Google Docs for Learning Glog on Edudemic

Read on Edudemic

I was excited to see my Google Docs Glog featured in a post by Jeff Dunn on Edudemic last month. This morning it has been getting some attention on Facebook and Twitter, so I thought it would be a good idea to direct the readers of this blog to the post, 12 Effective Ways to Use Google Drive in Education.

I’ve received some requests for the link to the live glog through my PLN, so I’ve embedded it here. If you’re looking for more Google Docs resources, be sure to check out my Google Docs page on this blog or attend one of my upcoming webinars.

Many thanks to Jeff for sharing this resource!

4 Digital Citizenship Week Resources


CommonSense Media has a comprehensive and free curriculum dedicated to Digital Citizenship. The activities are organized by grade level chunks and they include lesson plans, posters and videos to engage students in learning at appropriate levels. Be sure to check out the section for parents. Follow 

Digital Citizenship Resources LiveBinder
is a LiveBinder assembled by Vicky Sedgwick. The binder provides a wealth of resources  by grade level and it is organized by nine elements of Digital Citizenship. In addition, there is a useful collection of infographics worth checking out. Follow @VisionsbyVicki

Netsmartz is an educational resource from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children dedicated primarily to Internet Safety and responsible web use. Explore a variety of multimedia resources on the main site, or send students to the NetsmartzKids site for kid-friendly activities. Follow

Avatar Adventures is an interactive learning experience I designed to provide students and teachers with opportunities to build digital citizenship skills while engaging in constructive play. Learn more about Using Avatars to Teach Digital Citizenship on Please consider letting students contribute to one of the Web 2.0 tools in Try-It Territory. Follow @Getting_Smart 

Search by Reading Level Without Twurdy

For the past few years I have been introducing students, teachers and parents to a toolkit of resources assembled to help students use search engines that match their learning styles. One of the most popular tools in my toolkit has been Twurdy, a simple search engine that displays results by readability. Unfortunately, it appears as though Twurdy has gone off the grid at this point in time. I cannot find this beloved tool.

In response to numerous email messages and tweets, I decided to look for a search engine similar to Twurdy; however, I am unable to find one. The the two tools I can suggest for helping students find leveled text are Google Advanced Search and Wikipedia Simple English.

Google Advanced Search – Search by Reading Level

Students can use the Google Advanced Search feature to find results that are categorized into three reading levels. Once a search is completed, uses can toggle the results to display basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels.

The Google Advanced Search option has been around for quite some time, but because it is a Google tool, the point of access is always changing. Here is a snapshot to illustrate where to find Search by Reading Level when using Google at the present time. 

Wikipedia Simple English

One of the languages supported by Wikipedia is “Simple English”. Choose it to find information written using simpler words and simple sentences, which lowers the readability level. Learn how to find Simple English by watching this quick video tutorial.

Looking for More Search Engine Options? 

Please explore my MentorMobEdu playlist of resources.

Create your own Playlist on MentorMob!

Have a Suggestion to Add to This Playlist?

I’m always looking for new resources to add to this playlist. Please make suggestions through the comments section here or send me a Tweet. 

Common Core Connections: Halloween Writing

The Common Core Standards identify six instructional shifts necessary for effective implementation of the ELA/Literacy strand. These instructional shifts provide a framework to help us understand the big picture before diving into the specific individual standards. 

CCSS Shift 5, Writing from Sources, calls for an emphasis on analyzing and synthesizing information from multiple sources to reach a conclusion or make an argument. This type of writing requires students to construct knowledge through research and present evidence that is accurate, precise and clear. Regularly engaging students in this type of writing will foster the development of essential skills to help them succeed in college and beyond. 

Halloween – An Engaging Theme

It’s fairly safe to say that many teachers use the Halloween theme to launch creative writing activities that focus on stories and personal narratives. Perhaps with a little twist, teachers can take advantage of Halloween writing activities that focus on gathering information from sources through research to present information about haunted places, dispel or defend myths, and present conclusions that are based in fact to support the CCSS Shift 5. 

Explore a sample launcher for a CCSS aligned Halloween writing project that has been embedded here.

Tools to Power the Learning Experience

Use an Essential Question to Fuel the Inquiry

An essential question can be a very effective tool for guiding research and tapping into students’ enthusiasm for inquiry and learning. These questions provide students with challenges that allow them to invest in the learning process as they make decisions about their own learning. Since essential questions do not have one correct answer, students can choose flexible learning paths to find success and demonstrate learning.

Use a Google Custom Search Engine for Safe Searching 

A topic like this could send students on searches that lead them to questionable websites. A traditional work around might be to publish a list of acceptable websites for students, but perhaps a better solution is to create a Goggle Custom Search Engine for use with this type of project. 

Searching involves critical thinking and it is an important skill that needs to be taught. The Goggle Custom Search Engine Tool allows teachers to easily build your own search engine that is customized with content you choose to be appropriate for your grade level or for a particular unit of study, This tool provides teachers with the ability to bring relevant and reliable sources into the classroom while also teaching students how to conduct a search and it can be embed into any  blog, wiki, or site for easy access.

Use a Padlet Board for Collaboration

Padlet is the tool I used to launch this project. It is a free tool that allows you to create an online collaborative board of online sticky notes for use in the 24/7 classroom. In addition to text, the notes can include images, links and videos. One of the best features about Padlet is that students do not need an account to log in, making it an efficient and useful tool for a variety of learning tasks.

Use the Common Core App by Mastery Connect to Design a Rubric

To make sure to cover specific writing and research standards for your grade level, consider creating a rubric with the guidance of the Common Core App by Mastery Connect. Use the app for quick and easy access to standards that are presented clearly and provide snippets of relevant information without overwhelming. With the information at hand, you can fine-tune the learning experiences to target many specific standards in one project.

Use Google Docs to Create and Publish

If your school is using Google Docs, there are plenty of opportunities for students to collaborate, brainstorm, write, research and publish their work. Use the document for written papers or try the presentation to express learning in a multimedia format.

A Writing Project Toolkit

Explore this Interactive Image, created with ThingLink

Webinar: SAMR Through the Lens of 21st Century Skills

SAMR Through the Lens of 21st Century Skills October 15, 2013, 4:00 PM CST

Are you looking for ways to leverage the power of technology to help students develop 21st Century Skills? 

This webinar will demonstrate how to use the SAMR model of tech integration as a guide for planning and implementing classroom learning experiences that take student learning to higher levels. Join me and Infinitec as we look at some traditional learning tasks focusing on 21st century research and writing and walk them up the SAMR ladder to help you “Teach Above the Line.” 

Registration is open to all


2 Games for Learning: Alge-Bingo and Remembus

I’d like to introduce the readers of the blog to 4TheKingdomApps, a father and son team who have developed a couple of apps for learning. Kevin Scritchfield is a veteran high school math teacher and his son Tad is a high school student. They have each created a game style app to help students improve memory and practice skills.


Alge-Bingo, created by Kevin Scritchfield, won the 2012 National STEM Challenge in the High School Educator Division. Named appropriately, it is a game that helps students master algebra while playing Bingo. The game grows with students as they make progress, offering them more challenges and requiring them to develop mental math skills that are faster and more automatic.

Users have the ability to self-select their entry level and also the difficulty of the bingo game itself, making this game fun, flexible and leveled. The game can be addictive as students gain confidence and build skills. Students who are trying to improve their skills should try this game.

Watch this video created by Kevin to learn more about Alge-Bingo.



Remembus is an app created by Tad Scritchfield, a high school student. This app combines a Concentration memory game with a rebus puzzle. Here is how Remembus works.

Players select can one of four subject areas to reveal a Concentration type game board. Players begin by selecting a number on the game board which reveals a question or an answer. Players must remember where the questions and answers are located on the board while testing their knowledge of the content to find a match. Once a match is found, the cards disappear to reveal part of a rebus puzzle. When all of the matches are found, players are rewarded and challenged to solve the rebus puzzle.

Try These Apps for Yourself

Both of these apps are available for $.99 in the iTunes store. Click on the ad in the sidebar of this blog to jump directly to the iTunes preview of each of these apps. Follow @Remembus and @kscritch to keep up with more from this father and son team, 4TheKingdomApps.

6 Tools for Connected Educators on

October is Connected Educators month. If you’re reading this post my guess is you are already a connected educator to some degree because you are, at the very least, someone who is opening the door to the ideas of others. It’s quite possible  you stumbled across this post
on TwitterScoop.It or Pinterest. And it’s likely that you might pass it along to others through the various networks  in your own Professional Learning Community.

6 Tools for Connected Educators

Explore and share this interactive image and read the full article on