroom to go paperless, it is still a great place to curate resources for your students and allow them quick access to sites. I think this would be great for younger learners- teach them how to access to classroom (both in school and at home) and then just connect or link other sites.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Don't wait for a snow day to make your snowman!

Eric Curts ( of the snowman poem) has another great snow opportunity!  Use his Google slides (make a copy) and allow your students to practice both their creativity and editing skills.  In the video above, he explains everything.  When your students are done,  they can write about their creation. Go to his site here to make a copy of the Google slides.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Walking in a gallery

While I have used versions of the Gallery Walk (some of you might know it as a Discovery Education S.O.S), here’s an interesting post from Edutopia with 5 concrete suggestions to engage your students.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Putting links in Classroom

No, I’m talking about using the link icon to add a link- but in Alice Keeler’s post, she suggests way to include links in your comments to students (where there is no link to attach a url).  All you need to remember is http://  and then type the web address.  For the complete details, please see her blog post here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

How to see student progress (in Google slides)

When using Google Docs, going back to look at progress is easy- all you need to do is select File- See Revision History.  But how can you tell what your students are doing when working in slides or on a website?

Alice Keeler has created a Chrome extension that will:
  1. Take screenshot every minute.
  2. At the end, upload all the shots to a Google Slide presentation.
  3. The student can then annotate to explain their learning.
  4. The slides can be shared with the teacher.
I thought this was a novel idea, especially when the student is working on slides or sheets.

For complete information from Alice, please click her post here. To access and install the Chrome extension SlideShot, please click here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Math, Logic and Pop Culture

Where do these things come together?  At Expii Solve!  There are math word problems based on a theme ( I just worked on those about the American Music Awards and one of the questions involved comparisons (ratios) between an artist's instragram and  twitter followers!)  There are links below each problem if you need help with the skills. I saw this in a blog post from Richard Byrne (you can read his post here). Would this work as Do Nows in your math class?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pop Penguin and the Place Value Race

This is an appealing  online Math Playground place value game (where you try to beat  Pop) that Richard Byrne shared recently in his blog. What I liked about Pop Penguin and the Place Value Race was both the simplicity (it looks like an old fashioned board game and is easy to follow) as well as its complexity (when asked to solve a problem, there are several options).  I think both these factors would keep students playing multiple times to increase their score ( how many coins you have at the end of the game) and to try and beat Pop.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So what does you snowman say?

Eric Curts has shared an magnetic poetry geared for the winter season.  Please click here to download the the Google drawing (and then click here for the through step by step directions.) I’ve shared by sample.

Thanks to Eric as well as Wanda Terral who shared it on Facebook.

Flubaroo and digital stickers

If you are a Flubaroo user and are returning grades to students (via email), you now have the option to add stickers.  Please see the post from Richard Byrne  here (and the video)  for the step by step directions.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Make a collection in Quizizz

Many of you know I’m a big Quizizz fan- I love the ability to have the students view the questions and answers on their device as well as my options to manage the activity.  Now you can save your quizzes in folders or Collections.  Just create a collection and then use the plus sign to add items.

For more information on their latest update, please click here.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fake News or not?

Do your students have trouble identifying real news?  Watch John Spenser’s video and help them become “critical consumers” and thinkers.  For his complete post, please click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

End of the Year Quiz

In the New York Times Learning Network, they shared a lesson plan for an year end wrap up activity.  You can print out the quiz (which they will continue to update until the end of the month).  This would work best with grades 9-12.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Santa does more than track

In this year’s Santa Tracker from Google, in addition to the countdown clock, new items appear in the village daily.  While some are games, there are some learning opportunities for younger learners (think K-5).  Check out the Learn options and code a snowflake or improve your world language skills!  Special thanks to Kim Grossman for sharing.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

New projects from Discovery Education

Below are two items I found in a recent Discovery Education mailing.  Holiday Collaboration is one in a series of new events enabling you to connect your class with other classes around the world.  
In the White House- Honoring our troops, you can send a message to the members of our armed forces.  On the USO form, it does require email- perhaps for your students, you might want to use your address.  I did a test with a fake email address and it looked like it sent.
Discovery Education – Holiday Collaboration:
Celebrate the holidays with the 4C’s by collaborating and communicating to other classrooms from around the world! This year Discovery Education has teamed up with GlobalLabs to bring you a collaborative project allowing classrooms to examine their favorite holidays and invent new ways to celebrate people, places, things, and events they love.
White House – Honoring our Troops:

This year’s White House holiday decorations pay homage to our men and women of the military. Send a digital message of gratitude to our active duty service men and women. The USO will share your message with our heroes through their centers around the world where our uniformed men and women are currently deployed. Have your students send a message now at

One of these things is not like the other,

This is a variation on Big Bird’s song about finding what is different.  In Which One Doesn’t Belong- there are many reasons why each one could be the one that is different.  This is a great thinking and problem-solving site with no correct answers.  I've shared their logo above as a sample.

At first, I was all about the shape- but then I realized the font, color (shape and text), punctuation marks, contractions, well, the list could go on and on.  Challenge your students to think outside the box (and create their own)!  The many “correct” answers make this an option for all grade levels.

Special thanks to iLearnTechnology for sharing (complete post here).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Storyboardthat and the Winter Holidays

Storyboardthat just shared some lesson suggestions with a winter holiday theme.  Please click here to access.    If you and your class have not used this product, please contact your building media specialist for accounts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Citations are (back) in Google Explore

Well, they were really never in Google Explore (that + you see at the bottom right of the Google tools)- they just went missing when Explore replaced Research.  The good news is they are now in Explore. The screenshot below shows you where to find them.  After you find a web resource (via Explore), select the dots for the format type and then select “ to insert the footnote.  

Here is the notice from Google with some additional information:
In September 2016, we launched Explore in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to give you the insights, design tools, and research recommendations you need to do your best work. Today, we’re improving upon the feature by allowing you to easily cite those findings. Students writing research reports, analysts crafting whitepapers, and others looking to credit their sources can now insert citations as footnotes with the click of a button in Explore in Docs on the web. You can even change the format of your citation, switching between the MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. For more information on how to use citations in Docs Explore, check out the Help Center.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

From the inside out

I found this first article from NPR ED very engrossing- how dyslexia looks from an internal perspective.  It helped me see the issue from a student’s viewpoint.

Friday, December 2, 2016

SBT and Digital Citizenship

During Technology class, Dana Ebbighausen and her students have been working on Digital Citizenship.  Here are two samples from her fourth graders using Storyboardthat.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Random acts of kindness

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the long month of December awaits us.  We Are Teachers has a great December project- a random acts of kindness calendar! Read about it in their blog post here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Get ready to fight

Online, that is.  Code Warriors helps student (grades 4-12) learn JavaScript. This might be something to set up as a station for your students. Now this might appear as a gaming site (it works at home).

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Coding Resources

CodeHow is a YouTube playlist with a wide variety of coding resources.  This site is geared to high school students.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Coding for the high school folks

FreeCodeCamp provides a variety of self paced classes. And you can practice by helping nonprofits with real world projects.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Looking for the main ideas?

I saw this Black Out text  (for improved reading comprehension) last night on Facebook- and it is wonderful!

Eric Curts’ post has many great tips in creating  information text documents for your students- and then having them delete the unneeded details . This will help them with reading comprehension and provide a tool to help them focus on the main ideas.  As Eric says, you could do this with paper and a black marker, but I think his tech solution is even better!

As a variation on a theme, consider having your students create Black Out poetry.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Google Templates Have Moved!

Using Google Templates can be a quick way to jumpstart a document or a time-saving device (when you are using the same format again and again). While templates used to have their own location, they have now moved!  I’ve created a video to show you how to find them.  For additional information, please see Richard Byrne’s (from Free Technology for Teachers) post here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Google Earth

Have you ever explored Google Earth?  Here’s a great tutorial from Richard Byrne Free Technology for Teachers.  Google Earth doesn’t work on Chromebooks- so you will have ;to use a machine running Windows/IOS.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Side by Side

Alice Keeler shared her Chrome Extension in a recent blog post.  It will allow you to open two windows side by side- in the example, you can see Google classroom as well as a student document. Please read her post here for all the details.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Make your slides interactive! (Choose your own adventure!)

Alice Keeler (in her blog post today) reminded me of the possibilities with making non-linear slide presentations.  I use them frequently in training (so I can quickly move around the presentation without going sequentially) but the examples she shared included the ever popular Choose your own adventure genre.

In her post, she included superb resources from Eric Curts.  Please click here  to access his webinar recording and resources.  Here is a brief overview of the project.

I would like to explore this technique with a class- please contact me if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Poetry in Storybird

While working with Chris Testa’s class on Storybird today, Chris had a chance to explore the poetry feature.  It provides a single image with words for you to arrange over the picture.  You can reset both the image and the word.  As with all Storybird projects, the images are engaging. She emailed her work to me:

This might be a fun group activity on a smartboard. You could collect the images in a slide presentation. If you are in district and want to try Storybird, here are the directions.

Adding your voice to slide presentations

Many folks have complained (myself included) that there is not an easy way to add voice to Google slides. The Learnia may offer a solution.  You can upload your slides (after you download them to powerpoint) and then add up to 15 minutes of narration.

Here’s a sample I created on signing into your school Google account.  The site is designed for flipped classroom lessons, but I know you could create any type of tutorial you wanted.  You can email the presentation or embed it.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The History Project- tell your story

Want to share someone’s life story?  Check out The History Project.  You can can create a timeline or a slideshow.  Geared for older students ( emails or Google sign in- I would think middle - high school), you can view publically shared stories or create your own.

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Here’s a site that shows the connection between math, science, and music.  Geared for all ages, there are a variety of activities for all types of learners (and learnings).

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

So how did America volunteer during WWI?

 Here’s a free set of lesson plans covering these topics:

1| U.S. American Volunteers in World War I, 1914-1917
2| U.S. American Women’s Volunteerism and Suffrage in World War I
3| Diversity and Debate on the U.S. Home Front During the “European War”
4| Lost Generation Artists and Writers as World War I Volunteers
5| Humanitarian International Relief: A Legacy of Great War Volunteerism
6| Young People, Volunteerism, and Global Citizenship: From World War I to the Present
I’m not sure if I would do all 22 lessons, but I think it is worth a look for integration with your lessons.  

For the complete post from TeachersFirst, please click here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Snowball fight!

Maria Vella shared this short video of her students using one of their favorite Spotlight on Strategies- the snowball  fight!  Check out Discovery Education for a constantly updated source of technology integration ideas.
Since we have a subscription, sign into your account, go to Professional Learning, then select Strategies and Resources.  Scroll down to see Spotlight on Strategies.

Not a subscriber?  Visit the Discovery Education blog here - then search for SOS!