Video Editing

Video Candy

I have been using PDF Candy for awhile now. You can check out my previous blog post here. Pam Hubler on Twitter shared Video Candy and I’m super excited about it.

The stop motion one is fun. It takes a video and then puts the stops in that make it look like you made it by stop motion.

You can also create a video slideshow using images and video. I know there are other programs that do this, but it’s super easy, and you can add sound.

Here is a slideshow I put together of our Doodle & Chat promo slides. I added sounds (for free) from

Hopefully this will help you if you are making video content for your school. Enjoy.


Education is Changing

I know I usually share resources and ideas, but every now and then I have a thought I want to share. Today is one such thought. Ok, it’s really some questions.

Someone posted on Twitter this week about how students don’t like school and asked the question, “What can be done to make it better?”. The suggestions ranged from student choice, less like prisons, to not requiring students to attend.

So how did we end up where we are?

History of Education

Compulsory education in the United States began in 1900 by 34 states, most in the north (Lingwall). By 1930, all states had a compulsory education law (Graham, 1974). The purpose of this compulsory education was not to learn to read, write, and do basic calculations but was deemed the best way to turn the nations unruly children into judicious, republican citizen (Groen, 2008). Horace Mann, in 1978, had already laid the foundation of grade level schools, having students progress through based on age regardless of skill level (Thomas, 2010).

In 1880, American high schools were primarily considered to be preparatory academies for students who were going to attend college. But by 1910 they had been transformed into core elements of the common school system and had broader goals of preparing many students for work after high school. The explosive growth brought the number of students from 200,000 in 1890 to 1,000,000 in 1910, to almost 2,000,000 by 1920; 7% of youths aged 14 to 17 were enrolled in 1890, rising to 32% in 1920. By 1940, 50% of the U.S. youth had earned a high school diploma (Church & Sedlak, 1976). Education in the United States: An Interpretive History) American post-elementary schooling was designed to be consistent with national needs. It stressed general and widely applicable skills not tied to particular occupations or geographic areas, in order that students would have flexible employment options. As the economy was dynamic, the emphasis was on portable skills that could be used in a variety of occupations, industries, and regions (“The History of Education in the United States: Secondary Schools”).

In the space of only a generation, public education had left behind a highly regimented and politicized system dedicated to training children in the basic skills of literacy and the special discipline required of urban citizens, and had replaced it with a largely apolitical, more highly organized and efficient structure specifically designed to teach students the many specialized skills demanded in a modern, industrial society. In terms of programs this entailed the introduction of vocational instruction, a doubling of the period of schooling, and a broader concern for the welfare of urban youth.

Selwyn K. Troen, The Public and the Schools: Shaping the St. Louis System 1838–1920 (1975) pp 151, 224–26, quoted in Ravitch, The Revisionists Revised, pp 55–56

Dewey, the father of the foundation for much of what we do in education today, believed that schools were not only a place for students to gain content knowledge, but also as a place for them to learn how to live. He said the purpose of education was to realize the student’s full potential and the ability to use those skills for the greater good. “Dewey insisted that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform. He noted that ‘education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction’.” (John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed (1897) PP. 6, 16).

The Great Depression set the precedent for moving funds away from education to other “necessary” areas of government.

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released a report titled A Nation at Risk. Soon afterward, conservatives were calling for an increase in academic rigor including an increase in the number of school days per year, longer school days and higher testing standards. 

“No Child Left Behind” was a major national law passed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress in 2002, marked a new direction. In exchange for more federal aid, the states were required to measure progress and punish schools that were not meeting the goals as measured by standardized state exams in math and language skills. We have had many reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act but most have the same goals as No Child Left Behind.

Where do we go?

Is is time for education to change again? Do we still want students to learn content or do we want them to think and be able to solve problems based on the information available to them? Those require two very different approaches to education. Learning content requires rigorous testing to “prove” the content is being learned according to the government. And what content is needed? But on the flip side, how do we “show” students are solving problems based on information they find? Do we need “proof” that this is occurring?

Do we need to only educate students through the 8th grade and then share career paths and opportunities, including college, vocational, technical, and work force? What would that look like? What if a student wants to change paths?

What about funding? How to we make funding for public schools more equitable without sending money to private and charter schools?

I haven’t answered any questions in this post. I have simply put information and questions on my blog for future consideration. Education is on the edge of another major change. As educators, we need to decide what we think needs to happen and then we need speak up and let those in power know what we think. Will they listen? Some, maybe. Will we make a difference? Maybe. Will we make a difference if we remain silent? No.

Education is changing. What do you want it to become?

Chrome, Chrome Browser

Chrome Themes

I presented at a conference, IN PERSON, this week and it was wonderful. I love presenting and presenting to a screen is definitely not the same as presenting to real people who have facial expressions and body language. I also love to give away stickers and that is so much easier in person.

While I was presenting, someone asked about how I got the “colors” on my Chrome tab. I told her about Chrome themes and how to find them.

Then, I realized, maybe others don’t know about Chrome themes. I use them because I usually have two accounts open at all times, my personal and school. I have them set to different themes so I can tell them apart quickly.

The grid one is my school and the words one is my personal.

Here is how you can do this too. Go to the Chrome Web Store and click on themes.

The main screen has a ton of themes but you can also search by education, math, spring, whatever you might be looking for.

HeyAshleyG is a TikToker who offeres a lot of fun Chrome themes. After you search her name, click more themes in the top right corner.

My word theme comes from Stefanie Posavak but I changed my background image to my desktop image.

My grid background is by American Apparel

When you find one you like, just click add to Chrome. If you don’t like it you can remove it.

If you want to get FANCY, you can click on the pencil icon in the bottom right corner of a new page and you can adjust your theme. This is how I added my own background page to the theme.

Will this make teaching better? Probably not. Will it make looking at your computer more fun? Absolutely! And, if you have more than one account open at a time, it makes identifying them easier.


Fonts, Google Drawing, Google Sheets, Google Sites, Google Slides

Fun with Google Fonts

I was presenting with GoldEDU on animated stickers when a participant asked about selecting new Google Fonts. I have posted about fonts before and included some Googley goodness but I thought an installment 2 might be in order.

Google has sooooo many fonts to choose from AND you can download them to use in Microsoft or other applications if you want to.

Select New Fonts

So how to find all these fonts you ask? When using a Google Doc, Slide, or Sheets, you can select the default font at the top. It’s usually Arial unless you have changed it (I’ll explain how later). The fonts selected by Google are at the bottom and your recently used fonts are second. What I’m interested in is MORE FONTS. Let’s click that.

This brings us a new screen with so many options. On the left you will see all available fonts. On the right are the fonts you have currently selected. You can click the x if you don’t want them on that main page anymore.

You can search for a font if you know a name, but I usually don’t. I like to search All fonts and then narrow it down to display or handwriting.

Once you find a font you like, click on it and it will add it to your font list on the right. When you are happy with your selections, click ok.

Set a new default

In Google Docs, you can set a new default font. Kasey Bell with Shake Up Learning has a great tutorial on how to do this.

In a Google Slide, you go to Theme Builder under the view menu. On the very top slide you can change the fonts to whatever you choose.

In Google Sheets follow these step:

  1. Click on Format.
  2. Click on Theme.
  3. Click on Customize.
  4. Select Font you want as standard.
  5. Click on Done.

Do Fun Things

What can you do with these fun fonts? Make fun things!

Here is a slide I put together showing some fun font combinations using Word Art.

Here is another fun font tutorial in Google Slides or Drawing.

  1. Insert – Word Art – and type the word you want.
  2. Select the font you want and resize to fit.

I’m going to select a custom gradient. Click on the paint bucket tool and select gradient and then custom.

4. Now you have a custom gradient filled image.

5. Command or control D and duplicate this. We will change the fill color to white, the border color to white and the border size to 16.

6. Click format options in the top right of the tool bar and select drop shadow. I changed the transparency to 100%, the angle is 45, the distance is 13 and blur radius is 0. Play with it and see what you like.

7. Now right click and move the white background to the back and you have some fancy word art for your Google Slide. If you do this in Google Drawing you can download it as a PNG and use it with a transparent background in anything that takes images.

Have fun with your fonts while I enjoy my Spring Break!

Google Sheets, Sorting Cards, thinking

Randomized Grouping Spreadsheet

I have been using Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics all year. I talked about the beginning of this adventure and shared some sorting cards that I planned to used with my class.

My sorting cards have been wonderful for most of my classes. I have classes of 26-30 students and the cards sort them perfectly. I have received a lot of questions about how to sort when you have fewer students. I sort as usual, then combine groups that are 1 or 2 students to form my groups of 3. I know some people don’t want that hassle.

I also have ONE class where a few boys will “cheat” and convince people to switch cards after an item has been selected. These boys do not work well together and their actions diminish the positive learning environment in my classroom.

This Google Sheet is the solution I came up with. It can really solve both of the problems listed above.

Random Group Picker Google Sheet

At first glance, you don’t notice that I have placed Bellatrix, Voldemort, and Yaxely in specific cells. They don’t work well together and I don’t want them to end up in the same group. Before class each day, I move them to different cells, but never together. Everyone else is randomly placed in the cells when I click randomize.

To select new groups:

  • Place the names you DON’T want to move in the group you want.
  • Type in the rest of your names
  • Highlight the names
  • Right click (command click) – view more cell actions – and select randomize range.
  • DONE!

The great thing about grouping this way is the endless customization. Notice I don’t have a group 4. If you have smaller class sizes, you can decide how many groups you want and where you want groups to be. I used groups of 3, but you could make groups of 4. There are so many possibilities.

This isn’t as fun or engaging as the sorting cards although I display it on the projector and use the confetti cannon extension after it randomly selects.

My students LOVE the sorting cards, but sometimes you need an alternative. This was my solution. I hope you find it useful.

Google Sheets, Google Slides, pixel art

Valentine Pixel Art Review

I created a Valentine pixel art review for you to use. You can create your question slides with the template provided below and insert the images into Sheet 2, change the answers on sheet 2 from A, B, C, to your answers (I usually change the answer color on sheet 2 to white so it’s harder to find) and then send a copy of it to your students.

If you want to make your own, here is a tutorial.

You can find all my Pixel art templates in this Wakelet. (This one will be added soon)


animated gif, Hooks

Video Clips & Memes with

Have you even wanted a short little video clip as a hook to start your lesson? might be able to help. I found this gem from @emmabalansay on TikTok and I thing it’s gem.

You can search for a phrase and it filters clips for you.

Maybe on assessment day you want students to hear the message “You got this!”

Once you select a clip, you have a few options, embed, gif, make a meme, and share a link.

This is a meme generated from the video. You also have the option on a meme to add your own voice. HOW FUN!

You Got This

I hope this website will provide you with some quick video hooks for your lesson.

comics, Geometry, Reflection, sketchnotes, Student Choice

Student Choice Finals

Our district requires us to give a final. We didn’t last year because we has so many absences due to quarantine and illness. Well, that hasn’t changed for this year but they wanted finals anyway. We always give the reason for finals as preparation for college. Some students are not planning to attend a 4-year institution and that’s ok! They don’t need that preparation. I have 2 of my own children in two different colleges and I can tell you they don’t take finals in every course. Some courses replace their lowest test score with the final, some allow you to take it if you want to raise your grade, and some just don’t have a final. So why do we insist in high school that students take finals?

The answer to that question needs to be a different blog post. For now, my students needed a final and I didn’t want them to have the pressure of another test right after Winter break. You read that correctly. After 2 weeks out of school, we want students to come back and take comprehensive final exams!?! My solution was a reflection choice board.

click to open

I provided quick (and not very good if I’m being honest) examples of each. I have since replaced some of them with student examples. The most popular choice was the meme and the second most popular choice was a sketchnote. I only had one student ask me if they could just take a test. I did not have one prepared so it wasn’t an option. I’m not sure if I will add that option next time either. I love that they looked through all their worked and picked 2 from each unit. The students really enjoyed it too. I love to read their reflections at the end as well. Most students were sincere about their responses and I think they got a lot more out of this activity than they would a test.

I know finals are probably already over for you as well, but hopefully you can file this away for the Spring.

For those who follow both blogs, I will be reposting this on Make Math Not Suck too!