May the 4th Be With You – 2020

One of my favorite Twitter peeps, Amanda Sandoval (@historysandoval) provided the inspiration for this year’s May the 4th Be With You celebration. Her gameboard like Google Slides template has gone viral and I thought it would be the perfect format to curate fun Star Wars themed activities. Click here to view the Slide full screen. Click here to make a copy


Click here for the Seesaw version.

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Cinco De Mayo 2020

After you celebrate May the 4th Be With You, make sure to partake in Cinco De Mayo Taco Tuesday. Yes, friends! Cinco De Mayo falls on a TACO TUESDAY! Here’s a Google Slide activity for Google Classroom and a Seesaw version located underneath. Disfrutar!


Click here for the Seesaw Activity:

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May the Fourth Be With You

May the Fourth be with you! Saturday, May 4th 2019 is Star Wars Day, the fan-created international celebration of all things Jedi. (Fans of the Dark Side will have their turn Sunday with their own day, “Revenge of the Fifth.”) There is an entire page on Rock the Lab dedicated to providing you and your students activities that celebrate the most successful film franchise of all time. But beware, not everyone, especially The Empire, wants you to celebrate this day:

Star Wars Day Attack Ad: Say No to May the 4th on Disney Video

Just have your students head on over to Rock the Lab, scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the Star Wars Fun button. There are many activities, some educational and some not so much, that can be used as a brain break from intense Death STAAR review prep.


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May the Fourth Be With You

May the Fourth be with you! Friday, May 4th 2018 is Star Wars Day, the fan-created international celebration of all things Jedi. (Fans of the Dark Side will have their turn Saturday with their own day, “Revenge of the Fifth.”) There is an entire page on Rock the Lab dedicated to providing you and your students activities that celebrate the most successful film franchise of all time. But beware, not everyone, especially The Empire, wants you to celebrate this day:

Star Wars Day Attack Ad: Say No to May the 4th on Disney Video

Just have your students head on over to Rock the Lab, scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on the Star Wars Fun button. There are many activities, some educational and some not so much, that can be used as a brain break from intense Death STAAR review prep. 


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Rock the Lab: 4th Nine Weeks

The final grading period is here and Rock the Lab is open for business. All of the K-5 grade level buttons have been flipped over to the new lessons that support the 4th nine weeks grading period. All lessons follow the NEISD scope and sequence. If you are not a teacher within North East, check them out anyway. You might be able to use some of the lessons located in either the current or last 9 weeks. Just click on “9 Weeks” in the main navigation toolbar at the top. I will be working on the rest of the lessons over summer break. Many of the activities require student accounts, so please check out the teacher section of the website for tutorials. Please let me know if you have any questions or need in person assistance.  

May the lab be with you.


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May the Forms be with You

Google Forms HyperDoc Agenda

Differentiated Learning Activity

Choose your independent activity based on your comfort level. Hover over each area for directions and additional resources.

But wait… there’s more!

Check out this video explaining how to upload files through a Google Form.




To add a student to your class, you need to know the student's ID number. This can be found in Skyward. Once you have their ID number, follow the directions below.

  1. Click on the wrench (upper right hand corner) to access the settings in Seesaw.
  2. Scroll down to the section labeled "students" and choose the option "manage students."
  3. At the bottom of the class list, find the option to enter your student's ID number and choose "lookup students."
No, not at this time.

1. Click on the + Add button and choose Assign Activity
2. Find an activity and click on Assign
3. Click on the class you want to assign it to and then click Edit Students
4. Click on the students that you want to assign the activity to then click the check mark at the top
5. Click the Assign button
6. Click No Thanks

1. Click the Review button
2. Click Send Back in the upper right corner

Answer: Click Here

Archive your previous years’ classes. Directions to archive classes can be found here:

Click on the class and see if there are students associated. 

  1. If there are NO students associated with the class, you may archive this class. Directions to archive classes can be found here:
  2. If there ARE students associated, DO NOT archive the class. This class belongs to another teacher. It has your name on it because when the course was created in Skyward, you were the teacher listed at that time. You can remove yourself as a teacher on that class by following these steps:
      1. Click your name at the top left
      2. Select the class you want to remove yourself from
      3. Click on the wrench icon at the top right 
      4. Click on Manage Teachers
      5. Under Current teachers, click remove next to your name

These classes belong to you! You can rename them with the naming scheme. Ex) 0-Homeroom-YourName, 1-Math-YourName, 2-Reading-YourName, etc…

  1. Check to make sure that only the teachers you have chosen as co-teacher have access to your classes. You can remove/add co-teachers by: 
    1. Selecting the class
    2. Clicking on the wrench icon at the top right 
    3. Select Manage Teachers 
      1. To add: enter the teacher email address to invite 
      2. To Remove: Under Current teachers, click remove next to your name

Check to see if the class with the wrong teacher name has students.

  1. If it does, look at the grade level and pick a student in the class. Look for that student in Skyward to see what teacher is listed. When you find the teacher, rename the class with the correct teacher name.
  2. If the class, does not have students, you can archive the class by following these directions:

Demystifying HyperDocs

Before it was revealed that Oz was just an ordinary man, Dorothy believed him to be magical or God-like. Once the curtain was pulled back, she realized he wasn’t performing magic at all. The bells and whistles he used just made it seem like magic.

Most teachers find and use HyperDocs that other educators share on the Internet. Some understand the creation process and are able to make their own interactive lesson from scratch. Others may not be well versed in G Suite or just have no idea where to find the multimedia and interactive content to include in the learning cycle. If you fall into this category, HyperDocs could seem somewhat magical. 

I’m attempting to demystify HyperDocs during a 3 week online course offered to teachers in my district. I decided to create a series of screencasts to capture my thought process and the actual creation of the HyperDoc. 

I also recently participated in an @EdTechBites Podcast with Gabriel Carrillo where we discussed HyperDocs and how they differ from traditional ways of delivering digital content. Hopefully, these 2 new resources will help you on your journey to implementation.

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Parallax Digital Storytelling

Website design has really evolved over the past few years to include interactive experiences that provide depth and movement. Parallax scrolling is a technique that involves objects and layers within a webpage moving in different directions or at different speeds. The result can be mind-blowing. The first site I visited a couple of years ago was NASA Prospect, an interactive story of the planet prospectors, left behind by NASA to recover the golden objects of humankind scattered across the solar system by a global disaster. It propelled me to begin a quest for similar digital stories that could be used with students. 

Every Last Drop is a visually stunning public service announcement to inform people living in the UK how much water they actually use in a day and ways in which they can conserve water usage. You will find yourself scrolling up, then down, then up, then down again to see how all the graphics work together to tell this story.

The Boat is a Vietnamese graphic novel that includes text, sound effects, and images that sway back and forth to make you feel as if you are really traveling on a refugee boat across the ocean. This story is particularly relevant to today’s current events as it provides empathy and insight into families seeking refuge in other countries. Turn up the volume for this one.  

The Fallen of WWII is a data-driven interactive documentary that examines the human cost of the Second World War and the decline in battle deaths in the years since the war. The 15-minute data visualization uses cinematic storytelling techniques to provide viewers with a fresh and dramatic perspective of a pivotal moment in history. The film follows a linear narration, but it allows viewers to pause during key moments to interact with the charts and dig deeper into the numbers.

After 6/4 is an incredible study of The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The event is told from 2 different perspectives, those that believed it was a massacre and those that perceived it to be a riot. It includes actual resources and interviews with participants in the movement.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is a short infinite-canvas parallax webcomic about a wolf and a town, his woodwind, and their rat problem.  

Journey to the Center of the Earth explores how far you would have to travel to reach the Earth’s core, and what you would see along the way.

After the Storm is a message to future disaster survivors. It chronicles one family that survived a devastating tornado that touched down in Alabama in 2011.

Draw a Stickman absolutely blows my mind. It may not be a great example of parallax scrolling, but it takes interactive storytelling to a whole new level. You draw the main character and props that are key to the story and the website takes care of the rest.

The Walking Dead (ok, not so much for elementary) is perfect for the zombie apocalypse obsessed fan who wants to take a gander at the inner workings of the show. The entire experience is told in the form a graphic novel. The direction of the moving screen scrolls horizontally as you learn what it’s like to be a zombie extra for a day.

Weltrade isn’t exactly educational in nature. In fact, it’s a commercial for traders looking for opportunities to increase their capital. Learn how to pose with confidence, dare I say arrogance, while listening to some smooth jazz. Have fun with this one.


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Level Up with an If FUNction HyperDoc

About a month ago I published a post about using If Functions in Google Sheets to facilitate student learning adventures. Since then, I’ve been playing around with combining if functions and a HyperDoc learning cycleI thought about the way the workspace within a sheet was laid out (cells made up of rows and columns) and decided multiplication would work best. During the creation process, several more unique features naturally fit the task I had in mind.

Data Validation – This handy feature allows you to create a dropdown list inside of a cell. Students have to answer multiple choice questions in the Evaluate tab.

Sharing a Spreadsheet with another student allows for collaboration and peer feedback. Students answer a word problem created by their peers on the Share tab.

Fill tool to change the color of the cell is perfect for creating arrays or skip counting on a number line. Color coding direction and answer boxes allowed for some consistency. Blue boxes contain directions while white boxes identify where the students type in their answers.

Assigning a script to an image is the feature I used on the Apply tab. When students click on the dice, a random number is generated to replicate the roll.

The lesson may not be intuitive to you or your students so I created a walkthrough video. Click here to make a copy of the If Function HyperDoc. Let me know how it goes in the comments section.

If you plan it…

The following post is from guest blogger Erika Neuman, 5th grade teacher at Bulverde Creek Elementary, San Antonio, TX. Follow her on Twitter @TeamNeuman

First and foremost, I must thank the owner of this very blog for all of her enthusiasm, organization, planning, and inspiration for our first STEM Day. She truly took the event above and beyond what I envisioned.  So – Thank you, Laura Moore.

So STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Day was amazing, and I am not just saying that because it was my brain-child.  Students and teachers were all working around the entire day with a pep in their steps and an energy that was palpable.  

The idea sprang from the misconception, which I had for a long time, that STEM had to include the latest and greatest Technology available and all the other letters played a supporting role.  This one misnomer deterred a lot of teachers from ever attempting STEM in their classrooms.  I don’t believe that any teacher is opposed to technology, it is constantly changing and growing and this can be intimidating considering that our standards, students, parents, and environments are constantly changing as well, and this is all a lot to juggle. Finding time to learn and integrate something that isn’t a necessity is tough. Enter, my epiphany.  If teachers realize that STEM doesn’t have to be all about technology, maybe they will be more inclined to try it, which will help them understand it, which will make it easier to integrate that new technology that they’ve been avoiding.  

The plan for STEM day started with two activities, one led by 5th grade students, and one with a literacy connection and a lesson plan that the teachers would be able to teach themselves.  This is where Laura comes in.  I asked her for some suggestions and next thing I know, she has a whole crew of Instructional Technology Specialists hopping aboard.  In my attempt to show teachers how friendly STEM can be, I didn’t think that the ITSs would be able to do the same with that spooky technology.  The plan snowballed from there. I got confirmation from FIRST Robotics and Mad Science.  Mathnasium offered stations as well.  My principal sent out a digital flyer inviting parents to volunteer and we got some support there.  Our librarian used funds to purchase a book for each teacher for the literacy connection, PTA donated funds for Dash Cleverbots and Snap Circuit boards, and we created a Sign-Up Genius for each grade level to get donations of toothpicks, marbles, dixie cups, and other consumable items.  

The toughest part, was scheduling.  We literally had so much to do and so little time.  We were squeezing presentations into our schedule up until the day before.  I created an individual schedule for each teacher working around their lunch and specials and also around other presenters.  It was like a giant puzzle, but once it was complete, all was well in my world…mostly.

Then we had materials to disperse, 5th grade students to train, and presenters to confirm.  Then the long awaited day arrived, and of course, there had to be some hiccups.  One of the presenters showed up an hour-and-a-half late, iPads weren’t bringing up apps, and classes were going every which way at any given time.  All in all though, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.  The students were so ecstatic to be learning from the 5th graders and learning in ways that they usually get to learn.  The teachers enjoyed having STEM brought to them and experiencing it for themselves.  And as for the planners, the buzz of excitement from everyone involved was more that we could have asked for.

Thank you to Erika, Bulverde Creek 5th grade students, guest presenters and NEISD Instructional Technology Specialists for making this great day happen. Read more about the Bulverde Creek STEM Day here. Enjoy the slideshow below:

Slideshow created with DriveSlides Chrome Extension by Matt Miller and Alice Keeler.

Tech Tips

Technical issues can often impact instruction. Having a few troubleshooting tips and tricks in your back pocket will help the flow of your lessons move forward. The purpose of this page is to provide you with the skills needed to troubleshoot basic technical issues you may encounter with your classroom technology.  Not all solutions can be solved by the end user, so it still may be necessary to submit a helpdesk ticket.