Saturday, 29 November 2014

Word 2013 - Page borders, colour and images.

Recently our school has upgraded to Word 2013. Now most of us have welcomed this change with open arm, as we are now presented with a more stable and user friendly version of Microsoft Word.

Others however, understandably, have been struggling to find everyday options they used before such as; Image Layout(The one where you put an image 'in front' or 'behind' your text) and Page Borders. 

I've created these two short tutorials to quickly go over these functions as they have been moved to a new place but are still some of our teachers all time favourites. Feel free to share them or use them as needed.

Page Colour and Page Border Tutorial:

Insert Image and Image Layout:

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Website Review - Online Safety

Another great website we should all know about! ThinkBeforeYouLink provides students, teachers and parent with free lessons and materials about online safety.

I highly recommend looking into using this site in class as it provides children with a fun and interactive way to test their knowledge of online safety.

Here's a Quote from their website:
As a teacher, it’s important to make digital safety a priority in your classroom and ensure that your students know how to act safely, responsibly, and thoughtfully online. The Intel® Security Digital Safety Program gives you the resources you need to educate your students how to make smart and secure decisions online.
I could not agree more! Digital Citizenship is becoming an ever more important subject and this site will help you by providing structured lessons and some Teacher resources.

When the online lessons are completed, the website will provide the learner with a certificate of completion.  

To visit their website click on this Link:

Monday, 24 November 2014

Website Review -

I have recently discovered an original news website and have fallen in love with it.

Not only is it a great resource to find Current Articles from around the word, you can use in class. It has been specifically designed for students and schools.

Newsela's Slogan is: "Read closely. Think critically. Be worldly."

And that is exactly what your students will do when using this website. It is great to promote non-fiction reading and is always relevant with daily news.
I know this all sound great but I haven't even mentioned the best part yet!

It's free and great for differentiation! Every Article is available in 5 different reading levels, all covering the same basic content.

You can have different groups, all reading the same article at their own pace, according to their reading level, without having to worry about children being left out!

Some articles even have build in Quizzes.

For more information about Newsella, watch the screencast below and visit their website at

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Google Drawings - Tutorial 01 - Creating a Website Header

Have you ever wondered if you could create a professional looking Website Header using Google products? 
Well, in this tutorial I will show you just how easy it is to create that header.

First think about the desired width and height of your header.
This will make it much easier to follow the next couple of steps.

We will create a Header(1000px x 300px) that looks something like this:

Watch the tutorial here:

Scratch - Tutorial 02 - Changing Costumes of a Sprite

In this second Tutorial we do our first bit of programming.
We are going to learn 2 different ways of having our Sprite change costumes.

The first is a manual change (You press a button the sprite changes costumes).

The second an automated change (The sprite changes costumes until you stop the program).

The blocks we used in this Tutorial are:

Making the Sprite Change Costumes Manually  Making the Sprite change costumes Automatically


Tux Paint - Tutorial 01 - Download and install Tux

Tux Paint is a free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12. Tux Paint is used in schools around the world as a computer literacy drawing activity.

It combines an easy-to-use interface, fun sound effects, and an encouraging cartoon mascot who guides children as they use the program.

We love using it up on the Interactive Whiteboard and it is a great tools for emerging guided writing, where the children get to create a story. Tux Paint is free, Open Source software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Find the download link here:

Google Slides - Tutorial 01 - Creating a PDF (E-Book)

Google Slides is the perfect Cloud Based Presentation tool. It is constantly getting better and is intuitive to use.

In these Google Slides Tutorials we will discuss some of the functions and uses of Google Slides. Maybe you will find some tips and tricks useful as you start creating and collaborating on stunning Presentations and slideshows.

Did you know that you can create an eBook by simply using Google Slides?

We look at the creation of such an eBook in the following video. First we will create a new 'Slides' file, after which we go to our Page Setup and change the Page size to 'Custom'. 

The custom values needed are:
 8.5 x 11 inches

These values are the equivalent of an A4 Sheet.

Next; the creation of your eBook is as simple as treating every slide as a single page.

How To Create a QR Code with Audio

QR-Codes are becoming increasingly popular and we can now see them all around us. They are popping up on packaging, billboards, in magazines and on flyers.

What many people might not realise is just how easy it is to create your very own QR-Codes. Especially in Education this opens many doors to creativity and independent exploration by the children.

On this blog we will try and share some great things you can do at home or in class using QR-Codes. To find out more about QR-Codes, search this Blog or click on the Label 'QR-Codes'.

To kick off our learning; See how to create your own QR-codes that automatically play an audio file when scanned. Great for use in school or class as children/parents just scan the code to hear your message.

To Record a Short Message: 

Make sure you have a good microphone connected to your computer as the build-in Microphones are usually inadequate.

To upload a Pre-recorder message:

This website has a multi-upload function which helps a lot if you need to upload many different files. The website will create a separate link for each file.

To create your QR-Code:

I love this website! It gives you the options to customize your QR-code with Logo’s, colours and gradients. When finished you can render the image on High Resolution(40) which is big enough to print on a A4 or A3 Paper.

Audacity - Tutorial 03 - Mono to Stereo

This is what happens; you get given a track to use in school or simply to listen to at home.
And as you play the track what do you hear, halfway through the track it switches to 'mono'.

Now you have a very strange sounding track, half stereo, half mono. Using Audacity we can easily fix this!

Use Audacity to change your 'Mono' track into a 'Stereo' Track. Don't forget, if any of the steps are too fast, pause the video, and continue when finished.

Audacity - Tutorial 01 - Download and install Audacity

Audacity is free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.

It truly is a great program to use with students. Not only are the functions well written but the design is also intuitive and stripped of distracting 'whistles and bells'.

You can download Audacity from their official Sourceforge page;

As this Blog grows we will add more Tutorials on how to use this powerful tool both at home and in school.

This first tutorial Describes how to download and install Audacity.

1 Minute How To - GMail - Sign out Remotely

Gone home? Forgot to Sign Out or not sure if you did? No Worries, use this little trick to sign out your GMail

Hey, we have all done it. Luckily Google has anticipated this forgetful behaviour and they have build into GMail a great way of making sure your account is safe and secure.
Stay safe and make sure you Sign Out when using public or shared computers(this also includes computers or laptops in school)!

One Minute How To's

Are you ready to learn something new? Are you looking for simple, short video clips to explain how to do something? Are you flipping your classroom? Are you too busy to follow lessons? Do you get tired of programs not doing what you want them to do?

If so...Have a look at these 'One minute How To' video's. 

They are short, and you never know, you might learn or see something you didn't know!

Simply search the blog or look for the Posts tagged with "1 minute" to find all my previously recorded '1 Minute How To' Tutorials.

These tutorials discuss various Google and Microsoft Products and can be used to help your students, staff and/or teachers learn new tricks within the programs they are already using.