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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lesson Planning, Keyboarding, Breakouts - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where all of the leaves have changed to brown and we're now just waiting for winter to begin. In my mind I've always thought that Halloween marked the end of beautiful part of fall and the transition to the browns of late fall before the snow arrives. This year fall out with a bang as we had nearly 600 trick o' treaters come to our house. We would have had more, but we ran out of candy! I hope that Halloween and the rest of the week were good for you too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Planboard for Lesson Planning
2. Typing Games to Improve Keyboarding Skills
3. Document Studio - The Google Sheets Add-on You've Been Waiting For
4. Improvements in Google Classroom
5. How to Create a Digital Breakout Game
6. Five Inspiring TED Talks for Teachers
7. PeerGrade.io - Better Peer Feedback

Professional Development Opportunities
This week Teaching History With Technology started rolling out to everyone who registered early. If you didn't register, you can still join and complete the course at your own pace. Learn more here.

In a few weeks I'll be hosting three live professional development webinars. How to Teach With Video will begin on November 27th. Later in the same week I'll start Getting Going With G Suite and To Geography and Beyond With Google Earth & Maps.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.

What You Need to Know About Reply All


All of us have at least one reply all nightmare story. Mine story took place a couple of years ago when a teacher sent an email to all of the staff in her building to let them know that she brought brownies for them. This single email from a well-meaning teacher generated 87 replies and each reply was sent to everyone in the building. Everyone received the emails that thanked the teacher from bringing the brownies. Everyone received the emails letting the brownie baker know they would love to eat one, but they better not because they are on a diet, sensitive to gluten, or allergic to nuts. It was an annoying waste of time for everyone who received the original email. So what can you learn from my painful experience?

There are definitely times when the reply all button is the best option.  For example, if you are working with a group of people on a project then it is expected that you reply all to help keep everyone in the loop. But if you receive an email that is sent to you because you are on a mass email list for your building or district, you should ask yourself if there is a need reply to everyone who received the original email. Many times when emails are sent to large groups they are "FYI" only and the sender does not expect a reply. If you feel the need to reply and the only person who needs to see your response is the sender, then select Reply instead of Reply All.

There are some steps you can take to avoid Reply all blunders. If you use Gmail, you can change the default response setting to Reply instead of Reply all. You can also enable the Undo Send lab which allows you to recall a message up to 30 seconds after you send it. When you send messages to groups of people you can use the bcc (blind carbon copy) field which will make it impossible for recipients to reply to other who received the message because they won't be able to see the list of recipients. If you would rather not use the BCC option, then consider adding "FYI" to the subject line so people know a reply is not necessary.

Applications for Education
It's important to talk about email etiquette with students. Our students live in a world where email is not their primary form of communication.

Resources for Teaching about Veterans Day



Veterans Day is next weekend which means this upcoming week will be a great opportunity to visit with students about the meaning of this federal holiday. These resources have suggestions for how students of all ages can honor veterans as well as some activities that can be done schoolwide.

  • Veterans Day Teacher Guide- This 35 page guide is filled with ideas for ways to honor veterans. There are suggestions for what schools can do as a whole as well as activities that individual students can complete.
  • PBS News Hour- 45-minute lesson plan for middle and high school students. 
  • Veterans Day Activities- Numerous activities for students elementary students including printouts, worksheets, and poetry activities.
  • Veterans Day FAQ's- Answers about the most common questions regarding Veterans Day.
  • Veterans Day from the History Channel- Articles, speeches, videos, and pictures about Veterans Day.
  • Operation We are Here- Numerous ideas for students of all ages for how to honor veterans.

Here are some additional resources for teaching about Veterans Day.

Climate Change Resources

Climate change is an important topic for students to study because it helps them understand the world around them. This collection of resources will help you put together some great lessons on this topic.

The Climate Time Machine is another interesting resource to teach students about how climate change impacts areas over time.