Tech Tips of the Week

November 16 - 20, 2015 #proudtobeajet

Join our global ‪#‎SkypeaThon‬!

Celebrate Learning Without Borders

You and your students are invited to take part in an historic global event. Starting on December 3rd and going through December 4th, Microsoft's Global Skype-a-Thon will attempt to travel a million virtual miles during the two day event! It's an ambitious goal, and one that only Microsoft (with your help!) can accomplish.

Right from your classroom, you can take your students on virtual field trips to visit all seven continents. From exploring new places and hearing from guest speakers, to studying side-by-side with peers from across the globe or down the road, Skype makes it possible for students to learn without borders.

Register your classroom now at

By registering for this worldwide event, you and your class will not only take part in a record-setting feat, you'll join thousands of classrooms around the world in celebrating 21st century collaboration at its best.

You may also be selected as one of 10 classrooms to be featured in the Global Skype-a-Thon highlights video, which Microsoft will produce and share with our global educator community and beyond.

Get set

During the Global Skype-a-Thon, you can choose from thousands of activities, like talking with an expert guest speaker on a topic your class is studying. Or maybe your class can pack their virtual bags for a virtual field trip?

Skype in the Classroom offers trips that spark imaginations, from learning about sea turtles to exploring cultural perspectives in Western American art - and nearly everything in between.

You can also connect with classrooms in other countries with #Mystery Skype, a global guessing game that teaches kids geography, promotes cultural understanding and broadens perspectives.


Be sure to register today, schedule your Global Skype-a-Thon call, and get ready to share a once-in-a lifetime learning experience.

If you haven't tried Skype in the Classroom yet, get started today - it's quick, easy-to-use, and best of all, free.

"Microsoft in Education Blog." Join the Global Skype-a-Thon, December 3-4, 2015. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

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NEWSELA + Google Docs = Differentiated, Collaborative Reading!

NEWSELA provides teachers with a database of non-fiction articles that can be adjusted by Lexile for up to five different reading levels, and some articles include comprehension quizzes.

Though it is possible to create classes and push out content from within NEWSELA, by incorporating Google Docs, teachers have the ability to virtually be in multiple reading groups, and with multiple students, all at the same time. By disseminating the content to your students as a Google Doc set to Comment Only, you create collaborative, leveled reading experiences!

With Google Docs, you can leave comments as reading prompts to which your students can reply as well as give them the opportunity to highlight and comment on the text themselves. As a teacher, you can then take part in all of the virtual conversations as well as see what connections your students are making to the content.

Set-Up Process

From a teacher’s perspective, here is how to make this all happen.

  1. Find an article from NEWSELA that you would like for your students to read.

  2. Create Google Docs for your desired reading levels.

  3. Copy & Paste the contents of the article, at reading level, into the Docs. IMPORTANT - don’t forget to model good digital citizenship for your students and cite the original article.

  4. Share the Docs as Comment Only.

  5. Watch your students start reading from any device (laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, even smart phones)!

As an added bonus, if your students are working on computers or Chromebooks, they can install the Read & Write Chrome extension in the Chrome Browser to hear the documents read out loud. From an iPad or iPhone, students can comment using the Docs app and use Speak Selection for that text-to-speech feature.

By combining these two FREE tools, it is now possible to differentiate your instruction, provide your students with a new way to connect to content, and clone yourself all in one!

"Solution: NEWSELA + Google Docs = Differentiated, Collaborative Reading!" Free Technology for Teachers: NEWSELA + Google Docs = Differentiated, Collaborative Reading! N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.