Friday, September 2, 2022

Free Webinar and 5 Posters to Help Students Learn to Read Like a Historian

Stanford History Education Group offers lots of great resources for history teachers. They're hosting a couple of free webinars next week including one designed to help you help your students learn to read like a historian. If you can't make it to the webinar or webinars just aren't your thing (after two+ years of virtual meeting, some of us are Zoomed-out, I get it), Stanford History Education Group has some other resources that you can use to teach students how to read like a historian. You can access all of those resources for free right here. Those resources include five classroom posters that remind students of methods they can use to read like a historian

The posters in the collection are Close Reading, Contextualization, Corroboration, Sourcing, and What is History? All the posters can be downloaded as PDFs designed for printing on 18" x 24" paper. The posters are available in English and Spanish. To download them you do need to create a free account on the Stanford History Education Group's website. 

If you'd like to print the posters in a larger format, you might consider using Block Posters which enables you to print large posters while using a standard size printer. 

My Favorite Fall Video Project

It's September and here in Maine the leaves on some of the maple trees are already starting to change color. This is my favorite time of year! And it's time that once again I share my favorite fall video project. The project is to create a time-lapse video of autumn. The outline of my time-lapse of autumn project is included below.

The idea is to take one picture every day to document the changes in the foliage as we progress through autumn from the first few orange leaves to full-blown autumn foliage colors to the drab brown we see after in the winter.

Here's how your students could create their own autumn foliage time-lapse videos.

1. Take one picture per day of the same view or of one singular tree. 
Using a cell phone is probably the best tool for this because students rarely go anywhere without one.

2. Upload the pictures to a Google Drive or OneDrive folder. 
It only takes one tap to move photos from a phone to a Google Drive folder labeled "Fall foliage." If This Then That has a recipe for doing this automatically from Android phones and from iPhones. Or simply use Google Photos and then move the photos into a folder at the end of the month. 

3. After four weeks, upload photos to Cloud Stopmotion or Stop Motion Animator and create your time-lapse. 
Cloud Stopmotion is a video editing program that works in your web browser. You can easily adjust the duration of each frame and easily add a soundtrack to your video. Click here for a video about using Cloud Stopmotion. Stop Motion Animator is another free tool for creating stop motion movies. Here's a demo of how it works. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Two Search Refinement Tips for Every Teacher and Student

A couple of days ago I hosted a webinar for tech coaches. In the webinar I mentioned that teaching teachers just a couple of quick search refinement tips that they can pass on to students can help them stop feeling like their students are going to the same websites over and over. To that end, I shared two search refinement tips that every teacher and student should know. These two strategies will help students get beyond the usual first couple of pages of search results. Both strategies are outlined in this short video.

In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to refine search results according to top-level domain and why that is helpful to students. In the video I also demonstrate how to refine a search according to filetype and why that is helpful to students. In the video you'll see how I found a great lesson plan because I used a combination of top-level domain and filetype refinement. 

Write With Emojis in Google Docs

Earlier this week Google added a new emoji option into Google Docs. The new option enables you to type @ followed by an emotion to add an emoji into a sentence in your Google Documents. For example, you can type "@smile" to generate a list of smiley emojis that you can pick from to insert into the sentence you're writing. Of course, you can also do this by simply opening the insert menu in Google Docs and then selecting the emoji option. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to add emojis into your sentences in Google Docs

Applications for Education
When I first saw Google's announcement about adding emojis into Google Docs I didn't think much of it. In fact, I thought it was kind of silly or pointless. Then I thought some more about it and realized that writing with emojis could be a fun way to create some creative writing prompts for students. You could even combine emojis with dropdown menus in Google Docs to create some little Mad Libs-like creative writing activities.

Here's a short video about how add dropdown menus into Google Docs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Back to School - The Month in Review

The sun has set on the last day of August. Nearly every school in my area is now back in session. And those few that aren't in session will be next week. So while calendar says that autumn doesn't start for a few more weeks, it sure feels like fall around here. I hope that you have a great start to the new school year!

As I do at the end of every month, I've compiled a list of the most popular posts of the last month. Take a look and see if there is something interesting that can help you in the new school year. 

These were the most popular posts in August:
1. Ten Popular Back-to-School Tutorials for Teachers
2. Five Good Resources for Learning About Airplanes and Airlines
3. Icebreakers and Exit Tickets - 30 Questions
4. How to Quickly Broadcast Your Screen to Your Students' Screens
5. Google Classroom Now Has Add-ons - For Some Schools
6. Blackbird Provides an Innovative Way for Anyone to Teach Coding
7. Try Canva's New Whiteboard Templates With Timers
8. Worldle Daily - A Street View Game
9. How to Design and Print Classroom Posters Using a Standard Printer
10. Significant Changes to Screencastify's Free Plan

I'll Come You!
If you'd like me to come to your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) or fill out the form on this page

50 Tech Tuesday Tips!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is an eBook that I created with busy tech coaches, tech integrators, and media specialists in mind. In it you'll find 50 ideas and tutorials that you can use as the basis of your own short PD sessions. Get a copy today!

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 42,000 subscribers watching my short tutorial videos on a wide array of educational technology tools. 
  • I've been Tweeting as @rmbyrne for fifteen years. 
  • The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page features new and old posts from this blog throughout the week. 
  • If you're curious about my life outside of education, you can follow me on Instagram or Strava.
This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

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