Friday, October 22, 2021

Better Writing Responses with Slides

I have been spending a lot of time working with elementary teachers on infusing technology into a new ELA curriculum. It has been a valuable experience because I have learned so much about how students use language to communicate.

Writing is an essential skill that all students need to master; however, many of our students struggle with the structure associated with writing. Have you ever considered using Google Slides to provide students with the scaffolds and supports they need to construct a writing piece? 

I recently developed the following Writing Prompt template in Google Slides for students in our elementary school; however, this could easily be adapted for use in secondary classrooms. Students read a writing prompt, brainstorm ideas, and then construct their paragraph - all in one place. 

First, students read the writing prompt. We have found that many of our students struggle with some of the vocabulary terms in writing prompts, so we added an opportunity for students to dig deeper into what a specific term means. This helps our students overcome the "vocabulary gap" which may prevent them from fully understanding the prompt. 

Then, students begin brainstorming their response. Brain research tells us that students often need to use their senses and different representations and media to formulate understanding. The following section provides students with a structured way to begin brainstorming about their topic.

Finally, students use Google Slides to construct their writing response. Students have all of their resources and ideas in one place to begin writing. 

BONUS 💡 : Want to practice reading fluency? Perhaps consider using Mote for students to read their responses and embed them into their presentation. Not familiar with Mote? Check out my blog post.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Google Classroom Discussion Organizer Tool

 Remote learning has transformed how students participate in class. The shift to virtual environments has introduced students to online skills, such as using Google Classroom to foster online discussion. Although some may consider online discussion self-explanatory, many students need structure to successfully master this skill. 

Building skills for effective online discussion begins with helping students understand my expectations and the structure to complete the assignment successfully. Therefore, I have developed the following Google Classroom Discussion Organization tool to help students:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Write an effective response
  • Edit their responses
  • Respond to classmates

Tip: It might be helpful to share an individual copy of this document with each student so that they can edit, add text, and check off each box on the checklist! 

Click here for your own copy! 


First, students begin with copying and pasting the discussion question in the document. Then, students brainstorm their ideas, based on what they know or their thoughts. I like to emphasize that this does not have to be in order! Plus, it might be helpful for students to use tools like Voice Typing to get their thoughts on paper. 

Writing Response

Next, students begin writing their responses. When students are finished, they have a checklist to ensure that they have followed instructions, checked their grammar and spelling, and completed the assignment to the best of their ability. 

Responses to Classmate

Finally, I have found that students need a framework for responding to classmates. I enjoy using the TAG framework, which I originally found in a Seesaw webinar. You can read more here. Students tell what they liked, ask a question, and give a suggestion. 


Online communication is quickly becoming an important workplace skill, as electronic communication increasingly becomes a staple in face-to-face and virtual environments. Therefore, it is important to prepare our students to organize their thoughts through electronic discussion. Providing students with a framework and expectations for electronic communication is an important skill we can all use to prepare our students for success inside the classroom and in the future workforce. 


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast


Monday, October 4, 2021

Create and Assign Virtual Math Manipulatives with Mathigon Polypad

Mathigon is a very helpful virtual manipulative tool that you can use to make math more engaging and exciting! It contains free tools, games, activities, and resources for all students to use! Not only can you use the activities, but you can assign assignments to your students directly from Mathigon or import your students from Google Classroom. 

Here is a quick 4-minute tutorial to learn more about the Polypad feature!  


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Friday, October 1, 2021

Notion: A Dynamic All-in-One Workspace

Are you looking keep yourself organized, take notes, upload documents, bookmark key resources and add notes to them, develop and utilize note templates, and manage a to-do list all in one place? I recently came across a free tool called Notion, which is an amazing workspace tool that can be used across any device. 

You may see some of these features in some tools like OneNote, Evernote, Apple Notes, etc.; however, very rarely can you find them all in one place! Notion has solved the dilemma of many educators and business professionals across the globe. 

Not only is this a great tool for adults, but it can be a helpful way for older students to reflect, take notes, gather resources, collaborate with classmates, and more. 

Want to see how this works? Check out my tutorial below: 


Matt Bergman (2021)

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Do You Use Anchor Charts?

Anchor Charts are a helpful strategy that you can use to reinforce learning, independence, and problem-solving skills in the classroom. Have you ever used Anchor Charts? Check out my Wakelet below for more information and strategies. 

What are the Benefits?

There are many different benefits to Anchor Charts in any classroom. 

First, Anchor Charts are used to increase student engagement. One helpful strategy is to develop a chart as an entire class because students will feel more a part of the learning process. 

Secondly, Anchor Charts, when designed with variability in mind, provide options for representing content differently. For instance, it may be helpful to include graphics, colorful text, and examples to help students connect with the content. 

Finally, Anchor Charts are an excellent self-regulation tool that can help reinforce classroom procedures and help students solve problems. For instance, students who have difficulty understanding a text can revisit an anchor chart containing reading comprehension tips and strategies. 

Can I Make Digital Anchor Charts? 

Absolutely! Although typically created with chart paper and markers, you can use a variety of tools to make electronic anchor charts, such as:

One of my favorite tools to use is Wakelet because I can add PDFs, images, and text all in one place. Plus, I can share this on my Google Classroom for my students to reference inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, check out my Wakelet below for more ideas and resources for creating your own Anchor Charts! 

Do you use Anchor Charts? I'd love to hear more about how you use them! Please leave a comment below. 


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Create a Google Classroom Custom Header in Minutes with Google Slides

With the beginning of school upon us, you might want to create a custom Google Classroom header. If you upload a traditional picture, you might get this. 

Instead, you might want to use Google Slides to design a slide that everyone can see. See my example below. 

How do you do it? 

1. Open up Google Slides

2. Visit File Menu > Page Setup > Custom > Pixels and make the dimensions 1600 x 400

3. Add your pictures and design your header!

4. Visit File Menu > Download > download your current slide as a JPG or PNG 

5. Upload to Google Classroom

Want to see a video on how to do this?  Check out my video below to see this in action! 


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Four A's Text Rendering Protocol with Mote and Slides

 Reading protocols are great tools for analyzing and dissecting a text. One of my favorite protocols is known as the Four A's protocol because it helps provide students with a framework for constructing and composing their ideas through the graduated levels of supports offered by the protocol. 

Adding a tool like Mote and Google Slides can create dynamic discussion through audio comments. 

Want your own copy? Click here

How Does It Work?

First, students will read the assigned text. 

Then, students will use the following Google Slides presentation template and Mote to record their comments. Students can work individually or collaboratively on this assignment. 

The Four A's Protocol

The Four A's protocol is quite simple and requires students to  analyze the text through the following lenses:

• What Assumptions does the author of the text hold? 

• What do you Agree with in the text? 

• What do you want to Argue with in the text? 

• What parts of the text do you want to Aspire to (or Act upon)?

Finally, students place their recordings in the proper section of the Google Slides presentation.


Whether students are face-to-face or in a virtual setting, this modification to the Four A's protocol will create engaging conversation and powerful analysis! If you are interested in learning more about this protocol, I would recommend checking out this awesome article by the School Reform Initiative.  


Matt Bergman (2021)

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Make Your Word Walls Better with Mote

In the past, I have written about the importance of vocabulary instruction in all grades because the achievement gap is largely attributed to a vocabulary gap. Therefore, strategies like word walls are effective tools for providing students with important visual representations to encourage the use of vocabulary in the classroom, in assignments, etc. 

Neuroscience is showing us that students need multiple representations of vocabulary terms in order to best understand the word's meaning. Adding tools like video and audio can enhance how students comprehend vocabulary. Mote is an audio recording tool that can be used to add audio explanations of vocabulary terms. 

Word walls can be created in a variety of different ways. For instance, teachers can generate a word wall for the entire class based on vocabulary terms within a unit, chapter, story, etc. Students could create their own individual word wall for an assignment or collaborate on a word wall for the entire class. 

The following templates use Google Slides to provide an area for the term, picture to describe, and a 30-second Mote recording. Mote can be used as a tool to say and define the word. Additionally, users may want to consider using Mote to share examples of the term.

Want your own copy of this template? Click here for your own copy.


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Friday, August 20, 2021

Google Slides Vocabulary Choice Board

Student choice and autonomy is an important aspect of learning, especially in vocabulary instruction. A choice board is an effective strategy for supporting vocabulary instruction. I recently developed the following Vocabulary Choice board for Google Slides. 

How does it work? 

First, you will want to share this with students through your learning management system. Google Classroom makes it easy to create an individual copy for each student. Don't have Google Classroom? Here is a great way to force a copy of any Google Docs, Slides, etc. 

As students complete each task, they will drag the red "X" on top of the task completed. There is an additional slide they can see and mark off vocabulary terms used. 

Next, students are required to complete a Frayer Model for one vocabulary term on slide number 5. When students are finished, they will have the choice to complete any two tasks on the choice board to make a tic tac toe! 


Do you like what you see? Click here for your own copy. Feel free to leave comments below on other tasks that you like students to complete for vocabulary practice. 


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Monday, August 16, 2021

Google Classroom Hack for Adding Text and Audio Instructions Using Mote

 Mote is becoming one of my favorite tools for adding scaffolds and supports for struggling readers. You might be familiar with using it in Google Docs and Slides, but did you know that you can use it in Google Classroom too? 

I love using Mote to add audio instructions to Google Classroom posts; however, there has always been a catch. You can either add a Mote (audio) OR text. Not both! Or is there? 

However, I recently created a video with a hack for infusing both Mote and text instructions into your Google Classroom. Check out my video below for more!

Monday, August 9, 2021

3 Jamboard Templates for Attendance, Lunch Count, and Social-Emotional Learning

Jamboard is a great collaborative tool for students to use in the classroom. Many of us have found some great ways to utilize this tool during remote learning. As more students begin arriving in our classrooms this fall, we can begin using Jamboard in creative ways on a Smartboard or as a collaborative activity on student devices. 

I have developed the following Jamboard templates to keep track of attendance, lunch count, and emotional check-in tool. 

Attendance Chart

Keeping track of attendance is one of those tasks that I would often struggle with. The following Jamboard template provides you with a place for students to drag and drop an icon on top of their name to "check-in."  

Lunch Count

Need a helpful tool for lunch count? You could use Jamboard to keep track of lunch orders for the day. Have students drag the shape that corresponds to their lunch choice. 

Mood Meter

The Mood Meter is a great SEL tool to see how your students are doing emotionally. It can help you measure the atmosphere of your classroom and make adjustments. The Mood Meter has four different quadrants based on energy level and feelings. 

To help students better understand, I have placed a picture of my Bitmoji in each quadrant; however, you can add a picture of your own Bitmoji or stickers to give it a custom feel. The following template has stars so that students can remain anonymous; however, you could add your own custom stickers or Bitmojis to the classroom to identify student names. 

Helpful Tips

Here are a couple of helpful tips: 

  • You can customize your Jamboard by using the following  Google Slides template or add text directly from Jamboard. If you choose to customize using Google Slides, you will need to download the Slides template as a JPG or PNG and upload it to Jamboard as a background. 
  • Want to make your own Jamboard background from Google Slides? In page setup, choose custom, choose pixels, and choose the dimensions 1920 x 1080. 
  • If you "Clear Frame" on your Jamboard, all shapes, and text added from Jamboard will be deleted. Instead, click on the 3 dots (in the top-right corner of the screen) of your Jamboard and choose Version History. Restore the version that contains what it previously looked like.  

Want a tutorial on how to do this? Check my video out below


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Gamifying the Beginning of the Year: Using Wordwall to Gamify Class Expectations (Part 1)

With the beginning of the school year upon us, many teachers are trying to find creative and engaging ways to go over class introductions and expectations. Have you ever thought about gamifying your approach? Gamification refers to converting a task into a game-like format.  This approach could be a helpful way to make those beginning of the year discussions, fun, painless, and hard to forget! 

The following series will explore tools for gamifying the beginning of the school year. Part 1 will look at a free tool called Wordwall. 

What is Wordwall? 

Wordwall is a free website that you can use to create a question bank and convert it into an electronic game of your choice, such as a quiz, gameshow, open the box, and so much more! It provides low-tech classrooms with a flexible tool for printing paper versions of the activities too! 

How am I using it?

I created the following iPad expectations presentation for new students in our school. 

How does it work? 

I created the following tutorial for using Wordwall a few months ago. Essentially, teachers put together a series of questions in a question bank on Wordwall. Teachers choose which activity that they would like to have students play and display the game on a projector screen. Unlike Kahoot and other interactive games, students do not input their answers on devices. Instead, it creates a great opportunity to discuss questions and answers. Teachers can also share a link to the activity for students to study and complete on their own or print out a paper copy of the activity. 

Check out my video tutorial


Matt Bergman (2021)

Check out Matt's Podcast

Friday, August 6, 2021

Create Accessible HyperDocs with Mote and Joypixels

 Hyperdocs are a great tool for increasing engagement and personalizing learning in the classroom. Unfortunately, the way that we design our Hyperdocs can be problematic. For instance, how do students who need accommodations, such as reading text aloud, have this capability in a Hyperdoc? 

One great tool to make your Hyperdoc more accessible is through Mote, a video recording tool. This tool allows the teacher to read text aloud or have students respond via audio. 

Check out the following video on how you can use Mote and Joypixels to make accessible HyperDocs. 


Matt Bergman (2021)