Friday, October 14, 2016

8 Keyboard Shortcuts Everyone Should Know

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to save time when using the computer.  Here are a few of my favorites and some others that I was reintroduced to.

Control & C or Command & C (mac) is the shortcut to copy a picture or a selection of text.

Now that you copied this text, use Control & V or Command & V (mac) to paste the image of text.

Searching for something in a document or on a webpage?  To do this you use Control & F or Command & F (mac)

While you are searching you may want to easy move up and down the webpage and not have to scroll.  All you need to do is press the spacebar and you will jump down the webpage a chunk at a time.  If you want to move back up, simple use shift and the spacebar and that will bring you back up.

While you are searching the web you may want to open up a new tab.  You can easily do that my pressing Control & T or Command & T (mac).

You may also be clicking on links on these webpage.  If you don't have a setting that automatically opens up links in a new tab you can Control or Command (mac) before you click on the link and it will open up the link in a new tab.

Lastly to quickly close a tab all you need to do is Control & W or Command & W (mac)

I hope these were helpful!  As always, let me know with a comment if there is anything that you are looking to learn about!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Edmodo is more than just for your students - it can be professional development as well.

Some of you may have heard of Edmodo and might even be using it in your classes.  Those of you who aren't using it probably think that it's just for your students.  Edmodo is so much for than that and can actually be a great tool for professional development.  You can join groups for things like middle school science or technology in the classroom.
Of course you can also create classroom groups to assign homework, quizzes, track performances and award badges.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Google Docs gets Columns!!!!

Google Docs users have been asking for it for a while and now and Google finally gave it to us; columns in Google Docs.  You can now create documents with with two or three columns.  As with many things Google, it's pretty simple to include columns in your document.  All you need to do is to click on Format and then choose Columns.  How easy is that?  Then you can pick one, two or three columns.   You can also click on more options to customize it a bit more and change up things like spacing between columns.

What other things do you want to see updated in Google Docs?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Back to School - Get to know your students

I have never really done a get to know you activity with my students because my school is small.  The kids have been together since Kindergarten and by the time they are in middle and high school I figured that they knew everything there is to know about each other.  This year I am trying something new and, of course, I am using technology to help me out with it.  I've decided to have each student share one fact about them that most people don't know.  To do this, I created a Padlet board for each of my classes.  Padlet is basically an online builtin board.  You share the link with others and they an add text, videos and images to the board.  Neither you or the people you share your board with need an account, but I find it help to have one as the teacher.  Padlet gives you the ability to choose a background image and set other preferences to customize what your board looks like.

Once students have all submitted their facts about themselves, I am going to have the students try to guess who they think each fact belongs to.  I'm still trying to think of a fun way to do that part, but I would love any suggestions that you have!

This post is cross posted on my science blog Savvy Secondary Science

Monday, August 29, 2016

3 Tips for making your Google Slides Pop!!

If you've switched to Google Slides from something like PowerPoint or Keynote, you might be missing the templates and themes that those programs provide.  Did you know that Google Slides has a lot of templates built right in?

My first tip is to access Google slides directly by going to instead of going through drive.  You'll get a header that includes templates for you to choose from.  If click on more you'll see so many more templates that you can choose from and the are even organized by category! is a site that offers a number of templates that you can make a copy of.  When you click on the link you'll be brought to a view only version of the presentation.  One you make a copy of it you'll be able to edit it and make it your own.  I would suggest that every time you want to use it you make another copy of it so you always have a clean copy in your drive and don't have to go back to the website to get it.  One quick note on this side...there are ads on this site that look like if you click on them will download the template.  Don't click on those because you'll actually be downloading something else. ;-)

Lastly Slides Carnival is another site to get templates to help your slides pop!  It work just as the last site worked.  You click on the template that you want and you'll get a view only version that you'll need to make a copy off.  Same tip applies that you need to watch out for ads that look like you are getting the template, but are actually downloading something else.

I hope that this has helped you snaz up your Google Slides!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Detecting Quality Sources

Thank you to Carol from I'm technically speaking for this guest post!

Detecting Quality Sources
Have you ever landed on a website and wondered about the accuracy? Or have your students landed on a site that the credibility is questionable for use in their research? How can you eliminate the mystery surrounding website accuracy and credibility?

Using a fake site is a fun way to teach website evaluation skills, as the students are almost solving a mystery. There are clues within the site that will lead them to discover the truth of real or fake. There are even special tools that can be used to help solve the mystery. A good list has been collected by Dr. Mary Ann Bell at Aditi Rao has published on techbytes a list of 11 at One of my favorites is Broilerplate.

Examine the clues
One of the first clues to a website mystery, might just be in the URL/website address. Let’s use
my Boilerplate site as an example. If you truncate the URL (take off all the /’s) and look at the main address: Obviously “bigredhair”, does not sound very scholarly and add to that the .com signifying a commercial site. These first clues point to a fake/untrustworthy site.

Another set of clues can be unveiled when considering who the author is and what their purpose is this the site. Ask yourself what intent of the author might be: to inform, explain, sell, share, or other. Does it seem to be more opinion or fact? You can check the links on the site and what they connect to as well. All these clues should help lead you to a good deduction of credibility.

What do you think so far? Is the Boilerplate site fake? Sometimes you need more clues to make the determination. A good detective also has useful tools, let’s put some to use and solve this mystery!

Use the tools
RADCAB stands for relevancy, appropriateness, detail, currency, authority and bias. This site has teaching posters and an evaluation rubric students can use.

Imagine Easy Web Academy’s Website Evaluator (
Simply paste the questioned website’s url into the box and click evaluate. The site will lead you through an evaluation process. Examine the purpose, accuracy, authority/author & publisher, relevance, and currency of the website.

C.R.A.A.P. Test
For older students I like the C.R.A.A. P. test. It looks at currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose. A great rubric that students can use is located here:

Resource Gude

Now that you have removed the mystery….how did your site score?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Host a ClassFlow™ Dynamic Teacher House Party

ClassFlow is a new LMS and they are offering some cool stuff just for sharing with your friends. Below is some information about the party they are having and how you can host one as well.

You can find more information by going to their website.

As a teacher, you know that the best classes are the ones where your students are engaged in the lesson, interacting with you, and collaborating with each other. Enter ClassFlow™, designed by Promethean. ClassFlow is a free collaborative teaching and learning platform that can bring your classes to life. ClassFlow integrates free and premium curriculum content with an energizing and engaging lesson delivery application that works with most individual devices — laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, etc.

ClassFlow is a key part of the modern classroom, so invite your fellow dynamic teachers over to experience lively learning with ClassFlow. Share tips with each other for great lesson plans and then show them how ClassFlow makes learning more interactive and dynamic. Best of all it's free, so apply to host a party today and help your fellow teachers discover ClassFlow.

This event is only open to residents of the US.

If you’re selected and confirmed as a host, your exclusive Party Pack will contain:

  • Visa gift card 
  • Set of photo booth props 
  • And more