Monday, November 9, 2020

Short Lessons on the History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day is this Wednesday. If you find yourself looking for some quick lessons to review with your students tomorrow, here's a small collection for you. 

ReadWorks is one of my favorite places to go when I need information texts about a holiday to share with students. ReadWorks has a good collection of Veterans Day articles that are arranged by grade level and are accompanied by question sets. 

C-SPAN Classroom has a "bell ringer" activity titled The History and Evolution of Veterans Day. The activity features a five minute video and seven corresponding questions along with a short list of vocabulary terms. The video is informative if you can get your students to pay attention to it. It's not a terribly engaging video. The questions and vocabular terms would work with most of the following videos as well. 

Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day is a video that explains the origins of the holiday and why its date of celebration has twice shifted in the United States. The end of the video includes an explanation of the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Veterans Day by the Numbers is also from History. As the name implies, the video provides a statistical overview of Veterans Day including what percentage of the American population has served in the military among other interesting facts. 

Elementary school teachers may find this video from PBS Learning Media useful in providing an overview of Veterans Day. I prefer this one from Kid History

How to Create and Conduct Polls in PowerPoint and Google Slides

A few weeks ago I published directions on how to create and conduct a poll in Google Slides. That video featured using the Poll Everywhere Chrome extension. People who prefer to use PowerPoint over Google Slides can also use Poll Everywhere in their slides. 

Poll Everywhere offers a free PowerPoint add-in that you can use to create and conduct polls directly in your presentation. You can create polls that are multiple choice and open response. Results of the poll can be displayed in a variety of formats. Students can respond to your polls from their computers of phones anonymously or as logged-in users. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create and conduct a poll in PowerPoint. The video also shows you how students respond to a poll created using the Poll Everywhere PowerPoint add-in. The features shown in the video work with both free and paid Poll Everywhere accounts. 

For the Google Slides users who missed the video about using Poll Everywhere in Google Slides, here it is

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Week in Review - Heading Into Hibernation

Good morning from Maine where we're going to enjoy the last warm days of the year this weekend. Warm is a relative term because while those of us here think that 50F-60F is warm many of my southern friends will disagree. Either way, the Maine black bears that my daughters and I saw preparing for hibernation last Sunday think that winter is close. (We saw this bears at the Maine Wildlife Park, a center for wildlife rehabilitation and visitor education). 

Rising counts COVID-19 cases, election news, and the new and constantly changing challenges of teaching during a pandemic have contributed to a stressful week. Writing my weekly summary of popular posts is a bit of a soothing process for me. I hope that you also benefit from it. Have a great weekend!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Three Ways to Conduct Polls in Google Slides
2. The 2020 Great Thanksgiving Listen
3. Use a Zoom Virtual Background for Lesson Outlines
4. Five Uses for Wakelet in Your Classroom
5. A Template for Getting Permission for Publishing Student Blogs, Podcasts, and Videos
6. How to Record a Video in PowerPoint (Windows Desktop Version)
7. Two Short Lessons on Checks & Balances

On-demand Professional Development: 
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering an on-demand course called A Crash Course in Making & Teaching With Video

Thank you for your support! 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course or webinar this year. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
  • Wakelet is a great tool for making collections of resources, recording video, and more!
  • GAT Labs offers a great, free guide to using Google Workspaces in online classrooms.  
Other Places to Follow Me:
  • The Practical Ed Tech Newsletter comes out every Sunday evening/ Monday morning. It features my favorite tip of the week and the week's most popular posts from Free Technology for Teachers.
  • My YouTube channel has more than 30,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of edtech tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for thirteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • And if you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff - Episode 25!

Yesterday, Rushton Hurley and I hosted the 25th episode of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff. We took last week off which resulted in us having a backlog of questions to tackle. Neither of us are known for giving succinct answers but we tried our best to cover as many questions as we could. You can watch the episode right here or as embedded below. All of the resources that we shared along with the slides we used can be found here on the Next Vista for Learning webinars page. While you're there you can sign up to join us for episode 26 of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff

Bulk Acceptance of "Knocks" in Google Meet

Some Google Meet users may have noticed a handy little update that was rolled-out yesterday. You can now accept "knocks" in bulk in Google Meet. This means that when students knock to join a class in Meet you can accept all of them at once instead of having to manually accept each individual student. 

While this isn't a major change to Google Meet, it will be helpful to those who have large classes meeting in Google Meet. This is available in all versions of Google Workspaces (formerly known as G Suite). 

If you don't see this new feature today, keep checking as it is being rolled-out over the next ten days to all users.