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Showing posts from March, 2016

Musical Google Slides

Can you add music to Google Slides? This is a common question I receive from individuals that prefer Microsoft Office over Google. The simple answer is...no. None of the Google Apps products are as robust as their Microsoft counterparts. They aren't intended to be either. When using Google Apps, collaboration is king. If an educator really wants to make the most of the Google line-up, fancy transitions and additional features will not be found here. Take advantage of the fact that students can work on a project simultaneously. 
This topic all came about because one of my teachers had created a Slides presentation with text and images for an event after school. They merely wanted the information posted in slideshow format so that music could play in the background. I needed to find an alternative option quickly because the event was the very next evening!  Need a photo slideshow?  Something to consider is that Google Slides is not necessarily intended to be a photo slideshow. So w…

Teacher Tech Tip - Gmail Priority Inbox

What's a Teacher Tech Tip? I decided to start a new series dedicated to quick technology tips that teachers should know. The idea is that it will somehow streamline and simplify the life of a teacher. The idea came to fruition due to a saying one of my dear former colleagues (Angie Sibert of North Side Elementary) used to say to me every time I showed her a little trick on her device. Angie would always say, "After a few minutes with you, you've changed my whole life!" 
Every week, I will push out a technology tip that will help to improve your work environment with technology. I promise that it will only take you five minutes or less to view. I would also like for teachers to submit their techie tips. I'd be happy to edit and publish them for you. Feel free to send a message my way if you want to submit a teacher tech tip!
Gmail Priority Inbox Just using the Inbox in Gmail is messy. It is hard to keep track of items. You read emails get all mixed in with other …

Comic Slips

The Exit SlipExit slips are a great way to check student understanding after a lesson. Asking a simple question as students are getting ready to leave can help a teacher do a number of things to improve the learning experience for students. For starters, the teacher can simply use the data to determine the quality of the lesson. Whether the students were engaged or not, the teacher has the opportunity to reflect on his/her practice. Second, the teacher can use the data to determine the next steps in teaching. Does a topic need more attention or do you need to accelerate the content? Exit slips are necessary bits of information to help guide that decision. The most important reason is for the purpose of differentiation. Teachers can use the data to create differentiated experiences. Which students can move along with more challenging/independent content? Which students need more small group or individual attention?
There are lots of different questions you can ask students to get them …

Class Blog with Google Sites

Got blogs?  I love class blogs. When I taught fourth grade five years ago, I had students blog about reading. Students would write book reviews, share their comprehension strategies, and carry conversations about articles related to science topics we were covering in class. A few days per week, we'd scoot down to the computer lab and share our thoughts. I also had five PC's in the back of the classroom where students could rotate in and out if they were itching to tell about their latest read. My students loved it, and I loved it as well because all my students' thoughts about reading were in one place! The lines of communication were powerful. 
Fast forward a few years and along came Kidblog.org. What an awesome platform for student blogging! The activity stream down the middle was perfect for teachers to check the latest activity. The controls it gave teachers were awesome as many similar blogging platforms were starting to charge for many of the features Kidblog gave f…

Google Domics

Comics! Comics in the classroom are awesome. Students (and teachers) can utilize comics to explain about any learning concept. There are also a ton of great tools for creating comics online! One of my personal favorites is Pixton. In fact, it is the tool I used to make some pretty cool comics promoting digital citizenship with a character I created by the name of Mr. Noble.  I had won a free one-year membership and took advantage of it. :)

Tools like Pixton are very cool, but what if you wanted to make comics out of real objects? With the combination of Google Drawings and Webcam Toy, users can create comics with any real object! Webcam Toy has a great comic book image filter. After taking a picture with webcam toy, the user can upload the image to Google Drawings and add speech bubbles and captions. Instant comic!

Google domics!  In my first video, I demonstrate how you can take pictures from your webcam using Webcam Toy and import them into a comic template that I created in Google…

Rock the Animated Hyperdoc

Hyperdocs are more fun when they are
One of the simplest and most powerful ways to integrate Google Apps for Education is to utilize a hyperdoc. It provides a collaborative space for students to work. It creates a space for students to stay organized not overwrite on each other's workspace. There are a lot of great options for students to work together in an online space, but Google Apps for Education schools have a simple solution already in their possession...the Google Doc. (Start here if you've never made a hyperdoc.)

Last week, I posted about including a Google Drawing right within a hyperdoc. With Google Drawings, students can quickly annotate an image and insert it directly into the Google Doc. This speeds up the process so that students do not have to create a completely separate Google Drawing, download it and drag it into the document. The other big advantage is that students can edit the drawing directly in the document if a mistake is made. This reduces the amount of…

Blogger for Students - Make a Class Blog

Newsletters... Newsletters...do you still make them? I absolutely hated writing newsletters. I shouldn't say that I hated writing them, but I hated the fact that I was putting so much time into it and knew that it would either end up in the trash or digested in a student's backpack. (It never seemed to come out in one piece.) I really came to two conclusions about newsletters:  Parents didn't read them because it wasn't really convenient. My daughter's 3rd grade teacher posts in a Facebook group regularly, and I love it. I already check Facebook. It is great when it just pops up in my feed. If you aren't a Facebook user, parents can also follow feeds on Twitter or Instagram. Parents didn't read newsletters because they weren't relevant. Would it have been different had the students had ownership of the newsletter? Yes! I had parents visiting my website frequently because I had examples of class projects, and I had students helping with the updates.  Cla…