Notes & Voice Typing

pexels-photo-355988.jpegMy students constantly amaze me. They come up with great ideas and are innovators in their own right. Not only do I enjoy hearing their thoughts and ideas, often times we implement them in our classroom. I also feel fortunate enough that my students feel comfortable enough to share their ideas with me; knowing they will be taken seriously and not ridiculed.

Recently, one of my resource students (one with an IEP for both reading and math) created her own accommodation. We have been reading Tuck Everlasting and using a Hyperdoc to help guide us. While discussing one of the slides in the Hyperdoc, I noticed that the student had written some notes in the ‘Speaker Notes’ section. I found this interesting. It also made me a bit giddy as she was taking full advantage of our discussions. I privately talked to her about taking notes to tell her how impressed I was with her choice. She then revealed that she put on ‘Voice Typing’ during the conversation in order to capture everything that was said. Not going to lie, THIS really impressed me. Honestly, not sure I would have thought to do something like this.

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Later, I shared with the class what the student had done. Expressing how I felt it was a good use of technology, but shared with them my expectation that if they used this strategy, it is to be used as a means of note taking and all responses should be in their own words.

The next day, we were discussing the events that took place at Lexington and Concord – studying the American Revolution. At one point a group of students had ‘bug eyes’, began giggling, and pointing to their computer screens. I walked over to find out what was so entertaining. Sure enough, someone in their group had turned on ‘Voice Typing’ to capture the information. All I thought was, “Go kiddos!”

Google Docs: Emojis

Last week, my students were writing an essay in their Google Docs. In the middle of writing, one student asked, “Hey, Ms. N., did you know you can insert emojis in docs?”

I was surprised and answered, “Wait, what? No? Really? Cool. Show me how.” So I went over to her table and she showed me. Pretty cool!emoji-1

So how’d she do it?

Start by going to ‘Insert’ in the menu options

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Choose the desired emoji and viola! You have an emoji in your doc. Now, what if we had students summarizing stories with just emojis?!

Thank you to my student, Johanna, for spreading her knowledge!

 

Create A Link in Docs

Creating a hyperlink in a Google Doc is simple. One reason you would want to create a hyperlink is for cleanliness. Having a large URL (short for Uniform Resource Locator) is messy on a document. Instead, I link a word or phrase to a particular web address. For example, if I am talking about Order of Operations in 5th grade I would link the words ‘Order of Operations in 5th grade’ to a particular web address like so:

This is a great resource for Order of Operations in 5th grade.

That is much nicer to look at than https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zanq7gmXY88

Now, let’s check out how to do this in Google Docs (this also works in Gmail and Slides):

  1. Find the resource you want to link in your document and copy the URL. To copy highlight the URL, go to Edit > Copy. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut (Mac) command + C or (PC) control + C
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  2. Now that it’s copied to your clipboard (this is a virtual clipboard) navigate to your Google Doc. Find the word or phrase that will be connected with your site. Highlight the word or phrase. Now go to your menu bar and select Insert > Link
    link-2Or highlight the word or phrase then find the chain (or links) screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-7-39-33-pm in the toolbar.

    And there is always the keyboard shortcut. After highlighting the desired text, (PC) control + K or (Mac) command + K

  3. This will bring out a pop-out window which asks what you want the words to link to. Paste in the link. Go to Edit in the toolbar and select ‘Paste’.
    Keyboard shortcut – (PC) control + V, (Mac) command + V
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  4. And there you have it! A hyperlink in your doc.
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‘Explore’ in Google Docs

Late last week, I was creating a Hyperdoc for my students. I needed an image so I did my usual and went to Tools>Research. And that’s when I noticed it… Research was MISSING! I’ll admit it, I did panic a bit.

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Then I noticed ‘Explore’ was new. So I clicked on it. Note: I say when curious, or in doubt, click on it. It’s not like I’m going to break the internet. And when it get too scary, exit out. That’s when the sidebar I was looking for appeared. Albeit a little different looking than what I’m used to, but it was there!

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Some of the features are a bit different. I do like that I, and my students, no longer have to filter our image search to ensure that they are free to use. Now, Google finds the free to use ones. And just like before, when I drag the image into my document it automatically cites it for me. However, instead of the footnote that it use to be, it is now cited directly below the image.

The feature to cite a website is missing, hopefully, it will return. I do like the ‘Drive’ feature. This searches my drive for all items matching my search query.

Other ways to access ‘Explore’

Keyboard shortcut: (Mac) – command+option+shift+I
(PC) – control+alt+shift+I

Icon on bottom right of screen:

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Have fun Exploring!

Draftback

Recently, I became aware of an AMAZING Chrome Extension: Draft Back. Veronica Tadeo (@MsTadeo) introduced me to this. It’s simple, it plays back your, or your students’, Google Docs.

Once the Extension is installed, you will see a Draftback button next to the Share and Comment button on the top right corner.

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Once the function is selected, it creates a playback. Choose ‘View’. Once selected, a new tab will appear with the playback.

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You can see that at one point I copied and pasted text. Pretty cool, right?

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Google Classroom: Drive Folder

One of the nice features of Google Classrooms is the folder that is automatically created in Google Drive. I like to use this when I am looking at student work. We have been working on our NaNoWriMo stories. We began polishing and editing our work last week (our first week back after break).

I created an assignment in Google Classroom, turn in their stories. Now that my students have turned them in, it’s easy to read them. While in Google Classroom, locate the assignment and select ‘Done’ (those students who have completed the assignment).

class folder 1 This takes me to a new page within Classroom. Here, I see thumbnails for those students who have completed the assignment. However, just above the thumbnail is an icon of a folder. Click that to open a new tab, Google Drive.

class folder 2 Once the Google Drive tab opens, you can easily navigate your students’ work.

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NOTE: This is just one of several ways to access the Drive Folder.

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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