Yesterday afternoon I hosted a webinar titled Making Great Handouts With Storyboard That Templates. Almost 500 people registered for the webinar! If you wanted to attend but couldn't make it at the scheduled time or you're just reading about it for the first time, you can now watch the recording of the webinar on my YouTube channel. The recording is also embedded below.

A few additional resources mentioned in the webinar:

Google Forms and Google Sheets are my go-to tools when I need to collect and organize data. One of the things that I often help teachers do with data in Google Forms and Sheets is create progress trackers or reading logs. There are two ways that you can do this. The first method outlined below is the easier method as it simply requires following a template. The second method outlined below is a little more difficult but the benefit is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter data to record progress toward a stated numerical goal like "read 1,000 pages this month."

Method #1 - Use Flippity's Progress Tracker Template

Flippity offers eighteen templates that you can use in Google Sheets. One of those templates is a progress tracker template. This template will create a sheet into which you enter student names, goals, and the units that you're tracking (pages, minutes, steps, etc). After you enter that data into the template you can publish the sheet and Flippity will provide you with a simple webpage that displays progress as a colored bar graph. Watch my video for step-by-step directions on using Flippity's progress tracker template.

Method #2 - Google Form + Pivot Table in Google Sheets

The benefit of using this method is that you can have students or a teacher's aide enter information into a Google Form and then you will see the the data in a spreadsheet that you can manipulate to see the data in terms of tracking progress toward a goal. The downside to this method is that unless you're willing to share the spreadsheet with students or set your Google Form to "Respondents Can See summary charts and text responses" they won't see their progress unless they ask you for the information. Take a look at my screenshots below for an outline of the steps needed to duplicate my reading log made by using Google Forms and Sheets.

Step 1 - Create a Google Form in which you ask for name, goal, and pages read that day (or week if that's how you'd prefer to track).

Step 2 - Create a Google Sheet of responses.

Step 3 - From the "Data" drop-down menu in Google Sheets select "Pivot Table."

Step 4 - In the right hand menu that appears on the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "Rows"  then select "Your name," "Your goal," and "Number of pages read."

Step 5 - In the right hand menu of the Pivot Table sheet click "Add" next to "values" then choose "number of pages read."

Step 6 - Admire your summarized data.

Earlier this week I shared some videos and a couple of interactive resources for teaching lessons about the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day. Constitution Day is this coming Monday and by law all schools receiving federal funds have to offer some kind of instruction on the U.S. Constitution. If you're still looking for some resources to use on Monday, take a look at what Docs Teach has to offer.

DocsTeach has sixteen pre-made Constitution Day activities that you can use today. An additional 35 documents and artifacts about the Constitution can be found through a quick search on DocsTeach.

About DocsTeach

DocsTeach provides you with tools to create online history lessons that are based on primary source documents, images, and videos. There are thirteen templates that you can use to create lessons on the DocsTeach platform. My favorite template is the analysis template that you can use to create lessons that help students learn to analyze documents and images.

The lessons that you create on DocsTeach can be shared with your students through the DocsTeach online environment. You can also share your lessons with colleagues by publishing your lesson to the DocsTeach library.

On Monday I shared free five apps that I recommend for making videos on iPads in elementary school classrooms. You might have looked at the list and wondered which one(s) you should try. If so, here's my basic break-down of how these apps can be used by students and the ages that they are appropriate for.

One Frame Videos

These are these are the type of videos that I recommend making with K-2 students to get started. Like the name implies, these videos will feature just one picture or drawing and a student's voice. Draw and Tell is a great app for this because kids can draw a picture and then record themselves talking about the picture. A simple way to introduce this app is to have students draw pictures of their families and then talk about the people in the picture. Chatter Pix Kids is a simple app but in this app students take a picture with their iPads and then draw a mouth on the picture before recording themselves talking. You can see a great example of Chatter Pix Kids being used by Kindergarten students (with a little help from their teacher) in A Health Meal hosted on Next Vista for Learning.

Audio Slideshow

This is a step above making one frame videos, but the basic concept behind it is the same. Students assemble a series of images and record themselves talking about the images. Shadow Puppet Edu is a good app for making this kind of video in elementary school classrooms because the app contains an integrated image search tool the will provide students with pictures from high quality services like NASA, NOAA, and the Library of Congress. I have personally used this app with students as young as second grade.

Animated Stories

This moves students beyond simply making or selecting pictures and talking over them as in the first two project types. In this project students will write a story and then animate it before possibly adding their own voices to it. Toontastic 3D is my go-to iPad app for doing this with students in third through sixth grade. Students can choose from a huge library of pre-drawn characters and backgrounds to use in their videos or draw their own characters and scenes to use in their videos.

A few weeks ago on PracticalEdTech.com I hosted a webinar titled Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep. 75 people joined that webinar to learn all about the new features of Google Classroom and how they can be used in their classrooms this year. In the last couple of weeks I've heard from many people who wanted to know if I would run the webinar again. So by popular demand on September 18th at 7pm ET I'm hosting an encore presentation of Get Organized With Google Classroom, Calendar, and Keep.

In this live webinar on September 18th at 7pm ET you will learn what’s new in Google Classroom, what’s changed, and how you can use Google Classroom to stay organized throughout the school year.

In this webinar you’ll also learn how to use Google Calendar and Google Keep to organize and maintain your schedule in the new school year.

Five Key Things You'll Learn In This Webinar:

1. How to streamline your workflow through Google Classroom.

2. How to organize and share resources with students.

3. How to keep track of goals (yours and your students’) through Google Keep and Calendar.

4. How to manage multiple course calendars without losing your mind.

5. How to streamline meetings and meeting scheduling.

This webinar will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live broadcast. Everyone who registers will be sent a copy of the recording of the live webinar.

About this post: The sale of my professional development, webinars, online courses, and my on-site professional development services provides the funding to keep Free Technology for Teachers running. The resources that I feature in my online courses and webinars are free. However, there is a significant cost associated with creating, hosting, and managing the courses and webinars which is why I am not able to provide them for free.  

Bookmark It is a free Chrome extension that can solve a problem many people face when trying to show students just a specific part of a video. That problem is having to scroll along the timeline of a YouTube video to find the spot that you want to share. Bookmark It lets you add timestamped bookmarks and notes to the timeline of a video. Once you've added your bookmarks and notes you can return directly to them from the Bookmark It extension. Watch my video that is embedded below to see how Bookmark It works.

Voicepods is a neat service that will create voice recordings based on the text that you write. Voicepods offers eight voices in which you can have your text read-aloud. The voice recording that is generated from your text can be listened to online and you can download it as an MP3 to use wherever MP3 playback is supported. Watch my video that is embedded below to learn how easy it is to make a voice recording on Voicepods.

Applications for Education

I often encouraged my students to read their papers aloud or have them read aloud by someone else to spot mistakes that they didn't catch when reading silently. Voicepods could be a great tool for students to use to hear their written words read aloud. All they would need to do is copy and paste the text of their papers into Voicepods to hear their work read aloud.

The Council for Economic Education has recently published their fall schedule of free professional development webinars for teachers. The series begins next week on September 18th and runs weekly through December 12th. All of the webinars are scheduled for 7pm Eastern Time. You can register for one webinar or all of the webinars.

There is a fairly wide range of topics scheduled for the professional development webinars offered by the CEE. Some of the topics that jumped out to me as I looked through the list include Finding the Right College Fit: Tools and Process for Success, Using Harry Potter to Teach Economics and Personal Finance, and How Rapper 50 Cent Made Millions and Then Lost It.

On the topic of economics, I recently updated my popular Life on Minimum Wage simulation game. You can view it here as a Google Doc or download it for free from my new Teachers Pay Teachers page.

Seterra is a service that offers interactive geography games in more than thirty languages. I used the service for years with some of my own students. In the last couple of years Seterra has evolved from a desktop application to a web and mobile app service. You can play Seterra games in the web browser on your computer or as an Android app or an iOS app.

The best way to explore Seterra's offerings is to head to the online games page. On that page you can browse for games according to continent and country. On Seterra's online games page you will find games that students can play to learn and quiz themselves about capitals, bodies of water, waterways, flags, country names, states, provinces, regions, and notable cities. And if you need an offline activity, Seterra lists some printables below all of the games on their individual pages.

Seterra has a couple of great features that enhance their online and mobile games. There is an option that will read aloud the names of the countries, cities, states, and provinces that students are asked to identify in the game. That option is listed just below each online game. Students can turn on or turn off the read-aloud option at any time. Seterra's games also have a "review" mode that lets students practice only the items that they missed in their first attempts at a game.

Applications for Education

The reason that I like Seterra is that in addition to the wide array of games, more than 200 available for free, there is a variety within each game. Each game can be played as an identification game, as a labeling game, or as a matching game. In the simple identification mode, called "Pin" mode, students simply click on the locations of the places they're asked to identify. The labeling version of a game is found by selecting "type" mode. In that mode students have to type on the map to identify places. And in the matching mode called "place the labels" students have to match place names to the places indicated by pins on the map.

When you open Seterra in your web browser the games should default to match the language preference you have set in your browser. However, if you want to change the language in which you play the game, you can do that at the home page of Online.Seterra.com.

Disclosure: Seterra is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Constitution Day in the United States is on this coming Monday. By law all schools receiving federal funds have to offer some type of instruction about the Constitution. Yesterday, I shared a couple of interactive resources that can help students learn about the U.S. Constitution. Here are a couple of video resources for teaching and learning about the Constitution.

Keith Hughes offers a long playlist of videos that he has made to address questions that students often have regarding the U.S. Constitution. His playlist includes an overview of the Constitutional Convention, videos about each section of the Constitution, and videos about most of the amendments to the Constitution. I've embedded the playlist below.

The National Constitution Center offers an online program called the Constitution Hall Pass. The Constitution Hall Pass is a series of videos mostly featuring scholars discussing elements of the Constitution and issues relating to it. There are also a few "discussion starter" videos that are intended to get students thinking about how the Constitution can have a direct impact on their lives. I know from experience that this Freedom of Expression video and accompanying questions will get high school students talking.