Tuesday, November 8, 2022

A Small Collection of Resources for Teaching and Learning About Veterans Day

This Friday is Veterans Day. If you find yourself looking for some quick lessons to review with your students, here's a small collection for you. 

ReadWorks
ReadWorks is one of my favorite places to go when I need information texts about a holiday to share with students. ReadWorks has a good collection of Veterans Day articles that are arranged by grade level and are accompanied by question sets. 

C-SPAN Classroom Resources
C-SPAN Classroom has sixteen "bell ringer" activities about topics related to World War I. One of those is titled The History and Evolution of Veterans Day. The activity features a five minute video and seven corresponding questions along with a short list of vocabulary terms. You can find all of the C-SPAN Classroom Bell Ringers and lesson plans about World War I on this resources page

Bet You Didn't Know
Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day is a video that explains the origins of the holiday and why its date of celebration has twice shifted in the United States. The end of the video includes an explanation of the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Veterans Day by the Numbers is also from History. As the name implies, the video provides a statistical overview of Veterans Day including what percentage of the American population has served in the military among other interesting facts. 


Elementary school teachers may find this video from PBS Learning Media useful in providing an overview of Veterans Day. I prefer this one from Kid History

Monday, November 7, 2022

30+ Activity Templates to Use in Google Classroom

Disclosure: BookWidgets is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

It was around this time last year that I tried BookWidgets for the first time. I was immediately impressed by the variety of templates it offered for creating unique online learning activities for students. I was also impressed by how easy it was to use BookWidgets. Since then BookWidgets has become very popular and has added more tools for teachers. 

Today, BookWidgets offers a Chrome extension and a Google Classroom add-on. With the Chrome extension and Google Classroom add-on installed you can create and distribute online activities without having to leave Google Classroom at all. Furthermore, you can view all of your students’ submitted work as well as their work that is in progress by simply clicking on BookWidgets Chrome extension.

Watch this video to see how the BookWidgets Google Classroom add-on works.



As I previously mentioned, the split whiteboard activity template is probably my favorite of all of the templates that BookWidgets offers. That template lets you put a prompt on one side of the screen and a blank whiteboard on the other side for students to type or draw responses. Take a look at my screenshot below and you’ll notice that the prompt I included in my split whiteboard activity included a video for students to watch. You can find many more examples of BookWidgets activities right here.


Learn even more about BookWidgets, including how to use it without Google Classroom, in this video

Math and Geography

Over the weekend a Tweet from Thomas Petra reminded me of a great Google Earth resource that he developed years ago. That resource is Real World Math. And though he stopped updating it a couple of years ago, there are still many Google Earth files on it that you can download to use as the basis of real world math problems. Real World Math has lesson plans divided into five categories; project-based learning, concept lessons, measurement lessons, exploratory lessons, and space lessons. The space lessons take advantage of the Moon, Mars, and Sky views in Google Earth.

Tom Barrett's Maths Maps is series of activities designed to help elementary school students develop an understanding of distance, scale, and units of measurement. To complete the activities students have to use the measuring tool in Google Maps. In this video I demonstrate how to measure distances in the web browser version of Google Maps.


You can learn even more about using Google Earth and Google Maps in your classroom in my on-demand course, A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies. The course is 50% off for the rest of the month when you use the code GEOAWARENESS22


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Is This the End of the Google Keep Chrome Extension?

I've been using Google Keep for nearly all of my bookmarking for the last half-dozen years or more. It nicely syncs my bookmarks, notes, and reminders between my phone and any computer that I use when logged into my Chrome profile. Unfortunately, my days of using Chrome as my primary bookmarking tool may be coming to an end in December. 

Last week I started to notice a little warning appear whenever I bookmarked a site with the Google Keep Chrome extension. The warning reads, 

"starting on December 5th, 2022, notes created here will not save automatically. You will also have to access and edit existing notes associated with a URL via Keep." 

Other than that little note appearing when using the Chrome extension, so far I haven't been able to find any official statements from Google about this change. If Google really is discontinuing support for the Keep Chrome extension, that will probably be the end of using it for bookmarking and I'll migrate to using OneNote for all bookmarking. 

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that Google has ended support for a bookmarking tools that was popular with teachers. Some of us still fondly remember Google Notebook and the disappointment we felt when Google terminated that product back in 2009. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options for online bookmarking including the aforementioned OneNote, EverNote, and the native bookmarking tool in Chrome. 

Even if this is the end of bookmarking with Keep, I'll probably still use the Keep Android app for creating location-based reminders for myself. 

5 Things You Can Make With Microsoft Flip Besides Selfie Videos

Microsoft Flip (formerly known as Flipgrid) is a great tool for getting to know your students through the use of short selfie-style videos. I've also used it for asynchronous classroom discussions. You might have done the same with your students then gotten to the point of wondering, "okay, what's next?" If that's where you are with Microsoft Flip, I have some suggestions for you in this short video

In 5 Things You Can Make With Microsoft Flip Besides Selfie Videos I demonstrate the following things that you might to try or have your students try to do:

  •  Audio-only recordings.
  • Audio + whiteboard recordings.
  • Green screen videos
  • Green screen + annotation
  • Split whiteboard with drawings, text, and images.