Sunday, June 7, 2015

My Five Favorite Tools

There are dozens of great game builders, writing templates, and handy classroom tools on I've tried nearly all of them over the years. My five favorite Classtools tools are featured below.

Mission MapQuest is a great tool for map-based quizzes and games. The concept behind it is simple, you create a series of clues that your students need to follow to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your MapQuest as you like. When you're ready to have students try your MapQuest just give them the web address assigned to it. Watch the video embedded below to learn how to create your own map-based quizzes on Mission MapQuest.

The Classtools Fake SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to register to use it. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a fictitious text message exchange between historical characters. As I mentioned in the video, the Fake SMS Generator could also be used to create visuals for lessons on cyber-safety and etiquette.

Connect Fours is a game in which that you have to create four sets of four related terms from sixteen terms displayed on the game board. Connect Fours is based on the concept of the connect wall in the BBC gameshow Only Connect. The idea is that you have to create four sets of four related terms from sixteen terms displayed on the board. For example, I created a game about the four major professional sports leagues in the United States. Sixteen team names are displayed on the board and players have to arrange the teams according to the leagues that they belong to. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Connect Fours to create your own review games.

The Random Name Picker and the Fruit Machine are two of those tools that can be used in almost every classroom setting. Both tools can be used to select names or numbers at random. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use both of those tools.

Twister, like the Fake SMS allows you imagine what historical figures would have done if they had access to social media. On Twister you can create fake Tweets as if you were Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, or any other person in history. To create a fake Tweet on Twister just go to the site and enter a name, a Tweet, and date stamp for your Tweet. Twister will pull a public domain image for the profile picture and show you the fake Tweet. Your fake Tweet will be given its own URL. You can also just take a screenshot of it to save it.

Intellectual Property Explained by Common Craft

Intellectual property is the topic of the latest Common Craft video. The video provides an overview of what intellectual property is and how it is protected by patents and copyright laws. You can see the video here or as embedded below.

Applications for Education
Intellectual Property explained by Common Craft is a good companion to their video on Copyright and Creative Commons. Both videos can help students understand why they should try to use their own original media or public domain media when creating presentations, videos, and podcasts.

Common Craft videos can be viewed for free online but to download them or embed them you do have to be a subscriber to their service. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft which means that I have received a subscription in exchange for advising Common Craft on some product offerings.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Week in Review - Thank You Guest Bloggers

Good evening from Maine where I am back home with dogs after a few days of traveling to speak in Sioux City, Iowa. Thank you to Kathy Bottaro and the staff of Sioux City Schools for the opportunity to work with 100 teachers this week. If you're interested in having me speak at your school, please click here.

A big thank you to all of the guest bloggers that appeared on my blog this week. It was great to have fresh voice on the blog.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Six Styles of Classroom Video Projects - A Handout
2. Using Google Apps in a Math Classroom
3. Chromebook Rollout Through Teacher Leadership
4. Creating Narrated Slideshows with Google Tools
5. Learning to Program With MaKey MaKey in Elementary School
6. Champion Reader - A New Reading Game on Teach Your Monster to Read
7. Organizing Descriptive Feedback with Google Forms

Summer PD Opportunities With Me.
Teaching History With Technology begins in July.
Getting Going With GAFE is offered in June and July.
Blogs & Social Media for Teachers and School Leaders is offered in July.

Brand new course! Blogger Jumpstart! - A two night event in which I'll share everything I've learned about turning a blog into a small business.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
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.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Google Adds More Underwater Imagery to Street View

For a couple of years now Google has offered Street View imagery that takes you underwater around the Galapagos Islands, the Maldives, and a handful of other places around the world. This week Google announced an expansion of underwater imagery. Calling it Street View imagery is a bit silly so let's call it Sea View imagery.The expansion includes 40 new destinations around the world.

The Sea View imagery will let you virtually swim with dolphins and whales, explore reefs, and dive with sea turtles. You can find all of the Sea View imagery in the Oceans Street View collection.

Applications for Education
After exploring the Sea View imagery students have students dive deeper with Marine Explore. Marine Explore is an open data community in which scientists and others share data sets about oceans. As a member (membership is free) you can search for data sets according to location and type of data (temperatures, sea ice extent, pollution, etc).

Teaching The Hunger Games with Storyboards

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Storyboard That is continuously building new teacher guides. Their guides provide dozens of lesson plans for teaching language arts skills through the use of storyboards. The latest additions to Storyboard That's teacher guides include lesson plans on The Hunger Games and Fahrenheit 451.

The Hunger Games teacher guide includes plans for teaching point of view, cause and effect, and character analysis. The plans call for students to create storyboards to illustrate their understanding of the characters, themes, and plot of The Hunger Games. Like all Storyboard That teacher guides, the lessons in The Hunger Games teacher guide are aligned to ELA Common Core standards.

To learn more about how to use Storyboard That in your classroom, take a look at the recording of this webinar that I hosted back in February.

Popular Posts