Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fireworks in a jar? Happy New Year's Eve - 70 printable activities for kids + STEM activities (snowman out of dough baking soda eruptions, etc.)

Happy New Year's Eve everyone. Below are some links to some fun activities for New Year's eve. Hope you all have a great end to 2017!

This link is from Raising Lifelong Learners (New Year's Eve Science Activities for Kids).
Some of the activities include:

  1. Baking soda snow doug
  2. New Year's Eve themed eruptions
  3. Confetti themed New Year's eve eruptions
  4. Fireworks in a jar
  5. Silver and gold New Year's Eve slime

Here is a link from that includes 70+ free New Year Printable activities for kids. Some of the pages include:

  1. Count down coloring activities
  2. New Year's Eve bingo
  3. Coloring funny animals
  4. New Year coloring pages
  5. New Year's Eve I-Spy game
  6. New Year's Eve word search
  7. New Year Sudoku

Saturday, December 30, 2017

4 Chromebook shortcuts in under 20 seconds (8 in the GIF)

Shortcuts in Google Chrome and in Chromebooks can save you a ton of time and frustration.

Below are 4 shortcuts that are extremely useful:
  1. Ctrl l to highlight a URL link
  2. Ctrl c to copy the link
  3. Ctrl t to open a new tab
  4. Ctrl v to paste the link you copied
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 19 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Friday, December 29, 2017

New features in Stopwatch and Dice is a very useful tool that turns your browser turns into an interactive board and has the capability to display various helpful tools. Click here for a link to a post I created (May 31, 2017) about classroomscreen as well as a new features post on October 19, 2017.

An update to classroomscreen includes a stopwatch and dice (1, 2, or 3 dice).

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 56 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Quickly share a file in Google with Alice Keeler's AnyoneCanView Extension

Alice Keeler's AnyoneCanView extension makes it so you can have a shareable link to your file at the click of a button.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 31 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Alice Keeler's awesome webcam extension for you and students to use

Alice Keeler's Webcam Extension is a great and easy to use extension. Once you have added the extension properly, you will then select the extension and click on Start. The webcam will instantly record you (bottom right of your screen). The default is set to 30 seconds which can be adjusted to between 10 and 90 seconds (one way is to right click on the extension and select options).

What I really like about this extension is that once the recording is completed, a URL of the video is copied to your clipboard as well as a copy placed directly in your Google Drive.

One thing to remember is that if you would like to share this video make sure to change the sharing of the file as the link is defaulted to private.

Embedded below is a GIF as well as a 1 minute and 23 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

When copying and pasting text on a Chromebook Use Ctrl v to include formatting Use Ctrl Shift V for no formatting

Earlier I was working with students and they were copying (Ctrl c) and pasting (Ctrl v) text into a Google Slide. When they did that the formatting was included. In order for the formatting not to show up simply have them use Ctrl Shift v.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Monday, December 25, 2017

Snowflake Bentley and great snowflake templates.

As many of us spend time with family this week and may need a fun activity to create - here is an option that I did every year with my 4th grade classes.

I read the 1999 Caldecott Medal winning book - Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Below you will see a nice summary of the book on

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. 

If you would like to see the story on YouTube please click on the embedded 7 minute and 7 second YouTube video below.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Want some Christmas STEM activities?

If you would like to create some fun Christmas themed STEM activities - check out

Some of the many ideas include:

  1. Christmas Tree Slime
  2. STEM countdown calendar
  3. Christmas Tree Holiday STEAM Craft
  4. Christmas STEM - learn about your tree
  5. Evergreen Oobleck
  6. Melting Christmas Trees
  7. Christmas Coding STEM Ornament
  8. Christmas STEM: Engineering and Challenges
  9. Christmas Tree Icy Engineering
  10. Cardboard Christmas Tree STEM Engineering
  11. Play Dough and Straws Christmas STEM Tree Challenge
  12. Mini Cups Christmas Tree Challenge
  13. Christmas STEM Cup Tower Challenge
  14. Christmas Tree geo board
Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Want it to snow in your Google Slide?

Martin Hawksey - (he was the one who created the script to embed your Twitter feed into Google Sites in late October) created an awesome script in Google Slides - he made it snow!
  1. First, you need to do is click on this link and make a copy.
  2. Second,  you need to add the image(s) or text you desire.
  3. Third, from the menu bar select Make it Snow > Add Flakes.
  4. Print or share as desired!
Martin has included directions in the second slide as well.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and second YouTube tutorial.

Let it snow!

Friday, December 22, 2017

You can now embed your Twitter feed (and other HTML codes) in Google Sites

You can now easily embed your Twitter feed (or other HTML code) easily into your Google Site.

If you select the area where you would like the feed to embed, you then need to select

  • Insert
  • Switch from By URL to Embed Code
  • You will then need to enter into your Twitter feed and settings and privacy
  • Then select Widgets on the left side
  • Scroll down until you see the HTML code, copy (Ctrl C) the code
  • Paste (Ctrl V) the code in the open area where it states hlml code goes here
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 18 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Share a file in Google Classroom properly

Recently I have received numerous messages from frustrated educators when trying to share a fun activity in Google Classroom with their students and students are getting the "you do not have permission..."  Mostly it revolves around the fact that the file that is trying to be shared was created outside of your G-Suite domain.

So how can this be fixed? I have created an example that uses Eric Curts's "Build a Snowman" example.

If you would like - at the end of this post there is an embedded 1 minute and 21 second YouTube tutorial (also available clicking here).

Here are the 6 steps followed by a GIF for each of the 3 sections (make sure you select Make a Copy of the file you would like to share).

  1. Make sure to select the Blue Share button (right side has lock on it)
  2. Click get shareable link (this will copy the link to your clipboard)
  3. Paste the link in a new tab and remove anywhere from edit on and replace with copy. Make sure to copy the link

4. Open up Google Classroom
5. Create an announcement
6. Type in a subject, paste (ctrl v)  the link you made and Post!

Here is what your students will see when they open the link. It is a view only file.
1. They will need to select File - make a copy.
2. Rename the document (it is now there file)

Embedded below is a GIF of the whole process followed by a 1 minute and 21 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Want an easy and free platform for effective live online classes to teach or meet live? Try

Previously Richard Byrne shared a free platform that includes video, chat, screen-sharing, as well as link sharing. Webroom is very similar to Google Hangouts; however, you do not need to register or log-in to create or join a room.

If you do want to create an account - you can sign-up through Facebook log-in or email.

What I really like about this site is how easy it is to create and join a room - not having to sign-up and have your members remember their log-ins is huge. You also are sent an email afterwards as well with a summary of Instant Meeting online session (includes participants, length of session, as well as any files shared.
summary of session

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 2 minute and 32 second YouTube tutorial.

I have also included Richard Byrne's video tutorial as well.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Use images in your bookmark bar

A great tip from Eric Curts to be able to store more bookmarks in your bookmarks bar is to remove the name and just use the image.

Remember a nice shortcut to show your bookmarks is to use Ctrl Shift B.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 40 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Monday, December 18, 2017

How to create address labels with a Mail-Merge with Excel and Word

With the Holidays right around the corner, many people have asked the quickest and easiest way to generate labels is to use a mail merge with Excel and Word.

If you create your data in an Excel sheet - remember to use the following in each cell:
  • First name 
  • Last Name
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
From there you will need to open up Word and follow these instructions:
  • Mailings - Start Mail Merge - Labels (choose your Vendor and product number (I am using Avery 5160 labels)
  • Select Recipients - Use an Existing List - Choose your Excel Sheet - then select ok
  • In 1st "open" field select Insert Merge Field
  • Here is where you select your cells - remember to put a space between First name and Last name - enter - Address - enter - city - space - state - space - zip
  • Select preview results (here is where you can adjust size and style of font and anything else you would like to chance
  • Select update labels - and you will see all your labels appear
  • Select Finish & Merge - Edit individual document - Merge records - All - ok
  • Save your doc and print away!
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 2 minute and 11 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Sunday, December 17, 2017

An amazing text-to-speech extension

Layla Lyons shared a resource the other day revolving around the extension TTSReaderX In-Page Text to Speech.

The extension allows the user to have any text read aloud to them. There are even options available to slow down or speed up the speech, change the language of the narrator, as well as start on whatever part of the page you like.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 17 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, December 16, 2017

How to share a template properly in Google Classroom

So you have created a Google file then went through the proper steps to create a template - click here for post.Remember to make sure you share the file and get the shareable link and then change edit to template/preview.

The link works great when sharing with a colleague or friend; however, when you want to share that file in Google Classroom with your class chaos ensues and the dreaded "Ask owner for permission..." and you now went from feeling relaxed with the fun activity, to instant frustration.

Well - I was messaging back and forth last night with Tony Vincent and his suggestion was to take the URL with template/preview and shorten it in a URL shortener - such as Google's Once the shortened URL is created, take that URL and post that exact URL in Google Classroom.

I was working on it last night and had my daughter join my class and it worked.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 56 second YouTube tutorial.

Thanks again to Tony Vincent,

Friday, December 15, 2017

See if Google can guess your drawings in Santa tracker.

On day 12 in Santa Tracker is a fun activity called Speed Sketch. You are to help Santa's Machine Learning Robot decipher letters he receives. You are asked to help Tensor practice by drawing a picture of each holiday word on the screen. The difficult part is that you only have 30 seconds for each word (4 words in all).

The best I have done is 2 out of 4 - while my kids have had fared better with 3 out of 4.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 46 second YouTube tutorial. I lucked out with a cookie.

Best of luck and have fun!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Lights Writing using Google Docs and Google Slides

Eric Curts created another amazing resource to use, this time it deals with Holiday writing and being able to have it look as if the lights are blinking. Below is my example and a 3 minute and 26 second YouTube tutorial, followed by the steps to create. Please note this was again created by Eric Curts. While I adjusted some of his steps - they are his work. You can follow his steps by clicking here.

Below are the steps you need to take.

  • I would recommend making a copy and then select sharing, get shareable link, make sure to set your shareable settings (I chose public), copy the link and then change the shareable link (remove the edit and change to copy) - see example below

    change what is in blue to have /copy
  • Use the space below the instructions to write the story.
  • You will then need to install the Add-on Rainbow maker.
  • Click "Add-ons" then "Get add-ons" then search for "Rainbow Maker", or go directly to the add-on here: Rainbow Maker add-on link
Rainbow Maker Add-on Instructions
  • Click "Add-ons" then "Rainbow Maker" then "Advanced options".
  • Eric recommends choosing "Random colors" and then further specific the "Hue" or "Luminosity". The best match for the holiday lights on a black background would be a luminosity of "Bright" or "Light".
  • Click "Save and Close" when done.
How to apply colors to your writing
  • Select all of your text.
  • Then click "Add-ons" - "Rainbow Maker" - "Style selection".
  • Your text will now have random colors assigned. If you would like to change the colors associated with your text you can run the Rainbow Maker Add-on again until you get the desired result.
Animated Slideshow using Google Slides
This really is fun and does not take long to learn.
  • Make copy of the Google Slides "Holiday Lights Writing" template - Google Slides template.
    • I would recommend making a copy and then select sharing, get shareable link, make sure to set your shareable settings (I chose public), copy the link and then change the shareable link (remove the edit and change to copy) - see example below

      change what is in blue to have /copy

  • Copy and paste your colored text into the first slide - you may need to adjust the size of the text.
  • Now go back to your writing in your Google Doc and re-run the "Rainbow Maker" add-on to re-color your text.
  • Copy and paste the new re-colored text into the second slide and adjust the size of your text.
  • Eric recommends using three slides should be good for the lights effect.
To make text appear animated - Publish to the Web
  • Click File - Publish to the Web - then publish and ok
  • You will then need to adjust in Auto-advance slides
    • Check - Start slideshow as soon as the player loads (choose every second instead of default every 3 seconds)
    • Check - Restart the slideshow after the last slide
  • Copy the published link and paste it into your web browser to see how it looks. Adjust where needed and then share it!
Take care,

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wintertime Rebus Story using emojis in Google Docs

If you would like to write (or have your class write a rebus) - Eric Curts has created a great post about how to create one. Eric's example is embedded below.

What is great is that Eric has provided a number of emojis to use in your story. If you (or your students) would like to add more emojis simply select:
Special Characters

Click here for Eric's template this will force a copy.

Make sure to select Make a Copy and then remember to force a copy to each student.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 17 second YouTube tutorial.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How to sign your class up on

With the success of Hour of Code last week my own children and numerous teachers have asked me if there is a way to create usernames and passwords.

You will need to create the accounts in and make sure you sign in (I used my school issued Google account).

Once logged in - select the My Dashboard (upper left of screen). 

From there you will need to add your students and decide how you would like their passwords created.

Once you select save - you will be able to print their cards.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 51 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care and enjoy coding!

Monday, December 11, 2017's Word Cloud Generator - works great on Chromebooks's word cloud generator is a great solution for those of you in elementary school's who use Chromebooks with your students.

The site is very easy to use. Once you either type in words, or paste in terms from a list, the site will create a word cloud for you. 

You then have the options to change the following:
  1. Font
  2. Color
  3. Layout
  4. Randomize
  5. Layout
  6. Word Limit
  7. Menu - really great option where you can go back and edit the terms you entered
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 6 second YouTube tutorial.

Another option for Chromebooks would be (also known as Tagul). 

Take care,

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Share a Google file easily using template/preview

If you have ever been frustrated with sharing a file with others (maybe the force a copy didn't work properly, users are asking you for editing rights, etc) try this solution:

Copy the doc's shareable link and remove the edit and replace it with template/preview

A few great items to point out about this:
  1. Users can preview the file you share entirely - when you force a copy the user will not see the contents before making a copy
  2. If the users like the file they can select use template (upper-right of screen)
  3. You will not have to rethink if you forced the copy correctly or fear the dreaded "asking for permission"
  4. One item of note - if sharing the item in Google Classroom - Tony Vincent (great follow) suggested to take the URL with template/preview on the end and paste it in a URL shortener. Then take that shortened URL and paste it in Classroom. It works very nicely.
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 56 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Absolute best way to watch YouTube videos with no distractions!

One of the most requested items from teachers (or parents) is how to make sure YouTube videos do not show suggested videos, comments, etc.

In the past I have shared numerous sites such as  Quietube, Viewpure, and Watchkin. All do a nice job of removing the distractions - but you always need to do that one extra step before showing.

With the DF (distraction free) YouTube extension it automatically eliminates those distractions for you (as long as you have the extension active).

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 36 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Friday, December 8, 2017

Want to watch YouTube videos without the distractions? Try quietube

If you do not like seeing all the distractions that comes along with YouTube videos (especially when showing to a group of students) - try

All you will need to do is drag the button to your bookmarks (make sure to have your bookmarks showing (CTRL Shift B in Chrome).

When you start playing the YouTube video click on the quietube bookmark and you are distraction free.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 46 second YouTube tutorial. Thank you to my friend Layla Lyons for suggesting this video tutorial.

Click here for a blog post on 2 other sites that provide distraction free viewing from August of last year.

Take care,

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hour of Code with Khan Academy (ages 8+)

Khan Academy offers numerous ways to do "Hour of Code". Users can check out the following:
  • Hour of Drawing with Code
  • Hour of Webpages 
  • Hour of Databases
  • As well as Hour of code in your classroom
    • I did this one last year and it was great. Students aw first-hand how coding (Java) works 
  • More JavaScript
  • More HTML/CSS: Making Webpages
Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 58 second YouTube tutorial. Remember, Khan Academy is 100% free.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Coding resources for pre-readers on - Kodable

The past few days I have had numerous discussions with Kindergarten, 1st, and Special Education about coding. They stated that coding is great but felt it was too advanced for their students to try. Once I showed them the grade-level categories available and that there is one for Pre-readers.

A very user-friendly activity is Kodable. The site guides the user through the lessons with an audio guide (high-pitched voice) as well as an on screen guide that shows the user where to place the codes.

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 1 minute and 5 second YouTube tutorial.

Take care,

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code resources

If you are interested in learning Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code I have included in a shared Google Drive folder numerous resources as well as resources that provides on the site. These resources include lessons plans as well as answer sheets and tips.

You will also see an embedded  GIF and a 1 minute and 51 seconds long YouTube tutorial below.

Take care,

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hour of Code 2017 resources

Hello everyone,
It is that awesome time of year again – Hour of Code. December 4th  – 10th.

If you are interested in trying this with your class - I have created a guide with resources available in a Google Drive folder that I hope will be helpful.

Check this out - you could win a video chat for your class with one of the celebrity guests below. Select the image below to be see “How to win”.

Prior to having the students logging on for Hour of Code – a great resource to use is a Slide that was created to kind of teach students what code really is. The Slide and attached worksheets are available by clicking here. The sheets describe what an algorithm is as well as what programming really is.

I recommend logging on to the site and familiarize yourself with it. Take a look especially at the STATS page – the fact that there are currently 517,393 open computing jobs nationwide and last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce is eye-opening.

While you do not have to Sign-in,  I strongly recommend it. You will be able to see students statistics as well as have access to many lesson plans and additional resources.

When you sign-in, scroll down to Teacher Home Page and click on it, select Manage Students, select Add Multiple Students.
** If you used CODE last year, you may need to update your list of students.
code 4.PNGcode 2.PNGcode 3.PNG

When you add your students, you will then be taken to a page with all of their passwords. You must select “Show Secret” to see the password.

At the bottom of the page you will see a link for your class’s CODE page. All the students will need to do is click on their name and type in their password. This simplifies things a lot. Great to put on Google Classroom.
You will also see a link to print out all usernames and passwords.
The site is very similar to previous years with characters from  Star Wars, Minecraft, Disney Infinity Characters, as well as the ability to code with Anna and Elsa (Frozen), Flappy, as well as with wayfinding with Moana.

Click here (or embedded image below) to be taken to the site users will be interested in the most (see inserted picture below). Here users can select their interests, filter searches by grade level, educator experience, student experience, as well as what type of classroom technology is available. There is a very nice video tutorial for users to watch (typically around 2 minutes) prior to the start of coding.

Here are two great videos  to introduce or re-introduce your students to CODE:
Video #1 – a little under a 6 minute video – inspiring and informative
Video #2 – about a 2 minute video – with a little introduction and then a quick bit about basic concepts of programming

Last but not least - “create an app, game, or design with and tag #HourOfCode and one of our special  guests for a chance to win a video chat for your classroom!” Click on one of the images to see how to win.

I hope you and your students enjoy this site. Remember, this site can be used throughout the year – does not just have to be December 4th-10th.

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thanks so much!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Check out Google's Santa Tracker - includes coding, traditions, lesson plans, etc

Google released on the 1st of December Google Santa Tracker where students can "explore, play, and learn with Santa's elves all December long".

The site has a section for educators "learning with Santa Tracker" in which they have warm ups, extension activities, and writing prompts for you. The lesson plans (aligned with Common Core Standards) are towards the bottom of the screen and include PDFs.

There is also an Android App as well. 

Embedded below is a GIF followed by a 2 minute and 30 second YouTube tutorial.