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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
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


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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TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades


TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

TECHademics is a way to teach technology skills to our youngest learners while also working on academic content.
Watch this video for a quick overview of some of the included activities. 

What makes TECHademics unique is:

TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

•They work in any browser
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

•They work on any device
•They are self-checking
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

•Students get immediate feedback
•They are not games
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

•They combine tech skills and academic content. As in mouse/trackpad and typing meets Math and ELA standards. It is awesome!
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades


•EASY access for students 2 different ways

There are 2 options for getting students to the activities.

1.Add the PDF to each computer or device so that students can open it during their tech station time. Students work through each activity on the TECHademics game board.
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

2.Print and prep the QR code cube. Students can use a tablet or any device that can capture a QR code to open a web page. Students work through each activity on the cube.
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
The QR code option works great for iPads and Chromebooks. Students just scan and go!

The activities don’t save individual progress, so I recommend having students practice to mastery. They can retry any activity until they get it completely right. 


Here are some other activities from the Kindergarten series:
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
 Sequencing with reading comprehension. This is one of the toughest kindergarten skills included.
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
 Great click and drag practice with these activities. Students will master either the mouse or trackpad by the end. If you're using tablets, a stylus really helps for the click and drag activities, but a knuckle is great too!
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
 Adding themes to sight word practice keeps it interesting for the students.
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
 Here is an example of an activity that just requires a click of the mouse to select the right answer. Students will see a green check or red x right away so have them work until they see all green checks.
TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades

TECHademics - Digital Math and ELA Activities for Primary Grades
This is an example of a typing activity for kindergarten. There are only a few flashcards because this one will take them forever. The word on the card needs to be typed and then students click check to see how they did. 

How long will these activities take students? The answer to this depends on the individual student. Some will breeze through the content while others may take several tries. 
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8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media



8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media

Giving up or cutting back on social media isn’t easy. When you’re used to checking your smartphone constantly throughout the day, the habit can be pretty tough to break.

This is especially true if you don’t have anything else to fill the time you’d usually spend on social media.

However, there’s actually a LOT of things you could be doing besides social media. Here, you’ll discover 8 of the best alternatives ways to better spend your time.

1.) Catch Up With Friends

Instead of messaging and interacting with your friends on social media, go and see them! In-person interaction is so much more rewarding than online interaction. So, arrange to meet up and grab a coffee or watch a movie – you’ll enjoy it so much more!

2.) Read A Book

Reading a book can be really relaxing and more importantly, it gives your eyes a screen break. Spending too much time staring at a screen definitely isn’t good for you! So, take a break, read a book and broaden the mind.
8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media

3.) Meditate

Meditation is extremely beneficial for your mental health. It’s also an awesome stress reliever. You don’t need to meditate for hours. Even just 5 minutes a day can do wonders for the mind.

4.) Do A Puzzle

Why not get your brain working and do a puzzle? You can buy puzzle books with a variety of puzzles to test the brain. It’s definitely better than wasting brain cells staring at a screen.

5.) Exercise

It may not sound like fun, but you’re going to feel so much better after doing exercise. Social media is known to encourage inactivity. So, get up, get moving and help yourself get healthier and happier.
8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media

6.) Listen to Music

Music has the power to instantly lift the mood. It distracts you from your everyday life, eases stress and can make you feel energized. So, throw on your favorite tunes or discover new artists.
8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media

7.) Take A Walk

Getting out into nature is great for your wellbeing. It’s easy to forget about the real world around you when you’re immersed in a digital world. So, take a walk to your local park, or even just around the block. See how much better you feel afterwards.

8.) Do Something Productive

Last but not least, you can use your free time to do something productive. If you constantly seem to waste most of your time on social media, stop the cycle and make a list of things that need to be done. Use your time to complete these tasks instead.

8 Things You Can Do Instead of Social Media
These are just 8 things you can do instead of social media. The truth is, there’s literally hundreds of alternative ways to spend your time other than browsing on a screen.


So, the next time you feel compelled to check your social media account, do one of the ideas above.    
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