Google Slidin’ our way through Research and Multitasking

I do NOT want my kids to simply memorize things. I actually despise teaching wars and battles because I feel that it can be difficult to convince kids to just learn the concepts, the chronological events, and the cause and effects. Despite my hatred of teaching the wars throughout History, I decided to teach the War of 1812 using Google Slides. I am AMAZED by what my 8th grade students produced in such a short amount of time (~4 days)

Start out with giving them directions by making an example Google Slides. Why? Well, if you want them to make something awesome give them an example of what it could look like, give them examples of slides they could make. Kids that haven’t used slides don’t know what it should look like. So, here are my directions.

Here is the finished product of what one of my students did out of those directions and four days.

You might be asking, what did you do for FOUR days?

  1. Students watched the PBS version of the War of 1812 and took notes underneath their slides.
  2. Students researched events as they watched them on their screen and recorded what they saw.
  3. Students used Google Maps to find where the battles took place and then plotted them on their map.
  4. Students looked up timelines to check that they were doing everything correctly and in order.

&& the MOST amazing part.. is they did this ALL AT ONCE. Kids multi tasked like no other. They listened, watched, typed, googled, and read simultaneously. They also LOVED it. They asked, how can we get this at home?

presentations-128 (1)Have your students download the Google Slide app, and they can continue to work and show their parents what they are doing anytime/anywhere. Also, have them download Google Drive just so they can see their whole drive at home. Next thing you know, kids will be walking in the hallways doing work from class.


I know now that it isn’t about memorizing battles, it honestly isn’t even about the War of 1812. It’s about getting kids prepared to multi task in life, to look things up they don’t know, to check that they got things correct, to design something unique, and to really give them freedom in how they process information. This speaks SO much to a community my coworker has started called The Test is Life. Check it out!  TTIS_Web-Headers


Thanks dearly for reading stuff I so love to do with students,

Kendra Tyler




Give kids choices with a Google Sites Project!

Have you used Google Sites with kids yet? If not, stop what you are doing immediately and plan a project where your students make a site. It is the BEST.



You might be thinking, a website is a glorified blog, or my kids could do this on a piece of paper, but no.. they can throw SO much technology into this site that the possibilities of creativity are endless.

  1. I begin by showing my students my sample website. I show them how to create a google site, add pages, and more. For students who want to watch again, I give them this video. 


(If you look closely, you will see I have links for cool sites they can use for their own website.. Thing Link, Prezi, Story Bird, and some others!)


2. Next, I give them the BINGO Chart of Ideas! Fancy name right? Anyway, I tell them they need to have so many “boxes” inside their website to get credit. Take a look at what I came up with quickly..


3. Look at that bottom box, make something up and get it approved. I have had kids ask to make YouTube videos, write skits, make timelines, prezis, screencasts, and SO much more due to that box. You get the best of both worlds by, giving the students that need guidance options and giving the students that want freedom the ability to make up their own thing for their website.

So really.. how did you use this in your classroom Mrs. Tyler? 

My students made their website on the Founding Fathers, and as we learned about each one they were able to make a page for each person.

George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, each of them had a page designated and no students page looked the same despite the fact that many students gathered similar information.

What programs did students use the most?

Google Draw, (fake instagram, facebook, tweets, texts), Prezi, Timeline Maker, Voice Record (for podcasting)

Here’s a Fake Facebook a student put on their site..


You know… I haven’t tried out the fact that Google Sites has SHARING capabilities and students could make websites TOGETHER! Let me know if you have, and how it worked for your students.


Thanks for reading friends!

Social Media for every Class and Subject (pt. 1 – Instagram!)

Social Media can be SO scary, as kids are posting anything and everything now on the internet. Whether it is scary or not, they LOVE it, so as teachers we need to start using what they love to get them hooked on learning.

Mrs. Tyler’s Class Instagram 


Simple: Create a class Instagram. Tell your students your account information at the beginning of the year, and have them follow you. You can choose to follow them back, but you don’t have to (you don’t actually need to see what they post.)

Why would you want a class Instagram? Here are the main reasons I use it…

  1. Reminding kids of BIG assignments due.updates

I have over 50 students following me on my class Instagram. Every one of these kids checks their Instagram like 40 times a night, and I just reminded each and every one of them that their Lost Colony comic was due tomorrow! I even got to show them an example of one. Basically, you are taking over their social media with reminders of homework, WOOHOO!

2. Getting students excited about class activities and showing parents what we do. 

Junior highers, and all kids actually, like getting noticed. With my class instagram I can take pictures of the student of the month, a sports game, a super wonderful rally, or the latest field trip to the capitol. Students can login and reminisce on such a wonderful experience they had at school (positive campus culture??) AND parents can follow the instagram as well. Short, concise, and easy for teachers – NO NEED FOR A PARENT NEWSLETTER! In a few characters and a couple pictures, look at how sweet our field trip was!


3. Communication with students: Quick and easy!

Depending on the age of your students, students don’t really like to email. My junior highers especially, and I’ve heard the same thing from highschoolers. They just don’t want to email their teacher at 9pm about a question with homework, it’s scary to them. What isn’t scary to the is direct messaging their teacher on Instagram. Now because this isn’t your personal Instagram and is the class Instagram students feel more comfortable asking questions. Let me show you how to do this (the students probably know already but you can remind them..)

If a student messages you it will be right in that top hand corner. You can respond by clicking the message and writing them back. Students can send you pictures or questions! I’ve had students send me field trip pictures and questions the day before. Take a look at my inbox right now from students..


I’ve got a question about water bottles on the field trip and a picture from the field trip I can print and put in class! How easy is that. Make students feel comfortable and reach them on their level! Have tons of fun.

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Letting students CHAT online and on purpose!

REALLY! It is so, so, so necessary to teach our kids how to have conversations academically and socially using the computer. I’m not saying it won’t be frustrating, because it will be extremely frustrating because kids will write just like they do on Facebook until you teach them that this is different (and that maybe they should step up their Facebook game a bit as well.) 

The two BEST ways I have found to use chat in the class is by doing this…

  1. Google Classroom Questions


This looks just like a NORMAL question you would ask your students to answer until you give them the capability to respond to each other’s posts and edit their own. In my class I have students answer the question and then click REPLY to at least 3 other people. Here is an example below..


The best part is that I can chat with them too (see me up there!) Another student asked the original author: Did they try to escape? Now, I’m not an English teacher so I’m not grading for spelling or grammar or anything, but I had to have a talking to with my students about capitalizing and punctuation because that is just out of control. But, they can ask each other questions, and really get into a debate on tough topics.

I teach my students when replying to either:

  1. Ask a question.
  2. State whether you agree or disagree and why.
  3. 3. Clarify something they said.

Now, in the beginning I got a lot of yeah, cool, lol, xD. But now, I am beginning to get real questions, responses, and conversation (with some added internet fun.)

2. Google Docs/Slides/Draw Chat Feature

When students have shared a document, slide, or draw with one another they then are able to use the Google Chat feature available next to the share button.

Students could use comments to chat, but it would be much faster and easier to have students work together by clicking the chat feature and opening up the chat. Students can work together without talking in class, or be chatting with a student who is on home study or at home sick on their assignment real time LIVE!

Don’t be AFRAID of letting kiddos chat in the classroom, make them SHARE that document with you and you can be in on their chat as well. Giving them advice, making sure nothing inappropriate is said, and checking in on how they are working as a group. Kids gotta chat to collaborate, these are just some easy ways to let them talk without having a noisy crazy classroom.

Let’s Podcast!

1. Let your students listen to Podcasts on the standards.

There are SO many websites with amazing podcasts for any subject matter that students can listen to on any device. You do NOT need an Apple product to listen to podcasts, you can go straight to the website or YouTube to listen to Podcasts. The podcasts below are listed with some examples of podcasts and appropriate subjects.

  •  Radiolab: Eye in the Sky (5th Amendment rights: US History), Musical Language            (Music), The Rhino Hunter (Environmental Science), Antibodies (Science), and MANY  more.
  • This American Life: Human Spectacle (World History), Wait, do you have a map? (Geography)
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class: Boston Tea Party, American Revolution, and MORE!

2. Let your students listen to fictional podcasts or “stories” in order to encourage creativity and enhance listening skills.

This could go along with a writing activity or an introduction to a creative writing unit.

  • Lime Town: A seven part podcast of a fictional story where three hundred men, women, and children disappeared from a small research driven town.
  • Serial: Serial isn’t fictional BUT is a collection of stories, accounts, and data from a young Muslim teen accused of murdering his high school ex girlfriend. This podcast could be taught as a modern day Romeo and Juliet and allows students to examine all the facts presented.

3. Let your students create their own podcasts!

After listening to a few podcasts students will get the idea of what it would be like to create their own. You can have students work in groups of 3-5 to go through all of the steps of creating a podcast to show their knowledge of whatever standard you are teaching in class. In my 8th Grade History class students created a podcast on the American Revolutionary War and followed these steps…

  1. In a group of four students began by researching the American Revolutionary War by using a Hyperdoc given to them by ME! [a hyperdoc is fancy word for a Google Doc or Google Draw that has a bunch of links, videos, and information for them to explore independently – talk about differentiated!]
  2. Next, students shared a Google Doc with each other and wrote a script for their podcast (modeling what they had heard before). This script looked something like this..

Emily: Thanks for tuning in to our podcast. Today we will bring you an extraordinary          account of the American Revolutionary War from Mrs. Tyler’s classroom.

Jose: You betcha Emily. This will be a rivoting time where we discuss how in the world our country ever beat the British!

     3. Finally after the podcast was written and checked off by Mrs. T, students were given an                iPad or a Chromebook and recorded their podcast! The application I chose to use was                  Voice Record.

                                   You can download Voice Record at the App Store for Free! 

4. Podcast RECORDED, if using Voice Record just click Send to Google Drive, and the podcast          will go right into the student’s account. Viola!

Now who said you can’t use a podcast in the classroom? 🙂