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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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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April Fool’s Day Resources: Part IV

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.

» 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 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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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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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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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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