The One Idea blog is a service to classroom teachers gathering effective ways to help you integrate technology with learning in your classroom.  This might be a website, video, idea, or some other way to help you move up to your next level of technology integration.  Of these ideas, commit to fully implementing one per week or month depending on your comfort level.

You are encouraged to ask for help with any of these ideas as well as emailing your own to get included here for others to use!

A Dyslexia Solution

posted May 10, 2018, 1:47 PM by David Kimball   [ updated May 10, 2018, 1:57 PM ]

If we pay attention to even the little things our students are saying, or not saying, we teachers can garner great insight into how to better meet their needs to become better learners, thinkers, and problem solvers.

Sara (not her real name) has been struggling with learning for a long time. She often has bad attitudes, so students like her can be easily written off as “will not learn” as opposed to having difficulties learning.  However, lately Sara has changed her attitude in my class and has really improved in her learning efforts.

Outstanding, but progress was still slow and she got frustrated a lot. And then I heard part of a conversation she was having with a fellow student and the word dyslexia was said. My ears perked up.

“Sara, do you have dyslexia? “

“Yeah, I’ve had it for a long time and have just learned to deal with it.“

That got me thinking about the dyslexia font and decided to try it with her, so I added Dyslexia Unscrambled to my Chromebook and showed it to her.  And you know what? It worked! The way the font weights different parts of the letters makes words almost normal to Sara’s eyes. You are right, I did not like “almost normal” and did some more research.  Turns out there is a solution.  Beeline Reader adds hues of colors in just the right spots of the words to make reading easier for those with dyslexia.

Well, I installed the app on my Chrome book and called Sara over to see if this worked. And it did as well!   Beeline Reader will work on any web page and any Google doc the student has editing privileges on. For shared documents with view only privileges, have the student make a copy into their own drive folder and then the Beeline app will work on that Google doc as well. Afterwards, that copied document can be deleted. Another option is to copy and paste the passage into a new Google doc.

Oh, and if you are wondering whether a student has dyslexia, why not have them look at a page with the dyslexia font and see if it helps?

OK, so teachers have two solutions to help dyslexia students read a bit better and thus take their learning to their next level.  One is Dyslexia Unscrambled and the other Beeline Reader.  Both of these Chrome extensions can be added directly by the student and will be available to them no matter what Chromebook they use.

Dyslexia Unscrambled is free for unlimited use and Beeline Reader has limited free use and $2 per month for unlimited use.

Back to Sara.  She is now reading at a much higher level than before and very grateful for being able to ready “normally”.   I had a talk with her about it and she tells me that she never told anyone because she did not want to be singled out like others have been for being stupid or different, including a very vivid story of how her sixth grade teacher treated her that helped to justify an increase in bad attitudes and further teacher and student condemnations.  I was also guilty for the last few months of presuming that Sara did not want to do the work as opposed to her having difficulty with the basics.

This fear of hers was confirmed by a fellow teacher who told me that Sara had asked him to not make her read out loud in class because it was difficult for her to read and she did not want to be embarrassed.

Now, did this solve all of the problems?  Of course not.  There are other things she can do to further properly manage her dyslexia and bad attitudes, but this small solution did take Sara to her next level of learning, reducing excuses to succeed at a higher level.

My take away from this? Pay attention to what my students are saying, not saying, doing, and not doing, and be willing to laser focus at the heart of why they are choosing to not learn at my expected level and then get them the help and tools they need.

I do not always succeed, but this one sure feels good.

What solution have you created to help a student get to their next level of learning and understanding?  Tell me your story and if it is detailed enough I will get it published here for others to benefit.

Creating Your Personal Mission Statement

posted Jun 1, 2017, 10:22 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Jun 1, 2017, 11:19 AM ]

Do you know who you are and why you do what you do here at Linden?  No matter your position, having a written personal mission statement helps you to clarify who you help and the result of your help.  Here is the basic template to create your own and have it ready when you come back in August:   (There is a link at the end to create your nicely formatted printable copy.)


I help




So they can


This is mine:

I help motivated teachers

Understand how to effectively integrate technology in their instruction

So they can make multiple individual impacts on their student’s future, leave a legacy and thrive professionally.



And here is what it looks like in a full sentence:

I help motivated teachers understand how to effectively integrate technology in their instruction so they can make multiple individual impacts on their students' future, leave a legacy, and thrive professionally.

 This is a sample of what you will receive.

After you have written, rewritten, and rewritten yours so it works for you , fill out this form and your own printable professional mission statement in full color will be emailed to you so you can frame it and put on your desk or wall to consistently remind you and those you serve about what drives you.

Word 2010 Training Videos

posted May 30, 2017, 2:15 PM by David Kimball   [ updated May 30, 2017, 2:16 PM ]

Happy end of the year all! I used to be a Microsoft Office Master Instructor and created hundreds of how to videos for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., for use with my students. Somewhat recently I created 92 training videos for Microsoft Word 2010 walking you through 188 different skills.

These are very short and specific to a particular feature such as formatting, mail merge, saving, sharing, etc. I now have those uploaded on YouTube and are there for you to increase your skill of using Microsoft Word.

And do not worry if you are, or will be, using Word 2016, as there is not much difference between the two for the general features my videos cover.

Taken as a whole, these Word 2010 videos comprise all of the skills needed to pass the Microsoft Word Specialist (MOS) exam for either yourself or your students. I have attached a preparation guide that will help keep you and your students organized.

The learning never ends … enjoy!

Splitting the Chromebook Screen

posted Apr 18, 2017, 10:36 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Apr 18, 2017, 10:36 AM ]

Tab Scissors and Tab Glue are extensions that have been added to all student and teacher Chromebooks.  It is a great tool to have two screens open at the same time for doing research.  Here is a short video tutorial explaining how it works.


How to Teach Typing Correctly

posted Apr 12, 2017, 2:01 PM by David Kimball   [ updated Apr 12, 2017, 4:11 PM ]


How to Teach Typing Correctly

A Unique Solution to a Common Problem


Many schools aren’t teaching typing anymore because they figure students already are proficient at using keyboards. That’s a wasted opportunity.  MIT Technology Review


Over the years, I continue to observe that most students struggle with their typing skills, and thus take so much more time getting information and ideas from their head and paper into the computer when more of that precious time should be spent figuring out what to say, how to say it, and making corrections to their work to get their point across even better.

This is especially true when a research paper deadline is coming due or taking an online exam.

And then there is college and work.  Teaching your students how to type correctly now will save them an incredible amount of time and frustration over the course of their life.  It is one of those skills that they will never appreciate having until they see their peers struggling with two finger typing in a college or high school class while they are sailing right through their projects.

With more and more high schools eliminating typing classes, how are students going to learn this incredibly valuable skill?  You!

A while ago, Ben Hunt had this to say about learning to type:

Learning to touch-type is one of the most valuable skills you’ll ever learn as a designer or developer.  If you want to increase your productivity and have more success, bite the bullet and learn to type properly now!


These Proven Techniques Work

I also think it is VERY important for students to learn how to type and is why I have recently revamped The Typing Coach to make it even easier to follow along and learn how to touch type in a much more effective way than those programs that create dependency to look at the keyboard and monitor. 

Think about it this way:  when was the last time you or your students had to type something that was on the screen?  Of course, the answer is never.  If it is already on the screen, then it does not need to be typed!  So, then why learn how to type this way?  Silly.

The Typing Coach is an updated version of the traditional learn how to type model and is by far the most effective and efficient way to learn.

Well, you may say, "David, we use Mavis Beacon, Typing Tutor, Typing Club, or something similar, and my students seem to progress quite nicely.  What is so special about The Typing Coach?"

Great question! Give your students a paragraph or page to type and then watch.  If they are constantly hunched over, staring at the keyboard, moving their two fingers to find the keys, then I can almost guarantee you that typing takes take a LOT more of their time and they will have a LOT of errors needing the delete or backspace keys then if they learned how to type correctly.

In addition to monitor independence, using The Typing Coach also provides students with accountability, fewer errors, and greater focus.  As the teacher, you provide the visual assurance, verbal correction, gentle nudging, and checklist progression needed as the student progresses at his or her own pace.  This is differential, standards based learning, technology integration, and meeting individual instructional needs all rolled into one.

Does it matter how we type? Yes. Touch typing allows us to write without thinking about how we are writing, freeing us to focus on what we are writing, on our ideas. Touch typing is an example of cognitive automaticity, the ability to do things without conscious attention or awareness. Automaticity takes a burden off our working memory, allowing us more space for higher-order thinking. (Other forms of cognitive automaticity include driving a car, riding a bike and reading—you’re not sounding out the letters as you scan this post, right?) When we type without looking at the keys, we are multi-tasking, our brains free to focus on ideas without having to waste mental resources trying to find the quotation mark key. We can write at the speed of thought.


The Pizza Party Challenge

How much more effective is The Typing Coach than those other programs?  When I first started teaching typing two decades ago, the veteran typing teacher next door said that using the book and program the way he had been for years is the only way to go and kept bugging me about it for a couple of years.  I finally challenged him.  At the end of the semester, we would give our students the same exact page to type and see, on average, whose class outperformed.  I used The Typing Coach method and he stuck to his “tried and true” book and software program.  As you have already figured out, my students greatly outperformed his students and he never mentioned it again.

And I give you the same challenge today. Take your class through one of the typical programs of choice for one or two months and another teacher will use The Typing Coach.  Whichever class scores the highest will win a pizza party.  Or, if you want to skip all of that and simply give your students the best typing skill learning available, head over to The Typing Coach website and use the Guest login to use it for free.  Email me for the password.


Are you Ready to Succeed?

The regular, self-paced lessons are easy to follow and any student twelve years and up can succeed if they are diligent.  Testing and Grading is easy with the Practice and Testing Center that automatically scores, prints, and emails results.  For the younger ones (8-11 year olds), there are slower paced lessons that involve teacher guidance a bit more.  All instructions are provided in the Teacher Resource Center and full email support is available. 

Once you get the hang of using The Typing Coach, you will wonder why you have not been teaching your students typing like this the whole time! For more information, visit

And the winner is ....

posted Mar 15, 2017, 11:41 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Mar 15, 2017, 12:02 PM ]

In a recent fun game, I asked if you could guess what technology integration tool is being used in this picture.  The first one to guess would win a $5 Subway gift card.

Did you figure it out?  Take a look at the next picture for your hint.

If you guessed Google Cast, you are correct!  This group of students is giving an oral presentation from a place in the room they chose.  When this group finishes, another gets up with their own Chromebook, goes to where they want, Casts to the teacher's computer which is connected to the projector and off they go.  What use to be a 5 to 10 minute transition is now down to a minute or two!

You will not see any connected wires or hardware.  There is only a one-time setting to be made on the student Chromebook and teacher's computer to make it all work wirelessly!  Takes 10 seconds for the student and just a couple of minutes for the teacher. 

Think about this.  Students now have control over their own presentation from creation to presenting.  They set it up, move to the next slide when they are ready, and even play audio.  It all runs through the teacher's desktop, so you have control over who Casts their Chromebook up to the screen.  Not only does this make for much more independent and smoother running student presentations, but also when the class is working on a project or activity, you can have that student show their screen to the class for a myriad of reasons.  I am sure you have already come up with your own ideas!  (On a related topic, here are some ways to take your students' presentation skills to the next level. I am happy to present this to your class broken down to their level of understanding.)

And NOW for the winner.  The FIRST one to correctly identify the technology integration tool as Google Cast is Noah Kepner at LHS.  Congratulations Noah!  Your gift card will arrive to you soon after the P.O. gets approved :-).

In addition to correct answers, I received two that deserve an honorable mention:

The Over Analytic honorable mention goes to Mary at Glenwood:

I see the students are giving an oral presentation in Science on Volcanoes.  I also hope they had a Language Arts piece that went to this, such as writing. If the teacher was really smart she would have incorporated David Kimball and his typing club. I like how they used their technology to present a power point/ google slides show. It would be really cool if they used some hyperdocs too!!

And Jeremiah takes great PRIDE in receiving the most humorous honorable mention:

If technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes; machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge, then I say that the simple machine clothespins on the wall are seamlessly integrated into this happy classroom.

For your reward, feel free to much on any snack available in the teacher lounge.

Thank you to all who participated and if you would like Google Cast to be used in YOUR classroom, then get started with my February 28th blog post.

Two Great Google Classroom Features

posted Mar 14, 2017, 8:38 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Mar 14, 2017, 8:39 AM ]

Hey fellow teachers!  If you have not been taking advantage of two great ways to automate your use of Google Classroom, why not?

1.       Use folders (called Topics) to organize all of those resources you keep on the About page and have to scroll through endlessly.  Here is the video all about it.

2.      Do you find it cumbersome and time consuming when a student either comes new to your class or leaves and you have to make the manual changes in Google Classroom?  Well, not any more!  Classroom now syncs with Aeries after you push a couple of buttons in your Aeries account.  From then on, when Aeries updates with any student changes for you, so does your Classroom  …  automatically!  I do not yet have a video on that, so go to my newly updated booking information page and let’s get together so I can walk you through the process. 

Ready for Student Casting?

posted Feb 28, 2017, 10:31 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Feb 28, 2017, 10:32 AM ]

One of the great pleasures here at the Technology Training & Coaching Center is trying out new tools and getting them to work for you in the classroom.  And this new tool you have at your disposal is a wonderful edition.  It is called Google Cast and allows any of your students to show what they are doing on their Chromebook to the class through the projector.  From the technical standpoint, there is a wireless connection made from the student Chromebook to your Desktop computer which then takes that image and puts it through the class projector in the same way you show things to the students now.  There are no wires or equipment, just a setting adjustment to be made on each student Chromebook.

 Imagine the “check for understanding” possibilities you will have when any student can show to the class what they are currently doing, their thought process for arriving at a conclusion, or just showing off their latest creation.

 Watch this video I made that shows what you need to do on your teacher desktop and the student Chromebooks to make this all happen.  And if it still appears to be a daunting task, then I will gladly drop by and help you get it all set up!

Substitutes and Ed Tech Conference

posted Feb 2, 2017, 8:23 AM by David Kimball   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 8:23 AM ]

Smoother Substitute Days

I have a great idea to make the days you are gone fun and a bit more productive. Audio record your day that will sync with the breaks, lunch, and end of day bell.   It does take some time to initially set up but is not as difficult as you might think and I did it very effectively.  If the substitute pushed play at the exact time the bell rang, then the audio took over and gave instructions throughout the day with my voice.  And at the exact moment when the bell rang, my voice on the audio said, “there’s the bell.  Have a great day!”  When I came back from a day off, my students asked how I could possibly have known when the bell rang.  It was great fun and kept them on task much more effectively.  If you would like to get this working in your classroom, let me know!


 Looking for Examples

I am at the beginning stages of building a video library of ways teachers are using various technology devices in their classroom.  Do you have an upcoming lesson that I may record? Along with this, I will ask you to give a brief explanation.  No need to worry, this will be an easy thing to do and can even limit what you say to audio, leaving out the video of you.  What do you say?  Please say yes!


Educational Technology Conference in Turlock

Have you heard of (or been to) a Google Summit?  There is a similar but much bigger local event at CSU, Stanislaus, put on by the Stanislaus Office of Education that hosts over 100 sessions on a wide variety of topics to integrate technology into education.  Check out the specific workshops being offered.  This will be my second time presenting and it is loads of fun!  The cost is $80 for this Friday night and Saturday event that happens February 24-25, so there is still time to register.   Here is the general info.  Sure hope to see you there!

Thinking, i-Ready, and Phishing

posted Jan 10, 2017, 12:02 PM by David Kimball   [ updated Jan 10, 2017, 12:02 PM ]

Higher Order Thinking and Learning

If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others.   ~ Tryon Edwards

Do you know what the most surest way to check for understanding?  Have your student teach the concept, fact, etc., to another student.  This can be done one-on-one, through the writing down of steps, or even creating a short how-to video.  This forces them to really think through the process and deepens their knowledge, ability, and confidence.  Imagine the possibilities if each of your students were the go-to expert for a specific thing, especially using a device!  You could even take it a step further and create an online knowledge base for reference to be used by your current and future students, as well as those in other classes at the same grade level or subject.  It is easier than you realize to make this happen.  I am happy to help you get started with a personalized Strategy Session.


 i-Ready Mid-Year Diagnostics

 If you use i-Ready, it is time for a check up to see how your students are progressing. 

 Get mid-year Diagnostic checklist

See ideas for how to prepare students for the mid-year Diagnostic

How to monitor Diagnostic completion


          Are You Bait for a Good Catch?

When was the last time you went fishing?  Lately, there have been a lot people trying to take you on a phishing trip.  Notice the spelling change?  Phishing is an Internet and e-mail scam that attempts to get your personal information, money, or both.   Rames Creel, the County IT Director has some great advice for you:


We are seeing quite a few “ransomware” phishing email messages coming in. In a few cases, attachments (that look like Microsoft Word documents) have been opened, triggering the encryption of files and holding the data for “ransom”. This encryption is so good, we are unable to decrypt the files and folks have lost data!

Please verify the sender and “reasonableness” of incoming messages and use caution when opening email attachments.

Remember the e-mail scandal that rocked the elections?  It all started because someone fell for a phishing scam.  Phishing campaigns also disguise themselves in the form of an authentic looking pop up while you are on the Internet.  Check out the attached screen shot of one recent attempt on a Linden teacher.  She did not fall for it and neither should you.  If you are ever in doubt, do not open the attachment, click on the given link, or call the number.  You will probably be scammed or possibly wreak havoc on your device or even the District network.  Instead, give Luis or Anthony a call to check it out for you.

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