Thursday, August 27, 2020

3 Tips to Make Better Google Classroom Assignments

Want to take your Google Classroom assignments to the next level? Here are three tips for creating better assignments in Google Classroom:

 

  Tip # 1 - Break out Emojis!

Add emojis to instructions to serve as bullets or help key instructions stand out! Our students are visual creatures, which is why apps like Instagram and Snapchat are much more engaging to our kiddos! An awesome way to get emojis is through Joy Pixel's Emoji Keyboard Chrome extension.

Tip # 2 - Don't get too attached! 

Too many attachments is difficult to manage for students. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 attachments in a post. What if you need more attachments? Consider embedding additional resources like websites, templates, etc. in a Google Doc with instructions.

Need a sample? Check out my UDL Essay instructions. You will notice that it contains:

  • The Lesson Goal
  • Suggested Steps to Complete Assignment
  • FAQ's
  • Rubric


Bonus Tip!

Did you know that you can force students to make a copy of a Google Doc by clicking a link? Check out how here! This is a great way to make optional templates available for students, so that they can make as many copies as they would like. 

Force a copy with one simple step!


Tip # 3 - Screencast to save your voice and hair!

Add a screencast with instructions. A one to two minute screencast might be a helpful way for students to remember what to do or help parents understand an assignment. Simply attach your screencast to your assignment so that students know what to expect, how to complete, and how to submit.  

One of my favorite tools is Screencastify! It is quick, easy, and saves to Google Classroom! 

It might sound like extra work to record yourself; however, you could record yourself while you are already giving your class instructions or have a student do it. The point is to have something available for students who might be working remotely, need to hear it again, or weren't paying attention. 






Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Back to Basics: Create a Google Form in 3 Minutes

 Need a crash course on creating your first Google Form? Check out my 3-minute tutorial, which will teach you how to create, share, and analyze results from your form. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Need to Know Graphic Organizer in Google Drawings

 Did you know that Google Drawings is a great tool for helping students organize their thoughts? If you are teaching virtually or want to design a printable graphic organizers, Google Drawings might be a great tool! Whether students are constructing an essay or a video response, helping organize their thoughts can help solidify their argument or understanding of the topic.  

I designed the following graphic organizer called "Need to Know" using Google Drawings. It contains three different components:

  • What Do I Already Know? This is a great way for students to begin thinking about what they already know about a topic. Connecting background knowledge is a great way for students to connect with their topic. 
  • What Do I Need to Know? The following section helps students develop questions on what they need to know about their topic. I love including the 5 W's and How questions.
  • What Do You Need to Know? This portion helps students think about their audience as they construct and organize their essay. Students organize their information in a hamburger-type organizer.
Want your own copy? Feel free to click here. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Create Your Own Bitmoji Virtual Classroom in 10-Minutes

 There have been a ton of Bitmoji or virtual classroom ideas available to educators since the Spring. Although this tool is great for remote learning situations, it can be helpful in hybrid and face-to-face learning situations too. The idea behind a Bitmoji classroom is to replicate your own classroom and make resources, news, and tools available to students in virtual settings. 

Considerations

Here are several considerations to keep in mind when designing your own virtual classroom:

1. Use the Bitmoji extension to add an animated version of you! 

2. Consider adding links to homework, resources, tutorials, and classroom news!

3. Don't forget about navigation! Use icons or pictures to link to slides. It might be helpful to add an icon to return back to your "home" screen or classroom.  

4. Make sure that you publish your classroom to the web! This makes it easier to access regardless of device.  



How Did I Do It? 

Want to create your own? Here is a brief tutorial on how to create your own Bitmoji classroom:


Want Your Own Copy? 

Want your own copy? Check out my TPT site to purchase your own copy of my template. The template contains everything you see in the preview from above. 





Saturday, August 8, 2020

iFake Text Message: Summarize Learning in Creative and Engaging Ways

 Reflection is an important piece of learning; however, we sometimes skip over it completely or do not give our students adequate practice. When reflection does occur, our students are often left to the same old routine, answering questions on a Google Doc or posting a response to a discussion question. 

Why not give students a creative way to summarize their learning? iFake Text Message could be a great tool for your students to use to summarize learning, save it as an image, and share with classmates via your favorite workflow solution. 

For example, what if you wanted students to summarize your lesson on the water cycle? Here is a sample text string that a student might be able to create with iFake Text Message.


How does this free tool work? Simply visit iFake Text Message. construct your conversation, and save! Check out my helpful video for more information:








Thursday, August 6, 2020

Use Flipgrid Shorts to Create Screencasts and Tutorials

Flipgrid is not only a great participation tool, but it can be a great tool for screencasts! I recently worked with a group of teachers who wanted to develop a video for virtual sight word practice. Whether you want to give a math lesson or create a brief tutorial, Flipgrid shorts are the tool for you!

Flipgrid Shorts are a tool that allows you to create screencasts in 10 minutes or less! You can use a variety of tools, such as a whiteboard, add pictures, text, drawing, or even sharing your screen!

Want to learn how to do this?  Check out my video below:

Create Your Own Google Site in Minutes!

If you are in a virtual setting this fall, you might want to consider designing your own Google Site as a communication tool for parents and students. If creating a website sounds intimidating to you, don't worry! It is much easier that you think!

The following video tutorial was created to give you a crash course on creating your own Google Site and embedding common objects like Docs, Calendars, Slides, and expandable text. 


Monday, August 3, 2020

Create a Reflection Template in Google Docs with the Table of Contents Feature

Reflection is an important component of learning because it allows students to document what they have learned. The act of reflection is critical for connecting yesterday's content with today and today's content with tomorrow!

Did you know that you can create your own template for students on Google Docs? I created the following sample for students to reflect in a 3-2-1 format. Not only can students use this as we progress throughout the unit, they can easily navigate the document through hyperlinks which are automatically generated by creating a table of contents!




Want your own copy of the reflection template? Feel free to use the following Google Doc


Not sure how to create a table of contents in Google Docs? Check out my video below. 



Saturday, August 1, 2020

Helpful Tools and Strategies to Create Better Seesaw Activities in Minutes

Did you know that Seesaw is a great platform for creating interactive learning activities for students? The Activities feature is perfect for creating virtual manipulatives, templates, and even book snaps! 

Want to learn how to create your own Activity for students? Check out my video below:



Helpful Tools for Creating Better Seesaw Activities 

Visuals and icons are very helpful tools for increasing student engagement or providing the scaffolds and supports they may need to complete assignments. Here are some of the helpful resources that I mentioned in the video:

Ideas for Seesaw Activities

Want some ideas for using Activities in Seesaw? Here are a few ideas: 
  • Feel free to use the modified Frayer Model Definition template that I created in the video. Click here to make a copy of my Google Drawing, which I downloaded into Seesaw.