GCI Energizer

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend an Energizer event for Google Innovators. And it was energizing!

Roughly 60 innovators were welcomed to the Google Campus to learn, grow, and become energized! Most importantly, we were able to connect with colleagues we haven’t seen in a while, have only met online, or connect for the first time here. I’ve talked about how I need my tribe. These are my people. They all do amazing things in their classrooms/districts.

I’m still processing all that happened and reflecting on how fortunate I am to be apart of this amazing group. Thank you to Google and Innovators for a great time!

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.

student using voice typing

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!”

2 Truths/1 Lie: Other Grades

map.jpgNot so long ago, I wrote about a year-long project (2 Truths & a Lie) that I will be collaborating on with a teacher from Texas. In short, we are working with States as it is a 5th-grade standard. Students will be researching and recording information on a shared Google My Map.

This got me thinking. First of all, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE using Google My Maps in the classroom. This lesson design can be used with other grades and topics.

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I believe that 2nd-grade studies habitats. Why not draw a polygon around the regions students will be studying and have them create their own 2 truths and a lie on a shared map? Or in 4th-grade for the California Missions, using the draw line tool, draw the Mission Trail and have them create place markers with the information for each Mission. Again, using the draw a line tool, older students can draw the route of armies for the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Or routes and pin markers can be placed on maps to show battles during the Civil War. A class that studies ecology can log information on a map. In ELA, while reading a story, plot points that correspond with locations and practice comprehension using 2 truths and a lie.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the possibilities are endless with this lesson design. It makes students dig a bit deeper and think about what they read and think. They have to be ready to analyze the information given in order to find the lie.

So what sort of lessons will you do with your students using 2 Truths and a Lie?

Auto Copy in Google

I, like many teachers, like to share my creations and ideas. I believe that when we share – freely, not paid for (this is a different rant) – that we build a strong community of teachers. We want our students to collaborate, so we should be setting that example. As always, two heads are better than one.

Okay, now that my rant is over I will get back on topic. Some of you may have been in a session where the presenter wanted to share his/her work. If that work is on a GSuite product, like docs or slides, when you went to the URL you may have seen this screen:

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Auto Copy

If you have, you know that you simply select the blue ‘Make a copy’ button and your own copy is made in YOUR Drive! So easy! Here’s how it’s done:

Find the word ‘edit’ in the URL of your doc or slide or spreadsheet. Then replace the word ‘edit’ with ‘copy’.

copy 3copy 4 That’s it. Now take that URL and use a URL shortener like goo.gl (Google) or bitly  to share with others. When sharing, even this way, make sure that your document is viewable to others in your share settings. I like to have ‘anyone with the link can view.’

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One final note. I have noticed that when many people (maybe 50+) are trying to copy your document with this method at once, it is unsuccessful. A message appears stating that the item isn’t available. This was a fun fact I learned during a presentation (the first time I thought it was a fluke) and then later at another presentation. So this method works best with smaller groups or when sharing on your blog.

Google Classroom For All

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.35.50 PMOh. My. Goodness! I am so giddy, I can hardly contain myself. Google Classroom is open to everyone. Since Google rolled out Classroom (beta) in the summer of 2014, it has only been available to G Suite users (organizations): this included schools and non-profit organizations. Now, it is available on personal accounts.

One of the limitations of having it available to G Suite users was that you could only join a classroom if you had an account within the organization. Now that everyone has it, we can join each others’ classrooms. So why would a person want to create a classroom? Well, last summer a friend wanted to have book discussions and tried using another product. It just didn’t work very well. However, since Google Classroom has many features that educators and non-educators alike are familiar with, Classroom lends itself easily to book clubs. In addition, I was thinking of starting ‘how to’ tutorials that were more personalized. This will accomplish the task.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 6.36.16 PMSeriously, I’m so excited! Check it out. Go to Classroom.Google.com While you cannot currently set up or join a classroom, you can request early access. For more information on what Google Classroom can do check out my video series.

Chrome: Find Bar

One of my favorite features to show students is Control + f  or f3 on Windows, Linux, and Chromebooks, or Command +f on Macs. This will open up the ‘Find Bar’ for that page. What is Find Bar? Well, it’s a handy feature to narrow your field when looking for specific text. Have you ever done a search and found a great website, but there was so much text it took a while to find the exact information you needed? The Find Bar solves that problem for you!

Here I am on Google’s Wikipedia page. There is a lot of text on the page, but I only want to find out about “BackRub”, which I was told was the original name of Google. I could go to the Contents section, find History (which would be the most logical place for it to be), or I could use the Find Bar and locate Back Rub instantly.

Open up Find Bar: Control + f (Windows) or Command + f (Mac). A small bar appears in the upper right corner.

find-bar

Type in the desired text. In this case, I’ll type BackRub and hit the enter key. There are 2 places on the page where BackRub is written.

backrub

I can either click on the arrows to the right of the Find Bar or use Control + g (Windows) or Command + g (Mac) to navigate to the next location of the text. The orange highlight denotes the current match while a yellow highlight denotes previous or an upcoming match.

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It’s pretty slick and so much more efficient. Give it a try!

Searching Google Drive

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been using Google for a while. This means that I have A LOT of items in my drive. For the most part, things are organized. However, there are those times when I can’t find what I want. I have somehow organized it in a ‘unique’ way: some way that made sense to my crazy brain that day. Thankfully, Google has my back.

On occasion, typing in the name of the document, spreadsheet, etc. yields me a quick search. Make sure you are in Google Drive to start your search:

search drive 1

However, more often than not I need to do an advanced search. At times, I know who shared the item with me. Other times, I know I am the owner, and sometimes I’m looking for a particular type of item (doc, draw, etc). In these cases, I click on the small down arrow to the right in the search bar.

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This brings up a wonderful array of options:

Search by ‘Type’

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Search by ‘Date Modified’

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I can also search by ‘Item Name’, or if I can’t remember the name and I know it has a specific word or phrase in it, I can search by that too in ‘Has the Words’.  Finally, I can search ‘Shared with’ if I know who I shared it with.

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I love the search by owner feature. Often times, I can remember the person who shared it with me – secretary, principal, or fellow 5th-grade teacher.

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Lastly, the ‘Located in’ search has come in handy. I often ‘star’ my original items or important ones.

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Hope this helps you find what you’re looking for!