I stumbled upon this post on Twitter this past week about an Escape Room puzzle idea. You know how much I LOVE making escape rooms so I thought I give it a try. WOW! What a cool idea.
His name is Jason Pullano and you should give him a follow on (my favorite social media) Twitter. I didn’t alter this in any way other than to change colors to match my theme. His template is FIRE (to quote my daughter) and his video is very helpful if you are not sure what to do.
This is the link to the template he shared on Twitter.
Here is the link to MY puzzle.
Yep, I hope you caught that message! 12 Days of Techmas is coming soon!!!!
If you use this, please tag us both. Let Jason know how you used it! It makes people happy to see that what they share is beneficial!
If you are at all like me then you LOVE fonts. On my mac I have downloaded WAAAAAY too many fonts. I even have an “unused” fonts folder I created for those fonts I want to keep but just don’t need very often.
My favorite GO TO font source to use with Keynote, PowerPoint, Word, etc. is dafont.com. You can download them for Mac or Windows machines. Double click to unzip the downloaded file (if it’s zipped). The instructions for each platform are below. You will need to restart you applications if they are open before you can see the new fonts.
Once the downloaded file is unzipped, double click on the file. FontBook will open. Click install.
I don’t have a windows machine, but here are the instructions I’ve found:
Open the Windows Control Panel.
Select Appearance and Personalization.
At the bottom, select Fonts. …
To add a font, simply drag the font file into the font window.
While these fonts on my computer are AMAZING, my usual place of creation is in Google. These downloaded fonts are not available in Google but fear not, here are some tips and websites to make your fonts GREAT.
TextGiraffe has predesigned fonts. Select one you like and download. You can also just drag it to your Google Slide or Google Doc that’s open.
Magic Rainbow Unicorn is a Google Slides extension. You can click the add-ons tab at the top, search for it, and install. Click on the add-ons button again and launch the add-on. You can select the colors and if you want just the text or to highlight. Magic Rainbow Unicorns will change your fonts to rainbow.
Extensis Fonts add on doesn’t “ADD” fonts to the Google Font collection but it does made selecting a font easier. Go to add-ons and search for extensis fonts. Install the add-on. Click on the add-on button again and the font panel will open. Select the text you want to change and then select the font.
You can also make creative titles inside Google Slides, Docs, and Drawing. Here are a few using Word Art. Click through the slide to see the different examples.
I hope you also have a love of fonts and found some new ideas in this post.
A combination of events led to the creation of this digital flip book.
Event 1: Our school ended up with “air quality” issues due to “spores” created from flooding in the school and hot air. Because of this, everything porous is our rooms were thrown in the dumpster. This is 20 years of books, memories, and saved projects, including examples of foldables I do every year. We will be teaching remotely until our building is clean and safe to be in.
Event 2: Covid! When we do return in person, we need to reduce contact with papers. The foldables that I usually make will need to be digital to cut down on paper contact.
Event 3: I saw this digital foldable idea on TikTok from @adungan. I knew this was the solution I’d been looking for.
I created a template to make a five topic foldable. You could easily adapt it to more or less. You can go to View-Master and change the tab names, colors, and adjust the number of tabs.
You can create you own if you want to start from scratch.
Open a new blank Google Slide and go to File-Page Setup. Set the page set-up to 8.5 x 11.
2. Determine how many tabs you want. Let’s make one with 6 tabs this time.
Using the shapes tool, you are going to draw rectangles for the tabs.
You can change the colors to match the color theme you are going for. You can look for color palettes and get the hexidecimal code OR you can intall a Chrome extension color picker like Color Zilla.
3. We are using a color palette that provides us with a hexidecimal code.
We are going to type this code into the custom color paint bucket tool. It’s at the bottom.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have 6 tabs and the last box should cover the remaining space.
You can click on the tabs and go to format then format options and put a drop shadow on it if you want.
5. Now let’s put tabs or words on your flaps. I’ll put a tab, but you could also just put words. To make a tab, go back to the shapes menu and pick the second option, a rounded rectangle.
You can type in the rectangle, just double click on it. You can change your font by clicking on the box that says Arial.
6. Now the magic happens. On the left, right click on the the slide and duplicate slide. You are going to delete the top big box. Then take the next box and drag it to the top, making it the big box.
You will also want to put a home icon or the word home on this slide. We will eventually link this so it goes back to the main slide.
7. Repeat step 6 until you have a slide for each tab.
8. Ok, I said step 6 was where the magic happens, but that’s not really true. This is where the REAL magic happens. We are going to link our slides so when you click on Tab 2 it takes you to Tab 2.
Go back to slide 1. Click on the Topic 1 (whatever you named this), then click the LINK button in the toolbar.
Click the slides in presentation arrow and select slide 2.
Repeat this with each tab, selecting that slide that you want the tab to go to.
You can do this for EVERY slide, OR you can copy all the linked tabs on the first slide and paste them onto the other slides.
You will also click the house (or word home) and link it back to slide 1.
Your template is ready to use. Type in your information OR have your students write on paper and insert a screen capture of their work. This is how I intend to use these.
The five topic template is also available on Slides Mania. Yay! It’s in the By Edu for Edu category. If you use this, let me know. I love to see what people create! You can shout out on Twitter @MandiTolenEDU and use #MMNS and #infinitelyteaching hashtags.
I have been a fan of John Meehan since he wrote a guest blog post on Ditch That Textbook. His book EdRenaline Rush is also amazing! He is a very helpful, kind, giving educator that you should definitely follow on Twitter.
This is an activity he posted last year and again this year. Many people have taken his idea and put a spin on it. Here is mine, along with some resources I use. Full credit goes to John. I’m so glad he is part of my PLN!!!
We will begin remotely this year, not because of Covid but because of an “air-quality” issue in our building, resulting in a complete gut our our building. All of our books, resources, supplies, decorations, etc. were thrown in the trash. 😦 That was 20 years of memories gone. The good news is when we return, our building will be safe for staff and students (well Covid safety measures will still be in place!!!).
Since I will start virtually, this activity is set up for remote students. John has his set up for in-person OR virtual.
Inside this activity I link to the following:
This template has additional colors to choose from.
This is the same about you activity I’ve shared before. I made the header match our theme.
John has some of this type activity on Twitter if you want to give choices. Choices are good!
This is a different syllabus template I’ve used in the past. You can also change the background color.
I know this seems like more work that just printing your syllabus, but imagine the excitement for your students to explore and learn about your class in a fun way and not just listen to you as you explain your syllabus.
If you make one of these, please tweet out to John @MeehanEDU and me @MandiTolenEDU. We would LOVE!!!!! to see them.
I LOVE EDPUZZLE! It’s a quick way to help students engage in a video they are watching. It’s also great for virtual learning. What I don’t love about EdPuzzle is the limitations in the free version. You only get 20 free videos. That will get me through, MAYBE, my first 2 units. You can refer people to EdPuzzle to get more, but who has time for that?
If your district will pay for the PRO version of EdPuzzle, DO IT! Most districts, however, are not in a financial situation to do this. So, I’ve created a HACK to have an EdPuzzle like experience. You can use it IN the classroom or during VIRTUAL learning.
Pros and Cons of my Hack–Pro, it’s free! Con, you can’t prevent students from moving ahead a slide to see the answer.
So here we go… I have two different approaches for you.
You can trim videos INSIDE Google Slides. Just insert your video. When you click on it (not the play button, but the video itself) you will get a Format Slide button right above the slide. Click on it and it will open a menu to the right. You can set the start and stop time for this video clip.
Put your question and answer box on the slide.
I duplicate the slide, and set my start time on the next slide exactly where I left off on this one before. The I watch the video and pause when I want to stop. You can click the button “use current time” to set it that point. Change your question for the new slide.
Keep going until you have each slide set for each question you want to ask.
This is the type of slide activity that you use NOT IN PRESENT MODE. You will also want to set it in Google Classroom to make a copy for each student. They will submit their completed Google Slide when they are finished.
The drawback to JUST using the Google Slide is having to open each student to see their responses. I with we could clip videos in Google Forms, but we can’t, so here is my solution.
Create your Google Slide JUST LIKE I DID for OPTION 1. I just left the questions off.
Now, I’m going to create a Google Form to accept the answers.
If you have never used Tab Scissor and Tab Glue, you’ve been missing out. If you have your tabs open side by side and click Tab Scissors, it will open the tabs in two equal windows. When you are finished, click tab glue and it puts it back together.
This way students can see the video and question at the same time. You can also hit present to make it full size and when you hit ESC it goes back to the split screen.
To recap, if you need less than 20 videos, use EdPuzzle. If your district will pay for the Pro version, use EdPuzzle. If neither of those work for you, use this Hack.
Let me know if you use this. Shoutout on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook at tag #MMNS and #infinitelyteaching!!!\
Most of the content in this post is similar to the original post. You can view it here. I’ve learned a little since I created that first post so now the process is better and it’s possible to update the content once you make. If you don’t want to create your own from scratch, Matt Meyer (@54Mr_Meyer) has created templates that are available on Slides Mania.
I REALLY dislike cutting out paper activities. This dislike is what prompted me to create my first activity (drag and drop Geometry Proofs) with technology. When my team found a fun Memory Game activity I CRINGED at the thought of cutting out all of those sets and then finding a place to store them.
I went through a few attempts to create a memory game in Google Slides. I thought about linking pages but I needed to see two at a time. I wanted to remove one element “on click” but I could only get them to dissolve in a specific order. I settled on deleting the cards and it worked like a charm.
I know, you are all wanting to create your own memory game now! You’re in luck, I have a quick tutorial for you!
We are going to use the Master Slides to create our content (the back of the cards). This will prevent the movement of the content when players remove the top card. Using the Master Slides will also make editing possible should you wish to change this activity in the future. The way I suggested to do this before would not allow that.
Here is how to access Master Slides. You will scroll to the bottom and use the blank slide.
I used the basic white background so it didn’t distract from game. Place all of the “back side” of the cards, the part with the content, evenly spaced on your Master Slide. I ended up putting boxes around mine to help me get them spaced. I love that Google Slides give you guide lines as you place your items.
You can also use the arrange menu and select horizontal or vertical and align them perfectly.
Now we will close the Master Slides menu by clicking the x in the top right corner.
Once Master Slides closes, you should see your blank slide. You can right click (two finger click) on the blank slide and Apply Layout, selecting the layout with your content. You should now see your content you created earlier displayed in the slide.
We are ready to make the cards. I used the rectangle shape and held down the SHIFT key to make sure I had perfect squares.
I used the gradient tool to select the background and put a ? on it just like the original memory game.
One suggestion from my students was to make this an image so the ? wasn’t editable. Sometimes when clicking on the square they got the ? instead.
You could make these cards in Google Drawing and download it as a PNG to use in the game.
You can copy and paste these and use the align tool again to get them close to where you want them. Then move them exactly where you need them.
Create the rules page. I’ve included the image of my rules page below. It explains how you would “flip” the cards over to play the game.
A question I get a lot is how to flip over the cards. You aren’t REALLY flipping over the cards, you are deleting the cards to reveal the content behind it. You delete 2 cards. If they are a match they remain deleted. If they are NOT a match, you undo twice using control Z or the UNDO arrow and the next person takes their turn.
Play the game!
I sent this to my students through Google Classroom and said make a copy for each student. They enjoyed it and learned from the activity as well.
If you make a memory game, please share! I love to see how people use my ideas.
Tag me on Twitter @MandiTolenEDU and use the #infinitelyteaching. If you want to use Matt’s template, head over to SlidesMania and snag it.
If you’ve been around the blog for awhile, or follow me on Twitter, you know my love for all things Google. When I created my tutorial for Digital Escape Rooms (posted on Ditch That Textbook) it was using all Google apps.
I know some fellow educators out there are not in a Google school. Other educators are Google schools but they can’t use Google Forms. Never fear, here is a tutorial to create a digital escape room using Microsoft Sway, PowerPoint (or Google Slides) and Forms.
The process is the same except for the location of the image and the last step and you can even use Matt’s planning template.
1. Write your prompt
You need a good story to hook the audience. When you go to a physical escape room, they set up the situation with a story or information at the beginning. The purpose of this Halloween themed digital escape room was to share some tech ideas with my staff in a fun way.
So I wrote an introduction to tell my audience what was happening:
“It’s a blast from the past! But when I blasted from the future to my 50’s living room, I lost my copy of Ditch That Textbook. Click on the clues in the room to help me find my signed and treasured copy.”
2. Create your clues
Determine how many and what kind (number, word, etc.) of clues you want. I want this escape room to be a fun activity for teachers to do as stress relief at the end of school and maybe gain some inspiration for next school year. During this step, I also created all of my clues. Some are in PowerPoint, Docs, Excel, Jigsaw Planet, etc. I keep all of these in a folder in One Drive so everything is together.
Here are the clues I used for my digital escape room:
Microsoft Training Site through a Sway page – CLUE: which translates to 503 with the pigeon number cypher.
Editable PDF hack in Google Slide – CLUE: EDIT with alphabet cypher translates to 761122
Choice menus from Kasey Bell – launched from an excel sheet – CLUE: BUFFET
Using animated Bitmoji’s from Snapchat – launched from a cypher in Docs – CLUE: DANCE
I almost always have an interactive image that I create in Google Drawing. But to embed in Sway, you have to use used something with an iframe embed code. I know, what the heck is that. No worries, I’ll walk you through it later. In the mean time, use PowerPoint (or Google Slides) to create your image. We will embed this in our Sway at the end and the links or “hotspots” will remain active.
Open a new PowerPoint (or Google Slide) and start creating your scene. I changed by screen size to 4:3. You do this under the design tab, then select slide size.
Once your image is created, you may want to download this and set it as your background. This prevents you from accidentally moving one of your components while setting your hotspots. To download the image, click on the File, then download as images. This will make a zip file. You will have to unzip it (double click usually) to use it. Once you have the image, then click on the Design tab and choose Background, picture from file. Navigate to you photo and upload it. Don’t forget to select all and delete everything from your page (it’s scary, I know, but you have an undo button). You will see your image set as the background.
After your image is created and set as your background, you need to link your clues to each object. I have 5 clues, so I linked it to the clock, phone, tv, coffee table, and pink sofa.
You can make anything you added to your image clickable as a link! PowerPoint 365 is a little different than Google Slides. You can use a shape or textbox for this next step. If you use a shape, set it to no fill and no outline. If using a textbox, delete the text. Double click on the shape or click on the textbox and go to the insert tab and choose link. Type or paste the URL for the clue you are linking. To prevent the text from showing I use a period and change it to the color of the object it’s over. If you are using anything cloud based, make sure share settings are set for anyone to be able to view.
If you are using the desktop version of PowerPoint, you can just right-click on the shape you drew and add your link. It’s much easier on the desktop version. You will have to your PowerPoint to the One Drive cloud to get the embed link.
Some breakouts may have more than one image or page. In my trianglesonly.com breakout game, I had multiple pages on the top tab to replicate a dating site, so I repeated the process for each image I created.
4. Create your locks
If all of your clues are numbers and you have the pro version of Microsoft forms will can create your locks in Microsoft. You can create create a cypher for each clue to change it from letters to numbers. I show some examples in this escape room. You can make your Cypher images in any image editing program. You can also use PowerPoint and download the files as .jpg or .png.
I don’t have the pro version of Microsoft Forms so I’m using Google Forms. Create a new Google Form (I keep everything for each escape room in one folder). You want to use response validation (check out this video for a walkthrough on how to add it) so they have to type in the correct clue. You also want to make the question required.
For number locks, I use the number is equal to setting then type in the number you want. You can also type in a custom response if they get it wrong. For a number, I usually just use “try again”.
For letter locks, you will select text contains. Forms are case sensitive so my clue usually directs them to capital or lowercase letters.
Continue this process until you have all of your clues entered.
I like to include a special message or image once the person “escapes”. To do this, create a new section in your Google Form.
On this new page, you can post a message or an image congratulating them on escaping.
5. Create your Sway
In my opinion, this is the most exciting part of the process. This is when everything you have created comes together as an escape room.
Got to sway.com and start new. A title card will always be the first card offered. Title your Sway and add any images you wish. There is a design tab if you want to play around.
Now add you image (or images). Click the plus sign, then the media tab, and then embed.
Now let’s go get our embed code. Your image is in PowerPoint (Google Slides instructions will be below). In PowerPoint, click file, share, and embed. Copy the embed code.
Head back over to sway and paste the embed code in the card.
Google slides will need to be published to obtain the embed code. Go to File – Publish to Web. When you click publish, an embed code will be available.
Now let’s insert our Form. Whether you use Microsoft or Google, the process is very similar. Click the + in Sway and select Embed again.
Go to your Form. Click Send then the <> tab to get the embed code. Paste this code in the Sway card.
Now you are ready to preview your Digital Escape Room. Click the play button in the top right corner. How does it look?
When you are ready to share with others, you use the share button. You can copy a link or create a QR code.
Whew! You made it to the end. Now you are ready to go create your own Digital Escape Room with Sway.
You can try out the Digital Escape Room created during this post with the link below.
I had a teacher email me earlier this week and ask for free solutions to a collaborative whiteboard he could use with Zoom so students could graph but not have to share their screen. There are some cool apps out there like AWW app and Bitpaper. Both of these are amazing, but they also charge a monthly fee. Most of us can’t do that. So you know the old saying, necessity breeds invention.
Here’s a little Schoolhouse Rock video if you need the inspiration:
Ok, to the real meat and potatoes of this post. I suggested he use a collaborative Google Slide and the scribble and line tools or a collaborative PowerPoint365 and the drawing tools. He can share the collaborative slide on Zoom while the student drawing is accessing the “whiteboard” on their computer. Our students are more familiar with Slides, but PowerPoint (sorry Google) does a better job with drawing tools.
Slides worked very well for graphs, not as easy for writing (I suggest the text tool)! PowerPoint was awesome for writing but there was a big delay with the image appearing on the shared screen.
You can set the graph as the background so it doesn’t move when students are graphing. I’ve included a little infographic on this process for Slides & PowerPoint.
Another colleague of mine likes to send her kids to the whiteboards every day as a warm-up. Well, using this, it would work the same. You could use it over Zoom (or Meet) but you wouldn’t have to. The cool thing is, it serves the same purpose. Students can look around (on other slides) if they need inspiration and the teacher can give immediate feedback.
Just thought I’d share this little hack we discovered this week.
Last year I created an electronic bullet journal type calendar/planner and shared it here. This year Slides Mania (@SlidesManiaSM) created a template that is FREE to use. That’s right free and customizable. Head to their site, download the slide, and watch the video to customize your own.
You will want to add as many slides as you want, such as the weekly slides, delete the text you don’t want to see, add dates where you want them to be, and place the slides in the deck where you want them. Once you download this as a PDF, that part is no longer editable. I created my weeks and placed them directly after the monthly view. When I click on January then I can scroll to each week in the month.
You can add links if you want. For instance, you can click on the first week in January and link it to the weekly view. This will take a little more time to edit, but the functionality is nice throughout the year.
Once you have your planner set up like you want it, go to file, then download as a pdf.
I save this in a folder in my Google Drive so I can access it from Notability. Notability is not a free app, but it is worth the money. I use this app daily in my classroom. To explain all the wonderful things Notability can do would take another blog post 🙂
Once this is saved in Google Drive, open the Notability App. Import the file from your Google Drive. Once it’s loaded, the links will still work, but you can also write in the boxes. It’s the best of both worlds.
The best part, in my opinion, is that the template was already created. I was able to change my theme in less than 10 minutes and now I have a planner to use for 2020.
Matt Miller had a guest post on his blog a while back by John Meehan on a game concept called QR BreakIN [*update: John’s book EDrenaline Rush is available]. I love to create BreakOUT games so this idea had me intrigued. John’s graphics were amazing and the game boards looked fun. I pondered how to use it in my math classroom for quite a while until an idea finally surfaced.
A few areas had me stumped. 1. I needed the tasks to be sequential and most games boards where you roll dice are random. 2. I didn’t think, unless it was a review day, I could accomplish much in our 45 minute class period using his format.
I used John’s template but with my own twists. I came up with the Donkey Kong idea because jumping the barrels creates the progression of tasks that I needed. I also made this a unit long game instead of one day. Reading more information on John’s blog, I found a post he had about Power-Ups, so I incorporated that into this game too.
Since the game would be completed over 2 weeks, I made my game board and game pieces electronic. I also wanted to use Google Classroom to release the tasks instead of using QR codes, mainly because our student laptops aren’t the best and they don’t play nice with QR readers.
Here are my takeaways from this unit long game.
I like that I can open the slide from day to day and update the progress of the game instead of moving it from the board and putting it back for each class daily (I did this in 3 classes). However, I felt like it took me longer than I wanted to get the board updated because I was checking and releasing tasks.
GENIUS! I gave my students 3 for the unit. The cards could be used to ask a content question of the Narrator. You know what happened? They asked each other instead, just as I had hoped. We are nearing the end of the unit and NO ONE has used a card. They have worked together as a team to find solutions.
Google Classroom instead of QR codes
This one was tricky for me because of the time issue. I did load each post ahead of time as a draft and then I could release to each group as they were ready. This still took more time than I wanted to spend. It would be much simpler to have the QR codes, but I also like that the tasks are still in Google Classroom if they want to reference them.
Wow, kids are serious about earning Power-Ups. If a student did not complete their practice, the team was ALL OVER THEM. I had more practice completed this unit than ever before. Students were also, mostly, positive in their encouragement of their team.
Would I do this again? YES. This has been a fun way to present a short and mostly review unit for my students. They seem to be enjoying it.
Check out the hashtag #QRBreakIN on Twitter and also lurk around John’s blog. He does some amazing things with students.