Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2 Ways to Differentiate Using Google Classroom

Need to differentiate assignments? Google Classroom provides you with a quick tool to differentiate assignments.

How Do I Differentiate in Classroom?

Anytime that you give an assignment in Google Classroom, your assignments are automatically assigned to all students. Choose the box that says "All" and then check the boxes next to the names of students who you want to have access to the assignment.

If you have three versions of an assignment, students will only see the version assigned to them! You will see all three versions in the teacher feed.

How Can I Use This Feature? 

1 - Differentiate Assignments

Providing a few different versions of the assignment is one the most common and obvious ways of using this tool. For example, if you were giving an essay assignment, you could have three different versions of the assignment for three different groups of students.

2 - Collaborative Group Platform

Do you do a lot of group work in your classroom? Differentiate discussion questions based on groups. Have students use the differentiated discussion question as a platform to discuss their goals, assign tasks, etc.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Hyperdoc Science Lab Report Template

Hyperdocs are quickly becoming one of my favorite ways of using G Suite. I like to define the term as "a highly engaging and student-centered flexible learning tool, driving instruction through meaningful connections, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication."

There are many different models out there; however, I wanted to showcase a way of using Google Docs to develop Science Lab Reports.  Here is my sample Hyperdoc Science Lab Report Template.

Step 1: Develop a Basic Google Doc Template

First, I developed a template modeled after the Scientific Method in Google Docs. Obviously, this is not a "Hyperdoc" in its current form.

A basic Google Doc without "Hyperdoc" potential

Step 2: Add Interaction, Accountability, and Autonomy

Since a Hyperdoc is more than just a Google Doc with links, I added interactive components and options to make the learning student-centered. For example, students had autonomy to share their hypothesis and conclusion via text or Flipgrid. I also added additional opportunities to share results via their camera application and a Google Form.

Revamped "Hyperdoc" with Interaction, Autonomy, and Flexibility

Step 3: Share

You could share this resource with students via a classroom management system or a tool like Google Classroom. I like Google Classroom because it automatically makes a copy for students; however, if you don't use Classroom, you could very easily share the link in your LMS.

BONUS TIP: Not a Google Classroom User? 

Need a quick and easy way to force students to make a copy of any Google Doc? This is a great trick to force a copy and make a "template" for students. 

Here is how it works:

1. Open up your item (Doc, Sheet, Slide, or Drawing)

2. At the end of your item's URL, you should see the word "edit." Change the word "edit" to "copy."

3. Make a copy of your URL and share with your audience

Now you have a quick and painless way to help your viewers make a copy of a document, presentation, spreadsheet, or drawing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Going Beyond One-Size-Fits-All Online Discussion Questions with Flipgrid and Classroom

Online discussion questions have been around since the dawn of online learning; however, is this an effective one-size-fits-all approach to learning? Brain science is revealing that variability is the rule and not the exception. If variability is the rule, then why do we expect our students to have online discussions the same way?

Flexible Discussion

Let's say that you want to have your students participate in a discussion question. If you can provide flexibility, then why not try to post the question in Google Classroom and Flipgrid?  Here's how it might work.

Here's a video tutorial and text instructions below:

Step 1: Create a New Topic in FlipGrid

If you are new to Flipgrid, you might want to check out my tutorial prior to this step. You will want to create a new Topic in your Flipgrid. A topic is your discussion question. Choose "Create Topic" after you add in your title, description, and video response time.

Step 2: Share Your Topic

It might be easier to open up your topic and choose "Share Topic." When you do this, you will be able to share directly to your Google Classroom.

Step 3: Choose Your Google Classroom

Choose the Google Classroom icon and select your class. Then choose how you want the video to be posted. For this example, I will use the Question format. Type in your instructions and post. I decided that I was going to give students the option to type their response in Google Classroom or record their response in Flipgrid. See example.

Monday, January 21, 2019

3 Ways to Keep Students Accountable on iPads

Managing student devices is always a challenge; however, with the right tools and strategies, you can proactively address student use and misuse of devices. In my experience, I have found effective classroom management begins with keeping it "REAL" with technology:

1. Routines - establishing routines for student use of technology, workflow, etc.

2. Expectations - clear, consistent, and realistic expectations.

3. Accountability - realistic and appropriate consequences for student misuse.

4. Learning Opportunities - provide students with a safe environment to learn from their mistakes and make adjustments.

Over the next few posts, I will concentrate on providing you strategies for proactively addressing student use of technology. Today I want to concentrate on tools for keeping students accountable with iPads:

Tip # 1 - Screens Bright and In Sight

I usually have a rule for students to have bright screens (50% or higher). Dark screens often lead to trouble; therefore, I feel that it is imperative to keep student devices within viewing distance. I realize that this is not always feasible in every classroom, but even being able to view a student's eyes can help increase accountability.

Tip # 2 - Apple Classroom

Apple Classroom is a game changer for managing student iPads. Essentially, the App provides teachers with a way of monitoring, controlling, and sharing resources with student iPads. Here is a brief tutorial on how to use it.

Tip # 3 - Use the Battery Feature in Settings

A little-known feature of iOS 12 is the Battery Settings feature, which provides information on which apps were used and for how long. This is a very useful feature when keeping students accountable. For example, if you asked a student to write an essay in Google Docs, you can go into the Battery Settings feature to verify if the student's actions were in question. Here is a brief video I made for staff at my school on using the feature:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

3 Resources to Get You Started (and Connected) with Flipgrid

Getting started is one of the biggest challenges for educators who want to utilize new technologies. A lack of confidence or understanding often paralyzes the good intentions that we all have. Flipgrid has provided some amazing resources for educators to get started in minutes, rather than days! Here are three resources to get you started:

1. Educator Innovation Station

The Educator Innovation Station is your one-stop shop for learning how to use Flipgrid, how to use Flipgrid with Docs, and learn best practices for using the tool in your classroom. The Innovation Station is a great place for you to connect with other like-minded educators, who want to use this tool to the best of their ability. You can also find out how to become Flipgrid Certified and how to connect with Flipgrid on social media!

2. Disco Library

The Disco Library is an excellent place to see examples of Flipgrid in action. Search for topics by grade level, subject area, and topic goals. Do you like one of the topics? You can make a copy and customize it to your needs! This is a great time saver and support for educators, who might not feel comfortable developing a topic.

3. #GridPals 

#GridPals is a great way to connect with other educators who use Flipgrid in your geographic location. This is a great way to connect with teachers who teach similar grades and subject areas!


We are not meant to do life - nor teach - alone, because there is power in numbers. It helps us grow, challenges our skillset, and provides us with another layer of accountability. Flipgrid provides an excellent model for helping educators connect and grow through this amazing tool!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book Cover Predictions with Flipgrid

Flipgrid is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools because it is a powerful video discussion tool, which can be used across platforms. This is ideal for the 1:1 or shared device classroom.

For an in-depth look at Flipgrid, check out my previous post

Book Cover Predictions:

Today, I worked with a teacher who used Flipgrid in a unique way! To begin their latest group book in class, the teacher decided to have students predict what they thought that the book would be about. She created a Flipgrid discussion, where students would look at the book cover, make their prediction, and describe their prediction on Flipgrid in 30 seconds or less.

Organizing your thoughts and describing them in a succinct way is a valuable skill that many students struggle with. Flipgrid provides students with an excellent venue to try this! 

Once students responded with their prediction, they were encouraged to look at 3 other classmates' posts. After they viewed each post, they were asked to respond to one classmate's post. They were asked to describe whether they agreed or disagreed with their classmate and why. 


I like how Flipgrid was used as a scaffold and support for classroom discussion. Many of our students struggle with putting their thoughts together and providing an opinion. Flipgrid provided students with a safe environment, where they could practice valuable reasoning and conversation skills! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

3 Ways to Use Clips After the New Year

Clips is quickly becoming one of my favorite iOS Apps. If you have not used Clips before, please feel free to check out my tutorial. Here are three ways you may want to consider using this App:

1. Share New Year's Resolutions 

I was working in a first-grade classroom this morning, where we used Clips as a tool for students to reflect on a book they read about New Year's Resolutions. Students used the camera on their iPad to take a picture of the book cover, a New Year's selfie, and a picture of a writing piece that they wrote.

Students recorded a summary of the book and read their writing piece, which described their New Year's Resolution for the school year. Once we were finished, we published the video to SeeSaw.

2. Set Goals 

Why not use Clips as a way for students to develop a SMART Goal for the classroom? Remember that SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Have students use the tool to reflect on their progress periodically. This could be a great way of engaging students in making and attaining goals. Students can publish their video to SeeSaw, Google Classroom, or another Learning Management System that you might use.

3. Summarize a Reading Assignment

Clips can be a great tool to summarize reading content. Whether you have a book with illustrations or not, it might be helpful for students to take several pictures related to key events in the story.  Students can take pictures from the text or their own pictures and add a voiceover to describe the events. Students can use stickers, emojis, and posters to emphasize key points!


Video is a powerful tool for our students to express their thoughts, opinions, and reflect on learning. Whether you are using Clips or another platform, it is important to have different ideas for using this valuable tool.