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Showing posts from March, 2019

Google Slides: Embed YouTube Videos for Sound

Google Slides is an awesome Google app. It's got a ton of great features that make it adaptable for many different class projects - far beyond just presenting. Unfortunately, one major and legitimate complaint is there is no option for adding sound. The good news? There are some workarounds.

One of the clearest ways to do this is to embed YouTube videos in a Slide and then 'hiding' them so a soundtrack can play when you get to a new slide in the presentation.

Here are the steps:

1. Open the slideshow where you'd like to embed a video.

2. Once you're in the slideshow, click on the slide where you'd like the video to play. I want my video to play on the slide shown below.
3. Click the 'Insert' menu and select 'video'.
4. Here, you can search YouTube for a video or go to first and then copy and paste the URL for a video you want.
5. Click the video you want and then click 'Select'.
6. The video will drop right in the middle of …

Google Docs: Change the Default Font

For those of you who don't have a three-year-old at home and maybe haven't seen every Disney princess movie 6,000 times, you may not know that Ariel, the young mermaid in The Little Mermaid, desperately wants to, "be where the people are." She wants this so badly, in fact, that she makes a Faustian bargain and trades her voice with a sea witch in order to transform her tail fin into legs for three days. Yikes!
"NO...Don't do it, Ariel!!!"
Perhaps coincidentally, every Google Doc automatically has the font set to Arial. While you may consider your fonts and think they're neat and may even think your font collection's complete, you can choose a font and keep it permanently by changing the...What's that word again? Oh...default. You won't even have to make a deal with Ursula! Let's take a journey under the sea to find out how!

1. Open any Google Doc or create a new one

2. Click the font menu, it will say 'Arial'. Select your fav…

WeVideo: Green Screen

I learned how to make short films with green screen technology a few weeks ago and have spent time the last couple of Saturday afternoons making films with my six-year-old son (see above and below). We're still working on lighting, but imagine the possibilities for student presentations!

The use of green screens, or chroma keying, is a common technique in movie-making that dates back to 1898 when French filmmaker, Georges Melies created the silent film, The Four Troublesome Heads. At the time, audiences were panic-stricken as they observed Melies "remove his head" and place it on a table next to him.

The strategy is still used today to add special effects in high-budget feature films including, The Avengers.
In the classroom, students have the opportunity to participate in filmmaking with green screens as well!
To get started, you will need to cover a small section of classroom wall, preferably about 6 ft x 6 ft, with fabric or paper of a single color (it doesn't n…

Google Classroom: A Whole New World!

Hello, all you Google Classroom users! If you've signed into Classroom in the past few weeks, you'll have noticed a slew of changes. As a matter of fact, the entire interface looks different and, for the most part, these updates improve the overall experience for both teachers and students. As Aladdin would say, Classroom has entered, "A whole new world!"

So, let's fly through some of these updates and don't you dare close your eyes!

First, what's all the buzz about Topics?

Organizing assignments into Topics will make life way easier for students. You no longer need to have multiple Classrooms for each subject area. Instead, use one Classroom and create a Topic for each subject. Each Topic will have its own heading that you can drop your assignments into. No longer will you have a long stream of assignments dating back to September, now assignments will be broken into sections that will be easy for students to find!

Cool, but I can't find the Class Code…

Novel Effect: App for iOS and Android

Novel Effect is an iOS and Android app that listens to your voice as you read books from their library and adds music and sound effects at just the right time to make you sound like an actor reading a book on tape! This thing truly adds pizzazz to your read-alouds!

If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download it for free, set up a free account and you're off and running! Some books in their library are available digitally, but most require you to have the actual physical book.

All you have to do once you've downloaded and set up an account is pick your book, wait for the soundtrack to install, and then start reading!

The video above is me reading the poem 'The Cow' by Robert Louis Stevenson with Novel Effect's accompaniment.

Side note: This has been a big hit in my home with my two kids! 'The Book with No Pictures' by BJ Novak had them absolutely rolling with laughter!


Ever want to improve your skills as an artist, but just don't have the time? Don't worry, AutoDraw will do it for you! You could use this program to illustrate (literally) topics for your class and you can also export the drawings you create and save them for other uses!

AutoDraw works great with a stylus, but will work without one, too. Another awesome feature is that no account is required!

1. Go to

2. Select the icon that has the pen with sparkles.

3. Start drawing a picture and watch the magic happen!

4. Watch the video above to see me draw a super-amazing picture of a horse and cowboy hat without really trying at all!