Sunday, October 30, 2022

One Last Round-up of Halloween Resources

As my daughters have reminded me about 1,000 times in the last week, tomorrow is Halloween. If you have elementary school students who are equally excited about Halloween and you want to include a little Halloween-themed activity into your day tomorrow, take a look through this round-up of resources that I've previously shared throughout the month. 

How to Catch Monsters is a free play script published by Playbooks Reader's Theater. The play was written to be performed by students in first through third grade. The play centers around two children who are trying to catch blue, green, and purple monsters. The children do get a little help from their work-from-home dad. In all there are six roles for students to play. There is also a narrator role for a teacher to play in How to Catch Monsters. The How to Catch Monsters script is color coded to make it a little easier for students to follow. The script also includes some cues and other notes to help students perform the play.

Playing Kahoot games is a fun way to review almost anything including Halloween safety. That's why a few years ago I made the following video to demonstrate how to find and modify Halloween safety games in Kahoot. 



OPEN Phys Ed has a collection of more than a dozen Halloween-themed lesson plans for physical education classes. The collection is titled Pumpkin Patch Games and you can access all of them as PDFs and or Word files. Like all of the OPEN Phys Ed resources that I've reviewed over the last few years, the Pumpkin Patch Games are designed to be as inclusive as possible. The games aren't your "traditional" ball-sports type of games that make some kids loathe physical education classes. A few of the games students might enjoy include Silly Spooky Storytime (my older daughter would love that one), Monster Mash, and Pickles in the Pumpkin Patch.  In addition to directions for each of the dozen+ games in Pumpkin Patch Games, OPEN provides music playlists that you might want to use while kids are playing the various games in your gym.

ReadWorks offers a collection of Halloween-themed articles for a  K-8 audience and a few for 9-12. The articles covered topics like the history of Halloween, pumpkin farms, and the history of ghost stories. Like all ReadWorks articles, you'll find comprehension questions and vocabulary sets to accompany the articles. A read aloud feature is also available in ReadWorks.

SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves. In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.

PBS Learning Media has a collection of Halloween-themed lessons for elementary school students. One of the those lessons is all about the historical traditions that contributed to the creation of Halloween. The materials for this lesson include a short video, video discussion questions, and a vocabulary sheet. All of the items in PBS Learning Media's Halloween collection can be shared to Google Classroom where you can add questions for students answer after watching the videos.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

How to Create a Digital Map Collection in Wakelet

Wakelet is a free, collaborative bookmarking and file organization tool that puts things into a nice visual display. So when a former colleague emailed me a couple of days ago to ask for help creating a collection of digital maps Wakelet was one of the first tools to come to mind (Padlet was the other). To a Wakelet collection you can add links (with previews) for Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Street View imagery, and Bing Maps. 

Watch this short video to learn how to create a digital map collection in Wakelet



Applications for Education
My former colleague who emailed me for help (and inspired this blog post) was looking for a way to create a collection of maps views of landmarks related to the American Revolution. He wanted his students to simply click and be taken to the exact view that he had selected. You could do the exact same thing or make your Wakelet collection collaborative to allow students to add map links to places that they investigated on their own.

Chrome, Crows, and Games - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where the sunrise is still more than an hour away as I drink my first cup of coffee. It's going to be an exciting day in our house because we're going to see Disney Frozen on Ice! To say that my daughters are excited about it would be an understatement. They would have slept in their Frozen costumes last night if we had let them. The rest of the weekend will be a more mundane schedule of raking leaves and riding bikes. I hope that you have a fun and relaxing weekend. 

This week more people registered for Animated Explanations which begins on November 1st. Register by midnight (ET) on October 31st to be a part of the inaugural class!

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Five Great Chrome Extensions for Teachers
2. TED-Ed Lessons With a Halloween Theme
3. A Fun Tool for Creating Avatars
4. How to Set Notifications for Individual Google Documents
5. Trick O' Treat Safety Review Games
6. The Differences Between Crows and Ravens
7. Five More Things Students Can Explain With Simple Animations

Workshops and Keynotes
If you'd like to have me speak at your school or conference, please send me an email at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com 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 43,000 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 Strava.
This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

Friday, October 28, 2022

How to Import PDFs Into Book Creator Projects

About a week ago Book Creator rolled-out the third or fourth new feature of this school year. That feature is the ability to import PDFs to use in your Book Creator projects. I had a cold and couldn't speak well last week so I had to wait until this week to give Book Creator's new feature a try and record a video about it. The new feature works well and as I demonstrate in this new video, importing a PDF into Book Creator can be a good way to turn a boring document into a multimedia booklet. 


One of the other new features added to Book Creator for this school year include audio, video, and text commenting. Watch this video to see how that works.

How to Adjust Playback Volume in Google Slides

Support for audio files was welcome addition to Google Slides when it was announced in the fall of 2019. But four years later there are still some quirks to it to watch out for. And sometimes the setting you need isn't quickly found. That was the case a few days ago when someone emailed me to ask about adjusting the volume of audio playback in Google Slides.

In this brief video I demonstrate how to adjust the volume of the audio playback in a Google Slides presentation. In the video I also demonstrate how to hide the playback icon.