If you’re a Google Classroom user, check out this post to learn about some of the updates to this awesome Google app.
When I hear “place mats,” I think of dinner, don’t you? This blog post, though, at discusses place mats as an instructional model used to combine independent thinking with collaboration. The post gives step-by-step instructions to use GAFE to create a collaborative template. Very nice!
I’ve mentioned GoNoodle before, but I wanted to remind you about this great source for movement videos. They’ve added an indoor recess section with videos that last up to 19 minutes. There are Zumba activities, secret handshake partner exercises, and brain boosters for great short movement breaks as well.
Versal is a new platform to create online learning experiences. You can embed video, create quizzes, and add timelines. This is an amazing and robust website. I’m thinking about creating a workshop to explore this over the summer – let me know if you’re interested.
Emaze is a really slick online presentation tool. It feels (and looks) a little like Prezi, but presentations can be downloaded as PDF files, presentations or video. You can embed images, charts, video and sound, although you cannot record audio directly to an emaze presentation.
If you’re looking for resources to teach sight words, check out SightWords. You can create and print out flash cards, make games, and learn research-validated teaching methods.
Friday, March 13th is the fourth annual Digital Learning Day. The website for DLD has lots of resources to inspire you to participate.
Confused about the difference between suggesting, commenting and directly editing a shared Google doc? I’ve created a how-to – you can access it here.
FakeiPhoneText and iFakeText are a simple little websites where you can enter text and the site will render an image that looks like it’s a text. This would be a great way for students to create fake texts between two historical characters. Ifaketext even lets you choose your carrier.
Need an easy way to create an animated video? Check out Explee. You can add images, text, music and voiceovers. Movies export to YouTube or can be downloaded.
Design thinking – tackling a problem at a deep level – is something you can do with your students at any grade level. This article gives some valuable tips on how to do it with iPads.
You know that there have been dozens of times when you thought, “if only I could create a Google form from this Google doc that I have…” If you install the Google add-on Doc to Form, you can do that! Check it out!
The Public Domain Project is another source for free public domain images and media files. Caution – this site also featured images that are available for purchase, so be sure to search using the search bar (not the category links at the top).
Interested in flipping your classroom? Here’s a nice post at with a video and an overview of tools you might find helpful.
Power Google Tip: Let’s say you share a Google document with your students or colleagues, but you want them to make a copy of it and then edit that one. You could certainly use Classroom for this, but here’s a great tip if you just want to do it through Google drive and not use Classroom. See the URL at the top of your document? Send that to your users, but change “edit” at the end to “copy.” You’ll still have to share it so your users can access it, but this way everyone will get a copy of your original in their own drive. See this post for more information.
Everyone knows that formative assessment can be the key to delivering a lesson that every student “gets.” Vicki Davis addresses different ways to integrate formative assessment using technology in this Edutopia article.
Coggle is a quick way to create a mind map that you can save into your Google drive and share with others. Just sign in using your Google account, click and go!
I love me some copyright-free stuff! The Public Domain Review is a collection of images, books, films, audio and more that have fallen out of copyright and into the public domain, which makes them available for anyone (students, I’m looking at you) to remix, mash and use wherever and however they want.
Twisted Wave is a browser-based audio editor. A free account gives you one hour of storage for mono files. You can record using your computer mic or edit an existing audio file. Files can be downloaded or sent to Google drive. This is a Flash-based site, so it does not work on iOS devices.
Shoutout to Daniel for finding RefMe. Similar to EasyBib, RefMe is an online citation site. Its super-clean interface makes it very nice to use!
Infographics are all the rage now, for good reason. And knowing how to translate written information into graphics is a great skill. Piktochart is a nice website for creating your own infographics, reports and presentations. Like many other sites, it offers both free and premium (meaning, they cost money) templates, but the free templates look really good.
Well, this is nice . . . MindMup gives you a free cloud-based space to create collaborative mind maps shared through Google! Very nice.
Have you fallen in love with Google Classroom and created fabulous original lessons using the platform? If your answer is yes, you could open your own Google Classroom store. Who knows? You could sell some stuff!
Flipquiz is another fun site to create a jeopardy-type game. Create a category, add your questions, and go. This would be terrific for students to use!
Plenty of you are discovering that Google is a great place to create graphic organizers, especially if you want to share them with your students. The AppsUserGroup has a bunch of awesome templates you can download for free.
OOOOOOH – this is beautiful. If you want to create a really slick timeline (or have your students create them . . . ), check out Timeline JS. You begin with a Google spreadsheet listing the event, dates, text and links to any online media like movies or photos, and Timeline JS will create a timeline for you.
This is the coolest thing . . . what would happen if you poured molten aluminum in an abandoned ant colony? I know that you’ve wondered that often. Well, now you don’t have to wonder any more, thanks to AntHill Art. The videos are very cool, and would be terrific to share with students who are interested in what an ant colony actually looks like. All those little tunnels!
Here’s a lovely article about gratitude and how expressing it can benefit your students. Better grades, even!
Doing research is easy, right? Um . . . not so much. This interactive diagram is a great way to have your students approach research. There are links to planning your project, where to search other than online, how to take notes and use information, and creative ways to share what you’ve learned.
If you want a free and easy way to create online flashcards, or an online Jeopardy game, you might want to give Flippity a try. You should also read this post at on how to create your own Jeopardy-style game.
Here’s an interesting read on how we should be changing our teaching practice to teach the “Google generation.”
ICE is coming! Yeah – you’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, I’ve been outside . . . I know.” No… ICE as in the Illinois Computing Educators. The annual ICE conference will be held in February in lovely St. Charles, Illinois (so it doesn’t involve a whole lot of travel, and no overnight stay). The ICE workshops take place just before the general conference and provide in-depth training in a variety of techie topics. ICE workshops are also a great way to use your professional development dollars. Check out the workshops here.
Kahoot.it is another one of those online multiple choice quiz sites where you can put questions in and your students play entering the game pin that you specify, and answering questions. I think it’s very engaging – you can type in Hebrew, there’s fun music, and it ranks players as you play the game. You can also put photos in to increase engagement, and a video option is in beta right now (that’s cool – play a video and stop in pre-determined locations to ask questions).
Where do good ideas come from? That’s a fascinating question, and one I think about often. Here’s an interesting video on the subject:
Google tip of the week: are you going batty with folders in your Google Drive? Here’s a neat tip that can help. Change the color of your folders by clicking on a folder and right-clicking on it (to right-click with a one-button mouse, hold down the control key and click). Lookie there – you can give a folder a star (which puts it in Starred in your drive), and/or you can change the folder’s color! Makes it easier to locate. Sadly, folder colors don’t show up (yet) on mobile devices.
I think I’ve written about Chirbit before, but it may be worth another visit. Chirbit is a nifty little website for working with audio. You can record or upload a message and then make it available to others (who can then comment on your Chirbit) via weblink or QR code. It will also “speak” text that you type into the website. What I found most useful, though, is that Chirbit will extract the audio from a YouTube video. Any Chirbit can be downloaded as an .mp3 file.
iPad app tip: Let’s say you’re doing an activity with your class and you want to get instant feedback to assess for understanding. Or maybe you’re doing a poll or survey. Let’s say you also don’t have iPads or laptops for your students, but you still want to have a feedback mechanism that assures privacy (no student wants to be the one to raise his or her hand and say “I don’t understand”) and gives you student-by-student results. What can you do? One option is to download the free Plickers app to your phone or iPad. Then print out the plickers cards for your students (get it? Paper + clickers = plickers). Create your assessment (it’s a lot like using Socrative or Nearpod), hand out the cards and scan with the app. It’s very cool, extremely low tech, and we got rave reviews from the fifth graders with whom we tested it last week. Visit Plickers for more info.
Love New York? Love Jewish books? This map is awesome. It’s the Jewish Book Council’s literary map of New York City and it marks the landmarks, descriptions, and allusions found in the works of some of our heritage’s greatest writers. Fun!
Google Tip: OMG! This is terrific. Did you ever think it would be useful if you could create an email contact group on the fly while sending an email? C’mon . . . you know you want to do this! Here’s how:
Create the email, placing the recipients in the “To” section
Once all your recipients are listed, click on the word “To.” Click right on that puppy
This should bring up a dialogue box where you could include other recipients. If you look at the bottom of that box, though, you’ll see the magic box that says “Save as group . . .”
That will save your group to your contacts for future use. It may take a few minutes for it to appear – but this is a handy tip!
Check it out – 15 strategies for teaching vocabulary. There are some great ideas here!
I’m fascinated by introducing alternate reality and gamification into the classroom – here’s a really interesting article about a teacher who did just that.
Chrome tip: check out this article for a list of great extensions to download and install to make Chrome even better.