Monday, September 21, 2015

How to Create and Edit Rubrics on Quick Rubric

On Friday afternoon I wrote a short post about a new tool called Quick Rubric. That post quickly became popular on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page where I was asked a few questions about how Quick Rubric works. To answer those questions I recorded the short screencast that you should see embedded below.

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

Learning With Liquid Text

This is a guest post from Jennfer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) of EdTechTeacher - an advertiser on this site.

I was recently introduced to a new and innovative document annotation tool for the iPad. LiquidText allows you to import PDF files, web pages, Word, and PowerPoint files from websites and cloud services (like DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud, and more). Similar to traditional annotation tools, you can highlight and take notes in the margins. However, LiquidText goes so much farther! In addition to traditional comments, you can make a comment apply to two sections, connect comments into groups, or even comment on other comments! You can highlight and then pull out excerpts of text for further comment. You can “scrunch” documents so that you can compare text on different pages side by side, and “pinch” the document so that you can see all of your highlights and comments on one page so that you can quickly find your notes.

When you finish annotating a document, you can share the file in different ways. For example, you can export it via email or a cloud storage service. You can share it as a PDF with both the document as well as your comments, or share just your notes as an RTF file (it will open with any word processor). Additionally, you can share a LiquidText File that will open in the LiquidText App with all of your interactive notes, excerpts, and more available to the reader. LiquidText is an amazing annotation tool that can help you take your reading even deeper!

November 16-18, EdTechTeacher will be hosting their fourth annual iPad Summit in Boston. The conference will feature hands-on sessions as well as speakers from across the country.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Resources for Teaching and Learning About the Sights and Sounds of Autumn

The air is getting cooler, the leaves are starting to change color, and the days are getting shorter. In just a few days the autumnal equinox will be here in the northern hemisphere. Here are some resources for teaching and learning about the sights and sounds of autumn.

Sixty Symbols offers an eleven minute video about equinoxes and solstices. It's not a video that most kids will find engaging, but I'm including it because in it you can see a demonstration of how you can use the free Stellarium software in your lessons.

To help students understand why the leaves change colors in the fall, the Maine Forest Service has an animated video explaining why leaves change colors. The video is titled Maine's Autumn Magic and you can watch it here. To help students understand some of the terms in the video, the Maine Forest Service has a glossary of tree terms.

Although they're not as informative as the two resources above, National Geographic has a couple of nice photo galleries of fall foliage. Click here for a small gallery of images from Acadia National Park. Click here for a gallery of images from the Adirondack Park.

Untamed Science offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.

Autumnal Colors is a short video produced by Thomas Rasel. The two minute video highlights the sights and sounds of autumn. A bugling elk and a squirrel preparing for winter are a couple of the sights and sounds included in the video.

Autumn from Thomas Rasel on Vimeo.

Autumn Stars and Planets is a short PBS video that explains why the stars and planets that we see from Earth change with the seasons. The video is embedded below.

Reactions, a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society, offers a nice video about the chemistry involved in the process of leaves changing color. The videos explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees help reveal the reds, yellows and, browns of fall foliage.

How to Create Video Entries on Blogger

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about using Blogger's webcam recording option to create video entries on your classroom blog. Over the weekend someone asked if I could clarify that process a bit more. The easiest way to clarify is to create a short how-to video so that's what I did this evening. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I always mention in my workshops on classroom blogging is the idea that blog posts don't have to be limited to text. In fact, they don't need to have text at all if you are having students make video blog entries. Posting video blog entries can be a great way to have students share reflections on things they have learned and experience in your classroom during a week.

Marketing Your Teaching Materials - Webinar Recording Registration

Tomorrow night's Marketing Your Teaching Materials webinar that Steve Hargadon, TES, and I have been promoting is now completely full. Due to the limitations of the webinar software we're using, we cannot add more people to the live session. If you would like to receive a recording of the webinar, please complete the form embedded below.