Friday Finds 2018-2019

The "Extra" you might need!

Resources for you and your students...

I'm trying something new this year for my Friday Finds emails. I will send out this Smore periodically, sharing resources I've run across that seem like they might increase engagement, productivity, or the thinking in your classrooms. That way they'll all be in one place in case you want to refer back to them later. Like I said in my note at the beginning of the year--I am happy to help find the "extra" that will be helpful for you! Please let me know if you see something you'd like to try!

Friday, March 22, 2019


Use as a real-time, formative assessment tool with students in your classes. Features are listed here. The free version has some limits, but I've used both the word cloud tool and the multiple choice tool with success. It is an easy way to incorporate student voice into a presentation.


We probably know about TedEd, the education offshoot of Ted Talks, but reminders never hurt. :) TedEd includes hundreds of short animated videos on a variety of topics that can be the jump-start to a lesson. You can also add questions for response or discussion. It's worth taking a look to see what might apply to your subject area!


If you are a podcast fan, you should take a look at Synth. It is a free podcasting tool that seems to be designed for education. It provides a way to make short podcasts that people can reply to with their own audio (sort of like Flipgrid, but voice only). You can also string them together to make longer podcasts, and there is the ability to download them. This could be another great formative assessment tool.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit

The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is hosted by Matt Miller, and includes nine one hour long presentations from education leaders. They cover a variety of topics, from specific technology tools to more general themes such as building relationships and sparking creativity. Because this is an "event," you must sign up to gain access. There will be one video released each day, and videos will only be available until December 31. During that time, though, 26 other videos from previous years' Digital Summits will be available as well. The Digital Summit started TODAY, so don't wait to sign up and find some time between now and the end of the year to watch some inspiring educational videos!

"Best Books of 2018" Lists--galore!!

It's gift giving season, and if you're still looking for ideas, why not give the gift of reading? There are TONS of "best books" lists--here are a few to get you started with ideas. And if you're gifting a book to a 5th through 12th grader, I'd be happy to chime in with my own suggestions! :)

NPR's Book Concierge

Publishers Weekly 2018 Best Books

Best Books of 2018 from Smithsonian Magazine

Best Books of 2018 by (chosen by readers, not editors!)

Google Arts and Culture

Have you looked at Google Arts and Culture? It's not just for the art teachers among us! The featured collection right now is biographies of pioneering women scientists from NASA. You can search over 1000 museums, 9000 places, and 6000 historical figures.

Here's a video from the Google Edu YouTube channel describing Google Arts and Culture in more detail.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Class Hook

Class Hook is a database of sorts of educational clips from TV show, movies, and documentaries. They are searchable by subject and by standard. Some of them come from popular shows and some of them come from documentary type shows we might show in class already. The clips have a target audience of all ages, so not all may be applicable for your students, but it is worth checking out! You need to create a free account in order to browse.


I have been increasingly frustrated with EasyBib (and the other citation generators EasyBib owns) as it requires users to watch ads before adding multiple citations. MyBib is a promising alternative. It is ad-free, and users can create citations from websites, books, journals, videos, and much more. Create a free account to use, and also download the Chrome extension.

Digital Breakouts

Some of you may remember that I have two Breakout Edu boxes, where challenges are given related to a subject or topic and then students have to solve clues in order to unlock locks and "break out" (really, break in to the boxes). Digital Breakouts are the digital version of that--they still might take some prep, but in lots of ways are more manageable. Students are still solving clues to unlock locks, but everything is done digitally, and the only limit as to what to include is your imagination!

There are LOTS of resources out there on how to make your own digital breakout:

Tom Mullaney's Digital Breakout Template

EdTech Creative Digital Breakout User's Guide

Create Your Own Digital Breakout Smore

The Literary Maven: Resources for Creating Digital Breakouts

Mastering the Digital Escape

"The Digital Breakout" slide presentation

and plenty more just a Google search away.

Here a few sites with examples of digital breakouts--you might want to browse these to see if there might be one you could use to try out with your classes!

Tom Mullaney's Digital Breakouts

Edison Township Public Schools teacher created Digital Breakouts

Pinterest Digital Breakouts board (most of these are from Teachers Pay Teachers, so they may cost money to actually use--I have not checked)

BreakoutEdu Digital (a few examples at this site)

Let me know if you're interested in exploring digital breakouts further--I'd be happy to help you brainstorm!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Oregon Educator Network: Strategies

I just learned today about the Oregon Educator Network, an online resource for Oregon educators hosted by their State Department of Education. Especially practical is the "Strategies" section, that lists many different group activities that can be used for different purposes. Some will be familiar and some may be new. Check it out for some new ideas!

This American Life podcast resources

I've been thinking about podcasts lately. This site lists various This American Life podcasts and how middle school through college educators have used the podcasts within their classrooms. A variety of subject areas are included: art, biology, economics, and more. Take a look to get ideas how you might use these podcasts (or others!) within your classroom.

Citizen U

Citizen U is a project through several organizations in cooperation with the Library of Congress to incorporate civic education through core curriculum. From the site:

"Working with a dedicated group of teacher-reviewers, CRF, DePaul, and Barat are developing lessons in inquiry-based civics in science, math, English-language arts, and social studies on the overarching theme of equality."

There aren't a lot of lessons included right now, but the ones that are there may spark ideas for other lessons you could try.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Loom is a screencast and webcam video creation tool. It is a free Chrome extension. Teachers could use it to create video tutorials or review sessions or to provide feedback for assignments. Students could use it for presentations, how-to videos, or responses to assignments.

Global Oneness Project

Global Oneness Project is a site focusing on the power of stories in education. It houses interdisciplinary multimedia stories incorporating films, photos, and stories, along with a companion curriculum for some stories. Stories can be searched via subject area or national standard. Topics include climate change, food insecurity, migration, and more. A new lesson plan is added every week.


InsertLearning is a free Chrome add-on that allows you to add instructional content on any web page. You can add highlighting, text notes, and discussion questions as well as other tech tools. It could be used for formative assessment, current events, or collaborative discussion.