Aug 24

How to Make a Teacher’s Day

By:  Bill Gates

classroom behaviour“When I was in 7th grade, some of the parents from my school worked together to get a computer terminal on campus. Back then, computers seemed like foreign objects to a lot of people, but the faculty had a feeling they were going to be important. A few people at school told me about the machine and said, “Maybe you can figure this crazy thing out.” That was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with software.

Many students aren’t so lucky. Teachers across the country are struggling to give their classes great tools for learning. I hear it from teachers whenever I visit a school. Some classrooms need computers, but others need more basic things: textbooks, building blocks, art supplies, even just a rug big enough for the whole class to sit on.

And with school starting up, this is an especially important time. Teachers have enough things to worry about right now. Getting the right supplies shouldn’t be one of them.

Melinda and I are big fans of, a program that makes it easy for teachers to connect with potential donors. Teachers can post projects that need funding, and donors can search for projects by school, subject, grade, and so on. You can give to your local school, or one across the country.” To read further please click here:

Aug 23

Ten Ways to Use Video in the Classroom

By: Brian Bennet

VIDEO IN CLASS“It’s back-to-school season for most educators and this year, the TechSmith Education team is writing a series of blog posts with some ideas for the classroom. Today, we want to take a look at using video in the classroom.

Many people may think of video in the classroom as delivering a TED talk, History or Discovery Channel video. This is true and good, but we’ve assembled 10 examples where the teacher is creating the video to address some need in the classroom. Check them out! The video is only five minutes long and we’ve provided discussion points for each example below.”To read further please click here:

Aug 23

Ways To Avoid Overwhelming Users: Lessons Learned From My High-School Teachers

By:  Jon Bernbach

tired22“High school. I won’t lie: I did not have the highest grades in my graduating class. Some classes and lessons were so poorly designed and delivered that I would frequently become frustrated and fatigued and would ultimately shut down. The contents of the lessons would just wash over me. The experience wasn’t pleasant, and the results were obvious from my transcripts.

But I did well in a few classes. The major difference was the teaching style. Currently, I am a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designer of mobile and web applications. In a way, like a teacher, I need to present information in an easily understandable way to new visitors. I need to consider how my students (end users) consume the information that I provide. So, reflection on my high-school experience serves a purpose (aside from painful fashion memories).” To read further please click here:

Aug 23

How To Choose A Learning Game

By: Jordan Shapiro

games for class“Many teachers are excited about trying games in the classroom but don’t know where to begin. The landscape of learning games is vast and confusing — and it’s growing and changing rapidly. Moving at the pace of the software industry, games are often updated and iterated so that new versions replace familiar ones before you’ve even had a chance to implement them in your classroom routine.

And teachers have busy schedules. We have barely enough time to complete our prep or even to provide students with as much written feedback as they deserve. Exploring such unfamiliar territory as games for learning takes a considerable investment of time and energy. For over-scheduled and underpaid teachers, available time and energy is already scarce and face-to-face classroom time is our top priority.

On the other hand, not exploring, updating and reinventing our teaching strategies can cause us to miss valuable opportunities to reach students. We all chose teaching because we love it, and a good teacher is constantly motivated to improve the classroom experience. Games are a great tool that can add a spark of new vitality. But how do you go about choosing the right game? What criteria should you use to pick a game for your classroom?” To read further please click here:

Aug 23

Teaching Strategies: 10 Things Successful Educators Do

By: Jenelle Cox

teachstrategies“What makes a successful teacher? If you were to ask any observer you may hear things like, the teacher kept the students engaged viaunique teaching strategies, and the classroom basically ran by itself. But, if you were to ask a student, you’d probably hear a different response along the lines of “they make learning fun” or “they never give up on me.”

To be honest, there are countless teaching strategies you can use to achieve success in the classroom, but no matter the teaching style, the most effective teachers have one thing in common—they know how to reach their students in a long-lasting, positive manner.Here are 10 qualities that contribute to a successful and happy teaching career:” To read further pleae click here:

Aug 22

8 Steps To Ensure Great Communication With Parents

By:Kati Lepi

parentts“As you’re preparing your lesson plans and classrooms for the first day of school (which may have already happened for some of you!), keeping in touch with parents is probably on your mind. Communicating classroom expectations and other pertinent information at the beginning of the school year is critical to get everyone started off on the right foot. But once you’re done with the beginning of the year communications, your contact with parents shouldn’t happen only when there is a problem or when parent’s night hits the calendar. Keeping open lines of communications with parents throughout the school year helps keep them engaged in their student’s school life, helps keep the student on top of communicating their goals, progress, and needs with their parents, and will ultimately help keep your classroom running a little bit more smoothly, even if it takes a bit of extra thought at the beginning.

The handy infographic below takes a look at 8 tips and tricks for staying in touch with parents throughout the school year. How often and how do you keep in touch with your student’s parents? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.” To read further please click here:

Aug 22

New Classroom Questioning Techniques for the Best Year Ever

By:Todd Finley

hands up“Seeking, Explaining, Relating, Predicting, and Describing

The NDT Resource Center recommends that you use the top categories of questions from their list more frequently than those at the bottom. Ask students to:

  • Seek out evidence. (“What made you say that?”)
  • Explain. (“What caused Nixon’s impeachment?”)
  • Relate concepts, ideas, and opinions. (“Compare germ-eliminating antibiotics to natural alternatives.”)
  • Predict. (“What will happen to Ahab if he continues to obsess about killing the Moby-Dick?”)
  • Describe. (“What happens when Max is sent to bed without supper?”)

Student-Generated Questions on Assigned Reading

Jonathan Bartels, a professor of education at the University of Alaska, directs students to bring their three best questions about the reading to class, and that kicks off a discussion.” To read furher please click here:

Aug 22

Smart Homework: How to Manage & Assess It

By:  Rick Wormeli

homewoerk2” For big projects with multiple weeks of student responses, such as a science learning log or a reader’s response journal, skim every page students have written, but have students select one entry for a letter grade by placing a star on the intended page. The entry should demonstrate outstanding thinking, science protocol, plot analysis, personal response, or whatever you’re emphasizing with the unit. If you’re worried about having a large enough sample, grade two or three entries.

▶ When checking a list of problems, sentences, or answers to questions, have students work in groups of four or five to confirm answers with one another. If someone gets the wrong answer and doesn’t understand why, the rest of the group explains. If the student or group is stuck in understanding how an answer was achieved, they identify that one problem/sentence/question to the teacher when she calls the groups back to the whole class. The teacher reviews only identified problems.” To read further please click here:

Aug 22

Four Skills to Teach Students In the First Five Days of School

By: Katrina Schwartz

Mindshift2_illo2_72“The first few days of school are a vital time to set the right tone for the rest of the year. Many teachers focus on important things like getting to know their students, building relationships and making sure students know what the classroom procedures will be. While those things are important, Alan November, a former teacher-turned-author and lecturer says the most important ideas to hammer home will help students learn on their own for the rest of the year.


“The name of the game is to find the right information with the right question,” said November during a workshop at the 2014 gathering of the International Society of Technology in Education in Atlanta. “My job used to be to give you the information, now my job is to teach you how to find the information.” November firmly believes this dynamic needs to be made very clear in the first five days of school.” To read further please click here:

Aug 22

Making Classroom Magic with Mystery Skype

By:Gina Ruffcorn

skype“The magic of Mystery Skype can be discovered in a myriad of ways. Sometimes you don’t even see the trick; it just manifests itself right before your eyes.

Allow me to share an example from my 5th grade classroom. Before Mystery Skype my students never considered themselves or their lives to be of much interest to anyone. They didn’t believe they had anything unique or special to offer. Just small town kids in a small rural school district in Mondamin, Iowa. However, through the power of Mystery Skype my kids soon realized the reasons they perceived themselves to be ordinary were in fact the things that made them unique. As we took part in Mystery Skype lessons, sharing our information and our personal experiences with many others, my students began to view themselves and their community from a new perspective. They carried themselves differently, spoke more confidently, and held their heads up just a little higher. It was a magical transformation which was completely unforeseen and unexpected.

Mystery Skype – an educational activity played by two classroom on Skype, where each has to guess where the other is located – has been described using many words like exciting, engaging and even magical. ” To read further please click here:

Aug 20

How To Turn Wikipedia Pages Into Ebooks

By: Fahad Khan

wikipedia-logo-tall-400x453“If you are like me, you probably love binge-reading Wikipedia, everyone’s favorite web encyclopedia. It contains a huge database of content on almost any topic under the Sun, and in a variety of languages. If you are preparing for a trip, you’d probably save some of these reading materials to read later, offline, but what if you could turn it into an ebook?

There is in fact a way to create an ebook from inside Wikipedia. You can create or arrange the chapters then turn it into an ebook in EPUB form or PDF form, free of charge. Alternatively you can request Wikipedia to send you a printed version, or get it printed out yourself.” To read further please click here:

Aug 20

8 Effective Ways To Get To Know Your Students

By:  Katie Lepi

primary“One of the challenges of back to school time is that you’re filled with a classroom (or classrooms) of students you don’t know. The students you just spent the last year with know your style, understand your expectations and classroom rules. You know their personalities, learning styles, quirks, likes, and dislikes. That knowledge base makes all the other stuff that happens in your classroom (ahem: learning) a whole lot easier.

So what do you do to get to know a fresh group of students at the beginning of the year? Some teachers have students place name placards on their desks until they have everyone’s name memorized. Others assign seating by name at the beginning of the year to make it easier for themselves. But getting to know your students is about more than just memorizing their names. It is also important that their fellow classmates get to know them too. The handy infographic belowlooks at 8 different get-to-know-you activities that are perfect for the beginning of the school year. Do you have any go-to, get-to-know-you, community building activities that always work well? Share with your fellow Edudemic readers by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.” To read further please click here:

Aug 20

This Flipped Class Is Studying Biology with a $10 Microscope and a Smart Phone

By:Dian Schaffhauser

flipping“Take a smartphone, add $10 worth of plywood and Plexiglas, a bit of hardware, laser pointer lenses and LED click lights from a keychain flashlight and you have a DIY microscope worthy of use in college classes. At least, that’s the idea of an instructor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology who is adding the do-it-yourself technology in her biology lab courses.

The project is part of a larger research endeavor at the university to explore the design of instructional labs for science and engineering courses that can be delivered in a blended or online format. The goal of a research is to develop e-learning models to redesign traditional lab courses to work in a hybrid format and to create a handbook for use by instructors that explains how to apply the new models.

“We’re working with different lab courses on campus that use blended or online learning and plan to come up with an instructional model that could be reproduced anywhere,” said Manager of Educational Technology Angela Hammons.” To read further please click here:

Aug 20

Turn Your Classroom into a Workshop to Engage Learners

ByMark Barnes

group-work“If you think a classroom bereft of traditional tools like homework, bell work, worksheets and even grades sounds intriguing, you are ready to convert your classroom into a workshop setting, where learning will really soar.

Say Goodbye to Order 
Order means control. There is no room for control in a dynamic workshop setting. When I created my first Results Only Learning Environment, desks were gathered in small groups. Bookcases lined the walls, and student work was taped or stapled in no particular order from one corner to the next. In the first year, five computers were nestled snugly against one wall, and one or two carts were stationed near the center, holding student note books, paperbacks or art supplies we used for projects. This was my somewhat chaotic, messy workshop.” To read further please click here:

Aug 20

Excellent Google Drive Resources for Teachers

By:Med Kharbach

goog“On the occasion of the first back-to-school week, I compiled this list of excellent resources to help teachers make the best of Google Drive in their classrooms. I firmly believe that Google Drive is one of the elemental web tools with huge educational potential that every teacher should be able to tap into. However, the thing with so many of Google’s services is that their power and usefulness lies in their hidden features. The resources below cover some of these features.” To read further please click here:

Aug 19

Exercise in math class? How one math teacher gets kids moving while studying

By:Valerie Strauss

groupss“I am a middle-school teacher who tries desperately to incorporate movement into my classes daily. Some of the strategies I use come from Eric Jensen’s “Teaching with the Brain in Mind” workshop I attended a few years ago.

I have kids stand and move to different locations in the room as informal assessment or to examine different skill challenges posted around the walls. I often take a traditional “worksheet” (I teach math) and cut it up and give kids one card at a time to practice with a partner or two — or alone (choice). They have to walk across the room and back to their work spot and then return for the next card.” To read further please click here:

Aug 19

5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners

By:Warren Berger

questions‘The humble question is an indispensable tool: the spade that helps us dig for truth, or the flashlight that illuminates surrounding darkness. Questioning helps us learn, explore the unknown, and adapt to change.

That makes it a most precious “app” today, in a world where everything is changing and so much is unknown. And yet, we don’t seem to value questioning as much as we should. For the most part, in our workplaces as well as our classrooms, it is the answers we reward — while the questions are barely tolerated.

To change that is easier said than done. Working within an answers-based education system, and in a culture where questioning may be seen as a sign of weakness, teachers must go out of their way to create conditions conducive to inquiry. Here are some suggestions (based on input from question-friendly teachers, schools, programs, and organizations) on how to encourage more questioning in the classroom and hopefully, beyond it. To read further please click here:

Aug 19

Contemporary educational ideas all my staff should know about

principal“As I look ahead to starting my new job at Highbury Grove,  I’m thinking about all the conversations we are going to have about learning.  To a large degree I want my teachers to be as up-to-date as possible within their own subject domains. They should know the latest OfSTED position ( eg with Moving English Forward or Mathematics: made to measure ) and be up to speed with exam specifications and assessment requirements.  Subject knowledge and subject-specific pedagogical knowledge are going to be key drivers of everything we do.

However, in order to fuel the collaborative effort of reaching the ambitious goals we have for the school, we’ll need to establish a shared conceptual language for talking about teaching across the school as well as within departments. Inevitably, different teachers will have engaged to different degrees with certain ideas depending on the books they’ve read, conferences they’ve been to and blogs they’ve browsed through and the content of their PGCE or other ITE programme.  It strikes me that it would be a huge benefit to us all if we’re more or less on the same page when we’re discussing contemporary ideas about pedagogy, learning, assessment, motivation, neuroscience and so on.   I don’t want people quoting half-remembered snippets from a Dylan Wiliam thing they attended years ago or citing Hattie effect sizes as absolute measures or talking about Growth Mindset, never having engaged with what Carol Dweck has actually written.” To read further please click here:

Aug 19

Great Resources for Integrating Technology in Class

By: Med Kharbach

technollogy“Over this weekend, I spent some time sifting through the piles of posts in this blog looking for materials and posts to help new teachers better integrate technology in education. The result is a list featuring some interesting resources that I highly recommend for any teacher planning to get their feet wet in the Ed Tech world.
As you can see below, the resources I handpicked for you include rubrics, tips, tools, and visuals all geared towards empowering you with a set of skills to enable you to  make a better use of technology in instruction. ” To read further please click here:

Aug 18

Augmented Reality – The Coolest Instructional Technology You’ve Never Heard of?

By:Maria Politis

augmented“Educators are always looking for new ways to enhance learning and expand the horizons of students in an engaging and interactive way. Gone are the days when class plans were based around exercises from a text book. The world around us is changing rapidly and even preschool age children are becoming more proficient with different types of handheld devices like tablets.

These devices are an integral part of more classrooms every day and are being used to complete homework activities, present projects, upload assignments and participate in classroom collaborations. Many school systems around the world are starting to move into the world of BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, which means that the tech we use in the classroom needs to work across multiple devices and platforms.” To read further please click here:

Aug 18

20 Free Collaborative Web Tools to Use in Class

By:  Med Kharbach

Collaboration-team-work.jpg.pagespeed.ce.Jf_WSBWV8u“Looking for some powerful collaborative web tools to use with your students in this new school year? The presentation below features the top 20 free tools ideal for interactive collaboration in classrooms. While all of these tools are web based and do not require any software installation, some of them, however, do require a sign-up.

This collection of free collaborative web tools is curated by Kelly Walsh from Emerging Ed Tech. Kelly has also recently published a free eBook that features over 100 pages of free instructional technology resources including tools for collaboration, gamification, active learning, screen casting and many more.” To read further please click here:

Aug 18

Local school districts using one-to-one technology to bring world to students

By:Amy Bounds“Trail Ridge Middle students and parents recently wound their way through a series of stations at the Longmont school to set up their new, district provided iPad minis so they’re ready to go when school starts on Monday.

“It’s going to be really awesome for the kids,” predicted parent Joanna Chavez, who has an eighth-grader and sixth-grader at the school. “Everything they do now is with electronics. They can’t wait to get them.”

District officials said the comprehensive distribution process, with about 6,200 iPad minis given out at middle schools throughout St. Vrain, was designed to give students and their parents a solid overview now that every middle schooler will be using the devices in classes.

“We’re very intentional in making this a very open process,” said Joe McBreen, the district’s chief information officer.. “We’re all in this together to educate our kids and empower them for the 21st century.” To read further please click here:

Aug 18

8 Back-to-school classroom activities that will get students laughing and learning

schoolss“Yesterday, we looked at some of the things that are weighing down teachers’ to-do lists during this back to school season. Some of the items that showed up on the list? Classroom set-up. Establishing activities for the first few days of school. Setting expectations for your classroom. Lesson planning. Community building. Figuring out how to best communicate with your students’ parents

For me, sometimes a long t0-do list leaves me with a ton of ideas for one thing, and basically zero ideas for another. In an effort to keep everyone flush with ideas in all categories, today we’re addressing some community building, get to know you activities for the first week of school. There are obviously many more options out there, but these are a few tried and true favorite options. What do you do in your classroom to help your students get to know one another (and you!) and to foster a community environment?” To read further please click here:

Aug 18

The McDonaldization of Education: the rise of slow

By: Shelley Wright

McDonald's“Slow.  I love this word, and yet it tends to have many negative connotations  in education. Which is too bad because it’s the very philosophy we need to save our education system, and give kids the time and space necessary to grow into the thoughtful, articulate citizens we desperately need them t0 become.

The 20th Century is known for many things. It’s mass destruction. Statistics show we managed to destroy each other and plunder the planet at a rate unequal to any other time in history. At the same time, it was also a time of great exploration, innovation and technological advance. The exploration of space. The eradication of disabling and fatal diseases. Increased global awareness. Gaining at least some measure of equality for groups who are disenfranchised.” To read further please click here:

Aug 17

Pump Students Up with Digital Icebreakers

By:Shelly Terrell

pumping-them-up-for-the-school-year-with-digital-icebreakers-1-638“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” by Plato

Throughout my teaching years, I’ve struggled with getting my students or trainees to readily participate. Learners are shy about exposing themselves to peers, especially if they do not know them well. Icebreakers can help alleviate our learners’ hesitation, because they relax the atmosphere, allow learners to share without the pressure of being graded, and help our learners get to know each other. In the slide presentation below I share some digital icebreakers I have used with learners of various ages. Find more in the bookmarks that follow the presentation. Find some of these icebreakers and other digital activities in my ebook, ” To read further please click here:

Aug 17

6 Videos Every Chemistry Student (And Teacher) Must See

By:Jeff Dunn

science6“You don’t need to be a science teacher to know that science is happening all around us, all the time. But getting your students to understand this – and be excited by it and interested in it – can be a different story altogether. Luckily, the American Chemical Society has a fabulous YouTube channel full of fun videos that explain the chemical reactions that happen as a part of our everyday lives. “Everyday Reactions” has a ton of great videos explaining everything from what we know about why Tylenol works to the chemical reactions that happen with money. And why dogs sniff each other’s butts. These are all really important things to know, after all!

We’ve picked out six of our favorite videos to show you below, but don’t forget to check out the YouTube channel to check out new videos as they’re uploaded! These concepts make for great discussion in class as well as information to share at your next cocktail party!”  To read further please click here:

Aug 17 The Easiest Way For Educators to Blog

By:Taylor Pipes

postachio“For many American educators, the summer is winding down and preparation for the upcoming academic school year is ramping up.

While students are enjoying every possible moment from the remaining summer days, teachers are starting to put the finishing touches on lesson plans, class schedules, and assignment instructions. For those devoted to teaching, there really is no break from the classroom.

We’ve seen interesting online dialog from educators who spend their summer attending conventions and researching techniques they can apply in their classroom.

One of the tools that is helping educators spread the word, a simple blogging platform that is powered by all of your Evernote documents.

We’re really excited to see Evernote users share their knowledge with the education community at large by publishing it with Postachio.”

Aug 17

Using a Wordle to Connect with Students

By:Barton Keeler

wordle“On the first day of school I greet every student at the door, welcoming them, shaking their hand and asking them what they like to do. This takes several minutes so I need to have a meaningful activity posted on the board for the students to work on while I finish my greetings.

This year I had the students create a Wordle by hand. Initially, I had the students think of 5 words that best describe themselves. I posted an example based on myself on the whiteboard. It contained vague, simple statements like: Teacher, Runner, Writer and some words that students were not familiar with like: Classicist and Calvinist. Actually I just borrowed what I had written on my Twitter profile. My thinking was that this would provide a visual example of what I wanted them to do. It worked ok the first day (we are on a block schedule so I see the same students every other day). But the results were unimaginative, generic and overall homogenous. For example, nearly every student said they were into sports and music. When I introduced my example there were very few follow up questions. But, it was something for them to do on their own so that I could greet kids and build community.” To read further please click here:

Aug 17

Make lesson planning easier and less time-consuming with use of your interactive whiteboard

By: /

tiredAs a teacher, I have to be careful that I do not let the responsibilities of a teacher creep into family time. Therefore, I am always searching for resources to make planning easier and less time consuming. I include in all my lesson plans an interactive Smartboard or PowerPoint presentation which starts with an introduction that leads into the new content and ends with a formative assessment. Sometimes I can use the pre-made visuals in Smartboard or clipart in PowerPoint; but most times I find them lacking ‘something or another’ and create my own. However, this becomes time-consuming. So, stumbling upon Gynzy, searching for a classroom timer, I was ecstatic—to find so many tools, in one place, pre-made, and all I had to do was adjust the setting. Could I be dreaming? This past school year, Gynzy was a lifesaver as I taught math in grades second, fourth, fifth, and eighth. Incorporating Gynzy into my lessons saved time and provided me with various strategies—sound, hands-on, visual—that helped all my students be successful in math.To read further please click here: 


Aug 16

The 5 Best Free Word Cloud Creation Tools for Teachers

By:Christopher Pappas

wordcloud“Word clouds are fun ways to get students thinking creatively about any topic. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to find the one that best meets your needs. Lucky for you, we’ve taken the dirty work out of it and compiled The 5 Best Free Word Cloud Creation Educational Tools for Teachers! Utilize these free educational technology tools to get your students’ minds immersed in any new topic.
” Word It Out is a word cloud creation tool that is easy to use and gives users many options for customizing their clouds.How to Use Word It OutBegin using Word It Out by clicking the link above. Once you are on the site, click the blue “Create Your Own” button. Find the text you would like to make a word cloud from on a separate site or document, then copy and paste it into the box under “Enter your original text here.” After that click the green “Word it out!” button.After this, your word cloud will be complete! Take note that you are able to customize your word cloud after it is completed. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the page and change things like background color, font type and size, and the layout of your cloud. Once you have made your changes, click “Apply” to apply them to your cloud.Once you have completed work on your cloud, click the green “Save” button to the right of the screen. Enter a title, description, related web page, email address, and decide your sharing preferences for your cloud, then click “Ok.” Validate your email by checking your inbox and clicking the link in the email from Word It Out. You will be redirected to a page that contains the link for your word cloud. At this point you are able to be done working, or copy the link and share it with friends!” To read further please click here: