Monday, February 1, 2021

A Handful of Super Bowl Themed Educational Resources

The Super Bowl is happening this coming weekend. My prediction is that the Southern Affiliate of the Patriots Tampa Bay will win. And while this year's Super Bow will be different from all previous editions, I'm guessing that my American readers have a student or two interested in the game. Try one of the following resources to turn your students' enthusiasm for the Super Bowl into a lesson.

Practical Money Skills hosts a series of eight online games designed to teach students some money management skills. One of the games that is timely considering that the Super Bowl is just a few days away is Financial Football. Financial Football has students answer questions about budgets, savings, and spending to move their football teams down the field against another team. The games use real NFL team logos. 

NFL Play 60 Kids Day Live is a virtual field trip happening on Wednesday. The free virtual event will take kids on a tour of the field where the Super Bowl will be played. Throughout the tour there will be appearances from NFL players and cheerleaders who will share tips for staying physically active and healthy. You can register for the virtual field trip right here. For those who cannot attend the live broadcast, the virtual field trip will be available on-demand at a later date. And there are lots of related lesson plans that you can download and other videos that you can view on-demand on the NFL Play 60 Teachers' page. There are lesson plans that can be used in elementary school and middle school physical education, science, math, and language arts.

Perhaps you have students who are new to the game of American football and want to know more about it. Or perhaps you want to learn the basics of the game so that you can enjoy the game with your students. If so, take a look at the NFL's Beginner's Guide to American Football


One of the dangers of playing football is the risk of head injuries. TED-Ed has a good lesson that explains what happens to your brain when you get a concussion.



On the topic of concussions, Microsoft's Hacking STEM website has detailed directions for creating concussion simulations and recording data from those simulations.

The Superb Owl is a cute video about owls. The video presents interesting facts about four types of owls. The whole four minute video is presented as if it is an NFL pre-game show.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Most Popular Posts of the Month - Ending With a Flood!

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the last day of January. The first month of the year went much too fast. And 2021 has been just as challenging as 2020 for me. The capper was a phone call from my school's director a few hours ago to tell me that my room was flooded over the weekend. Tomorrow should be interesting to say the least when I get to go in and assess the damage. Until then I'm going to try to get a good night's rest after compiling this month's list of the most popular posts of the month. Writing my weekly and monthly summaries is the most "normal" thing I did in 2020 and so far it's the most normal thing I can do in 2021. 

These were the month's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. How to Create Freehand Drawings in Google Slides
3. Ten Time-savers for G Suite for Education Users
4. Video - How to Annotate Your Screen in Google Meet
5. Overviewer - Turn Your iPhone or iPad Into a Document Camera in Zoom
6. Two Ways to Create Your Own Online Memory Games
7. Seven Apps and Sites to Encourage Healthy Diet and Exercise Habits
8. Boomwriter's Writing Bee - A Unique Creative Writing Contest for Kids
9. My Favorite Chrome Extensions Right Now - And What They Do
10. Tips to Help Busy Teachers Get and Stay Fit

Professional Development Opportunities 
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering two on-demand learning opportunities:
Thank you for your support! 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course in 2020. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • BoomWriter is hosting a unique creative writing contest for kids. Check it out!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
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 33,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology 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.

How to Embed a Section of a Video Into Canvas Courses

On Friday afternoon I received an email from a reader who was looking for a little help embedding YouTube videos into Canvas. Specifically, this person wanted to know if there was a way to share just a section of video into a course page. Fortunately, YouTube does make this fairly easy to do. 

You can embed a video into a Canvas page and have it start playing a specified time of your choosing. To do this you have to click on the "share" button below a YouTube video then click the "embed" option. When you click the embed option you can then specify the time at which you want the video to start playing when it is embedded into a page. In this short video I demonstrate those steps to embed YouTube videos into Canvas course pages. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Games, DJs, and Exercise - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's a brisk 4F outside. My dogs wasted no time coming back to the house when I let them out this morning. The good news is that the forecast calls for warmer (relatively) temperatures and snow. I'm looking forward to helping my daughters learn to ski this weekend. I hope that you have something fun planned for the weekend, too.  

This week my school went back to 100% online instruction for the fourth or fifth time this year. We've also had a few periods of hybrid instruction and a couple of 100% in-person periods. The frequent transitions are hard on teachers and students. We're all doing the best we can for our students, but we could all use a snow day at this point. I hope that things are a little better at your school. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game
2. Tips to Help Busy Teachers Get and Stay Fit
3. Book Creator Now Offers More Templates and Themes
4. How to Save Your Zoom Meeting Annotations
5. Citizen DJ - A Free Tool for Remixing Music and Spoken Audio
6. Muted Notifications During Google Meet Calls
7. How to Edit Your Videos by Typing in Type Studio

Professional Development Opportunities 
Through Practical Ed Tech I'm currently offering two on-demand learning opportunities:
Thank you for your support! 
  • More than 300 of you have participated in a Practical Ed Tech course in 2020. Those registrations help keep Free Technology for Teachers and Practical Ed Tech going. I couldn't do it without you!
  • BoomWriter is hosting a unique creative writing contest for kids. Check it out!
  • Pixton EDU is a great tool for creating comics and storyboards. 
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 33,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology 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.

Snoopy in Space - Lesson Plans About Space and More

From a very young age I've enjoyed Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all of the characters in Peanuts. Watching Charlie Brown specials and reading the Peanuts comic strip is something my uncles did, my sister and I do, and now my daughters do. That's why I was excited to discover that the Peanuts website now offers some comprehensive lesson plans about space

Peanuts lesson plans are designed for elementary school students between the ages of four and eleven. In addition to the lesson plans about space there are sets of lesson plans titled Dream Big, Never Give Up, and Take Care With Peanuts. All of the lesson plans are available to download as PDFs. Within those PDFs you'll find links to additional resources including videos and printable activity sheets for students to complete. 

The Snoopy in Space lesson plans include plans for hands-on activities that are intended to help students learn about the solar system. There is also a lesson about the space station and a lesson about space exploration including missions to Mars and the moon. 

The Take Care With Peanuts lesson plans have three components to them. Those components are taking care of yourself, taking care of others, and taking care of Earth. 

The Dream Big and Never Give Up lesson plans are, as you might guess, designed to help students build confidence in themselves and their abilities. 

Applications for Education
All of these lesson plans were originally written as activities for parents and their children to do together. The lessons can easily be modified to be teacher-facilitated in-person or online lessons.