Freebies, Google Slides, Sorting Cards

Collaborative Group Sorting Cards

Have you ever handed out playing cards at the door to sort your students into groups and then watch as students switch cards to make sure they are in the same group? No? Well maybe it’s just me but it happened often.

To fix this problem, a long time ago (like 10 or 11 years) I created sorting cards using a large index card and glued stickers, playing cards, words, equations, graphs, etc., randomly in groups of 4. I had a deck of 34 so I needed 9 sets of 4 for everything I used. I had 4 sets of 9 equations, 4 sets of 9 graphs, 4 sets of 9 coordinating stickers, and so on.

Once they were laminated, I would stand at the door and had each student an index card. They had NO IDEA what I would choose so there was no point in switching cards with someone. I usually randomly pick a person in the class to pick the sorting theme and then they group up by that theme. If I know I need to put certain students together or keep certain student apart, I will pick the theme beforehand and make sure to give those certain students the card I want them to have.

Yes, I know there are ways to sort digitally, but this is fun, and I can stand at the door and do hall duty while preparing to sort into groups.

Now, here is the sad news. My building had a severe black mold issue at the beginning of the year. Everything I had accumulated in my 20 years of teaching was thrown away. This included my prized sorting cards. Cards that had a lot of time and some money (for stickers and such) invested. We were remote and hybrid for much of the year so I didn’t recreate them.

A few days ago a colleague sent me a tweet from a person asking about these cards. I really thought I had shared this idea via blog post but couldn’t find it anywhere. I also have ZERO pictures of these cards. SAD SAD SAD!!! So I reached out and told the person I would make a digital version that could be personalized, printed, and laminated.

So here you go. OPEN SLIDEDECK TEMPLATE

Print on a color printer (on lightweight cardstock if you can), fold in half and secure with stick glue, laminate, and sort your students. You can change out any of the images, especially the Bitmoji. Mine have a lot of math in them because I’m a math teacher. You may want to change that too. Be caution when adding food if you teach middle and high school. Google the meaning of the food before you use it. Eggplant parm might be a favorite but it will also get you some chuckles at the high school level. And beware when you google pineapple. Geesh!

image of one sorting card

If you use these cards, I would love to hear how it goes!

Freebies, PDF, PDF converter

PDF Candy

Multiple times in the past few weeks I have been asked questions about turning PDFs teachers have found, or in one case the PDF version of something they created (because they lost the original file), into Word Documents. First, no program does this perfectly, even programs you pay for, but anything that reduces typing will help!

The resource PDFCandy.com is a safe and free site that can help with this problem. BUT, it does WAY more than just turn your PDF into a Word document. Here is a screen shot of everything it offers.

If you notice in the top left corner there is also a language converter. I haven’t personally tried this feature but it’s a bonus in my book.

I especially love the PDF to PNG or TIFF toward the bottom. I have been putting together digital notebooks in Google Docs and included some PDF pages I scanned from older resources. This allows me to turn that PDF into a image and insert the image into the Doc or Slide.

This is also helpful when you want to make a PDF more interactive for students. I’m not a fan of turning a “worksheet” into digital “worksheet” but in some cases I can see the benefit. If you have a PDF lab paper you want students to complete in their digital notebook, you can now set the PDF as the background image once your convert it. You can insert text boxes for students to comment on their lab progress.

I hope you find this website helpful. I love to pass along freebies that I find that work well.