Zoom.It: Publish Zoomable Images

Zoom.It is a free and user-friendly Cool Tool for embedding, viewing and sharing images. Just copy an image link into the box on the website and in return receive a link or embed code to your zoomable image. Click on the tools at the bottom of this awesome poster, published by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, to experience Zoom.It as you think about the 4 C’s.


GoogleDocs Presentation: New Look and Features

Recently Google released a new version of its online presentation software and with it comes some additional features that have been available in traditional presentation software programs like PowerPoint and Keynote. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Include transitions in between slides
  • Use simple animations, or “flying text” 
  • Link images
  • Include tables with improved formatting options
  • Draw directly on a slide to create flowcharts, mind maps and doodles
To get a glimpse of the new tool in action, please view the Google Presentation below.

    Learn About Culture Through Images

    Culture is a very popular topic of study in our 6th grade curriculum. Larry Ferlazzo has identified some great photo resources for Learning About Different Cultures on his blog, Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…for Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL I decided to combine Larry’s resources with ThingLink, to create a visual launcher to help students expand  their visual and cultural literacy skills in the 24/7 classroom.

    A ThingLink Launcher

    3 Interactive Math Tools to Engage Students

    The flexibility of virtual manipulatives and interactive math tutorials can provide opportunities for all students to master math.. Here are 3 interactive sites that work well with students working on their own computers, projected in front of the class, or on an interactive board.

    Thinking Blocks
    This is a very nice interactive site for modeling and solving real-world math problems, designed  for elementary and middles school students by Colleen King. The site uses a series of interactive templates to provide guided instruction through tutorials that model the step-by-step process of solving a problem. Then it provides students with  independent practice that also walks them through the process and provides them with immediate feedback and progress checking options. Content includes addition, multiplication, factions and ratios, but there is also a modeling tool for teachers to create their own problems.

    National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

    This a library of colorful and interactive web-based virtual manipulatives and tutorials for teaching math. The award-winning project, developed by the National Science Foundation,  is research based and designed to use a virtual learning environment to actively engage students in math and help them visualize relationships and applications. The wide variety of manipulative is impressive and activities are available for teaching math in grades PreK-12. 

    A Maths Dictionary for Kids 

    This animated, interactive online math dictionary for students, developed by Jenny Eather, explains over 600 common mathematical terms and math words in simple language. It’s colorful, interactive and kid-friendly. This tool might be especially useful for parents to use as a reference supporting students at home.

    GoogleDocs Templates: A Virtual Copy Machine

    If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to provide students with a starting point for a digital project, Google Docs Templates can help. You can save time and guide the learning by providing students with a consistent page format by using and creating your own templates. A Google Docs template is like a virtual copy machine. There are plenty of user-submitted templates already created and available for public use and there is even a category for Students and Teachers. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

    How to Use an Existing Templates

    1. Sign in to your Google account
    2. When viewing your list of GoogleDocs, choose Create New > from Template .
    3. Use the search box at the top of the page to find templates and use the links on the left side of the page to narrow your search by category or specific type of Google Doc.
    4. When you find a template you like, click Use This Template. A unique copy of the template will move to your list of Google Docs, while the original template will remain in tact.
    5. Modify the template as needed and use it.
    How to Create a Template

    1. Sign in to your Google account
    2. Create a new document, presentation, form, spreadsheet or drawing.
    3. Add your content and save.
    4. Go to your list of Google Docs.
    5. Choose Create New > From Template .
    6. On the new screen that appears, choose Submit a Template.
    7. Click on the link to Choose from yourGoogleDocs
    8. Complete the form with information about your template and submit.
    9. The template will become available in the gallery in a few minutes.

    Sample Some Templates Available for Use

    Note: You must be signed in to your Google account to view

    historical facebook page charts template          self0grading test template
    HistoricalFacebook, created by Susan Santoli Charts in Spreadsheets
    created by the GoogleDocs
    20 Questions Self-Grading Test, created by John Warf
    5 Ideas for Use in the Classroom
    You’re bound to think of more!
    1. Create a collaborative Google Presentation with copyright-friendly images or your own photos as a starting point for students. Have studemts open the template and write about the images.
    2. Create a digital note-taking page complete with pre-formatted note cards, links to research resources and a link to Easy-Bib to collect information for the bibliography.
    3. Use the drawing tools to create a mind-map, then group the shapes, text boxes and arrows together so students can easily contribute without worrying about formatting.
    4. Create online student record-keeping templates. Use them to help students easily log their at-home, reading, instrument practice, food consumption or any task you want students to keep track of.
    5. Create a template for student portfolios to guide them through the process of self-reflection and publishing work.

    Manage Google Docs with an Assignment Tracker

    One of the challenges of rolling out Google Docs for all students at our school is in managing all those docs students are turning in. Teachers are experiencing the frustration of cluttered In Boxes taken over by individual messages from students sharing their assignments. Fortunately, I have found an awesome idea from John Miller @162  that utilizes a Google Form as an Assignment Tracker. The idea is innovative, efficient and simple. Here’s how John’s invention works:

    Teachers create a very simple Google Form to be submitted by students every time they turn in work. Information on the form should include name, class period, assignment name and a link to the Google Doc with the assignment. The information submitted by students automatically populates a spreadsheet to be used by teachers to keep track of assignments and also to launch those assignment for grading and review.


    1. Teachers only have to create one form to used for the entire year. At certain intervals, teachers can simply copy and paste the information into a new page on the same spreadsheet for the purposes of record keeping, then work from a clean sheet.
    2. Use of an assignment tracker requires virtually no work for teachers. The additional effort necessary for the assignment tracker to work is a very quick task that is completed by students, but the task in itself is easy and it should actually make them feel good when they turn in work. The task is similar to crossing items off of a To Do list and we all know that just feels good.
    3. When students submit the form, a time stamp accompanies it, so teachers can see when an assignment was turned in. This means there is no need to be diligent about checking the form on that date an assignment is due. There is a digital record.
    4. Since the information is in a Google Spreadsheet, it can be sorted or even exported to Excel and used as a database for generating form letters for missing assignments.


    Click the images to view the actual student form and teacher spreadsheet.

    Many thanks to John Miller @162 for this great idea!

    Video Tutorial

    Collaborative Brainstorming with Google Docs Drawing Tools

    To help students develop skills necessary for living and working in the 21st century, educators must provide them with  learning experiences to allow them to master the 4C’s: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Opportunities for students to work together to solve real-world problems foster the development of these skills and also require students think outside of the box to generate a number of different solutions to solving a problem. Brainstorming can be a key part of this creative process. The features available in the drawing component of Google Docs are well-suited for online, collaborative brainstorming sessions for quite a few reasons.

    Tools are available to create a visual mind map
    Use shapes, arrows, text, word art and imported images to build a visual mind map for any task.

    Sharing allows for collaboration 
    Groups of students can collaborate and share ideas on the same mind map from locations near and far. Digital brainstorming sessions provide all students with an opportunity to contribute, unlike traditional brainstorming sessions which encourage contributions from the “quick thinkers” in the room.

    Revision history feature highlights individual contributions
    Contributors are assigned their own color and the revision history highlights and tracks changes to any Google Doc. It’s easy to see what each student has contributed to the big picture.

    Templates are available
    Some generous and innovative users have created and shared templates for everyone to use. Use them as a starting point or a model to create your own templates for students.