Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2020

Blur a Photo - PowerPoint Style

  If you are looking to blur a photo look no further than PowerPoint. There are a few ways to do it ranging from basic (putting a sticker on a picture) to more complex (blurring a picture). I put together a 4 minute video walking you through your PowerPoint options. Here is the DIRECT LINK to the video.  If you have an easier or different way to blur photos, please share in the comments or tag me on Twitter at @techcoachlife.  

FREE Thanksgiving Activities

  I put together a full day of Thanksgiving themed activities  (click to will be forced to make a copy) into a single editable Google slideshow for students. It was designed for self-contained 4th and 5th grade classes. Third grade teachers would need to review and possibly modify. There are 12 activities. I made sure that each activity had an accountability piece. I used a variety of free programs, as well as ones we have available to us in our district.  1. Create a Six Word Story based on a Thanksgiving image. I linked a video from Discovery Education explaining what a six word story is (we have a DE subscription). There are some six word story videos on YouTube that could replace the Discovery Education resource or a teacher could simply explain and model the process. 2. Read a short Thanksgiving fiction piece in ReadWorks (free to educators) and respond to the question set. 3. Mystery Picture Math - Thanksgiving Word Problems (I created it in Google Sheets) 4. Answer a

Online Review Game Buzzer is a great FREE tool for hosting online review games with students via Zoom or Google Meet. It is basic but does the job of recording who buzzed in first and displaying student answers.  Our district had it blocked for students (it was classified as "gaming") but after reviewing the site I put in a recommendation for it with my full justification and review and it was unblocked. Give it a try with students using simple trivia to learn how the site works and then start building your own academic review games.

Paint by Numbers - Google Forms

  I ran across this clever idea on Twitter for using Google Forms to have students complete a paint-by-number picture by answering questions.  Brad Dale posted the directions and a video on his blog which was very easy to follow.  Since we are so close to Halloween I tried it using a couple of Halloween paint-by-number pictures. I used third grade multiplication word problems, at the request of one of the teachers, who saw my re-tweet on Twitter.  I've included links to both Google Forms I made. You will be forced to make a copy but from there you can edit the questions if you would like.  - Pumpkin Picture (click to link) - Witch Picture (click to link)  Here were a couple of my thoughts as I completing this activity: - The paint-by-number website only offers a max of nine colors. Which means only nine questions on the form. I would have liked the option for more questions. I made a note to look for more detailed options on other sites.  - The paint-by-number website was glitc

Emoji Summaries

  😍 I ran across this awesome Twitter post by Amanda Sandoval  last week and LOVED that she had her students summarizing The Bill of Rights using emojis. I was so engaged trying to guess what the emojis represented that I actually looked up The Bill of Rights.  🤔 That got me thinking of other ways student's could use emojis to summarize or show learning.  📕 I went with a book report summary, as I made my examples pictured above, but I could have easily summarized a video, an article, a lesson, and so much more.  🛠️ I built a template to share with teachers in my district and thought I would share. You will need to click on "file" and "make a copy" if you wish to edit and assign to students.  📹 In the template I put a six minute video overview of the project designed for students. In the video I cover: three ways to get emojis, how to resize them, and tips and tricks for searching and being creative.    💡 The idea to include a video was to give teachers

Visual Vocabulary Activity

  One of my favorite activities to do with students is this visual vocabulary project using Google Slides. I've done it in grades 3-5 and the children love it! I came up with the idea after taking Tony Vincent's Classy Creations course. Think of it as a high tech Frayer Model. The idea is to reinforce vocabulary with the use of images.  In this case: found GIF's, created GIF's, found pictures, and created pictures. It introduces children to new tech skills and sites ( Brush Ninja and Chrome Canvas ) As a teacher I go over the activity with students and we do the first four slides together. This works well in a face-to-face environment. In a virtual environment you may have to adjust. I would recommend making a video for each of the first four slides so students can reference and complete them on their own. Google Slides allows you to "house" videos off the side of the slide so it doesn't interfere with work on the actual slide which makes it a handy place

Customize Zoom Backgrounds

Zoom offers some limited canned virtual backgrounds for teachers to use and the ability to upload your own pictures. Last year, when I taught a sketchnoting class online , I changed my background out daily and the kids enjoyed seeing what the picture was going to be. I loved this personalized Zoom background a teacher posted on Twitter and shared it with staff, who instantly wanted to know how to make your own customized background. I made a very simple customized agenda background and put together a quick video to share with teachers who are working hard to get everything set up for the first day of school on Tuesday. If you have some customized virtual Zoom backgrounds you'd like to share, please comment below or post on Twitter and tag me at @techcoachlife . 

Teaching Sketchnoting (Online)

Last spring, the second week we were out for distance learning, a friend asked if I would teach some middle school students how to Sketchnote online. She said it would be voluntary and most likely be a small group. I agreed, because I wanted to see how difficult it would be to teach sketchnoting online...for a week. I had five engaged children...all girls...who didn't mind being "guinea pigs" for a daily "Lunch and Learn" session. Shortly afterward a teacher who had booked me to introduce sketchnoting to her class, prior to the pandemic, asked if I would consider doing it virtually (she taught 4th grade). I agreed, based on my earlier "success" and ended up with between 15-17 students. In order to get links and material to her students I had her added me as a co-teacher in Google Classroom. I used a 1 hour block of time and most sessions ended between 50-60 minutes. Monday - I did an introduction presentation with built in challenges ( copy o

Online Etiquette Video (Loom Review)

This summer I was testing out the full version of Loom and made a video that tested out their limited online drawing tools and capability to create a link inside of a presentation. The general idea is that I could share the video with students, prior to our first online meeting, and post to my Google Classroom for reference. I definitely liked that you could embed the link to the presentation on the video, using their "Call to Action" button , but felt like, unless you explicitly told viewers to hover over the video (like I did at the end of the video above), viewers could easily miss that feature. I also found the online drawing tool to have a delay. That could have been an internet buffering issue on my end so I would need to retest that. Please note the drawing tools option is only available on the desktop app version - not the Chrome extension. The biggest problem with the desktop app versus the chrome extension is that the desktop app requires a download

Read Aloud Screencasting

Video Link - I was recently asked what the best program is to record a read aloud. This got me thinking about one of my favorite read aloud follows on YouTube, Glenn Malcolm. He does  read alouds for his grandson  and posts them to YouTube. I like how his face is on the screen during the read aloud in a moveable "dot". The only program I know that can do a circle webcam like that is Loom. Luckily Loom is offering their full account  FREE (forever) to educators . I recorded the  read aloud b elow to test the program. I used a children's book that I found online in one of four places I have access to online children's books: - Hoopla Digital (offered through our local library) - cloudLibrary eBooks (offered through our local library) - Sora (our district's online library for students) -  Epic  (library website that is free for teachers to use in the classroom) dagd I could have snapped pictures of each page or used a webc

The Edupreneur's Side Hustle Handbook (Book Review)

It is summer and I like to read. I will normally gravitate to a book in the fiction category specifically urban paranormal fiction. My favorites include Patrica Briggs, Helen Harper, and Lisa Edmonds'...her Alice Worth series is excellent. Typically I will also read YA paranormal fiction. I recently just finished  The Intuitives which was a fun fast read and one I would enthusiastically recommend to students. Luckily for me a few years ago my husband purchased a gift subscription to Kindle Unlimited for Mother's Day (they run a deal each year) and he renews it every May which has saved me (and subsequently him...😉) a ton of money buying books. I do try and utilize the public library whenever possible but I really LOVE my Kindle and the gratification of instantly downloading a book. Each summer I try to add at least one nonfiction book into the mix. Sometimes they are education related and sometimes they are just for fun. This year I picked up "The Edupreneur'

Summer PD Choice Board

Original Board Posted on Twitter 2019 Last year I ran across this summer PD choice board on Twitter . As someone who likes goals and lists it immediately appealed to me as a way of keeping motivated over the summer. The original file was posted on Laura Cahill's blog and I made a copy and modified it for my set of circumstances. It was fun checking things off the board throughout the summer. My Modified 2019 Summer PD Choice Board I had filed the idea away to share with our teachers this year (2020) and modified it again with our Beaufort County School District teachers in mind. The week we went out on break I posted it to our district's EdTech Facebook Page (a closed group we started with our district teachers as a place to share EdTech ideas and ask questions). Revised Board for BCSD Teachers 2020 Like Ms. Cahill writes in her blog "The idea is that whatever your situation, there is something you can do this summer that will re-energize you and re

Digital Stop Motion Animations

I love the idea of stop motion animation but not the headache of it. It is something I have always wanted to try in the classroom but when I started thinking about all the "stuff" it requires - props, lighting, storage space, a fixed camera, software, oddles of time...I pretty much said: I follow an art teacher (Tricia Fuglestad) on Twitter who does an excellent job blending art and technology together and she did a recent post on stop motion .  This got me thinking about a "Flipbook with Google Slides" session I took at a conference last summer with Abby Schiferl where I created a vocabulary animation for science .  I decided to use digital tools to try and re-create some of Tricia's samples. They were super easy to make. I did find one of the best and most helpful blog post  from Matt Miller regarding formatting tips for animating with Google Slides, which helped greatly, I made the "cheat sheet" below from it.

Doodle Your View Challenge

I was tagged on a "Doodle Your View" challenge on Twitter the other day. The idea is that you take a picture during the day and then you add drawings on top of the photo to go with it and then post to Twitter with #doodleyourview .   People were getting super creative with their submissions. Here are a few of the posts: I was tagged by art teacher Tricia Fuglestad who had an animated element in her view . That inspired me to see if I could animate my doodle and I opted to draw a tablet bag and animated it to drop into the collection box beneath it (see first image/GIF).  It was super fun to make and I combined several FREE programs to do it (they all do require logging into a Google Account though): - Canvas to create my doodle overlay - Google Slides to create the illusion of movement between slides - Tall Tweets to animate my slideshow into a finished GIF I made a six minute video overview of the proces