Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Get Your Easter Magnetic Poetry On!

March25

If you’re ready to get your Easter on, then I’ve got the perfect edtech resource for you and your peeps—a magnetic poetry  activity containing 70+ words, or “magnets”, that can be creatively manipulated into a holiday themed poem, story, etc. via Google Slides.

So, if you’re ready to combine a little bit of Easter fun with Google Apps, then be sure to check out this must-try project 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 white background.

Before you get started on your holiday-themed 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 make your very own copy of the template. 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 Easter 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 Kasey Bell for inspiring me to create my own version of magnetic poetry. And a shout out to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create this super cool resource. ♥

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The Google Easter Egg-stravaganza: Volume III

March25

Back by popular demand for the third consecutive year, it’s an updated list of Internet Easter eggs brought to you by Google…

If you’re a fan of these activities, then you won’t want to miss out on the hidden “Easter eggs”, or tricks, games and other fun stuff the programmers at Google have tucked away in their search engine.

How in the world do you find these super cool (and nerdy) treasures, you ask? Well, give some of these search tips a try and see what pranks you can locate!

Just open Google in your favorite browser and search…

  • Spinner—Choose between an endlessly spinning fidget spinner or a “Wheel of Fortune”-style number spinner.
  • Bubble level—Turns your mobile device into an actual working level.
  • Solitaire—Play a round of the classic card game.
  • Tic tac toe—Start the game and play against a friend or Google itself.
  • What sound does a dog make—Get ready to hear a woof! You can also try cow, pig, duck and a few other animals.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog—The beloved mascot will appear in the Knowledge Graph. Clicking on him will make him do his trademark spin, and eventually transform him into his powered-up Super Sonic form.
  • Do a Barrel Roll—See the results page roll over.
  • Festivus—Adds a Festivus pole to the left side of the screen. If you don’t know what that means, you must not be a Seinfeld fan so do a regular Google search for more info.
  • I’m feeling curious or fun fact—Snag random trivia and the chance to get additional fun factoids. Warning: This can be the beginning of an addiction!
  • Tilt or askew—The results appear slightly tilted to the right.
  • Google in 1998—The page will look like it did about 18 years ago.
  • Super Mario Bros—View an info card to the right with details about the game. Added bonus: Click the coin block to collect coins and earn a 1up.
  • Zerg Rush—Watch your search results get attacked by the Google Os, which you can defeat by clicking on them.
  • Flip a coin—Prompts a card with an animated coin flip.
  • Roll a die—Opens a card that randomly rolls a standard six-sided die.
  • Atari Breakout—Get your big hair on and play a version of the hit game Breakout from the 80s.
  • Play dreidel—Enjoy ten seconds of an interactive dreidel-spinning game.
  • Webdriver torso—Transforms the Google logo into a series of blinking blocks.
  • Anagram—Triggers a response asking, “Did you mean: Nag A Ram.” (Get it? Ha, ha!)
  • T-Rex Mini Game—We’ve all seen the dreaded “no network connectivity” T-Rex show up when the internet isn’t working, but what you may not realize is that this is also a game. It’s an endless runner where you, as T-Rex, have to run as far as you can, jumping over cacti and pterodactyls as they come your way.

And my all-time favorite:

  • Pacman—Returns a card that that links to a pop-up screen of the famous 80’s arcade game
And there you have it: A few of the thousands of lines of code hidden in popular software around the web. For more of this geeky goodness, just… Yep, you guessed it: Google it. You’ll probably be pretty amazed at how many of these secret gems are waiting to be discovered!
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The Easter Resources Collection: Part VII

March24

Hop on over and check out a recently updated collection of Easter resources that can be utilized to bring some holiday learning and fun into your classroom. So, whether you’re in need of some lessons that contain a spiritual theme, or maybe you’re just looking for some seasonal fun, there’s a little something, something for everyone.

» NEW! An Easter-themed breakout game lives here.

» NEW! Check out another Easter-themed breakout game here. (This one was created specifically for elementary students.)

» NEW! The Educator’s Spin On It provides teachers with 12 Easter STEM activities for kids.

» NEW! TeacherVision can hook you up with all sorts of bunny and egg-themed lesson plans, printables, art activities and more!

» NEW! Easter brings to mind eggs, bunnies, chicks and candy—perfect topics for teaching science, graphing and creative writing! Join Education World for some spectacular activities fit perfectly for Easter fun and learning.

» NEW! Hop on over to TeachersFirst and check out a variety of Easter activities to incorporate into math classes, social studies lessons, writing workshops, and more! Activities for all grade levels included.

» Kids will not only love this egg-citing science activity, they will also learn about the cool chemical reaction that makes it happen. Check out the Easter Egg Rockets, a super cool experiment brought to you by The Stem Laboratory.

» Get your Easter on with 25 quick and fun activities from ThoughtCo.

» Need some secular and/or Easter activities and teaching ideas? A to Z Teacher Stuff has you covered!

» Lots of Easter games, puzzles, stories, crafts, poetry and more live here: Apples4theTeacher.com.

» The Busy Teacher provides educators with 64 Easter-related worksheets that can be incorporated into classroom lessons.

» Easter Teaching Resources is a Pinterest board filled with arts and crafts ideas, educational activities, and printables to help you celebrate Easter in the classroom.

» The abcteach Easter category page features hundreds of fun, educational activities for classroom or home use, including coloring pages, crafts, board games, readings, puzzles, interactives, and much more!

» Teaching Ideas offers an extensive range of ideas and resources to teach and learn about Easter—poems, stories, puzzles, curricular activities, images, banners, fonts, videos and Easter Egg Hunts.

» Poetry activities, interactive games, scavenger hunts, sequencing cards, puzzles, a variety templates and more await you on TES Connect—the largest teacher network in the world.

» Larry Ferlazzo’s Web Site of the Day is another site packed with online resources for teaching and learning about Easter and Passover. A few that stood out for me include a variety of Easter videos and articles from the History Channel, the Easter Bunny Rap, How Easter Works and Easter by the Numbers—a fun infographic about this holiday.

The Activity Village: Easter Activities has a huge selection of Easter activities to explore with elementary students, including coloring pages, printables, jokes, crafts, puzzles and more!

Brought to you by About Education: Easter Resources, this collection of 25 quick and easy Easter resources are sure to keep you and your students busy throughout this spring holiday!

» Harry Kindergarten: Check out this video entitled “The Bunny Goes Hop”, an Easter pattern song for kids, produced by my colleague, Pete Harry. (For additional educational videos and songs, visit the Harry Kindergarten YouTube channel and/or website.)

» And my favorite resource to date? A recipe for creating a really cool and yummy dessert with one of the best holiday treats money can buy! Check out Easter Peeps Casserole here. Your students (and family) will just love, love it! ♥

Classroom Connection:

Use these themed lesson plans, activities and materials to teach students about Easter and Passover.

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The Periodic Table of iPad Apps: Volume II

March23

Need to pimp out your iPad with some pretty amazing apps for enhancing teaching and learning? Then check out this fun (and recently updated) infographic containing a variety of resources that can be utilized in the classroom. They are categorized in areas such as creativity, demonstrating, computing, collaboration, numeracy, literacy and more! And better yet—the majority of these apps are totally free!

As you check out this super cool resource, remember… It’s never just about the apps. Instead effective technology integration is all about how tools support curricular goals in a meaningful, relevant, student-centered manner. With that said, hopefully this compilation of tried and tested educational apps will be helpful as you try to determine which ones might be the most beneficial for you and your students.

Click here to view and/or download a high resolution file of this image, which was created and compiled by the amazing ICT Evangelist Mark Anderson.

H-appy exploring!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March17

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for three free resources that will help you avoid the Internet cycle of shame when using videos in the classroom!

» ViewPure

A favorite tool of mine! Use this resource to watch YouTube videos without any other distractions—ads, pop-ups and comments. Plus, no additional videos will automatically play once yours has ended. Another cool feature is the bookmarklet that can be installed, which saves users several steps. (See my full blog post about this tool here.)

» SafeShare.tv

Like ViewPure, this web tool reduces ads and other unwanted distractions so that videos can be viewed safely. Simply copy/paste the URL of the YouTube or Vimeo video into the tool, and this will generate a SafeView containing only the video and some basic controls (i.e. start/end position).

A Chrome extension and mobile app that automatically removes search ads, pop-ups and banners from YouTube, Facebook and everywhere else on the web. An excellent resource to install on computers where students might be using the Internet for research and/or other purposes.

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

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Get Your Edtech Game On with the March Madness Challenge!

March12

Are you ready for some March Madness—edtech style? Then read on to learn how you can make “IT” (Instructional Technology) R.E.A.L. for your students!

How in the world are basketball and education even remotely related, you ask? Well, for some teachers, determining how to best integrate technology into a lesson can be as overwhelming as picking a winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just like there’s a science to determining the odds of a #16 seed knocking off the #1 pick, there’s an equally logical rationale behind deciding what type of technology will most effectively impact the learning process.

The Great Tool Debate

With a myriad of web tools and apps available to teachers, it’s sometimes mind-boggling trying to identify which are the most effective for classroom usage. With educational resources spanning from audio recordings to collages, comics, posters, digital books, narrated slideshows, movies, animations and screen casts, there’s never a shortage when it comes to innovative ways to showcase student knowledge and skills. Seriously, if you can imagine creating it–whatever “it” might be, there’s… Yep, you guessed it! An app for that! Actually, there’s most likely two or three or nine of them…at least! So, the burning questions become which one should a teacher choose? And most importantly, why?

The End Game

If the game plan is to integrate technology for the sake of doing so—as opposed to infusing devices and tools to create meaningful learning experiences that are connected to real-world experiences, then expect an upset in the opening round. Instead, the quest for a championship should focus on pedagogy and strategy, not the tool.  

That said, there’s no official selection committee in the ed tech world; however, much like the job of an NCAA representative, the teacher’s role is to ensure the learning resource meets a certain set of criteria. The content, design, and testimonials are all important to consider, but only after the purpose of the integration has been clearly determined. Always ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish and why? Does the learning outcome support the curriculumAnd in the end, will the students come away with something “real” that will teach them a new skill or knowledge that will stick?

By carefully reflecting upon these questions, teachers can ensure that technology is not the main event, but instead just part of the process that enhances the curriculum. This way of thinking and planning will lead to students acquiring the modern-day information literacy skills that are necessary to compete in a high-tech global marketplace.

Tech-knowledge-y Matters!

Representing the schools of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication, here are 14 slam dunks for incorporating a digital activity into the classroom lineup. One of these buzzer beaters from the ed tech playbook are sure to make the highlight film! 

Brack-tech-ology Infographic

Click here to view and/or download a high resolution version of this infographic.

The R.E.A.L. Deal

During your next lesson, challenge students to complete one or more of the activities shown on the poster to see who becomes a champion of your unit of study. You’ll be surprised at the real-life tech skills they’ll pick up along the way while engaging with your learning goals.

Relevant… Engaging… Authentic… Lifelong… The way instructional technology should be!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March11

Need some activities to ignite your math lessons? Then be sure to check out this week’s lineup of new Diigo bookmarks, sites that can be used to reinforce all sorts of math concepts!

» Boxed Rockets

A collection of math questions based on number, ratio and algebra concepts. Select a topic (or series of them), solve the problems and then check work with the built-in answer keys. An excellent independent practice or station rotation resource!

» SolveMe Puzzles

Explore. Deduce. Create! Use logic to solve visual, interactive mathematical puzzles in several categories: Algebra, visual, word and draggable.

» MathsBot.com

A comprehensive selection of tools for math teachers—including manipulatives, printables, interactives, question generators and more!

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

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Grab a Piece of the Pi Using Cool Classroom Resources

March8

Hey, math gurus! It’s that time of year again when teachers, students and mathematicians from all over the world honor the fun-loving irrational Greek figure pi (π).

That’s right! March 14—or Pi Day—is just around the corner so be sure you don’t miss this opportunity to make a lasting impression on your math students with this recently updated list of digital activities!

Let’s get the party started with a brand-new resource—a super cool digital breakout game designed by Dana Gehman. Check out Pi Day here!

Next up: TeachPi.org, a one stop shop on the Web for finding and/or sharing teaching and learning ideas related to Pi Day. You name it and TeachPi.org most likely has it: Lessons, stories, music, digit games, poetry, art and even tattoos!

My favorite part of the TeachPi.org web site? A link to the original gangsta rap, “Lose Yourself (In The Digits),” a parody of the well-known Eminem hit. Check out the video below created by students at the Fort Vancouver High School using the lyrics to this song.

Here’s another fun Pi video set to the tune of “American Pie” by Don McLean.

And now for some interactive fun… Check out this multimedia sensation created by ThingLink guru Mathy Cathy containing a variety of super cool activities and info related to Pi Day.

Other great resources for teaching and learning about Pi Day include…

» Edutopia: Classroom Resources for Pi Day

» Education World: Plan a Pi Day Party

» NEA: Math Resources for Pi Day

» The Last Minute, No-Prep Pi Day Activities Booklet created by Elementary Inquiry. Especially designed for students in Grades 5-8, this Teachers Pay Teachers freebie contains a list of 10 different Pi Day activities that can be completed with no prior planning and minimal materials. Choose just one activity—or do them all for loads of Pi Day fun!

And these just in…

» Pi Day: Huge List of Pi Day Activities for All Ages

» Pi Day: A Pinterest board filled with all sorts of classroom resources.

» Math: Another Pinterest board with Pi Day activities for students of all ages.

Classroom Connection:

Use the Pi Day resources and materials to generate some enthusiasm and appreciation for mathematics. And while you’re at it, have a piece of your favorite (chocolate peanut butter) pie!

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Join the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge!

March4
Hey, edtech gurus! Are you ready to expand your professional learning network (PLN) while learning how to effectively utilize a super popular social media platform? If so, I am calling upon you to join 40+ Bellwood-Antis School District educators in the Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge!

Check out the details below about the first event of its kind in my school—one that is being organized by yours truly!

WHO: Any educator who would like to learn how to use Twitter as a professional development tool. It would be super cool to have participants tweet with us!

WHAT: The Blue Devil Nation Twitter Challenge (In case you missed that one!)

WHEN: The challenge kicks off on Monday, March 5, 2018.

WHERE: It’s online so you can tag along on your favorite device from anywhere in the universe!

WHY: Become a connected educator and learn more than you can imagine about any educational topic that interests you!

HOW: Check out the digital flyer embedded below to become the next participant. (The full screen version of the newsletter lives here!)

Personalization…Relevant…Fun!  Take charge of your PD starting on March 5!

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, follow the action at #BDNPLN!

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Get Lucky with Some St. Patrick’s Day Magnetic Poetry

March3

If you’re looking for a fun activity to complete with your students this St. Patrick’s Day, then all you’ve got to do is snag a copy of my holiday-themed magnetic poetry activity!

Here it is: A Google Slides activity containing 60+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled holiday 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.

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

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it, but 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 include this info.

Check out a sneak preview below!

St.PatricksDayMagneticPoetry

Click here to access the template. You will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original and save it to your Google Drive. It can then be easily shared with students—especially if you’re using Google Classroom.

Classroom Connection:

The St. Patrick’s Day 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 challenge is to use the words provided.

A shout out to Kasey Bell for inspiring me to create my own version of magnetic poetry. And a high five goes to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create this activity. ♥

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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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