Quick Tips

Game Salad

I have recently started to learn to create video games with gamesalad.com. This is an exciting tool to make custom video games from scratch. This is a little time consuming and challenging but also very rewarding when you figure out how to make some of the features work.

This is NOT free beyond the first 5 day. I will say that the 5 days only tick away when I have used the program. I tried it the first day then almost a week later I went back to it for day 2 expecting my trial to be expired and was pleasantly surprised.

So if you have always considered jumping into this sort of tool for your self or for your students. Do it! It’s worth it. You will love it.

Here are some examples of games I made so far with this program. These are rather lame first attempts but at least three fourths of them are educationally valuable. I will be subscribing for myself that is for sure. Do you have a game Idea that I can try to make for you and your students?

Elementary Math Challenge
This version contains questions about the Texas Revolution
The Wild West Challenge is intended to be played on a smart board with teacher provided questions so it will work with any grade level or content area.
This was my first draft of this game trying to learn how to make all of the characters interact and move.

Transcript Chrome Extension

Transcript uses AI to scan a students digital activity and provide them with the correct answers. it even has the ability to select the answer itself in some cases. Will AI destroy digital learning by removing a students willingness to learn? Will students transition to simply completing assignments like a robot with no effort to comprehend them? Will we have to revert back to paper based assignments and text books in order to get students to learn? Was Dennis from 30 Rock correct!?

San Jacinto Texas Revolution Challenge Video Game

I am pleased to say I have learned how to develop a Game Salad video game that prompts students to show their comprehension of the Texas Revolution by answering questions as they battle their way across the Marsh at San Jacinto. Maximize the game below and have a go!


Book Creator Student Project

Log in to Bookcreator.com with your school district Google account.

You will be prompted to enter an invite code. You will get that code from your teacher.

Once you have joined the class library you will begin creating an eBook that creatively, thoroughly, and accurately explains your topic in a manner that a 4th grade student could read, understand, and learn from.

Your teacher will provide you with a specific topic.

See the grading rubric below to ensure you are producing the best possible project and earning the best possible grade.

(As a possible bonus activity you could create a quiz that accompanies your eBook and would be used to assess a readers comprehension. Be sure that the answers to the quiz questions are in the eBook. You may use what ever format or program your teacher approves to create the eBook quiz.)

Genial.ly Re-visited

I am very excited to be digging in to Genial.ly. Genially has great templates for presentations, infographics, “thinglink style” interactive images, videos, digital games, and more. Interactive images is something that has fallen off of my radar years ago when ThinkLink became costly. I am very interested in checking that feature out and even more so… the digital games because they have tons of templates that you can turn into interactive digital games for your students. The gaming templates include digital breakouts! Those are very time consuming but rewarding activities to create if these templates are as wonderful as I hope they are this could be a game changer, as long as we are careful not to over do it with breakouts.

Let’s start with the templates. Just scrolling through the list of templates put a smile on my face. There are a lot of free ones but premium is only $60 a year if you find it worth springing for.

There are a LOT of infographic templates and only a few that are premium. These include timelines and concept maps. There are some cool themes in the list like pirates, maps, fairytales, sports, Star Wars, Harry Potter, holidays, and more. Very cool stuff!

These interactive images are going to be fantastic resources for your students to explore content. Most importantly here is going to be creating your own interactive images from scratch. Ooooh, you can embed questions into the interactive images. Here is an example I made for you. Click the share button at the bottom of the image to get the link and use it with your kids. I am going to smash it up and take an infographic and interactive it.

And now to the games!!
I mean, Let The Games Begin!

HOLY MOLY this is amazing! Checkout this Jumanji game I made. It is basically an interactive image. The buttons on the game board spaces you can link to challenges. I made Google forms for mine but you don’t have to. This can be played by up to 4 people on the same device. This is something you can do with your 3 Chromebooks or an iPad in stations. Grab the link from the share button and please use this with your students to practice 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication. This is a complete working game that I created. Please give it a try with your students if it is your content area. Can I make the first Genially game for your class?

I also put together this Horror escape room over reading an analog clock. This is a massively involved and exciting activity that required very little set up on my part. Making the clock faces was by far the most time consuming part of my set up. If you are just typing or copy pasting the questions and answers you will be even quicker.

There are plenty of other amazing looking game templates for you to use and one I would recommend staying far away from (see if you notice it). What an absolutely amazing tool for you to use. Thanks ever so much to Mrs. Katie Smith at Lovelady for this wonderful recommendation. It has improved so much since the last time I looked at it.

WWII Digital Breakout Activity

Check out this cool new activity I just finished.  It is a digital breakout type of activity over leaders from WWII.  Students are asked to examine dossier files and identify which person is identified by each file.  I have included some cool artifacts with most of the files that belonged to the individuals in the file.  

This is not a very time consuming activity and I would suspect could be finished in 15 minutes with a full faith effort.

At the top of the activity there is a link to download the Google Form that goes with the activity. You can assign that Google form to your kids in Google Classroom.

Progress Learning Refresher


With STAAR review upon us don’t forget that you can either find premade or author your own questions with all of the new STAAR item types in Progress learning.
Would you like a refresher on how to do that? Check out this webinar from Progress Learning. Start at 3:30 in then watch that next 15 minutes or so of the video for specifically what you need to see.

Google Tasks Multiple Lists

Google Tasks is an amazing productivity tool. Google Tasks is Google’s built in digital to-do list. It is always there on the right side of your Google Apps Screens. You can see in these screenshots below that my Google Tasks list is there in each Google Application. The tasks lists are always synced up no matter what browser tab or device you are using.

You can install the Google Tasks App on your mobile device as well. I keep it on the home screen of my phone where I can quickly add things to my to-do list. If you have ever stopped me in a hallway and asked for something, hopefully you saw me add it to my Google Tasks right then and there on my phone. If not I surely forgot about it, sorry.

I love TasksBoard for Google Tasks. It is a web based Chrome app that allows you to view your Google Tasks lists in a larger expanded form. The TasksBoard app also gives you more options to customize and export your lists. Did he say lists, plural? Yes, you can create multiple lists in Google Tasks to help you further prioritize your tasks. This is a big deal for me because it helps me stay focused on the Priority tasks that I MUST get done ASAP with out them getting lost in one massive overwhelming to-do list. TasksBoard let’s you view all those lists at once and easily shuffle tasks around between them in a full tab.


Several of you amazing teachers have asked me to check out Formative and I have finally reached it on my to-do list. It was on the list several times so it is a popular request.

Formative is another option to create digital assessments for your students. Formative boasts it’s ability to assess students in real time and provide actionable data to help teachers determine what needs to be retaught before moving on. That only sounds like a good thing to me. Here is a quick look at the features of Formative.com

Let’s start with how to get your students connected. Under the Classes menu you click Add+, then Roster Sync, before connecting to your Google Classroom Rosters.

Plenty of pre-made activities came up for several searches I tried.

There are filters in the search tool to make it easier to find exactly what you need.

Creating activities we have numerous options of pre-existing documents that we can import and enhance.

We can also start from scratch with a brand new original assessment in Formative. Creating a new on the fly assessment seems like what should be your main focus with this tool.

We give our assessment a title and some quick directions so that students can ignore them.

We have LOT’s of options for question types. It looks to me like all of those new STAAR Item Types are represented.

We can ask students to respond with their voice as audio or a video (like Flipgrid). Categorize and Resequencing look like sorting question types. We have inline choice, match table grid, hot spot, hot text, and drag and drop.

Show your work give students a selection of tools to prove they know what they are talking about and will attach their proof to their submitted answer.

You can allow partial credit for questions with more than one answer choice. I appreciate that!

A Protractor and a ruler as well as Math formulas tool are available for students showing their work.

With all of the options this offers it seems like a VERY useful tool. So the real question is how much does it cost? Is it free? How much of it can I get for free?

You can earn 7 months of a free silver level account if you go through their online training program to learn about the system and set up a good referral network in your department.

Silver account status unlocks all of the premium features listed to the left. Silver accounts cost $12/month purchased yearly or $15/month on a month to month plan.
I have however started off with six weeks of Silver access just for signing up. Combined with the incentives above you could easily and cost free try out Formative for the remainder of this school year. Maybe you can get enough of your colleagues on board to convince your principal you need a Gold Account. 😉

Gold accounts add on the features listed on the right on top of the silver features. Gold however is a school or district level purchase.

Growth Mindset Activity and More

Growth Mindset Activity

Here are some digital interactive TeacherMade activities that challenges students to review the ideas of a growth mindset, community, respect, meeting expectations, and work ethic.

See screenshot below with the skateboard decks on it.
See Screenshot below with the shoes on it.


Conflict Resolution

Student Organization Skills Activity

Area of 2D Shapes Activity

Here is a cool little activity that employs students in an upholstery shop helping to calculate the area of items to be custom covered. This activity has a video introduction. It is made in Google slides. The activity has an interactive element with a ruler the student will use to take measurements of the seats. After completing the math to calculate the area students type the answer in the space provided on each slide.

Check out the intro video below and preview the problems presented to students.