Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech It Up with Thanksgiving Poetry Magnets

November19

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 Slides, 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 Poetry Magnets Google Slides 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 Poetry Magnets 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 Kasey Bell, author of the Shake Up Learning blog, for the inspiration needed to develop this resource!

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Tech Up Your Classroom: Thanksgiving Style

November18

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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Get Your Back to School On with Poetry Magnets

August25

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 poetry magnets, 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 BTS 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…” opt.

» 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.

Click here if you would like to snag your very own copy of this super awesome activity. Once you access 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 using the “Make a copy for each student” option.

Classroom Connection:

The Back to School Poetry Magnets 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 poetry magnet activities.

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. XII

August1

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… well, in this case—the past few months.

For those of you who became a fan of these collections of resources, my apologies for the hiatus. I’d like to say I spent the last year putzing from beach to beach in my hippie van, but that will be my reality in about five years… In the meantime, I’ve actually had some really awesome reasons as to why I had to take a step away from blogging for while—again; however, I’ll spare you from the details other than to say that among other edtech things, I started a movement known as XscapeEDU, which is based on providing students with the opportunity to design and build original “xscapes” (or breakout activities) for other students.

➡️ Check out additional info about this concept as well as the Xscape Xstravaganza I recently hosted for 80+ students in my region to showcase their escape room talents here and here. You can also check out a collection of pictures from our inaugural event here.

➡️ And, of course, if you’d like to join the movement and become an Xscape EDU Warrior—please contact me!

➡️ OK, now that I’ve convinced you to get your Xscape EDU on, it’s time to check out some other good stuff… Despite the ongoing crazy busy schedule, I have continued to collect a variety of super cool resources that will be useful in the classroom throughout the upcoming school year, and I’m about to share some of these edtech gems right here, right now…

First up: Introducing one of the neatest activities I’ve seen in awhile using the new green screen feature in iMovie—the Wormhole Challenge. If you don’t have an iOS device capable of generating this kind of creative coolness, one of the examples shown below will definitely persuade you into visiting the nearest Apple Store asap (or if you’re me—Amazon Prime)! But it’s not just a fun looking activity—the learning possibilities are endless! In fact, you can add your ideas to the soon to be crowd-sourced Padlet located here.

➡️ For additional examples, check out the following hashtags on Twitter: #WormholeChallenge + #EveryoneCanCreate

Check out my first few attempts at creating a “Wormhole” video…

A shout out to Richard Hopkin for developing and sharing this concept!

➡️ Back to School Activities…

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

» 14 Ideas for those First Days of School—By Ryan O’Donnell

➡️ Next, if you’ve previously tuned into my space, you know that I’m a total Google fan girl—and for good reason. That said, let’s kick things off with some edtech gems that will definitely assist you with engaging your students in learning!

➡️ From the amazing Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve:

» Simple Search Lifesavers for Students

» Battlesheets: Google Sheets Battleship Game Template—Use with students to develop critical thinking skills and learn about locating points in a coordinate system

» Play “Mystery Animal” with Google—A 20-Questions Game for Students to Learn Critical Thinking & Science

» Amazing Mobile Features of Google Classroom

» Make Google Form Responses Easy to Read with “Save as Doc” Add-on

» Super Spreadsheet Activities for All Subjects

» 20 Awesome Add-ons for Google Docs

» 4 Fake Sites to Teach Students Website Evaluation

» 12 Terrific Podcasts to Learn Something New Everyday

» 26 YouTube Shortcuts Everyone Should Know

➡️ More Google Goodness…

» Do you use Google Classroom and want to print student work without opening and printing each document individually? Allison McCutcheon has a solution, and it’s called PDF Mergy. Watch her explainer video here!—via Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand

» Nearpod Announces a New Add-On for Google Slides—A blog post by Julie Smith, The Techie Teacher

➡️ For the Apple Gurus…

» Animated Sketchnotes: A quick explanation of how to use Keynote builds, actions, line draw & paths to make animated GIFs—By Tricia Fuglestad

» Let’s Make Stuff: 5 Keynotes Templates to Amplify Learning—Keynote is for SO much more than just presentations! Learn creative uses for Keynote to amp up learning in your classroom by exploring and remixing Keynote templates for iPad and Mac.—By Jessica Garrigan

➡️ 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

» Nadine Gilkison’s Hyperdocs: From Rube Goldberg machines to counting money, this massive collection of Hyperdocs can be downloaded to your Google Drive for easy access and classroom usage. Not enough thank you’s to Nadine for sharing this amazing resource!

» Add intrigue to a lesson by having students make guesses about a pixelated picture—By Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand

➡️ Good Reads…

» DON’T Ditch That Tech: Differentiated Instruction in a Digital World—A book written by Matt Miller, Nate Ridgway & Angelia Ridgway

» Relentless: Changing Lives by Disrupting the Educational Norm—A book written by Hamish Brewer

» EDrenaline Rush: Game-changing Student Engagement Inspired by Theme Parks, Mud Runs, and Escape Rooms Paperback—A book written by John Meehan

» Students in Tech Say Soft Skills and the Arts Set Them Up for Success—An article written by Emily Tate; Featured on EdSurge

➡️ Geeky Gadgets Worth Checking Out…

» Pi-Top 4: It’s a Raspberry Pi computer with 14 components for making cool stuff. The components are magnetic and can connect to Lego.—via Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand

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.

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

Until next time… Peace out!

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Get Your Easter Poetry Magnets On!

April9

If you’re ready to get your Easter on, then I’ve got the perfect edtech resource for you and your peeps—a poetry magnets 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 Poetry Magnets 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 poetry magnets . And a shout out to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create this super cool resource. ♥

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April Fool’s Day Resources: Part V

March27

April Fool’s Day is probably one of those classroom holidays you can’t escape—no matter how hard you try. So why not embrace it and teach your students a few things at the same time!

Yes—this means you quite possibly will have to endure some of those harmless pranks and hoaxes associated with this day—spiders in your desk, a plastic snake on your chair, or some mystery student messing with your computer mouse via a USB remote. Of course, I’m speaking from experience.

That said, if you’re one of those educators who enjoys having a little bit of fun with your students, then check out the recently updated list of resources below.

» NEW! April Fools’ Day Ideas for the Classroom: Jennifer Findley shares her favorite April Fools’ Day jokes and pranks for teachers. And if you don’t want to prank your students, she has two engaging educational activities that will allow you to still bring in some April Fools’ Day fun in your classroom!

» Fool Me Once: A digital breakout for April Fool’s Day created by Michael Davidson. This one is pretty tricky and will definitely fool you once… Or twice!

» Busy Teacher: Foolproof Fun Lesson Activities for April Fool’s Day—Reading activities, writing ideas, games and Just for Laughs videos

» Control Alt Achieve: The Best Google April Fools Videos—A collection of prank videos produced by Google which poke fun at current trends, technology and even Google itself

» Education World: Happy April Fool’s Day— Book suggestions, articles, fun facts and a WebQuest

» Teacher Planet: April Fool’s—You can also take advantage of their April Fool’s Day lesson plans, worksheets, clip art and English as a Second Language Resources

» Edutopia: April Fool’s Day in the Classroom: 8 Resources for Teachers—A ton of teaching ideas for bring this day into the classroom, including strategies for for engaging students with humor.

» A to Z Teacher Stuff: April Fool’s Day—Printables, scavenger hunts, worksheets, activities, puzzles and more!

» April Fool’s Day Teaching Ideas—A Pinterest board filled with resources galore!

» April Fool’s Day Lessons & Activities—Another Pinterest board jam packed with creative lessons, activities and crafts.

» Enchanted Learning—All kinds of crafts, riddles, reproducibles related to April Fool’s Day live here!

Check out the video clips below explaining how and why the tradition of playing tricks on people began on April 1.

A shout out to Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, for sharing these cool videos!

Classroom Connection:

Use these resources to teach students about the history behind April Fools Day. And while you’re at it, add some comedy to your day by having some harmless foolproof fun with your students and colleagues.

As Charles Dickens once said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

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

March10

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 poetry magnets 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!

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 Poetry Magnets 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 poetry magnets. And a high five goes to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to create this activity. ♥

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Grab a Piece of the Pi Using Cool Classroom Resources

March9

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 new addition to this page of resources—another super cool digital breakout game designed by Meagan Kelly, author of the I ❤ EDU web site. This game features trivia facts about the number π as well as info related to radius, diameter, circumference and area. Check it out here.

If you and your students can’t get enough of digital breakouts, be sure to take a look at another fabulous game created by Dana Gehman. Access Happy 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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The 12 Digital Days of Christmas 2018

December11

thinglink santa hat2 trans

Get ready to “Tech the Halls” with the 12 Digital Days of Christmas, a super charged collection of digital treasures I have curated throughout the past six years. Each volume features a dozen fun and festive resources that are sure to spread some holiday cheer in your classroom.

This year’s adventure begins by hovering over the interactive image below to reveal 12 Tech Treasures from 2017, including one of my most favorite Christmas sites—The North Pole, a comprehensive holiday resource that has it all for educators, students and parents: Dozens of games, activities, stories, crafts and more—all related to Santa’s visit on December 25.

I’ve actually shared this resource in past Christmas playlists as well as this award-winning site includes more than enough activities to keep students busy until the holiday break. That said, if you’ve somehow missed this gem in past searches for December activities, be sure to check it out!

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

But wait… There’s more!

If you’re interested in checking out my 12 Digital Days of Christmas collections from previous years, here you go:

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas 2016

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas 2015

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas 2014

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas 2013

» The Twelve Digital Days of Christmas 2012

Classroom Connection:

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

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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Get Festive with Christmas Poetry Magnets

December5

geeky girl santa1

If you’re ready to get your festive on, then I’ve got the perfect edtech activity for you and your students—Christmas Poetry Magnets, a Google Slides activity containing nearly 100 words that can be manipulated into a holiday themed poem, story, etc. Check it out below!

As with my Thanksgiving Poetry Magnets creation, 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 peek of this super cool Christmas activity shown below!

Christmas Magnetic Poetry

Click here to download your very own copy of the template and save it to your Google Drive.

Classroom Connection:

The Christmas Poetry Magnets 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 Kasey Bell, author of the Shake Up Learning blog, for the inspiration needed to develop this resource!

Happy, happy birthday, Mom! Love you! ♥

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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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