Noel Erskine, Technology Coordinator Norris Schools

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Some great web tools, free apps and more, in this weeks treasure chest of tools!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Misc. Web sites and tools for your classroom:

Use TEDED to make YouTube a powerful educational tool.

32 Reading Websites - These cover elementary school through high school (sites like Open Library and Gutenberg Press where students can get free copies of books they need for class)

Tons of free brain breaks to use in your classroom! Your students will love this! -Gonoodle

Free website with tons of educational curriculum games -

Wonderful extensive list of free online tools to spark student creativity:

Do you Swivl?

Here at Norris, we have 4 Swivl units for staff to use.  They are awesome for recording your lessons or for evaluating your teaching style. More info and help can be found in this doc

Matt Rosenau posted this to our Middle School Community:
A 31-second example of the Swivl. The wireless mic allows a viewer to hear your small-group interactions with students anywhere in the room, even if there's conversation going on. Let me know if you're interested in trying it out. 

CK-12 - Amazing resource for more than just free ebooks  (Flexbooks)!

Practice, practice, practice!
Improve your learning by practicing thousands of interactive questions in Math & Science. Anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Are you Free at 1 pm on December 3rd?  - This webinar may be for you! 
CK-12: How to Build a FlexBook

Discover the easiest way to build a FlexBook using your own content as well as content available on our website.  Connect on the webinar to share tips and best practices and get answers to your CK-12 questions.
Date: Tuesday December 3rd, 2014
Time: 3:00PM Pacific time

If you have not looked at CK-12 before <--- now is the time! 

Some PowTunes Awesomeness!
Lisa Harrington's class here at Norris has made some great little clips using PowTunes.  Here is just one example:

Google Apps - Tips, Tricks and Features: 

6 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed From October

How to Enable and Set Limits on Your Google Forms

5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Google Apps

Earlier this week, Google announced all Spreadsheets in Google Drive will be migrated to the new version of Google Sheets. Learn all about the New Google Sheets in this short 6 minute video! (Ignore the info on opting into the new sheets. In our Norris School EDU environment... you are already opted in by default.) 

How to Create a Works Cited with Google Docs - Short two minute YouTube

Need a quick timer? Type "set timer 5 minutes" in Google search. Allows full screen too!
From the Google Guru (Great to follow on Twitter and via email tips!) 
With Add-ons available for Google Docs and Sheets, it was only a matter of time before these custom tools made their way to other parts of the Google Drive suite. If you happen to use Google Forms on a regular basis, you have to be thrilled that Add-ons are now available there, as well. Now you can add custom features to Google Forms with Add-ons
Send Bulk Custome Emails Through Gmail With Google Drive - This 5 minute YouTube will show you how. 

Chromebooks and Apps:
The Chromebook Usage Collection by KC Testerman. This is a list of web tools that do not need plug-ins that can be used on chrome books. I've used all of these items and highly recommend.

Nice list of Chrome extensions in this Google Presentation

IOS Apps and Tips:
Here's one for the elementary staff:
Fun Timer By all4mychild FREE TODAY -  
The Fun Timer has been designed specifically for kids who have little sense of time or weak time management skills. Place an image or word at the center of the timer reflecting the reward or fun to be experienced after their chore or task. When they get off task or start goofing around, just start the timer and the kids will see concretely that their fun time will disappear if they don't get back to business. The adult controls all the features to be able to use the timer at each child's developmental and cognitive levels. It's a FUN way to teach kids not to waste time!

Upgraded to IOS 8 .. get the most out of it with this huge list of new features

Mathseeds Kindergarden Grade 1 - Grade2 ALL 3 FREE TODAY -
Mathseeds apps are a great way for young students to practice and master all the essential math skills. Written for the Common Core Standards, students can access a huge range of activities that make learning math fun, motivating and very rewarding!

Let's do some App Smashing: 
It's a simple app smash that we complete in Kindergarten.  It might look like there are several steps, but it's really quite easy for.... 

App Smashing Defined: The process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.

Free Apps, web tools, a Samsung 32" LED TV for less than $100... and more... in this weeks tech tips.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Nothing but a great deal:

This 32" Samsung TV is a great deal, especially for a second TV, etc...  It gets great reviews on the web too!  If you have a use for the $125 gift card for other purchases... your final cost is $93! 

Dell Home & Office has a 32" Samsung UN32EH4003FXZA 720p 60Hz LED HDTV + $125 Dell eGift Card (added to cart automatically) on sale for$217.99Shipping is Free The Dell eGift Card will be sent via email approximately 10-20 days after purchase.

Speaking of deals... look at our last tip on getting Amazon Prime for free! 

Web sites and tools:
30 websites to download free photos:

Actively Learn ( offers a great, free way for students to interact with reading and the teacher.

5 Good Sites and Apps for Elementary School Language Arts Lessons via Free Technology ...

Great tool for the younger kids to help get them writing! The Write About This app, gets great reviews by teachers. This short 3 minute YouTube video will tell you more.  They have a free version and the paid version unlocks more features.  (Here at Norris... let me know if need the full version!) 

America by Air - An Online Smithsonian Exhibit 

5 Tools for Adding Questions and Notes to Videos:

If you have not tried Canva ... You are missing out.  I have mentioned this one before, but its worth another shout-out! This is an awesome design and drawing tool.  Add it to your tech tool belt along with Lucid Press and Lucid Charts... and you are all set! 

Make Marvelous Movies — Via Learning in Hand. Some nice Apps, tools, advice and more. 

Lucid Press - An amazing free tool for education! 
Work with students doing resumes and portfolios? This blog post will teach you how to make digital resumes and portfolios with Lucidpress.
Whether you’re a student, teacher, or working professional, you might be assigned to give a presentation. You can make an online presentation with Lucid Press too.  This article will show you how.

Google Apps - Tips, Tricks, Apps, and more...

Free Technology for Teachers: Create a Word Cloud Within Your Google Documents

Schedule appointments easily with a little help from Google Forms & the Choice Eliminator add-on - This 3 minute YouTube will walk you through how to set this up. <--- This is cool!

Are you using Google Classroom yet?  My Google Classroom -Tips and Tricks Doc will help you get started. This doc also includes a tip on how to get text messages based on emails. This is a great way for students to get text messages based on classroom announcements. 

Create your own Docs story, with Google Story Builder.  Great intro to presentations and lessons.  Check out my own short story here:

New Google Chrome extension launches your own apps from Google Drive, not Google's. (This is an Amazing app!  But the key is that you have to have the Google Drive Syncing program noted in the article.) 
  • Here at our school (Norris)... if you install the Google Drive Sync tool, do not place the folder on your desktop or Z drive, place it on the local C drive.) 

Google for Education
The Google for Education November 2014 Newsletter can be found here. (If you are not subscribed, I would recommend it!)  Sign up here

Have you not done much with Google Apps yet? This free online class may help get you jump started! 

Google Basics for Teaching This self-paced, online course is intended for anyone - of any technical skill level - hoping to use Google's educational tools in the classroom. Through videos, use-cases, and examples you'll get ideas about how to bring Google for Education (including Google Apps for Education with classroom, Google Maps and more) into your teaching.

The course is available from November 18 - December 19, 2014 with support from Google Certified Teachers, peers, and content experts.

IOS Apps and tips:

Lapse It Pro • Time Lapse & Stop Motion Camera • Professional HD
By Interactive Universe FREE TODAY - 11-4-14 <---

New Features Added to Google Drive for iOS 8 - Nov. 2014

The 55 Best Free Education Apps For iPad 

Chrome tips and tricks:

The Secret Powers of Chrome's Address Bar 

Android items:

Best Free Android Apps: Google Opinion Rewards gets you free apps and Google Play credits.

Amazon Prime for Free! 
Great tip from our very own Josh Murtaugh
Get Amazon Prime free for 6 months free with edu account. Note: Many teachers have EDU accounts through DoaneUNL, and other post-secondary institutions, so you can take advantage of this offer. 

Quick student evals using a Google Form - Tutorial/idea

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This is not for every teacher... but if you find yourself wanting to give feedback evaluations/grades to students on projects, lab work, presentations, etc... this may be a great tool. (Maybe it's shop projects, art work days, etc....) (I would have loved this when I used to give students cleanup grades in shop.) 

In short,  you will create a Google form with customized feedback.  When you do your eval you pick the students name from a drop-down menu, fill out the eval, and hit submit.  The eval is then emailed to the student and anyone else you desire... another teacher, yourself, etc...)  and is recorded in a Google spreadsheet.

It keeps a running record of the evals though's in a Google sheet and allows you to add and/or delete students to the list for future years!  The form could be completed from an iPad, phone, Chromebook, or anything that can load a Google Doc, since the eval is really filling out a live Google Form. It's really a pretty nice time-saving solution for quick grades or evals. 

If you are interested ... this 10 minute YouTube tutorial is great on getting it setup. The tutorial is pretty straight forward, but it' a little more advanced in a couple steps... so if you are interested in doing this... we are here to help you! This video approaches it from the concept of a principal doing walk-through teacher evaluations, but the concept and creation is the same for classroom use. (We do have administrators at Norris using this for teacher walk-through evals.)