The 10 most popular TED-ed lessons of 2013

With 2013 winding to a close it's time to take a look back at some of the most popular lessons of 2013 from TED-ed.  Here are the 10 most viewed lesson plans for the year.  If you have any great lessons to share with the world and think you can pack them into 6 minutes or less of pure gold be sure to submit it to TED-ed.


Start 2014 with over 100 free Classroom Posters


An engaging, bright and good looking classroom will really help to create a great learning environment for your students.

We now have over one hundred FREE classroom posters that will go a long way to making this happen.  Whether it's literacy, numeracy, science, classroom behaviour, motivation or anything else we have got you and your walls covered.

in 2013 we had over half a million downloads of our classroom posters, and I would love to see that number grow in 2014.

So, take a look at our classroom posters section, download as many as you like and print them to a size that suits.  They are all high resolution so you can make them as large as you wish.

We are always looking for ideas for new classroom posters so please leave a suggestion below.

Lesson on Estimation

Click here to download as PDF 

Lesson on estimation


Math Grades: 1, 2

Topic: Estimation and Organizing Data Grade: 1 – 2

Objectives: The student will

1.  demonstrate how to organize data by writing down their estimations and actual findings.

2.  demonstrate how to make estimations by writing estimations about how many beans can be held.

3.  compare their estimates to their actual data in a math book entry.


The activity will last approximately 1 hour.

Materials: paper, scissors, pencil, Kidney beans, chart paper (or white board)

Anticipatory Set:

The teacher will read the book, Jack and the Beanstalk. The teacher will remind students that Jack received only five beans for the cow. The teacher then asks, “How many beans do you think Jack would have had if he’d received a whole handful instead of just a few?”

Concept Development/Activity:

1.  The teacher asks the students,” Think about how many jellybeans you think you could hold in one hand?” The students share their estimates with the class.

2.  Students are to trace one hand onto paper, cut it out, and write their estimation on the thumb. It is helpful for the teacher to model the procedure.

3.  Students are to place jellybeans into their actual hands, to see how many they can hold. The students get into pairs and check the number of jellybeans the other child held.

4.  The students are to cut out a small paper bean and write the actual number held onto the paper bean, then glue it to the paper.

5.  The teacher will create a large chart which displays children’s estimations and actual findings.

EXTENSION: The children are to arrange their hands in on a class graph.

6.  Students are to identify the smallest number of beans held, and place the hand in the first column of the chart.

7.  Students discuss possible ways to arrange the hands into columns.

8.  Once students agree on how many numbers are assigned to a column, they tape the hands onto the chart.


A class discussion will focus on the various sizes of hands and how many beans were held. Most likely, a few hands will not fit into the larger hands

– more beans, smaller hands – less beans theory. Have students discuss possible reasons why this may have occurred. To find more accurate data, have students trace their hands again, this time keeping their fingers together. Talk about the outcomes of the second activity.


Students will write a paragraph about the hands and beans activity. They are to talk about the relationships between the size of the hands and the amount of beans.


The teacher will monitor the students participation during the activity. In addition, the teacher will read the findings recorded in each student’s journal.


Burns, Marylin. (1996). 50 Problem Solving Lessons . New York: Math Solutions Publications.

Regniers, Beatrice Schenk. ( 1985). Jack and the Beanstalk. New York: Collier Macmillian.

Three great guides on how to write an essay


Writing an essay can be a difficult task to both teach and learn as it relies on so many language skills to succeed.

There are numerous guides available on the web that will tell you 'How to write an essay in 5 minutes.'  But essentially this promise is about as effective as promising someone they can drop three dress sizes in a week by going on a 'nicotine' diet. 

I have found three resources below from three recognized universities that don't assume you have already mastered the English language before you begin.  They are quite thorough but contain all the elements that will genuinely assist you.

They are definitely worth a look. 


Writing an Essay -  Charles Sturt University 

This guide does great job at highlighting what your assessors will be looking for and emphasizing those points throughout the writing process.  Sourced:  CSU

A helpful guide to Essay Writing - Anglia Ruskin University 

This is definitely one of the more thorough guides and would be a good starting point for students who have a limited knowledge of the English language.  it is very structured in the process of walking you through writing a tertiary standard essay Sourced: ARU

The 5 step Personal Essay Writing Guide - Baylor University

This is essay writing in it's simplest form done well.  It is more of a planning tool than a full background study on the process.  It is definitely useful for high school students and those that struggle to make a start but will not be rich enough for advanced writers looking for a little more context. Sourced Baylor

14 Inspirational Quotes about Education Posters

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.25.40 PM.png

Over the last year, we have had tens of thousands of teachers stop by our educational quotes section in the hunt for some stirring words to inspire students. 

Recently, one of our readers suggested we should get some of these quotes made into posters to display in classrooms.

So, here they are - 14 high resolution posters including the following quotes.    I hope you enjoy them.

Click here to download all 14 posters

Dalai Lama
"When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts."

Frank Lloyd Wright
"You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having."

Victor Hugo
"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."

"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."

Eleanor Roosevelt
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.24.40 PM.png

John Locke
"The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it."

Robert Frost
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence."

John Adams
"There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."

Theodore Roosevelt
"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The secret in education lies in respecting the student."

Over 30 free lesson plans for Google Apps / Docs Users


Thanks to Tim in Michigan for this link.  Google have compiled over 30 lesson plans sorted by app, age and subject that teachers can download and use with their students.

I hope this is an area that Google intend to continue to develop as this is the point where teachers get a little lost once they have established GAFE as a communication and collaboration platform.

A few of my favorite lesson ideas were


As the world confronts global health problems such as epidemics or pandemics, involve your students in an authentic lesson that will increase their understanding of health related issues and give them the tools to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their schools and communities.

Making Predictions in Reading with Google Moderator

This lesson plan intends to teach students how to comprehend texts by making predictions that answer the question "What is going to happen next?" Research shows that students who read actively are better able to understand text when compared with students that read passively. Through an integration of Google Moderator and Google Docs, students will actively create and evaluate multiple predictions about a character's actions in a fictional story.

Human Dimensions Project

"It has been said that our wingspan is the same as our height. Is this true?" Students work in a collaborative project to answer this question using Google docs for data collection and analysis

Anyhow the entire collection of these lessons can be found here.


Google Apps Meets Common Core
By Michael J. Graham

Google Apps meets Common Core Book Giveway

Google Apps Meets Common Core
By Michael J. Graham

If you read my previous post you would be well aware of how impressed I was with purchase of my 'Google Apps meets Common Core' book last week. 

Put simply, it is 'THE DEFINITIVE' book for educators who are trying to get the most out of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in simple terms.

It is packed with 250 pages of hints, tips, lesson plans, resources and teaching ideas about GAFE.  Don't stress if you teach outside the U.S either, as it is still relevant to teachers and students the world over.

So... You have two options to get your hands on this excellent book. 

1:  Follow the link and pick up a digital or hard copy at Amazon

2:  Simply tell us how you are using Google Apps in your classroom in the comment section below and you can win a copy.

Three people who share the most impressive use of GAFE will score them self a copy of this awesome book for free.

Make sure you leave your email address and we'll keep the competition open until the end of September.

Hopefully, we can get Michael Graham, The Author, to share some his great ideas in an interview soon.  Fingers Crossed

Good Luck.

Free Printable Cursive Letters Handwriting Templates

HAndwriting Pic.JPG

A friend of mine asked for some printable templates to help her grandchildren improve their handwriting skills.  As a result I have created these Victorian Modern Cursive Templates for you to download and print out and use with your own students.

They work most effectively when laminated so that they can be used over and over. 

Please let me know if you would like these made up in any other specific font and I'll see what I can do.

Click here to download.