Monday, October 31, 2022

Candy, Pizza, and Games - The Month in Review

Good evening from Maine where the sun has set on the month of October and my daughters have finally fallen asleep after the excitement of trick o' treating. As I do at the end of every month, I've taken a few minutes to look at the analytics for Free Technology for Teachers for the month to see what was popular with all of you. Take a look at the list and see if there is something interesting that you missed during the month. 

These were the most popular posts in October:
1. Three Alternatives to ViewPure for Distraction-free YouTube Viewing
2. Tutorials for Getting Started With the Smithsonian Learning Lab
3. GeoGeek AR - An Augmented Reality Geography Game
4. How to Catch Monsters - A Halloween Play Script
5. How to Create Green Screen Videos in Canva
6. Halloween-themed Physical Education Lesson Plans
7. C-SPAN Offers a Free Electoral College Poster
8. Five Google Workspace Tips That Can Make Your Day Better
9. A Great Alternative to Quizlet
10. The Science of Pizza, Diets, and the Esophagus

Workshops and Keynotes
If you'd like to have me speak at 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 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 If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

The Difference Between Stocks and Bonds

Last week I finished reading Liar's Poker written by Michael Lewis. The book is partly about his experience as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers in the 1980's and partly about expansion of the bond market itself during the 1980's. The parts about how the bond market evolved to compete with the stock market in the minds of traders in the 1980's were the most fascinating parts of the book for me. I was telling a neighbor about the book over the weekend and she mentioned that she didn't know what the difference between a bond and stock really is. I gave her my brief explanation then turned to YouTube for a better one. 

TD Ameritrade's YouTube channel offers a concise explanation of the difference between stocks and bonds. A much longer explanation is offered in this older Khan Academy video

TD Ameritrade also offers a concise explanation of how the bond market works and what bonds are used for (spoiler, they're not just for lame gifts from old uncles). 

Applications for Education
Both of these videos could be helpful primers for lessons about the basics of financial markets and lessons about personal finance. With a free EDpuzzle account you can add multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions into these videos. In this video I provide a complete overview of how to use EDpuzzle to create video lessons using videos that you find online.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Free Webinar This Tuesday - Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions

This coming Tuesday, November 1st at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Rushton Hurley and I will be hosting the second episode of our third season of Two EdTech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. Just like the title says we take questions, answer questions, and share some cool stuff that we've found around the web. We'd love to have you join us for this fun and free half-hour webinar. You can register here to join us live

If you have a question for us, send it to me at richardbyrne (at) or just join us live and drop your question into the chat. And to see what our little webinars are all about, watch the recording of the October episode of season three

Grateful Dead Writing Prompts

One of the things that people sometimes find surprising about me is that I enjoy listening to and watching old Grateful Dead shows. One of my all-time favorites is this October 31, 1980 performance of Ripple. I was watching it for about the hundredth time last week when I was struck by the images that appear from about the 1:26 mark to the 1:36 mark. In that frame we see a young couple (I'd guess their age to be mid-20's) swaying with their arms around each other. I began to wonder about them. My wondering thoughts could be the beginning of a few writing prompts. 

Here's what I wondered about that couple:

  • Did they meet that night?
  • What were they thinking about each other?
  • Did they continue to follow the Dead?
  • Did they grow up together, get married, and have kids?
  • If they had kids, did they take them to any Grateful Dead shows?
  • Are they still alive? 
  • Were they as happy as I think they are in that scene?

Of course, you can play this "what if? what happened?" game with any picture or video clip of a couple of people. I just chose this one because it stands out to me and it gave me an excuse to write about one of my favorite Grateful songs.

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.