36. Collaborative Global Projects with Google Tour Builder

Collaborative Cross-Curricular Global Projects: Virtual Trips for Time Travelers

TESOL International Convention, March 29th, Chicago


This is my Google Slide Presentation delivered at the TESOL International Convention, Chicago, on March 29th, 2018 (workshop format): https://goo.gl/q1mU9z

Collaborative Cross-Curricular Global Projects_ Virtual Trips for Time Travelers

Collaborative Cross-Curricular Global Projects_ Virtual Trips for Time Travelers



The Time Train Project website: http://bit.ly/timetrain16 

Link to the collaborative doc for today’s workshop: https://goo.gl/Fvw4Xu

Time Train Phases:

Time Train JPEG


Thank you,




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35. Best EAL / ELLs Strategies


This blog post contains a plethora of EAL/ELLs strategies that can help you deliver meaningful and exciting lessons and would help your students learn faster.
Remember that the key is using participatory/interactive learning strategies!


1. EAL Strategies Presentation:



2. EAL Strategies curated by Margo Tripsa (PEAK and SIOP strategies)- use the scrollbar to check them all out.



3. EAL Strategies curated by Donna Sears & Linda Stewart



4. EAL Strategies curated by Donnette Fernandez & Karen Streich-Rodgers



5. SIOP Strategies by Lesson Step:



I hope you found this useful!
Thank you for visiting Techie Teachers’ Tricks!



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34. Critical Thinking & Higher Level Thinking


It’s been a while since my last post! Here I am, publishing again on Techie Teachers’ Tricks, from Qatar, Middle East!

I curated the best resources on critical thinking and higher level thinking and published them for all educators looking to increase rigor on the Padlet below. Enjoy!


Made with Padlet


The Question Matrix for classroom use is awesome! It could be very helpful for developing students’ inquiry minds or for teachers who want develop their students’ higher level thinking skills.


Be inspired, create, and shine!



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33. Global Project Opportunity

Hello global collaborators,

The Time Train project starts in 2 weeks! Want to join?
I was wondering if any teachers from other countries (other than the U.S. because we already have schools from several US States) would be interested in joining an exciting social studies project (time, continuity, and change standard). All resources and description can be found here: http://bit.ly/timetrain16. A number of schools have already joined, but a little more diversity with respect to the geographical location of the participating schools would make the learning experience even more valuable.

This is an exciting global project, called the Time Train project. We are a 4th grade classroom Qatar, Middle East and we are looking for students from 5-6 countries to join us. It’s around Social Studies content (time, continuity and change), and basically, the students need to create 2 videos: one of their country long ago, and one of their country today). When all participating countries are done, they can create a Time Train route around the globe using Google Tour Builder just by embedding these videos; so viewers can “take a trip” back and forth in time and watch students’ presentations (Google Tour Builder provides the visual: showing the location of the students who created the videos). The Time Train project http://bit.ly/timetrain16  can be found here and it also includes a sample Google Tour Builder project (the sample has just students’ written comments, but this project would be more lively since the students will be producing videos). So, the two videos are pretty much all you need; at the end, one school (and that can be us) can put the videos together and create the tour for all the participating countries.

We are looking for any teachers of grade 4-8th students from around the globe who would be interested in participating to join us; potential implementation time frame is mid-February-end of March. Please let me know. By accessing the link you can find the form that you need to fill out to express your interest (under the teacher resources tab).

Thank you,

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32. Google Expeditions- Emerging Technology

Google Expeditions is amazing! I learned about it this summer at the ISTE conference in Denver, Colorado, a conference that over 19,000 of people attended. In this post. I am sharing a Google Expedition presentation. This can be used as a proposal for a grant or just to learn about the amazing things that this instructional technology tool provides.

I am embedding below the presentation. You can also access the Google Expeditions- Emerging Technology presentation here.

A few pictures from this amazing conference:





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31. QR Codes Increase Productivity- 15 Uses and Step by Step Tutorials

I am very excited to share the resources I created for a presentation I delivered at the Teaching and Learning Forum, Doha, Qatar, 2016 on Saturday, April 30th, 2016, titled Using QR Codes to Increase Productivity in the Classroom.

Part 1: 15 Uses of QR Codes


Part 2: Step by Step Tutorial for Creating QR Codes.

Until next time, be productive, get inspired, and grow!


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30. Brain Breaks with Go Noodle Tutorial


Hello friends,

I have created the following tutorial a while back and even though I haven’t shared it on my website yet, it has quite a few views on YouTube. So, here it goes!

I love brain breaks, and you can also read about the reasons why they are great by reading one of my old posts, Brain Brakes with Go noodle and Just Dance Kids, previously published on this website.


Until next time, get inspired and grow! 🙂


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29. Google Forms (part 1)

(part 1)



Google Forms is a great tool for creating surveys, polls, or quizzes. It can have a great formative value in the classroom when used strategically. By watching the tutorial below, you will learn lots of tricks about the use of Google Forms. A future tutorial would talk about more advanced Google Forms features such as using it to auto-grade quizzes.

Until next time, get creative, be inspired, and grow!  🙂

If you liked this post, remember that you can follow my blog via email.  🙂

To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I am sharing with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.

Best regards,

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28. Young Readers and Writers

28. Young Readers and Writers

Young Readers and Writers
I. iPad Applications
II. Web-Based Instructional Technology Tools and Resources
Age range: 4 to 6 for the first 3 screenshots
                  2 to 4 for the last two screenshots
To help students practice their sight words, ABCs, phonics skills, reading and writing skills you can find apps with high instructional potential bellow. These apps are good for helping students transfer newly learned information into their long-term memory, for helping students develop automaticity, and can be used as opportunities for extra practice or remedial purposes. 
Three benefits of these instructional technologies: 
  • students get immediate feedback,
  • increase student motivation,
  • save teacher time.
Use your best judgment regarding what apps you want your students to use, when, for how long, and who would benefit from using them. Features to look for when choosing instructional software: Is it interactive? Does it keep track of students’ progress? Does it provide feedback? 
Apps that target the higher spectrum of the Bloom’s Taxonomy (analysis, evaluation, and creativity) will be published on a future post.
I. iPad Applications
1. Recommendations- free or low-cost apps all tested by me and and loved by my kids (4 screenshots)- excellent applications
Best sight word apps (apps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10)- the level of difficulty decreases from the first to the fourth screenshot. 
Apps 1 png
Apps 2 png
Apps 3 short png
Apps Lucas png
Apps 4 png
3. K-2
II. Web-Based Instructional Tools and Resources

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow!  🙂

If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email.  🙂

To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I am sharing with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.

Best regards,

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27. Favorite 3 Google Chrome Extensions

27. Favorite 3 Google Chrome Extensions

These 3 tools are diamonds in a sea of instructional technology tools.
1. Draftback
3. Read and Write for Google


Draftback is a MUST HAVE Google Chrome extension. I absolutely love using it. It has tremendous value for English Language Arts teachers.

Draftback allows users to play the entire revision history of any Google Doc, even documents which were created before you installed this extension. After you install the extension, you just click the Draftback button, and a video will be generating showing the actual document being typed up. With this extension you get to take peak into your students writing process. Just make sure you are using the Google Chrome browser. You can use this link to install the Draftback Google Chrome extension and click on ADD TO GOOGLE CHROME.

In the classroom, I use it in conjunction with the feature offered by Google docs (go to FILE —SEE REVISION HISTORY). While this feature shows you different static versions of the document and the changes made to it, Draftback plays a quick video of the editing process. You can adjust the speed as you like. By going to FILE, and selecting SEE REVISION HISTORY, you can see who made what changes to the document, and also what time those changes were made. You can always select SEE MORE DETAILED REVISIONS (see this feature on the bottom right corner). Note that the screenshot below shows the Google doc feature “See Revision History”. This screenshot is followed by 2 short videos (1 minute each) which show Draftback in action.


When using Draftback for first time on a document it takes just a little bit longer because this extension needs to render the document (or create the short video). Watch this 1-minute demo to see how this happens:

Once, you did it once, the next time you just click on the draftback tab and play the video to see the whole editing process. Such a valuable tool!


Grammarly is another great Google Extension. It does a great job catching even small typos or grammar mistakes. See below a picture of my screen while editing this blog post and how it pointed out to me the need for a comma after “In the classroom”. I think this is pretty cool! I tested Grammarly by copy-pasting different content I created for academic purposes and I was quite impressed with the job it did. I can only say I wish I had this extension when I was in grad school. What a great writing tutor!

It provides a variety of features some of them for a fee including help to detect plagiarism. It is DEFINITELY worth a try! It even gives editing suggestions when you write emails (gmail).



In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, Read and Write for Google (Google Chrome extension) is free for educators. This extension is absolutely AMAZING. It provides comprehensive reading and writing support for Google docs, Web content, PDFs, and Pubs. It provides features such as: read aloud, dictionary, translator, picture dictionary, fact finder, highlighting tools, vocabulary lists. Users can use different colors for highlighting, and then they can collect those highlights by color, create lists and print them out. What a great way for students to create vocabulary lists! When using the picture dictionary the students can print out pictures along with those definitions.

The second article below details its functionality. It is a great tool for English Language Learners, exceptional students, or simply all students or GAFE (Google Apps for Education) schools.

Introducing Read&Write for Google
Using Read&Write for Google in Google Documents
Read&Write for Google Read the Web
Read&Write for Google-PDF and ePub Reader App

First, if you are a teacher and have a Google account (gmail), download the extension, and then, to get all the premium features that would require you to purchase them otherwise, go to rw.texthelp.com/drive/home/RegisterTeacher and register by filling out the Teacher Registration form (it will ask you to type in your name, school administrator name, and other details to confirm eligibility). My suggestion is: Do this while this is still free for you, don’t wait too long. I wish students could use it for free, as well. It would be so great!

Time for a well deserved summer break now! Enjoy it!

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I am sharing with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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26. Audio QR Codes. Making Paper Talk!

26. Audio QR Codes. Making Paper Talk!


1. Why Audio QR Codes are so Much Fun. Fun Ways for Using Audio QR Codes
2. How to Create Audio QR Codes
3. Four Essential Tools to Bookmark
4. HOW TO Step by Step- QR Codes Increase Productivity in the Classroom 🙂

1. Why Audio QR Codes Are So Much Fun


Download a QR reader app like i-nigma on your phone, scan the code above, and you’ll here a concise answer (less than 100 characters). That’s the reason why audio QR codes are awesome!

Audio QR codes can be so much fun when used creatively. Students can bring things to life by creating and attaching these QR codes to their work. Audio QR codes can make books talk, can give art projects a voice, can turn paper projects or essay into multimedia projects, can serve as great reflection tools, etc. I will share with you here some ideas for using audio QR codes in the classroom.

a) Students can create book reviews. After they finish reading a book, they can create audio QR codes, and paste them onto the back covers of the books. That way, other students can listen to these audio book reviews, before reading the book. How fun is it to make a book talk! I am embedding the QR code separately, just to help you read it in case you won’t be able to scan the tiny one of the book because of the picture’s low resolution.

Book Review


b) Student can turn paper projects into multimedia projects. After we learned about idioms, I had my students create paper flip books (they illustrated about 12 idioms on 12 different pages, and explained what their figurative meanings were). Later, I had them reflect on their learning (they shared the definition of idioms, shared what their favorite idioms were, also idioms they didn’t understand, and lastly, their goal for their next piece of writing regarding figurative language use), we created audio QR codes, and the students glued their codes onto their flip books.


c) Reflections for student-led conferences. Have your students create any kinds of reflections, attach the audio QR codes to their work, and hit play when you have student-led conferences. It would be less intimidating for the students, and a more exciting way for them to share their work and thoughts. I love the following ideas for reflection questions: 40 Reflection Questions (Edutopia), The Taxonomy of Reflection (Peter Pappas), or these 50 Student Reflection Questions. Below you can see a bar graph created using the KidsZone website. I covered the QR code due to privacy reasons. Students recorded their reflection using a MP3 app, we saved the MP3 to Google Drive, and we used that link to create the QR code (I explained this process towards the end of this post- points B and C). In their audio students reflected on their reading progress compared to the class average and they set a goal for the following month. They also created these kinds of bar graphs and line graphs, as well, for math illustrating the number of problems they completed in IXL. Fun way for the students to share their data during student-led conferences!


d) Fun Back to School Riddles with QR Codes (by Techie Teacher)

e) Flashcards for academic vocabulary and concepts. On the same side of the card you can have the new vocabulary word and an audio QR code for the definition.

f) Audio bulletin boards or audio word walls (similar to the idea above).

g) Math problems (audio QR codes for the answers).

h) You might want to check out the following Google Docs presentation titled “Using QR Codes in the Classroom about the use of QR Codes in he classroom, presentation that has many interesting ideas including the formula for creating your own Google spreadsheet if interested in creating QR codes in bulk, and also a great multimedia poster with QR codes for each element of the Periodic Table, QR codes that take you to videos about each element.

i) Another interesting idea you can find in the presentation above (h) is the use of QR codes for revealing classroom incentives. How could I use this idea in my classroom? I am using Class Dojo for classroom management. Whenever any of my students get 10 dojos, I could allow them to scan a code of their choice to reveal their incentive which can be anything from homework pass, extra computer time, sit with their favorite friend, etc.

j) Other ideas- presentation titled “28 Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes.

2. How to Create Audio QR Codes

A. QR Voice
-By using this site you get both the audio and the QR code at the same time (that means you don’t need to do steps B, or C)
-Go to this website, type in the text you wanted converted to speech, and it will create a synthesized voice reproducing your text
– It creates a QR code for you directly on the site which you can scan and listen to; just right click on it and save the picture of the QR code generated. You just the text in (up to 100 characters) and QR voice generates the QR code. See below a book review sample created with QR voice. We glued his code to the back cover of the book (see below). To hear students’ actual voices have them create MP3 recordings as opposed to using QR code which has the text to speech feature. By scanning the codes below you can play an audio created with QR voice.
Note: Other one-step tools to create QR codes (text to QR code, not audio), are the QR Code Generator apps. Super easy! Once you download the app, you just type any word or phrase, hit generate and then you get your code (you can share your code via email, facebook, dropbox, evernote, google+, whatsapp, anything you can think of). You can use these apps to generate QR codes that display text for riddles, for math answers or problems, for definitions, etc.

B. Recording your audio file and generating a URL:

Option 1: Record MP3 Online


RecordMp3Online_500x70_bigger (1)


1. Go to: http://recordmp3online.com/
2. Make sure you follow the on-screen directions the first time you use this website, to allow the recording to happen.
3. Record the audio.
4. Stop. Download or add to Google Drive or Dropbox.
5. Go to Google Drive or Dropbox and copy the link.

Option 2: MP3 Recorder Free app (for the Ipad) or Smart Voice Recorder app (for Android devices)- Option 2 is the one I use in my classroom 🙂

MP3 Recorder Free- for iOS (iPads)

mp3 recorder for the ipad

Smart Voice Recorder- for android

smart voice recorder android

After you have your recordings you need to upload these MP3 recordings to the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, AudioBoom, etc.) or to a website to get a link that you can use to generate the QR code.

Option 3: AudioBoom

Currently new users are given 10 minutes per clip to upload or record and there’s no limit to how many clips a user can upload or record. One weakness of this site is the fact that won’t allow you to set any of your recording to private. I wish we could!

Option 4: Audacity

  1. Use the free recording software, Audacity, to record the audio.
  2. Export the recorded audio file (use the default .wav format) and save your public DropBox folder or Google Drive.
  3. Right-click the file (within Google Drive or DropBox).
  4. Select Get Link (Google Drive) or “Copy Public Link” (DropBox).

Option 5: Making it more fun!

You can even have your students create videos or screencasts (using, for instance, Show Me, or Me Video), use the link to these multimedia projects, turn them into QR codes, and attach them to paper projects. How fun would it be to scan a code on a book, for instance, and a student-created video or screencast to start playing! LOVE IT!

Using this option, my students created Show Mes about Idioms; they glued the QR codes to their flipbooks about Idioms. Once I scanned the code on their flipbooks, videos that included my students’ reflections on idioms, started playing. 🙂

C. Creating the QR Code:

Option 1:
Use an online QR Creator such as:

  1. – Google URL Shortener
    This is one of the best tools for creating QR codes. If you have a Google account (gmail), you just go to goo.gl.com, paste the link in the box, and you’ll have your link shortened. Next to your shortened link, you will click on Details, which will take you to the QR code that was already generated for that specific link. You can save the picture of your QR code. If you have many students and want to avoid having to do this individually for each student, you can use Google Spreadsheets (see below how you can use this trick to create codes in bulk). The only extra thing I wish we could do when using Google’s URL shortener, is to rename your shortened links. Because they don’t offer that feature, even though you have all the shortened links saved in goo.gle’s history, most of the time it is hard for you to identify your shortened URLs and you have to redo it whenever you need that QR code again.
  2. QR Generator
    – https://app.qr-code-generator.com/
  3. – QR Hacker
    – Kaywa
    – GoQR
    Once you access one of these sites, you just paste the URL of your MP3 recording and follow the instructions to create the QR code. Download the code and print it!

Option 2:
Generate Codes in Bulk in a Google Spreadsheet

  1. Create a Google form to “collect” the URL’s of your students’ audio files
    (For instructions, click here)
    Suggested fields:
    – First Name
    – Last Name
    – Notes
    – URL
  2. Follow the instructions to generate a QR code for each URL.
  3. Print the QR codes!

You can use the 2-column template created by Tammy (Tammy’s Technology Tips for Teachers) which can be found here. I love this template because it saves you so much time, especially if you teach a large class. Directions for using Tammy’s form:

  1. Make sure you are logged in to your Google/Gmail account.
  2. Click one of the link above.
  3. Choose to “Make a copy.” This will move a copy of that spreadsheet into your Google Drive.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Tammy Worcester has created a 1 column template, as well QR Code Auto Generator. Just hit “Use this template” and change the columns (QR Code Contents and Brief Description or Title) to suit your needs.

If you want to create QR codes in bulk by using Google spreadsheet, you will find the formula you need below. The first column will have the info you want to turn into a QR code (text, URL), and the second column will have the QR Code. Copy and paste the following formula in cell B2, then click enter.

=image(ʺhttps://chart.googleapis.com/chart?chs=150×150&cht=qr&chl=ʺ &A2)

Note: You can resize the rows and columns to make the QR codes larger or smaller or you can carefully change the 150×150 to something larger, like 500×500. Make sure you won’t alter the code except for changing those two numbers.

For more, check out this abundance of resources on QR codes by Shambles.

3. Four Essential Tools to Bookmark

Because this post is so full of information, for those who want to save time, I will just share with you what I would pick if I were to bookmark only a few tools for creating audio QR codes. These would be:

– A. QR voice
-B. MP3 Recorder Free app (for the Ipad) or Smart Voice Recorder app (for Android devices) to record your MP3
-C. Create your QR Code with Google URL Shortener
-Create QR Codes in bulk- Tammy Worcester’s 1 column template. 🙂

Make paper projects, assignments, assessments, art or biology displays talk with audio QR codes!

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I am sharing with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted in 21st century skills, Communication tools, Educational Technology, iPad, Second Language Learners, Web 2.0 tools | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

25. QR Codes Increase Productivity

25. QR Codes Increase Productivity

Techie Teachers' Tricks

Blog Post Agenda:

1. What are QR Codes?
2.Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Using QR Codes
3. Examples of QR Codes

1. What are QR Codes

QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes. According to Wikipedia, the QR code system was invented in 1994. QR codes became very popular due to their fast readability. A QR code consists of square dots arranged in a square grid which can be read by different devices such as smart phones, tablets, QR readers. Users can read QR codes by using different sites or apps or generate QR codes.

2. Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Using QR Codes

Using QR codes in the classroom can be so much fun! By using QR codes, teachers can substitute, augment, modify, or redefine learning experiences (SAMR). QR codes can really make things much easier. QR codes have increased productivity so much in my class! Since we started using them, everything was a click away. Just imagine having your students access a thesaurus, or just having to type this word in their browser. Right after I introduced the QR codes to my students in our English Language Arts class they had to find synonyms for certain words. Having a QR code for the thesaurus, was so helpful for all my students because accessing it was just practically just a click away. I also saw the huge benefits of using QR codes when I had my parent-teacher conferences a couple weeks ago. Again, sharing with parents their children’s websites, e-portfolios, blogs, or class resources, was just a click away. Besides that, all the resources parents scanned during our parent-teacher conference were automatically saved in their app history which made it so easy to collect and reference later.

Information that can be stored in a code:
-a website address (URL)
-a short piece of text
-a phone number
-an email address

QR reading apps (first one is my favorite):

-I-nigma app (for android or Apple devices), QR Code Reader (for android or Apple devices)

QR generators (first one is my favorite, but I like other sites for the different features they provide, too).

Goo.gl (= Google’s URL shortening tool. When you shorten a link with Goo.gl a QR code is created for it automatically. To find the QR code, click the “details” link after your shortened URL has been made, then you can save it, or print it. This is a great tool! All links you shorten are automatically saved by Goo.gle.),
QR Voice (=free tool that allows you to create QR codes that when scanned will play a short audio message- 100 characters. This tool allows teachers to do so many things! More about audio QR codes in my next post),
Visualead (3 nice visual QR codes for free; you can see an example below),
QR Hacker,
QR generator (their interface looks great, and you can create fancy QR codes, but after the 14 days trial you can’t access your codes unless you pay a quite expensive subscription–I made the mistake of thinking that I would be able to be able to use the codes I had created during the trial period even after those 14 days; unfortunately, after these 14 days I had to re-create all my QR codes using a different site, which happened to be Goo.gle. Such a hassle! Learned my lesson! :),
QR Stuff,
QR Droid Code Generator.

 What can you do with QR codes in the classroom?

Students can scan QR codes to take them to a specific website for research, blog, or other online resources, listen to a story that is being read aloud, watch a video on an academic topic, complete academic scavenger hunts, etc.

Some activities I have been doing with my students, in which students made their own QR Codes, include:

-4th grade students recording themselves reading books for a Kindergarten class (they just pasted the QR code inside of the book cover). We used the MP3 app to record these audios. You can also use the mp3.org website or any other websites to produce audio files.
-students wrote a math problems and made a QR Code for the answer
-students made Google Presentations (it can be any topic: math, science, social studies, English Language Arts, etc.) and pasted their QR codes to a 3-D art project or diorama.
-students made iMovies, uploaded them to YouTube or Vimeo, and made a QR code to take home for parents to scan and watch or add to their student-led conferences portfolio
-students can make human body posters and create audio recordings talking about each body part, then label each body part with QR codes (once scanned the audio would play right away)
– Back to School Scavenger Hunt for parents by writing clues, attaching them to QR codes and pasting the QR codes around the room. Check out a cool free Back-to-School QR Code Activity created by The Techie Teacher on Teachers Pay Teachers here. This activity is so much fun! Also, you can check out another great Back to School Scavenger Hunt QR Code Activity created by Loretta Lee on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

3. Examples of QR Codes

Download a QR reader app (like i-nigma) and scan my teacher blog QR code. You’ll see how all QR codes you scan are saved in your history. I created this QR code with Visualead.


I displayed QR codes all over my room. These QR codes are links to various online resources we are using in class, or links to students’ portfolios, their own websites, or audio books reviews. I created these QR codes with QR code generator and I had the unpleasant surprise to notice that after the 14 day trial period I wasn’t able to use the codes I created during the trial period. So, I had to re-create all of my QR codes, because upgrading was too expensive, and like all teachers, I prefer using free websites when there are plenty other free options. I am including them here for you to see even though if you tried to scan them, it would say that they were archived. I didn’t want to display here the new ones I created just because I am keeping my students’ eportfolios private this year.

QR codes classroom

QR Code for McMillan dictionary:

mcmillan dict

A collection of educational resources my students are using:

QR Codes Resources

You can also see my bulletin board below:


I am very excited about the potential of QR codes in the classroom. I am also very excited about the audio QR codes–more information about audio QR codes in my next post. Audio QR codes are so awesome!

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I am sharing with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted in 21st century skills, Communication tools, Educational Technology, iPad, Second Language Learners, Web 2.0 tools | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

24. Creating a Google Site



Blog Post Agenda:
1. What is a Google Site?
2. Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Creating a Google Site
3. End-of-Blog-Post Bonus (Google Search Education)

1. What is a Google Site?

Google Sites is a great tool for creating webpages. It works seamlessly with other Google services allowing users to embed  Google Docs, Calendar, YouTube, Picasa albums, etc. Teacher, student, and classroom websites have gained tremendous popularity.

Among the many benefits of teacher websites I would mention:
-they improve school-home communication
-they eliminate many parent phone calls and notes
-they help both teacher and student stay organized
-they help students take ownership of their learning
-they improve students’ digital skills
-they facilitate learning beyond classroom walls
-they can provide an virtual space for collaborative learning

2. Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Creating a Google Site


I will provide here annotated screenshots and links to other resources that would help you create your Google Site. I created the following screenshots to help my students build their first website.

First, you’ll have to go to http://sites.google.com and then click on the red tab that says CREATE. Next, you will either choose a blank template or one already created. I always started with a pre-made template.


After you did all these, click on the red CREATE button one more time.

The following screenshot shows you how to add pages to your website. The template you picked comes most likely with certain pages. Just go ahead and add the pages you want, and later you will delete the pages that came with the template and you don’t need on your website.


You created and named the pages you wanted on your website, but they are not visible yet. The next 5 screenshots show you how to do that.





Click “Add Page” to add it to the navigation bar. Do this for all the pages you created. Afterwards you can delete the pages that came with your template and you don’t want on your website.


Once you have your pages, you can start editing them. I created 5 pages on this website: About, Syllabus, Projects, Resources, and Blogs. To edit any of these pages, you just click on one of them, and then click on the pen at the top (see the red arrow). Afterwards you can start typing or adding content (using the INSERT button, see below) to your page. Last step is obviously SAVE. 🙂


The Insert button is really a key button. That’s where you need to go whenever you want to add content from outside sources to your website, including Google documents. To do this, you need to go to Insert, then Google Drive (see the third column, fourth position).


Who do you want your site to be visible to? Do you want your website to be public, private, or visible to a specific group of people?


Congrats! You have your own Google Site! Once you sign in to Google account (Google gmail), all of your Google products accounts are a click away. The easiest way is just to click on the 9 little squares you see at the top right corner of your email address, and it will take you to SITE, GMAIL, etc…

For other ideas and tutorials, check out the Educational Technology and Mobile learning website here and here.

Blogger is the Google product for blogs. If you want to import your Blogger into your Google Site, that’s possible. Here‘s how.

3. End-of-Blog-Post Bonus
(Google Search Education)


Google Search Education

We live in an era when it is crucial for students to know how to do effective web searches when looking for answers online. They need to know how to find reliable sources, how to curate content, and how to critically evaluate the content and the sources they come across online. They need to know how to quickly find the right information. Google provides provides educators and parents with a great resource called Google Search Education. Briefly put, this is nothing else but How do I Google it?

On Google Search Education you can do any of the following four things:
*Lesson Plans and Activities– download lesson plans to develop your students’ search literacy skills; browse lessons for beginners, intermediate, and advanced here.
*Power Searches– improve your search skills and learn advanced tips with online lessons and activities.
*A Google a Day Challenges– put your students’ search skills to the test with these trivia challenges. A Google a Day Challenge is a great idea. Students need to surf the internet to find the answer to different questions from 4 different domains: culture, geography, history, or science.
*Live Trainings– join Google experts for live search trainings or watch past trainings from search experts at Google.

You can also use this great Lesson Plan Map which includes Common Core State Standards and ISTE alignments. Great visual of how these lessons are structured!

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I share with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


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Posted in 21st century skills, Communication tools, Educational Technology, iPad, Second Language Learners, Video Tutorials, Web 2.0 tools | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

23. Powtoon Animated Presentations

PowToon Animated Presentations


Blog Post Agenda:
1. What is PowToon?
2. Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Using PowToon
3. End-of-Blog-Post Bonus (Digital storytelling tools and apps)

1. What is PowToon?

PowToon is a free animated presentation tool. It can be used to create presentations, digital storytelling projects, or even digital resumes.

2. Techie Teachers’ Tricks for Using PowToon


To create videos you just drag and drop characters and other elements you want in your presentation. You can also assign then animations. The first thing you need to do, however, is to write your script for your presentation and then you need to create an mp3 audio file. If you don’t start with recording your audio, it will be very difficult to match your slides with the audio later. I used the MP3 Recorder app on my iPad, but you can use any other audio recording tool or app. Once you have your audio, you can go ahead and create your slides making the characters and the clip art pop up in sync with the audio.  You can adjust the length of each slide; each slide can be longer or shorter (maximum 20 seconds). 

When your PowToon is done you can download it (MP4 file), embed it into your website or blog, or share it on social media (YouTube, Facebook). Uploading it to YouTube, helps you share it and stream it very easily. So, don’t hesitate you create your Youtube account if you don’t have one. You can choose to have all the videos you upload to youtube private if this is what you want.

For more step to step guidance, watch the tutorials below.

Example of a PowToon created by students:

Digital Resume (Greg Lemoine):

You can check out what the free vs. premium versions can offer you here. Given the fact that you get all essential features with a free account, one of them being the fact that you can create presentations up to 5 minutes in length, you don’t necessarily need the premium one for school use.

PowToon can be a great alternative to, what many consider, the outdated Power Point presentations.  It is also great practice for your students to practice reading, and recording their audio files. It’s also a great opportunity for them to practice their research skills  if asked to create informational presentations and they will definitely apply themselves much more knowing that they need to read it and record it afterwards. It also improves fluency. In my class I noticed a very increased interest in creating the audio files. Even the slow readers were super eager to try to read challenging scripts.

3. End-of-Blog Post Bonus
(Digital Storytelling Tools and Apps)


PowToon can be a great digital storytelling tool. To delve deeper into the wonderful world of digital storytelling in education, you can read one of my old posts on this topic here. You will find many other resources, tools, and tips. Also, check out these great digital storytelling tools and apps recommended by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

digital storytelling tools and apps

Check out these collections of tools published by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Digital Storytelling 

This collections one was curated by technology integration specialist Simon Vasey.

Digital Story Creators 

This collection was curated by high school instructor Donny Corkern.

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I share with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


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Posted in 21st century skills, Educational Technology, Second Language Learners, Video Tutorials, Web 2.0 tools | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

22. My 10 Must-Have Free Tools to Start the Year


Displaying Untitled drawing.jpg

Summer went by so fast! Faster than other summers! I guess because it was my first free summer in many years. While spending the summer on three continents it was hard to find time to write on my blog. I really missed it! It was just impossible…to many things going on…a very exciting summer, after all. So, here I am, having finished a 5 year teaching experience in North Carolina, U.S., and starting my new adventure of teaching overseas, in an international school located in Qatar, Middle East. I have been enjoying living and teaching in Qatar tremendously, so far, but a more detailed recount of my experience here would probably go on a different type of blog. However, I thought I needed to mention this, because I am sure it will have a unique impact on my teaching, learning, and the blogging I will be doing while living and teaching here.

A new school year just started not very long ago. Needless to describe our best-resources searching frenzy or our effort to remember the names of all cool resources we used in previous years. It happened to many of us. It happened to me, too. That’s how I realized the importance of a blog post like this one. We all get to love using various resources and we think some work better than others. We like recycling resources as opposed to just starting from scratch, and year after year we are trying to make the most out of the teaching resources we are using and make a better use of them year after year. However, since we get new students each year, we need to create new accounts or new classes each year. So, I will list below the resources I started this school year with.

1. For classroom/behavior management- CLASS DOJO

Class dojo is a great classroom management tool. I like it because I can very effectively use it for positive reinforcements. Something new I did this year was personalizing my account by adding rewards for specific behavior or academic accomplishments. So, I made it both a behavior reward tool and academic reward tool. For instance, some of the rewards I added are follow the rules, smart answer, and super smart answer. Students regularly get 1 point when displaying good behavior. However, for smart answer  they get 2 points, and for super smart answer they get 3 points. You can connect with parents, as well, and some students will really enjoy seeing that the parents get updates on their behavior.

2. For one way teacher-parent communication- REMIND

3. For brain breaks- GO NOODLE

You can read more about this resources in one of my old posts, here.

4. For entry/exit tickets- TODAY’S MEET

This is how I described this great online resource in a previous post published in January 2013, on this blog:

I just love this site! And if you like entry and exit tickets, you might find this site very useful. It greatly engages your students and motivates them to write and reflect.

Using a 140-character limit, Today’s Meet gives teachers the opportunity to generate an engaging online discussion, without the interference of raised hands or student disruption. No sign up or registration required. You just name your room (when you name it, it will tell you if that name was already taken—displaying a red x- or if it is a valid one-a green check; just make sure you don’t leave any spaces if you want to use more words when naming the room you want to create).

Today’s Meet facilitates an interactive conversation in a relatively relaxed environment. You can monitor student participation and you can also save a transcript of the conversation. Another benefit is the fact that students can continue the conversation at a later time, too. You would be surprised to see that students, even after they get home, go online, check what everybody said during class time, and continue sharing their thoughts! You can make the room available from 2 hours up to a month. Be aware of the fact that everybody who has the link can contribute to the conversation for as long as the room is available.

5. For writing (any subject)- PADLET

6. For vocabulary and new concepts (interactive sticky note wall, any subject)- PRIMARY WALL

More about this awesome resource in one of my old posts published on this blog in October 2013.

PrimaryWall is a web-based sticky note tool which allows students and teachers to work together in real-time by adding sticky notes to a group wall. The message typed by users appears on the online collaborative wall instantly for everyone else online to read.

It is extremely easy to use and very kid-friendly. You need to sign up for an account, and all your walls will be saved in your account. After you created a wall, all students need to do is give a title to their note, write some content, and type in their name at the bottom of the note. Users can use different backgrounds for their wall papers.

Going to security you can allow others to have free access to the wall or only using a specific password. After creating your wall you can do 4 things: you can share a read only link, a link that allows other users to contribute to your wall, you can also get an embed code, and you can also export your wall as a list. TRICK: Don’t forget to go to Security, and select “everyone” or “everyone with a password,” so that all students who will collaborate will have access to that wall, not just the person who created it. Afterwards, just share the link with all students who will be collaborating, and all they have to do is type that URL in.

I have used it for vocabulary practice with my students. For the title of the note, they typed in the word they wanted to use in a sentence, and for the content of the note, they typed in their sentence. Consequently, we had a collection of sentences using the new words. This tool can easily be used as an entry or exit ticket. Students can reflect on their learning, list important things they have learned, or questions they might have labeling their notes with appropriate titles. You can check out a sample here. 🙂

7. For animated talking avatars (any subject; writing as well)- VOKI

8. Math personalized curriculum path- KHAN ACADEMY

You can read more about this resource in one of my old posts published on this blog, here.


Google apps work seamlessly together and are a all-in-one solution provided by these integrated apps. GAFE have a great variety of cool features. I will mention just a couple of them here. It is free and is provides users with 30 GB storage space in the cloud, which is great!!! You can say goodbye to your flash drive because now, due of Google Drive, you don’t need to worry about malfunctioning flash drives, or about not having it on you when you need it since you can access all your documents online on all you devices (phone, tablet, desktop or laptop computers, Macs). By using Google Docs, students don’t need to purchase any words processor, like Microsoft Word, because Google Docs is free. Also they can very easily collaborate with each other, comment on each others, documents, give suggestions to each other, or work together on projects in real time even from home. Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is just AWESOME!

10. Learning management system with- GOOGLE CLASSROOM

Google Classroom is one of the new tools I am using this year. I am super excited about how it can facilitate teaching and learning and will probably be the topic of my next blog post!

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂
If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I share with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted in 21st century skills, Communication tools, Educational Technology, Instructional Strategies, iPad, Second Language Learners, Web 2.0 tools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment