Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Week in Review - Are You Kind?

Good morning from Maine where the sun is shining and I'm listening to birds chirp while I drink coffee on my deck. Speaking of my deck, as I was staining it yesterday I was listening to the Grateful Dead. There's a line in the song Uncle John's Band that goes, "all I want to know is are you kind." That line stuck with me as I was reflecting on Morrison's life (he passed away last weekend). At the end of the day, all that dogs and most people really want to know about others is whether or not you're kind. I think that if we can understand that about each other, we can understand a lot more about each other.

A huge thank you to everyone who emailed me, messaged me on Twitter or Facebook, called, or texted this week to express their condolences about Morrison's passing. I have been overwhelmed by support. I am slowly replying to all of the emails that I was sent.

Now on to happier things...over the next six weeks I'll be speaking at a number of conferences. The first one is next week in Ponoka, Alberta. If you see me there or at any other conference, please say hello.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Good Tools to Help Students Learn New Vocabulary Words
2. 4 Ways Visual Literacy is Being Taught in Classrooms to Empower Learning
3. Help Students Get Organized with My Study Life
4. Great Google Drive Add-ons for Teachers - A PDF Handout
5. Walk With Elephants in Google Street View
6. 15 Topics for Your School/ Classroom Blog
7. Great Google Search Strategies Every Student Can Use - Infographic

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

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.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
MasteryConnect offers a series of apps for identifying standards. 
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.
Lesley University offers online education programs for teachers.
HelpTeaching offers online tests and printable resources for teachers.  
King University offers online M.Ed programs.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Quick Rubric Provides an Easy Way to Craft Rubrics

From the same people that brought us Photos for Class and StoryBoard That comes another great tool called Quick Rubric. Quick Rubric is a free tool for writing, editing, and printing rubrics. On Quick Rubric you can create a rubric that is tailored to your points/ scoring system, the quantity of descriptors that you need, and utilizes the exact language that you specify. You can save as many rubrics as you like in your free Quick Rubric account. You can copy and modify rubrics your account so that you don't always have to start from scratch when creating a new assignment rubric.

Applications for Education
Quick Rubric won't make choosing the language that goes into your rubrics any easier, but it will make it easier to save, edit, and print your rubrics once they are complete. There is a rubric writing tips section in Quick Rubric as well as a formatting tips section that some teachers should find helpful.

Disclosure: Quick Rubric is owned by the same people who own Storyboard That and advertise on

How to Search and Subscribe to YouTube Channels

YouTube can be a great place to find all kinds of educational videos, if you know how to search within it. One tip that I often share in my workshops is to search within a YouTube channel. Let's say you've found a YouTube channel that you like, but you don't want to scroll back through dozens or hundreds of videos in it. The search function within the channel makes it easier to find a video from a source that you trust on YouTube. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to do that. The video also includes a demonstration of how to subscribe to a YouTube channel.

If you're interested in subscribing to my YouTube channel, you can subscribe here.

From Blog to Business

Earlier today I had the privilege to speak to a high school business class. The students in that class are studying various types of small businesses. I was invited to speak about how a blog can become a business. If you're interested in what I shared with the students, check out the slides embedded below.

If you're a business teacher who would like me to speak to your class on this topic, I can do so through Skype or Google+. Please feel free to email me at richardbyrne (at) to set-up a time to do that.

How to Customize the Look of Your Google Site

This morning I saw a Tweet from someone who was feeling frustrated by Google Sites. That is completely understandable because the Google Sites editor is not terribly intuitive. To help that person and anyone else who has or is struggling with customizing the look of a Google Site, I created the short screencast that is embedded below. For more detailed instructions on Google Sites, take a look at this guide that I created a few years ago.