Saturday, September 8, 2018

Poetry, Google Classroom, and Twine - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where it is a crisp, cool early fall evening. The change of seasons is one of my favorite things about living in northern New England. Yesterday afternoon I had a great time walking in the woods with my dogs. Today, we had fun taking our kids for a walk along a river. I hope that wherever you are, you're having a great weekend too. If part of your weekend includes catching up on some tech reading, take a look at the following list of the most popular posts of the week on Free Technology for Teachers.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Two New Google Classroom Features That Everyone Has Been Asking For!
2. ReadWorks Now Integrates With Google Classroom
3. Poetry 180 - A Poem for Every Day of the School Year
4. 250 Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers
5. 5 Multimedia Projects for Social Studies Classes
6. Twine - Write Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Stories
7. How to Use Yo Teach! to Create a Classroom Backchannel

I'll Come to Your School This Year!
If you would like to have me lead a professional development day at your school during this school year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) - or click here for more information about my professional development services.

Book Me for Your Conference
I’ve given keynotes at conferences from Australia to Alaska for groups of all sizes from 50 to 2,000+. My keynotes focus on providing teachers and school administrators with practical ways to use technology to create better learning experiences for all students. I like to shine the light on others and so I often share examples of great work done by others as well as my own. Send an email to richardbyrne (at) book me today.

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
TypingClub offers more than 600 typing lessons for kids. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Book Creator is a great tool for creating multimedia books.
Kami is a great tool for annotating and collaborating on PDFs. 
University of Maryland Baltimore County offers a great program on instructional design.

A Parent's Guide to Instagram - Including a Glossary and Discussion Questions

Instagram recently released published a fairly comprehensive guide for parents. A Parent's Guide to Instagram, available to read online as well as download as a PDF, is intended to help parents understand how kids are using Instagram and how they can help their children use Instagram in a responsible manner. To that end the guide include a glossary of terms and discussion questions for talking with kids about their Instagram use. The guide also includes directions on how to use adjust privacy settings, how to block users, how to manage comments, and how to monitor time spent using the Instagram app.

The online version of A Parent's Guide to Instagram includes a video of parents who work at Instagram talking about how their kids use Instagram. The online version of the guide includes interactive modules through which parents can see how to access important settings in the Instagram app. One setting that even experienced Instagram parents might be surprised to find is the setting for monitoring how much time is spent using the app and the setting to have a reminder sent when a set daily limit of time on the app has been reached.

Applications for Education
As you prepare for open house night or the first parent-teacher conferences of the year, consider bookmarking A Parent's Guide to Instagram and referring parents to it if and when they ask you about how manage their students' use of social media. The discussion questions in the guide could be used by you in a classroom setting as well as by parents talking to their kids at home.

H/T to Make Use Of

Free Webinar - Making Great Handouts With Storyboard That Templates

At the end of yesterday's post about making printable story cubes I mentioned that I'm hosting a free webinar next week. The webinar will go into detail about using the printable story cube and other handout templates that are offered by Storyboard That. Storyboard That is a great tool for those who don't consider themselves to be artistically-inclined because Storyboard That offers more than 40,000 pieces of artwork that you can drag and drop to make great designs. And next Tuesday at 4pm Eastern Time you can learn all about how to make great looking handouts through Storyboard That.

In Making Great Handouts With Storyboard That Templates you will learn how you can use the features of Storyboard That to create great-looking worksheets, story cubes, and instructional templates.

And for the entrepreneurial teacher, this webinar will include ideas on making worksheets and other handouts to sell on places like Teachers Pay Teachers and Gumroad.

Register here for Making Great Handouts With Storyboard That Templates.

The webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend the live broadcast. Everyone who is registered will be sent a copy of the recording, there is no need to email me to request a copy of the recording.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Create Printable Story Cubes on Storyboard That

Storyboard That started out as simple tool that anyone could use to create good-looking storyboards for a variety of purposes including explaining historical events, plot lines, and even business plans. Over the years Storyboard That has evolved to provide more than 40,000 pieces of artwork and dozens of templates for making everything from simple comics to timelines to complex flowcharts. The update to Storyboard That features a new templates and artwork for making worksheets and story cubes.

Storyboard That's new worksheet templates can be customized with any of the artwork that Storyboard That offers. To make your worksheet start by selecting one of the page layouts and then a template for the page. After making those selections you can customize the template by adding any of the shapes, text boxes, and artwork that Storyboard That provides to your worksheet. To add items to worksheet simply drag them from the artwork menu onto your worksheet page. You can then customize the color, size, orientation, and spacing of the elements that you added to your page.

Storyboard That's new story cube template lets you and your students design printable, foldable story cubes. The process of customizing a story cube is the same as that for customizing a worksheet. The only difference is that you have to select the story cube template instead of a worksheet template at the start of the process.

Applications for Education
You can use the template to make a story cube to make story starter dice that your students roll to generate a combination of words to use as the impetus for writing a fiction story. If you decide to try this method, make a cube that has verbs, a cube that has adjectives, and a cube that has nouns. Then have your students roll all three to come up with a combination to start their stories. You can drag and drop any of Storyboard That's free artwork into your story cube before printing it.

Storyboard That wants teachers to use the worksheet templates to make great-looking handouts for their students. And they encourage entrepreneurial teachers to use the templates to make materials that they can sell through services like Teachers Pay Teachers and Gumroad. In fact, that process will be explained in next week's free webinar Making Great Handouts With Storyboard That Templates.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on  

Other Places to Follow My Work

This week I received two emails that reminded me that it is probably time to let new readers know about some of the other places and other ways to follow my work. Here are all of the places where you can follow my work.

Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - I send this out on Sunday evenings. It includes my favorite tip of the week and a short list of the most popular posts of the week from You can subscribe right here. You can also visit

Twitter - I post on Twitter about twelve times a day. And I do try to reply to all mentions. You can find me at

YouTube - Every week I post three to five new tutorial videos on my YouTube channel.

Pinterest - My blog posts are pinned to this page.

Facebook - The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page has more than 445k followers.

Instagram - Follow this if you want to see pictures of my dogs, my outdoor activities, or my cute kids.

Daily email - I do offer a daily email from This is an automated email that delivers the day's blog posts to your inbox. You can sign-up for that here.