Monday, November 30, 2020

A Little Trick That Makes ALL YouTube Videos Ad & Sidebar Videos Free!

I use a lot of videos from YouTube in the resources I curate, create and share with our students and teachers, and others.  Today, my new friend, Jamie Palmer, wrote me to share a little tip with me.

Jamie wrote, 

When you grab a link from a YouTube video, all you have to do is add a "-" (dash) after the "t" in YouTube and it will provide the video with no ads or sidebar videos. I thought this might be of interest to you when adding youtube links on anything you create for your kiddos! 

I was so excited and couldn't wait to give it a try! 
I went to one of the Kodable coding videos I added to the coding choice boards.  I clicked on the link and added the "-" after the "t" in YouTube. 
When I clicked on the video, it opened up to...
...a full-screen with just the video, no ads and sidebar videos.  It worked! 

Click here to give it a try too.  

Thank you Jamie for sharing this little tip.  I will be using this one from now on when I share videos and can't wait to share it with my teacher friends and students at Van Meter too. 

It's Hour Of Code Next Week...Here Are The 3 Coding Choice Boards For All Teachers and Students, TK-12!

We are excited to kick off Hour of Code this month on December 7-13, 2020 with our students at Van Meter.  We have celebrated this special event for the last several years and tie in coding to all of our grades at Van Meter throughout the entire year too.  
As we plan special coding activities for our students in TK through 12th grade, I started at the Hour of Code site that you can find here.  It is filled with sites for all grade levels, with tons of help for teachers and families as we learn along with our young people too. 

Take a look at a few of the amazing sites and resources...
There are helpful descriptions and instructions with each site.  

And everything is FREE for all of us to use!  How cool is that! 

Over the last several weeks, I have been working on three coding choice boards to share and use with our school community and to share with all of you to use with yours too. 
On this new Our Coding Choice Board TK-12 here, you will find links to all three.  These are the links that you share with your students.  
And if you work with just elementary, you can use the Elementary Coding Choice Boards here.

Below, you will find a link to each where you can make a copy and changes of your own if you'd like. 
Our Coding Choice Board TK-3 here.

Our Coding Choice Board 3-6 here.

Our Coding Choice Board 6-12 here.

I can't wait to see all that are kids learn, create and share about coding this month...and throughout the year.  I love seeing the little sparks and smiles coding brings.  I hope you bring coding to your community, families, classrooms and students too. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Choice Board Posters....Makes Them Easy To Access Anywhere By All Learners, Teachers and Families

To make it easy for our students to get to all of the different choice boards and resources throughout the month, I pull them together onto a choice board poster with links and QR codes.  

This can be used as a choice board electronically by sharing with students, at school or remotely.  All of the choice boards and QR codes are hyperlinked so they can click on them to access easily. 
For our younger learners who use iPads, we print the slide like a small poster (usually in black and white) so they can scan any of the QR codes to get to the choice boards.

The choice board posters are really handy for our students and families to use at home with any device too. This would be a great thing to bring along in the car or to use on-the-go.  
For our December choice board poster, I brought together Our Coding Choice Boards, 
our December Choice Board, and...
...Our Holiday Choice Boards Collection. 

I love how bringing resources together in one place make learning anywhere, anytime super easy and accessible in a variety of ways for all learners.  

You will find the December Choice Boards poster to share with your students here.   And if you would like to make changes, you will find the editable slide here too

Friday, November 27, 2020

Our Elementary Library Lesson Choice Boards For Rotation #4 December, Are Here!

It's hard to believer we are already into rotation 4 of our related arts schedule at Van Meter.  That means a new round of activities that focus around literacy, new technology tools and experiences, making and lots of fun. 

Back in September, I wrote about how we are using Google Slides to create lessons in a choice board format to make it handy for all students to access and use the materials and links included on each. You can read the first post here.

I wanted to share Rotation #4 with all of you.  Just a note...I did take out any links specific to my students, but you can create your own and add them to the Google Slides if you make a copy for yourself. 

You can access it as students would here.   You can make a copy to edit here.
During this rotation, you will find the December Choice Board, crafts and read alouds for our littles, BreakoutEDU, Buncee, Keva Planks, 

You will find all of the Library Rotation Choice Boards for the year here on the new site too. 

I hope you find the library lesson choice boards useful.  I sure have fun creating them and can't wait to start sharing with our students today. 

Have a wonderful December with your students, friends. 

New Ways To Travel Around The World With Our Students and Flipgrid!

Skype in the Classroom has been one of my favorite places to go for global connections, virtual field trips and connecting our students in Iowa to others around the world. It has brought so many amazing experiences to our students and teachers, not to mention what we have shared with others too. 

This month, Skype in the Classroom made a very special announcement.  Even though the Skype in the Classroom site is closing, there are lots of NEW ways to travel around the world.  

Here are the ways you can stay connected, as shared on the Skype in the Classroom site... 

🎬 Live Events: Tune in to our weekly live events featuring authors, experts, and amazing sites from around the world. Explore all upcoming events at

🌎 Classroom Connections: Join the Flipgrid community to find educators who are interested in sharing new cultures and experiences via GridPals

Once you've found a match, contact them to arrange a Teams meeting for a live connection or set up a shared Flipgrid to connect your classes.

💎Content Partners: Explore amazing content from our virtual field trip providers, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, California State Parks, Epic! Books, Scholastic, and more, in Flipgrid's Discovery Library.

Within Flipgrid's Discovery Library, 
we can find so many amazing ways to connect to the partners experiences and content they provide. 
For example, within the California State Parks Discovery Library
there are wonderful collections that will lead you to...
...different topics and places.  In the Integration Notes, you will find ways to connect with that specific organization or place, just like how we did within Skype in the Classroom.  

When you click on the link in the Integration Notes, 
it will take you to that site where you can sign up for virtual field trips and connections.  
Another favorite of mine is the Discovery Library Collection from Capstone that you can find here.  There are tons of fun ways to make connections with Flipgrid to PebbleGo, PebbleGo Next and eBook topics like...
..this one for book talking your favorite books. 
In the Discovery Library, you can also find Topics of the Day, 
around a variety of topics and age levels. 
I love this one about Teen Talk on Cyberbullying. 
And check out the Wonders of the Day, from our friends at Wonderopolis
When you look through these fun topics, make sure to look at the Integration Notes where you will find lots of suggestions for using these with your students.  

As we are learning in different ways this year, Flipgrid's Discovery Library, GridPals and Microsoft's Live Events give us so many ways to keep our students learning, connected and engaged while giving them a global perspective and love for all. 

As you use these new resources as a way to bring the world to your students and school community, share your amazing adventures by tagging @Flipgrid, #FlipgridForAll, and #MicrosoftEDU.

Have fun connecting and learning together, friends! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Special Post (and Bookmark) For Educator and Librarian Self Care...Take Time For YOU, Friends.

This year, more than ever, teachers and librarians have been giving all that we have to our jobs, schools and most of all, to our students.  We are caring for others through our teaching, finding that perfect book for every student, amazing virtual connections and by collaborating and planning to make this year the best it can be for everyone. 

We also must remember to take care of ourselves. For me, that is sometimes the last thing I think about, but as the holiday season is here, I have made it my goal to do something for myself every single day.  In fact, I wrote just that in my journal last week.  I wrote, My Self Care List and started adding ideas under the list. 

I wrote, 

Volunteer my giving meals to families in need. 

Play board games and cards with Eric and Hagan for Thanksgiving. 

Learn how to knit and make a scarf for Grandpa for Christmas.

Read at least 3 new books over the holiday. 

Exercise 5 times a week….walking outside or on the treadmill too. 

Start a recipe card exchange with our family and neighbors. 

Look through cookbooks and find a new recipe to make each week. 

Create our holiday cards with Buncee...have the boys add a video message too. 

Take time for ME every's okay to just be.

As you can see, I have quite a list but one thing I really want to remember, is to take time for ME, each and every day.  I think this list will help me do just that. 

As I work on my list, I put together a new choice board for everyone to use.  You will find the Special Choice Board for Educator and Librarian Self Care here.  I printed this off and posted it on the refrigerator so I remember what I wrote in my journal, 

Take time for YOU everyday. 

I also created bookmarks to give all of our teachers and send to friends and colleagues in the mail.
You will find the Google Slide for the bookmark I created here.  Feel free to make a copy and use too. 

I hope that you take lots of time for you this holiday season, friends.  You are doing amazing things for your students, colleagues and community.  Remember that as you take time for YOU too. 

Have a blessed holiday.  Love, Shannon