Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Let PrepFactory Help You Teach SAT & ACT Strategies

As more schools and states require all high school students to take either the ACT or SAT, you may find yourself having to teach SAT or ACT test-taking strategies. In fact, I had to do this in my homeroom when Maine required that all students take the SAT.

Trying to work SAT or ACT test-taking strategy sessions into your already crammed curriculum is frustrating. When I did it, it hardly seemed adequate. I did my best to help my students when they were with me and provided them with some online resources that they could use independently. PrepFactory is one resource that I wish had been available to me back then.

PrepFactory provides students with ACT and SAT strategy tutorials before each set of review activities. The tutorials are a mix of video and text instruction. Students can work through the tutorials as complete sets or skip to a specific section that they want to focus on at the moment.

One of the nice things about PrepFactory's approach to review exercises is that they rotate a variety of question formats so that students don't get bored by slogging through twenty multiple choice questions in a row. Each set of review exercises includes a mix of multiple choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank activities.

Disclosure: PrepFactory is an advertiser on

OpenEd Adds Thousands of New Science Resources

OpenEd offers a massive library of free educational games, videos, practice assessments, and tutorials. This week they expanded their catalog by adding more than 1,000 new resources aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. These resources come from notable content producers including SciShow, CrashCourse, and Minute Physics all of which have been featured many times on

All of the resources available through OpenEd can be shared with your students through the popular Google Classroom and Otus learning management systems. You can also use the OpenEd Google Docs Add-on to create lesson plans that incorporate the resources you find in OpenEd's library. The video below demonstrates how to do that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Fun App for Learning to Add Fractions

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs,

Fraction Mash is a free iPad app that provides a fun way for students to learn about fractions. The app lets students insert two pictures then divide those pictures into grids, columns, pie slices, triangles, or rows. Once their pictures have been divided students select the portions of one picture that they want to combine with the other picture. Students' selections of image portions must equal 1 when the two images are combined. Fraction Mash lets students choose how many pieces each picture is divided into.

When students have completed their image-based fractions problems they can save them to the camera rolls on their iPads. From there they can share them with you in a variety of ways including through Google Classroom. But there is more that your students can do with the fractions mash-ups they make in Fraction Mash. Fraction Mash includes an option for students to write reports about their fraction mashes. The reports templates let students insert the images and the fraction problems they created into their reports. They can then write about the fractions problems that they created and solved. Those reports can be saved and shared with you.

Fraction Mash does offer advertise an online classroom space, but it wasn't working when I tried it. You'll probably do just as well to have your students share their work with you through Google Classroom or another LMS client that is installed on your students' iPads.

How to Use the Explore Function in Google Docs for Android

This post originally appeared on one of my other blogs,

I was recently asked about how to use the Explore function in Google Docs on an Android device. While it is similar to the web version of the Explore function, the layout is a little different. In my video embedded below I demonstrate and explain how to use the Explore function in Google Docs on an Android device.

For more tips about G Suite apps, take a look at my YouTube channel which contains more than 100 tutorial videos.

Why You Should Try to Use Video on Your Blog

This morning Isla and I posted a short video on YouTube to explain why you should try to include videos in your blog posts. Using videos in blog posts helps to keep visitors on your blog longer. For teachers and school administrators, adding a videos to your blog is a good way to show students and parents who you are and what you sound like. And, of course, videos are helpful when you're explaining something that needs visuals in order to make sense.

I'll be sharing many more strategies for improving your blog in tomorrow's Wednesday Webinar, Winning Blog Strategies.