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Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers


Tech Tips for Teachers

In this blog post I'm compiling the tips and tricks I've shared on social media into one location. 

ctrl+shift+t will re-open the most recently closed tab

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

A Green Screen teleprompter like CuePrompter helps students create professional videos

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

 Type right on PDFs with a browser extension like Kami

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

 Pin Tabs in Chrome so that students can't close them

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

Block web page ads with a browser extension like AdBlock

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

 Reset zoom to 100% with the shortcut ctrl+0

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

 Save portions of a PDF so that you don't have to share the entire file with students using the Print function

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers

 Ideas to get started with Podcasting in the classroom

Tech Tips and Tricks for Teachers
Bookmark this blog post and come back to it for more tech tips and tricks. Have one that you think should make the list? Let me know your best tech tips and tricks in the comments!
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Brittany Washburn
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40+ Free Educational Websites For Middle Schoolers!

40+ Free Educational Websites For Middle Schoolers!


40+ Free Educational Websites For Middle Schoolers!

I just compiled this mega list of FREE educational sites for middle schoolers. I broke it up into a few different categories so you can direct your students to whatever their interests may be. Some are more education and some are less educational. Some are more game-like, and some are more knowledge based, and others do a good job of combining the two. Show your students this list, and see where it takes them!

These free educational websites are all about reading, writing, literature, history, and news.


40+ Free Educational Websites For Middle Schoolers!

Here are your random educational games with a little bit of everything...

Here is a list of what can seem like the never-ending options of math and science games for middle schoolers:

Tech teachers gotta have their list of tech skills and typing games for students--here are a few:


Adding on to the tech skills and typing skills, here are a few Social Emotional Learning, Safety, and Digital Citizenship games:


For those students who want to really work on their Art, Music, and general Creativity


What are your favorite FREE educational sites for Middle Schoolers? Let me know in the comments below!




40+ Free Educational Websites For Middle Schoolers!

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Brittany Washburn
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It's Time to STOP Cyberbullying

It's Time to STOP Cyberbullying


From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

What does cyberbullying look like?

Cyberbullying has impact all over the world, and it looks the same in many places. When it comes to cyberbullying, it can look a lot like regular bullying. Cyberbullying is attacking someone through the internet. It can include insults, threats, gossip, rumors, and harassment. Cyberbullying could include hacking someone’s account, or pretending to be someone else to humiliate the victim. It could be in the form of words or video or pictures. It could be on any social media platform, email, or text messaging. The bottom line of cyberbullying is that a perpetrator is purposefully doing something mean to someone else for the sole purpose of hurting or humiliating them. So, it doesn’t really matter how it is done, the intent is always malicious.

For perpetrators of cyberbullying… Remember to emphasize that what a person says on the internet is not private, and will be interpreted in the worst possible light. Even if a student says, “It was just a joke,” it doesn’t matter in a court of law. Whatever the words say, they will be interpreted literally (especially in the case of threatening). Try to always be kind everywhere, including the internet.

From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

What to do about and how to stop cyberbullying?

It seems like every time I do a lesson on cyberbullying, within the next week or two it comes up in class where someone did something that they were just told not to do. Likewise, it’s important to note in the lesson that there may be students in the room who are victims, perpetrators, or witnesses of cyberbullying.

For the victims… There is a good chance that if you’re on the internet, expressing your opinion, someone else on the internet will insult or heckle you (even if you don’t know who they are). So, one of the ways to stay safe is to keep your social media, phone number, and email private. Do not share this information with anyone who you don’t know.

Block people. And if someone continues to change their information to harass, then get help from an adult and report the person to the social platform.

For witnesses… Do something. Encourage the person who is being picked on online. Say something nice. Don’t laugh. Don’t help the perpetrator. Tell an adult about it. Report them to the social media platform. Don’t spread the rumors and gossip. Be there for the person in need.

From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

Flood the internet with good things. One of the ways to “undo” the effects of cyberbullying is to flood the internet with good information about the person who is the victim. Instead of attacking the cyberbully, create lots of social media posts and information that is positive and uplifting to drown out the negative voices. Students can get their friends together, teachers, parents, and push the negativity to the bottom where it can’t be seen or experienced as easy.

From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

More than anything, it is important for witnesses to help the victims, and it is important for students to report and ask for help. The internet is an amazing place, but try not to fight negativity with negativity. Instead, drown out the negativity with positivity.



How do you address cyberbullying in the classroom? What is your experience?

From kids to adults, cyberbullying is running rampant. As tech teachers, there is a responsibility to teach students about being good (and aware) digital citizens. If our students aren't the perpetrators or the victims - they're the witnesses. In this post I’m going to cover what cyberbullying looks like, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

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Brittany Washburn
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6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students

6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students


6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
Teachers at every school I've ever worked have been intimidated when it comes to using spreadsheet software with students.

Even though our math standards have tons of graphing, something about doing it digitally gives people pause. No more!

Let me give you some tips and tricks that will open up this great option of using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets with your students. It is totally doable!


Give the Task Meaning

Creating charts and graphs is pretty meaningless if they are just some random numbers to calculate. Give students engaging prompts (just like you would with word problems) so that they are invested in the outcome.
6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
It helps if you can make it colorful, too. This image is an example of a first or second grade project for either Excel or Sheets. There are 6 data points and the final graph is a column graph, which students are usually already comfortable creating on paper.

Allow Students to be Self-Paced

6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
Click this image for a free sample
It is a bit more work up front for you, but making a screencast of the project directions is a game changer. Your students can watch the video over and over if needed until they understand exactly what to do. 

It isn't easy to show students where the tiny little icons are when you're demonstrating whole group. Were they definitely looking at your hand? Will they remember by the time they are at their devices? Probably not. 

Having the directions in a video is going to help your students be independent and successful. 
6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
I use a software called Screencast-o-matic to make all of my flipped classroom video recordings. I wrote this blog post: The Tools you Need to Flip Your Classroom if you're interested in a walk-through of my process. 





6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students

Start with a Template for Your Students

Particularly at the elementary level, students benefit from working through a template. It is less intimidating for them. 

It does add a layer to the logistics for you, though, because you have to figure out how to share the template file with them. Here are some suggestions:

It really depends on your setup. There are great tutorials out there for each of these solutions.
Examples of internet hosting:
Google Classroom or other LMS that requires login
Private Symbaloo
Password protected page on your website
Examples of offline sharing:
Using a network shared folder
Make a desktop shortcut of the template or folder of the templates
Using a program like Lanschool to push the file to student computers

Once you've shared the template with your students, they work through the steps of the project independently. You can walk around and answer individual questions as they come up.

Teach Tech Skills that Translate to Other Programs

One of my favorite things about using multiple software programs (and across operating systems like Microsoft and Google) is that students build a set of skills that they can use anywhere. 
6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
I love to teach keyboard shortcuts because it makes students feel like they are magicians! This set of shortcuts work in Excel but many also work in any program, like Google Docs or any web pages. 

Typing, highlighting, and navigating the program are other skills that are being developed simultaneously. 

Grade Based on the Whole Process

6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
This is one of the rubrics I use for grading Spreadsheet projects in Excel or Sheets. Look how many skills students are mastering by working in these programs! 

Students appreciate that there is freedom of expression with these projects. While the final outcome needs to follow some specific design constraints, there is also room for their creativity to come through. 

Follow Similar Formats for K-2 and 3-5

Once your K-2 students master making charts and graphs in excel, they will be ready for more of a challenge. It is totally possible to teach the intermediate spreadsheet skills in the same way. 
6 Tips for Teaching Spreadsheet Software to Elementary Students
For grades 3-5 I add about double the data points and then bring in skills like formatting, sorting, calculating, and customizing graphs. 

Do you want to try these projects with your students?
Check out these units that already have everything you need (including the videos and templates) prepped for you:


Thanks for reading. 
Happy TECHing,


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Brittany Washburn
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Creating a Family Tree in PowerPoint

Creating a Family Tree in PowerPoint


How do you teach PowerPoint to your students? What kinds of templates have you used to create a family tree?


There are a lot of skills that are important for kids to learn, and at the same time, they can learn about their own family and culture. Genealogy projects are a great opportunity to teach advanced research and tech skills in PowerPoint. A well structured project can be broken up into three parts: 1. Researching Last Name Origin, 2. Gathering Information About Your Family, and 3. Organizing And Presenting in PowerPoint.

  1. Researching Last Name Origin

A good place to start is by researching the origin of their last name. There are many places where the students can begin, for one: Google. Another great resource is Ancestry.com. They provide free access to schools. Encourage students to ask their parents about the history of their family and name, and have that be where the Powerpoint begins.

Powerpoint can be a daunting experience for students, but it is a great way to gather and present information. Students will need to have some basic Powerpoint skills like opening the presentation, choosing themes, adding text, pictures, and media. Making a family tree using charts in Powerpoint is relatively advanced, and having these skills prepares student for future presentations.
How do you teach PowerPoint to your students? What kinds of templates have you used to create a family tree?


Things to include in the powerpoint

  • Opening
  • Saving
  • Choosing a theme (changing a theme)
  • Adding text and pictures
  • Adding transitions and animations
  • Adding media (embedding media)
  • Adding links
  • Adding a SmartArt Hierarchy Chart
How do you teach PowerPoint to your students? What kinds of templates have you used to create a family tree?

2. Gathering Information About Family - Making a SmartArt Hierarchy Chart in Powerpoint!

You could easily spend a lot of time playing around with these charts. Encourage your students to explore different ways to make a chart. They could also draw lines to different family members. They can add an image of a tree in the background.

An easy way to present a family tree is by using a SmartArt Graphic. A Hierarchy chart is a good choice to begin, however, there are also Family Tree Templates available for powerpoint. https://templates.office.com/en-US/Family-tree-chart-vertical%2C-green%2C-red%2C-widescreen-TM00001053

Information to gather:
  • Names and ages of family members 2 or 3 generations back
  • Jobs of family
  • Location of family
  • Siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents
Presenting Genealogy Presentation

After teaching these concepts, researching, and organizing in PowerPoint, the students will finally be ready to present their presentation!


I hope that you found these idea and tools useful. How do you teach PowerPoint to your students? What kinds of templates have you used to create a family tree? 

How do you teach PowerPoint to your students? What kinds of templates have you used to create a family tree?

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Brittany Washburn
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