How to use the Google Research Tool to improve Essay Writing

Whilst the Google research tool has been a part of Google drive for a few years now  It amazes me how few teachers and students are aware of what it can do.

In short the research tool is the perfect accomplice for writing an essay or creating a project.  It will not only provide you with all the facts and answers you require but also cite them.  And that's just the beginning.

I have put together this six minute video tutorial to make every student and teacher an expert around getting the most out of using the Research tool but also assist teachers in identifying work that has basically been written entirely from this tool.

I forgot to mention in the video that this applies to Google Docs, Slides and Sheets.

Please leave any thoughts or suggestion on this below.


Take a look at our new Christmas Teaching Ideas

As Christmas approaches you might be looking for some ideas to integrate the festive season into your classroom.  

Fear not as we have created a new Christmas section for you to browse and hopefully find some ideas that are both fun and creative.  It can be found here.  Enjoy

Start off the school year with over 100 free hi res classroom posters and charts

Okay, so it's time to go back to school in the United States.  One thing that will make any classroom look great and give students a great first impression is a classroom that looks colorful and engaging.

Thankfully, you have come to the right place because Edgalaxy has the best collection of completely FREE classroom posters and charts to spice up your learning space or even put up on the walls at home.

They have all been designed by professional graphic artists and are high resolution images so that you can go BIG!!!

They can be found here.  Enjoy and share this with others.

How to use QR cubes to impress your students and parents


Parent teacher interviews can be one of the most stressful nights of the year.  Especially if you have never done one before. 

Usually, you only have about ten minutes to impress upon these people that you are both competent in your role, and you also genuinely care as much for their children as mum and dad do.  Sometimes this might be the only ten minutes you get for the year together.

Today we are going to look at a surefire winner that will ensure your meeting finishes on a high no matter what.  We are going to create some QR Cubes for you to take home to parents on the night that will be of use to them all year long.

The idea is that they take their cube home scan the codes with their phone at home and gain insights into what has happened in the classroom or find out strategies for improving future learning opportunities at home.

So,  Let's go through the process.  You might want to set aside half an hour to do this for your entire class.

Firstly you will need to find 6 ( minimum amount for one dice- but make as many dice as you wish. ) items that you wish to share on your cube. 

Remember everything you direct them to needs to be based on the internet for this to work.  Examples of this might be...

1:  A video link to your classes input into this years school concert.  Youtube or private video hosting will work.

2:  A link to your class blog outlining what has been happening in the classroom.

3:  A link to video you have made about expectations for parents in your class. ie:  - How much should your child be reading etc.

4:  A link to some math's or literacy games you have approved for use in your class that can be played on phones or computers.

5:  A link to your email or twitter account so that parents can ask you questions at any time.

6:  A link to free posters you can put up around the house to help out with tables or spelling etc.

Then you need to convert your links into QR codes.  This will take no more than 5 minutes to do all 6.  Simply watch my instructional video below on how to do this.

So then you simply need to copy and paste your QR codes onto a 3D dice template which can be found here.

Print up a class set.  Get your students to make them at school and be sure to give one out to parents at the meeting.  It will certainly show them something they have never seen in their own experience of school, and makes a great first impression.

If parents need a little info about QR codes you can direct them here.

Finally.  You don't have to make dice you can take this in any direction you want.  Id love to hear your thoughts and ideas.


Hundred's of free amazing classroom posters


I have just reorganised the classroom poster section on Edgalaxy from a text based page to a visual gallery of all our completely free posters for classrooms.    You can now see all posters in a single page.

This would have to be one of the largest free collections of classroom posters on the web, and I will be adding another fifty over the upcoming school break.

Anyhow take a look.  Feel free to download you will not be disappointed 

A collection of lesson plan templates

I came across this folder of lesson plan templates that are freely available on the web.  As there is no one size fits all solution to lesson planning I thought these might be of use a reference tool in creating a lesson plan to best meet your needs.  If you have any other suggestions to add please feel free to email them through.

Alternate methods for pairing and grouping students


Students are quite often creatures of habit and regularly seek to cling too or avoid certain classmates when asked to 'Pair up' or "Organize yourself into a group."

Sometimes you need to try some alternate strategies to break the cycle.  Who knows? you might even encourage the beginning of a great new friendship.  

Thanks to Chris from Omaha for supplying these ideas to group students using alternate methods.

Rid yourself of the Good old  “A, B, C, A, B, C, A, B … “ grouping.
Substitute A, B, C into the names of some real world items (you could use this to surreptitiously remind students of a few vocabulary items). The names are purely for making the groups and can then immediately be forgotten. Of course when students know their labels you can either ask them to get together with others of the same name – or to make set with different members.

Apple, banana, cherry, apple, banana, cherry… ; Purple, crimson, turquoise; Rain, sun, snow…; Volkswagen, Ford, Rolls Royce …; Preposition, adverb, conjunction; Kylie, Madonna, Janet …; Suit, Tie, Waistcoat …; Spring, autumn, winter …; Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge; Hamlet, Macbeth, Prospero …; Homer, Marge, Krusty …; Present perfect, past simple, going to; Williams, McLaren, Ferrrari … (“Ok all Ferraris drive over here and meet up, all McLarens race over there …”); Eggs, coffee, bacon … (“Get together and make a complete breakfast …”)

Cut up cards
Prepare a set of cards so that there’s one for each student. On each card write one word from a set of vocabulary items you’d like to reinforce with the class (e.g. kitchen words: fridge, mixer, sink, saucepan, cooker, microwave). If you want groups of six students there should be sets with six different words – and so on. Shuffle and distribute the cards, then ask students to meet up in groups where everyone has a different word.

“Work with someone …”
you have never worked with before
… who has the same colour socks or stockings as you
… you think you’ll strongly disagree with
… whose home is as far away from yours as possible
… who smiles at you across the room now

Anagram partners
Instruct students to write down their first name and surname then rearrange all the letters to make an anagram which they write on a new piece of paper. Collect in the anagrams and redistribute. Students try to unravel the anagram and find their new partner’s name.

Hello. Who’s there?
Pass out a  piece of paper to each student. Ask each student to write down their mobile phone number on the paper then collect in the pieces and shuffle them. Students then pick out a piece of paper at random and ring the number to find out who their new partner is. (Students without mobile phones should write “chatroom” and gather in a designated corner of the room). This technique would be especially suitable for telephone practice pairwork activities that can then actually be done over the phone.

Over 85,000 amazing news reel videos for teachers and students

Spanning the period of 1896 through 1976 British Pathe was one of the worlds premier sources of quality video journalism for the English speaking world.  

During this time it amassed over 85,000 news reel clips covering some of the greatest achievements, tragedies and bizarre events of the twentieth century.  

These news reels are an excellent snapshot of the past and are dynamic teaching resources that could be applied to a range of curriculum areas including history, literacy and science.

Last week all of these clips became freely available as high definition clips on YouTube for future generations to call upon.  They can be found here.

I hope you find these resources useful and if you have used them with your own students feel free to leave a comment below.