Google Newspaper Archives (Gr. 6-12)

Google Newspaper Archives – Read newspapers from around the world!

From part of the Google News app, the newspaper archives contains digital versions of various newspaper editions from around the world from various points in time. Search the archive by keyword or alphabetically, or if you know the specific newspaper by name use the ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F or Cmd+F) to quickly locate the newspaper in question. Each newspaper listing shows the number of issues contained within and the time span covered (note that there may be gaps within the timelines).

Clicking on a newspaper will take you to a new window with a horizontal timeline organized by year. You can adjust the display settings so that the timeline is organized by day, week, month, year, or decade. At the top of each column you will see the number of available issues. Clicking on an issue will bring up a page-by-page view with options to scroll, fit to height, and view fullscreen. Use the ‘Link to Article’ tool to generate a link to a specific article within a specific newspaper issue.


  • Compare and contrast news headlines from different newspapers from different places around the world.
  • Compare writing styles from different time periods.

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The Peanut Gallery (Gr. 5-12)

The Peanut Gallery – Add text dialog to silent movie clips

One of my favorite improv skits from Whose Line is it Anyway? was called “Film Dub” where the cast would have to watch a video clip with the sound muted and provide all new dialog, the results of which would often cause audiences to erupt in laughter. Now, thanks to a Google Chrome extension, students can flex their own improvisational muscles with The Peanut Gallery.

Peanut Gallery screenshot

Before you begin, you will need the following:

  • Google Chrome web browser app
  • An enabled or connected microphone

There are 15 silent movie clips to choose from with themes that range from The Lost World to Phantom of the Opera and Plane 9 from Outer Space. Once you make a selection, verify/approve the extension’s access to your computer’s microphone. When ready, speak the word “Action!” to begin. When you want to add textual dialog, simply speak into your microphone and the extension will do the rest. If you want specific punctuation then include it in your voice command (e.g. “What day is it question mark”). Once complete, you have the option to watch your film with inserted text and soundtrack, start over, or share over social media. If the use of social media is not an option, then copy-&-paste the URL from this screen into an email, Google Form, blog post, etc. to share.

For recording tips, background information on the origins of the Peanut Gallery idiom, and bibliography for the film clips click the ‘About‘ link in the bottom toolbar for the website.


  • Use this with students to conduct digital role-playing scenarios.
  • Create a PSA (Public Service Announcement) on a past or current events topic.
  • To maximize speaking opportunities, it might be helpful for students to storyboard out each scene in the video clip so that they can script out the dialog that would like to add.


Website of the Week: SMS Generator (Gr. K-12)

SMS Generator – Creating text message conversations

A while back I highlighted two web tools that allow you to create short conversations as if you were using your Apple iPhone device: ifaketext and I’d like to add another web tool to this list with the introduction of SMS Generator, created by Russel Tarr at While the concept is the same as the ‘iFake’ web tools, SMS Generator gives you more control over the conversation by interacting directly in the iPhone emulator. Additionally, you are not restricted by the size of the window for the length of your conversation so your conversation can go through multiple back-and-forth’s between users. Another added bonus is the ability to save your conversation: you will get a unique URL to write down which can be used to access and even edit the conversation later. Additionally, once you have saved your conversation you can now utilize any of the three share options: URL link/embed code, QR code, or download a web shortcut.


  • Just as with the ‘iFake’ web tools, have students use SMS Generator to create text message conversations between historical figures or fictional characters.
  • Use to build conversations between all types of characters to help illustrate concepts, such as vowels talking about the long and short sounds, elements talking about their special properties, parts of speech debating who is more important in a sentence, etc.

Text message conversation sample screenshot

Thanks goes to for sharing this find.

What Most Schools Don’t Teach…

What Most Schools Don’t Teach – A YouTube video

Provided by the site, this YouTube video talks about the potential available to our students who are exposed to the world of computer programming and coding. Listen to interviews from high-profile players in the technology world such as the makers/creators behind Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, and more. Watch as educators, athletes, and musicians talk about common misconceptions and barriers that people have created around computer programming, why they got into coding, and how you can get started. If you are looking for resources to support a STEM initiative, this video would be a good addition to your toolbox.

Watch the video here (9:34)

Website of the Week: Fotobabble (Gr. 6-12)

Fotobabble – Talking Photos

Fotobabble is a site which combines audio recordings with still imagery to create a new way for students to reflect and demonstrate comprehension. The concept is pretty simple: upload a photo to their website, use your computer’s microphone to record your thoughts, reflection, or comments, save, and then share your ‘talking photo’ via email, embed into a blog or wiki, or post to a social networking service. There is also a Fotobabble iOS App (FREE) that will allow students to creating talking photos on-the-go.

NOTE: An account with email address is required to use this service. An account is free and there are no storage limitations on how big or how many projects can be created at this time.


  • Have students record their reflections based on historical photos from events in our history.
  • Have students take (or better yet, make) pictures from literature they are reading in class and bring the character or scene to life.
  • Technology continues to provide us with more diverse ways to allow students to demonstrate comprehension and understanding. This site is another such tool that might be worth adding to your digital toolbox.

Click here for sample

A screenshot of the Fotobabble homepage

My thanks to FreeTech4Teachers for sharing this site and for Stewart Whitney for pointing out the companion iOS App.

Website of the Week: What makes a good idea?

What’s Obvious to You Is Amazing to Someone Else…

What makes an idea a good one? Who decides the criteria upon which ideas are evaluated on? Can an idea that was bad yesterday suddenly be a good idea today?

To answer these questions, I highly recommend taking two minutes to watch this video by Derek Sivers. Sivers uses simple animation to explain how ideas can work in today’s world of sharing and communicating. After the video, head on over to Richard Byrne’s blog for ideas on how to encourage students to record their ideas and share them with others.


  • Ideas can be shared in a multitude of ways using a variety of media types. Students can use a site like WallWisher to post ideas using virtual sticky notes. How about a classroom wiki like from WikiSpaces to collaborate on a shared idea. Check out the review of the blogging service Posterous by to see how students could use a blog to record ideas no matter how wacky or far out they may be.

Website of the Week: Logical Fallacies (Gr. 5-12) – Thou shall not commit

A logical fallacy is “usually what has happened when someone is wrong about something.” The YourLogicalFallacyIs website provides 24 examples of logical fallacies, within which you will find a definition, a description, and an example of the particular fallacy in action. Do you know what a ‘strawman’ is? How about a ‘Texas sharpshooter’ or ‘the loaded question’ fallacy? This site will answer these questions and help you understand how they are used.


  • A free poster is available for download and print so that you can add this resource to your classroom bulletin board.
  • Have students provides their own illustrations or icons to represent a particular fallacy.
  • Collect a series of stories, political speeches, or other pieces of work and ask students to conduct a scavenger hunt looking for particular fallacies. Turn the activity into a bingo game by creating game boards with the site’s free poster or design your own.

Screenshot of the Logical Fallacies homepage

Many thanks to Richard Byrne over at FreeTech4Teachers for re-tweeting this find from Lee Lefever.

Website of the Week: The Literacy Shed (Gr. K-12)

The Literacy Shed – Where storytelling and technology meet

The Literacy Shed is a collection of visual resources gathered over a ten year period by a fellow educator and primary school teacher. The goal of the site is to use digital media resources to help facilitate discussions about plot, character development, scene construction, voice, etc. Each ‘shed’ comes with a list of suggested discussion topics, then a list of writing prompts and possible ways students can explore or expand upon the theme. There are currently over 30 sheds to choose from with themes such as The Ghostly Shed, The Inventors Shed, The Authors Shed, and many more.


  • One of may fondest memories of writing class was when my teacher did a whole unit on writing the conclusion to unique and sometimes weird scenarios. With this site students who are struggling with writer’s block can get a little extra push to jump-start their imaginations.
  • Encourage students to look beyond the traditional paper and pencil to continue the stories, utilizing mediums such as a podcast, iMovie, eBook, and more.

Website of the Week: Quia Web

Quia Web –  Quintessential Instructional Archive

Quia Web is an archive of interactive tools and assessments for teachers to create and students to use to help enhance understanding and check for comprehension. Choose from up to 16 types of online activities to insert your content into and then share. Before you re-invent the wheel, check out their archive of shared activities organized into over 100 sub-categories ranging from American History to French and Greek to Speech Therapy and more. A site account (FREE) is required to create content and/or bookmark activities you’d like to save for later.


  • Many of these activities are simple and would be great for both an introduction activity as well as for review.
  • Below are screenshots from two Technology games I found on Internet Safety: Hangman and Battleship!



Website of the Week: How To Do Research (Gr. 1-8)

How To Do Research – A virtual tour

Created by the Kentucky Virtual Library Work-group, this site is a virtual step-by-step map of how to conduct research using old and new resources laid out in a game board theme. The tour/game board is broken down in five sections:

  1. Plan
  2. Search for Information
  3. Take Notes
  4. Use the Information
  5. Report
  6. Evaluate

Each section of the game board is an active link to its own page with a description, examples, and ideas for how to use the resource or apply the strategy to your project. There is also a handy glossary page that can help students with unfamiliar terminology in both research and technology subjects.


  • Learning how to research a topic and what tools are available to help with this process is a big deal. Having an online reference with so much information squeezed into a nicely mapped layout is a welcomed asset.
  • Have students create their own “research game board” that includes the specific tools and resources your school library provides and the resources you promote in your classroom.