Digital Word Wall or Class Dictionary

Last year I decided to move my word wall online using Google Slides. Having a digital word wall or class dictionary online made it easy to manage and not to mention there was less cutting and pasting and words were instantly on our shared word wall–not just by myself but by students as well! See below for a template you can use to start your own.

Why Go Digital With Your Word Wall?

  • You can collaborate and invite your whole class to be involved in the process.
  • Words can be added instantly.
  • Students have access from home or school. (I created an easy to remember “” URL so my students have easy access from anywhere). 
    • You can make one per subject or by class if you teach rotary subjects.
  • Words can easily be manipulated, copied or rearranged because it’s all digital.
  • You can still have it “visible” to students on a computer screen in the class or projector if you’re not 1:1 (I have one dedicated older desktop that always has the word wall on for students to use whenever needed).
  • It’s easier than the traditional word wall.


Other Ways To Use Your Digital Word Wall

  • Use it to promote inventive spelling.
  • Add extra slides at the end for thematic words.
  • Create a Math or Science vocabulary word wall related to units of study.
  • Have individual students make personal dictionaries for personalized word lists.
  • Make different language Word Walls.
  • The options are endless!

I used Google Slides to create my digital word wall, each page is a letter of the alphabet and I inserted a table grid on each slide where students add the words.

Mrs. Geek Chic - Digital Word Wall

Mrs. Geek Chic - Digital Word Wall


It’s easy enough to create your own but I’ve got a template HERE that you can grab a copy of and use or modify to your classroom needs.

Have fun making your very own digital word wall or online dictionary for your classes!

Google Drawings Templates

Google Drawings is one of my favourite G Suite tools for getting creative with students. I love using it to create easy to use templates for my classes, especially at the beginning of the year or in the early years when they need some motivation to get their work started. Google Drawings Templates are easy to use and easy for teachers to make. The latest project with my grade 4 & 5 media literacy classes was to create infographics about digital citizenship and online safety.

I gave the template below to each student and away they went creating their amazing infographics. I instructed them to drag some icons onto the canvas and to add text, colours and fonts to create their final products.

Infographic Google Drawings Template - Mrs Geek Chic

The template helped them get started and avoided the time that is sometimes wasted when students are searching for the perfect images. Of course, I allow them to search for images if they need something specific for their project. I consider the template to be a nice starting point and less intimidating than a blank canvas.

Click here for your own copy of the Infographic Template.

Here are a few examples of what my students came up with while using the infographic template as a starting point:


How to make a Google Drawings Template?

1) Open a new Google Drawing. Use the margins to your advantage!
2) Insert images or text related to what you want the students to create or learn.
3) Place (and resize if needed) the images or text in the margins.
4) Assign through Google Classroom or force make a copy and give students the link.
5) Now students can drag the images and text onto the canvas and easily get creating!

For more info about Google Drawings and step-by-step tutorials check out my Google Drawings 101 blog post.


How else can I use Google Drawings Templates?


Green screening

Try a template for easy-peasy green screening!
Green Screen Google Drawings Template - Mrs Geek Chic

For more information about how to make your own green screen template see my post titled Free & Easy Green Screen Editing.


School Posters

Have a school event coming up? Make a poster template like the one below. I like to use black & white so when we print to hang them up in the halls the students can colour them in.

Movie Poster Template Google Drawings - Mrs Geek Chic


Math Template

Why not try using a template as a digital space to work out a math problem? Here’s an example where I’ve added the question and the digital manipulatives the students could use to help solve and think about the problem.

Math Google Drawings Template - Mrs Geek Chic

I’m all about using G Suite tools to support student learning and creativity — Google Drawings Templates helps me do just that!

Have a template idea? Please share! Have fun getting creative with Google Drawings!


Free & Easy Green Screen Editing – How to Make Transparent Backgrounds

Your Green Screen Editing Just Got Easier!

Ever wanted to remove the background from an image for free without a tablet or a paid App? You can! I’m going to share two ways you can easily do green screen editing regardless of the device you have!

This post will cover 2 different ways to make transparent backgrounds, one for Mac/iPad/iPhone users and one for online photo editing with Chromebooks or other non-iOS devices!

For Mac/iPad/iPhone Users:

There is a feature called Instant Alpha that is available in both Pages and Keynote. That’s the magical (free!) tool that will allow you to take your green screen editing to the next level! Pages and Keynote are two different Apple programs that are available as built-in Apps on both Mac computers and iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), this green screen editing tip will work in both.

Instant Alpha green screen editing

Follow these 5 simple steps to get started with Instant Alpha:

  1. Open Pages or Keynote App (included as built-in App) or download them from the iTunes App Store if you don’t have them.
  2. Start a new document. Import an image with a solid background colour, make sure it’s selected (click on it).
  3. Click on the “Image” tab on the right side of the screen, then “Instant Alpha” button.
  4. Put your cursor on the background colour you want to remove, hold and slide your cursor to select the percentage you want to be taken out. Anything that turns purple will become transparent when you let go. Do this until the entire background colour is gone.
  5. Click “Done” at the bottom and voilà, your background is now transparent!

 Here’s a more detailed how-to tutorial video of Instant Alpha in action:


For Chromebook or Web-based Users:

For this background removal, the method is similar, but it’s all done online via the web browser of your choice which makes it ideal for any 1:1 Chromebook classrooms with no access to tablets! The website I used for this green screen editing technique is called LunaPic. It’s a fully web-based photo editor with many other options, but for this post, we will just concentrate on the background removal or “transparent” option. Thank you to Sandra Chow for first introducing me to LunaPic.
How to remove backgrounds from photos online - Lunapic

Follow these 5 simple steps to get started with LunaPic:

  1. Visit the LunaPic online editor, click here.
  2. Scroll down and click on the ‘transparent’ link.
  3. Next, you have a choice of either uploading an image or providing a URL to an image. Do whichever suits your needs.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions and click on the background to remove it and make it transparent. You can then slide the threshold to remove more or less of the colour you picked.
  5. Click the ‘save’ link on the bottom left and the photo will download to your hard drive. You could also choose to share via several social media channels. That’s it!

Here’s a more detailed how-to tutorial video of LunaPic in action:

Now that you have these skills how can you use them?

App-smash!! Put your newly created images into Google Drawings add a background and have students create stories, poems, (fake) newspaper articles, greeting cards, funny memes, postcards, movie posters, PSAs, ads or even put Halloween costumes into context — the possibilities are endless, really!

Be creative and have fun!

Green Screen Editing with G Suite!

Once you get the hang of it, why not try participating in Pic Forward, a Global Green Screen Challenge by my grade 4 & 5 students for other students around the world? It’s thanks to Pic Forward that I’m learning and creating easier ways to use green screen editing in the classroom. I came up with Pic Forward Templates, which are all-in-one one-stop-shop green screen editing canvases using Google Drawings.
Pic Forward Template How-to infographic

Here’s a step-by-step how-to tutorial video that you can share with
students to help get started with #PicForward creating:

Check out our project at, consider participating with your students just grab June’s template here: (new templates coming once a month!) and start getting creative!

So…as my students would say, “What’s YOUR Green?”. Have fun with the green screen editing and please share your creations using the #PicForward hashtag.

Thanks for reading!

Flippity Add-on for Google Sheets

Are you a teacher looking for a fun and easy way to make online class groupings, flash cards, quiz game templates and more for your classroom? Look no further, check out the Flippity Add-On for Google Sheets!

Step-by-step instructions:

1) Open Google Sheets.
2) Click “Add-ons” > “Get add-ons…”

Flippity Add-on Mrs. Geek Chic

3) Search the word “Flippity” in the Add-ons search (top right).
4) Click on the blue “FREE” button to add the Add-on.

Flippity Add-On Mrs. Geek Chic

5) Go back into Google Sheets. Click “Add-ons” > Flippity > Pick a template. (I chose Quiz Show)

Flippity Add-On Mrs. Geek Chic

6) Edit your template to add quiz show questions that match your subject/curriculum.

Flippity Add-On Mrs. Geek Chic

7) Once finished editing the template to your needs, click “Add-ons” > “Flippity” > URL

Flippity Add-On Mrs. Geek Chic

8) Click on the blue link to activate your template and start playing your quiz game. Here’s a French Quiz Show I made about the movie “Le petit Nicolas”. You’ll notice you can change the number of teams at the bottom with the + – buttons, and there are even sound effects for correct/wrong answers!


Flippity Add-On Mrs. Geek Chic

Flippity Add-on’s Random Name Picker

The Random Name Picker in the Flippity Add-on is another great template tool for classrooms! Follow the same steps above, except for this one (step 6) you edit in the names of the students in your class on the Google Sheet. You’ll be able to easily make groups or teams in the click of a button! Here’s a short video of the name picker in action:

You can also try and see demos of the templates from the website.

Thanks to Kim Pollishuke for introducing me to Flippity with her winning BIT Slam at Bring IT Together Conference 2016! I also took home a demo slam win with Flippity Add-On at TDSB’s Google Camp in March 2017. If that doesn’t prove how flippin’ awesome this tool is, I don’t know what else will. Give it a try!

#tdsbEd Twitter Chat Celebrates 1 Year!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since Arianna and I embarked on the #tdsbEd Twitter Chat adventure! Our goal has been to connect, share and learn with other TDSB Educators because we know that as teachers our best resource is one another!

#tdsbEd sketchnote @MrsGeekChic
Larissa’s sketchnote from #tdsbEd Chat on February 23, 2017.

Throughout the past year, we’ve hosted #tdsbEd chats on a variety of relevant topics and subjects areas and many amazing resources, ideas and thoughts have been shared. Along with the sharing came connecting and building relationships that we may not have made outside the realm of Twitter. All of the chats have been archived on our website here.

#tdsbEd 1 Year @MrsGeekChic

On Thursday, April 6th we Celebrated #tdsbEd’s 1st Birthday with a live face-to-face gathering & Twitter Chat at the TDSB Board Office. It was such a great way to celebrate and meet the “tweeps” we had only (for the most part) communicated with online virtually! A huge thank you to Peter Singh & Carlo Di Felice for supporting us with this celebration and for supplying the location, food and refreshments!
#tdsbEd 1 Year @MrsGeekChic

Thank you to everyone who has made #tdsbEd Twitter Chat what it is today, especially our guest moderators and participants who make it great!

Here’s a list of all of the #tdsbEd Twitter Chats from the past year:

  • Spring’s Here! Get Active – 20/4/17
    Guest moderator George Kourtis @HPE_TDSB 
  • #tdsbEd Turns 1! – Celebrating 1 Year of Connecting, Sharing & Learning Together – 6/4/17
  • Teaching with Tech – 23/3/17
  • The Arts – 9/3/17
  • Sketchnoting with Sylvia Duckworth – 23/2/17
    Guest moderator Sylvia Duckworth @SylviaDuckworth
  • Picture Books To Spark Innovation – 9/2/17
  • There’s More to G Suite Edu – 26/1/17
  • Goal Setting & The Work-Life Balance – 12/1/17
  • Engaging Learners in Mathematics – 15/12/16
  • Inquiry in the Classroom – 1/12/16
    Special guest Trevor MacKenzie @trev_mackenzie
  • Coding in the Classroom – 17/11/16
    – Guest moderator Biran Aspinall @MrAspinall
  • French as a Second Language – 3/11/16
    – Guest moderator Deborah Zamin @D_Zamin
  • Blogs & Classroom Websites – 20/10/16
  • Assessment & Evaluation – 6/10/16
  • Differentiation – 22/9/16
    – Guest moderators Holly Sharpe @HollyinTO & Lori Moore @LoriMoore674
  • Back to School – Building the Classroom Community – 8/9/16
  • Digital Portfolios for Students & Teachers – 11/8/16
  • Digital Tools for Teachers – 14/7/16
  • Professional Learning in the Summer – 30/6/16
  • The Library – Your Connection to Amazing Resources – 16/6/16
              – Guest moderator Lisa Radha Weaver @TDSBLibrary
  • #GAFE in the Classroom & Schools – 2/6/16
  • Digital Citizenship – 19/5/16
              – Guest moderator Diana Hale @
  • Mindfulness in Schools – 5/5/16
  • STEAM & the Maker Movement – 21/4/16
  • Innovation in Education – 7/4/16
  • Teaching & Learning with Technology – 29/3/16

During one of our recent #tdsbEd Twitter Chats, we introduced a fun #TwitterDemoSlam where participants shared a quick tech tip or trick in 140 characters.
Check them all out using the hashtag #TwitterDemoSlam!
Here’s mine:
#twitterdemoslam Larissa Aradj @MrsGeekChic

We look forward to continuing to grow the #tdsbEd Twitter Chat family and PLN. Collaborating, connecting and communicating make a difference to transform teaching and learning!

If you would like to contribute ideas for future chat topics please fill in this form.

Don’t forget to follow @tdsbEdChat and hashtag #tdsbEd every second Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Our next chat will be on The Global Competencies on May 4th. Hope to see you online!

BreakoutEDU Digital – Online Escape Games for Students

Want a fun activity for your class that promotes communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity? Check out BreakoutEDU Digital Online Escape Games!

What is it exactly?

  • An online digital escape game co-founded by Justin Birckbichler and Mari Venturino
  • Based on the BreakoutEDU kit educational games from James Sanders & Mark Hammons
  • All is organized and played on one website
  • Google Forms are used to make the locks (using data validation) and embedded into Google Sites
  • Games promote problem-solving, collaboration and can tie into any curriculum area
  • Find online clues that unlock the different types of locks in the Google Form on the site (you don’t need to find the locks in any particular order!)
  • Click around, find links, read carefully and use your “escape room” mindset to break out
  • All you need is an internet connection and a link to one of the games

Give it a try!

I’ve created two bilingual similar (but not identical!) games for a recent conference presentation. Feel free to try them out yourself or with your students.

Converse Confusion Online Escape Games - Larissa Aradj Le méli-mélo des Converse Online Escape Games - Larissa Aradj
English version: Converse Confusion (

French (FSL) version: Le méli-mélo des Converse (

Here are some photos of TDSB Google Camp attendees posing after successfully breaking out!
Online Escape Games - Larissa Aradj French Online Escape Games - Larissa Aradj
I made the posters for the purpose of posing for celebration photos. You can find the folder to download and print them here or by clicking on the shared folder below.

Breakout Posters - Converse


As I mentioned above, these games are an amazing way to promote collaboration, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, critical thinking, creativity for students…and the list goes on!

I also love that as I listen to conversations while my students are playing, I can immediately hear:

  • Who my leaders are
  • Who needs to work on leadership skills
  • Who needs to work on growth mindset
  • Who my good communicators are
  • Who thinks outside the box
  • Who gives up right away (this has never actually happened because they’re always so engaged and eager to figure it out!)

For more online escape games check out the BreakoutEDU Digital site and the Sandbox for crowdsourced games by teachers like you and me! Sylvia Duckworth has also created some amazing TEAM Digital Breakouts with a Canadian theme (both French & English versions, too!), check them out and read all about it here.

If you’d like to know more and learn how to make BreakoutEDU Digital online escape games yourself please check out my presentation slide deck below inspired by & 

Thanks for reading. Happy breakout’ing, hope you enjoy these online escape games!

Larissa Aradj

Pic Forward Global Green Screen Challenge

Pic Forward Logo Mrs. Geek Chic

What is Pic Forward?

Pic Forward is a global green screen challenge for students, teachers and schools. The idea is to have people all around the world edit our monthly green screen photos, then to “Pic Forward” or “pass it on” via social media to other classes so they can participate too. My grade 4 & 5 students are leading this project and want to try to spread creativity around the globe.

So far we’ve had Pic Forward participants from 7 countries! Check out our participant map below:

How Can You Participate?

Taking part is easy, all you need is an editing app and some creativity! The website I built with my grade 4 & 5 students has everything you need in order to participate in our Pic Forward Global Green Screen Challenge! My classes made an introduction video, nomination videodigital flyers, rules, and a “how-to edit” page to help promote the project. You can check out what previous participants have created here. Interested? Please fee free to follow us on social media channels –  @PicForward on Twitter, @PicForward on Instagram and Facebook. We hope you’ll be in touch!


Pic Forward How-to @MrsGeekChic

Pic Forward Templates – Edit Your Green Screen Images with G Suite

Pic Forward Template How-to

Here’s a video tutorial you can share with your students to help them get started with Pic Forward Templates, it’s easy peasy!

If you’d like to learn how to make transparent backgrounds using iOS, Chromebooks, or any device check out this blog post.

Check out to participate in the fun today, we can’t wait to meet you and see your creations!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How it All Started

During our school’s Halloween celebration last year many students were dressed in amazing and original costumes. I decided to capture their creativity on camera, so I pulled out my homemade green screen, hung it up in the gym and took pictures of dressed up students in front of it. They loved that we could change the background to add context to their costumes!

I wrote a post on our Lord Lansdowne PS school blog to share all of the Halloween green screened photos, you can check that out here. The children loved it so much that I wanted to come up with a way to continue this beyond Halloween!

It was actually a physical education challenge called Burp It On  that my students and I had participated in the year before that inspired the idea to go global with Pic Forward. I thought, why not take photos in front of the green screen then see what backgrounds other students and teachers around the world would put into them. It was like a modern-day Flat Stanley or Postcard Pete, do you remember them? (Thanks, Michelle Armstrong for making this connection and reminding me of our old-school paper friends!) By participating and running Pic Forward my students get to travel the world without leaving our classroom, plus it lent to creating potential relationships and collaboration with classes in other provinces, states, and countries.

Curriculum Connections

As a Media Literacy teacher, my goal is to encourage my students to make responsible and positive decisions regarding their use of technology. Many of my lessons are centered around {digital} citizenship, positive digital footprints, healthy living/relationships and global competencies. My overall teaching goal is for my students to be excellent global citizens online and in life in general. I can’t think of a better way to introduce these topics than with an authentic project where we can think critically about social media and our uses of digital tools.

Some of the main themes and topics my classes will touch on through the course of this year-long project are:
Digital Citizenship
Internet Safety
Problem Solving
Digital Fluency
Reading and Writing
Media Forms & Literacy
Positive Digital Footprints
Healthy Living
Critical and Creative Skills
Global Citizenship & Character

You’re nominated! What’s your green??

A huge thank you to everyone who has already taken part in our project, we’re looking forward to many more creative pics in the future.Pic Forward Student Blog

My students recently decided they want to share their Green Screen learning with a student blog. Check it out here:

Check out more info about Pic Forward when I appeared on the TLC Ninja Teachers podcast here.

*Update* Our Pic Forward project will be featured in Todd Burleson’s new book that is set to launch in November 2017 entitled The Green Screen Maker Space Project Book – McGraw Hill. 

Happy green screening!

Là où je dors – An Interactive Website and Videos for FSL Classrooms

With the updates to the FSL curriculum in Ontario, we now have Listening and Speaking as two separate strands instead of the previous stand-alone “Oral” strand. For the Listening portion of the curriculum, I’ve found TFO’s Idéllo platform to be a great place for students to watch controlled content videos and for teachers to find ample resources, all in French. You can search for videos by grade level, subject, type, theme or skill – there are so many to choose from! Another bonus is that it’s free if your school board has a subscription. One of my favourite video series from Idéllo also has its own website, it’s called “Là où je dors“, and it is completely free.

Là où je dors is an interactive website with a selection of videos of Francophone children from all over the world who each give a glimpse into their lives and bedrooms. I love that this site exposes my students to several French accents and dialects that they wouldn’t necessarily hear here in Toronto.

Here’s a look at the website:

I had my students begin with the ‘Carte du monde’ tab in order to explore what areas of the world the Francophone children were from. Each star is a location on the map that features information and videos about specific children.
Là où je dors CARTE - Mrs. Geek Chic

When you click on the “Chambres” tab you can see an interactive photo of the children’s bedrooms. Certain items in the photo are hyperlinked and you can read about the objects in the room. The child’s name appears on the left and you can choose to view their video or click “Son Histoire” to look at one-page overviews of their story.

Là où je dors - Mrs. Geek Chic

Here’s an example of the one-page overviews, you can choose the tabs along the top to view “Son pays”, “Sa maison”, “Ses passions” or “Bric-à-brac” – there’s one for each Francophone child.

Là où je dors - Mrs. Geek Chic

There’s more! Within the Idéllo platform, you can find “à l’écoute” downloadable PDF teaching tools (les fiches) that go along with each of the Là où je dors videos. They include curriculum links, language acquisition strategies, assessment suggestions and lesson ideas. Here’s an example of one of the many “fiches” available for this video series.

Là où je dors FICHES - Mrs. Geek Chic

To find the above PDFs sign into your Idéllo account at (top right) –> search “Là où je dors” in the “Search by Keywords” field (top right) –> go to “Filter” (on the left) –> click “Type” –> Check off “Thematic Folder” and you’ll see them in the results (page 2-6 of results because the videos show up on page 1). Here’s a gif to walk you through it.

Last month I was featured in their French publication called Idéllo Magazine in the “Coup de coeur” section, I wrote about “Là où je dors”.

idello Là où je dors Magazine Mrs. Geek Chic

Là où je dors Magazine -Mrs. Geek Chic

Here’s the link to the full online Idéllo Magazine from December:

I’m heading to TFO’s Les Tablettistes Conference in Ottawa on Friday, looking forward to a great day of bilingual learning!

Give Là où je dors and Idéllo a try, I’m sure your students will enjoy them as much as mine do!

Two TDSB teachers selected for prestigious Google Certified Innovator Program #TOR16

Recently the Toronto District School Board published a Web Story about our Google Certified Innovator accomplishment. It’s an honour to be recognized along with Zélia Capitão-Tavares!

Google Certified Innovator Web Story
Here’s the link to the full Web Story:

I also previously wrote two blog posts about my journey to GCI: Mindset Matters and some Takeaways from the Innovator Academy.

2016 was an amazing year for me professionally, looking forward to what’s to come in 2017!

Happy New Year to all!

Google Drawings 101

Larissa's Google Drawings 101 | Mrs. Geek ChicGoogle Drawings is one of my favourite G Suite tools, it truly is the ultimate blank canvas. Not to mention, everything I show in these tutorials about images, cropping, WordArt, etc. can also be used in Google Slides!

What is Google Drawings?

  • Don’t let the name fool you, you don’t need to be an artist or amazing drawer or artist to use this tool–I’m not!
  • Drawings is a simple GAFE/G Suite  tool in which you can:
    • annotate on visuals and photos;
    • create illustrations, posters, graphic organizers, digital manipulatives and more.
  • Think of it as Google’s version of “Paint”…but better!

How can you use Google Drawings in your classroom?

Google Drawings Examples | Mrs. Geek Chic

Outside of the classroom and school context, I use Google Drawings often for creating things like logos, blog banners, social media flyers, photo collages, promotional posters, website icons and buttons, the list goes on. It’s a very versatile G Suite tool that can be used for almost anything!

Based on postive feedback from my “The Ultimate Blank Canvas – Creating wtih Google Drawings 101” workshop, I made some YouTube tutorials to compliment that training session.

Here are my 5 Google Drawings 101 tutorial videos: Intro & Shapes, All About Images, Creating with Shapes, WordArt and Shadowing Letters and How to Crop Into Shapes. Check them out below or on my YouTube Channel.


Here’s the Slide Deck from my training session:

Hoping this post helps you get creative and you enjoy Google Draw as much as I do.

Happy digital drawing!