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Technology Tutorials and PD Presentations for Teachers


Technology changes so quickly! It can be hard to keep up with all of the newest educational technology tools and even harder to learn how to use them in the classroom. The goal of the Technology Toolbox for Teachers is to take all of that pressure off of you! Technology changes so quickly! It can be hard to keep up with all of the newest educational technology tools and even harder to learn how to use them in the classroom. The goal of the Technology Toolbox for Teachers is to take all of that pressure off of you! 

This premium member's library has over 80 tech tool tutorials with more being added every week. In addition to the tutorial, each tech tool page includes a downloadable (in Google Slides or PowerPoint) PD presentation that walks you through the tech tool and gives ideas for using it in the classroom. 

Technology changes so quickly! It can be hard to keep up with all of the newest educational technology tools and even harder to learn how to use them in the classroom. The goal of the Technology Toolbox for Teachers is to take all of that pressure off of you!
This is a peek at what the library looks like. You can view more by clicking on the image. 

FAQ for the Technology Toolbox for Teachers

Wondering what you’ll use this for? Here are some ideas:

  1. Teach yourself the latest and greatest tech tools as your own pace. Feel like a pro when it is time to use them with your students. 
  2. Use the tutorials and ideas to guide a PD presentation for the staff at your school. They will really appreciate learning from you. *Reach out to me if you want to use this information for a bigger-scale presentation. 
  3. Get inspiration for lessons to try with your students. These ideas are just the beginning! 

How are the tech tools chosen?

I pride myself in staying up to date on technology tools. I read publications, blogs, and Facebook groups daily and keep a running list of new edtech tools to check out. The vetting process includes making sure the tool is useful for elementary age students. If I can come up with at least 2 ideas for use at the elementary level then the tech tool makes the list. 

How many tutorials are included?

As of June 2020, when this blog post was written, there are over 80 tech tools. I have 100 more tech tools planned as of now, and the list keeps growing. As new tech tools come out I research them and add them to the list. Since I started the Tech Toolbox for Teachers I've added dozens of new tools to the list and only 6 tools have been discontinued. 
Technology changes so quickly! It can be hard to keep up with all of the newest educational technology tools and even harder to learn how to use them in the classroom. The goal of the Technology Toolbox for Teachers is to take all of that pressure off of you!

Why is the tech toolbox a subscription?

In total it takes me about an hour for each tech tool to research it, create the tutorial steps, create the PD presentation, and make the page for it in the library. As I continue adding new tech tools ( I have about 100 more planned) I want subscribers to have access to them. A monthly subscription means you can access the library at any time, find what you need, and know it is the most up to date information. 

Can I use the PD Presentations to give training to staff at my school?

Yes you can! This membership is perfect for technology facilitators and instructional resource teachers because all of the work is done for you. Just download the PD presentation, read it over, consider adding your own presenter notes, and you're ready to go. I just ask that you don't share the presentation file with anyone else. 

Where do I sign up for the Technology Toolbox for Teachers?

You can find all of the details and sign up by clicking here. There are 10 sample tutorials and PD presentations that you can check out to make sure it will be a good fit for you. 
Still have questions? Email me any time! 
Technology changes so quickly! It can be hard to keep up with all of the newest educational technology tools and even harder to learn how to use them in the classroom. The goal of the Technology Toolbox for Teachers is to take all of that pressure off of you!

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STEM and My World - Physical and Digital STEM Activities for Social Studies


As we prepare our youngest students for the future, we believe in the promotion of digital literacy as well as the importance of "unplugging" for hands-on collaboration. Created by Brooke Brown and Brittany Washburn, STEM and My World brings early childhood social studies to life with interactive digital activities and an engaging collaborative STEM challenge.
As we prepare our youngest students for the future, we believe in the promotion of digital literacy as well as the importance of "unplugging" for hands-on collaboration. Created by Brooke Brown and Brittany Washburn, STEM and My World brings early childhood social studies to life with interactive digital activities and an engaging collaborative STEM challenge.

STEM and My World activities are designed for the primary grades classroom but are also great to do at home. Since there are so many great activities included, it can be something done over multiple sessions at school and at home. These STEM Challenges and Digital slides make a great addition to the social studies units on the same topics. 

DIGITAL SLIDES
The digital slides that go with each unit are in Google Slides but can also be used in PowerPoint. Students interact with the slides by completing drag and drop and simple typing activities. We've included links to videos to enhance the understanding of each topic. 
STEM and My World

STEM Challenges
These hands on STEM Challenges are a great opportunity for collaboration and problem solving. You can complete them with materials on hand, and the teacher charts and vocab cards are provided to help you facilitate learning. 
STEM and My World

MAKERTECH MATS
We all want our students to master technology tools and use them to create original works. Each of the tech tools in the MakerTech guide are designed to allow students to explore digital tools while creating something using the steps of the engineering design process. The best part is that nearly every topic and subject area can be explored using these tools, so they can be used as a part of your daily academic activities, not as an extra thing to fit into your schedule.
STEM and My World

Right now we have 3 units available to try with your students. 

STEM and My World - Landforms and Mapping

Landforms Includes the following:
*32 slides of interactive digital Google Slides activities for landforms and mapping, compatible with ANY device
STEM and My WorldSTEM and My World
STEM and My World
*FOUR STEM Challenges with lesson plans, teacher charts, vocabulary cards, and student templates:
1) Me on the Map
2) Road Trip
3) Crafty Compass
4) Landform Construction
STEM and My World

STEM and My World

*Makertech Mat choice board for Makerspace extensions
*App poster
STEM and My World

STEM and My World - My Family

My Family Includes the following: 
*13 interactive digital Google Slides activities for family structures, compatible with any device
STEM and My World

STEM and My World

*"Building Generations" (Family Tree) STEM Challenge with lesson plan, teacher chart, vocabulary cards, and student template
STEM and My World

*Makertech Mat choice board for Makerspace extensions
*App poster
STEM and My World
Click here for the My Family Unit


STEM and My World - Fire Safety

Fire Safety Includes the following:
*16 interactive digital Google Slides activities for fire safety, compatible with any device
STEM and My World

STEM and My World

STEM and My World

*"Escape to Safety" STEM Challenge with lesson plan, teacher chart, vocabulary cards, and student template
STEM and My World
STEM and My World

*Makertech Mat choice board for Makerspace extensions
*App poster
STEM and My World
Click here for the Fire Safety Unit

When students are finished
• Create a class eBook in Google Slides where students each get one slide to insert their final product.
• Create a Padlet and have students upload their final product.
• Have a “gallery walk” where students have their final product up on their screen while they walk around to see classmates’ creations.
• Have students present their final product to the class.
As we prepare our youngest students for the future, we believe in the promotion of digital literacy as well as the importance of "unplugging" for hands-on collaboration. Created by Brooke Brown and Brittany Washburn, STEM and My World brings early childhood social studies to life with interactive digital activities and an engaging collaborative STEM challenge.

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Unplugged Keyboard Practice - Typing Story Mats


Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards). There are 4 levels of each story and 28 different keyboard layout options to make differentiation a breeze. Prep them once and use it as a station all year long.
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
This series was created in collaboration with Mrs. D's Corner as a way of teaching the skill of keyboarding to all levels of learners in an engaging and developmentally appropriate way. 
TOPICS INCLUDED
2D Shapes
Colors
Counting
Days of the Week
Months
Numbers 0-10

PREPPING THE STORIES
Once you’ve decided on the level of challenge you want for your students, print the Keyboard(s).
If you print the black and white keyboards, you can put them on colored paper to save ink while still making the page look appealing.

Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
Cardstock is recommended since the keyboards are going to be touched the most. Laminate them if you can.
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
The story pages print two to a page. All you have to do is cut across the line and the halves are the same size. No trimming!
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
BINDING AND STORING THE PREPPED STORIES
You have a lot of binding options. Putting the stories in a binder is a great option if you know you’ll be putting them away and taking them back out regularly (or asking your students to just grab and go). All you have to do is 3-hole punch on the gray bar.
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
If you have a binding machine, spiral bound stories are also easy to store and look so cute!
Stapling the tops will also work, just take the time to fold back the pages or show students how to if they are using a freshly made story. 
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
USING THE STORIES
Regardless of how you decided to bind the pages together, these activities are meant to be easy to use and independent for most students.
Students simply
  • read the words,
  • type the indicated word on their printed keyboard, and then
  • flip to the next page and continue.
You could have them read the words out loud and spell out the typed word as they find the letters. You could have them do the activity silently. We’ve found that it makes a great independent word work station.
There is a nearly limitless combination of keyboard layouts and story levels included in this resource that you can use to differentiate for your students.
Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
For example, use a level 1 story (Uppercase with box) with the matching simplest keyboard (color coded) until mastery and then change out the keyboard for one with more keys or different color coding to add a challenge.
OR Use the same keyboard layout the whole time but with increasingly harder versions of the story each time.

Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).
We would love to see pictures of how you put together your Typing Story Mats. Don't forget to tag us on social media!

Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).

Students practice spelling and typing words with story mats and printable keyboards (or you can use real keyboards).

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6 Student Options for Making a Digital Avatar Character


So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!
So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!

In no particular order, here are the digital character builders you can use to have students make their own avatar:

Mini-Mizer (requires flash)

This one is so much fun for kids because the end result looks like a lego mini figure!

Create Your Avatar

Great option for students with an email address (that is how they save the final image).

Avatar Builder Digital Glyph

This option combines digital literacy and the fun of making a character. Students have to copy and paste across slides (In Google Slides or PowerPoint) and then resize the pieces to layer together to build the Avatar. They can make as many variations as they want!

Made with Code Avatar Project (hopefully still available for a while)


The Made with Code project teaches students about coding concepts while they build a character. There are only "girl" options but it is versatile enough for most elementary age kids to be able to use it. This activity is part of a Coding Lesson I have for 3rd graders on k5tech.net and you can try it for free - Code an Avatar Lesson Page

Build a Character Digital Glyph

The build a character digital glyph is perfect for primary grades students and it is educational! Students build their tech skills by needing to copy and paste across slides and resize the pieces to fit.

Portrait Avatar Maker

The portrait avatar maker is so simple yet gets the job done. Students will love seeing how theirs turns out!

How are you using these digital characters in the classroom? Students love to have an avatar that looks like them as their profile picture and it is a safer alternative to a real photo. I think it is important to have a conversation with students about their digital reputations before they make their avatars so that they can think through which private information about their physical appearance they want to share. We also chat about how when we are looking at a profile picture online, we have no way of knowing if that is really the way the person looks. All important topics of discussion! 

There you have it! 6 Alternatives to Bitmojis and Facebook Avatars for Students to use to build their own characters. Pin this post to get back to later and share it with your teacher and parent friends! 
So your students want to make a Bitmoji or Facebook Avatar but they're too young or it isn't school appropriate? This list of alternative options for building digital characters is the solution, and some of them are even educational!



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Tips for Using Google Forms in the Classroom


Google has so many amazing ways that teachers and students can use it, and Google Forms is one of the best ways to collect research, survey the students, or have them submit assignments. It is so simple to use, it saves you time, and you can get all the data in a spreadsheet when you’re done.

Google has so many amazing ways that teachers and students can use it, and Google Forms is one of the best ways to collect research, survey the students, or have them submit assignments. It is so simple to use, it saves you time, and you can get all the data in a spreadsheet when you’re done.

If you’re not familiar with Google Drive, this is where you can begin to build your Google Forms. When you go to create a new file, click on Forms, and you are on your way!

Quick Tips For Google Forms

1. Make the instructions clear.
When you set up your form remember to give instructions for the form. If the form is not an anonymous survey or research project, then make sure to have a section for the student’s name at the beginning. 

2. Make sure to ask for the student’s name at the beginning of the survey.
I’ve made the mistake before where I didn’t have the name of the students who submitted forms. Unless you ask for a name, it might be difficult to know who completed the assignment or survey.

3. Explore the different question options.
What’s this research project all about? Should the answers be long or short answer. Should they be check boxes, a Likert Scale, multiple choice. Think through the best ways to organize and simplify the research.

4. Use Section Headings When Necessary
Depending on the intensity of your research, you might need to have multiple sections. If your using forms for assignments, you might have multiple choice questions first, and then loger paragraph or short answers sections next. If only Google Forms could do all the grading for you too. 

5. Connect your forms to Google Classroom!
If you need your class to do a form or a survey or a quiz or a short story, just add it to an assignment and post it in the stream of your Google Classroom. You can even put a due date, and return assignments, just like paper--but no paper!


Ways To Use Google Forms:

Now that you have fully explored how incredible Google Forms is, and all the different ways you can set it up, here’s ways you can use it! 

1. Quick polling, surveys, or voting.
What is your favorite ice cream? How tall are you? Dogs or cats? Instagram or TikTok? Who will represent our classroom in the Student Council? With Google Forms you can quickly set up a survey and see a live pie chart of what people choose. 

2. Research for a project.
Whether you are doing research as a teacher, or your students are doing research for an assignment, Google Forms are a great way to collect raw data anonymously. You can collect data in the classroom, from teachers, parents, administrators, or anyone in the community. 

3. Social Emotional Check-ins
How are you feeling today? What is one tough thing that happened this week? What is one good thing that happened this week? Is there anything that you want your teacher to know? Google Forms is a GREAT way to check in with students who might not always be open to tell you exactly how they are feeling. It also gives you a chance to encourage and compliment students that are having a tough time at home.

4. Assignments or Quizzes
If you create a Google Form in your Drive, you can actually connect that to an assignment in Google classroom. Students may even be able to submit questions for an upcoming test or quiz.


How have you used Google Forms in your classroom? It’s so amazing how easy and useful it is!

Google has so many amazing ways that teachers and students can use it, and Google Forms is one of the best ways to collect research, survey the students, or have them submit assignments. It is so simple to use, it saves you time, and you can get all the data in a spreadsheet when you’re done.

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3 Types Of Internet Scavenger Hunts To Use During Distance Learning


If you haven’t done it yet, there are a lot of ways to spice up your classroom facetime zoom skype google video chats! Believe it or not, there are plenty of games that you can play via the video classroom. One of the most popular types of games is the Internet Scavenger Hunt.
If you haven’t done it yet, there are a lot of ways to spice up your classroom facetime zoom skype google video chats! Believe it or not, there are plenty of games that you can play via the video classroom. One of the most popular types of games is the Internet Scavenger Hunt.

So, there are a lot of ways that you can plan this hunt.

1. “Find It In Your House” Scavenger Hunt


Your scavenger hunt could be that the students have to run around their house and find something to show on the screen. This could be an animal, pencil, cup, food item, whatever it might be. It’s a race!

2. “Research Assignment” Internet Scavenger Hunt


Another way that you can create a scavenger hunt is to assign a list of questions that the students have to find answers to and submit as an assignment. In this case they could have answers that are recorded, videos, memes, pictures, or music. The problem with this type of hunt is the issue of grading and going through all the answers--it could take a lot of time.

But, it makes for a more interesting and reframed way to do a research assignment. It could be a lot of fun with the right theme. Any teacher in any class could have a themed assignment called a scavenger hunt that is also research for a topic in history, math, music, art, religion, whatever it might be. It’s a fun way to reframe what students might consider otherwise boring work.

3. “Whoever Can Google It Fastest” Internet Scavenger Hunt


Lastly, my favorite type of scavenger hunt is the “whoever can find it the fastest” internet scavenger hunt. In your Video Chat window, you ask a question that the students have to find an answer to online, and then they can type it in the chat box with a link or an answer. Whoever has the best answer first, gets the point. These types of searches can also be integrated into the first two types of scavenger hunts.

It doesn’t just have to be a google-able question. You can also make it a contest like, “Whoever has the best dance moves in the video chat,” and then get the students to vote.

Here are some Internet Scavenger Hunt Questions:

If you haven’t done it yet, there are a lot of ways to spice up your classroom facetime zoom skype google video chats! Believe it or not, there are plenty of games that you can play via the video classroom. One of the most popular types of games is the Internet Scavenger Hunt.

     What’s the weather in Tokyo?
     What is a history fact today?
     What’s the number one billboard song today?
     Top 3 endangered species?
     What famous person has a birthday today?
     How long is the longest sandwich?
     Who is the oldest person in the world right now?
     What saint day is it today?
     What is the top local news story?
     What country has the most picasso paintings?
     What is the most popular dance on tik tok?
     Do the most popular dance on tik tok...
     What is the funniest taco meme?
     What is the next marvel movie coming out?
     What is the most popular teen novel right now?
     What was the most popular country to travel to before coronavirus?


Have you done any fun games or scavenger hunts with your classes before? Let me know in the comments! 
Pin this post to get back to later:
If you haven’t done it yet, there are a lot of ways to spice up your classroom facetime zoom skype google video chats! Believe it or not, there are plenty of games that you can play via the video classroom. One of the most popular types of games is the Internet Scavenger Hunt.

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May Activities for the Computer Lab and Distance Learning


Digital Activities for grades k-5 for May that can be used in the computer lab or at home during distance learning.
Normally these monthly blog posts are a round up of the activities that can be used for the month in the computer lab. Since schools are closed right now, we have to pivot a bit. Luckily, almost everything that makes a great computer lab lesson also makes a great distance learning activity! Check out these recommended digital resources for May. 

How to use this blog post: find the grade level you're interested in and then read about the activities. Click on any images to go to the product description to learn more about it. You'll see some activities in multiple grade levels. This either means that differentiation is provided to make the lesson appropriate for multiple grade levels, or it includes multiple grade levels of activities for the tech lab.

Kindergarten Digital Activities for May

Timely Tech can be the main activity for the month of May. Kindergarten students can do the activities for Shades of meaning, synonyms, and word families. 
We can bring some math instruction into tech lessons with digital hundreds charts with a Cinco de Mayo theme. 
A favorite every month is digital pixel art. The level 1 option for these is perfect for Kindergarten because it works on their mouse or trackpad skills with all drag and drop practice. 

First Grade Digital Activities for May 

For the main activity for 1st grade for May, students can complete the software lessons with a keyboard theme. If you're assigning these during distance learning, you'll want to make your own instructional videos based on the devices your students have at home. 
First grade students get to pick between level 1 and 2 of the digital pixel art. They have so much fun completing the designs that they don't realize all of the mouse practice they're getting. 
Then first graders can finish up the slides that Kindergarten didn't do in the Timely Tech set for May. These activities work in Google Slides or PowerPoint. 

Second Grade Digital Activities for May

These digital puzzles are harder than they look, which makes them a great warm up activity for any grade level. Second grade students can handle the first level that is included in this set. 
The main activity for May for second grade can be Timely Tech. The slides on Number words, Decorate an apple for teacher appreciation, Make new words, Sort by Syllables, Sight words mystery picture, May prompts, Shapes flowers should keep them busy across several sessions. 
A great early finisher activity that ties together tech and math is spreadsheet mystery pictures. These activities require students to follow directions to fill in each cell in the chart. The level 1 option is great for 2nd grade. 

Third Grade Digital Activities for May

Digital Pixel Art makes a great warm up activity for any grade level. 3rd grade usually does well with level 2 or 3, depending on the skills they have. 
Depending on when the end of your school year is, 3rd graders can start the End of Year Memory eBook and work on it over several sessions. There are 17 digital activity slides, so you can pick and choose which you want your students to fill out. Most years I split the slides between 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades so that each year they complete one that is different. 
Students can practice a bunch of skills at once while completing a Mother's Day Digital Card with this digital glyph card. Younger students could probably do this activity with help but might get frustrated working with the tiny shape pieces. 

Fourth Grade Digital Activities for May

A great warm up activity during the month of May for 4th grade is digital multiplication and division review. I like to use this with 5th grade students too since they can always use the practice. 
4th grade students love to complete these digital end of year slides. I pick 5 or 6 slides for each grade level (3-5th) to complete. 
For an early finisher activity for the month of May, 4th grade students can do the first half of this Timely Tech set. This includes the slides for decoding, make a chart, search practice, vocabulary scramble, and fact or opinion. Sometimes I also duplicate a few of the coding slides for 4th graders to complete too. 

Fifth Grade Digital Activities for May

Level 4 of the digital pixel art makes for great keyboard shortcut practice for 5th grade students. This set makes a great warm up activity for the month. 
5th grade students can do the rest of the slides from Timely Tech for May as the main activity. This includes crossword puzzle typing, digital math, coding, and creating an infographic and diagram. 
The digital End of Year Memory Book is a big hit with all of the grade levels. I let 5th grade students choose their slides since they "graduate" from elementary school. 
There you have it. Digital Activities for grades k-5 for May that can be used in the computer lab or at home during distance learning. Pin this blog post to get back to later:
Digital Activities for grades k-5 for May that can be used in the computer lab or at home during distance learning.



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