Friday, October 8, 2021

Short Lessons on Canadian v. American Thanksgiving

Monday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It's about six weeks earlier than it is here in the United States. I've celebrated both versions of Thanksgiving and I can tell you that there are a lot of similarities between the two. There are also some differences between them. The following videos provide a humorous look at the similarities and differences between American Thanksgiving and Canadian Thanksgiving.

Reminder! You should always preview videos before showing them in your classroom. I know many high school teachers who will not have a problem sharing these, but teachers of younger students may want to proceed with caution with the second two videos.

Resources for Connecting Classrooms

Yesterday, during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions Rushton and I answered a question about how teachers can find other classroom to connect with for collaborative learning. We came up with three suggestions. Those suggestions are explained below. 

Flipgrid's GridPals is available to any teacher who has a Flipgrid account. Through Gridpals you can find other teachers around the world who are looking to connect their students with yours for video conversations. Here's my short guide to using Flipgrid.

Edublogs has a list of public classroom blogs. Unfortunately, the list hasn't been updated since the end of 2019, but you still might use this list to find examples of how other teachers are using blogging in their classrooms. You can also use this list to find other teachers who are looking for classrooms to connect to their own for written dialogue.

iEARN was Rushton's suggestion for connecting classrooms. I haven't used it, but Rushton has more experience than I do with classroom exchange type of activities so I'd definitely check it out if I was trying to connect my classroom with another. iEARN's getting started guide is available here.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

How to Find and Manage Google Slides Add-ons

One of the questions that I received this week for Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions was a rather broad question of, "do you have any favorite Google Slides add-ons for high school students?" That's kind of a hard question to answer without having more context of what you want students to accomplish in Google Slides. None-the-less my go-to recommendation is the Unsplash Google Slides add-on. It allows students to quickly find high-quality images that are in the public domain and insert those images into their slides with just one click. 

Answering that question got me thinking that I should make an updated tutorial on how to find and install Google Slides add-ons. So that's what I did this morning. In this short video I demonstrate how to find Google Slides add-ons, how to install them, and how to remove them if you don't like them. 

Free Writing Prompts Ebooks

Disclosure: Make Beliefs Comix is an advertiser on

Developing an idea for what to write about is often a hard first step for student writers. Fortunately, there are resources like the Make Beliefs Comix journaling ebooks filled with ideas for students to write about. Many of those ebooks are excellent for social emotional learning activities as well as creative writing activities. All of the ebooks are available as fillable PDFs that your students can download and share with you when they're done writing. Watch this short video to learn how to use the free ebooks from Make Beliefs Comix

Make Beliefs Comix is known for its free comic creation tools. If you haven't tried those, here's a short overview of how it works.

How to Create Comics - A Four-Part MOMA Series

From telling personal stories to summarizing historical events to illustrating creating writing over the years I've shared a bunch of ideas for using comics in classrooms. And I've shared a bunch of tools for creating comics (resources linked at the bottom of this post). While I enjoy the process of creating comics, I am not an expert cartoonist. To learn for an expert cartoonist take a look the Museum of Modern Art's new four-part How to Make Comics series. 

MOMA's How to Make Comics series addresses four topics. Those topics are:

I found the section on elements of comics to be the most interesting of the four parts. In that section there is an excellent explanation and example of how the words and pictures in a comic should compliment each other. 

The last part of the series that features ideas, activites, and resources for making comics includes a new-to-me resource on the South Portland, Maine's school library website. That page is loaded with information for teachers interested in using comics in their classrooms. It was there that I found the Big Think video How Comic Books Can Make Kids Smarter.  

Tools for Making Comics in Your Classroom

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