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My favorite online resources

One of the biggest advantages we have in education today is access to the internet. The problem is how do you find the best information available? Here are my favorite internet places to go to find inspiration, news, information, and the latest research.

Michelle Emerson is the teacher behind “Pocketful of Primary” on YouTube. Her channel is FULL of amazing technology and organization tips. Some of my favorite videos of hers include “My Current Digital Favorites” , “7 Ways to Grade Faster in Google Classroom”, “How to Create a Google Forms Quiz”, and “How I Make My Google Slides for Teaching”.

Not only does Michelle have great ideas, but her videos are entertaining and her personality infectious. Her passion for education shines through the screen and you can’t help but be inspired to try her suggestions.

There are endless ways to engage with Jennifer Gonzalez from Cult of Pedagogy. There are blog posts, a podcast, videos, and a store. Her content ranges from technology tips to lesson planning to social-emotional learning to behavior management. One thing I love about Cult of Pedagogy is that if new information or research comes out about a topic, Gonzalez updates her opinion and information.

The best part is how organized and easy to find everything is on the website. When you go to her blog, everything is sorted into categories as well as chronologically. You can peruse the site for gems or find specific information about a topic on your mind already.

KQED is a media company based out of San Francisco, California and is affiliated with both National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Company (PBS). MindShift is where all topics education are housed. There is also a MindShift podcast, but the articles are concise and relevant. It’s an easy way to stay up to date on the politics, best practices, and problems facing education today.

Some recent articles include: How Movement and Gestures Can Improve Student Learning, Down With Toxic Positivity! For Teachers and Students, Healing Isn’t Blind Optimism, and Distance Learning Tools That Teachers and Students Hope Become the Norm.

What are your favorite online resources?

Neurodivergence and Teaching

First, let me apologize for not updating my website in months. One of the things I struggle with as a neurodivergent person is follow through. I often will get extremely passionate and excited about a project for a few months and then abandon it at the drop of a hat.

I’ve wanted to write about how I survived moving to hybrid teaching and some end of the year advice, but I simply couldn’t find the time, energy, or inspiration.

That being said, we are well into summer and so I’m going to be uploading a lot in the next month or two. Don’t be surprised, however, if you don’t hear from me once September arrives.

Until then, here are two tools that help me focus on my to do lists:


The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management system developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The idea is to break up your time into manageable 25 minute work windows where you deliberately work on ONE task until the timer goes off. Then, you can take a small break, traditionally 5 minutes. After four 25 minute work sessions, you take a longer break.

This technique is so helpful because it forces me to identify a task and mindfully work on that task. Typically, I will go to do the dishes and find twenty other things that need to get done along the way. I get distracted by the piles of clothes, or the toys on the floor. When this happens, I don’t get to the dishes. But with setting an intention and a timer, I am able to focus on the chosen task.

Another tech tool I use when working is ambient music. I put this on in my classroom when students are working independently or taking a test. When I was in grad school, I listened to ambient music when reading and writing. With no lyrics or real tune, the ambient sounds seem to attract the part of my brain that wants to wander. When the part of my brain that is responsible for my inattention fixated on the sounds, the rest of my brain is free to focus on cerebral tasks like grading, lesson planning, and composing emails.

Let me know if you have any tech tips for neurodivergent students or teachers!

Web Paint

Stop what you’re doing and listen up. There is a Chrome Extension that allows you to draw on any web page.

Web Paint

When you share your screen with students, and you want to be able to call attention to something specific, you can use Web Paint to draw right on the screen.

Now, it’s not perfect. The menu is large and annoying. It’s not super easy to type on. But holy cow is it helpful. I don’t think a lesson goes by where I don’t use Web Paint at least once.

Here’s How to Use It

If you want to annotate the web page and share your screen in real time, you are going to open the Web Paint extension.

From there, you can draw a circle or box around text you want your students to look at, type on the screen, and draw an arrow or line.

This is the menu that will open when you click on the extension in Chrome.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the functions:

The most useful ones are type, arrow, and circle or square.

When you’re ready to scroll or click on a link, click the arrow on the bottom row to get access to your regular mouse without losing your markings.

If you want to erase part of the screen, you can click on the eraser.

You can change the color, transparency, and size of any markings you make BEFORE you draw.

One major drawback for me is that the markings are static on the screen and sometimes I forget and begin to scroll down the screen displacing my markings.

The other thing is if you change the color while you are typing, it sometimes changes the color of the text you already wrote. If you don’t click off the color selector by clicking on the grey area of the menu, the color selector sometimes reopens while you are typing and it doesn’t let you continue until you click off.

Finally, when you want to show the entire screen without the menu, you can minimize it and bring it back by clicking on the extension again.

All Done With your Annotations?

More Features:

You can also take a screenshot of the webpage with any markings you have made by clicking on the camera. You can crop the image, copy to clipboard, or download the image. Super helpful for saving your work.

If there’s a color on the screen you want to match, just click the dropper tool to choose that color for your markings. Sometimes, when I’m teaching, I want to switch back and forth between colors, but I can’t quite get the right color each time. This tool fixes that.

I use the curve tool to show the relationship between two words when I’m talking about grammar:

Happy Teaching!

Bookmark Bar

The Bookmark Bar on Google Chrome is one of my favorite and most used piece of technology. It seems pretty simple, but there are so many features that I didn’t know about until recently.

Bookmark Manager

To open your bookmark manager on Google Chrome, click on the three vertical dots in the very top right corner of the window. Find “bookmarks” and hover over it to open the menu. Click on “Bookmark Manager”.

Let’s organize with folders. Click the three vertical dots on the blue header and click “add folder”. You can organize your bookmarks into the different classes you have, or by another system.

Click the star in the address bar to bookmark a page. I like to delete the text so that only the icons appear in the bookmark bar. It makes everything fit easier and look nicer.

Once you have all the pages bookmarked, you can right-click on the folder and open ALL THE PAGES AT ONCE!!!

You can see here that I have organized my bookmark bar by rainbow color. I have a few folders where I keep pages I want to open all at once, but for the most part this works for me.

Think about the pages you use often. Keep going back to your bookmarks a few times a year and purge the pages you don’t use often.

Happy Organizing!

Keyboard Shortcuts

I debated whether to save this post for later or make it a priority. Everyone uses (or should use) ctrl + C and ctrl + v for copy and paste. How much time are you really saving by using those keyboard shortcuts instead of your mouse? It turns out, it’s a lot of freaking time!

There are so many more wonderful keyboard shortcuts that will make your life easier and save you time when you are planning, teaching, and grading all online.

Note: I am going to be talking mostly about Windows and Chromebook in this post. If you are working on a mac, you may need to look up Apple-specific shortcuts.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

A very good place to start.

Ctrl + a

Ctrl+a selects all the text where you are working. If you are in a table cell, it will select all the text in that cell. If you have a 20 page document and you realize you need to change the font and you don’t want to drag your mouse, this shortcut is for you.
Continue reading Keyboard Shortcuts

Making GoogleSlides pt.1

The first thing you want to do when creating your GoogleSlides is to make a template.

From here, you can do whatever you want and students won’t be able to move it around, you will be able to edit the same slides every day, and it will generally make your life easier.

Get rid of the text boxes on the first layout slide.


Then, delete all the other slides. You don’t need them. Don’t be a horder. DELETE THEM.

Continue reading Making GoogleSlides pt.1

How GoogleSlides Saved My Life

GoogleSlides is the most wonderful, versatile application I’ve ever used and I would be completely lost without it.

I started using GoogleSlides to teach in 2015 when I was a first-year teacher. Those slides had everything I needed for the day. I would make one presentation for each day and subject with the learning target, success criteria, homework, agenda, and any activities we were doing that day.

When students came into my classroom, they knew that the date, agenda, homework, and bellringer would be ready to go. No matter what we were doing in class, we always started the same way. Class got started without me saying a word. Beautiful.

You can see that my slides evolved throughout the years. I learned new tricks and figured out what worked best in class.

Slides for Spanish 1B

Here are some slides that I used for in-person lessons.

Slides for Speech and Drama

Pandemic Times

Little did I know that working with GoogleSlides all those years was actually preparing me for teaching remotely during a pandemic.

I cannot tell you how helpful teaching with GoogleSlides has been during the 2020-21 school year. We’ve been virtual all year and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t do it without GoogleSlides (and PearDeck. Ask me later about PearDeck.)

Thank you, Google!!!