Friday, June 22, 2018

Draftback: Sit Back, Relax, and Watch Your Google Doc in Action

Writing is an important element of learning; however, many of our students struggle to understand the abstract process of writing. Have you ever had a student quickly write a draft of an essay and turn it in? Have you ever questioned how much time was spent writing an assignment?

Draftback is a Chrome Extension that generates a video of every revision made in a Google Doc. It also provides very helpful statistical information about a document, such as time spent and when revisions were made.

Want to see it in action? Check out my video below:

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Trace My Shadow - Helpful Digital Citizenship Tool

I recently came across a great digital footprint tool called Trace My Shadow.  It is an excellent resource for helping students and teachers understand the types of information that you are leaving behind and the risks associated with it. 

How Does It Work? 

Visit the Trace My Shadow website and choose which devices you use on a regular basis. The site will then provide you with ways that your device and identity are traced by using that device.

You can check out information in the Traces You Accumulate section to see which devices are associated with certain traces and the type of information that you would collect. It will provide you with a total tally of traces and tips for staying safe! 

Talking about digital citizenship is an important part of teaching today; however, why do many of our students' eyes glaze over when we discuss it? Perhaps our students struggle with digital citizenship because we fill them with dated and irrelevant information. Perhaps they are tired of the scare tactics that are used to prevent them from taking inappropriate pictures or giving away personally identifiable information. 

Trace My Shadow is a great tool to make things relevant for students and adults. Not only does it provide you with valuable information, but it also provides you with tips for keeping yourself safe! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Have You Tried Kahoot's Jumble Feature?

Have you played Kahoot lately?

If you have, then you might have seen a new type of Kahoot game called Jumble. Jumble allows you to design questions that occur in a certain order. For example, if you were going to have students place the events from a story in chronological order, then Jumble would be a good tool for you to use. This option promotes higher-level thinking, which is an extremely important component of learning.

How Does it Work? 

First, you will want to sign into your teacher account and create a New Kahoot.

Next, you will choose Jumble.

Then, you will want to name your Kahoot and provide a description. Add a Jumble question. Make sure that you put your events in the order that they occur! 

Finally, you will want to invite your students to play! Students will see the question appear on the teacher's screen. Students will have to drag and drop their answers (circle, square, etc.) into the correct order on their device's screen (grey dotted area in the picture below).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Search More Effectively with Google Search Education

We live in an age where information is just a tap or mouse click away. I have learned that locating information is a fine art. Are your students well-versed in how to search for the most appropriate, relevant, and timely information?

Google has developed a Google Search Education website to address this very challenge. The site is composed of Lessons & Activities, Power Searching, A Google a Day Challenge, and Live Trainings.

Each item provides students and teachers with the strategies and tools that they need to find information quickly and effectively.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wild by Wordsmyth Kids: A Visual Dictionary for Elementary Students

Vocabulary is an important component to learning; therefore, it is important that we provide students with tools to understand what a word means. This may require different representations of words, through images, video, audio, etc.

I came across a free tool called Wild by Wordsmyth Kids, which provides a variety of features to help students understand words. One helpful feature is a visual dictionary (with audio pronunciation of the word); however, it does contain a limited glossary of terms.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Virtual Word Walls with Google Slides

Do you use Word Walls?

Word Walls have gained a lot of notoriety because of the many benefits. It provides students with a visual of key terms; however, once students leave the classroom, it may be difficult to remember these terms.

Why not create a virtual Word Wall for your students to use inside and outside of the classroom? Not only does it give students a visual representation of vocabulary terms, but it provides you with the opportunity to embed hyperlinks. This can provide another way of representing content through websites, images, and videos.

How Do I Create a Virtual Word Wall? 

First, I would recommend that you visit Google Slides to create your Virtual Word Wall.

Next, I would recommend that you insert links over each vocabulary term. Simply highlight the term, choose the Insert Menu (or link icon), and paste a link to a video, website, or image.

Finally, when you are finished, I would recommend publishing your presentation. Simply visit the File Menu and choose Publish to the web. Here is a link to a sample presentation. This gets rid of the presenter notes section and makes it easier to click on hyperlinks.

To make life easier, add a new slide for each chapter (rather than creating a new presentation each time). This will provide you with an excellent review tool for the end of the school year.

Where Can I Store My Virtual Word Wall? 

There are a variety of ways to share your Word Wall. Whether you want to give students a link, QR Code, place it on your website, or share a Google Doc with a hyperlink.

I like the idea of putting it in the About section of Google Classroom. This provides students with a quick and easy way to find it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Vocabulary Choice Board with Google Slides!

We know that students learn differently; therefore, student choice and autonomy is an essential component to personalized learning. Why not use Google Slides to help customize instruction to the needs of your students?

Choice Board in Google Slides: 

A very simple way to personalize learning is creating a Choice Board in Google Slides. I created a sample choice board for vocabulary practice for students; however, you can customize my choice board to meet the needs of your students. Check out my sample here.

How Does It Work? 

Students can choose 3 activities that will meet their needs. They simply drag and drop the X over top of the activity on the choice board when completed.

Students complete each activity and insert their work inside of the assigned slide, much like a portfolio. This makes it easy to organize and reference. If you are a Google Classroom user, then you can make individual copies for each student.


Choice may not always be appropriate for a lesson; however, when it is, Choice Boards are an excellent tool to provide flexibility when necessary. You can design and customize your very own board to practice vocabulary, complete a project or review material.