Updates abound: New features for Flipgrid, Google Classroom, Formative and Kahoot!

This year is no exception. In fact, just yesterday (the day before I publish this post), Flipgrid threw a HUGE bash at their Minneapolis headquarters to release the all new Flipgrid and a slew of new features. It’s a good time to be in education, folks. Technology makes all sorts of meaningful, engaging education accessible […]

Teach with Kahoot!: Go beyond review with the Blind Kahoot

Teachers all over the world use Kahoot! for formative assessment and to review content with students. And why wouldn’t they? Kahoot! (getkahoot.com) is a fun gameshow-style assessment activity. There are tons of creative ways to review and assess with it. Kahoot! lets students answer questions with their own device. It has music and a leaderboard, […]

10 low-prep, high-return activities for class TOMORROW

Low-prep doesn’t have to mean less learning. Technology allows us to be more efficient and effective in the classroom in many ways. When we focus on sound teaching and learning, we can do high-quality learning in less time — AND take less time to prepare for it! Here are several ideas that take little to […]

4 tips to live by on Twitter

Thousands and thousands of educators around the world have grown by leaps and bounds professionally by getting connected on Twitter. Of course, it’s not the app that helps them grow. It’s the connections, ideas and people that they find there. I’m the same way. I very proudly claim that Twitter saved my teaching career. It […]

Great Expectations April 2018

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/GE



Slides presented using Pear Deck (peardeck.com)

1. Take students there

2. Create

3. Boost critical thinking

4. Build collaboration

5. Get connected

Some social media resources to check out:

6. Go global

7. Make it a game

8. Highlight student voice

Learn smarter, not harder

Other great resources

I do keynotes, full-day workshops and presentations at conferences. Get more information about my presentations by clicking here!

Ditch That Textbook workshop (Rockford, IL)

Find this page: DitchThatTextbook.com/Rockford


If you need to deliver content to students, presentation slides can be dry, boring and ineffective if they're used just for giving information. Create easy interactive presentation slides with Pear Deck to get students engaged in what they're learning.

Get FREE Pear Deck Premium through the end of the year! Click here to activate it!


Maps and mapping tools can reach so many content areas and grade levels:

  • Distances and scale in math
  • Geography in social studies
  • Locations of settings of literature in English
  • Physical science (environment, weather, etc.)
  • Culture in world languages

These mapping tools can take students places the bus can’t. Go to: DitchThatTextbook.com/mapping

Google Maps: http://maps.google.com

Google Maps Treks: https://www.google.com/maps/about/treks/#/grid


If students are going to make big changes in the world, they have to be able to articulate themselves. Plus, when they know that their thoughts and ideas are important, they’re encouraged to share more of them!

Flipgrid: Flipgrid (flipgrid.com) lets the teacher create a question or prompt. Then, students respond to it with short video clips. They can then watch each other’s videos and react to them. This is a great way to let students hear from each other AND practice their communication skills.

Our Flipgrid topic for today: Hello, new teacher …

Bronwyn Joyce’s “What If” Flipgrid: flipgrid.com/whatif

15+ ways to use Flipgrid in class

Get free premium Flipgrid Classroom for 45 days! Create an account, click to upgrade and enter code "MATTMILLER"!

Anchor: Anchor (anchor.fm) is an audio publishing tool. It runs on the web or through a mobile app. It lets students record audio and save it as an episode, which can be published as a PODCAST on iTunes, Google Play and more! Terms of use are 13+, so if you have younger students, you could always create a class podcast.

Erik Palmer's PVLEGS for performing a speech (from Well Spoken):

  • Poise: Appearing Calm and Confident
  • Voice: Making Every Word Heard
  • Life: Putting Passion into the Voice
  • Eye Contact: Engaging Each Listener
  • Gestures: Matching Motions to Words
  • Speed: Pacing for a Powerful Performance

... and his five parts of building a speech:

  • Audience: Understanding the Listeners
  • Content: Making the Message Valuable
  • Organization: Making the Speech Easy to Follow
  • Visual Aids: Enhancing the Words
  • Appearance: Dressing for the Occassion


Communication and teamwork skills are always at the top of the skills employers seek in new job candidates. Let students work together in digital spaces to practice those skills.

Shared slides. Create a presentation with one slide per student. Use the Share button to create an “everyone can edit” link. Stick it in your class notebook where students can access it. Then assign an activity — some quick Internet research, a writing prompt, an image search to find an example, etc. When they’re done, show the presentation on a projector. It’s student work instantly on display.

Shared slides: If your last name starts with A-M, click here!

Shared slides: If your last name starts with N-Z, click here!

Padlet. Padlet (padlet.com) is a great place for gathering ideas, sharing them and modifying them later. It’s like a living, breathing webpage. Users can add links, YouTube videos, files and images to Padlet notes. They can move and arrange them. A link to a Padlet can be shared and Padlets can be embedded into webpages.

Padlet lets students add sticky notes have images, links and videos AND be available with practically any Internet-ready device. Plus, recently, Padlet has added the ability to add pictures, audio, video, maps, Google searches and MORE to Padlet walls!

Click here for our Padlet for today! (It's about TV shows ...)

Blog post: 20 ways to use Padlet in the classroom!


If we want students to practice new skills with homework, the feedback loop is pretty long … often two days or more from assigning to returning to students. Shorten the feedback loop with some of these great tools to assess your students. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!

Kahoot!: kahoot.com

The “blind Kahoot”: Click here for more info!

Quizizz: quizizz.com (You can TEACH with Quizizz, too!)

Quizlet Live: quizlet.live


The tools

Google Hangouts: hangouts.google.com
Skype: skype.com
Facetime (iPad, iPhone)

Mystery location calls

Finding video chat partners

Other resources


When you can incorporate a game into class, it always makes it more memorable! 

I created a Family Feud game with data I gathered from teachers. You could use this game for anything with a data set (census data, student surveys, etc.) AND could include follow-up activities with that data.

Here's how to create a Family Feud-style game!


Animation. This is a great hack (i.e. non-traditional use) of Google Slides that could take some time to complete but yield amazing results. Check out this video, where the creators made an impressive animation with 450 slides in a Google Slides presentation just by clicking through the slides quickly.

Interactive posters. Google Drawings are great for bringing images, text and shapes together. Those elements combine for a great digital poster. But these digital posters are way better than a regular one made of poster board. Various elements in the poster can be clicked, delivering webpages and other online content to viewers.

Make video. These tools will help students use their creativity to make and share good-looking video.

Photo comic strips. Take photos of students using a webcam and add them to a Google Drawing. Add speech bubbles to the photos. Then save those images and add each one to a different slide in a Google Slides presentation. Here’s a Google Site about Comics with Google Tools and Creativity Games for examples and more details.

Graphic organizers. Drawings gives users a blank canvas where they can add text, shapes, lines, etc. When done, they can save their work as image files or PDF files and can add those images to documents, slides and spreadsheets. It’s a perfect medium for creating graphic organizers. I’ve created 15 of them that can be copied, saved, changed, tweaked or completely redone to fit your needs and your students’ needs.