Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Try Flippity's Mix & Match Template to Generate Random Story Starters

Flippity is a great website that provides templates for creating games, quizzes, and flashcards in Google Sheets. Recently, Flippity published a new template that could be great for creating random story starters.

The latest Flippity template is called Mix & Match. Mix & Match lets you create an online grid that features random bits of information or random phrases that you write into your spreadsheet. You enter the information that students see into a spreadsheet arranged in columns with headings of your choosing. When students view your Mix & Match page they can then hide parts of the page's display to create sentences. See the demo here or look at the screenshot below for a visual.

Applications for Education
There are lots of ways that you could use Flippity's Mix & Match template in your classroom. These are some of the ways that immediately came to my mind when I tried it out:

  1. Create "Mad Libs" style story starters. 
  2. Create a matching activity in which students match event names to details. 
  3. Create a matching activity in which students match place names and locations. 
  4. Create a random story generator on which students select a topic, character, action, and first sentence of a story. 

7 Halloween Lesson Activities for Elementary School Students

Halloween is less than one week away. Some communities, like mine, are having Halloween festivities this weekend. If you're in need of some educational activities with a Halloween-theme, take a look at the resources summarized below. All of these resources have appeared in individual posts in the past.

On Storyboard That you can now turn your storyboards into Halloween cards. In the Storyboard That creator you can use the myths and mystical scenes and characters to create your Halloween story. Once your storyboard is saved you can choose to print it with Halloween borders. The print-out includes lines for cutting and folding your cards. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create Halloween cards on Storyboard That.

The Pit and the Pendulum is available as an interactive comic book created by Poe in the Pit. If you view the comic book online you can click symbols within it to open videos, additional images, and additional background and analysis of Poe's work. If you choose to print the comic book you can us the QR codes embedded within it to access the videos, images, and additional info on your mobile device.

Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Scholastic offers a variety of Halloween-themed activities for elementary school students. The Halloween Tooth: Max's Math Adventure is a math activity for K-2 students. In the activity students read and listen to a poem about Halloween candy then complete a set of activities in which they make patterns and count candy. Halloween Web Hunt is a simple web quest for students in grades three through five. The activity has students visit a virtual museum and online libraries to answer questions about mummies, bats, and Halloween history. Writing Mysteries provides a template and walks elementary school students through the process of writing mystery stories.

Halloween Magazine offers a safety game for students. The game is designed to teach students to recognize safe and unsafe situations while they're out trick 'o treating.

Smarty Games offers Halloween Math. In Halloween Math students move a ghost to catch the answers to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems.

Kids love playing Kahoot quiz games. In Kahoot's gallery of publicly shared quiz games you will find lots of quizzes about Halloween and Halloween safety. Playing those quizzes could be a great way to review Halloween safety with kids before they head out to trick o' trick. To learn how to use publicly shared Kahoot quizzes watch the video that is embedded below.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Create Location-based Reminders in Google Keep Notes

Google Keep has been my favorite bookmarking and reminder tool ever since Evernote made their free plan worthless earlier this year. I use it on a daily basis to bookmark interesting links and to write notes to myself. One of the neat features of Google Keep is that you can set reminder alarms for your notes and bookmarks. Today, for the first time, I noticed that you can set those reminders based on location as well as time.

To set location-based reminders in Google Keep you will need to have location services enabled on your phone. With location services enabled you can choose to have a location-based reminder alarm added to any of your notes. To do this, just tap the reminder option on your note then choose "place" and type in the location you wish to associate with your reminder.

Applications for Education
Google Keep's location-based reminders could be great for reminding students of meetings that they have after school. I can also see teachers using the feature to remind themselves of things like morning bus duty or lunch duty.

Click here for ten other ways that students can use Google Keep.

Great Google Drive Add-ons for Teachers - An Updated Handout

Last year I published a free PDF handout that highlights great Add-ons for Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets. The handout also included a few of my favorite Chrome extensions. A year passed and it was time to update that handout for the 2016-17 school year. The updated version of that handout is now available to download here or view as embedded below.

The handout highlights my favorite Chrome extensions as well as my favorite Add-ons for Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets. Please feel free to email it or print it and share it with your colleagues.

Please note that the file is hosted on If your school blocks you won't be able to see the document on your school's network.

Padlet for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Earlier today Jennifer Casa-Todd asked me if I had a video tutorial on how to use the new version of Padlet. I do have a tutorial about the new version of Padlet. You can see it on my YouTube channel or as embedded lower in this post.

Coincidentally, I received an email from Padlet today. In that email I was reminded of the idea to use Padlet to have students share thoughts about holidays. Halloween is just one week away. You could use Padlet to have students share trick o' treating safety tips.

Thanksgiving (the American version) is just a month away. You could use Padlet to have students share what they are thankful for or to share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions and recipes.

Learn how to use Padlet by watching the video embedded below.

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