Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech Up Your Classroom: Thanksgiving Style

November15

Whether you’re looking for some neat themed lesson plans and activities to incorporate into your classroom to celebrate Thanksgiving, or maybe you’re just in search of some tech-based Thanksgiving games to keep your students engaged before the upcoming vacation… Either way, Edutech for Teachers has got you covered!

Hover over the interactive image to find tons of Thanksgiving-themed games and interactive learning activities for students and/or skip past the graphic to find additional (and recently updated) materials for teaching and learning about this popular holiday.

Check out the full screen version of this image here.

Additional Teaching & Learning Resources:

» Incredibly Fun Thanksgiving Science Activities & Experiments for Kids: A collection of STEM-related Thanksgiving activities that are simple, yet fun. Pick up all the materials you need when you do your Thanksgiving dinner shopping!

» The Case of the Pilfered Pie, a Thanksgiving-themed digital breakout game created by Mrs. Yeh.

» November & Thanksgiving STEM Challenges: Build a Mayflower ship, dinner table, and turkey hideout! Check out this Pinterest board filled with November and Thanksgiving STEM challenges for elementary students.

» Thanksgiving STEM Challenge Events: A collection of five holiday challenges that follow the path of Pilgrims settling in America.

» TeachHUB.com: Fed up with building pilgrim hats out of paper bags? Then try one of these less predictable, equally educational Thanksgiving activities for kids of any age.

» Thanksgiving Classroom Activities: 25+ Thanksgiving classroom activities ideas on Pinterest.

» Kids Discover Colonial America: A unit that focuses on the founding of major settlements and daily life in Colonial America. It describes everything from the Pilgrims’ landing to the colonies’ later growth and business activities.

» Kids Discover Native America: A unit that focuses on the most fascinating details of the history and culture of Native Americans. From their spiritual beliefs, artwork, and legends to harrowing accounts of the unfair policies, diseases, and battles that nearly wiped out Native Americans.

» Eight Great Ways to Be Thankful: A printable infographic to get students thinking about what they are grateful for this season… Perfect for all ages!

8-great-ways-to-be-thankful-kids-discover

Click here for a free download from Kids Discover.

» Multimedia Thanksgiving Turkeys: Learn more from Free Technology for Teachers about how students can create an interactive thankful poster utilizing ThingLink.  

» Scholastic News: A comprehensive site containing various resources for elementary students and teachers to learn about how the pilgrims reached America and celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Sections include The Mayflower, Daily Life, The Feast, Historical Letters, and Videos and Photos.

» Education World: Thanksgiving in the classroom doesn’t have to be limited to those lesson on turkeys. Instead celebrate this special season with some creative ideas via articles, lesson plans, site reviews, books, crafts, clipart and much more—all to help you meet all of your holiday needs. 

» TIME Magazine: An interesting article regarding “The Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Thanksgiving”.

» Teachers Love SMART Boards: A list of Thanksgiving-related activities that can be utilized with an interactive whiteboard.

» abcteach: Games, puzzles and coloring pages designed for elementary students.

» The Best Websites To Learn About Thanksgiving: From audio and video to engaging reading activities, Larry Ferlazzo’s comprehensive list of Thanksgiving web sites includes something for everyone!

» The History Channel: Tons of videos related to the origins, history and traditions related to Thanksgiving. A few noteworthy videos include The History of Thanksgiving and the Mayflower Deconstructed.

» National Geographic for Kids: Contains a funny fill-in turkey story/Mad Lib that can be used as for a writing activity.

» Thanksgiving Web Quest: Visit Web sites about the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag and the famous harvest feast and learn new facts along the way!

» 10 Thanksgiving Myths Dispelled: A cool infographic created by Misconception Junction.

» The Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: A web adventure in which students have to answer questions along the way.

» Thanksgiving Trivia: The Huffington Post challenges you to take the ultimate quiz about Turkey Day.

» Thanksgiving Quiz: Another fun holiday quiz created by Funnel Brain.

» How Thanksgiving Works: A variety of Thanksgiving related articles and videos about the History of Thanksgiving as well as related customs, traditions and more from the creators of How Stuff Works.

» What Really Happened? Comparing Stories of the First Thanksgiving: A great feature from the New York Times Learning Network that also contains links to other useful resources.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources and materials listed above to teach students about the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Tech It Up with Thanksgiving Magnetic Poetry

November10

Magnetic Poetry kits have been around for about 25 years, providing individuals with the inspiration to create poems on refrigerators everywhere!

In fact, the informality and spontaneity of Magnetic Poetry has endeared it to educators since its inception, especially for students experiencing writer’s block. Ironically that was the impetus behind the invention of this concept in the first place. Read more about founder Dave Kapell’s ingenious idea here.

Fast forward a few decades… When a cool concept like Magnetic Poetry is smashed with classroom technology, such as Google Drawings, teachers now not only have a fun activity to utilize with students, but one that can provide struggling writers with a way to break out that inner Edgar Allen Poe in a more modern way!

So, here it is… Back by popular demand—An updated Thanksgiving Magnetic Poetry Google Drawings activity containing 80+ words that can be manipulated into a holiday themed poem, story, etc.

As with my other creations, the word boxes are actually images and cannot be edited; however, they can be deleted. Plus, additional words can be generated by creating a new text box and filling it with a white background.

Check out a sneak preview below!

Click here to make your very own copy of the template. Then have at it!

Classroom Connection:

The Thanksgiving Magnetic Poetry template can be used in a variety of ways as either an independent or collaborative writing activity. Utilize the “magnets” included and/or add your own text boxes to extend the activity—although I think part of the fun/challenge is to just use the words provided.

A shout out to edtech guru and Kasey Bell for the inspiration needed to develop this resource!

HBHM2013 ♥

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Get Fancy with the Cool Text Generator

October28

Ever wish you could add some pizzazz to your Google Classroom posts? Well, now you can with the ᑕOOᒪ ᖴᗩᑎᑕY TE᙭T GEᑎEᖇᗩTOᖇ.

This nifty workaround is a copy and paste font generator that converts regular text to free cool fonts including 𝐛𝐨𝐥𝐝, 𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘤, ʄǟռƈʏ and 🅜🅞🅡🅔 that can be used Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, blog posts and yes, gσσgℓє ¢ℓαѕѕяσσм.

How does it work? Access the ᑕOOᒪ ᖴᗩᑎᑕY TE᙭T GEᑎEᖇᗩTOᖇ, select a font, click the 🅳🅴🅲🅾🆁🅰🆃🅴 button and customize your text. Once you dig the output, click the 🅲🅾🅿🆈 button and then 🅿🅰🆂🆃🅴 your $цpёя cѳѳг text wherever you need some good stuff.

In addition to sᴛʏʟɪsʜ fonts, the ᑕOOᒪ ᖴᗩᑎᑕY TE᙭T GEᑎEᖇᗩTOᖇ also offers some pretty neat ★·.·´¯`·.·★ tєхt dєcσrαtíσns ★·.·´¯`·.·★ and symbols that can be added to the mix as well.

So, the next time you want to impress your students, colleagues and/or friends, dial up the ᑕOOᒪ ᖴᗩᑎᑕY TE᙭T GEᑎEᖇᗩTOᖇ—or if you’d prefer the mobile version, check out the Fancy Text iOS app or the Fancy Text Android app.

*•.¸,¤°´✿.。.:* Nօȶɛ: Fancy text may not be compatible with all devices, screen readers and translators. *•.¸,¤°´✿.。.:*

ᑕᒪᗩᔕᔕᖇOOᗰ ᑕOᑎᑎEᑕTIOᑎ:

Grab your students’ attention with information that ✤ ѕтαɴdѕ αpαrт ✤ from the rest by using the ᑕOOᒪ ᖴᗩᑎᑕY TE᙭T GEᑎEᖇᗩTOᖇ.

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Back in the Bloggoshere

October14

Russin showcasing new signage in our Media Center.

Yep, I’ve unfortunately been MIA in the bloggoshere for awhile…

But that doesn’t mean I’ve been completely absent on the edtech scene. In fact, quite the contrary. The last five months have been super busy with all kinds of new adventures that have been unfolding in my journey as an educator.

From finishing a three-year media center project to opening a third high-tech makerspace to supervising a student-run escape room business to developing a new concept known as Xscape EDU, one that is geared toward promoting breakout activities in the classroom, I’ve been on the move. And that’s not to mention all of the conferences, trainings and workshops I’ve been attending or the classes I’ve been facilitating at Penn State Altoona. Plus, our district has partnered with Modern Teacher in an effort to shift our traditional classrooms toward modern learning environments across the K-12 spectrum—a very in depth, time-consuming but extremely worthwhile process.

All good stuff, for sure, and nothing I would change… But I must admit that I really miss writing on this blog. My goal is to get back to one of the things that makes me happy so hopefully I will be able to carve out some time in this crazy schedule to do so!

In the meantime, be sure to follow Edutech for Teachers on Twitter and Facebook, two spaces where I regularly share valuable edtech resources and information.

Until next time… Be awesome! ♥

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Tech or Treat: Spook-tacular Halloween Resources for the Classroom II

October14

Looking for some fun activities to celebrate Halloween in your classroom? Then look no further! Listed below is a recently updated version of some really spook-tacular educational Halloween resources that are sure to creep out your students—in a good way, of course!

Whether it’s writing prompts, science experiments, Halloween candy math, Edgar Allan Poe videos or haunted vocabulary, there’s something ghostly awaiting you right here, right now…

» Create Halloween Rebus Stories with Emojis and Google Docs

Generated by Eric Curts, this Halloween rebus activity can be used for students to create and/or read. (BTW: Anyone who grew up reading Highlights magazine in the dentist office waiting room will quickly recognize a rebus. Basically, it is a story in which some of the words are replaced by images.)

» Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides

Also generated by Eric Curts, this fun, and educational Google Slides activity is a great way for students to be creative and to work on writing skills by describing the Jack-O-Lantern they build with shapes and/or drawings of their own.

» Haunted House Escape

For the Breakout EDU junkies… Check out this spooky, musical, holiday-themed digital breakout game created by Aubrey Yeh. (Designed for middle school students but could work for upper elementary or high school as well.)

» Breakout EDU: Halloween

Check out three challenging yet fun hands-on games with a Halloween twist located on the Breakout EDU site.

» 6 Halloween Paper Circuit Projects

In this project tutorial, learn how to make six different Halloween paper circuit creations. Using parallel and simple circuits, students can bring these templates to life with copper tape, LEDs and batteries.

» 100 Free Halloween STEM Activities

A collection of 100 Halloween STEM activities that are completely free via Nick’s Picks for Educational Technology.

» 31 Days of Halloween STEM Activities and Projects

The STEAM Powered Family gathered 31+ science, tech, engineering and math activities that capture a child’s interest and imagination during this spooky season. And so many of them are perfect for our young scientists! Be sure to check out this spectacular STEM adventure projects!

» Free Halloween Music, Images, Videos, and Clipart for School Projects

Another collection of Halloween goodies from Nick’s Picks for Educational Technology.

» Halloween Activity Set

Get your classroom in the Halloween spirit with these math and science activities, writing ideas and crafts. This site, powered by Scholastic, includes Halloween-themed book lists to find a perfect read-aloud title or scary stories to share with your students for independent reading.

» Halloween Classroom Activities for Any Grade

To prepare for Halloween in your classroom, check out these Halloween classroom activities from Teach HUB for new ways to sneak in some spooky lessons and ghoulish learning!

» Halloween Lesson Ideas

Math… Pick a Pumkin… Bats in the Classroom… And Historical Figure Day, an alternative to the traditional Halloween hoopla. If you’re ready to celebrate Halloween in “spooktacular” fashion, you’re sure to find a fun idea or two right here on the Education World site.

» 30 Halloween Activities for the Classroom

A collection of nearly three dozen hands-on activities (with accompanying pictures) from the Proud to Be Primary blog.

» It’s Halloween!

A Pinterest board containing 90+ Halloween sites to celebrate Halloween by Edutopia.

» The Best Sites for Learning About Halloween

A collection of all things Halloween by Larry Ferlazzo—A visual history, slideshows, vocabulary and spelling games, cloze activities, Halloween Around the World and Mia Cadaver’s Tombstone Timeout, one of the most favorite games found on the BBC site and more!

» Halloween Activities

A variety of educational sites for Halloween by 19 Pencils.

» Tech-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

Check out and/or share some pretty neat tech-inspired Halloween costume ideas on the Tech with Us Community Facebook thread found here. A shout out to Julie Goode Smith for generating this fun post!

Classroom Connection:
Use these resources to teach and learn about Halloween in fun and hands-on ways.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

June10

Check out this flashback—one of the most popular Diigo bookmark posts to date… Five super cool resources that can be used to locate and/or enhance images for educational purposes. Check ’em out below!

» PicJumbo

Totally free stock photos for educational, commercial and/or personal use. No attribution needed!

» Pixabay

A treasure trove of royalty-free images for use in all types of multimedia projects and classroom activities.

» Openclipart.org

High quality free clip art for use on all types of educational projects.

» PicResize

Resize, shrink, and crop pictures online for free before posting them to a blog, web page or social media site.

» Clipping Magic

Easily remove image backgrounds and/or create masks, cutouts and clipping paths with this quick and simple online tool.

The sites listed above are also excellent resources (my go-to places, actually) for locating background images to create all sorts of super cool quotes images such as this one…

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Print Custom Sticky Notes with Google Slides

April24

Check out this flashback from about one year ago that includes an extra bonus—An image of actual customized sticky notes I created and printed as a result of participating in Tony Vincent’s Classy Graphics Online Workshop. Maybe you missed the class, but you don’t have to miss out on this useful resource so be sure to read on…

What do you get when you combine sticky notes with Google Slides? A super cool idea from Tony Vincent that shows teachers how to create customized messages for all kinds of classroom uses: Personalized notes, reminders, to do lists, paper tweets, exit tickets, motivational remarks and more!

There’s even a wicked awesome template for generating sticky notes containing customized avatars using the Bitmoji Chrome extension.

Get the scoop, including step-by-step instructions, design tips and templates, by visiting the Learning in Hand blog right here, right now!

In the meantime, check out this instructional video demonstrating how educators can make this concept happen!

Check out the examples I created as one of my projects for the Classy Graphics Online Workshop… (Yep, that means you can do it too!)

Here’s how these particular notes can be used…

  • Twitter: Way to collect feedback from students regarding a lesson, project, discussion, etc.
  • You’ve Got This: Note of encouragement for students and/or colleagues
  • Cool Vibes Only: Note of encouragement for students and/or colleagues
  • Get ‘Er Done: To Do List
  • Tech-Knowledge-y Lives Here: Way of sharing my edtech blog with others
  • #OneSmallThing: Another teacher (Mr. Trexler) and I are promoting this concept in my District (which reinforces the importance of being kind) so we are planning to use this sticky note in our Media Center Kindness Challenge as a way for students to share how they have demonstrated kindness to others.

Classroom Connection:

As simple as they are, sticky notes are powerful educational tools that can motivate and inspire students before, during and after all sorts of classroom activities that span the K-12 curriculum.

Use the resources found within the Learning in Hand blog post to create personalized learning experiences for your students.

A high five to Tony for giving me the thumbs up to highlight his innovative idea on my space!

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Can You Spell with Flickr?

April18

Spoiler Alert: The tool shared in this post is highly addictive… Read at your own risk!

In 2013 I shared a post regarding Spell with Flickr—a nifty web tool that generates a logo based on images of letters and numbers from flickr picture galleries. And due to the coolness factor, I’m bringing back tech-y almost five years later! Although it’s not the new kid on the block, this text generator is a useful and super fun classroom tool that can be utilized to add some swag to your next digital or print project.

Here’s how it works: Visit the Spell with Flickr web site, enter a phrase and within seconds, a pretty neat picture title of letters will be rendered. Don’t like the images that are returned? No problem—simply click on each individual image to swap it for another one. (This is the part that makes one psycho when using this tool!) Once you’re satisfied, copy the embed code to a web site, wiki and/or blog or drag and drop the letters to the desktop for later use. A screenshot can also be captured, edited and saved.

Check out the example I created:

Classroom Connection:

In addition to using Spell with Flickr for creating fun titles to enhance digital projects, presentations, reports, poems and more, this tool can also be used to create a number of classroom items: Bulletin boards, signs, banners, posters and word walls to name a few. Spell with Flickr could also be utilized to practice spelling words and/or to develop all types of books (i.e. alphabet, sight words, etc.).

If you’ve got any ideas as to how this web tool can be integrated into classroom activities, please share the love! ♥

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April15

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access two super cool and very useful tools can be utilized to engage students in the classroom!

» Clips

A video editor app for iOS devices that contains filters, graphics, emojis, music and more! Use it to create multimedia projects, video feedback, short instructions for flipped learning and whatever else your imagination can create!

» ClassroomScreen

Project this online tool in your classroom and quickly access a variety of teaching resources including a timer, text area, drawing tool, name picker, work symbols, calculator, QR codes and more—all for free! Check out a demo shown below…

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Spring into Magnetic Poetry Activities

April9

Looking for a super cool and useful spring-time activity to utilize in your classroom? Then all you gotta do is snag a copy of my Spring Magnetic Poetry template!

This Google Slides resource contains 75+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled poem, story, etc. for you and your students.

As with my other creations, the word boxes are actually images and cannot be edited; however, they can be deleted. Plus, additional words can be generated by creating a new text box and filling it with a white background.

Before you get started on your adventure, here are a few additional items worth mentioning:

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it. However, it can still be changed if you wish to allow them to do so. Just right-click on the slide and select the “Change background…” option.

» Some teachers have requested that I provide a word list for each activity so I have created additional slides that includes this info.

Check out a sneak preview below!

Click here to access the template. You will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original to save to your Google Drive. It can then be shared with your students in a variety of ways—with Google Classroom being the easiest and slickest.

Classroom Connection:

The Spring Magnetic Poetry template can be utilized as an independent or collaborative writing activity. Utilize the “magnets” included and/or add your own text boxes to extend the activity—although I think part of the fun/challenge is to just use the words provided.

Have fun… And be sure to share your own classroom creations with us!

Spring is a time when you find out who you are and where you’re going… So hold on and enjoy the ride! ♥

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

Be sure to add this awesome tool to your tech-box!

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