Monthly archives: March, 2017

Fake social media profiles to practice writing and analytical skills

Have you ever considered using social media as a classroom tool? Having students create fake social media profiles can be a great way to practice writing and analytical skills. For lower level langauge students, you could have them create their own profile and short post history detailing a typical week. In more advanced classes, you could have students create a Facebook profile for the protaganist of a story they’ve read. They would have to gather not only facts, but also summarize the character well enough to complete an “About me” from the perspective of that charcter. Or, you could have them work in groups to create a post history retelling the story of a film they’re analyzing in class.

To do this, you don’t need anything fancy – you can just take the structure of your perferred media program and turn it into a Google doc like this. Or, for something more visually interesting, you can use a fake profile generator like Fakebook or Profile Publisher, or a Google Slides template like this one.

Need a quick timer for a classroom activity?

Just use your classroom computer and type “timer” (no quotes) followed by the desired time interval into Google. The timer will start automatically, display a countdown (that can be set to fullscreen mode for increased visibility), and beep when time is up. This is a great little trick to keep your class moving with very little distraction!

You can use a similar technique to do math (e.g., “(17/20)*100”), look up a word’s definition (e.g., “define grammar”), or convert units of measurement (e.g., “12 kilos in pounds”).

Consolidate your cloud storage

MultCloud ( is a web-based tool that lets you consolidate all of your online cloud storage into one central location. By adding your individual cloud services like Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. to MultCloud, you can find and download any file without having to remember in which cloud you saved it. You can also easily move or copy files from one cloud to another without having to download and re-upload them.

Tools to help students organize their ideas before/while composing

While traditional outlines can be made on notebook paper or in a word processing program, these online tools may help some students better focus, arrange, and articulate their ideas.
  • Padlet ( is an easy-to-use virtual bulletin board that lets you post and visually arrange text notes as well as images, videos, attachments (limit of 25MB), and web links. Notes can be moved around, grouped, and even layered freely.
  • Trello ( is an online organization tool that lets you create “cards” containing text, images, attachments (limit of 10MB) or links, and arrange them into categories and groups just by dragging and dropping. Cards can be tagged with color-coded labels to add an additional layer of organization.
Both tools are completely free, allow you to log in with Google, and offer free mobile apps. Additionally, both Padlet and Trello allow users to share their ideas and collaborate with others, and both feature simple, interactive quick-start lessons.