September 25, 2017

Interactive Field Trips made easy!

CILC  – the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration – is a clearinghouse for interactive programs (think field trips) and collaborative projects! Here you can arrange to take your class to Australia, the International Wolf Center, Sarasota’s Marine Laboratory, or the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, all without leaving your classroom. You, and your students, speak directly to the content provider on your SmartBoard, asking questions and participating in engaging activities. The lessons fit right into your curriculum and the opportunities for pre-K – 12 are huge. In addition, CILC provides a format for teachers to post individual collaborative projects to connect with classrooms around the world. Sign up at the above address and begin searching for your opportunities today!

Find one you want to try? Let me know and I will join your class and assist with the technology as well as the planning.

Free eBook Collections:

ELM (the Electronic Library of Minnesota), which provides all of our great databases, also includes three collections of eBooks covering many topics of interest to both students and educators. The first is EBSCO’s eBook Collection – which includes mostly nonfiction (including cooking, crafts & collectibles, education, engineering, home & garden, and much, much more!), but some fiction as well. Gale Virtual Reference Library is a collection of 25 online reference books and encyclopedias covering topics from art history to medicine. The third collection is EBooks Minnesota, which consists of an online collection from the state’s independent publishers.

All three are excellent eBook resources – and the eBooks can be opened on any device in a wide range of apps and web browsers. Let me know if you’d like me to share them with your students.

Fire Prevention Week:

October 8-14 is Fire Prevention Week, and it’s not too late to take advantage of the free resources available from the National Fire Protection Association. They have lesson plans, videos, bookmarks, and more to help present this important material to your class.

Teaching Tolerance:

All of the resources for both Teaching Tolerance and Perspectives for a Diverse America are located on the new, updated website, which has resources and tools for students of all ages. These resources include lesson plans, Social Justice Standards, administrator guides, and current articles. Their information on the topics of bullying, kindness, diversity and race are so important for today’s classroom, and I find myself reading their free journal from cover to cover. You can too, by subscribing to it at

STEM Resources:

Mackin and Little Bits are teaming up to give one lucky classroom over $2000 worth of Littlebits STEM tools. Click the link above to register your classroom in the drawing. Imagine what you could do with those tools! (And if you don’t think you’d use them, sign up anyway, and share them with a friend who will.)

Be Internet Awesome: Digital Citizenship Lessons from Google

This in-depth curriculum and interactive online game teaches the rules for being kind to others, not sharing online, catching fake information online, and talking about what you see online. The curriculum can be adjusted for grades 1-6, but is especially appropriate for grades 4-5. Download the curriculum and use some of these lessons in your classroom today. (Have I mentioned that I would love to come and help you? I would!)

ClassFlow: free hurricane lessons

ClassFlow is a great tool teachers can use to deliver a lesson with a classroom set of devices and displayed on your SmartBoard,. Although ClassFlow is a Promethean product, it works in any classroom. This tool lets you send quzzes, polls and activities to your student devices to encourage engagement and interaction. Similar to Nearpod, ClassFlow provides some neat ways to send digital badges to students, and to include parents if you wish. The ClassFlow Marketplace has millions of interactive lessons for all grades, created by educators around the world, many of which are totally free. These hurricane lessons are a great example of the free content you can find.

Want to know more about ClassFlow? Join the ClassFlow experts for a full day of live online training on October 11th. Learn about polling, incorporating STEM in the classroom, differentiated and data driven instruction, and more. Stream the live event from ClassFlow’s YouTube channel – or view content after Oct 11th at

CleanPrint Extension: print any page to PDF

This slick little Google extension lets you strip ads and other content out from around any article on the web so you can either print or save a document as a PDF. This makes articles look great when you’re posting them to Google Classroom or sharing them in any way with students. Once you select CleanPrint you have options to edit, add notes, or delete any content on the page prior to printing or saving. You can install CleanPrint, and other extensions, from the Google Chrome Webstore:

Chromecasting your Chromebook:

To reiterate a note from Todd last week, Chrome Cast is available with the AirServer installation on your computer. Chrome Cast allows you to display any Chromebook screen to your SmartBoard so you can share student work or show directions from a device. To use it you must run your AirServer application (which is either a shortcut on your desktop or in your computer’s start menu), and then connect from the device. Creating a password for your computer is a very good idea, so people don’t accidentally display their screen on your SmartBoard. You can do this by right-clicking on the AirServer icon, or by clicking on the AirServer icon down in the right-hand corner of your computer. Select “preferences” to create or change the password. You can also choose to have a random password displayed on your screen, which makes it very easy for connecting at that time and avoiding the accidental displaying of others. As Todd said, contact him (or me) if you have questions.

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