Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Consolidating Docs

This time of year has us in a spot where we’ve got a LOT of stuff. Most teachers AND students are looking to consolidate and clean up before we head out for the summer. There’s a great tool from Alice Keeler that will automatically consolidate Google Doc work into one spreadsheet for us and our students. Just click here to get the template tool and check it out!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Drawing For Learning With AutoDraw

Illustrating is such a great way to demonstrate a concept. Sometimes I want to draw and show something & sometimes I want my kiddos to draw a concept to show how they are picturing it. However, I draw pictures as well as United Airlines draws passenger names “randomly”. Luckily, our friends at Google have tapped into some awesome artists to make a super simple, magical drawing tool that can make anyone look like DaVinci. Just go to autodraw.com and start drawing. Your task options are in the bottom left corner, color options are located in the bottom right and the smart images from which you can choose are located in a row along the top. Once you’re done with your masterpiece, just click the 3 hot dogs in the upper left to get action options where you can download it or share it through a variety of ways, including the simple “copy / paste” move. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ClipArt For Google Docs

I love free stuff, and one thing I miss the most about using Microsoft Office is clipart and the ability to grab any of its amazing, royalty free images while staying INSIDE the document. I know, kind of weird...but it’s one of those things where “you don’t know what you got 'til it’s gone.” There are definitely ways to get clip art for Google Docs, but here’s a cool way for you and your students to quickly get it, for FREE, WHILE staying INSIDE the doc. Check this out...just go into any Google Doc and click “Add-ons” up top. From there, choose “Get Add-ons” and type in “Open Clipart” in the search bar. Choose the Add-on and it will install. To use it, just choose this Add-on anytime you need to use it, and it will pop up on the right hand side for you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Survive & Advance: March Madness Class Tourney

It’s that time of year when I can’t remember winter break break, and I can’t see spring break. It’s the dog days of winter, just trying each day to survive and advance. Luckily, “survive & advance” is right around the corner w/ the NCAA tourney. I enjoy using this tourney to have a little competition in class with our content. Let me show you an example of a contest activity and tool I use in my classes to create our own tourney and spice it up a bit to help get us through this second half of winter. Click here for a link to the spreadsheet that you can make a copy of and use for yourself.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Download & Save Files To Chromebooks

Sometimes when our students are on their Chromebooks, trying to get creative and build a digital masterpiece, they face challenges with file downloading and saving because they are on a Chromebook and not a “normal” computer. Their Chromebooks actually DO have the capability to handle some file downloading and transferring, which can be used as a work-around if need be. Check out this little trick you can use with your kids to help them get past this stumbling block.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Google Classroom Individual Assignments

A new feature in Google Classroom has made it fantastically convenient for us teachers to individualize instruction. We can now assign tasks / projects / challenges to individual students within a class, instead of being locked into assigning everything to the entire class. I’ve also found that this gives us a great work around with group projects. In group projects, I am now picking one kid per group to be the “digital point person” and only those students receive the assignment. They share their copy with their partners for working purposes and then they turn it in when the task is completed. This keeps them and me more organized throughout the course. I love this new feature, and I hope you find it useful for yourself as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Gift Yourself A PLN This Holiday Season

The best gifts are the ones we give ourselves! The time for teaching on an island is over and education has so much to give and share. But, we can’t receive these gifts unless we open them up for ourselves. Twitter is a fantastic box to open for our professional growth and development as educators. No longer can we rely on others and “In-Service” days to solely help us get better...we need a Professional Learning Network of our own. If you’re not on Twitter, get yourself signed up and just follow. You don’t need to post or interact...just read and take and grow. Here are a few people and groups that I’d recommend following to start out with:
People - @alicekeeler  @gcouros  @rmbyrne  @mickie_mueller  @plugusin  @ cybraryman
Groups - @ice_il  @isteconnects  @googleforedu  @edtechteam

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Forms Data Collection...Reverse The Order

I am not a fan of Google forms collecting data by putting the newest entries at the bottom. I often reuse forms with my students (I have some that I’ve been using since 2012) and can’t stand having to scroll to row 750 to find today’s entries. However, if you create a second tab in the spreadsheet and plop a simple formula in cell A2...all can be fixed. The formula pulls from the original data entry tab. So, if you make sure that tab is named “ENTRY”, just use the following formula in cell A2 of the new tab and you’ll be good to go: =SORT(ENTRY!A2:H,1,FALSE)

The only thing you’ll really need to pay attention to are the items in red. 1. “ENTRY” needs to match up with the exact name of the original data collection tab. 2. “A2” is in fact the top left cell from which you want to start pulling data.  3. “H” is the furthest right column from which you want to pull data. Don’t put a number after “H” so that it will continue to pull data ALL THE WAY down column H, even as new entries come in.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By 35 years old, I’d had 3 close friends take their own lives. Whatever their struggles were, they felt that they were not equipped enough to go on...so they stopped. I was so angry at all three funerals. At each one, I couldn’t pinpoint my anger. There were moments where I was angry with them, moments where I was angry with other people, moments where I was angry with myself, and moments where I was angry at the dirt on the ground and clouds in the sky. I knew the direction of my anger was off about all of them. Finally, it clicked… I was angry about our culture’s lack of education and support for how to deal with struggles. So, instead of just being angry, I decided to do something about it with a twitter account and recently a TEDx Talk.

We do so much to set kids up for success, to help kids avoid failure, to build confidence through wins. We ask kids… “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” The intentions there are SO good, but the results are SO lacking. They ignore the reality that no matter how we protect our kids, they ARE going to fail, struggle, and become frustrated...A lot!  We need to put more effort into preparing kids to deal with the failure WHEN it happens, how to #GetUp from the struggles WHEN they occur, how to bounce back from the disappointments WHEN they set in.

What better time for us American adults to take advantage of the here and now, than now?!?!

This election process did not yield the result I wanted. I won’t go any further, politically, than that. There is an abundance of disappointment across this nation. Our kids are living it and watching it… but they’re also watching us! They are watching their parents, their teachers, their bosses, their coaches, their aunts and uncles and grandparents.

Over the last weeks, I heard so many adults, famous and less than famous, pre-emptively claim that they would be moving to another country if their candidate doesn’t win. And now I’m hearing so many pronounce the same declaration, reactively.

Image result for fork in the roadWHAT?!?!

This! Now! Here! Today! In our homes and schools and gyms and places of worship! This is our chance to show kids how to properly react to disappointment, losing, failing, and frustration. It’s NOT time to take our ball and go home. It’s time to BE AMERICA. We are NOT a nation of quitters! We dig down, play on the team that was picked for us, and make it as successful of a season as we can make it. If we don’t like a team-mate or our coach or our captain...we don’t HAVE to. But we do need to stop complaining, put our big boy shoes on, lace ‘em up, and play ball WITH them!

This “moving to another country” stuff is insane… joking or not, It’s for the quitter mindset. If we want to move to another country because we want to live in better weather, or experience a different culture, or be closer to family... Awesome!! But leaving this incredible nation (for sure we have faults) because we don’t like our new boss? Grow the… well, we need to grow up!

So, adults...parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, bosses, coaches...here we go! This is such an incredible opportunity, right now!! #GetUp and grab your boots & overalls and strap ‘em up! Please...I beg, let’s model for our kids HOW to #GetUp from this and keep moving forward. Let’s dig and grind and forge on with each other so our kids and future can learn how to make the most of challenging scenarios.

Let’s do this, now, PLEASE?!?!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Casting Student Screens to Projector

A recent update to our Chrome browser now allows us to smoothly, with a small amount of setup work, fling student Chromebook screens (or any device running the Chrome browser) to the teacher computer.  Assuming this teacher computer is connected to the projector, this means you can project a student screen to the class with this cool tool! Just check out the video for a quick look at how it works and then dig in. It plays VERY nicely with Google Classroom. So...if you have students set up in your classroom, you can connect them all with one click. Good luck and happy casting!