Saturday, November 5, 2016

Infographics are Easy With Venngage

Those of you who have followed this blog know that I love infographics. As a media specialist, I used them to create visual tutorials for my students. For those of you who would like to be designers but do not have the skill, Venngage is the answer. With its easy to use interface, anyone can create beautiful posters, brochures, reports, flyers and much more. How about an infographic resume? Currently there are nine designs to choose from; two are with the free account. The one on the extreme right is a premium resume template.


The first thing I noticed when logging into my account was that under "templates" there were five main categories: infographics, reports, posters, promotions and social. Each of those categories has several subcategories, and the choices are many! Here's an example on the left of what's under the "infographics" category.

Depending on your level of expertise, you can choose beginner, intermediate or advanced templates. All are labeled so you can choose easily. If you have a free account, the number of infographics, charts, icons, themes, templates and uploads are limited. Venngage branding is also on your final product.

Educators will be happy to know that special pricing of $99.00/year covers premium features, 35 accounts for students and teachers and class sharing. A 14-day free trial is available. Education pricing is here.

Premium accounts have unlimited use of templates, charts, icons, themes and uploads. Pricing is here, and features of the premium account can be found here.

Recently, Venngage introduced Venngage for Business, which is perfect for small businesses which don't have their own graphic designer on staff and normally would have trouble allocating the funds for a company to do all their design work. After all, professional freelancers could charge thousands of dollars to design infographics, posters, promotions, brochures and social media related graphics. Perhaps you own restaurant and need a new menu design?


Business accounts also have a Manage Your Team option, where two members of your team are given access to all the features of your premium account.

Business accounts are divided into two categories: for profit and non profit. When paid yearly, the cost for non profits is only $20.00/month. Both types of business accounts have the same premium benefits and a branding kit which gives you the opportunity to save your company logo and special colors, fonts and sizes. Allow me to show you how incredibly easy it is to get started with Venngage.

Before beginning to work with a template, I decided to view the getting started video as seen here:

There is a whole page of instructional videos to help you with every aspect of the program, so you never have to feel lost or confused. I started out with a beginner template and found the drag and drop interface very easy to use. I then tackled an intermediate template and uploaded a few of my own images to the site.


As you can see from the two examples, I was able to easily substitute the template information with my own information. Between the two infographics, I changed the background color, fonts, moved text, added icons, changed the border size on the circles, and added my own photos. Not bad for the very first time using Venngage!

If you would like to see the terrific projects people are creating with Venngage, all you have to do is click on the community page, and there you will find recently published projects.

Venngage's blog has a variety of helpful articles, such as 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating an Infographic, How to Make a Timeline Infographic in 6 Easy Steps and 5 Strategies to Engage Students Using Education Infographics. Whether you're a small business, an educator, or someone who just wants to be creative with social should give Venngage a try. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Only Back to School Listing You'll Need!

The Rio 2016 Resources: Try These 29 Items

Although school in New Jersey doesn't begin until September, (after Labor Day) I am aware that many districts have already started the 2016-2017 year. I've put together a nice listing of resources, including websites, videos, cartoons and lesson plans.


Articles on the Summer Olympics- from National Geographic

Infographic: The Physics of Olympic Bodies- from NPR; weightlifters, sprinters, rowers, marathon runners, swimmers

Medals Race- listing of total medals by country

The Official Rio Olympics Site

Ready or Not, Let the Games Begin- interactive story map covers all the conditions in Brazil, including economic, political, health. (zika virus)

Resources for the Rio 2016 Olympics- from TES

Rio 2016: 16 Fun Facts About This Year's Olympics- from NBC

Zika Virus Adding to Long List of Brazil Olympics Woes

(Great discussions can take place when you share cartoons in the classroom!)

2016 Olympic Summer Games- TeacherVision's list of lessons, worksheets, activities

2016 Olympic Games in Rio on Pinterest

CK-12 Foundation: Olympic Content- "Learn the math and science behind Olympic sports"

E.L.L. Practice + Prompt- by Larry Ferlazzo for The New York Times Learning Network

Olympic Games for Kids- for younger kids; worksheets, puzzles, coloring pages

The Olympic Games- from Scholastic; history of the Olympics, sports and Ancient Greece; all grades

Olympics: Summer- Teacher Planet's list of resources, lesson plans, worksheets

Read, Write, Think- many ideas and activities

Teaching About the 2016 Olympic Games- from NEA

Teaching Resources from the Olympic Museum- lesson downloads available in English, French and German


Friday, July 29, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election: 44 Digital Resources

Here we are, another Presidential election in November 2016. I've tried to gather as many resources as possible to teach your students about the candidates and the electoral process. Although it is difficult for me, I promise not to inject any of my personal political feelings into this post. If necessary, I will update the post.

About the Election Process
Congress for Kids: The Electoral College- interactive quiz at the end of each section

Fact Monster: How the President Gets Elected

The Presidential Election- from Flocabulary (rap)

2016 Election- CNN politics

Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of Politics

Elections 2016- USA Today

FactCheck- non-partisan site to monitor the accuracy of speeches, articles etc.

Presidential Election 2016- NY Times articles

U.S. Election 2016: Six Reasons it Will Make History- from BBC News

U.S. Election Glossary- from enchanted Learning

Hillary R. Clinton
All Things Clinton- from the L.A. Times

Clinton's Nomination Puts "Biggest Crack" in the Glass Ceiling- from CNN

Hillary Clinton News- from ABC News

Hillary Clinton's Twitter Account

Hillary Clinton's YouTube Page

Hillary Rodham Clinton's Official Website

Presidential Candidates: Hillary Clinton

Why Vladimir Putin Hates Hillary Clinton- from NBC News

Donald J. Trump
All Things Trump- L.A. Times

Donald Trump's Twitter Account

New York Times Articles About Donald J. Trump

Official Donald Trump YouTube Page

Presidential Candidates: Donald Trump

Trump's Official Site

Lesson Plans
2016 Presidential Election Resources and Teaching Tips- from TeacherVision; also has a multitude of election resources, including lessons, printables, activities

Campaign 2016- C-Span

Electing the U.S. President, A Printable Book for Early Readers- from Enchanted Learning

Election Collection- PBS lessons on elections (grades labeled)

Election Worksheets- from Enchanted Learning

Elections: Everything You Need- from Scholastic

How to Become President of the United States- infographic from; lesson plan here

iCivics- terrific site includes teacher files and state standards

Lesson Ideas- from BrainPop Educators

Meet the Presidential Candidates in Election 2016- H.S. lesson plan from PBS News Hour

NEA's List of Lessons on Elections (not specific to this year's candidates)

Newsela- teachers can sign up their classes and follow Newsela's Blog

The New York Times Learning Network- lessons for election 2016

Pinterest Search: 2016 Presidential Election

Timely Teachable Videos- from C-Span

Election 2016: Lesson Plans and Digital Resources for Educators- from Edutopia

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Opportunity to Teach Students About Plagiarism and Paraphrasing

By now we are all familiar with the "similarities" between Melania Trump's speech (2016) and Michelle Obama's speech in 2008. Looking at them side by side, it is quite apparent that the speechwriter (I use that term loosely) took big chunks of the 2008 speech and pasted them into the speech given by Mrs. Trump at the Republican National Convention. Take a look:

Putting the words side by side:

When I taught my students about plagiarism, an important element was a discussion on paraphrasing. Most students are not aware exactly what paraphrasing is, and some are satisfied to replace a word here or there in a sentence, thinking they are making it their own. Even when paraphrasing, a citation MUST be written, because the original idea is not yours.

EasyBib has some excellent videos which talk about plagiarism and paraphrasing. I always show my students these two videos. (The female voice on the second one is a bit odd, but the information is great.) This recent event is the perfect opportunity to show students the right way to do research.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting to Love the PDF File

Have you ever received an attachment in Word, Excel or another program and you just wanted it to easily open? Have you ever created a document and didn't want the people you shared it with to edited it? The answer is the PDF file. (portable document format)

The beauty of the PDF is that any computer on any operating system can open this file. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free download and allows you to open all PDF documents.

The steps are very easy when working in Microsoft Office's four main programs:

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher follow the same three steps:


  Save the document as a PDF

A Visit from Author Jeff Gottesfeld

I'm a very fortunate woman. I grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and graduated high school with so many talented people. So when my friend and author Jeff Gottesfeld said he would come speak to my 7th and 8th graders, I jumped at the chance.

Jeff is an accomplished writer for page, stage, screen, and television. On the fiction side, his children’s picture book THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD (Knopf, 2016) has garnered a number of starred reviews and was an pick-of-the-month  His other works include the Los Angeles Times bestseller ANNE FRANK AND ME and the New York Times bestselling teen series THE A-LIST under an alias. He also co-wrote the adult novel HOW TO TEACH FILTHY RICH GIRLS  which became the CW television series PRIVILEGED. His current focus is on books and plays featuring heroes and heroines from diverse cultures  For television, he was Emmy-nominated and a Writers Guild Award winner for THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and wrote the Paramount movie  BROKEN BRIDGES.

When he visited my school on Tuesday, Jeff read THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD, which is based on the story of the large tree which Anne Frank was able to see from the attic where her family was hidden from the Nazis. The students asked terrific questions and posed with Jeff in a few photos. Yes, that is me crouching in the photo below. Just wish that student had been facing the camera!!


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