Unsplash Photos: A Great Option for Royalty-Free Images

Images are an important part of learning; however, copyright laws tend to be confusing and murky. Therefore, it is important to find tools that will help you find royalty-free images.

If you use Google Slides, then you might want to check out the Unsplash Photos Add-On. You can easily search and add high-resolution royalty-free photos to your Slides presentation.

Yes, Google Slides does have a feature to insert royalty-free photos into your presentations. However, it's library is often limited. I like Unsplash Photos because it has a variety of high-quality images, which have been curated by people from around the globe.

3 Tools to Make Electronic Reading Easier

There is an art to reading electronically, which can make it a difficult task for our students and even colleagues. There are a number of tools available to help students read in an electronic format, whether they struggle with dyslexia, ADHD, or just need an extra support. 

Here are a few that I recently came across. 

I like Visor for reading while browsing in Chrome. This is the perfect tool for reading news articles, working in Google Docs, etc. The free Chrome Extension utilizes a screen dimmer to dim your screen, making it easier to focus on content on your Chrome Browser. Your cursor controls the point of focus feature, which highlights text line by line. It is also important to note that you can still utilize your cursor while Visor is on. 

Focus Reader View is a very simplistic, but effective tool. If you use Safari, then you might be familiar with the Safari Reader View. Focus Reader View is essentially the same thing for Chrome users. How does it work? Simply find an article that you like, turn on the Chrome Extension, and it gets rid of any distracting text, advertisements, and graphics from your screen. 

Do you remember using an index card, bookmark, or piece of paper to focus on one line at a time? The Reading Focus App for the MacBook is very similar to the strategy that many of us used or still use today. It provides you with a digital index card, which you can use to focus on one line at a time. It provides you with a variety of tools to customize the look and feel of your index card. If you are working in multiple applications like iBooks, Word, etc., this might be a good tool to use. 

Image result for reading focus card app

ExploreLearning Gizmos: A Great Simulation Tool

How often do you use technology to provide your students with hands-on learning experiences? It can be a difficult task; however, providing students with hands-on learning opportunities is extremely important. ExploreLearning's Gizmos is a Math and Science library of simulations. 

I recently came across a Hurricane Motion Gizmo during a recent search on Twitter. I was amazed at the quality of the simulation and the type of data that you can analyze. Simply drag the hurricane to analyze its path. Choose the weather station data to get wind speed data, cloud cover, and pressure information. 

ExploreLearning has an extensive library of Gizmos that explore a variety of math and science-related topics. Here are a few samples!

A Tour of the New Google Classroom

If you have used Google Classroom lately, then you might have noticed several new changes. First, you will notice that the Stream tab has turned into a place where notifications are communicated. Users can see the most recent activity by viewing the Stream. 

Next, you will notice that there is a new tab called Classroom. This particular tab is where you will spend the majority of your time posting content and collecting assignments.

The Classroom Tab also introduces us to the evolution of the Topics feature. What used to be a way of filtering content, has evolved into a way of organizing content by headings. Once you have established topics, you can organize your posts with a click.

The Classroom Tab also introduces us to a new type of post called Materials. This may be the way to go if you want to share a view only document, link to a website, or an attachment.

Finally, the Students / Classmates tab has been replaced with the People Tab. This tab allows you to invite students, teachers, and display the class join code.

Want a tour of the new Google Classroom? Check out my video below for more information!

Seesaw Activities Feature

There are times when you want your students to have a template for an activity to complete. If you are a Seesaw user, then you might be aware of the new Activities feature, which allows you to use templates created by other educators for your students.

Looking for a third grade math lesson or a beginning of the year activity? You will find it in Seesaw. 

Check out my video for more information:

If you are a paid user, then you have the ability to create your very own activities, which can be used across your district. If you are a free user, then you can use activities created by other educators. Give it a try today!

The SCARF Model and Reflections on Leadership and Teaching

  When I was a young high school teacher, I had a student named Scott in one of my classes. He and I usually got along, but there was always...