Showing posts from February, 2015

Google Classroom Custom Headers

Today's guest post comes to us from Suzanne Barker, Learning Liaison at Colleyville Middle School.  You can follow Suzanne on Twitter @Mrs_BarkerCMS or on her blog
I have felt fairly limited with the options for the Theme Image in my Google Classroom. However, that all changed today!  Google listened to feedback and made some great changes.  First, they added additional themes; there are now 50 Classroom Theme Images to choose from. 

In addition to adding more themes, you can now also select colored patterns.  If you have a class color, this may be the quickest way to distinguish your classrooms.

Sometimes, though, we want to be creative and design our own.  This is when Canva comes to the rescue!  With Canva, you can design your own custom theme image.  First, you will want to select "Use Custom Dimensions" and select 800 x 200 px Once your dimensions have been set, you are ready to create!  You can choose a layout and uplo…

Snip - Free Screenshot + Annotation Software for Mac

Taking screenshots on your Mac is easy... just hold down Command+Shift+4 and then drag a square around what you want to screenshot.  An image name "screenshot" will then be saved to your desktop.  There are other keystrokes you can use depending on whether you want the whole screen, a specific window or just want the image copied to the clipboard.  Learn more here:

Sometimes, however, you want to take that screenshot and add annotations to it.  That's where a free application called Snip can come in handy.

With Snip, you can draw squares, circles, arrows and lines or type text directly onto your screenshot.  Then, when your image is ready, click the download icon (the last icon on the toolbar) to save the image to your desktop.  

The Snip homepage has lots of helpful tips for learning the software.  Just scroll down to the FAQ section:

NewsELA - Differentiate Reading for Your Students

NewsELA - Differentiate Reading for Your Students
https://newsela.comToday's guest post come to us from Evan Payne, GCISD Instructional Coach.  You can follow Evan on Twitter @EvanPayneGCISD or on his blog  

I started to explore NewsELA this past summer after a colleague of mine (Laura Koehler) told me about this site.  I am very impressed with what this website has to offer and what it could do to help teachers bring in current events through text that is leveled.  During a few summer trainings and occasionally throughout the year, I have been sharing this tool and helping teachers get connected to it to use in their classroom.  It is a free site, easy to use, and doesn't take long for a teacher to become comfortable with how to use it.  The website is - and the following are some of the big ideas I have pulled from NewsELA:

A free website for teachers and educatorsNonfiction literacy and current events – pulls news stories into th…

Number Frames App

Number Frames
Number Frames is a free app from the same company that makes Geoboard, Number Pieces Basic, Number Line and Number Rack.  It's perfect for creating 10 frame models for math problems.

Students can use premade 5, 10, 20 and 100 frames (or custom sizes!) to model number sentences.  There is a wide variety of counters to choose from and students can use the drawing tools to annotate.  

Check out the other free math apps from the Math Learning Center here: