Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mega Report Writer - Streamline Narrative Report Writing

Mega Report Writer is a free tool designed by a teacher for the purpose of helping other teachers more efficiently write narrative reports. To get started with Mega Report Writer you import a class roster from either an Excel sheet or from Google Classroom. Once your roster is imported you can start writing comments and phrases that you frequently use in your narrative reports. You can then inset those saved comments and phrases into each report that you write. Mega Report Writer can automatically select gender-specific pronouns for each report that you write.

Applications for Education
Mega Report Writer could help you save time when you write narrative reports about your students. It's not a perfect tool because you do have to copy and paste your report into a Word or Google Doc in order to print it. That said, I can still see myself using it to save time when writing reports.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Week in Review - Isla Turns 1!

Good morning from Maine where we're getting ready for friends and family to come celebrate Isla's first birthday. We had a little cake on her actual birthday earlier this week. Today's the big day for more cake and celebration. Many people have told me that the first birthday is more for the parents to recognize that they survived the first year than it is for the baby who won't remember the party. I'm not saying I "survived" the year, rather I learned a lot more than I ever thought I would in the past year.

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you have time for fun with friends and family too.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship - A PDF Handout
2. How to Collect Files Through Google Forms
3. Six Types of Classroom Video Projects - And 18 Video Creation Tools
4. How to Create a Book Trailer Video
5. 5 Topics to Cover Early This Year On Your Classroom Blog
6. Share Your Sutori Timelines in Google Classroom
7. 10 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios

I'm filling in my 2018 speaking calendar. I would love to add your conference to my calendar. Click here to learn more about my speaking and workshop offerings. 


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.
SeeSaw is my favorite digital portfolio tool.
Metaverse enables anyone to create amazing things.
Kids Discover provides fantastic tools for helping kids discover new information. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.
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.
My Simpleshow provides a great way to create explanatory videos.

Ask for Fascinating

This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of my favorite educational video site, Next Vista for Learning.

If your term is kicking into gear, then it's likely that batches of assignments will soon be a part of your time. One way to quickly decide you need to thrust something sharp into your skull is to see in students' work largely the same thing, again and again. Easy recipe for misery, that.

Many students will give you something interesting and even novel, though, if you go to the trouble of asking for it.

The screenshot image below is from Found Sounds, a video about a man that makes musical instruments from all sorts of things people have thrown away. (The folks at Great Big Story put out lots of really cool videos, I should note).

Getting anything interesting from a student shouldn't be a function of hoping that one or two students provides a gem. It can also be about asking them to step up and give you something different.

"Everyone, you know your assignment. I also hope you know I'll be reading a bunch of these papers, so I'd love for as many of you as are willing to make what you write fun and interesting."

Not all will, of course, but if even a few do, you'll end up with a better experience when you grade them.

Find a collection of cool and moving videos at the Next Vista for Learning Sources of Inspiration page, and more advice like the focus of this post in Making Your Teaching Something Special: 50 Simple Ways to Become a Better Teacher.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Kids Discover Online Offers Great Concept Maps

Kids Discover Online offers excellent reference articles for elementary school and middle school students. All of the articles are offered in multiple versions to match a range of Lexile scores. But that is not all that Kids Discover Online offers. My favorite feature of Kids Discover Online is the concept maps that students can explore. These concept maps, called Discover Maps, allow students to see the connections between topics in social studies, science, and mathematics. In the video embedded below I provide an overview of the Discover Maps in Kids Discover Online.


Next Monday at 4pm EST I am hosting a free webinar about the value of cross-curricular teaching and how the resources in Kids Discover Online can help you create cross-curricular lesson plans. Register for the webinar here.

Disclosure: Kids Discover is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

12 Alternatives to Google Image Search - PDF Handout

Google Images is the default search tool for many students when they need an image for a project. But Google Image search does have some problems associated with its use in classrooms. Google's image search engine does include some filters for safe searching of images, but it doesn't catch everything. Furthermore, Google Image search doesn't always do great job of returning the results that students actually need.

I made the following chart to give students some options besides Google Images for finding images that are either in the Public Domain or are labeled with a Creative Commons license. The chart is embedded below as a PDF. You can also get a Google Docs copy here.