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Showing posts from May, 2019

Keep Your Comments To Yourself?

Most of you know that creating comments in a Google Document is a valuable feature that allows teachers to provide helpful feedback to students when grading their work. You also know that retyping comments for each document is a whole lot of work.

Rather than typing each comment over and over again, some of you have created a list of comments that live in a Word, Pages or Google Doc somewhere. This is cool, but you still have to toggle back and forth between windows or tabs. This is where Google Keep comes into play.

Google Keep is integrated into Google Docs, which makes this process a breeze. There are a few easy steps you must take now, so that you can give more time in your day to that special person...you.

Using Google Keep for grading comments is so easy! Watch the video to learn how.
Google Classroom Users Well, that's fine and dandy for those of you who aren't using Google Classroom. Here's why? Google Classroom has it's own built-in comment bank feature. The crowd…

Padlet: The Game Changer

Game changer: a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way. You know what they are when you see them. Crocs, the electric toothbrush, sliced bread, ear plugs and mouthwash are a few that come to mind. While we're at it, let's add Padlet to the list. You see, Padlet is a website and app that allows kiddos to post videos, audio, text, links, documents and images to a virtual bulletin board. Sounds pretty fabulous doesn't it? Before we move on, you should understand why I sometimes capitalize the "p" in Padlet and other times, I don't. The uppercase Padlet refers to the website and app. The lowercase padlet refers to the individual boards that you create. Let us continue. Set Up and Settings There are a handful of settings that allow you to personalize your padlet. Upon creating a padlet, you'll be asked to organize with a layout. Choose from Wall, Canvas, Steam, Grid, Shelf or Backchannel. Then, you c…

Go Digital With Your Classroom Charts

I assume that storage is an issue in your classroom. I mean, your secret snacks, Keurig cups and yoga mat take up more room than you'd think. Now, if you throw in a fat stack of classroom charts on top of it all, you have yourself a bonafide disaster zone.

One way to alleviate this problem, without losing the secret stash of Abba-Zabas, is to go digital with your charts. Simply begin taking pictures of the charts you know you'll want to reuse next year, and either store them on your phone or create a blog.

You can use Blogger to create your blog. It's FREE, it's easy and it's what I use for this blog. Here are the initial steps to beginning your beautiful blog.
Visit www.blogger.com and click Sign In.Sign in with your district Google account.On the left, click the Down arrow.Click New blog and enter a name for your blog.Choose a blog address or URL.Select a template. (I recommend Dynamic View for this blog.)Click Create blog.Voila! You have a blog! Now it's time t…

FlipGrid Fever...Catch it!

FlipGrid Fever has been an epidemic in educational technology over the last two years! Teachers and students cannot get enough of this valuable, shallow learning curve, high impact resource, and it's time you jump on the bandwagon. It's sort of like that time in high school when everybody was wearing their clothes backwards because of Kris Kross, and you finally joined the fad only to realize it was on its way out. Don't be that person again.
FlipGrid is a video discussion platform that allows educators to post a prompt that students then respond to by recording videos ranging from 15 seconds to 5 minutes in length. But wait, there's more! Students can then reply to each other's videos. And don't worry, you have total control of student responses with video moderation, access controls and more.

Getting started is easy.
Sign up for your FREE FlipGrid account at flipgrid.com.
     Create your grid: This is your classroom.
     Add discussion Topics: They add the first…

Google Classroom: Work Smarter Not Harder

Have you been thinking about saving trees by cutting back on paper usage in your classroom? If your answer is yes, you may want to consider utilizing Google Classroom. Many of our 2nd-12th grade teachers have taken the plunge and are now beginning to see the benefits. Gone are the days of lugging around back breaking crates loaded with spiral notebooks. Now, you can easily grade assignments with your mobile device, while enjoying some smooth jazz at your local coffee house.
Google for Education has a site that is extremely helpful in our cause to work smarter not harder. Here's the link. Follow it if you know what's good for you. I really love the9 short videos from the Teachers Lounge at the bottom of the page. They are extremely lovely in their succinctness. 
Video 1 of 9
Ok, so maybe watching videos isn't your cup of tea. Perhaps you prefer reading through material to gain deeper understanding of a new topic or skill. You're in luck! Go ahead and check out these additi…

How To Make GMail Look Like Outlook

Many school districts are annoying teachers by making the move from Outlook to GMail. While this may cause uneasy feelings deep in your core, it makes sense people. GMail is FREE! Come on now, it's free. I can think of more productive ways of spending district funds like an onsite masseuse, therapist and barista, all of which are very necessary components to a teacher's happiness.  One way to ease the pain of losing our precious Outlook is to make GMail resemble Outlook. It's kind of like cloning the one that got away but not nearly as creepy. Here's how.



Book Creator: Elegance In Its Simplicity

Let me tell you something. Book Creator has become an instant favorite of mine this year. I've used it in the past, but maybe I just wasn't ready for it until now. You know, kind of like vegetables. Anyhow, I've used it with students on iPads and Chromebooks, both without any issues and with various grade levels as well. I recently taught some second graders how to create animal eBooks on Chromebooks, and they picked it up almost instantly. With a small learning curve for both teachers and students, you should give Book Creator a look see.  After reading the compelling paragraph above, I'm guessing that you think you have to pay for Book Creator. Well, for the first time in your life, you're wrong! It's free. Teachers get one free library that includes 40 books with unlimited pages. Click here for more pricing options.
The word on the street is that Book Creator is only geared for elementary students, but don't believe the gossip. This bad boy is absolutely a…

Alternatives to YouTube

Richard Byrne, at Practical Ed Tech, is one of the educational tech bloggers that I highly recommend you follow. This dude has provided me with an abundance of knowledge that has gotten me to heights I have reached. Wait a minute, scratch that last statement. His blog posts "should have" gotten me to great heights, but I digress. Anyways, this recent post caught my eye. 
If you've ever tried finding educational videos on YouTube, you know that it can lead you down a rabbit hole. Dear Richard has found some alternatives for us! What a guy? Here are my three faves plus a fantastic tool to eliminate ads and comments from appearing on YouTube videos.
Boclips
I'm a huge fan of using videos to hook and engage students because let's be honest here, not all of our lessons are brag worthy. Am I right? Sometimes, we need all the help we can get. This is where Boclips comes into play. The videos are safe, relevant, age-appropriate and Boclips claims to have the largest library…

50 Ways to Use Screencastify

A screencast is a cool video recording of your computer screen and usually includes audio narration and sometimes, if you're lucky, a webcam window of the radical creator of said video. You know what I'm talking 'bout.

Over the past year, the Screencastify team has scoured the internet and talked to a ton of teachers in search of the best classroom screencasting ideas out there. This ebook is a collection of their favorite activities that can be implemented by any teacher. The latest version of this book at screencastify.com/ebook. And if you think that's all I've got for you, then you're horribly mistaken. Here's a link to Screencastify's tutorial page:Screencastify Tutorial Library.