Monday, October 29, 2018

Guest Bloggers Wanted

Once a year I host guest bloggers for a week. This year I'm doing that during the week of November 11th. In past years I have had some awesome guest bloggers who went to to boost their own blogs by having their work appear on Free Technology for Teachers. If you would like to be a guest blogger this November please read on and then complete the form below.

I'm looking for guest bloggers who can share stories of current experiences using technology in their schools. Guest bloggers should be current classroom teachers, teacher-librarians, technology integration coaches, or school-level administrators. I would like to share stories of trying new things (apps, websites, strategies) and what you and your students learned from the experience. If you can tell the story in 500 words or less or with a video, that's a bonus. While I cannot pay you for your post, I will include links to your blog or website and include a short bio about you. Past guest bloggers have reported still getting traffic to their blogs more than a year after their posts appeared.

Please note that the last time I put out a call for guest bloggers, more than 100 people responded in 48 hours. I wish that I could publish all of the posts, but I simply cannot do that. I'll select 20 to 25 posts at the most. I will send notifications to accepted guest bloggers by November 4th.

13 Alternatives to Google Image Search - Chart

I've seen and you've seen it too many times; a student or colleague needs a picture for a project so goes to Google Images and right-clicks to save the first picture she likes without any consideration of copyright. Even though Google Images does have a usage rights filter there are still better places to find images that are either in the public domain or have a Creative Commons license.

In the chart that is embedded below I feature thirteen alternatives to using Google Image search. All of sites in the chart offer images that are either in the public domain or have a Creative Commons license.

If you cannot see the embedded chart, click here to view it as a Google Document.

Join my upcoming course, Video Projects for Every Classroom to learn more about using public domain and Creative Commons images in video projects. 

11 Halloween Lesson Resources

Halloween is just two days away. If you're looking for some Halloween-themed lessons, take a look at the following resources that I featured earlier this month.

All About Poe
In Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe? students can learn about Poe's guiding principles for writing, the recurring themes of his work, and the personal factors in his life that contributed to his writing. Find the complete lesson here or watch the video as embedded below.

Introduce The Pit and the Pendulum to students is through Flocabulary's rap of the story. That video is embedded below.

Here is an animated telling of Edgar Allen Poe's Tell Tale Heart.

Halloween safety is a hoot with Kahoot!
Playing Kahoot games is a fun way to review almost anything including Halloween safety. That's why I made the following video to demonstrate how you find and modify Halloween safety games in Kahoot.

Halloween Reading
ReadWorks published a collection of forty-two articles and lesson plans that have a Halloween theme. When I looked through the collection it  appeared that all of the articles were for a  K-8 audience with a few 9-12 articles mixed in. The articles covered topics like the history of Halloween, pumpkin farms, and the history of ghost stories.

Halloween Math and Science
SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves. In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.

The Halloween Collection by PBS Learning- Links to a variety of Halloween-themed lesson plans for students of all ages. Make sure you don't miss the video of the flesh-eating beetles!

Coding with Monsters- Who doesn't love to code? When it is involves monsters it is even better!

31 Days of Halloween STEM activities- Engineering, edible science, chemistry, and slime! Kids of all ages will love making glow in the dark slime! 

Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Halloween Greeting Cards
If you're looking for a writing activity that has a Halloween theme, consider having students create Halloween cards. Storyboard That offers great tools for creating Halloween comics that your students can then quickly turn into printable Halloween cards. Watch my video below to learn how to use Storyboard That to create Halloween cards.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Handy New Way to Create New Google Docs

A few weeks ago I published a chart of G Suite for Education shortcuts that included directions on how to quickly access the various tools within Google Drive. It appears that I need to add onto that chart because a couple of days ago Google introduced a new batch of shortcuts for making new Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Sites. In a Tweet on Thursday Google revealed that you can now simply type "" in your web browser to launch a new blank Google Document. That same structure can be used to create new Slides, Sheets, Forms, and Sites. Take a look at the Tweet embedded below for a visual.

Storyboards, Pictures, and Classics - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it should be a nice morning for playing in leaf piles before the snow flies this evening. But before we go outside to play the sun needs to rise and I need to finish writing this week's week-in-review.

I started this week by speaking at the CECA/CASL annual conference in Connecticut. It was great to meet so many of you and to reconnect with those who I've met before. A huge thank you to Kathy Schrock who gave me one of her Veer VR viewers when I realized that I had forgotten to pack my VR viewer. Speaking of conferences, I will be speaking at the EdTech Teacher Summit in Boston on November 7th and I will be at LACUE on November 28th and 29th.

This week I hosted the fourth of five webinars in my Getting Going With G Suite and Teaching History With Technology courses. Many people have asked if I will be hosting these courses again before the end of the year. Yes, I will host them again. The registration information will be posted on tomorrow evening.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Storyboard Templates in Google Slides or PowerPoint
2. TED-Ed Explains Why Students Should Read Classics
3. Case Maker - Civics Lessons Built on Primary Sources
4. Three Ways to Make Social Media Profiles for Historical and Literary Characters
5. 5 Ways to Display YouTube in Class Without "Related" Content
6. How to Set Start and End Times for Videos in Google Slides
7. PicLits - Using Pictures to Inspire Creative Writing

Now Booking 2019 School Visits
If you would like to have me work with your school this year, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or click here for more information.

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.
Seterra offers a huge selection of geography games for students.