Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Changing the Writing Process with Google Classroom

How does the writing process typically work in many classrooms? Students are assigned a writing piece, they may write a draft, turn in their final copy, and get feedback a week or two later.

Google Classroom as a Solution

What if there was a better way to give students feedback? Google Classroom makes the writing process much easier! Here's how it works:

1. Create an assignment in Google Classroom

2. Have students open the assignment and attach their Google Doc (DO NOT hit "Turn In")

3. Have students complete the assignment. While students are working on their assignment, you can open up their Doc and see what they are doing in real-time. Add feedback and suggestions with just a click of the mouse.

4. When students are finished, they can open up the assignment in Google Classroom and hit "Turn In." This will change the student's permissions within the document from editing to view only.

Check out my video tutorial on how to do this!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Using Emojis to Increase Student Performance

Do you have trouble with students not paying attention to written instructions? You are not alone. This is a big frustration for many teachers. What if there was a solution to capture your student's attention?


There might be a viable solution right underneath your thumbs! Our students use emojis all of the time for communication; however, why not use emojis to help add meaning to instructions?

How can you use emojis from a laptop? A great solution is the Emoji Keyboard Chrome Extension from JoyPixels. I like this extension because it makes it easy to copy and paste emojis to tools like Google Classroom, Docs, Slides, etc. Its built-in search tool allows you to easily find emojis that will meet the needs of your students.

How Might This Work? 

Many of our students are visual! Using emojis can provide an extra set of scaffolding to capture their attention, improve efficiency, and increase engagement. 

For example, let's say that you are having students post an assignment to Google Classroom. Why not use emojis to help students stay on task, keep organized, and complete assignments correctly?

Here's a sample assignment from Google Classroom:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Use Photobooth for Green Screening!

There are a variety of ways to green screen in the classroom; however, you may want to consider using the Photobooth App if you have a MacBook. Want to learn how to do this? Check out my brief tutorial video below!

Monday, May 20, 2019

End of the Year Google Classroom Tips!

It's that time of year! Summer is almost here and many of us are starting to wrap up the school year. If you are a Google Classroom user, don't forget about archiving your classes!

There are several other helpful features that you might want to be aware of, such as accessing your archived classes, permanently deleting your classes, and making a copy for next school year.

Check out this helpful video to get you started!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Take Google Slides to the Next Level with Peardeck

Peardeck has been around for a while, but I have to admit that I have recently become fascinated with this awesome tool. If you are not familiar with it, Peardeck allows you to create interactive and dynamic presentations using Google Slides.

If you are a NearPod user, then you might be familiar with self-paced and interactive presentations. Peardeck is similar and has some really helpful features!

  • Google Slides Add-On - visit Google Slides and install the Peardeck Add-On so that you can create interactive presentations.  You can use existing Google Slides presentations so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel! Just use the Peardeck Add-On to make your presentation interactive. 

  • Make interactive slides at the beginning, during, and end of the lesson. There is a free and paid version, which gives you several different options to create interactive slides! Questions can be customized to the needs of your students and you can quickly receive feedback on student responses!

  • Present your lesson and have students access on a variety of devices. Much like Kahoot and Nearpod, students can access your Peardeck through a link and code. Presentations can be teacher-led or student-paced (even if you use the free version!). 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Use the Drop-Down Menu Option in Google Sheet to Create Self-Grading Rubric

Have you ever just wanted to create a Google Sheet with a dropdown menu of options? There are a variety of possibilities with this feature.

Several years ago, I had the idea of having my students grade me at the end of the grading quarter. I put together a rubric for my students to complete. To make the process easier, I could have utilized a drop-down menu to quickly tally up points. Here's how it would work? Check out my quick video!

Monday, April 15, 2019

4 Tips for Using Backchannels in Class through Yo Teach!

Backchanneling can be a helpful tool in the classroom when used effectively. For instance, if you are having your students watch a video in class, a back channel might be a helpful platform to ask questions, post observations, etc.  Perhaps you have a blended classroom and want to use a backchannel as a forum to ask questions or engage in online discussion.

Yo Teach!

I recently came across a backchannel site called Yo Teach! With the demise of Today's Meet, I have been searching for a viable alternative. This free tool helps you easily create an online chat forum, as well as share with students via a link or QR code.

It is easy to create and takes less than 5 minutes to set-up and share. Plus, there is no account that is needed!

I like the fact that students can share their thoughts in multiple ways, such as through text, a drawing, or upload a picture. Providing students with multiple avenues for participating helps increase engagement in the lesson. Not all students learn the same way - so why should we expect them to backchannel the same way?

4 Tips for Using Backchanneling in Class

Regardless of your strategy or purpose, it is important to consider a few things:

  • Establish expectations with students. What does acceptable dialog look like? Realize that students are going to do and say things that are inappropriate at times. Does this mean you abort the technology or use it as a teachable moment? 
  • What is the purpose of establishing a backchannel? Is it just to have a "cool" new activity or will it enhance discussion? Knowing your purpose helps provide direction. 
  • Know your audience. If you are working with a bunch of 1st graders, is this the most appropriate tool for conversation? What is the maturity level of your students? What online experiences have they had in the past? If they haven't had much experience, how can you help them learn how to participate in an online environment. 
  • Establish a framework. Use a framework to guide your student's through the online discussion. Will they pose questions or share observations? Will they share 2 truths and a lie about the video? Are you using it as a 3-2-1 activity at the end of class? Structure helps keep the majority of students on task because they know the purpose. Without a purpose, students will often create their own purpose - even if it is unproductive.