- It's free to K-12 teacher's and their students--sign up just entails a teacher login on your school domain and verification.
- Teachers can invite students to their Canva classroom to assign and manage class activities.
- It works seamlessly with Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and more.
- It opens up pro features including fonts, icons, and images.
- The templates!! A wealth of customizable templates on every subject including social-emotional learning. Insert 3 thumbs up here!! Some of the broader category of school-specific templates include:
- Class Posters
- Graphic organizers & mind maps
- Lesson Plans
- Class Decor Kits
- Not to mention all the templates they already had which could be adapted to the classroom:
- Integrating Bitmoji's (just discovered that one!)
- Business Cards
- Even fun stuff like T-shirts, menus, postcards, and logos. Just think of the literature extension ideas you could use by assigning creative activities like these.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Today's toe-dips include some really cool online edtech resources I've run across that would benefit any teacher. They include timesavers as well as other inspirational finds. May you enjoy toe-dipping into them at your leisure:
- Shake Up Learning with Kasey Bell is both a super podcast and a great website with loads of learning resources for teachers. I get the weekly email updates from and found her post on Free Templates for Teachers: Where to Find Them & How to Create Them fabulous. She references these sites that are definitely bound for your bookmark bar. You can learn more about them from her post or go to them directly here:
- Seesaw Connect, which is an online virtual global conference for Seesaw Teachers next week: July 26-30. Once you register (free!), you can can take a multitude of online, on-demand short courses to get your gears turning on how to incorporate Seesaw in many different ways. Access remains open until August 13th.
- Education World has a slew of templates, diagrams, forms and charts all classroom-centric that you can print. Great resource!
- Edutopia has a super article from April on "Powerful, Lesser-Known Tech Tools For Teachers." In it, they detail the following, which I want to look more into:
- Kialu Edu
- Adobe Capture
Art created on Canva.com (my next-time toe-dip tool to share!)
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Flash forward a handful of years.
Flash forward another handful of years.
Flash forward 16 more years.
It definitely shows you the power of nature, and leads you to a reverence where you honor that power. It causes you to take pause as you watch the events and intensity on the rise and breaking records. And it certainly has you counting your blessings.
"Tropical Storm Alert" image from https://www.chathamstartribune.com/image_0040049a-d587-11ea-b0c2-afda90ad2572.html, Hurricane Floyd weather map from https://www.weather.gov/ilm/Floyd, Category 1 hurricane chart from https://aerindustries.com/blog/2017/11/28/hurricane-categories-related-damage/, Wind Chart for Duck, NC from https://windalert.com/spot/40944, all other photos from my camera.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Not far south of Duck is Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1938. It too is a "nesting, resting" sanctuary spot for migratory birds and other animals, including the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle.
Darn it, why did we forget the binoculars!
Interestingly, Twiddy (the rental company we got found our vacation stay through), has an amazingly extensive Birding Guide to the Outer Banks of coastal North Carolina birds of the barrier islands. Featured on that page along with the slew of native birds to this area are 20 bird facts featured in infographics.The Cornell Lab's online portal "All About Birds." Using this, I think I've determined that my white diving fisher birds are Northern Gannets. They do make a dramatic plunge!!
Of course, I can't mention Cornell's Bird Lab without mentioning Merlin--their birding app. I had to move this one to a more prominent spot on my phone and make sure to add the US: Southeast Bird Pack!From Mercier's book mentioned above: "Today, ornithologists and ecologists value ospreys as an indicator species. These birds help gauge the general well-being of an area's ecosystem and the health of its waterways" [page 249]. Despite the growth of development in both Duck and all of the Outer Banks aver the last several decades, the fact that we have these bird sanctuaries and the variety of biodiversity bodes well for the area. Just as we have seen eagle populations grow and flourish over these decades, ospreys have too.
All of which brings me back to the osprey nest I've been watching here from our back balcony at Duck. As quoted from Judith Mercier's Prologue [pages ix-x]:
"A pinch of earth separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Currituck Sound. Generations ago, a meager band of seafarers, fishermen, and duck hunters settled this area of North Banks land. They and their families built a small community, a neighborhood sheltered by the oaks and pines growing atop the sand hills. Today thousands of summer tourists visit the same place, a bantam village they know as Duck.
Duck constitutes barely 2 percent of the land area of North Carolina's Outer banks. Virtually hidden until the early 1980s, the village and its inhabitants enjoyed several centuries of solitude and anonymity."
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
As I'm writing this, we are on vacation in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Duck, specifically.Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do byWallace J. Nichols. Our backyard view is the Curritick Sound and water as far as the eye can see. In fact, on our dock this very instant, I have a hunting osprey who is lying in wait atop a post, ready to swoop down on any fish nearby to bring home to his or her little one in the nest two doors down. All of this puts 3 ospreys in easy view, adding both a show and symphony from their squawks of these magnificent birds.
Speaking of which...it's calling. The water. The writing can patiently wait.
* * *
During our week in Duck, we distracted and #blueminded a lot:
Walk downstairs to paddleboarding
Watching neighbors & their fishing mornings
Biking and board walking
Boating and dolphin watching
Dining on the gifts of the sea
I'm ready to go back.
Photos from my camera and graphics created at on canvas.com
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Her YouTube Channel is extensive, with the following description.
"Welcome to The Roving Naturalist! On this channel, I want to answer all of the questions you never knew you had about how humans and the natural environment fit together. We'll explore topics related to humans and nature - everything from vegetarianism to green living to how to build a backyard habitat. We'll discuss books about nature, the environment, and science. We'll hear from all kinds of scientists, ranging from seasoned experts to graduate students at the beginning of their research careers. And of course, I'll bring you with me as I go on some of my favorite bike rides, ski trails, paddling trips, and hikes so that we can be roving naturalists together. Subscribe for content that gets you excited about natural science!"
Here's another good sneak preview!
Her playlists include:
- Environmental Ed 101
- Ecosystem Spotlights
- Nerding Naturalist
- Sheryl Speaks
- Fast Field Guides
- Roving Vlogs
- Turf Wars with her and Nancy from SciBugs
- Explain Yourself
- Science Behind the Movies
With nearly 200 videos, she's definitely one follow!
Video from https://youtu.be/kwDcszR7dIc and banner from her Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheRovingNaturalist/playlists
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Saturday, July 3, 2021
I ran across Matthew E. May's June 30, 2016 article "The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Productivity Over A Long Weekend Is Also The Most Fun." The "long weekend" in question was the 4th of July holiday, and he wrote it 5 years--long before pandemics and quarantines. Yet, "the meat" of the article still holds so very true. While "Red, White, & BBQ" sound like a great plan for the Fourth, his points in his article make a solid call for nature outings, unplugging, and firefly fireworks as being an even better plan!
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
|A panoramic view from inside one of the "huts."|
|A selfie inside|
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Thinking back to the speeches our 5th graders wrote for their promotion as they ready themselves for their next step of middle school, I was hit by how much they had been through.
How much we all had been through with our hybrid school every other day, several weeks in the middle needing to go full remote, then coming back fully on campus.
It also just so happened to be coincide with the first day our pool was open and ready for me for my maiden day of entry. That blue water was calling me, and boy oh boy did it feel restorative and like coming home.Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.
After the school year I've had and after 15 months of a pandemic, rereading one of my favorite books about one of my favorite places seemed like what I needed to do. I am definitely in need of a little #BlueMind.
In thinking about that, I was inspired to take some of the quotes that Wallace J. Nichols includes in the book and bring them to life with some visuals.
- Blue Mind: The Book
- My Backyard BFF
- 1000 Hours Outside & #BlueMind, 2019 Edition
- Blue Mind Days & Hours Outside, Summer 2020
Images created at Canva.com
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
The obvious things always pop up. Pool days. Maybe a trip to the beach or a boat ride. A picnic or hike in a park. Taking in a ball game. Maybe a bike ride. But sometimes you just need a little inspiration to come up with a few other ideas to get you off your beaten path.
Here's a few lists to help you fill your 104 days of summer which would make Phineas and Ferb proud.
- 50 Fun Outdoor Activities for Families by Kayla Rutledge at Sign Up Genius
- Summer Bucket List Activities: 80 Fun Things to Do this Sunny Season from Bucket List Adventures by Annette (where there's a whole lot of other bucket lists to come up with great ideas)
- 100 Things to Do Outside This Summer at Home by Tess Judge at Indy Child
Saturday, June 19, 2021
- Essential Civil War Curriculum: Environment & the Civil War by Matthew Stith
- National Humanities Center:: The American Civil War: An Environmental View by Jack Temple Kirby
Another interesting find on my pursuit of tie-ins to Civil War and Father's Day led me to this headline on History.com by David Roos fro 2018: "The Man Who Inspired Father’s Day Was a Single Dad and a Civil War Vet." The man in question: William Jackson Smart. William was married and widowed twice in his lifetime. He was the father of 6 from his first marriage and 14 children total after his second marriage and second wife died. A Civil War Veteran, William served as the inspiration to one of his daughters who dedicated herself toward the creation of the first Father's Day.
This daughter--Sonora Smart Dodd--was 16 years old when her mother Ellen (William's first wife) died in childbirth. Years later, Sonora was attending one of the first Mother's Day events at her church in Spokane, Washington in 1909 when it struck her--if we have a day for our moms, why not our dads? In David Roos' article, he has several quotes from Sonora on the dedication she saw her father give her family and siblings. She brought forth her first petition to the Spokane Ministerial Alliance for Father's Day in 1910, wanting Father's Day to be held on June 5th, her father's birthday. Due to timing, they opted for a later date--June 19th. The 3rd Sunday in June. From that first Father's Day in Spokane Washington, Sonora went forward for 60 years (long after her father died in 1919), working towards getting Father's Day to become a national holiday.
Book images from Amazon.com, quote image from canva.com, and photograph from https://www.tvhs.org/post/father-s-day-the-inspiration-of-sonora-smart-dodd
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
20,000 pieces of electronic waste all in one place is sizable to begin with.
Reminds me a bit about Mount Trashmore!
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
- French President Emmanuel Macron
- Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel
- U.S. President Joe Biden
After the Summit's end on Sunday, June 13th, the plan is to move Mount Recyclemore to musicMagpie’s headquarters in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
It is from this vantage point that the teacher in me argues what all of this really is: it is an "empathy issue." Our job as teachers is to help our students see things from other perspectives, analyze situations, think critically, and explore other cultures. By understanding where someone else is coming from, we can learn about and better understand their experiences. Just like a habitat is healthier when there is a lot of biodiversity in that environment, so too is our global, human experience!
For several years now, I have adored Padlet as one of my favorite edtech tools for compilation, curation, and collaboration. I love it even more when people use it to collect resources with the sole purpsoe to share. This Padlet here came from a Diversity-Inclusivity-Equity [DEI] workshop that a colleague of mine attended. It is an expansive resource of many culturally responsive books, texts, articles, and videos for all ages. The goal of the Padlet: to help broaden the perspectives on variety of DEI topics. My always GTG goal: to share digital resources!
May we all continue to grow and learn more about our friends, our neighbors, our students, our community members, and other people across our planet so we can widen our understanding of others' cultures and their struggles & successes. By learning more about others, we ultimately learn more about ourselves.
Scroll through the Padlet embedded here (both horizontally and vertically), then click the links of the resources you are interested in. You can also access the Padlet on its own webpage here.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Dating apps are all the craze and have been for years. I know a number of people who have met their future spouse through these--whether it's one of the "swipe right or left" variety or another kind.
Would you swipe right or swipe left for a cleaner environment to help reduce and repurpose waste?Excess Materials Exchange [EME]. Maayke is one of the co-founders of this Amsterdam-based digital platform. Since 2017, EME has worked to help create a global circular loop by reusing materials and exchanging them with other companies that need these materials as raw products. In doing this, it helps repurpose what was potentially seen as waste and funnel it to some one else who needs it--which in turn helps create a much smaller ecological footprint for all parties involved. Classic case of "supply & demand" meets "one man's trash is literally another's treasure.
To learn more, check out the visual below and investigate Excess Materials Exchange's website.