How Can We See Superman Fly?

For the third year in a row, I was invited to one of my district’s elementary schools for their annual Math/Science Day (previous posts: 2016 & 2017).

My teammates also joined me and the session wouldn’t have happened without them, huge thank you goes out to Stacey, Laura, and Kim!

The TL;DR version is simply two parts focused on green screening. The first part I head up by running a Nearpod lesson (embedded below) which shows examples of green screening in action. Nearpod allows it to be interactive; the highlight of the lesson is a virtual exploration of a green screen studio. The second part is where students get a chance to have their picture taken in front of the green screen, facilitated by my teammates. For the second year in a row, the day takes place on the school day before St. Patrick’s Day. Thankfully, not many of the students wore green, but the same can’t be said for some of the teachers.

Embedded is the Nearpod lesson (self-paced mode) which only remains active for about a week, so I also have the Google Slides which the lesson is created from embedded underneath.

How do we see Superman fly? I would love to see what you learned from this lesson in the comments below.

Boldly Expanding to New Frontiers

Ever since the fourth grade, when I had a project on Alaska, where there was choice in what products I wanted to complete; one being a soap carving of native animals of Alaska, I have carved as a hobby. Every now and then, I have been asked if I would sell my carvings but never did thought of it becoming an enterprise.

Well, enough different voices have given the same suggestion, “Have you ever thought of opening an Etsy store?”

So I have… GOOFBALLSbyDan

Here is a collection of Goofballs I’ve created:

What do you do as a hobby or items you sell as a side business? I would love to read about it in the comments below.

Time to Make Amends…

At some point in time, everyone needs to take back something they have said. Today is one of those times for me on this blog.

I wrote a post in May of last year offering a recommendation for an extension which could be used to leave voice comments in a Google Doc. The beginning of the post gave a short backstory on an add-on which did voice comments very nicely. That add-on then did a massive update which was also a redesign of their method for leaving any type of comments. I found the update to be a disservice to their original functionality as well as quite clunky for usability so I stopped recommending it to teachers. Now in the post, I didn’t go as far as to name names, but I still vented some frustration.

Now, over time, we’ve discovered that the extension, which I recommended as a replacement for the add-on, has caused some of our Chromebooks to sloooow doooown. I had to stop suggesting the extension to teachers. Around this same time, I started to see posts about the original add-on:

Kaizena is Back!

The Google Doc add-on has gone back to their roots of having commenting take place within the document. I look forward to sharing this tool with teachers!

Now to give a well-rounded recommendation, I have noticed two items where I think improvements could be made. First, you aren’t aware of the comments left in the document, you only see highlights until you open the add-on. The original functionality of Kaizena inserted a statement as a header explaining what to do to see the text or voice comments. The second improvement is expanding the voice comment limitation of thirty seconds of recording time per comment. Hopefully that can be expended upon.


Have you used Kaizena? I would love to read your opinions on the add-on in the comments below.

4 Favorite Audio Recorders for Chromebooks

So a little bit of info upfront… I’m usually not a fan of what I consider the ‘click bait’ of numbered post titles. I typically try to avoid them, but today I caved. I know that “studies show…” whenever there is a number in the post they get more attention, mainly because people believe them to be brief and to-the-point. I did it because it went with the topic and since I wanted to try out a new trick I learned, I thought audio recorders would be the best topic to share while trying out Amit Agarwal‘s tidbit. Below the audio player I will post the links, in order of simplicity (in my opinion) to each resource shared.

  1. Simple Audio Recorder
  2. Vocaroo
  3. Online Voice Recorder
  4. TwistedWave

What did you think of this style of post? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Take Apart Day 2017-18

The third annual Maker Ambassadors’ facilitated Take Apart Day happened on December 20th & 21st, 2017. (You can check out the posts from 2015 & 2016-17) The ‘Maker Ambassadors’ is a component of PRISM, a self-selected offshoot of my school’s gifted and talented program facilitated by my classroom-mate, Rebecca McLelland-Crawley.

This year we had items like two electronic keyboards, an iron, iPod Touch, wireless mouse & a USB presentation controller, just to name a few. I created a ThingLink as an example (embedded below) for students to try and create their own (will update with student examples hopefully soon). Also, take a look at the gallery of images from the day:

What would you take apart? Would love to hear about it in the comments below.

A Google Slides Hack…

I was asked recently by a colleague, Stacey Lindes if it was possible to link to a specific slide in a Google Slides presentation. After a little thinking, this is what I came up with.

***Note: I truly cannot recall seeing this trick anywhere else, but with that being said, there are tons of ‘Google tricks’ out there that I may have forgotten where I saw it. If you have shared this previously, I apologize for not crediting you.***

Does this trick help you? I would love to find out more in the comments below.