Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Make It Real with iFakeText

February18

Yeah, we all know how much students like to text… So, why not leverage this obsession by taking advantage of a web tool like ifaketext.com, a nifty online generator that mimics the real thing. Not only is it super simple to use, but it’s a visually engaging way to allow students to demonstrate what they know in a unique way. Plus, there’s nothing quite like using one of the most popular forms of social media to grab our students’ interest and attention, right?

Utilizing ifaketext.com works something like this: After accessing the web site, just enter a name, choose a carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) and insert a conversation. Once you’re finished with these steps, click the “Submit” button and voila! An image showing the text chat as if it appeared on a smart phone is all yours. Download your masterpiece, share it via your favorite social media networks and/or embed it into your online spaces. Is that way cool or what?

Oh, and did I mention that this resource is a freebie that requires no registration? Yay!

Check out an ifaketext.com example shown below.

Classroom Connection:

ifaketext.com can be utilized in a variety of ways in any content area to allow students to practice reading and writing dialogue. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

» Conversations between two famous people, book characters, animals, friends discussing a movie or event

» Formative assessments for independent reading

» Displaying vocabulary and definitions in a fun way

» Writing prompts

» Poetry activities

In addition to these literacy activities, ifaketext.com could be used to teach students proper texting etiquette and digital responsibility.

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The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Going for the Gold!

February16

For sports fans like me—and many of our students—the next few weeks will be an exciting time as we cheer on our favorite skiers, skaters and bobsledders to the gold medal stand during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea! I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to get enough!

That said, why not capitalize on the Olympic hype by using the educational activities listed below to tap into your students’ interests as they discuss and/or learn about one of the most celebrated sporting venues of all time.

» PyeongChang 2018: The official web site of the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games… Stayed tuned in to all of the latest info related to the Games of the XXIII Olympiad.

» NBC PyeongChang 2018: You won’t want to miss the unprecedented coverage of the Winter Games via live TV as well as top news, highlights and related stories located on NBC’s site dedicated to the 2018 Olympics.

» The Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) Toolkit: A set of free resources designed to enrich any educational curriculum with Olympic-themed activities, teaching strategies and inspirational materials.

» Teaching the Winter Olympics Across the Curriculum: For two weeks this month, the world’s attention will focus on PyeongChang, South Korea, to marvel at the incredible athletics performed at the 2018 Winter Olympics. This teaching resource—developed by the New York Times Learning Network—suggests a variety of ways teachers across subject areas can turn the Olympics into learning experiences for their students.

» Countdown to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games: The Winter Olympic Games is a “teachable moment” that comes along only once every four years, so the Education World team has gathered lesson ideas to help educators teach to the moment.Included are lessons to teach history, vocabulary, decimals, sportsmanship and more!

» 15 Tech Tidbits To Bring the 2018 Winter Olympic Into Your Classroom: Educators have a terrific opportunity to expand their students’ learning during the Olympics. The games provide excellent moments to teach them about many subjects, including history, science, physical education and social studies. Find out how this can be done via this article sponsored by the School Library Journal.

» The Winter Olympics: ReadWriteThink offers teachers a variety of lessons and activities centered on the 2018 PyeongChang Games to engage K-12 students.

» 2018 Winter Olympics Classroom Activities and Resources: Stepping outside of medal tally mathematics and the symbolism of the Olympic rings, what can kids learn from the Olympics? The folks at Teach Starter say, lots! This page lists just a few things you can explore with your students during the 2018 Winter Games.

» The Best Sites for Learning About the PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Compiled by Larry Ferlazzo, this comprehensive site contains links to some of the best Olympic resources on the web!

» 2018 Winter Olympics: A Pinterest board filled with all things Olympics—STEM Challenges, BreakoutEDU activities, videos, games, bulletin board and more!

» 12 Olympic Lessons & Classroom Activities: Check out some teacher-favorite, Olympics-inspired lesson ideas, classroom management techniques and fun classroom activites from TeachHUB.com.

» Olympics Lessons and Teacher Resources: Tons of lesson plan ideas to learn about the Olympic Games from HotChalk.

» The Perseus Digital Library Project: An exhibit that can be used to compare ancient and modern-day Olympic sports. Visitors can also tour the site of Olympia as it looks today, learn about the context of the Games and the Olympic spirit and/or read about the Olympic athletes who were famous in ancient times.

» Olympic Challenge: A collaborative project in which students (or schools) can compete against one another in a series of Olympic themed challenges. This site is actually based on the 2012 Summer Olympics, but the activities can be adapted accordingly. Since the challenges were tech-related, I thought they were too cool not to share!

Classroom Connection:

If you have a few minutes in the day to light the Olympic torch, use these teaching and learning resources to guide the way to medal-winning lessons.

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Doodle with Google for Valentine’s Day

February9

If you’re looking for another super cool Valentine’s Day activity for your students (the first being  Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry, which can be found here), then a must-see is the ‘Create your own Google Logo’ activity developed for students to design and code their own Valentine Doodle using the programming language Scratch.

This edtech gem is a standalone activity that can be completed in just one hour. It can be used in a classroom setting, at a conference or at an event. Anyone can teach the concepts to students as no computer science experience is required to do so.

Check out a variety of teacher resources including lessons plans, informational flyers, certificates, sticker badges and more located here or explore the activity yourself here.

Classroom Connection:

Help students code a Google logo about something or someone they care about this Valentine’s Day!

What is a Google logo or doodle? They are special logos that appear on the Google homepage. They celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists. Check out more info about Google Doodles here.

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Love Me Some Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry

February7

All you need is love… And a copy of my Valentine’s Day Magnetic Poetry activity!

So, 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 February adventure, here are a few additional items worth mentioning:

» 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!

ValentinesDayMagneticPoetry

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 shared with your students.

Here’s an example of what students can create using the template:

Valentine's Day Magnetic Poetry - Maliah Hassler

Here’s a mashup of fifth grade students working on the activity:

Valentine's Day Magnetic Poetry Collage

Classroom Connection:

The Valentine’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 fun/challenge is to just use the words provided.

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

Stay tuned for another Magnetic Poetry template coming to your Google Drive in the very near future…

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

January23

What’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some super cool resources for the tech-infused classroom!

» Vocal Recall

An iOS and Android app that allows teachers to provide audio feedback to their students via QR codes—and students can even reply. This tool can also be used for many applications outside of  the classroom (i.e. note taking, personal memos, greeting card messages and musical ideas).

» Loom

A Chrome extension that can be used to capture videos of a user’s computer screen, webcam or both. The screencast is automatically copied to the clipboard and ready to share and/or download for offline use. Why? Because video is a faster communication tool than typing!

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

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Teaching & Learning Resources to Remember the Life of MLK

January14

martin luther king jr collage“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

This quote epitomizes why I have always admired Martin Luther King, Jr. As a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, he not only advocated for the equal treatment of our fellow man, but he also supported the fair and humane treatment of animals—a personal passion of mine as a rescuer, adopter, foster and sponsor of shelter and puppy mill dogs.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor this great man. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, near King’s birthday (January 15). Depending on your school calendar, you may have or had the day off.

But when students return next week, don’t miss the opportunity to share some MLK information with them so they can learn about the life and legacy of this true American hero. There are tons of teaching and learning resources available online, but out of all of them, I highly recommend the video “My Friend Martin”, especially if you teach middle school students. It’s a cool mix of animation and actual black and white video footage that is extremely effective and captivating—one that can be used as a springboard to discuss Dr. King and his accomplishments. The use of kid “lingo” and voice overs from famous actors such as Whoopie Goldberg and LaVar Burton as well encouraging messages about  how one person can make a difference and standing up for what is right even when it’s difficult makes this video a perfect choice for the classroom!

Even though I’ve seen the video dozens of times, it’s still my all-time favorite MLK educational resource. Check it out below!

For additional educational resources Martin Luther King, Jr., be sure to access Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King, Jr. page.

Classroom Connection:

Use the Our Friend, Martin video and other resources mentioned to teach students about the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Get Your New Year On!

January1

Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy, sparkly, shiny, brand spankin’ new year from Edutech for Teachers!

Once again, here’s my annual reminder encouraging you to take advantage of the opportunity you have to enjoy 12 months of happiness, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of love, 8,760 hours of success and 51,536,000 seconds of learning that can be used to inspire others in your sphere of influence!

Regardless of where your personal and professional journey takes you, I hope it’s one of the best ever!

Live, love and laughter… Namaste! ♥

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The 12 Digital Days of Christmas 2017: Tech Treasure #12

December22

geeky girl santa1

Oh, no! Santa’s running behind schedule and needs your assistance! Can you help him arrange all of the delicious candies that were made at the North Pole?

Find out by playing Santalicious, a holiday version of Candy Crush, the match-three puzzle game that is played by millions of people all over the world!

Click here to get your Christmas candy on and to access 11 additional festive activities located within The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas.

The full screen version of this interactive image can be accessed here.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources embedded within the interactive image to have some fun celebrating the best holiday of the year!

In case you might be interested in checking out my 12 Digital Days of Christmas collections from previous years, here you go:

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas I

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas II

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas III

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas IV

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas V

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ♥ ~The Grinch #somuchmore

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The 12 Digital Days of Christmas 2017: Tech Treasure #11

December21

thinglink santa hat2 trans

Give your brain a workout with another cool activity from the Math Playground—a holiday logic puzzle known as A Blocky Christmas.

Here’s how it works: Players must use the keyboard arrows to move the puzzle pieces into place. Hint: The star piece can push and pull all other pieces. Enjoy 16 challenging levels of play!

Click here to access A Blocky Christmas and ten additional holiday activities that are located within The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas Thinglink interactive holiday resource.

The full screen version of this interactive image can be accessed here.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources embedded within the interactive image to have some fun celebrating the best holiday of the year!

In case you might be interested in checking out my 12 Digital Days of Christmas collections from previous years, here you go:

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas I

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas II

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas III

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas IV

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas V

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ♥ ~The Grinch #somuchmore

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The 12 Digital Days of Christmas 2017: Tech Treasure #10

December20

geeky girl santa1

Who doesn’t need a cool Christmas greeting to share with family and friends? Well, you can get your Hallmark on (OK, sorta) by checking out the Online Christmas Card Maker.

Yep, you can personalize a digital card, download your holiday masterpiece and then send it to all of your favorite peeps!

Click Tech Treasure #10, the next digital resource found within The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas, to get busy!

The full screen version of this interactive image can be accessed here.

Classroom Connection:

Use the resources embedded within the interactive image to have some fun celebrating the best holiday of the year!

In case you might be interested in checking out my 12 Digital Days of Christmas collections from previous years, here you go:

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas I

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas II

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas III

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas IV

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas V

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ♥ ~The Grinch #somuchmore

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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.

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