Lesson Plans & Google Calendar

I know this is not revolutionary, but while reflecting this break, I thought I’d try out using Google Calendar as a lesson planner. There are a few reasons why I chose to do so.

  • I’m terrible with lesson plans. I keep them in my head. Then when I need to share what I’m doing, I have to remember then write it all down.
  • This will help me stay on task and organized.
  • It’s really not that hard to set up.
  • Since it’s in a calendar, I can easily see what weeks are short, which days are minimum, and so on.
  • Since it’s in Google Calendar, I can easily share the calendar or event(s) with various people.
    • Now the Resource (Special Ed) teacher doesn’t have to hound me about what I’m doing. Bless her for putting up with my ‘organization’.
    • I can easily share, therefore making collaboration that much easier.
    • My partner teacher can add details and we can have a cohesive program.
    • If I’m out and forget to leave lesson plans, anyone with access can quickly see what I’m doing. Still debating if I should make it open or restrict it to people who could help in a situation like that.

So here’s what I did. First, I created a new calendar  and named it ‘Lessons’. Then I created an event for each section of my day and made sure it was created in the ‘Lessons’ calendar.

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Remembering to make sure each event was repeated 5 days a week until the end of the school year.

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Now you can share your ‘Event’ with someone. Select ‘Save’ to save the event.

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And this is what my January looks like:

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To add details to a subject/day, simply click the subject on the desired day and select ‘edit event’. Then add the details. So Monday, January 11 I will do the following in Math:

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Google Docs: Colored Background

Recently I was giving a presentation using Google Classroom. As a part of the experience, I have participants experience it from the student perspective. One of the assignments had a colored background and caught the attention of a participant. Let’s face it, white backgrounds can be VERY boring!

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Changing the background color is super easy. In your Document, navigate to ‘File’ then ‘Page Setup’. A pop-out window appears. Choose ‘Page Color’. This will prompt color choices to appear. You can choose one of those or insert the color code of your choice using ‘Custom’.

Once you find a background color you like, press ‘OK’. To set as background, select ‘OK’ on the Page Setup window in the lower left corner.

You’re all set!

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Voice Typing in Google Docs

Not so long ago, I wrote about a handy Add-On for Google Drive called Speech Recognition, here. It allows the user to talk into the microphone and have their words transcribed. Google has now incorporated Voice Typing in their Tools Menu, which does the same thing!

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A microphone icon will appear on the side of the dVoice Type 2ocument. Click it. The first time you use this feature, you will be prompted to allow Google Docs to use your microphone. Choose allow and start talking.

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Google Docs – Speech Recognition

Have a student who has great ideas, but can’t get them written down? Google Docs has a great Add-On to help: Speech Recognition.

In a Google Doc, look for Add-Ons in the toolbar.

You will need to get the Add-On.

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Now it’s ready to use. In the toolbar in your document, Speech Recognition is ready to use.

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A sidebar will appear on the right side. Choose ‘Start’ and begin speaking.

When you finish speaking, press the ‘Stop’ and your text will appear in your document.

Archive A Classroom

The new school year has just begun, and I have been asked by a few, “How do I delete all of my assignments from last year, and add this year’s class to Google Classroom?”

My answer: Archive the old and create a new classroom! It’s easy to do.

Navigate to your Google Classroom. Find the class you wish to archive. Click on the three (3) dots in the upper right corner. This will bring up a pop out menu. Here you have the choice to ‘Rename’ the class, or ‘Archive’ it.

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No worries, you can always refer back to last year’s assignments in your archived classes:

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Publish To the Web – Google Docs

Throughout this past school year, I had students write their blog posts in Google Drive. This was a great way for them to get peer feedback, edit, and save their work. In the beginning, I told them to ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ their work into a new blog post. This was NOT acceptable for many of them. Many took their time getting just the right font (NEVER comic sans – responsible digital citizenship and all) and color. So I agreed to show them how their original work could be viewed on their blog posts – Publish to the web.

Here’s what we did:

Publish to web

First we chose the ‘Embed’ code, not the link. Then we copied the ‘Embed’ code (Control + c – PC; Command + c – Mac). Finally, we chose the blue ‘Published’ button. 

On our blogs, we found the ‘Text’ option – Not ‘Visual’. We use Edublogs, most blogs give you a Visual or Text option. Within Text, we placed our cursor where we wanted our document to be viewed, and ‘pasted’ (Control + v – PC; Command + v – Mac) the ‘Embed’ code. Below is an example of the results. We did play around with the Height and Width to get a visually pleasing outcome.

Google Maps – Pins

Pinning a location on a custom Google Map is easy. You can either find the location by typing it in the search box at the top, or by placing a pin at your desired location.

Click on the Green pin > Add to Map > Pin will turn Red.

To pin location without looking it up: Select the Pin icon at the top of the screen, and click the desired location, then ‘Save’.

To change the icon symbol, go to the menu at the left, choose the point you would like to change, and click on the paint bucket.

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You can then choose a different color pin, icon shape, or even look for additional icons.

Want to know how to create a custom map? Check this out!

Happy Map making!

Search Your Google Drive

I have heard several comment that it is hard for them to find items in their Drive. What many are forgetting is that Drive has powerful search options.

In Google Drive there is a ‘Search Drive’ option at the top. You can type in key words such as the title or known keywords in the item you are looking for. I did a search for ‘puppy’. I know I don’t have anything named that, but I wanted to see which items had ‘puppy’ mentioned. This is what I got:

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None of the items are named ‘puppy’. So I wondered what ‘Rabbit’ had to do with puppy. So I went into the Spreadsheet, did a quick search (control + f on PC, or command + f on Mac) and this is what I found. Puppy is mentioned throughout the Spreadsheet.

I can also narrow my search by file type, opens with, or ownership. Choose the small arrow to the right on the Search Drive bar. So if I know the item I am looking for is in a Spreadsheet, I’d choose ‘opens with’ and select spreadsheet.

This should make searching for your items a bit easier. Happy Searching!