Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Good Site for Vocabulary Lists and Practice Activities is an excellent vocabulary study service offering thousands of vocabulary practice lists and activities for students in elementary school through graduate school. In addition to lists of SAT, GRE, and other test prep words, you can find vocabulary lists that are attached to novels, historical documents, famous speeches, and current news articles.

When you sign up for you will be given an assessment quiz in order to give you suggested lists with which to start your practice. After completing the assessment you can use the practice lists suggested by or choose your own lists from the huge gallery of vocabulary lists.

Applications for Education
One of the aspects of the activities that I like is the instant feedback for every practice question a student attempts. As you can see in the image above, if a student answers incorrectly on his first attempt, he will see the definition and the word in context.

The Online Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond hosts the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. This online atlas contains more than 700 historical maps of the United States. The maps within the atlas are arranged into eighteen sections. As a student and teacher of history I was drawn to the sections devoted to population, territorial expansion, political parties and elections, and military history.

Many of the maps within the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States can be animated to show changes over time. For example, in the section on States, Territories, and Cities you can view individual maps for each decade from 1790 to 1930 or you can click the "animate" button to see the maps put together in a time lapse animation. All of the historical maps in the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States are displayed on top of a contemporary outline of the United States.

Many of the maps have interactive elements. For example, in the section on Political Parties and Opinions you can click on a county or state to see how people voted in that area.

To help students understand what they are seeing on each map, the Atlas of  the Historical Geography of the United States includes a text option that can be selected while viewing a map. Clicking the "text" box will display relevant information in the sidebar of the map.

Applications for Education
The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States is a treasure trove of resources for teachers and students of U.S. History. In looking through the maps I could see a number of activities in which students compare maps from two categories and try to develop correlations between them. For example, I might ask students to compare maps from the section on Transportation with maps from the section on Boundaries.

Three Good Tools for Scheduling Meetings With Students, Parents, and Colleagues

Trying to schedule a meeting with just one other party can sometimes be challenge. Throw in a second, third, or fourth party as often happens with IEP meetings and picking a meeting time can feel like an impossible task. Fortunately, there are some tools that can make scheduling meeting times a little bit easier than exchanging volleys of email messages.

Choice Eliminator
Choice Eliminator is a Google Forms Add-on that lets you create a Form on which choices disappear after they have been used. For example, if I create a Google Form that has ten meeting times listed on it, once a meeting time has been selected it will disappear from the options available to subsequent visitors. Using Choice Eliminator is a good option for teachers who have personal Google Accounts, but don't have G Suite for Education accounts. Watch the following video to learn how to use Choice Eliminator.

Doodle is a free tool for scheduling group meetings with the input of all group members. Doodle is essentially a polling platform. To use Doodle you create a meeting title, select a series of dates and times for a possible meeting, then invite people to choose the dates and times that work best for them. As the administrator of a scheduling poll you can set the final meeting time based on the most commonly selected date and time. Watch the video below for complete directions on how to use Doodle.

Calendly is a tool that integrates with your Google Calendar and makes it easy to create appointment slots with just a click or two. More importantly, people who want to schedule an appointment with you just have to click a time on your calendar and enter their names in order to reserve an appointment. Visitors do not have to have a Google Account to view or enter information into an appointment slot. Visitors who make appointments with you through Calendly can sync the appointment to their own Google Calendars, iCal, or Outlook calendars.

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