5 Helpful Google Extensions for Stressed Out Virtual Teachers

Pivoting to virtual learning has not been a fun experience!  Kudos to all of the teachers who have been running virtual classrooms for quite some time now.  It is a totally different way of teaching! Not only do you need to teach, but you need to be a tech expert in navigating platforms, websites and extensions.   I am not claiming to be an expert, but being thrust into the world of virtual teaching has meant that I have spent a lot of time looking for ways to save my time and my sanity.  I am sharing 5 extensions that I am using and finding helpful.  

Let's Talk Extensions!

1.  Dualless

Dualless gives you the capability of having 2 screens when you only have one.  They call it the "poor man's dual monitor solution."  You can view two pages side by side.  It's a fantastic extension that enables you to see your students and present to them simultaneously.  

Try dualless to make a single screen into a dual monitor

2.  Fullscreen Interactive Google Slides

This extension allows you to present your slides full screen and edit at the same time.  To do this, you don't click present but the extension icon, and it mimics the page in presentation mode.  The only drawback I notice is that when you're sharing your screen, it decreases the screen's size, but you can still edit it.  I love that it takes away the sidebar, so it's not distracting.  

I love this extension!  I highlight text and instructions I want to call student's attention to during instruction.  The laser pointer is also a cool feature to make sure students know where to look on the slide.  I've found this extension extremely helpful when doing reading groups virtually.  It helps me guide the student's attention to words or sections of text I want them to pay attention to. 

Annotate in present mode - highlight and use a laser pointer to draw attention on your slide

This extension comes recommended by a colleague who is running breakout rooms.  She shared that it solves the problem of audio coming from multiple tabs.  She mutes the tabs of rooms she's not checking in on and then hops from room to room, unmuting as necessary. 

mute audio on tabs in your browser


5.  Just for fun options:  Confetti & Custom Cursor

Confetti! Confetti all over! is a fun extension that you can use to celebrate right on the screen.  I have used it when students answer a question correctly or at the end of a great online session.  If you're looking for something fun, check it out.  

Custom Cursor is another fun one with a different purpose - keeping the kid's attention where you need it on the screen.  Change your cursor to a crayon, pizza or any of many other options, and I guarantee the kids will be looking where you want them to look.  

Fun extensions like confetti and custom cursors keep students engaged in virtual classrooms

I hope you find some inspiration for your virtual classroom!  Stay tuned for another post that shares 5 FREE websites that I have found super helpful for planning my virtual classroom content each week.  

Until next time, 

How to Use Morning Tubs When You Can't Share Manipulatives

In the age of COVID, so many things have changed, especially how children can participate in hands-on activities like morning tubs.  Despite these changes, you can still get those morning tubs and manipulatives into your student's hands, and I'm going to share with you exactly how!  

You can use morning tubs in a socially distanced classroom during Covid.  Learn how to set up morning tub kits so kids can still have some hands on fun.

How Digital Task Cards Can Keep Kids Learning At Home

Distance learning, online teaching, distance education.  Call it what you want, but millions of children are learning from home.  As teachers, we have been moving rapidly from teaching our children in our classrooms to trying to provide instruction to them through the computer.

I recognize there are many models out there.  Some teachers are conducting online classes via video streaming platforms, while others are sending out content for parents to access.  Wherever you fall on that spectrum, I want to share with you a resource that will help.

Boom Cards!  

Boom Cards are digital task cards.  They are available on the Boom Learning website as well as Teachers Pay Teachers.   Currently, all teachers can set up a free account until the end of June.  Going forward, teachers can opt into several account options, including a free account that allows you to assign an unlimited amount of decks through a fast pin.

Why Boom Cards for Teachers?

Boom Cards give teachers the option to provide individualized practice for their students online in an easy to manage way.  You set up your class with Boom Learning. You can set up your class by manually adding each student or by importing a class from Google Classroom.  Assigning cards (or decks as they are referred to) is straightforward.  You can assign different decks to different students.

The reports inside of Boom Learning give insight into which questions students got wrong.  It shows their wrong answer so you can see if there are trends with their errors.  The reporting options are available to everyone now, but only available with a paying account after June 30. 

You can check out a set for free by clicking on this image. 

Why Boom Cards for Students?

It is easy for students to log into their accounts.  They can log in a few different ways:

  • Teachers can create a username and password for students that they would use when they log into Boom Learning. 
  • They can sign in with Google by using their sign in for Google classroom. 
  • NO sign-in is necessary if students are given a fast pin to play.  

They are fun!   Students get immediate feedback about whether they are correct or not when answering the question or completing the task on the card.   Many decks have students manipulate something on the card, listen for instructions or type in their answers.

There are Boom Cards for every skill!  I have currently developed sets for sight words, word families, blends, spelling, addition, subtraction, money.  You can find all of my boom cards and digital resources here:

Boom Cards and Digital Resources

If you are interested in submitting an idea for a Boom Deck for first grade just click the link below and provide your suggestions.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Good luck as you continue to embrace distance learning.

Until next time,

4 Tips to Help Manage Transitions in the Classroom

Transitions in a classroom are always a challenge, especially in a primary class.  Some of my first graders are super speedy, and some are like sloths!  I am here to share a few tips to help speed those kids up when you are trying to transition from one activity to another.

4 tips for managing transition times in your classroom

Free New Year's Resolutions Flipbook for Students

New Year's Resolutions are a hard thing for small children to grasp, but setting goals is possible if you approach it the right way.  I will show you how to break it down and have your students set goals for school, home and themselves using a FREE flipbook to record their resolutions.

How to get started with Morning Tubs - The Ultimate Guide!

Are you considering starting your day with morning tubs but are not sure where to start?  I'm here to spill EVERYTHING about morning tubs from how they are chosen by students each morning to how often to switch them up.  This is what I do with my first graders, so you know that it works! Read on for your ultimate guide to getting started with morning tubs.