Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech Up Your Classroom: Thanksgiving Style

November13

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:

» New! 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!

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

» New! 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.

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

» New! 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.

» New! 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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The TED-Ed Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

November12

So, I’m sure you’ve seen one of these charts hanging out in a science classroom before—especially when you were a chemistry student…

periodic table of elements

The next question is… Have you ever seen an interactive version of the periodic table? If not, then put this resource on your must-see list because this edtech gem, created by the Periodic Videos team using the TED-Ed platform, contains a video lesson about every single element on the periodic table. Yeah, it’s all that!

Check out a sample video lesson on Hydrogen below.

Besides the video lessons, teachers also have access to additional information that accompanies each element, which includes multiple choice, open-ended and discussion questions as well as other online resources. And as an added bonus, each original video can be customized to suit individual classroom needs. Check out the full lesson page on Hydrogen here!

Classroom Connection:

Use the interactive TED-Ed periodic table resource as an engaging and informative way for students to learn facts about the chemical elements and their properties.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

November5

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some super cool resources for the English/Language Art classroom—and there’s one for the GIF gurus too!

» Write About This

Kick-start all sorts of writing activities with this platform that provides students with a variety of visual prompts. Students can also upload their own customized photos prompts to share with others. Available on the web, App Store or Google Play.

» Part-of-Speech Tagger

Enter a sentence into the generator and see the part of speech for each word. This nifty tool is based on the Stanford University Part-of-Speech-Tagger.

» Motion Stills

An iOS and Android app from Google Research that transforms live photos and videos into GIFs that loop forever or edit them together to create epic movies.

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

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Connect Classroom Curriculum to Veterans Day

November4

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. (Elmer Davis)

Veterans Day is an official United States holiday honoring the men and women who have served in our military forces. Maybe you’re planning to focus on this event for one class period, or maybe you’re going to incorporate a special project in honor of our American heroes… Either way, utilize the resources located within the recently updated interactive image shown below to connect classroom curriculum to the day set aside to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Be sure to hover over the image to reveal a variety of “hotspots” containing Veterans Day lesson plans and activities.

Click here to access a full-screen version of this image.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources and materials listed above to teach students about the importance of honoring the men and women who have served and/or continue to serve in our nation’s armed forces.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

October22

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some super cool resources that will inspire you and your students to become part of the maker movement.

» Makerspaces.com

A one stop shop for all things makerspaces: Articles, ebooks, projects, how-to guides and more about a variety of subjects—paper circuits, electronics, robotics, programming, etc. Many resources are free!

» 100+ Makerspace Products & Materials

From Makerspaces.com, a comprehensive list of products that are makerspace friendly. Definitely worth checking out!

» Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Makerspace Needs

An article written by Lindsey Own, makerspace coordinator and science teacher at The Evergreen School in Shoreline, WA, discusses 10 critical components for every makerspace.

» 7 Tips for Planning a Makerspace

Need some advice for not only designing or equipping a makerspace itself but preparing students and staff so that they’re able to make the best possible use of it? Then check out this article written by Leila Myer.

» The B-A Maker Tribe

Follow my school district’s makered journey via our Twitter feed. Lots of cool stuff is happening here!

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

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. XI

October2

Welcome to the weekly (not so weekly) edition of The Edtech Smackdown—a collection of digital resources containing a few of my most favorite activities, tools and articles curated from various social media spaces throughout the past—well, months.

For those of you who have become a fan of these Smackdowns, my apologies for the hiatus. I’d like to say I spent the summer in a tiki hut on a tropical island but… Instead I actually do have some really awesome reasons as to why I had to take a step away from blogging for a few months. Aside from attending some pretty amazing professional learning workshops (iPadpalooza in Austin, Texas and the Pittsburgh Fab Lab Institute), I’ve been super busy creating all kinds of cool opportunities for students in my district: A high-tech makerspace in our elementary, a brand-new makerspace in our middle school and a ’70s-themed Escape Room. I also organized and facilitated Edcamp Blue Devil Nation, the first event of this kind in our area, and Tech-A-Rama, an all-day edtech workshop for teachers in my district.

Despite the ongoing crazy schedule, I have collected a number of awesome resources that will be useful in the classroom throughout the new school year, and I’m about to share some of these edtech gems right here, right now…

But first, let me just say that most of the links I’ll be providing in this post involve the use of the G-Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education). Yes, I am a total Google fan girl—and for good reason. So as usual, let’s kick things off with some amazing activities that will definitely engage students in learning!

From the amazing Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve:

» What’s New in Google: 42 updates from Summer 2017

» 11 Ways to Teach Math with Google Drawings

» 6 Awesome Uses for Revision History in G-Suite

» Why and How to Share Student Writing with the World

» Video Mash-Ups with Google Slides

» 30 Free Google Drawings Graphic Organizers (And how to make your own)

» Battlesheets! Google Sheets Battleship Game Template

» Google Drawings Chess and Checkers Game Templates for Students

More Google Goodness…

» Smarter Google Forms: Why Google’s New Features Are Good for Educators—By Adam By Adam Shoenbart, The Shoenblog

» Put a Hashtag in the Google Classroom Assignment Title—By Alice Keeler, Teacher Tech

» How to Create a GoogleClassroom Custom Header with GoogleDrawings—By Kasey Bell, Shake Up Learning

» Our Favorite Google Docs Tips & Tricks—From the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast with Matt Miller & Kasey Bell

» Create a QR code that links to a shared Google Drive folder containing images you’ve selected—By Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand

Other #EdTech Faves…

» 10 Digital Bell-Ringer Activities to Kickstart Class (Part 1)—By Matt Miller, Ditch That Textbook

» 10 MORE Digital Bell-Ringer Activities to Kickstart Class (Part 2)—By Matt Miller, Ditch That Textbook

» 9 Back-To-School Ideas for AdobeSpark in the Classroom (includes planning pages)—By Monica Burns, Class Tech Tips

The #MakerEd Movement…

» Check out our new logo that will be used to represent the makerspaces in our District. Follow us on Twitter @BAmakertribe to get your makered on!

So there you have it—this week’s smackdown! Stay tuned for additional resources coming your way in the next round…

In the meantime—if you’ve missed any of my previous edtech collections, check ’em out within the interactive image embedded below… Be sure to hover over the image to reveal the hotspots!

Click here to view a full screen version of this image.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

October1

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some really neat interactive resources for engaging students with classroom content.

» Writing Sparks

An interactive creative writing site that can be used to stimulate ideas for opinion pieces, news articles stories or poems. Includes a teacher section that can be used with whole group activities as well as a student section for independent practice.

A quiz site in which the user must discover whether a published news article is fake or real. A great site for teaching students about the validity of sources!

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

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

September17

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some really neat interactive resources for engaging students with classroom content.

» Crossword Labs

More than a crossword puzzle maker! This resource provides students with the opportunity to complete crossword puzzles online, share via a link and then receive immediate feedback.

A new twist on an old review game! This bingo card generator can be used to create and/or modify a review game for any subject area. The size of boards and Bingo column headings can be customized and images can be added to each square on the board. It’s also a great platform for playing bingo digitally. (Yes, it works on tablets—including the iPad!)

» Jeopardy Labs

Create online Jeopardy templates without the use of PowerPoint. Games can be played online from anywhere in the world!

» EdGames

A site that hosts over 100+ templates to create classroom games for learning. The collection includes Holiday & Sport-Based Games, TV Game Shows for whole class review, Bingo Generators and much, much more!

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

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Get Into the Groove with Back to School Magnetic Poetry

September7

Need a super cool activity to get your students back into the groove of a new school year? If so, then I’ve got the perfect edtech resource for you and your peeps—a brand-new version of magnetic poetry, a Google Slides activity containing almost 100 words, or “magnets”, that can be creatively manipulated into a poem, story,  etc.

So, if you’re ready to combine a little bit of Back to School fun with Google Apps, then be sure to check out this must-try activity in your classroom! Here’s how it works…

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 black 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!

If you’d like to snag your very own copy of this super awesome activity, then email me at jlf@bellwood-antis.org. Once you receive the link, you will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original and save it to your Google Drive. It can then be shared with your students. My favorite way to do so is via Google Classroom.

Classroom Connection:

The Back to School 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.

A shout out to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping with the creation of this really swell resource! ♥ And to Kasey Bell for giving me the inspiration to add my own twist to magnetic poetry activities.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

August6

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some really neat iOS apps that can teach learners of all ages computer programming skills.

In this gamified way to learn computer science, a friendly Turtle will introduce students to the basic concepts of programming in the graphic environment. Each new level of achievement increases in difficulty and teaches a new command.

» Cargo-Bot

An iOS app that teaches coding skills. On each level, the objective is to teach a robot how to move colored crates from one place to another by programming a claw crane to move left or right, and drop or pick up.

» Hopscotch

Learn to code through creative play with this iOS app. No setup. No typing. No syntax. Just drag blocks and instantly play what you’ve made. Bam!

» Daisy the Dinosaur

Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur, a fun iPad app that has an easy drag and drop interface for kids of all ages!

» Scratch, Jr.

An iOS app that teaches students to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively as they program their own interactive stories and games. With this resource, students don’t just learn to code, they code to learn! Recommended for ages 5-7.

» Encode: Learn to Code

Learn to code with languages such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS or make a webpage on the go via the Encode way: Bite-sized lessons with real code examples combined with interactive coding challenges that put the learning to the test. The app includes timely feedback, answers and handy hints.

» Swift Playgrounds

Apple’s iPad app that makes it fun to learn and experiment with code. Students solve interactive puzzles to master the basics of coding, while additional challenges let them explore code and create programs that are engaging and unique. This freebie requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out, from twelve to one-hundred-and-twelve!

And if you need some rationale for teaching student to code, here are ten reasons why you should get it done!

A shout out to Brian Aspinall and sketchnote guru Sylvia Duckworth for creating and sharing this useful infographic!

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

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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.

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