Wednesday, December 26, 2018

16 000 free audio clips

These 16,000 BBC Sound Effects are made available by the BBC in WAV format to download for use under the terms of the RemArc Licence. The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Changing Your Student Password

Is it time to change your student password? Check out this video to see the new requirements and how to change it.

5 Free GIF Apps for Students and Teachers

5 free Gif creators

"It seems like GIFs are everywhere these days, from social media feeds and emails to group texts. And it's no wonder: Like emojis or memes, they're a fun way to add a little humor and creativity to our daily communications. A GIF (which stands for "graphic interchange format") is a digital image file that contains multiple frames so viewers see a quick animation, often accompanied by playful text or images. GIFs are typically used to express a humorous reaction or feeling."

from CommonSense Education

5 free Gif creators

Google Classroom: Resources and extensions


"Instantly change the sharing permissions of a Google Docs/Sheets/Slides/Drawing to "Anyone with the link can view".

How many times have you shared out a link and had a faceslap moment where you forgot to change the sharing permissions? The Alice Keeler AnyoneCanView Chrome extension helps you with this problem. When creating a Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides or Google Drawing the default sharing setting is private. Changing the viewing permissions requires multiple clicks. Instead, click the AnyoneCanView Chrome extension to instantly change the sharing permissions to "Anyone with the link can view." This will open the viewing permissions to those outside of your domain or school. The link to the Google Doc is also automatically copied to your clipboard. This saves you from the extra step of copying the URL after you changed the sharing permissions. Simply paste (Control V) the link where you want to share the document and have full confidence that others can view the document. See my other Chrome extensions at"
Link to Chrome Web Store

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Creating Gorgeous Graphics and Finding Free Media

Today I met with a group of grade 9 students during their community time to explore creative commons resources and free design tools. (Lesson OutlineSlides)

We started by comparing and contrasting the two slides below. Students pointed out the message a slide gives across about the presenter's credibility and how engaging a speaker will be. Students also noticed that the second slide has a creative commons attribution and we spent some time discussing the importance of giving credit where credit is due.

Students had some time to explore these free design tools and media  before launching into a digital design challenge to create an album cover for the band Wild's new song Just Begun.

With only 20 minutes to create, I was so impressed by their designs! Most students remembered to use creative commons images and to include an attribution.

Made with Padlet

In their exit ticket reflections, students walked away with a bank of free resources and reminders to show where they found their media in projects. Whether or not they do this (or go to Google Images and grab the first photo they find) will depend, I think on how often we hold them accountable to this and how we as educators model this practice ourselves.

See what you can do with a 3D Printer!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Comment bank in Google Classroom for student feedback

If you enter the same comment for many students, you can save the comment to use later. The comment bank is tied to your Google Account, so you can access it from any computer. To edit and delete comments in the comment bank, go to

You have 3 ways to search for, and then use, comment bank comments.
Use hash and autocomplete
  1. Open a student assignment in the grading tool.
  2. Highlight text and click Add comment Add comment.
  3. In the comment box, enter # and then enter a keyword or phrase.
  4. Classroom’s suggestions autocomplete as you type.

5. To insert the comment, click the comment and then Comment.

Use only a hash
  1. Open a student assignment in the grading tool.
  2. Highlight text and click Add comment Add comment.
  3. In the comment box, enter only a hash #. The 5 most recently used comments appear.
  1. Open a student assignment in the grading tool.
  2. Highlight the text and click Add comment Add comment.
  3. In the top-right corner, click Comment bank and then Search Search.

  1. Point to the comment you want to use and click More Moreand then Copy to clipboard.
  2. In the comment box, paste the comment.
  3. (Optional) Personalize the comment.
To make it easy to find comment, Classroom autocompletes content you enter after a hash #. As you enter the content, a list of matching comments appears. This list narrows as you enter more content.

Device Free Dinners

Do your dinner times look like this? Do you want to see a positive change where the members of your family communicate with each other rather than everyone else?
Common Sense Media have made this short parody and provided some resources so you can aim for a Device Free Dinner.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Tech on Tap - What did you miss?

With AR & VR, teachers are no longer limited by the space of the classroom. Google Expeditions allows a teacher to guide students through collections of 360° scenes and 3D objects, pointing out interesting sites and artifacts along the way.

Presented by Sheila Yap
Explain Everything is a presentation app that can integrate content from many sources, enabling teachers and students to use it to create lessons, tutorials, and more. Users can import photos, PDF files, movies, websites, and more from iTunes, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and other sources to use in a presentation or use it like an interactive whiteboard.

Presented by Samuel "Jake" Breedlove
Matt Johnson shared ways he uses Twitter to network with other international educators and share the amazing things happening at SFS with a global community.

Check out Matt's slides and this free Cultural Guide to Twitter for educators.

Want more? Watch this to learn about the importance of a school hashtag.

Presented by Matt Johnson (@int_educator)
Burstio converts burst photos taken with the built-in Camera app into videos or GIFs.
Featured on Lifehacker, CNET, Product Hunt and other websites.
Link to a video showing how the app works.

Presented by David Beaty
Life 360: Part location, part communication, all awesome. Life360 keeps millions of families and close friends connected, no matter what chaos life throws their way.
Link to a video showing how the app works.

Presented by David Beaty
Effortlessly build engaging instructional content right Google Slides with Pear Deck Add-on. Think: bell ringers, checks for understanding, exit tickets, and more. Simply drop in one of these templates for instant engagement and watch your class transform.

Presented by Heather Breedlove
Arduino is an open source platform that students and teachers can use in and out of the classroom. It is easy enough to be used by all ages with enough flexibility to make sure all ages are being challenged and stretched. It teaches students to tinker and collaborate.

Presented by Peter Yap
Chatterpix Kids  let's you take or import a picture, draw a line over the individual's mouth, record 30 seconds of audio. Your photo becomes a talking photo. This would be a really fun exit ticket, you could provide images of historical characters for students to give voice to, or use it as a perspectives activity. Hey ES teachers, Chatterpix works well with Seesaw! 
Path On allows you to draw lines on an image and write words that will follow the lines that you drew. This is a great tool for concrete poetry, for analyzing characters, for conveying a message. 

Presented by Jill Zappia
Instant Heart Rate :
Measure accurately your pulse and heart beat zone with your heart rate & health monitor after sleeping or during workouts & training. Instant Heart Rate doesn't require heart rate straps. Monitor blood circulation with accurate heart health monitor (similar to ECG or EKG). Functions similarly to pulse oximeters, detecting change in your finger to provide accurate heart beat measurements.
Link to a video showing how the app works.

Presented by David Beaty
BadgeU is a simple badging system that is easy to setup and manage. Create your own badges and distribute them  to your students. You can issue badges with levels of difficulty so you can use them as a points system as well.
To find out more or to get the SFS BadgeU package which is already to go, contact Alan

Presented by Alan Hoskin
ThingLink is the simple way to make online images interactive. Create graphics and annotate with links that open up multimedia making content and activities engaging. It is also easy for students to work collaboratively.


Presented by Elizabeth Mcgarroch-Slack 
Hyperspektiv is a powerful video & photo effects app. Create music videos, make your Instagram look super cool, use for VJ visuals, or take next level selfies.

Link to a video showing how the app works.

Presented by David Beaty
Ryan Kuhl explained his process for keeping his Mac clutter free. Daisy Disk is a disk analyzer tool for OS X that visualizes hard disk usage and allows to free up hard disk space. If you've updated to Mojave, managing your storage space is built in to the storage portion under About My Mac. Here are other Mojave features you should check out. 
Wakelet is a curation tool. Use it to share articles, videos, images, tweets and other great content with one link. Save them for later and create collections, called wakes, at any time.

It's also a Chrome extension! With the press of a button you can pull all of your open tabs into your wake.

Example Wake
Jo Bigwood

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Essential Google Search Tricks for Research

Being able to find the information you need quickly and efficiently is an important skill to learn. Here is a video from Common Sense Media showing search tips for Google.

Monday, November 19, 2018

SFS Joins the Largest Hour of Code in History

SFS had over 650 students coding last week during Hour of Code! We joined the largest Hour of Code in history, with over 35 SFS classes participating from preschool to high school. Students  learned about directions, loops, algorithms, creating a typeface, exploring underwater worlds in Minecraft, animating dance parties, and using Javascript and Python!

Go beyond Hour of Code and code at home! Here were the top 5 Hour of Code tutorials for SFS students:
1. Minecraft
2. Dance Party
3. Anna & Elsa
4. Switch & Glitch app
5. Student Choice

What is the Hour of Code?
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. Check out the tutorials and activities

When is the Hour of Code?
The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2018 Computer Science Education Week will be 3.-9. Dezember, but you can host an Hour of Code all year-round. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

Why computer science?
Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What is Cyberbullying?

What is Cyberbullying and what can we do to stop it? Common Sense Media have created a video to help students identify bullying and steps to stop it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Six questions to ask yourself when creating tech rich units

Just using technology in the classroom is not going to improve teaching and learning. Eduro Learning has created the "Six Questions to ask Yourself" as you look to enhancing your student's learning using technology tools.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How to Use Technology to Support ELLs in Your Classroom

September 24, 2018
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIESTechnology Integration, Tools
English-language learners (ELLs) come into our classrooms with a wide variety of specific and unique needs for language acquisition. It's hard to talk about them all as one group -- ELLs represent a diverse range of students in every sense. It's needless to say: Working with ELLs is often challenging and also highly rewarding.
Because there are so many apps and edtech tools available today, you might expect to find lots of them made specifically for ELL, bilingual, or dual-immersion classrooms. Unfortunately, this isn't the case: Tools designed specifically for English-language learners are few and far between (though there are definitely some out there).
There are, nevertheless, a lot of great edtech tools and strategies you can use with your ELLs, even if the tools themselves aren't ELL-specific. Some might even be tools you've already heard of or used -- with an ELL-specific use case that's been hiding in plain sight.
So, what's the best way to find and use great digital tools with your ELLs? A lot will depend on your students' specific needs, but here are a few things to think about when finding the best tools for your classroom. 

1. Look for ELL-friendly supports in the tools you're already using.

Lots of online tools have built-in features to support differentiated instruction for a variety of learners. Newsela offers texts at five variable Lexile levels, many in both English and Spanish. ThinkCERCA offers leveled texts with scaffolding for students reading at different levels, including audio versions of texts. Though ELA-focused tools are most likely to have the best English-learning supports, plenty of other tools support ELLs' learning in other subject areas. Khan Academy is one popular example; the site offers a translated version of its activities for Spanish-speaking students. As you search, keep in mind that these tools are usually aimed at a more general student audience, so they may be better suited to intermediate or advanced ELLs, and beginning-level ELLs may need more robust support.

Tools to tryNewselaThinkCERCAKhan Academy


2. Build basic online resources and productivity tools into daily routines.

From basic translation to productivity tools for consumers, a lot of everyday apps and websites can be great for supporting ELL-centered learning activities. A tool like VoiceThread offers unique opportunities for speaking and listening practice. Simple English Wikipedia is just like it sounds: an adapted version of the standard Wikipedia site but for ELLs, younger students, or anyone else who might struggle with reading. A translation tool is an obvious choice, and Google Translate is generally thought to be the most accessible free option around.

Tools to try: VoiceThreadSimple English WikipediaGoogle Translate

Simple Wikipedia

3. Get creative and repurpose a digital-storytelling tool. 

Storytelling is an excellent, interactive learning activity for ELLs and bilingual learners of all ages and language abilities. Even though these apps tend to be aimed at younger kids (and not specifically at ELLs), they still offer opportunities for kids to express themselves while they build new language skills. Don't be afraid to age these tools up; they're great even for older ELLs. And for beginning-level English-language learners, creative projects tend to offer opportunities for low-stakes (yet still high-concept) communication-based activities. For a more detailed look at these tools, check out this article from KQED's Mindshift blog. Also, keep in mind that lots of other digital-creation mediums can offer fun language-building practice, from video production to podcasting and digital design. Find something that suits your students' ages, language abilities, and interests.

Tools to try: Kid in Story Book MakerShadow Puppet EduExplain Everything

Kid in Story Book Maker

4. Find tools that specifically address your ELLs' needs.

As mentioned earlier, tools designed only for ELLs are somewhat scarce, but there are definitely some options. These ELL-centric tools run the gamut. BrainPOP ESL offers a comprehensive online curriculum aimed at improving kids' language skills from beginning to advanced levels. Read&Write is a helpful text-to-speech app for students with a variety of literacy needs, including English-language learners. On the flip side, a platform like Ellevation is designed for teachers and uses robust data to track and monitor students' progress and language growth. As time goes on, we're bound to see more edtech solutions specifically for ELLs. It will be interesting to see what the future holds in this space.

Tools to try: BrainPOP ESLRead&WriteEllevation

Trace Effects

5. Supplement instruction with an online language-learning tool.

Language-learning tools for travelers and consumers are everywhere and easy to find. Although these tools should never replace quality classroom instruction, for some students they could be a helpful option for extra practice or out-of-class enrichment. Because they're often aimed at a general -- mostly adult -- audience, these won't all be the best choice for kids' learning. Nevertheless, in certain situations, some language-learning apps could be appropriate depending on your students' needs. If you do go this route, look for free options that offer adaptive features that challenge students as their language skills grow. If recommending out-of-class use, keep your students' devices and level of network access in mind.

Tools to try: DuolingoRosetta CourseMango Languages

Rosetta Course