5 great Google sites for teachers

Google has a number of web services and tools that offer a range of use to teachers.  Here are five sites from the big G that you can use in you classroom today with some ideas to support them.

Google Custom Search Engine:  Create your own class custom search engine and tell Google which sites you  want it to index, and you’ll be able to offer your students the best of  the web.  Ie:  Create a science search engine inclusive of 10 of your favourite science sites.

Google Book Search: Search from a mammoth selection of  books ranging from popular best sellers to out-of-print books on Google’s Book Search.

Google classroom posters: When you have exhausted our awesome collection of classroom posters then,  help your students search the web better with these posters that  contain tips for using Google Search and other Google products.

Google classroom activities: Here, Google offers a small selection of activity ideas for primary school children.

Google Maps: Get your class to use Google Maps to build maps of your community, learn about cities, and more and now you can even explore the great barrier reef with street view too.

Please be sure to let us know about another great Google sites or tools you might use too.

Dinosaur themed writing pack for young writers.

I am sure that both parents, students and teachers alike will find this free Dinosaur themed writing paper and templates a brilliant prompt and resource for getting younger kids wrting about dinosaurs, or a dinosaur related adventure.

These themed writing packs really inspire kids to write and step up their presentation skills as opposed to simply writing on standard paper.

Download the Dinosaur Themed Writing Pack Here.

The Pack looks great, and has 8 different themed pages that include.

  • A Visual map for planning the characters, setting, problem & plot.
  • A planning tool for constructing a narrative.
  • Half Page Dotted thirds with a space for a picture
  • Full page themed dotted thirds with images.
  • Bordered Themed lined writing paper.

We have a number of themed writing packs and other printable paper for teachers and students that can be downloaded for free.


This Excel workbook is an excellent tool for using with your interactive whiteboard to explain the mathematical links between fractions, decimals ratios and percentages.

Here are some suggestions for how you might use it in the classroom.

How Many Shaded: Show the students the workbook with no red squares shaded and one or more of the fraction, ratio, decimal and percentage showing.  Ask students how many squares need to be shaded to make 25% for example.  Get one student to come to the board to add the squares to check.  Repeat for different grid sizes and values.

Equivalent Fractions:  Show the students the workbook with no red squares shaded and the fraction showing.  Ask students how many squares need to be shaded to make 1/2 for example.  Get one student to come to the board to add the squares, look at the fraction the click simplify to check.  Repeat for different grid sizes, then for different fractions.  Ask questions such as "Can we shade in 1/3 of the grid?  If not why not?"

Investigate:  In a computer lab, get the students to open up the workbook.  Ask them to show the fraction and ratio cells and to investigate the relationship between the fractions and ratios for various grid sizes and a different number of squares shaded.  Tell them that they can use the simplify button or calculator whenever they want.  Tell them that they will have to write, present or discuss their findings.  Ask the what the simplify button does, etc.  This activity could also be used to investigate the relationship between fraction and decimal, etc. 

Download it here.- Remember to Enable Macros to make it work correctly.

3 Tools that will make organizing your classes for next year a breeze

The end of the year is a very busy and hectic time in any school and organising grades for next year can be a tricky process no matter how you approach it.  I have put together 3 simple tools that will streamline this process and make it as painless as possible by following these three simple steps.

1:  Download the current class analysis tool and rank your current students on their academic performance and behaviour. All teachers will need to do this.

2:  Get your students to download and complete their friend request form.  This ensures your students will be placed in a group with at least one of their friend. 

3:  Collect both of these sheets and use the data you have to generate your grades on the  Downloadable Excel Based Glass group organiser.  This will allow you to get an excellent colour coded overview of each grades academic and behavioural capacity and give you the flexibility to cut and paste students from one area from another until you are satisfied.

I hope this makes your movement of students a little easier.

Web Summarizer: Every Teacher Needs to see this

This web tool is a little frightening to be quite honest.  Put Simply the summarizer takes large chunks of text and summarizes them into shorter pieces of text that from my sandpit time spent on it works with scary efficiency.  It is a plagiarists and lazy / smart students dream machine.  Either way it is worth a look.  Access it here.

21 Brilliant Productivity Tools Every College Student Must Use

If you ask a college student about productivity, he won't have much to say. And you really can't blame him.

The same goes for students online courses. They lead a dynamic life where academics and fun go hand in hand, with the latter becoming a more important activity most of the times.

However, with the advent of internet and web 2.0, a college student now has access to so many amazing tools that he could finish up his work as well as enjoy life to the fullest without the guilt. The following list mentions 21 such tools which could skyrocket the productivity of college students when it comes to doing research, communicating with fellow students and dealing with assignments. Also, look into all the opportunities there are in online programs and courses.

Research and Taking Notes


Questia is an excellent online research tool which features a huge web based library of magazines, books, journals, papers, articles and much more. They claim that it is the largest online collection of complete books and journals, all of which is searchable word by word.

Although you need to pay about $19.95 per month for its membership, you could save on books and magazines you buy if you subscribe to it. And of course if you are prone to missing classes, this tool could cover up for it. It is available in 9 languages including English. Check out this article - 10 Cool Things About Questia

2.Free Book Notes

Free Book Notes, as the name suggests is a collection of free book notes, summaries, study guides and similar material aggregated from the internet. If you are an English Literature student, you would benefit the most from it. It has a huge repository of novel guides, plot overviews, context summaries etc of almost any book you could think of.


Wikipedia, internet's favorite encyclopedia is also a great research tool. Whether you are studying in high school or doing your PhD, you are sure to find things of your interest in this ocean of knowledge.

Although time and again, academicians have raised concerns over the authenticity of the content in Wikipedia and if it should be used by students as a study material, it remains a great tool for any college student who can't afford to pay for sites like Questia and needs to do his research online.


Now coming to online note-taking, lets talk about Notely. I'd say it's a superb tool especially for college students because they are the ones it focuses on. It is a seriously cool web productivity tool for students which combines note taking, to-do lists, calendar, file uploads, calculators and converters, dictionary and translator and much more in one single interface. Oh, and it works on the iPhone too.

Check this great video tour of the app if you aren't convinced yet.


Evernote is my personal favorite and probably the most popular note taking tool available. It offers all the versions - web based, desktop and mobile and syncs your notes between all the 3 mediums effortlessly. A great tool with some extraordinary features, something you would know only when you start using it.

6.Google Docs

Unless you are into hardcore maths and statistics, I'd assume you don't do complex tasks like creating macros in Microsoft excel. If that's the case then you should strongly consider switching most of your note creating and spreadsheet tasks to Google Docs.

Not only does it transfer your work to the cloud which can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet, it also has some great sharing and collaboration features which you could make use of.

7. Google Reader

Google Reader is a great productivity tool for just about anyone looking to find and read great content on the web and that includes college students. It is the best RSS reader available and lets you read content from your favorite sources without the need to individually visit each of them.


Noodletools provides some creative online and software tools for both teachers and students which can help them in researching, organizing and recording things. Their main tool which is called NoodleBib is a bibliography composer combined with note taking.



It's important that college students use Gmail as their email client. Gmail has got some amazing features which ensures that you are productive while handling your emails. Features like keyboard shortcuts, Gmail tasks and labs make it the ultimate email app.


Skype is a great communication tool, especially for college students as they are usually cash-strapped. It saves them money by reducing their cellphone usage and also saves them time because unlike with cellphone, using which you can talk anywhere and in any position (like while making food, lying on the bed), with skype you know you have to be in front of the computer and hence you'd avoid talking for prolonged intervals.

It also offers nice video conferencing and collaboration features.

Click here for the complete list.

Is this the replacement for the Interactive Whiteboard?

Yesterday, Microsoft released the development kit for Kinect on Windows.  For the uninitiated Kinect is a bodily controlled gaming platform that has been around on the X-box for around a year now.  As a gaming tool Kinect is innovative but not entirely brilliant attempt to revolutionize gaming.

If you look at the video below you will see Kinect running on Windows and get an idea of the possibilities that lay ahead of us.  Surely this would supersede the potential of what current IWB's offer us.


I'd Love to hear what you think after you have had a look.

Create your own custom graphic organizers online in seconds

If you need to put together a VENN Diagram, a timeline or flowchart in a hurry then check out this tool that lets you simply add a heading and instructions to any form of graphic organiser and then save or print it for you to do as you wish with it.  Access it here.