Monday, January 11, 2016

ReadWorks Offers Articles, Question Sets, and Videos About Martin Luther King, Jr.

Next Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. ReadWorks has put together a collection of articles, videos, and question sets for teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. Like all articles and question sets found on ReadWorks this one is indexed by reading ability. The videos in the collection were provided by History.


Applications for Education
One of the aspects of ReadWorks that I like is that lexile scores are listed for each article along with grade levels and Common Core standards. So if Common Core standards are not relevant to your situation, ReadWorks still makes it easy to find fiction and non-fiction articles that are appropriate for your students.

With a free ReadWorks account you can search for lessons and reading passages by grade level, lexile score, reading skill, subject area, and text type (fiction or non-fiction). In your ReadWorks account you can create digital binders of the lesson plans and reading passages that you want to use.

How to Get Free eBooks on Your Mobile Device

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

With the rise and prominence of eBooks have come a number of resources for educators and students to access free content on virtually any device. Using e-readers, tablets, or computers; in conjunction with apps such as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, and OverDrive; you can access libraries of books for free on virtually any device. By downloading these free apps, you make your device a digital reading device that is not dependent on a specific vendor. JenCarey-1

Once you have the apps installed on your device, there are many resources you can use to find free eBooks. While books in the public domain are readily available, there are also self-published books, books available to educators, books on special promotions, and even places that will allow you to check out books temporarily. Here are a few places that you can go to find free eBooks:
  • Kindle books - Kindle curates a list of free and low priced books ($1.99) here; come back regularly for newly added materials, especially during promotions and the holiday season. If your school has signed up for Amazon’s Whispercast service, you can even push books directly to students’ Amazon accounts.
  • Nook Books - Barnes and Noble curates a list of free eBooks on this site.
  • Google Play Books - Google Books allows you to search their store and sort by cost. So search or select a genre, select price, and then indicate: free.
  • Google Books - Connected to Google (but outside of the play store), Google Books is accessible online and provides free previews and full length books for its users.
  • Feedbooks - Feedbooks contains a list of free public domain books that you can download and install on your device.
  • Goodreads - In addition to being a social media site for readers, Goodreads also publishes a list of free eBooks in ePub format.
  • Project Gutenberg - Project Gutenberg is one of the most popular resources for free eBooks that you can download as epub, kindle, or read online.
  • iBooks - iBooks is proprietary and only available on Mac and iOS. Within the iBooks Store, you can select that tab labeled “free” to access all free iBooks available.
  • Project Muse - Hosted and curated by Johns Hopkins University, Project Muse is a great resources for more advanced readers and researchers; they are a repository of more than 300,000 peer-reviewed journals and 700,000 chapters of academic books.
Another resource for free eBooks is your school and local library. Many libraries have made their resources available digitally via tools such as Kindle and OverDrive. This will only cost you a library card (usually free)! If you have a local College or University, you may wish to explore their lending privileges. A small fee may grant you even broader access to books.

As eBook services expand and with more materials entering the public domain, more books become readily available to the public for little or no cost. If you are an avid reader or are looking for free resources for your students, explore these tools available to you.

For more app recommendations and ideas,  visit the EdTechTeacher web site.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Three Thematic Mapping Tutorials

This morning on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page I received a question from someone seeking a thematic mapping tool that her students can use. My initial thought was to use Google's My Maps tool. Recognizing that not everyone is in love with Google products, I will also frequently suggest using National Geographic's Map Maker tool and or using Scribble Maps. Embedded below are tutorial videos for all three thematic mapping tools.

Scribble Maps provides a variety of base layer maps on which you can draw freehand, add placemarks, add image overlays, and type across the map. Scribble Maps will work in the web browser on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or Android tablet. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of how to use Scribble Maps.


National Geographic's Mapmaker Interactive can be a good alternative to using Google Maps in your classroom. Mapmaker Interactive offers a number of features that students and teachers can utilize without the need to enter an email address or register to use the Mapmaker tools. Those tools include measuring distances, adding placemarks, layering information, and switching between base map layers. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of the features in National Geographic's Mapmaker Interactive.


I have a three part series on using Google's My Maps tools. My favorite feature of My Maps is the option to import spreadsheet data and have it mapped for you.

Find an International Teaching Job Through Edvectus

Edvectus is a service that helps teachers and school administrators find international positions. The basic function of Edvectus is to provide a search portal for people looking for international teaching positions. You can search by job type, grade level, job function, and region of the world.

Teachers who register on Edvectus can take advantage of more than just the international teaching job search engine. As a registered user teachers can access many guides to the process of securing a job in another country. Some of those guides include advice on crafting resumes and cover letters, understanding different types of international schools, and what to expect if and when you get a job offer.

Registered Edvectus users can also gain access to discounts on services that many teachers need when moving to take a position in a new country. Those services include visa processing, money transfers, and a variety of documentation needs.

If you've ever considered teaching abroad, take a look at Edvectus to get started on your way to teaching in a new place.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Week in Review - Heading Out

Good morning from snowy Woodstock, Maine where I'm getting ready to spend the majority of the next two weeks on the road. Next week I'll be at FETC in Orlando, Florida and the following week I'll be at BETT in London. If you're going to be at either of those conferences, I would love to meet you.

To prepare for my week on the road I should be doing a bunch of laundry right now. But the mountains are calling and I must go ski for a little while. Before I do that, I have the list of this week's most popular posts.

This week's most popular posts:
1. 10 Good Video Sources for Social Studies Teachers and Students
2. 16 Ways to Use TinyTap in Your Classroom
3. Ten Good Video Sources for Science Teachers and Students
4. You Can Write Music in Google Docs
5. Nature Sound Map - Listen to the Sounds of Nature All Over the World
6. Three Fun Phonics Games from Teach Your Monster to Read
7. 82 Google Tools Tutorial Videos

On January 11th I'm starting a new section of Classroom Blog Jumpstart. More information about that online class is available here.

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.
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. 
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.