Saturday, October 9, 2021

Tasks, Spaces, and Cakes - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where we have enjoyed a great week of beautiful fall weather. The nights have been cool, the days have been warm and sunny, and the leaves are turning into vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. My daughters can't wait for me to make big piles of leaves to jump in. That's what we'll be doing today. I hope that you have something fun planned for your weekend as well. 

This week I co-hosted another edition of Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions. We'll be holding the next episode on October 28th. I hope you'll join us!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Taskade - A Complete Project Planning Solution for Teachers and Students
2. Two New Google Docs Features to Note
3. How to Turn a Spreadsheet Into Multimedia Flashcards
4. The Science of Cake! - And 83 Other Food Science Lessons
5. How to Add Watermarks to Google Documents
6. Five Google Earth Features for Teachers
7. Spaces - Capturing & Celebrating Student Growth

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This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Lighthouses and Minibooks

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. The LOC's Resources for Family Engagement is the type of resource that I like to add to classroom websites for parents who are looking for ideas for fun learning activities they can do at home with their kids. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

What Does Indigenous Mean? - And Why Some States No Longer Celebrate Columbus Day

While I was reviewing videos about Canadian Thanksgiving YouTube displayed a suggested video from CBC Kids News. The video is simply titled The Word Indigenous and it provides an animated explanation of what the word indigenous means when referring to people. The video also does a great job of explaining why the word indigenous is preferrable to other words. The video was created for a Canadian audience so there are some references that students in United States might not understand, but those differences do present another teaching opportunity for those of us in the United States. 

Here in Maine, as in a handful of other states, we no longer have Columbus Day as a state holiday. In its place we have Indigenous Peoples' Day. The Daily Bellringer just released a new video that explains the history of Columbus Day and why some cities and states are now celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day instead. Watch the video on YouTube and open the description to find a set of discussion questions to ask your students.

Write Outside - Ideas for Writing

Thanks to one of Kevin Hodgson's blog posts, earlier this week I learned about the National Writing Project's Write Out 2021 campaign. This is a two week initiative beginning on Sunday, October 10th. The idea is to inspire writers through outdoor settings, particularly National Parks settings, but I think I any outdoor setting will suffice. 

Write Out 2021 is a combined effort of the National Writing Project and the National Parks Service. The theme of the project, beyond inspiration from the outdoors, is "palettes, storyboards, and cadences." I encourage you to read Kevin's blog post about Write Out to get some ideas about how the theme can be used by student writers. 

If you want your students to participate in Write Out 2021 head to the website and sign-up to receive writing prompts, activities, and events to support work in the classroom.  

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.