Monday, June 10, 2019

Interactive Versions of Aesop's Fables - And Dozens of Other Classic Works

The Library of Congress has tons of fantastic resources available for teachers and students, if you know where to find them. One of those great resources is an interactive version of Aesop's Fables.

Aesop's Fables interactive book from the Library of Congress is available to read on the Web, on an iPad, and on an Android device. The book contains more than 140 of Aesop's Fables for children. The level of interactivity varies widely depending upon which story you're reading. Some of the stories have truly interactive animations while other just have a small moving picture accompanying the fable.

Aesop's Fables isn't the only classic work available to read for free on the LOC's website. Head to the classic books section and you will find dozens of children's classics that you can read for free. In the collection you'll find books like A Apple Pie, Baseball ABC, and Peter Rabbit. It should be noted that Aesop's Fables is the only one available in an interactive version.

DocsTeach Adds Good Artifacts for Teaching About the Transcontinental Railroad

DocsTeach has long been one of my go-to recommendations for teachers of U.S. History. DocsTeach provides a wealth of digitized primary source artifacts that can be incorporated into lessons for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. You can search for those artifacts according to era in U.S. History, according to artifact type (text, photograph, map, audio, video), and you can search DocsTeach's library according by keyword. Speaking of keyword search, if you search for "transcontinental railroad" you'll find a collection of artifacts that were recently added to the DocsTeach library.

DocsTeach is more than just a collection of primary source artifacts for U.S. History teachers and students. DocsTeach offers thirteen templates that you can use to build interactive, online activities based upon the artifacts that you find in the DocsTeach library. Your students can complete the activities online without the need for an email address or account on DocsTeach. I wrote a fairly detailed overview of how to use the analysis template a couple of years ago. You can find that overview here.

While they're not exactly how-to videos, DocsTeach does have a small collection of recorded webinars in which you can see examples of how to use DocsTeach in your classroom. Those recorded webinars are available in this YouTube playlist.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Geocaching, Green Screens, and Gmail - The Week in Review

Good evening from Maine where it was a perfect early summer day. It started with a bike ride which was followed by a trip to the playground with my daughters. Our day ended with getting ice cream! It was on the way to get ice cream that I noticed the pictured door that was labeled "not an exit," "not an entrance." That begs the question, is it even a door?

Wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you are also having a couple of fun days playing, discovering, and learning new things. If part of your weekend calls for catching up on some reading, I have this week's most popular posts for you.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Six Google Product Updates Made in May Impacting Teachers and Students
2. 7 Helpful and Convenient Gmail Settings You Might Be Overlooking
3. Moving From Google Drive to OneDrive
4. Try Mentimeter for Classroom Quiz Games
5. How to Measure Distances in Google Maps
6. 5 Things You Can Teach Through Geocaching
7. Veescope Live - A Free Green Screen App for Your iPad

Thank You for Your Support!

Friday, June 7, 2019

FAQs About Working With Me

Last week I published a list of my ten most popular professional development workshop topics. That post generated a handful of emails from folks who asked good questions about the structure of my workshop days, how to book me for a day, and fee structure. Here are the answers to those questions and more.

How to Book Me
I try to make this part as easy as possible for everyone. If you're interested in having me come to your school or conference, send me an email richardbyrne (at) with the date(s) you have in mind and a little bit of information about your school/ conference. I'll get back to you right away to confirm availability and to schedule a quick call to talk about the needs of your school/ conference. Once we know we're a match for each other, I'll send you a simple contract that doesn't require a deposit to hold the date. That's it! I arrange all of the travel and lodging logistics for myself so that you don't have to worry about it.

Structure of a PD Day With Me
Just like students, every school faculty has different needs. That's why I always talk with you to identify your needs and desires for a workshop day with me. That said, a typical full-day workshop with me is six to seven hours that starts with a short overview of the day's goals followed by an introduction to the first hands-on activity of the day. Typically, there will be four or five hands-on activities that develop skills you can easily transfer to your classroom practice.

Like you, I have a mortgage to pay and kids to feed so I can't do this for free (yes, I appreciate the irony of having a site called Free Technology for Teachers but charging for workshops). That said, my fees are reasonable enough that past clients have told me that I should be charging more. For school-based professional development days I include all costs (travel, lodging, parking, etc.) in the quote that I provide because it makes it easier for you to budget and simpler for me to invoice.

Professional development works best when it is on an on-going basis. That's why I extend significant discounts to schools and organizations who book me for two or more consecutive days or five or more total days in a school year.

Ready to Get Started?
Send me an email today at richardbyrne (at) Not the decision maker for your school's PD needs? Send this page to your department head, principal, tech director, or curriculum director.

This is Clickbait - A Lesson on Being a Discerning News Consumer

A couple of weeks ago TED-Ed released a video about spotting misleading headlines. I quickly added that lesson to my list of resources for helping students become discerning news consumers. This week TED-Ed released another video that I'm adding to that list of resources.

This One Weird Trick Will Help You Spot Clickbait is a TED-Ed video that teaches viewers how headlines are created to entice readers to click on an article. The video also explains how a small kernel of truth or a small and inconclusive study will be manipulated to create an article and clickbait headline.

Applications for Education
Extend this TED-Ed lesson by having students spend some time looking at a set of headlines and articles to spot the clickbait. Or have students try to create their own clickbait headlines based on short research studies that they find or that you provide to them.