Clip art you can actually use…

Photos for Class is a simple search engine for photos and clip art that will show you only Creative Commons pictures.  If photos and clip art are from Creative Commons, then they are available for use in anything.  They do not have copyrights and do not have any watermarks on them.  You can skip the frustrating Google Image search with so many pictures that you cannot legally use.

Photos for Class filters the photos and clip art to make sure they are safe for students.

Photos for Class is useful for school because when the picture is downloaded, the author and image license are downloaded with it.  The pictures can also be copied and pasted either from Photos for Class or in Pixabay.

Share the website with you students to be sure they are searching safely and using photos and clip arts that are copyright free.


Save Internet content to Google Drive without downloading it first.

This is an easy one.  I used to be very frustrated when there was something that I saw on the Internet that I wanted to save to my Google Drive.  I had to download it then find it in the downloads file on my hard drive, then upload it to Google Drive.  I would find .pdfs and Word files in blog posts, on Pinterest and in articles and naturally want to put it in my Google Drive so it was available to me wherever I needed it.

It is possible to do and not complicated at all.  When you find something you would like to save to your Google Drive without downloading first, make sure you are signed into your Google account.  While on the .pdf or web page, choose to print.  On the print screen, click the icon to change the printer (destination).  The choice you want is “Save to Google Drive”.

Two tips:
1.  Don’t forget to change the printer back to before you actually want to print something and walk to the printer thinking that you had…

2.  Just like choosing which pages you want to print, you can choose which pages you would like to save to Google Drive if you do not want to have the whole file.

Using YouTube videos in class

I use videos to share culture and vocabulary with my students.  I am sure almost every teacher occasionally has a video to show for their class occasionally.  Here I will share how to insert a YouTube video into your Google Slides presentation and how to show a video without the ads and distractions if you do not need it in a presentation.

I make the video part of my presentation in Google Slides.  I put it on its own slide.  There are a few benefits to this:
1.  There are no ads and pop ups on the screen when the video is in Google Slides.
2.  Students cannot see similar videos on the side and get distracted or insist they need to watch another one.
3.  It is much neater and easier than putting the link on the slide to click.

To embed a YouTube video in a slide:
  1. Click Insert on the menu bar.
  2. Select Video.
  3. A window will appear where you can search for a YouTube video, or you can select the URL tab at the top of the window, and paste a URL (web address) for a specific YouTube video.
  4. Click Select.
  5. Your video is now embedded in your slide.  You can move it around or resize it if needed.

Click on this link to see a video of how to do this (in case you are a visual learner).  The video also shows how to insert a video that you may have stored in your Google Drive.  There are some important steps to do so that you cannot miss.  The video explains the process well.

If you are not going to use the YouTube video in Slides, you can still show it to your class without the ads and other distractions by using SafeShare.  Just put the URL of the YouTube video in the space provided and you will be given a link that you can use at any time.  The link really is good forever… bookmark it.  This also works with Vimeo videos.

Let me know if you have any questions or any tips I may have missed about videos..


I like to use charts in the classroom.  Having students gather data in Spanish, use the data to create a chart and then writing sentences to summarize their results covers a big spectrum of activities and skills.

There are also many sites with information stored in charts or infographics.  Great visuals for class!

To start with here is a Periodic Table of Visualization MethodsIt shows you all of the different types of charts possible.

There are many places online to get graphs.   I like Charts Bin  It has several categories, and information is shared as charts or maps.
Better Life
is a cool place for comparing countries broken down by several topics.

Infographics are a great way to find information too.  The Infographics Archive has several topics and has website suggestions to have students make their own.

If you want students to make a chart online you can use one of these sites:
Create a Graph
Pie Color
just simple pie charts

Chart Tool
Chart Chooser
DIY Charts

Remember to always try the site on your own before sending students so you can know what questions they might ask.


The Inclusion Spectrum

One of the many items to consider when planning lessons is how to accommodate students with IEPs and differentiate for all students.  This is one of those rare articles that actually gives you strategies for many different types of students.

Seamless Teaching : Navigating the Inclusion Spectrum 

In schools across the country, students in special education and general education are increasingly learning together in inclusive classrooms. This is a significant civil-rights achievement, but it also means students in special education are being taught by general education teachers who may not have the training and skills to best serve them.  

Remember that the high achieving students also need differentiation.  That’s a topic for another day…  Enjoy the article!


Take a screenshot on your monitor

Have you ever wanted a picture of your screen?  It is called a screenshot and there are a couple of easy ways to get it.

Print Screen button:

There is a button on your keyboard for it.  On our keyboards it might say PrtScn.
It is located here:

Image result for Print Screen

Just touch the button and the screen is copied (you will get no verification of this).
Open a Google Doc or Word doc and paste it on the page.  That is it!

Snipping Tool:
A better way to do it is to use your snipping tool.  This is especially nice if you want to take just a portion of the page.  It also takes better quality screenshots.
The Snipping tool is in the Start menu.  These are the directions to get there from your BCPS monitor.  At home you may just search your computer to find the Snipping Tool.  Click on the Windows Start button on the bottom left side of your monitor:

Image result for Windows start button:

Click on All Programs.  Then click on the Accessories folder.  You will see the Snipping Tool there.  Click it and you will get a pop up:

Image result for Snipping tool pop up

Click on New and you will see crosshairs (like a plus sign).  Drag that crosshair across the section that you want to copy.  It will take some practice to get it right.
Once you let off the mouse, you will see this dialogue:

Image result for Snipping tool pop up

Now you can Save using the floppy disk icon, Copy using the double paper icon, Use the Pen to annotate, the Highlighter to highlight and the Eraser to erase to make the Snip look the way you want.

It is a great way to make something exactly what you want when you find something that is almost exactly what you need….

Come see me for a personal tutorial if you need assistance.



Bookmarking sites

Bookmarking sites are a great place to save your websites for later.  The great thing about bookmarking sites is that you can keep the websites organized and you have your bookmarks whether you are at school, home, or anywhere else.  I frequently look at my bookmarking sites for things related to my class, curriculum, holidays, hobbies, etc.  It is always a nice surprise when I am looking for a website for Cinco de Mayo (for example) and find one I had forgotten about that is perfect.

There are many social bookmarking sites out there if you are trying to bookmark for high traffic to your blog or freelance company, but there are some simple ones for those who just want to keep their websites in order and find them when we need them.

Which bookmarking site you use depends on how you want it to look.  Some people are linear minded and just like the simple interface with a list of websites.  My favorite no nonsense bookmarking place is Diigo.   Diigo is very simple.  The trick to bookmarking though, is to make sure you tag your bookmarks.  Tagging them allows Diigo to put them in folder (so to speak).

The easiest way to use Diigo is with the extension.  This is a lot simpler than these directions may appear….  Go to the Google Chrome Store and search for Diigo.  It is free.  You want the one that says “Diigo Web Collector”.  When the extension is added to your extension try, you can start to use it.  Whenever you are on a site that you want to save, click on the Diigo extension by the address bar (blue d).
A small window will pop up asking what you want the tags to be.  Your tags are separated by spaces.  You cannot make a tag more than one word, but you can use underscores, dashes, etc.  You can use as many tags as you want.  Think about which Diigo folders you would look in to find that website in when you are looking for it.
The small pop up window also allows you to Annotate or make a sticky note.  Whenever you return to that page you can click on the Diigo extension to see what you wrote, maybe a lesson plan idea, or you can edit your tags for that site.  You can also keep Diigo open and just add the sites at the Diigo website.
There are many other things Diigo can do for you.  You can get emails telling the sites that have been bookmarked lately by other users for your topics of interest, for example.  Look around, it is a great bookmarking site.   Here is the link to my Diigo site if you want to see what a site in use looks like.  I have many, many bookmarks.  If you click on some they may be old links and not a website anymore, but most of them should work.

Some people are more visual and want to see a preview of the website.  Most people know I have an extensive amount of Pinterest boards and Pins.  I love Pinterest!  I use it for the same things that I used to use Diigo for.  There are a few differences.  With Pinterest you can see a picture from the place you are bookmarking.  You can also bookmark an entire page or just an image.
When you first sign up for Pinterest, you will be asked what some of your interests are.  This is because Pinterest also is a different kind of search engine.  When web pages are “Pinned” that Pinterest believes may be of interest to you, they add it to your Explore.  You get to the Explore area by clicking on the ‘P’ next to the search bar.  The search is incredible.  After searching an item, you will see that Pinterest gives you some options for refining your search to get just what you want.  I find myself searching Pinterest sometimes when I need an image instead of Google.
Pinterest also has an extension.  You can also get it at the Google Chrome Store (for free).  You want the one that says “Pinterest Save Button”.  Once it is installed, you can click on it to save the web page or image that you want.  If you are a past user who found that many pages could not be “Pinned”, they have come a long way…
You can save the entire web page or just a photo.  If you see a photo that you like but do not want the entire page, open the photo in a new tab and Pin that by clicking the ‘P’ in your extension bar.  Once you click the ‘P’, you will get a pop up asking you where to save it.  They call these “Boards” but it is just like organizing the websites into folders.  The trick is to ask yourself what to name the board so you will know where to find it.  Make a bunch of boards to make it easy!  You can have up to 500 boards, and some of them can be secret boards…  Here is a link to my Pinterest site if you want to check it out.  Yes, I have over 150 boards and almost 5,000 pins, but you can see that they are organized so I can find exactly what I am looking for.

There are other bookmarking sites worth looking into:  Symbaloo is a popular one with techy people.  It looks pretty cool but is a little more work than I like (or have time for).  If I had the time to create one it would be a great home page to start the day off with news, weather, etc.

Check out these ones.  Everyone has their own favorite…  Bag The Web, it looks like a great site.  I tried it for a bit but already had so much on Diigo….  Live Binders, it even looks like a filing cabinet….