The Chalk Blog

7 *Secret* Google Tools for Teachers

Unlock Google’s treasure trove of tools and apps you never knew existed!

We all know (and love) Google’s suite of apps for education—Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets—for creation and collaboration within the classroom. These apps have significantly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day learning for millions of students and educators. But did you know that Google has been simultaneously developing tons of other tools behind the scenes that can help students accomplish goals, save time, and think creatively? Check out these 7 “secret” Google tools that are sure to become your new favorites!

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, 21st Century Learning

Instagram for Teachers

Instagram is the New Pinterest for Teachers


While Pinterest is still a great place to gather ideas for your classroom, Instagram is moving up in the ranks as a new teacher favorite. Just like Pinterest, teachers can take inspiration from real classroom teachers, gather resources and stay on top of what’s new.  Get ready for some educational eye candy, because we’ve rounded up our favorite teacher Instagram pages into one stellar list for you. Prepare to be inspired!

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Topics: Technology, 21st Century Learning

5 Ways to Incorporate March Madness Into Your Classroom

Slam Dunk Ideas!

This blog post was originally published on March 18, 2016, but it was so well received that we wanted to freshen it up and share it again. Enjoy!

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! March Madness will soon be underway, but rather than fight your student’s interest in the NCAA basketball tournament, incorporate it into your lessons! We’ve put together 5 of our favorite resources for integrating the NCAA tournament into your math, science, reading or social studies period.  Go ahead and try one out.  It might just be a slam dunk!! 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, 21st Century Learning

Virtual & Augmented Reality Field Trips

Explore the World Without Leaving the Classroom

If you haven’t dipped your toes into the world of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) yet, you and your students are missing out!  You may be thinking, what is this VR/AR buzz all about and how do I fit it into my already busy day?  Well, let me tell you that virtual and augmented reality are becoming popular approaches for teachers to deliver content in an engaging and experiential way.  Students can use whatever devices they have to step into spaces and places that were previously inaccessible.  Think: animal habitats, the pyramids of Egypt or the Globe theater made famous by Shakespeare.  These “real” experiences can support and enhance learning in all subject areas by engaging the senses and immersing students in experiences beyond the four walls of the classroom.

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Instructional Strategies, 21st Century Learning

Digital Literacy & 3 Ideas for Digging Deeper

Teaching reading is not for the faint of heart - it’s serious work that deserves constant attention, adaptation, and adjustment. And now, to ensure reading success for all students, educators have to engage and embrace a maze of digital literacy tech tools. As a veteran teacher who began teaching before personal computers were accessible in schools (please don’t do the math), keeping up with technology became a professional priority. I felt proud (and scared) of every teaching tech step, but it didn’t take long before my 6th grade students were racing ahead and I had stay in gear to keep up every single day of my teaching career.   

Even though digital literacy presents powerful teaching and learning potential, there are daunting challenges in a world exploding with screens, causing even the toughest of teachers to wonder:  

  • How does one teacher guide the ever-increasing interactions of all students and their screens during any given school day?   
  • How does one teacher evaluate and identify best apps or tools to put in the hands of each student based on specific literacy and learning needs?   
  • How does one teacher develop a trust for tech tools that expand or expire by the day?   
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Topics: 21st Century Learning

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