It’s New(s) to Me!

This afternoon I learned about a new Google Docs feature- or, I should say, it was news to me because I do not recall having seen the option before. We can (now) add up to three columns to our Google docs. Imagine the possibilities that this feature will allow! Take a look. Thanks to Ryan Lynch for sharing this on Twitter!

Next is something I think you will really love! I learned this from Richard Byrne‘s Free Tech for Teachers newsletter that pops into my inbox weekly. JoeZoo Express is an add-on for Google Docs that you can get from my favorite store, the Chrome Web Store. What JoeZoo does is gives you a selection of comments to choose from (or you can add your own) which will make reading your students’ papers and offering feedback a snap! You can also create and add rubrics right there in the add-on and it will become part of the document.


Being classroom teachers, you probably have some sort of classroom library or set of books that you may let your students or colleagues borrow. Perhaps you have a sign-out sheet on a clipboard or cute stickers in the front of the book that says something like, “This book belongs to the classroom library of ________” , or maybe your name is emblazoned on the front cover in sharpie. While they all work, Google has come up with another way! It is an add-on for Google forms called Check-It-Out that you can get in the Chrome Web Store. You begin a Google form as usual, but you enable the add-on Check-It-Out to create the items. Then, when someone selects that item to check out, it is removed from the list of options and moves to the To-be-checked-in section (or whatever you choose to call it). The great thing about it is that because you are using Google forms, you are able to then see which items are out, who has them, and when they come back in. For more on this tool including a video explaining how to create your check out system, please read this post.

I have been reading a lot of articles and posts lately on personalized learning and thought I would share this opportunity with you to join in on a webinar next Tuesday from 1:00 – 2:00 PM Eastern Time called, “Beyond the Buzzword, Personalizing Learning at the Elementary Level”. Included with this link is also a free 16-page guide to Creating a Personalized Learning Plan for Every Student that you can download and begin using.

Finally, as one who often refers back to John Dewey and his educational philosophy, this next article from the Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition on reflective questions to get your students thinking about learning is right up his alley. As I learned in my American Education Reform course that I took via Coursera, Dewey believed that genuine learning only occurs when humans focus attention on solving genuine problems AND then reflect on those experiences which makes future intelligent thought- intelligence comes not from just doing, but doing and reflecting. So perhaps you will choose to use these questions as exit tickets, reflection prompts, or just ways to encourage your students to think more deeply about the learning that is going on everyday in your classroom.

For more great articles and videos, please visit the Shipley PLN Lower and Middle School Edition.

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