Thursday, January 5, 2017

Two Ways to Create Book Trailers on Chromebooks - Video Demonstration

A book trailer is a short video designed to entice someone else to read a book that you enjoyed. Having your students create book trailer videos is a nice alternative to the typical book report assignment.

I've previously shared an outline of the elements needed to create a book trailer video. Earlier this week someone asked me for recommendations for tools for creating book trailers on the Chromebooks in her classroom. The two video creation tools that I currently recommend are Adobe Spark and Stupeflix. The places that go for images, when I don't have any of my own to use, are Photos for Class and Pixabay. The simplest audio recording tool that I recommend to use on Chromebooks is Vocaroo. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use all of these tools except for Vocaroo.

More detailed Adobe Spark tutorials can be found here.

Classroom Deliberations - Lesson Plans on Current Issues in U.S. Politics

C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations is a good resource for teachers of U.S. history or civics. On the site you will find 34 lesson plans centered around issues currently debated in Congress and in U.S. political discourse in general. A few of the latest lesson plans deal with Electoral College reform, third party candidate participation in Presidential debates, and granting asylum to refugees from countries that sponsor terrorism.

Teachers visiting C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations can select any of the 34 lessons. Each lesson includes videos and background information sheets to share with students. Teachers will also find vocabulary sheets and note-taking templates for students to use during each lesson. The lessons are designed to facilitate civil discussion between students.

In addition to the 34 featured lesson plans, C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations offers templates for deliberation activities that can be used for almost any topic of political conversations in your classroom.

Applications for Education
Middle school and high school students often say that they want to debate a topic in a social studies classroom, but they sometimes think that just means yelling or making wild statements. C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations can help students learn about current issues while also learning the value of civil debate and discussion.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Quick Rubric Offers an Easy Way to Create Rubrics Online

Quick Rubric is a free tool for writing, editing, and printing rubrics. On Quick Rubric you can create a rubric that is tailored to your points/ scoring system, the quantity of descriptors that you need, and utilizes the exact language that you specify. You can save as many rubrics as you like in your free Quick Rubric account. You can copy and modify rubrics your account so that you don't always have to start from scratch when creating a new assignment rubric.

Applications for Education
Quick Rubric won't make choosing the language that goes into your rubrics any easier, but it will make it easier to save, edit, and print your rubrics once they are complete. There is a rubric writing tips section in Quick Rubric as well as a formatting tips section that some teachers should find helpful.

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

How to Manage Google Chrome Extensions

Have you ever looked at your Chrome browser and noticed an extension that you haven't used in months? If so, it might be time to disable and or remove that extension. Not only will doing that slightly improve the performance of your browser, it can lower your security risks.The fewer unused third-party extensions that you have, the fewer chances you have to be vulnerable if one of those extensions has a problem. In the following video I demonstrate how to manage your Chrome extensions.

Ten Things Flubaroo Can Do for You

In this afternoon's webinar about Google Forms and Sheets for Beginners I shared a few of the features of Flubaroo for grading quizzes created in Google Forms. But there is more to Flubaroo than meets the eye. You might already know that Flubaroo can grade multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions, but did you know that it can score "range-based" responses? Or did you know that you can give partial credit for check-box questions? Those features and more are explained in Dave Abouav's video Ten Things You Didn't Know Flubaroo Can Do. Dave is the developer of Flubaroo.