Author: Jacqui

Welcome to my virtual classroom. I've been a tech teacher for 15 years, but modern technology offers more to get my ideas across to students than at any time in my career. Drop in to my class wikis, classroom blog, our internet start pages. I'll answer your questions about how to teach tech, what to teach when, where the best virtual sites are. Need more--let's chat about issues of importance in tech ed. Want to see what I'm doing today? Click the gravatar and select the grade.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. This year, that’s May 14th. It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers (click for updates to the list):.

  1. Mother’s Day activities
  2. Mother’s Day Activities from 
  3. Mother’s Day cards
  4. Mother in different languages
  5. Mother’s Day Quotes
  6. Mother’s Day Sayings
  7. Mother’s Day Templates from Canva

Anyone have some favorite websites to share? My list isn’t terribly robust.

Enjoy your day with your children! (more…)

May Is Homeschool Awareness Month–Check our Subscriber Special

May is Homeschool Awareness Month. To support homeschoolers all over the world, this month’s Subscriber Special is for them:


Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching.


May 7-10, 2024

use code SPWNKEK7

Select your product from this link. Verify via an email to us ([email protected]) that you are a homeschooler (we trust you–just send us a note) and we’ll send you the code. Be sure you’ve already signed up for our newsletter to use this code (see below).

–Image credit Deposit Photo

Copyright ©2024 – All rights reserved.

Here’s the sign-up link if the image above doesn’t work:

“The content presented in this blog are the result of creative imagination and not intended for use, reproduction, or incorporation into any artificial intelligence training or machine learning systems without prior written consent from the author.”

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Earth Day Class Activities

Every year, the United Nations recognizes April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. It is a day we can all participate in making our air clean, our water fresh and our land unlittered rather than accepting the trash-filled oceans, the smoggy skies, and the debris-laden land that is becoming the norm.

Despite the questionable health of our world, we have made progress. Back in 1970, when Earth Day was first celebrated, trucks spewed black smoke as they drove down the highways, toxic waste was dumped into oceans with no repercussions, and the general opinion was that the Earth took care of itself. That changed when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara California and decided it was time to do something. He started with a “national teach-in on the environment” with a simple goal: Encourage people to recognize the importance of protecting the Earth:

“It was on that day [Earth Day] that Americans made it clear they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.”

Here are online resources (click for updates) to help you share the importance of Earth Day with your students:

  1. 25 Earth Day activities from WeAreTeachers
  2. Breathing earth– the environment
  3. Breathing Earth YouTube Video–of CO2 use, population changes, and more
  4. Conservation Game
  5. Earth Day Activities from Khan Academy
  6. Earth Day Activities from Science Buddies
  7. Earth Day Facts–video
  8. Earth Day Toolkit from NASA
  9. Ecotourism Simulation–for grades 4 and above
  10. The Four Seasons – An Earth Day Interactive Children’s Storybook (app)
  11. Green Kitchen (app)
  12. History of Earth Day
  13. My Garbology
  14. Starfall — Every Day is Earth Day
  15. Storyboard That! Earth Day lesson plans

How effective is Earth Day


Teacher-Authors: What’s Happening on my Writer’s Blog

A lot of teacher-authors read my WordDreams blog. In this monthly column, I share the most popular post from previous months: 

I’ve been blogging for about sixteen years, some professionally (for my tech ed career) and others on topics of interest to me (writing, USNA, and science). That first post–

The Edit Block

(don’t bother to click through. It’s boring)

putting myself on the line, ignoring that I had no hits, wanting to approve comments from spammers because that would look like someone loved me–I thought that was the hard part. The second post was easier and so it went.

But somewhere around the twentieth post–

This is why I teach

more personal, but blocky, not visual, too long, and not about writing.

I figured out I had to do blogging right. No comments–no surprise!–so why was I doing this? It wasn’t to show up, spout off and slink away. There was a lot more I wanted from blogging.

I could have quit–it was getting to be a lot like work–but I enjoyed the camaraderie with like-minded souls. I learned a lot about writing by doing it and could transfer those lessons to others. So I honed my skill.

Do’s and Don’ts

Let me share what I wish I’d known early rather than late so you don’t waste as much time and energy as I did:

  • Keep posts to a five-ten minute read–How? Avoid big blocks of text. People will skip them, and then skip your blog.
  • Only reblog 10% of someone else’s post. If you’re on WordPress and push the ‘reblog’ button (if available), they take care of it for you. But if you copy someone’s post–even if you give them attribution–you blew it. You have to get permission if you are reposting more than 10% of someone’s work. Where was I supposed to learn that?


Subscriber Special: 2nd Grade Bundle of Lesson Plans

Every month, subscribers to our newsletter get a free/discounted resource to help their tech teaching. Not a subscriber? Click the button below.

2nd Grade Bundle of Lesson Plans

4-2-23 through 4-7-23

Price slashed from $7.99 to $3.99

What’s included in the 2nd Grade Lesson Plans Internet bundle:

  • A brief summary of each project, including suggested grade level and prior knowledge, time required, software required
  • Higher-order thinking skills addressed
  • Technology-specific skills taught 
Five projects include:
Art Online
Online resources from the world’s great art museums, do-it-yourself sites and more.
Online Sustained Silent Reading Sites
Use the internet to offer variety in Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) program (which is the same as DEAR–Drop Everything and Read). Every student can find something they’ll like on these websites.
Online Spelling Practice.
Use to practice spelling words, site word or Dolch words.
Elementary Research on the Internet
Provide a list of websites on a topic, specific questions on a worksheet to answer, citation sheets to complete.
Internet Basx
Explores the internet (back/forward buttons, toolbar, links, home page, netiquette, plagiarism, etc.)

To get this huge savings, you must be a subscriber. If you aren’t (more…)

World Backup Day

World Backup Day–March 31st Every Year

March 31st is called World Backup Day. At least once a year, I remind you to backup your data files to an external drive (like a flash drive). This is one that isn’t connected to your local computer so can’t be compromised if you get a virus. It’s good to always backup data to cloud drives or a different drive on your computer but once a year, do the entire collection of data files to what is called an ‘air gap’ drive–one that is separated from any internet connection.

How to do this 

There are various ways to back up your data. You can back up your data to an external device or a cloud-based backup service, or both. You might even make more than one backup to external storage devices and keep the two copies in different places.

To back up PC/Windows, use Windows Backup:

  • Click the start button.
  • Go to Control Panel
  • Select ‘Backup and Restore’
  • Select ‘Backup Now’

From there, select a drive with sufficient space and start. Be forewarned: If you have a lot of data, it takes a while. You can work on your computer while it’s backing up; it’ll just be slower.

Mac: Use the Time Machine tool.

Chromebook: No need. Everything is saved to the cloud. Now if you want to backup your cloud, use a service like Backupify.


Invention Convention 2024 is coming


Invention Convention Worldwide is a global K-12 invention education curricular program mapped to national and state educational standards that teaches students problem-identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills and builds confidence in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship for life. Signups for the annual Raytheon Technologies Invention Convention US Nationals start March 29, 2024 (that’s today–publication day for this article).

RTX Invention Convention U.S. Nationals 2024 will be held at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI on June 5-7, 2024. Here’s a calendar of events (from Invention Convention Worldwide):