Sunday, December 4, 2016

5 Blog Posts Your Students' Parents Will Appreciate

Posting useful, practical tips is one of the best ways to get your students' parents to frequently read your classroom blog. Coming up with those tips to write as blog posts can be challenging at times. Therefore, I'm offering you these five blog post topics that parents will appreciate.

Consider turning any or all of these blog posts into documents that you can print and send home to parents who don't visit your blog or those who might have missed your post the first time around.

1. How to supervise your child's web use at home.

2. Privacy settings on school-provided laptops/ Chromebooks/ iPads/ tablets. Consider adding screenshots or a screencast video illustrating those settings. and Nimbus Screenshot are great tools for making screencast videos.

3. Tasty and healthy snacks to send to school with your child (Pinterest is a great source for ideas, just make sure you give proper attribution).

4. How to talk to kids about bullying. You might consider linking to some of these resources from Common Sense Media.

5. A glossary of Tween/ teen slang vocabulary. Consider posting this as a Google Doc that automatically updates as you update it throughout the school year (we all know how quickly Tween/teen slang evolves).

This topic and many more are covered in-depth in Blogs & Social Media for Teachers & School Leaders. Graduate credit is available for completing the course. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Week in Review - Get Outside

Good morning from Woodstock, Maine where the wind is blowing snow flurries across the landscape. In other words, it's a perfect day to go outside and play. Wherever you are, I hope you get some time to go outside to play this weekend.

This week I hosted the first webinar in my new Wednesday Webinar series. Twenty ambitious educators joined me for Quick & Powerful Video Projects. The next webinar in the series is Winning Blog Strategies. Registration for that webinar is still open. I'll be sharing my best tips learned through nine years of daily blogging personally and professionally.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Creative Commons Explained In Simple Terms
2. Get More Room to Work In Google Docs With Just One Click
3. How to Share Google Docs With People Who Don't Have Google Accounts
4. How to Use a Whiteboard in Google+ Hangouts
5. Flubaroo Adds a New Feedback Option - Stickers & Badges
6. World Population History - An Interactive Map and Timeline
7. 5 Fun Geography Games for Geography Awareness Week

Need a keynote for your conference? 
Click here to learn about my keynotes and workshops.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Pixton provides a great way to create comics. 
QuickKey saves teachers tons of time when scoring formative assessments.
WriteReader is a fantastic multimedia writing tool for elementary school students.
Math Playground offers hundreds of math games and tutorial videos. 
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.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosts workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explainer videos.

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Distribute Digital Stickers Through Flubaroo

Earlier this week a new digital sticker option was added to Flubaroo. This option lets you apply a digital sticker to the grade reports that you send to your students through email or Google Drive. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how easy it is to use the new stickers option in Flubaroo.

To learn more about Flubaroo, watch my tutorials in the playlist below.

Showing Learning at a Higher Level Through Vocabulary

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley, founder of Next Vista for Learning.

Can exploring a single vocabulary word show learning at a higher level?

One teacher in California decided to have students try focusing on a single idea from her English course, and one student decided to work with how language develops:

A key to deeper learning is getting students to go beyond simply identifying a term by showing its connections to larger themes. When the student can articulate more complex ideas within the story ("If this informal usage of the word didn't drive lexicologists made enough…"), the resulting video can set the bar for others.

You can have students choose videos from the set of finalists from the 90-second video contests at to come up with ideas for how they can show their learning in new ways.

Editor's Note:
Rushton Hurley is the founder of the fantastic educational video sharing site Next Vista for Learning. Rushton and I have spoken at the same conferences and shared meals many times over the years. If you get a chance to see him speak, do it!

Add Text Labels to Drawings & Pictures in SeeSaw Portfolios

In the two years since its initial launch SeeSaw has become one of my most frequently recommended digital portfolio tools. The team at SeeSaw is continuously developing new features to make it a better tool for students and teachers. The latest enhancement to SeeSaw comes in the form of a new labeling option in the SeeSaw iPad app.

SeeSaw now lets you apply text labels to the pictures and drawings that you or your students add to digital portfolios. This is in addition to the existing feature for drawing on top of images that you add to your portfolio. Watch the video below to see how the new text labeling feature works. Then check out SeeSaw's list of ten ways to use the labels.

Currently, the text labeling option is only available in the iOS version of SeeSaw. The feature will be available in the Android and web apps soon.