How Will You Welcome Back Students in 2018?

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something." Neil Gaiman

I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks and looking forward to reconnecting with your students in 2018?

How will you start the new year with your students? 
Will you jump right into the content? Reflect on the break or 2017? Something fun? Something different?

Please share your thoughts and ideas for 2018 in the comments below?

I've decided to do something new to welcome my students back. This year we will be working through a HyperDoc to start 2018. HyperDocs are not new for my students, but most of them are connected to our content. My welcome back HyperDoc will include:

  • A review of events and stories from 2017.
  • Student creation of an Avatar connected to their goals for 2018.
  • Sharing of Favorite Motivational Videos by students.
  • Connecting with the World. (This may seem a bit out of place, but one of our goals all year has been to look beyond our everyday place.)
  • Sharing and reflection on student goals for 2018 using Flipgrid.

Reboot the Noggin - New Year's Welcome Back HyperDoc

Sean Fahey recently inspired me to use a #OneWord Challenge as a hook before starting this HyperDoc. You can have students share using one of these Formative Tools or by using a word cloud generator like AnswerGarden.

Capturing Student Reflections in Google Slides - The Power of Exit Slips

"Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful." Margaret J. Wheatley

Exit slips or exit tickets are a type of formative assessment that can help both teachers and students reflect on the learning process. Students respond to a question the teacher asks at the end of class or activity. I also believe these reflective student experiences can help cement key concepts for all learners. When the teacher reads or discusses the responses there is also tremendous value for the teacher to learn and grow..

The web is full of tools that support communication and formative assessment. Today I want to share 3 resources that work with Google Slides that support quick and easy exit slips, including the Pear Deck Add-on for Slides, The Poll Everywhere Extension for Google Slides, and the Google Slides Q and A Presenter Tool. 

This free Pear Deck Google Slides Add-on allows teachers to add a variety of different question types directly into Google Slides.

I use the "Reflection Slide" several times a week with my students.
You can explore step by step instructions to get the Pear Deck Add-on setup here.

The Poll Everywhere Extension allows teachers to add a variety of interactive questions into slides without ever leaving the presentation.

Learn more about using the Poll Everywhere Extension here.

The Q and A features are built into Google Slides for presenters. It is designed to allow viewers to ask questions and it has the unique feature of allowing viewers to vote up or down the questions. This could easily be adapted as an exit slip tool. Instead of students asking a question, they can use this tool to reflect on the learning and explore the responses of their classmates.

Learn more about Google Slides Q & A here.

Additional Resources Connected to Exit Slips and Google Slides

Save Time Watching Long YouTube Videos by Speeding Up The Feed

If you know me, it should come as no secret that I watch quite a few webinars and tutorials on YouTube. YouTube has always been a powerful resource to help me to learn and grow.
I do have one problem with watching these videos. Sometimes I don't have enough time. This means I might sometimes skip something important or just not be able to finish.

Recently I discovered the power of YouTube Speed settings. Most people can listen and learn faster than people talk. YouTube has a solution for this. If you click on the Gear Icon when watching a video, you can choose to speed up or slow down the video. 

YouTube does a nice job of adjusting the sound so you don't feel like you are listening to the Chipmunks. 

I typically use the speed of 1.5 when watching. I would recommend experimenting to see what works best for you. Try it out and let me know what you think?

There is also a Chrome Extension that you can use to adjust on the fly. 

Digital Resources to Support Math Educators and Students

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
Albert Einstein

We are working on updating our web resources for different subject areas. This week the focus is on Math Chrome and G Suite Resources for K-12 teachers and students. This is the working document:

If you have suggested resources or ideas can you share them with us?

10 Great Hashtags Educators Should Be Exploring

Funny, but this is not the power of hashtags for educators! Hashtags for education are one of the most powerful tools connected to personal learning networks. 

What are hashtags?
Have you ever searched Google by using quotations to refine your results? Hashtags on Twitter work about the same way. A hashtag is the # symbol followed by a word or phrase. Two of the most popular educational hashtags are #edtech and #edchat.

A hashtag search will default to "Top" tweets connected to the hashtag. The top tweets is a good starting point, but I recommend clicking on "Latest" to get the most from your search. You can also click on "People" to connect directly with educators associated with the hashtag. 

Why use hashtags?
Hashtags allow Twitter users to narrow down results. When attached to your post they help other interested users to find what you are sharing. Educational hashtags have the power to connect educators to important conversations and educational trends.

If you are interested in a topic, there is probably a hashtag that can help. Here are 10 of my favorite hashtags connected to teaching and learning. This is by no means a complete list. There are many other great educational hashtags. My goal for this list was to provide some variety. Please feel free to share your favorite hashtags in the comments below.

#DigitalCitizenship - Educators and organizations sharing ideas and resources to support student digital footprints and online etiquette. Educators connected to this hashtag believe that all students need help to create and maintain a positive digital resume. #digcit is another popular digital citizenship hashtag. 

#KidsDeserveIt - This hashtag exists today to be a source of inspiration but also to be a place where ideas and opinions are brought about that may challenge the way things have always been done. Connected to the book Kids Deserve It.

#tlap - This hashtag offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educatorConnected to the book Teach Like a Pirate.

#edtechteam- Originally connected to the EdTechTeam Summits, this hashtag is a place where educators share valuable resources and ideas connected to edtech, learning spaces, Google for Education, and much more. 

#InnovatorsMindset - This hashtags challenges the status quo and asks educators to explore how teachers can bring a new more innovative mindset to their classrooms. Connected to the book Innovator's Mindset

#GSuiteEDU - Connected to G Suite for Education. This hashtag brings some of the best and the brightest educators together. While the focus is on Google, there are many other great resources and ideas shared. It is not just a Google hashtag. 

#ditchbook - This hashtag brings together educators who understand that technology is changing the world and so must our classrooms. Connected to the book Ditch that Textbook.

#pbl - Brings together educators interested in project based learning. 

#onesmallthing - Based on the simple idea that a BIG impact comes from focusing on one small change at a time. Connected to Teacher 2 Teacher Website (#T2T). 

#hyperdocs - Brings together educators using HyperDocs as a tool to support student-centered learning enhanced by edtech. Connected to the HyperDoc Handbook

There is also a great deal of value in following the hashtags of different educational conferences during the conferences. ISTE, ASCD, ICE, and FETC all conferences that have very active hashtags before, during, and after the conferences.

Not enough Hashtags for you? Explore these resources to find even more great Educational Hashtags.

Just a bit more Twitter fun!

Digital Literacy & Citizenship Resources

If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrong.Germany Kent

The only constant in this world is change. The world that many educators grew up in does not exist for our students today. We are connected to the world like never before, but the world also has unprecedented access to us. Navigating the digital world is an essential skill for all learners.
ISTE Student Standard 2: Digital Citizen Students recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
I believe that it is important for educators, students, and parents to recognize that we all have a digital tattoo. Something is added to our digital tattoo almost every time we are online.  I like this analogy because once we share something with the digital world it is very hard to erase it, just like it is hard to remove a tattoo. Good or bad, our online resume is part of us now and in the future.

I believe all educators have a responsibility to help our students become digitally literate and my PLN has been helping us organize resources to support all students now and in the future.
__________ Featured Books Connected to Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy

__________ Featured Digital Citizenship & Digital Literacy Resources


Additional resources and a Digital Literacy Video Playlist can be found on our Digital Learning website.

What resources will you use to support digital literacy and citizenship in your classrooms?

Resources to Support Creative Student Voices #StudentVoice

Student Voice is no longer relegated to the traditional methods and pedagogy. Powerpoints, class discussion, writing, and drawing still have an important place in our classrooms, but they cannot be the only way Future Ready Teachers and Students engage in content. EdTech today provides students and educators with incredible resources to engage Student Voice

Today, Student Voice needs to be connected to a range of skills and connected resources including images, text, audio, interactive components, and video. The web and Google Apps for Education can provide students and teachers with a wealth of resources to flip the traditional a presentation model on its head.

The resources connected on this page are commonly used in education and are typically free. This is by no means a complete list. We’ve selected and categorized some of our PLN's favorite resources to support Creative Student Voice.

Most of the resources in this document have interactive help tutorials built into the resource. Additionally, a quick YouTube search will provide some nice tutorials for teachers and students.

Please feel free to share your favorite resources in the Padlet linked in the Document or in the comments section below.

The ISTE Standards and the 4 Cs of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity

Developing a Future Ready Classroom With the 4 Cs Connected to Learning
"The time for major change in education is now. In a world where rapid advances in technology have a profound impact on the ways we work, communicate and live, education has struggled to keep pace. The ISTE Standards work together to support educators, students, and leaders with clear guidelines for the skills and knowledge necessary to move away from the factory model. These are not the typical boxes educators need to check. They provide a framework for rethinking education, adapting to a constantly changing technological landscape and preparing students to enter an increasingly global economy." International Society for Technology in Education

I know that for some educators the word standard has become a bit of a dirty word. I totally get it, too often we feel like we are teaching to a test connected to standards that we don't like or don't understand. If you feel this way, today I am going ask you to set aside any misgivings you have about standards and take a closer look at the ISTE Standards. I believe these technology standards can be a framework to help teachers and students build mindsets that can transform learning and teaching for the better.

One of my favorite things about the ISTE Standards is that they connect so well to skills that support collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. I have always believed that these skills are essential for all students and teachers. The best classroom activities provide students with opportunities to practice these skills in learner-centered environments. The links below connect to resources inspired by ISTE Standards for each of the 4 Cs. 

Collaboration - Students need the opportunity to work with their peers in both the physical and digital work-space. A classroom full of students with headphones in front of their screens is a dull place no matter how engaging the activity might be. Students also need to learn that collaboration is more than divide and conquer.

Communication - Personal and digital communication are essential skills that must be developed in a learner-centered classroom. It is also important for students to understand best practices as a "digital citizens" connected to their modes of communication.

Critical Thinking - If the students can "Google" the answer, did I really need to be asking it? Being connected is more than just access to answers. Students also need to develop the skills needed to evaluate and personalize information. Connected learners should be inspired to discover and explore new questions not just search for answers.

Creativity - Creativity in a 1 to 1 classroom is not just about creating artistic works. Creativity is using digital tools to find new ways of doing something. Students need to find and explore new ways of learning and creating connections to digital resources.

Additional Resources Connected to the 4 Cs and the ISTE Standards

Digital Resources to Support Social Studies Educators and Students

"We are not the makers of history. We are made of history."
Martin Luther King Jr

We are working on updating our web resources for different subject areas. This week the focus is on Social Studies Chrome and G Suite Resources for K-12 teachers and students. This is the working document:

If you have suggested resources or ideas can you share them with us?

Digital Shopping Guide for Educators

The Holiday Season is just about upon us. I have more than a bit of experience shopping online, so each year a share some Holiday shopping tips we’ve put together to help teachers, their families, and just about anyone save a little green this holiday season. We put this guide out once a year and we think there is something in this post that can help just about anyone regardless of your online shopping experience.

Online Cashback Websites

There are many sites that take advantage of online advertising to provide the consumer with coupons and cashback for major retailers when you shop online. They are free, secure, and incredibly easy to use. Combine these with rewards on a credit card and it the cashback can start to really add up. Mr. Rebates and Ebates are two great resources for online shopping.

Click here to explore Mr. Rebates - Cash Back Shopping

Click here to explore Ebates - Online Coupons and Cashback

Technology Purchases


iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, or Macbook? Apple typically runs their once a year sale on Black Friday online and in store. The MacRumors Site typically has the most updated details about Apple Store Sales
Android and Chromebooks
Most major online retailers will run a variety of sales throughout the year. I would recommend starting your Chromebook search on Amazon Online when looking for the best prices on a new Chromebook.
Most mobile service providers will include deals on phones when you sign up for a contract, but smart shoppers can often find great deals online.

Amazon and eBay

Great places to shop for literally anything, especially Tech. You will frequently find the best prices for stuff here.  Remember that you are not always buying directly Amazon. Like eBay, Amazon has items for sale from other companies and independent sellers.  Both eBay and Amazon have incredible customer support. Mr. Rebates and Ebates also support Cashback for both sites.

Click here to explore Amazon’s Black Friday Deals
Learn more about Amazon Prime Membership to save on shipping.

Click here to explore eBay Deals
Learn more about the eBay Bucks to earn cashback on all of your eBay purchases.

Union Membership

Did you know that both the NEA and AFT posts some excellent deals for teachers? These deals include: merchandise, restaurants, and travel.

Click here to explore the NEA Member Benefits Site.

Click here to explore the AFT Member Benefits Site.

Daily Deal Websites – Online and in Store

There are a variety of websites that compile information about sales and deals year round. My favorite is  the Wise Bread site. I also love the deals on

Click here to explore the Wisebread Site - Living Large on a Small Budget.

Click here to explore - Your Place to Save Every Day.

Online Coupon Sites

There are several online sites that collect and share retailer coupons and deals. These coupons are often both digital or printable. RetailMeNot is a current favorite.

Click here to explore RetailMeNot - Coupons and Promo Codes

Click here to explore the Honey Chrome Extension

Protecting Your Credit Card Online

Most online stores / credit card companies do a great job taking care of credit card purchases, but a great way to pay from a lot of online purchases is to use PayPal. It’s free and provides an extra layer of security between your credit card and online shopping. Paypal also supports free returns for many purchases.

The Rest of the Story - Additional Online Shopping Resources
Have something to share connected to online shopping? Please add it to the comments below. We are always looking to improve and update these resources. 

Brain Breaks - Critical Thinking with Google's New Mystery Animal

At some point in our lives we've all played some version of the Game 20 Questions, right?

Recently Google released their own 20 Question Game Called Mystery Animal for Google Home. It also works in Chrome.
"Mystery Animal is a new spin on the classic 20-questions game. The computer pretends to be an animal, and you have to guess what it is using your voice. Ask any yes-or-no question you want, like "Do you have feathers?" or "Do you sleep at night?" Play it on a Google Home by saying "Hey Google, talk to Mystery Animal," or try it on the site."
I am a big fan of Brain Breaks for students. The best brain breaks are collaborative and get students thinking. This new resource could be used by small groups of students or as a whole class activity.  Get them thinking critically about the best questions to ask! Get them collaborating. 

We've added this resource to our Google Secrets Document. What other Google Tools do you use in unique ways with your students?

Chrome Browser Tab Shortcuts to Enhance Productive Workflow

Enhance your browsing experience by know some of the essential shortcuts connected to Chrome Tabs. For example, if you right-click on a tab in Chrome, you open a tab menu that allows you to manage and recover tabs. You can also pin tabs you use frequently, recover closed tabs, and rearrange the order of tabs. Here are a few more top tips.

Chrome OS Tabs & Windows Essentials

New tab
ctrl + t
ctrl + r
Right-click on tab
Pin Tab
Right-click on tab
Mute tab
Right-click on tab
Close Tab
Click on the x or ctrl + w
Close other tabs
Right-click on tab
Reopen closed tabs
ctrl + shift + t
Bookmark all tabs
ctrl + shift + d
Open previous page
alt + left arrow
Open next page
Alt + right arrow
Switch windows
alt + tab
See two windows at the same time
  1. On one of the windows you want to see, click and hold Maximize.Maximize window
  2. Drag to the left or right arrow.Window - dock leftWindow - dock right
  3. Repeat for a second window.
Tip: You can also use the shortcut Alt + [ to move left, or Alt + ] to move right.
Reorder, move, or pin tabs
You can put related tabs together, or move a tab into or out of a window. Also, if there’s a webpage you always want open, like your email, you can make that tab easy to find by pinning it.
  • Reorder tabs within the same window: Drag the tab to a different position along the top of the browser window.
  • Move a tab into a new window: Click and drag the tab away from the window. You can make the tab into its own window, or drag it into another window.

Change window size

  • View full screen: At the top of your keyboard, press Fullscreen Full screen (or F4).
  • Maximize window: At the top right, click Maximize.Maximize window
  • Minimize window: At the top right, click Minimize.Minimize window

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