Monday, May 18, 2020

Make Mini Books and More With Help from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a great collection of activities suggestions and resources for parents who are looking for educational activities they can do at home with their kids. The collection is called Resources for Family Engagement. Within this collection you will find activity kits that offer directions and ideas for making mini books at home, designing and coloring lighthouses, and creating comics.

Resources for Family Engagement also offers a handful of printables called Color Our Collections. These are free coloring pages based on historic pictures and drawings. You can print these pages as black and white outlines then color them to your heart's content.

Applications for Education
The materials within Resources for Family Engagement are intended for elementary school age students. As the school year winds down and you start to think about making suggestions to parents to help them keep the learning going during the summer, consider adding the LOC's Resources for Family Engagement to your list of recommendations.

Naraview - A Good Way to Challenge Students to Make Connections Between Topics

In last week's episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff Rushton shared a neat site called Naraview. Those who stayed on for the "overtime" of the webinar got a detailed overview of the service from one of its designers. If you missed it, here's my overview of Naraview and its potential use cases in classrooms.

Naraview is a site on which you can create challenges for you students to connect topics through Wikipedia. The idea is that you give your students two topics and they have to click through Wikipedia articles to make the connections between the two topics. As the teacher, I can see the paths that students take to get from the starting article to the ending article.

Here's an example of how Naraview works. I'll give students the starting point of a Wikipedia article about Oxford County, Maine and the end point is the Wikipedia page about Abraham Lincoln. My students then need to click through a series of Wikipedia entries starting on the page about Oxford County to get to the entry about Lincoln. All of the entries that students click on are framed within Naraview so that students don't have to exit to Wikipedia directly.

Applications for Education
The purpose of Naraview is to encourage students to think about and make connections between topics. Completing Naraview activities could be a good way to get students to make connections between current events and related historical events. Doing a Naraview activity could also be a good way for students to try to make cross-curricular connections between topics in science and math or between literature and history.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

How to Use Kahoot in Google Classroom

This is the time of year when many of us are looking for fun ways to conduct end-of-year review sessions with our students. Playing Kahoot quiz games is one of the most popular means of doing that. Kahoot games are fun to play in a classroom and you can also use them for remote learning activities by using the "challenge" mode.

The challenge mode in Kahoot enables you to assign games to your students to play at home on their schedule. There are many ways that you can distribute the challenges to your students. If you're a Google Classroom user, you can distribute your challenges through your Classroom just like you would any other announcement or assignment. Your students then just click on the link to your Kahoot game to start playing it.

In the following video I demonstrate how to distribute Kahoot games through Google Classroom and how students can play those games right from the Announcements stream in Google Classroom.

How to Convert a PDF Into a Google Document

On Friday during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff someone asked if there is a tool that I would recommend for converting a PDF into a Google Doc. Fortunately, you can do that without having to use any third-party tools. PDF to Google Docs conversion is built right into Google Drive.

To convert a PDF into Google Docs format just upload it to your Google Drive. Once the file is uploaded click on it to open it. It will initially display as a PDF. To then convert to Google Docs select "open with" at the top of the page and you'll have Google Docs as an option. Selecting that option converts the PDF into a Google Doc.

Watch my short video to learn how to convert a PDF into a Google Document.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Week in Review - A Bunch of Turkeys

Good evening from Maine where today it finally felt like spring. At this time last week the ground was covered in fresh snow. This evening, it was 60F and sunny. We had a fun day playing outside here and I hope that wherever you are this weekend, you got to enjoy some fresh air too.

As I do every Saturday, I've put together a list of the most popular posts of the previous seven days. Take a look and see if there is something useful that you missed earlier in the week.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Seven Ideas for Flipgrid Activities
2. Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing
3. Classright - A Google Sheets Add-on for Bulk Management of Google Classroom
4. Quickly Create Online Whiteboards for Your Students
5. An Important Setting for Using Audio and Video in Google Slides
6. Ten Ways to Use Wakelet
7. The Geometry of Castles - A Math Lesson in Google Earth

Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp!
Registration for the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp is open. By popular demand I've added more early-bird tickets. This online PD event will feature ten live, interactive webinars on a wide array of topics applicable to every classroom. It will be held three times this summer. There is a June session and two July sessions. Register for the session of your choice here.

On-demand PD
I've been hosting professional development webinars for a decade.
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