Two Days in Bootcamp: No Sweat

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“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” ~Peter Drucker

Today was the second of two days of the Google Educator Certification Boot Camp led by Rich Kiker. If you have ever watched any of Lee LeFever’s in Plain English Commoncraft videos– and I recommend that you do because they are excellent explanations of what can be difficult concepts- you will absolutely think that Rich has been doing voiceovers and using a pseudonym because he sounds just like LeFever. But I digress. Rich made the two days of learning fun and informative and left many of us thinking, “Is there nothing that Google does not or cannot do or has not thought of!”

It is easy to get excited by the tools because Google has made it their business to make our workflow as simple, smooth, and as positive experience as possible.

Here is just a handful of things I learned today:

#1 Copy grades from Google Classroom to Sheets

If you are using Google Classroom and you are assigning points to student work, then you will want to choose the option to Copy All Grades to Google Sheets. Now all assignments, students, and grades are automatically added to a grade book that lives in your Classroom folder. Even better– this grade book can then be imported into tools like Power School and other online grade books that your school may use. Talk about ease of use and making life simpler for teachers, this one is amazing!

#2 Start a Google Hangout right from your calendar

Yes, that’s right. If you create a meeting appointment on your calendar, a link to a hangout is automatically created. If you invite someone outside of your organization, an invitation will be sent along with a link to join the hangout. You can open the event in your calendar and start the hangout when it’s time. Easy as pie.

#3 Senders Remorse or Undo Send an Email

Have you ever clicked send in an email and then realized there was a mistake, or worse- like Gloria in Modern Family you said things in the heat of the moment and wished you could un-send it? Well, now you can- within 30 seconds. In your mail settings you can enable undo send and choose from 10-30 seconds within which you will have that capability. Emails that you recall will automatically be moved to your drafts where you can leave it until you are ready to edit, send, or delete it.

#4 Right Click Your Way to Options

You may have used the right click/command click option in a window, document, or even a cell in Sheets, but have you right clicked on a tab in your Chrome browser? Try it.

#5 Step Onstage with the Orchestra

Have you ever dreamed of performing on stage at Carnegie Hall but you know it will never happen because you are not talented in that way? Google can put you on stage with their 360° experience. Give it a try!

For more on today’s boot camp, and to hear about some really cool tools you can check out my Storify of tweets. Trust me, there are things there you won’t want to miss.

 

photo credit: Tough Mudder Training Week 1 via photopin (license)

There’s Always More to Learn

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“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”
Michel Legrand

This post is all about learning. Many of us can get into a routine of doing things the same way we always have and thinking that we know all there is on or about a particular subject. This is not the case.

Today I spent the day with Rich Kiker for the first of two days of Google Educator Certification Boot Camp and while I thought I knew a lot about Google tools, today proved there is always more to learn.

Example #1 Set an Expiration Date for Shared Items

I thought I knew all about sharing, but I did not know that there is a new feature that allows you to share items for a limited time. Just hover over one of the people with whom you’ve shared something and a little stopwatch icon appears. Just set up the expiration date for the item and you’re good to go!

Example #2 Advanced Search Within Drive

If you are really organized and use proper naming conventions and folders then you probably do not have much of an issue with finding your files. But if you have been using and creating items in your Drive then you may fall into the category of people who can’t remember where they’ve put things or what they called them. Google Drive has a robust search feature which goes beyond just typing some words into the search bar and offers advanced features like searching by owner, file type, date, and more. Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 9.32.56 AM.png

Example #3 Automatically Search and Hyperlink Text Using the Research Pane

While you are working in a document, select a set of words, open the research pane and voila! your words are already in the search bar. Then new features in the results allow you to preview the page, link to it, or cite the result. If you choose to link, the original words in your document are now hyperlinks. Cool!

For more on Day 1 and some really cool tools and tips, you can check out my Storify (which I like to use to collect my notes).

Tree of Knowledge Image from WPClipart

 

 

 

 

I Went to the Chrome Store and I Got . . .

Icono_web_storeWho does not love to shop?! Actually, I don’t love it and have to be in the mood, meaning I have to begin to feel withdrawal. And when I am in the mood, I rarely enjoy shopping if it involves going to the mall. This is why I enjoy “shopping” in the Chrome Store.

One of the (many) things I love about Chrome is the Chrome Store and I can get lost browsing the many apps, extensions, and themes all while on my way to looking for something else. So this post is my list of some recent Chrome additions and ones I think could be useful (and fun) to you and your students.

But first, some vocabulary.

App: Installs on your Chrome home page. Some act like shortcuts to sites, others allow for productivity (like Sheets, Slides, Docs, Drive), and still others just open in a separate window (like the Whiteboard app below).

Extension: These are tools that live on your bookmark bar

Theme: Colorful, fun decor for your Chrome home page, bookmark bar and Tabs (perhaps you have recently seen snow falling on your kids’ screens or beautiful flower blossoms on your colleague’s screen. These are themes.

This all started while I was looking for an online whiteboard app so that students who use a laptop can create math tutorials to show evidence of learning. I popped into the Chrome Store the other afternoon for what I planned on being about 5 minutes so I could do a quick search and found two to try: Ziteboard and Whiteboard Lite. After trying both, I am recommending Whiteboard Lite for its ease of use and the different tool options. You can add text, shapes, change colors, change background (to include something you upload) and change line thickness. Since we have Quick Time installed on our Macbooks, there is no immediate need for a different tool to record the screen, but if you do not, my friend and colleague Wendy recommends Screencastify. The whiteboard is a must.

Like Stacey’s Pita Chips and other salty foods, it is difficult to stop at just one and there are so many apps that I got caught up browsing the other educational tools.

I added the Highlight Key Words for Google Search extension so that when I run a search, my search words will be highlighted when I open a link. This will allow me to easily and quickly locate the info for which I am searching. This is one I am going to have my students install so that it will help make their research time more efficient.

Student-Created.TV is a fantastic site of tutorials on all subjects created by (6th grade) students for students. I first heard about this from Alan November’s, Who Owns the Learning and landed there again when I was looking for examples of math tutorials. Imagine how thrilled I was to see this can also be an app your students can add to their Chrome home page so that they can learn anytime. Then, they can use the Whiteboard Lite app and create their own!

Revolutionary War Guess My Name and Civil War Guess My Name are two “guess who” games will make learning studying the Revolutionary and Civil Wars feel more like a challenge than a test. There are four different modes: quiz, game, learn, and review so your students can get to know the various players in these important historical events. Clues are given and students choose between four possible answers. Add these apps to Chrome and your students can easily access it right from their Chrome home page.

Fraction Puzzles, Fraction Wall, Number Golf, Hundreds Grid Chart– Math game apps that your students can use to practice their math facts in a fun, interactive way. Add these apps to your Chrome and make this an option for your fast finishers. Both Fraction Puzzles and Number Golf are games within one site from MathPapa and would be great for all ages of elementary, middle, and quite possibly early high school math as they go from basic math facts, positive and negative numbers, to algebra and graphing. What I like about the Hundreds Grid Chart is that the chart can change from whole numbers, positive and negative, and decimals; it also includes a built-in calculator, a coloring tool, and the option to print. Additionally, it goes beyond numbers to 100. Fraction Wall by Visnos is an excellent visual of fractions, equivalent fractions, percents, and more. From simple to advanced, this interactive wall has many options for you and your students to practice and learn fractions.

Of course, there are countless others but I will save those for another day. . .

I went shopping in the Chrome Store and I got all these apps and extensions; what will you get?

Icono web store” by Google Inc. – Chrome Web Store. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
 

 

Final Share of the School Year

Thank to Twitter, I have come across a few things that I think you might enjoy reading, trying, viewing.

The first is Context U. For those of you who teach History (I would say grade 4 and up as it is designed for middle school and high school) or who are history buffs, this site is for you. It is currently in Beta which means its developers want and ask for feedback so give it to them. What it is is actually in the name- Context U is a site that puts historical events in context by placing them on an interactive timeline, pinning them on a Google map, grouping them in groups, and showing cause and effect. The best part is it is all interactive. As you know, understanding the context and background offers insights and understanding in a deeper way, making the learning of the topic go deeper. So, take a look, offer feedback, and share it with your students.

Next are some great Google Chrome extensions that will make reading online more about the reading and less about the distractions of the ads. I use the Evernote Clearly extension and love it because it I use Evernote to store articles (and recipes) and links from the web and the Clearly extension merges clean reading and the ability to then clip and save the article to my Evernote notebooks seamless.

 This next is an article about how one teacher made some shifts in her thinking and teaching and how these shifts allowed her to have a memorable 13th year of teaching. Before we all move on from this school year, what things will you think about that went well, and what things will you want to leave behind?

About a month ago was Google Education on Air, a two-day live streamed event that was all about the Skills of the Future for our students. I watched a number of the speakers live, and found the event to be exciting and motivating. Fortunately, even though the event is long over, the videos and the messages are archived for our viewing and reading pleasure. First is the skills report, a 21-page survey report on the skills students will need in the future to be successful. The top 3 from the survey are Problem-solving, teamwork, and communication. Read on to see what other skills students will need for the future. 

And what would a share of mine be without multiple somethings from Google. This time it’s Google Photos. Many of you are cleaning out laptops and want to know where to put your photos that are not synced with the I-cloud. Well, Google Photos is a great option. Take a look at all you can do with the Google Photos app for your mobile devices as well as the app for your Chrome home page. Seeing is believing.

Science, Google, Growth Mindset and More

“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.” ― John DeweyExperience and Education

In honor of Earth Day and because I am a huge fan of Zaption, here is a Zaption tour on the Super Powers of Trees. Share with your students as a whole class and use the questions as discussion prompts, or share via your Edmodo class page and have your kids take a look tonight for some Earth Day fun. Be sure to browse all the Tours available for your use or remixing!

If you are someone who loves Science, teaches Science, wants to learn more about how memory works, or are just a Physics buff, you will enjoy this post 15 Science YouTube channels Kids Love. These channels explain science, they are not just how tos.

New features are coming all the time to Google Classroom, and today I learned about a few more. Now teachers can invite other teachers to be part of their classroom (think student teachers, co-teachers, etc) making sharing what’s going on and multiple teachers assigning work (or knowing what work your students have from other teachers) that much easier. The next is the ability to create an assignment and save it as a draft to post later. If you have other ideas, Google is happy to listen so think about what you would need from Google Classroom and let them know.

While we are almost at the end of April, it is still poetry month and so I thought I would pass this along to you. More likely something you might be interested in for yourself, or if you are a high school English teacher you might want to share with your students. This is the Library of Congress’  Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature where you can hear authors like Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury reading some of their poetry and giving commentary along the way. For more poet interviews (including spotlights on Hispanic writers, African writers, and more) both recorded and written, see here.

Some of you have started using Thinglink with your students as a way for them to share information about a topic. Richard Byrne shares how you can use your Thinglink classroom account and the Remix feature (where you take a Thing that’s already been made and remix it your way so you are not starting from scratch) to create review lessons for your students. This post is specifically about using it for map review, but I can see it easily being used for other purposes around your curriculum (Science you can have an image the students need to label, English they can answer Qs about a novel, etc).

We talk regularly about formative assessments, but have you thought about having your students use photos, screenshots, screencasts, and videos to find out what your students learned or found interesting today? Take a look at this article from Edutopia to see how your students can share artifacts of learning using digital media.

This next post by The Nerdy Teacher is about The next best thing to being there. The Nerdy Teacher, aka Nicholas Provenzano, is a 9th grade English teacher. He was going to be out of class at a conference for a few days but wanted his students to go on in class as if he was still there. He created some screencast of himself reading 4 different Emily Dickinson poems that he then wanted students to discuss. Since he was not going to be in class, he had the students do a “Silent Discussion” using their Google Classroom stream as their platform. You can read about it here. What he saw was how much discussion and interaction happened around these poems both during classtime and after it ended. It went so much better than he thought that he wondered if he holds his students back during discussions by being too involved himself. So, if you are going to be out of school for a day or two, why not be there virtually instead! For more ways to have class discussions where everyone gets a chance to speak up, not just the ones raising their hands, try Todays Meet, or if your classroom is on Twitter, use a hashtag to have a class chat.

I have shared several articles and posts on Fixed v Growth Mindset and today I am sharing one more. This one however, is a lesson plan developed in partnership with Khan Academy and it can be used over a few days with your students. It incorporates videos, discussions, and hands-on activities that help your students see that they can make a difference in their own learning, understanding and intelligence. I think this would be a great set of mini lessons to do with your students as you approach the end of the school year because it can be used in part as a reflection of their learning while they share information with future students of your classroom.

Show Me, Doctopus & Goobric, Oh my!

The Educator with a Growth Mindset by Jackie Gerstein— Jackie did a workshop this past summer. She has provided all workshop materials including videos and slidedeck. Excellent information to start conversations and think about your own mindset.

Socratic Smackdown a game about argumentation and discussion that happens in a fishbowl. Curious? Grades 6-12 are the intended players, but I am imaging that it can be modified for 4th and 5th grade. While you are visiting the Institute of Play, be sure to check out the many other game ideas in the lefthand sidebar.

Many of you are doing some sort of image searching with your students but are you sure you are doing it the right way (I.e. You are not taking what you do not have permission to take)? In the past I have shared links to sites that have images that are either in the public domain, free to use or share, are made specifically for teachers and students, etc. Pixabay is one of those sites and they have made finding the kind of images that you want even easier. Right from the search bar you can filter for image type, size, layout, color— just like you can do with Google image search search tools. Nice!

What do you get when you combine the power of Doctopus, with the organization of Classroom? Goobric And no, it is not what you get when you combine Borax with something else to make slime.

I have mentioned #GeniusHour before and have shared several posts, tweets, and articles, but this impassioned post is one that I wanted to pass along as a plug for giving this a try in your room. The first link is to the same blog, but to information specifically about getting started with Genius Hour in your classroom.

Friends, you know I often pass things along from Richard Byrne, aka FreeTech4Teachers, well today he had a great post about a fun and authentic way for students to share their learning as they complete a topic. There are so many ways to do this and I would love to help you with it. Check it out and let’s talk.

Finally, even though you may not be from Missouri, Show Me might be the site for you and your students. Show me is a free  app for teaching or explaining anything; but even if you are not using ipads, the Show Me community has hundreds of videos on all subjects for all grades that your students can access when they need to hear things another way. This would be a great site to share on your Edmodo, blog, or Moodle.