Finding Inspiration With Google Reader

Recently I wrote about creating math projects using “seeds” found on the internet. Finding these seeds is, naturally, a huge challenge. There’s a big internet out there!

To efficiently track the sites I like, I use Google Reader. Google Reader, which is completely free, enables you to subscribe to your favorite sites, keeping all sites’ updates in one location. Every time I visit Reader, I immediately see the most recent updates from all of the sites I’m interested in.

If you use Gmail or any other Google products, just head over to and you’ll already be signed up. If not, then it is free to start an account.

What It Looks Like

Here’s a blank Google Reader screen: GoogleReader

And here’s my current Reader’s screen: FullReader The left column displays a list of my subscriptions and the large right column displays the most recent updates from all my sites in chronological order, newest first.

Powered By RSS

Google Reader is powered by a technology called RSS, represented by this orange icon, which you might start noticing on your favorite sites: RssIcon

Examples In The Wild

Sites of all shapes and sized offer RSS subscriptions.

Here is the RSS subscription option on Tamara Fisher’s Unwrapping The Gifted website: Unwrapping

And here it is on Dan Meyer’s website: DanMeyer

The Not Just Child’s Play blog also features RSS subscriptions, although it’s down at the bottom: MsTrayers

And finally, here’s the New York Times RSS subscription page: NyTimes

Just look for terms like RSS, Feeds, or Subscribe. Nearly all websites – big and small – offer this feature (including Byrdseed)!

Hooking Into Google Reader

After clicking on any of those RSS links, you’ll be wooshed to a page asking you to pick a Feed Reader: 2ndStep

You’ll click on the Google button, and then finally be taken back to Google Reader to confirm your subscription: Step3

The Best Part

Google Reader is convenient and free and lets you efficiently keep up with the web. Best of all, each subscription is commitment-free. If you dislike the site, you’re just two clicks away from unsubscribing. I keep over 100 sites in my feed reader and frequently add and delete.

My favorite feature is the “star” button, which allows you to save favorites for later reading. I often skim through all my updates, starring any which seem interesting, and then go back and peruse these starred items at my leisure.


Google Reader is a constant source of inspiration for my classroom. Definitely try it out.