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Teacher resources

Office Hours–Questions? Let’s Talk

tech ed helpIf you are using the SL K-5 Technology Curriculum, you’ll love this new free service. Starting Sunday, Structured Learning will offer online, virtual Office Hours. Any questions you have about how to unpack lessons, teach a skill, or tie into class inquiry can be asked at this weekly real-time Google Hangout:

Sundays, 2pm PDT

Just like your college professor, doors are open to whoever shows up. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for one of our Companion Wikis (for grades K-5) to get notification. Do that first. If you don’t know how, email me at
  • Sundays, you’ll get a notification through the wiki with a link to the Google Hangout. Click it. If you aren’t familiar with Google Hangouts, check the Skills tab on the wiki, under ‘Google Hangouts’ for guidance
  • Join in!

Interested? Here’s the sign-up sheet:


Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

5 After School Tech Club Activities

With the growing interest in coding comes a call for after school tech camps that supersize student enthusiasm for learning technology. If you’ve been tasked (or volunteered) to run this activity, here are five activities that will tech-infuse participants:

write an ebookWrite an Ebook

It’s been said that inside 70% of us is a book crying to get out. Kids are no different. Many dream of becoming an author, a journalist, or another profession that focuses on writing.

In this class, take students through the six steps required to move from dream to publication:

  1. brainstorm
  2. plan required research
  3. write the book
  4. review with a critique group
  5. edit
  6. publish

The goal during the after school tech club is that each student will publish their first ebook–or at least give it a good start.



Categories: After school, Classroom management, Teacher resources | 2 Comments

3 Lesson Plans to Teach Architecture in First Grade

1st grade architectureHere’s a great lesson plan with three activities well-suited to the discussion of architecture and design in 1st grade:


Students complete three projects in two weeks to aid understanding of architecture, design, and three-dimensional thinking. They’ll experiment with spatially laying out a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional paper. When completed, they’ll discuss with neighbors while practicing good listening skills learned in class.

Start with a discussion of design. This includes size, shape, texture, proportion, scale, mass and color. We will apply these to rooms, buildings, and neighborhoods. Encourage students to think and analyze critically as they engage in learning.

In figures below, ask students which are two- or three-dimensions? How do they know?

[gallery ids="50170,50171,50172,50173,50164"]

Design the Classroom

Visit Classroom Architect and demo how to design the classroom with drag-and-drop pieces (see figures below). Take suggestions from class on layout. Students must think about where tables and storage are relative to other items. This is an active learning lesson that encourages visual thinking. Develop a sample based on class input and show how to make corrections if necessary.


Categories: 1st, Lesson plans, Reviews, Science, Teacher resources, Web Tools, Websites | Tags: | 4 Comments

Embed a File from Google Drive

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: So many colleagues are embedding documents to their blogs and websites, but I don’t know how to do that. Can you help?

A: I love this part of Google Apps. When your Google document is complete–that includes Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides, and Drawings:

  • Go to ‘Share’ in the upper right corner; select the option you prefer–allowing viewers to just view or edit
  • Click File>Publish to the Web (on the menu bar)
  • Select the link and copy-paste to your website (I’ve done this below) OR select Embed
  • Copy the HTML code that starts with ‘<iframe…’
  • Paste into blog, wiki, website like I did below:

Let’s try this out. Here’s a collaborative spreadsheet to share Exit Ticket ideas. Your name is optional. Strongly consider adding the linkback so we can add each other to our PLN–a great way to share ideas and knowledge. Access the spreadsheet and tell us your favorite warm-up activities and exit tickets:

Here’s the embedded document:


Categories: Classroom management, Computer skills, Teacher resources | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Subscriber Special: September

savingsThis special on site licenses has been extended a month. When September ends, prices increase for the first time since we’ve offered multi-user licenses.

Let me step back. What are site licenses?

  • They are for multiple users rather than just the teacher–students, other teachers, even parents
  • They offer grade-level student workbooks (in PDF format) for the SL tech curriculum and keyboarding curriculum
  • They include the grade-level teacher manual for free
  • Also free: weekly videos showing how to teach the lesson
  • New this year: Office Hours. This is a weekly Google Hangouts anyone using the curriculum can attend and talk real time with a teacher using the curriculum

Why are prices going up? During the beta phase, we priced site licenses low while we worked out bugs. The price increase applies to licenses for:

If you’re planning to purchase one, save 25% (off the future increased price) by purchasing yours now:

If you already purchased a teacher manual and want to trade it for the site license, just provide a receipt showing you purchased in the last six months.

Questions? Email or The slideshow below includes samples of site license products:

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="48958,49942,49944,49945,49943,48957,48956,36551,48953,48952,41489,38283,38078,38077,38076,38075,29939,28765,49935,49932,49933,49934,49936,49937,49938,49939,49940,49941,49946,49947,49948,49949,49950,49951,49952,49953,49954,49955,49956,49957,49958,49959,49960,49961,49962,49963,49964,49965,49966,49967,49968,49969,49970,49971,49972,49973,49974,49975,49976,49977,49978,49979,49980"]
Categories: Subscriber special, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

30 Great Research Websites for Kids

5880711 process cycle diagramHere are quick, safe spots to send students for research:

  1. BrainPop
  2. Citation Machine
  3. CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
  4. CyberSleuth Kids
  5. Dictionary
  6. Digital Vaults–research a topic, curate resources
  7. Encyclopedia Interactica–visual encyclopedias
  8. Fact Monster
  9. Fun Brain
  10. How Stuff Works
  11. I Know That!
  12. Info Please
  13. Insta-Grok
  14. Internet Library
  15. Internet Public Library (IPL)
  16. Kid Rex
  17. KidsConnect–Kids research
  18. Let me Google that for you–all those questions people ask, they could have answered themselves? Here’s a site. They even have stickers
  19. Library Spot
  20. National Geographic for Kids
  21. Nova video programs
  22. SchoolsWorld.TV--educational videos
  23. Smithsonian Quest–sign up your class; student research/explore with the Smithsonian
  24. SqoolTube Videos
  25. TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
  27. Websites by kids and teens
  28. World Almanac for Kids
  29. World Book
  30. Zanran–statistics and data research

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for six blogs, anAmazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Research, Reviews, Teacher resources, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

Subscribe to Ask a Tech Teacher–Get Monthly Gifts

FREE tech stuffIf you subscribe to Ask a Tech Teacher, you are eligible for specials on tech ed books and ebooks every month. Here are some of the specials subscribers have received:

There’s one coming up in a week–be sure to subscribe so you are eligible.

Not only do you get great deals on tech ed resources, you get great free content. If you haven’t visited Ask a Tech Teacher regularly, here’s what you’ve missed:

Questions? Email me at askatechteacher at gmail dot com. I have lots of opinions!


Categories: Freebies/Discounts, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–Lesson Plans

lesson plansI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m going to take a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Lesson Plans

There are lots of bundles of lesson plans available–by theme, by software, by topic, by standard. Let me review a few:

  • bundles of 5 lesson plans–These are great when you want to cover a software program, a tool, a grade, or a standard. Each calls out the higher order thinking skill engaged. Pick the one that fits your need. They’re affordable, focused, and often completed in just a few class sessions.
  • bundles of bundles–15 for about $20 (less if you use a discount coupon). Stock up! Buy three bundles of five lessons to cover a wide-range of needs.
  • 30 K-5 Common Core-aligned lessons–5 per grade level
  • 110 lesson plans–integrate tech into different grades, subjects, by difficulty level, and call out higher-order thinking skills. These cover everything and are discounted this month. Check them out. They could be exactly what you need.
  • singles–for as low as $1.99 each. Genius Hour, Google Apps, Khan Academy, and more.
  • Holiday projects–16 lesson plans that theme to holidays and keep students in the spirit while learning new tools.

Who needs this


Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Lesson plans, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Curriculum Companions Start August 17th

curriculum companionStart date for the 2015-16 school year:

August, 17, 2015

Curriculum Companion Wikis (K-5 only) follow a tech professional as s/he teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks.  Presented via video (10-15 minutes each), you can ask questions, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, and access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level wiki. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

K-5, 32 webinars per grade (192 webinars), 9 months


  • Digital access: via video
  • Language: English
  • Length of time: one year
  • Access: Yearly fee covers K-5 (no discount for single wiki)

Use coupon code in each K-5 curriculum text to join for free. Or, click here to purchase.

Here’s a sample:


Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Freebies/Discounts, Teacher resources | Leave a comment

Tech Ed Resources–Organize Your Class

digital classroomI get a lot of questions from readers about what tech ed resources I use in my classroom so I’m taking a few days this summer to review them with you. Some are edited and/or written by members of the Ask a Tech Teacher crew. Others, by tech teachers who work with the same publisher I do. All of them, I’ve found well-suited to the task of scaling and differentiating tech skills for age groups, scaffolding learning year-to-year, taking into account the perspectives and norms of all stakeholders, with appropriate metrics to know learning is organic and granular.

Today: Organizing your classroom


18 webinars (more added as they become available), approx. 30 minutes each, show how to set up your classroom to be tech-infused.

What’s Included

Do you wonder how to set up an effective, exciting, motivating classroom to teach tech? It’s not difficult–but there are steps you must take that are different from a grade-level or subject-specific classroom. Watch these videos at the start of school and often throughout the year to understand how to integrate tech into your classes and how to help students use tech to get the most from their education adventure. Webinars included:


Categories: AATT Classroom Materials, Classroom management, Education reform, Teacher resources | Leave a comment