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Showing posts from 2018

Pear Deck Adds New Critical Thinking Questions Templates

Pear Deck is an incredible resource that supports student engagement and student voice through formative assessment, exit slips, reflections, interactive questions, discussion prompts, and more. 
The Pear Deck Google Slides Add-on integrates with existing slide decks to add interactive elements that allow the students to engage with the teacher during a presentation or self paced exploration. Existing Google slides can be supercharged with interactive features and questions including:
Multiple choice questionsText entry questionsNumeric entry questionsDrawing interactive questionsDraggable interactive questions
The Pear Deck Add-on also has a Slide Library of templates that can be inserted into a new or existing Google Slide Deck.

Pear Deck recently added new Critical Thinking slides to the add-on. I am incredibly excited to explore these newly updated slides in the Pear Deck Add-on.  There are 9 new editable slide templates. We''ve created this presentation to show each of the…

Google Drive Essentials

Whether you are just getting started with Google Drive or have used it for years, there is always something new to learn. We've put together some Google Drive Essential Tips. Click on the links below to learn more.

Get the most out of your Google Drive experience by signing into Chrome. 
Login to Chrome to access all Google resources with one sign in. Account Sync
Connect preferences and extensions across devices.Incognito
Login on shared computers for quick access. Adding/Removing a User
Sometimes it is good to have multiple accounts logged in, sometimes it can be trouble. Getting help is only a few clicks away.
G Suite YouTubeG Suite TrainingGoogle TipsG Suite Learning Center Tips LibraryOne of the best things about Google Drive is the ability to share and collaborate on files.
Sharing Basics: Files | FoldersAdvanced Sharing
Limit the ability to print, copy, and change sharing. Copying vs Adding to Drive
Copied files are static. Adding files to drive update live. Team Drive vs Folde…

Tuesday Tip - Shortcut Keys in Google Drive

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." Rodin
Moments add up and saving a few of those moments is essential when using technology. I believe that efficiency is a skill that can always be developed. One way to be more efficient is to use shortcut keys. Google Drive supports a variety of powerful shortcut keys that can help anyone save moments that can be invested elsewhere.

Here are 5 of my favorite Google Drive Keyboard Shortcuts.
Open selected item ( o ) Create new Items ( New Document: Shift + t | New Presentation: Shift + p | New Spreadsheet: Shift + s | New Drawing: Shift + d | New Folder: Shift + f | New Form: Shift + o )Share selected items - Open the Sharing Menue (  .The period key )Go to details pane of selected item ( g then d )Move selected items to a new folder ( z ) or add selected items to multiple folders (Shift + z ). If you are interested in exploring the difference between moving and adding files in Google Drive, this post has some addi…

Diversity Resources for Educators

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - The Colossus (Statue of Liberty Poem)

When you think of Diversity, what comes to mind?

For me, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of diversity is the Schoolhouse Rock Video “The Great American Melting Pot”. I remember watching this video many times on Saturday mornings. I grew up in a rural area with limited diversity and I think this video impacted my worldview at an early age.

I like this definition of Diversity from Queensborough Community College

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physica…

Curiosity Question - What Would You Change About Your Past?

The last Curiosity Question had some great responses.

If you had the power to change one single thing about yourself today, what would you change? Why?

This week's question following a similar path. I borrowed this question from Christine Borst's response to a #creativites question. I think this is a really tough one, but I think we all have a moment in time that we wish we would have done differently? Hindsight is always 20/20 right?

What is one thing from your past that you wish you could go back and change? Is there a moment in your life that you wish you had done differently? Why? 

Thanks Kim and Christine for the inspiration!

Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag #CuriosityQs. Each Thursday, I will share a new question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new.

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share that…

Exploring Equity and the Digital Divide in Education

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.” ― Rick Riordan
I recently had the opportunity to complete an Equity Course through EdTechTeam Online. I am sharing this post to reflect on the experience and to also share some of the classroom resources we created. Hopefully, there is something here that you can use.

Course Description: Digital Equity has been a major concern for many years. In the Digital Equity course, you will build an understanding of what equity is, and how it affects the community in which we work. You will explore what changes you can make to transform your teaching to make the learning more equitable for all students.

Here are a some of my takeaways from the learning experience.
I think it is important to remember that equity needs to be more than just providing equal access to technology. Access without helping learners understand how to best use the technology leads to unintentional inequities. We need to provide ri…

Tuesday Tip - Customize Your Google Forms

Google recently announced an update to forms.

Use new theme options to customize and brand your Google Forms
Google says this was a top request from users, but I've always been surprised by how many users don't know about or use the "Customize Theme" menu. Most forms I've completed are the default purple. There is nothing wrong with this, but sometimes it is nice to see a theme that connects to the questions, the content or is branded for a school.
If you are curious about how to take this default purple . . . 

and quickly transform it to this? (Maybe match your school colors?)

or even this? (Connect the theme to the content? Maybe a book reflection or reading quiz?)

Then here is a quick overview of how to access and change a form's theme. 
1. Open a New Form or an Existing Form in Google Drive or in the Google Forms Home Screen. (Themes only modify the visual aspects of an existing form. It will not change the existing the existing questions or modify the ord…

Digital Resources to Support Science Educators and Students

"Science is fun. Science is curiosity. We all have natural curiosity. Science is a process of investigating. It's posing questions and coming up with a method. It's delving in."  Sally Ride
We are working on updating our web resources for different subject areas. This week the focus is connected to Chrome and G Suite Resources for K-12 Science teachers and students. This is the working document:
Digital Science Resources for K-12 Teachers & Students
If you have suggested resources or ideas can you share them with us?
Add a comment to the Science Resource Document.Or post in this Collaborative Padlet.Or add a comment at the end of this post.

Curiosity Question of the Week - What Would You Change About Yourself?

The last Curiosity Question had some great responses.

What is your favorite movie of all time? Why?
This week's question is all about a little self-reflection.

If you had the power to change one single thing about yourself today, what would you change? Why?
Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag #CuriosityQs. Each Thursday, I will share a new question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new.

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share that are not my own.

Fun Summer PD Opportunity for Educators - The Easiest Book Club, Ever!

If you know me, you know that I am always exploring new learning opportunities. I get a bit too excited when I find something unique and this PD opportunity has gotten me very excited. I love everything about it!

Rushton Hurley, Participate, and ISTE Affiliate ICE have joined forces to create a new Summer Book Study and it starts today! 
The book study is connected to Making Your Teaching Something Special: 50 Simple Ways to Become a Better Teacher (Volume 2) which follows up his first book Making Your Teaching Something Special: 50 Simple Ways to Become a Better Teacher (SomethingSpecialEDU)

Here are the details from Rushton's post.
Starting in mid-July, join colleagues who will take a few minutes each week to join the easiest book study ever. It's an opportunity to find little things that will make you better and connect with others committed to being the best teachers they can be.
Rather than being asked to read dozens or hundreds of pages, each week choose from a set of very…

Curiosity Matters - Exploring the Power of Curiosity in Education

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Walt Disney
I recently read an Atlantic Post from about a year ago, "Schools Are Missing What Matters Most About Learning". The article connects academic success to curiosity. This article inspired me to update some of our Curiosity Resources
I have personally always struggled with my High School Students when it comes to curiosity. Many have a hard time doing more than completing tasks to earn points, and that is where the learning often ends for them.  Despite this, I've never stopped giving my students time to explore what their own curiosity. Our Curiosity Website has been built and updated to support Curiosity in Education. The site includes the following pages:  Curiosity - Resources and websites to support creative exploration and student choice. Activities - Activities and ideas connected to student choice and curios…

New Premium Option for ClassHook's Popular TV and Movie Clips

Image Created with Adobe Spark
A few months ago I discovered and began to explore ClassHook for the first time. I was quickly hooked!

The ClassHook Site has collections of clips from popular television shows and movies. The videos are organized by subject and topic. The site also has great pedagogical resources with ideas and resources connected using video in the classroom. You will need to signup before exploring the site directly, but it is free to signup.

ClassHook is still free, but they recently announced a Premium option that I think is worth exploring. You can still use Classhook for free, but there are some nice advantages to ClassHook Premium. Premium users can filter clips by Decade and Standards in a search.There is a new option to browse clips by standard alignments. Premium users can now discover playlists created by other educators.Premium users can invite other educators to collaborate on playlists. (The collaborators do not need to upgrade to Premium to collaborate.)W…

Tuesday Tip - 3 Ways to Insert Images in Google Docs

Happy Tuesday! This week's tip is connected to finding and inserting images in Google Docs

Did you know there are several different ways you can insert images in a Google Doc without ever leaving the Doc?

Use the Insert Menu
The Insert Menu allows you to pull images from a variety of resources, including:
Upload images from the computer.Search the web and insert images.Insert images  from DriveInsert images from Google PhotosInsert images By URLInsert images directly from your Camera Learn more about inserting images on this Google Help Page

Use the Explore Tool
The explore button is in the bottom right corner of a Google Doc.
Click on the explore button.Enter a search term, search, and then click on images.You can then drag the image directly into the doc. Matt Miller has a great post about using the explore post with students. 

Use the Keep Notepad
If you have images or icons that you like to use regularly, The Google Keep Notepad is a great tool.
You'll need to create some imag…

July Book of the Month - More Now: A Message from the Future for the Educators of Today

The best educators are not content to do the same old thing year after year. Innovative educators push their thinking by engaging in social media, exploring blogs, attending conferences, and exploring the newest generation of educational books.
We've created a site to organize and share some great books connected to teaching and learning. Each month we will feature a new book from our PLN. Have an idea for our next book of the month? Please share in the comments below.

I am super excited about my July book of the month. There was a ton of buzz around this book at ISTE connected to this book. I love the premise of the future speaking to me through this book.

More Now: A Message from the Future for the Educators of Today
School change is never easy, but it is necessary to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world. Our job as educators is no longer to help students memorize a few things they might need someday. Our job is to help students access and use information in ways that are…

Service Learning and Empathy Resources

Image Source
I recently had the opportunity to complete an Empathy and Service-Learning Course through EdTechTeam Online. I am sharing this post to reflect on the experience and share the classroom resources we created. Hopefully, there is something here that you can use. 
Course Objective: Service learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in, and reflect on, activities that address human and community needs. Many teachers integrate new technologies into instruction with the goal of making the learning more meaningful, motivating, and rooted in the personal interests of students as we develop empathetic and action-oriented students.

We created these resources connected to the course. Feel free to modify/use anything you might find helpful. 
Empathy and Service Learning Resource Document Empathy and Service Learning YouTube Playlist  Service Learning and Empathy HyperDoc Service Learning and Empathy Teacher Guide

My Reflection
While I’ve always believed that empath…

Curiosity Question of the Week - What is Your Favorite Movie of all time? Why?

Last week's question had some great responses.

What is the 1 thing that you love the most about teaching & learning? Why?
This week's questions is another great question to help you get to know someone. I believe that movies can be a great way for people to make connections and share a bit about what makes you who you are.

What is your favorite movie of all time? Why? (You can pick more than one if you have different reasons for loving them. I don't think that the movie matters as much as why you choose it.)
Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag #CuriosityQs. Each Thursday, I will share a new question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new.

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share that are not my own.

Tuesday Tips - Table Borders in Google Docs

Last week I shared a tip about Customized Titles and Headings in Google Docs

Images can be inserted directly into Google Docs, but your ability to place them exactly where you want them in the document can sometimes be frustrating.

Tables can be a great way to arrange text and images in a Google Doc.

Sometimes you might not want the borders that come with inserting a table. The table is still in the next image, the borders are just not visible. 

Here's how it is done

1. Click on the section of the table you want to change. You can also highlight multiple cells or the whole table if you want to remove all borders.
2. A small drop-down arrow will appear. If you click on it you can choose which borders you want to change. 
3. Scrolling over the small boxes will tell you what each one does.

4. When you click on one of the border options you will see that the cells you've chosen will now have highlighted borders and a new table border menu will appear.

5. You can then use the dropdowns i…

Google's Applied Digital Skills - Reflections on Our First Attempts at Learning

Image Source
“If you never try, you’ll never know!”
Taking risks with students can be hard, but I believe the reward almost always outweighs the risk. We do fail sometimes, but when we do, it is still a learning experience. Fail forward, right? I am always curious if there is a better way, so I am always looking for new activities and exploring new resources with my students. I believe true growth only comes with change.

One of my favorite times of the year to try something new is when the school year is coming to an end. I love this time because I know my students and they know me. I know what they do well and where they need to grow. Don’t get me wrong, this can be a double-edged sword when considering student motivation. My high school seniors need some extra inspiration to stay engaged this time of year,  so when something goes well you know you have something good. With all this in mind, I decided to try something new and explore Google’s Applied Digital Skills curriculum in my cla…

Reflections from ISTE 2018 and a Bit of Google Awesomeness

While I am still trying to gather my thoughts, explore some new resources, and figure out what activities and resources will fit in my classroom, I didn't want to wait to reflect on my experience.

The Conference was literally huge. There was a record number of attendees and sessions. Some people even thought it was too big. For me, the size meant more opportunities to connect with my PLN. My favorite part of ISTE is meeting with my PLN friends and connecting with new educators face to face. The conversations in the Poster Sessions, in the Playgrounds, and during the Social Gatherings also helped to make a big conference seem much smaller.

The lines for sessions were long. Many sessions quickly filled up and had to turn educators away. While this was frustrating at times, I was able to have some great conversations while waiting in line or outside of a session I just couldn’t get into. The missed sessions were also an opportunity to spend a bit more time in the Playgrounds, Posters, …

Tuesday Tip of the Week - Customize Titles and Headings in Google Docs

Last week I shared a tip about Setting Your Default Font in Google Docs. This week I am going to share a quick tip to set customized Titles and Headings in Google Docs. 

When I am creating a HyperDoc or Tutorial in Google Docs, I love having some consistency in any Titles and Headings for that particular doc. Here are two samples where I've tried to model this idea.
Google Resources for Science Empathy and Service Learning HyperDoc
When I am working in a document like the ones above that have multiple headings or titles I prefer to save a little time and set some headings that I want to use throughout the document right away. It is a great and quick way to have consistent font styles and sizes throughout a longer document. 

The process is pretty simple. Here are the steps.

1. Create a title or heading and set the font style and size.
2. Highlight the title or heading text that you want to use throughout the document.
3. Click on the Dropdown arrow next to "Normal text" in the ed…

Building a PLN - Twitter QR Code Tip

I had a great conversation with several of my PLN friends during the ICE Social at #ISTE18. We had talked about building a PLN and getting connected on Twitter. Thanks to Don Sturm (@SturmDon), Mia Gutsell (@msmgutsell), and Robert Louie (@mr_middle_2) for inspiring this quick post.

Did you know that you can share your information using the Twitter App on a Mobile Device using a QR Code? You can also scan someone's code all within the mobile app. You don't have to do anything to set this up, you just need to know where it is.

1. Open the Twitter app on your mobile device.
2. Click on your avatar near the top right of the screen and you should see this menu.

3. On the bottom, you should see a half moon, a pattern of 4 symbols (this is the QR Code), and the home button. Click on the QR Code and this screen will open. 

4. That image above is my code. You can test it with your mobile app if you open this on a different screen. Follow the same steps if you want to scan someone's…