Friday, October 4, 2019

A Tool to Simulate Text Messages Between Historical Figures

One of my favorite tool on ClassTools.net is the Fake SMS Generator. The Classtools Fake SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to register to use it. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a fictitious text message exchange between historical characters.


As I mentioned in the video, the Fake SMS Generator could also be used to create visuals for lessons on cyber-safety and etiquette.

Poe Animations and Lessons

It wouldn't be October without language arts that mention Edgar Allan Poe. It seems that October is the time that a lot of students are introduced to the work of Edgar Allan Poe. If that describes your classroom and you're looking for a few Poe resources, take a look at the following three videos.

In the TED-Ed lesson 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 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.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Math & Science Halloween Lessons

This afternoon one of my students asked me what my daughters are going to be for Halloween. That question reminded me that Halloween will be here soon. If you find yourself starting to look for some Halloween-themed math or science lessons for elementary school, take a look at the following items.

PBS Learning Media also has a collection of Halloween-themed science and mathematics lessons. PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection includes lessons that can be used in elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms. One of the elementary school Halloween-themed lessons is all about the historical traditions that contributed to the creation of Halloween. The materials for this lesson include a short video, video discussion questions, and a vocabulary sheet. The middle school and high school resources in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection are videos without any other supporting materials. In the collection you'll find videos about why things sound scaryflesh-eating beetles, and supernatural elements in Macbeth. All of the items in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection can be shared to Google Classroom where you can add questions for students answer after watching the videos.

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.




Coding with Monsters is an activity from Tynker. It can be used to introduce some basic coding concepts to elementary school or middle school students.

If you can get through the obtrusive advertisements 31 Days of Halloween STEM activities offers some good activities for teaching basic engineering, biology, and chemistry concepts.

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.

WriteReader Adds New Page Styles for Students to Create eBooks

WriteReader is one of go-to tools for elementary school and middle school students to use to create multimedia ebooks. I've been using it since its launch a few years ago and it has only gotten better since then. Along the way it has added read-aloud features, introduced more options for comic and speech bubbles, and added an integrated library of Sesame Street artwork that students can use. Of course, it's always had the outstanding option for teachers to give students feedback directly in their ebooks.

The latest update to WriteReader introduced new page templates. Now WriteReader has templates for students to add pages that have images and text and text only along with the original template for students and teachers to write on the same page. Watch my video that is embedded below for an overview of WriteReader's new page templates.



ICYMI - Six On-Demand PD Opportunities

In August and September I hosted five live Practical Ed Tech webinars and launched one self-paced course. A lot of people expressed interest in the webinars but said that the timing didn't work. That's understandable as the beginning of this school year has been extremely busy for me too. That's why I've made all of the webinars from August and September available on demand.

Five Practical Ed Tech Webinars Available On Demand

  • Search Strategies Students Need to Know
  • Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep
  • Intro to Green Screens and Animation
  • Intro to Using AR & VR in Your Classroom
  • 5 Video Projects for Almost Every Classroom
All of the webinars are delivered to you as a downloadable file along with corresponding handouts. Descriptions for all of the webinars are available here.

Getting Going With G Suite

  • This is the on-demand version of my popular Getting Going With G Suite workshop. It is based on a decade of experience helping thousands of teachers get the most out of using G Suite for Education and other Google tools in their classrooms. Learn more and access the course here