Biography Poster

Here is an easy to complete one page biography book report. It is formatted big enough to even be printed on 11×17 paper to make it more exciting. It asks students to explain experiences from the persons early life that molded them as well as their significant impact on the world.



January 14, 2020|Alwayslearning, Beautify, EdTech, ELAR, Elementary, ELL, Google, Math, Organization, Review, Science, Secondary, Social Studies, SPED, Tools, Vocabulary

Padlet is a great tool for organizing digital student projects.  You create a Padlet wall and students upload or post links to their projects like slideshows, docs, videos, etc..  You could also have students share resources they find as opposed to resources they created.  You yourself could organize a padlet wall of resources that you want your students to explore.  

There are different options for organizing your padlet wall’s information including a map and a timeline.  There are lots of options for background colors and themes to design your wall.  You can have 3 free Padlet walls which can keep you moving no problem if you just delete them when you are done with them. 

New STAAR Item Types

Below is a bit of information analyzing the new STAAR question item types and how we can get students practicing these skills. I did some searching for pre-existing online practice tools that use these new item types but I have yet to find any free options. I then moved on to brainstorming ways we can get as close as we can to these item types in Google Apps. Below is an activity I put together practicing each item type the best we can so far. The questions are not challenging because the purpose of the activity is to experience the way the question is answered.

Google Takeout

Takeout is the built in Google system for downloading a copy of everything Google that you have in your account. You get a copy of just about EVERYTHING emailed to you to download via a link after it has been processed and prepared. This can take a few days depending on the size of your Google Account.

Share a copy of your Google Drive

Do you want or need to share a copy of your school Google Drive with your personal account?
What we are basically going to do is download a copy of the files from one Drive then upload them to the new one. I swear you used to be able to copy the files into another drive and or transfer ownership but I don’t see that nay more.

Alternatively you can use Googles system Google Takeout

Start by making a new folder and dragging everything you want to share into that folder. For this walk through I will be using the Test Transfer Folder 001.

Next I am going to right click on that folder and share it with my personal Gmail Account. I am going to make my other account a viewer only.

You will get an email inviting you to the new shared folder. You will have access to the folder but it still belongs to your school account and is located in your school account Google Drive. Right Click on the folder and select download.

It will download as zip file. Open that up and extract all of the files. That will put the folder in your Downloads on you PC. You now have that copy of your files physically on the PC hard drive.

Go back to your school Google Drive and unshare the folder from your personal account. Be sure to save the changes. This will help avoid any confusion.

In your personal Google Drive we will upload the file folder from your Downloads that we unzipped. You now have a separate copy of your files in your personal drive as well as that copy on the PC hard drive.

More Fonts: Google Docs

I love cool fonts. Back in the day I had been known to go too crazy with fonts and pick some that folks found unreadable, so be careful about that. How ever an engaging font can really help set the mood for an assignment or publication. You can find festive holiday fonts like spooky Halloween fonts. More Fonts has a search feature that can help you find a font you want. I suggest taking a few minutes and scrolling down through that “More Fonts” list. Just click the ones you like as you go to ✔ them. That list will keep growing and populating more options as you keep scrolling. Think ahead about activities and units you will cover. ✔ fonts that you know you might want later. Hit ok when you get tired of that list continuing to populate more options and those new fonts will be available for you to choose from.

Edulastic Online STAAR Practice Tests

Edulastic provides online practice of released STAAR tests. There are currently 139 released STAAR tests available for you to assign to your students as practice. This system does sync with Google Classroom for rostering. Edulastic offers Color contrast and zoom accommodations. Text-to-speech is included with a premium account. Hopefully as the new STAAR question types hit released STAAR test inventory students will also have access to those.

Let’s dive into and see how to record and annotate some clips. also let’s you mirror your tablet onto your screen.

Pre-K CLI Listening Practice

Here is a simple way to set your Pre-K students up on a Chromebook to practice listening to a computer read words.

Start by creating a Google Doc that you will type your words in.
I made the font size 150 and that worked out well for me. I easily fit one word on a page.

The next thing you will need to do is install the Chrome extension Read Aloud. Pin the extension to the tool bar. Then when you are in the Google Doc you click the extension and it will scan through the document first then begin reading it. I found turning the speed down significantly to be very effective. Check out the video example below.

Canvas Whiteboard

No, not that Canvas. This is not the LMS. This Canvas is literally a blank canvas white board. You can pull up this white board to quickly sketch an idea that you need to share with your students. You can save (download image) your sketch if you think you might need it later. There are pencil, pen, marker, and crayon tools as well as an eraser. There is also a customizable color palette.

Late Work Form Google Classroom

One of my biggest struggles with Google Classroom was keeping up with late work. Actually that is a struggle all the time regardless of Google Classroom. My solution to keep on top of grading late work is to have students complete this Google Form to let me know they turned in late work. I know I can check the spreadsheet of these form responses for new late work, grade it, update it in my gradebook, then mark on this spreadsheet that it was done. I would tell my students your late work doesn’t exist without this form. It is the only way I will know to go find it and grade it.

I updated the link below where it should work now. I have learned more about sharing copies of Google Forms over the years, sorry.

TV 411 Learning Videos

TV 411 is another source for educational videos over a variety of topics from Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic to Science and financial topics. TV 411 uses practical and relevant videos to teach concepts in a way that shows their value to the learner.

Quiz Hub

Quiz Hub has fun quiz games to help your students practice their knowledge and skills.
There are social studies quizzes about identifying U.S. States and Presidents. Students can also practice their state capitals.
Math quizzes include measurements and place value matching.
Science quizzes cover Planets and Biology.
English Quizzes reinforce knowledge about idioms, spelling, and vocabulary.

SolveMe Math Puzzles

Solve Me has some neat little math puzzles and challenges.

Mobiles challenges students to determine the value of shapes with a very basic algebraic like strategy.

Who Am I? is riddle like game that requires students to apply their knowledge to guess the number.

Mystery Grid is a Sudoku like logic puzzle game.


Canva is one of my favorite tools. I use Canva almost daily. Canva is a fantastic graphic arts publishing software. Anytime I need to produce a graphic for an activity or a logo like the one above, I use

Canva has a very good selection of free templates and even images you can use when creating your graphics. At one point I paid for Canva for a couple of months then I realized I wasn’t even using the paid features so I went back to the free only account.

Canva has templates for many different social media image and banner sizes to help you create graphics that perfectly fit your need. With Canva you can create invitations, infographics, brochures, cards, YouTube thumbnails, desktop wallpapers, photo collages, and animations. Canva even allows you to create videos, presentations, and office files from templates.

You should even get your students producing projects with

Minimum Answer Length Google Forms Paragraph Response

Did you know that you can set a required minimum answer length on Google Forms responses? This feature works with Short Answer, Paragraph Answer, and Check Boxes. This feature can help you prompt those reluctant writers to expand a little more on their ideas. You can even set up a custom error message if the minimum requirement isn’t met. It does work the other way as well so you can set a maximum if you need to force a concise short answer from those overly productive advanced students. Check out the quick walkthrough below.

Make Questions Required: Google Forms

Are you experiencing students turning in Google Forms blank with no answers. There is an incredibly straightforward solution to that problem. Simply make each question required. Below is a quick example of how to do that.

Digital Graphic Organizers

Here is a large collection of Graphic Organizers that are embedded into Google Slides. These graphic organizers are the background images on the slides. Teachers simply need to copy these slides and paste them into a slide show they are going to assign or share with students. Students then add text boxes to complete the activity.

Boddle Learning is a fun and engaging K-6 Math Learning Game that uses AI to differentiate the experience for your students. Students get to customize their character and their home, play a fun basketball bonus game, and practice appropriate and necessary math skills based on their TEKS.