Winter Holiday Cool Tools Calendar

Reposting this Holiday Calendar from last year!

Direct Link to the calendar is
Coo Tools Holiday Calendat 2018(from 2017 post) 

I wasn’t planning to do anything for Hour of Code this year, but today I found a fun holiday calendar project to tinker with and I managed to tweak the code to make it work! Reassurance that my coding brain cells are still vaguely intact. (Thanks to Mita Williams for mentioning her calendar from a few years ago.)

So I’ve created Cool Tools Holiday Calendar of fun winter holiday activities and  things I’m finding for our Cool Tools for School Workshop.  I’ll need to catch up, it’s already December 12!  I’ll list all the content here too and update as the month goes along.

Day 1 – Santa Letter from Big Huge Labs

santa letterBig Huge Labs has a template to fill out that will create a personalized printable letter from Santa. You can also type your own letter as well. Explore lots of other great creative projects while you’re there.

Day 2 – End of Year Sharalike Video

sharalikeGather up your favorite photos from the year and set them to music for a slideshow video to share with family and friends. Upload your photos and videos, then choose from a limited number of slide show styles and transitions speeds. Music can also be added. Key feature is its simplicity. Free.  (iPad, Android, Web)  TIP: If you need images with captions or other text, use Google Slides or Powerpoint first to add text and other effects to your photos. Then save/export the slides as regular jpg files to use in your Sharalike video.

Day 3 – Create a Snowman with Google Slides

build a snowmanWhat a fun way to build a snowman. Write a message, then take a screenshot to email your pictures to a friend. Or how about printing it out as a holiday card.  Clever use of Google slides! You could create projects like this for other holidays and activities.

Day 4 – Emojify the Holidays

Create an emoji and learn a bit of coding with Made With Code’s Emojify the Holiday project. Explore the whole collection of coding projects.


Day 5 – Storybird Poetry

storybird poetry

Choose a piece of artwork from Storybird’s beautiful collection and create your own poem inspired by artwork, refrigerator magnet style.

Day 6 – Peace Crane Project

Peace Day Crane Project

Learn to fold origami peace cranes and learn the meaning of the Peace Crane project. Printable coloring pages for younger kids. Sign up your classroom or group to participate in a crane exchange with another student group. Lots of global connection possibilities here.Use your cranes to decorate packages, create greeting cards or string a bunch together to decorate for the holidays.

Day 7 – Empathy Books for Kids Widget

empathy booksBooks for kids on Empathy, Diversity and the Immigrant Experience. Use this LibraryThing book widget on your own website. If you have a librarything account, try your had at creating your own book widget.

Day 8 – Google Slides Holiday Cards

holiday cardsChoose from a selection of colorful holiday card designs. Then customize them and download for sharing and printing.

Day 9 – Light Up Christmas Cards 

holiday cards

Make Rudolph’s nose light up! Or light up a Christmas tree with these fun paper circuit holiday card templates. Copper tape circuit supplies are available through Amazon and maybe your local craft stores.

Day 10 – Day by Day Early Literacy Calendars

day by day early literacyA daily selection of early literacy resources for families. Spanish and English versions.

Day 11 – Google Santa Tracker

Google Santa Tracker

Learn about holiday traditions, play games, some simple fun coding games. And of course, the Santa Tracker on Dec 24.

Day 12 – Paper Circuit Menorah

Paper Circuit MenorahWhat a cool science project! Create your own light-up menorah with copper tape circuits.  Copper tape circuit supplies are available through Amazon and maybe your local craft stores.

Day 13 – Dreidel Launcher

dreidel launcherNot getting enough spin on your dreidel? Make this simple launcher and watch it spin, spin, spin.

Day 14 – Polar Express Activity Calendar

Polar Express Calendar25 Days of The Polar Express: a variety of fun Polar Express-themed games and activities for every day in December up to the 25th!

Day 15 – Winter Magnetic Poetry

Winter Magnetic PoetryHave fun with Winter Magnetic Poetry created with Google Slides. Just click on the USE TEMPLATE button at top right to make your own copy of it. Move the words around on Slide 1, check slides 2 and 3 for word lists. Thanks to Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning for this fun activity.  I bet you can figure out how to make one of your own with different words and a different scene!

Day 16 – Holiday Lights

Holiday LightsHave fun decorating the houses with colorful twinkling lights.

Day 17 – Hanukkah Word Search

hanukkah word search

Choice of an easy (small) or hard (big) word search puzzle.


Day 18 – #K2CanToo Holiday Creative Fun Collection

holiday fun activities“Looking for some fun holiday activity options for your little learners in these last days before vacation? Check out this Holiday Fun Collection designed with young students in mind!” from Susan Stewart

Day 19 – 30 Apps to Spread and Enjoy Some Holiday Cheer

holiday appsCheck out all the fun apps that Shelly Terrell has gathered in this post. Creating gifts, augmented reality, holiday fun and games, and more!

Day 20 – Holiday Lights Writing

holiday lightsScroll down to the bottom of Eric Curts’ fun holiday post to find the directions for making your Google Doc text light up with holiday colors! How to spice up your family holiday letter! 🙂

Day 21 – Holiday Photo Ornament

photo ornament A quick and easy last minute craft project for kids. Perfect little giftie for grandparents. (And your great-auntie as well! That would be me!)


Day 22 – Star Wars Snowflakes

star wars snowflakesPrint out these intricate patterns and may the force be with you.


Day 23 – Pixabay Puzzle eCards

pixabay puzzle cardPick one of Pixabay’s colorful holiday images and select how many puzzle pieces you want. Write a message on the back of the puzzle, then share the link with your friends and family. When they solve the puzzle, they can read your greeting.

Day 24 – Christmas Word Search

Christmas Word SearchChoice of an easy (small) or hard (big) word search puzzle.




Young Adult Banned Books Widget

It’s Banned Books Week!

September 23 – 29 is Banned Books Week. To help spread awareness of frequently banned young adult books, I’ve created a LibraryThing book widget of titles. Feel free to copy the code below and add this widget to your own web pages.

The titles were taken from the following sources:

If you’d like to use this book display widget, just copy the code below and add it to your own web pages. Please be sure to give credit to the sources above or link back here for those sources.

<div id="w81d8af700f3f4b7f12a55d022c3eb8de"></div>
<script type="text/javascript" charset="UTF-8" src=""></script><noscript><a href="">My Library</a> at <a href="">LibraryThing</a></noscript>

Handy Tip:  The links in the widget go back to LibraryThing. If you’re using the Chrome browser and have installed the Library Extension, you’ll get links back to your catalog. This works in GoodReads and Amazon too. This post has more info on adult book lists and that Chrome Extension: Powerful Book Lists & Handy Library Extension for Chrome

(Book links may include affiliate links)

Summer Learning PD Bingo!

Summer Learning Bingo BoardFor those of us in the northern hemisphere, the school year has come to an end and we’re all looking forward to summer vacation. Bring it on! And our 2016-18 Cool Tools for School workshop has also come to end.

But if you’re like me and you want to keep learning over the summer (in between picnics, vacations and some relaxing down time reading some good books), then check out Cool Tools Summer Bingo Board.

(Thanks to Amber Teamann and her Stop the Summer Slide post on Love, Learn, Lead for the idea.)


Listen Notes Podcast Search

I’m in love with Listen Notes, a  new-ish podcast search tool. Listen Notes makes is so easy to find just the right podcast content for whatever you’re interested in.  It currently indexes over 430,000 podcasts and over 26 million individual episodes.

Searching:  What I like best is that it a search digs deep and pulls up both podcast series and individual episodes. A recent search on the phrase “winter gardening” found no podcast focused solely on that topic (not too surprising!). But it did unearth 77 episodes with that phrase.  A treasure trove of content and advice for this newbie winter gardener.

Use the More Filters link to narrow your search by topical categories, language, duration, and limit your search to title, author or description.

Uses for Educators & Librarians: An educator in one of my workshops was looking for content on polar bears for a class project. A quick search of Listen Notes found a bunch of episodes from some great podcasts that she could consider using. Students doing research projects will find this helpful. Library customers looking for very specific content, or just something new to listen to, will find this a rich resource.

Creating Clips: The option to create short clips from a podcast is so handy for class projects. No more fussing about trying to find the exact starting point for the bit you want to play. For example, that  story about polar bears starts about 30 minutes into a Science Friday podcast. Listen and note the start and stop time for the story.  Enter times in the clip editing box and click Create a Clip. There’s even a Preview button to fine tune your timing.

When the clip is created, you have a URL for the clip that to copy, email or share directly via social media.  (And here’s that polar bear audio clip.)

Listen Later and Add to iTunes:  Click the Listen Later option to  create a list of selected episodes. Listen Later automatically creates an RSS feed for all your saved episodes. Go to your Listen Late page to find the RSS feed URL, copy it and add it to your favorite podcatcher software. Your episodes will show up in podcatcher. Add more episodes to your Listen Later list and they’ll show up in your podcatcher too.

Here’s how to add that RSS feed in iTunes: 

listennotes itunes rss

Other options include downloading episodes, sharing via social media, embedding episodes on other websites and listening to the podcast right from Listen Notes.