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Two Google Docs Tricks for Providing Students with Templates and Graphic Organizers

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If you are like me, you want to provide your students with the best tools, templates, and resources for completing assignments. I often attach these resources to Google Classroom; however, this can become very cumbersome if I have more than three links.  One strategy I found helpful is embedding templates and graphic organizers into my instructions in Google Docs. Instead of having students make their own copies, I have used the following tricks to "force a copy" or show a "preview" of the template. Then students can choose to use or not use the templates without remembering to visit File > Make a Copy.  How to Force a Copy or Create a Template Preview How does it work? Check out my video

The Key to Choice? Offer Flexibility in the Product or Process

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Teachers often ask me, "How can I infuse autonomy and choice into learning?" It's a great question; the key is understanding the power of choice. Choice is a powerful tool in creating learner engagement; however, the type of choice matters greatly.  It's NOT the Choice, But the Type of Choice That Matters Katz and Assor (2006) stated that it's not the choice but the type of choice that matters. They argued there are three essential elements of choice:  Autonomy - Do students understand the relevance and meaning of the task? Competence - Are students appropriately challenged, and can they master the task? Connectedness - Do students feel a sense of belonging and accomplishment? We, as teachers, sometimes struggle with providing our students with choices. There have been times when I have felt guilty and had to give myself permission to give students choice. There have been other times when I was frustrated by the lack of flexibility I thought I had.  We Have a C

Creating Engaging Google Docs Activities with Dropdown Menus and Emoji Reactions

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Have you seen some of the new features in Google Docs lately? I have seen a lot of ideas swirling around on social media about using the Dropdown menu and Emoji Reactions features on Google Docs. One of my favorites is a Cloze Reading activity by Eric Curts . If you haven't seen this, you should totally check it out!  If you are not familiar with these features, here is a brief overview.  The Dropdown feature is a great way of providing students with scaffolds and support for correct terms, numbers, symbols, etc. I decided to take the plunge and see how this could be applied in the foreign language (or any) classroom. Here is an example of this in action:  The Emoji Reactions feature is a great way for checking for understanding! Emojis could be used to demonstrate understanding of a term, analyze the emotional state of a character, or summarize a paragraph. The best part is that this feature has a collaborative component. In other words, you could ask students to work in groups

Amazing Google Lens Trick! Copy Printed Text with Your Phone and Paste in Google Docs on Another Device

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Did you know that you can use the Google Search App on your phone to scan, copy, and even translate a printed text on another device? You can literally scan a printed text from your phone and send it to your laptop with a few taps. This is a game-changer if you want to Universally Design your classroom and make printed text more accessible to ALL students!   Printed Text Limitations We know that learners differ in how they interact and perceive different media and printed text does have several limitations. First, you are limited in how you can manipulate and interact with printed text. For instance, you cannot change the font size or style. Secondly, hyperlinks to additional resources and tools cannot be embedded in printed documents. Finally, printed text does not have built-in speech-to-text tools.  Educators are sometimes limited by budgets and resources, creating barriers to creating accessible learning environments. This simple trick is free and how students learn in your classr

Extreme Makeover UDL Edition! Making a Self-Pace Google Slides Activity Accessible and Even Better!

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I recently saw an awesome self-paced activity using Google Slides by the Sprinktop Teacher ! It was engaging and well designed. As someone constantly thinking about the importance of design and accessibility, I thought..."how could I make this amazing activity even more amazing and accessible for ALL students?"  UDL Makeover: Making An Amazing Activity Even More Amazing and Accessible  Check out my video below to learn: 1. How to create your own self-directed slides in Google Slides 2. How to make your activity accessible Embedding audio in your slides with Mote or Vocaroo Adding scaffolds and supports with Screencastify   Making your fonts more accessible with Lexend Publishing your presentation and providing a QR-code generated from Chrome    Conclusion When we identify high-probability barriers to accessing learning activities and design with accessible options in mind, we can create highly engaging learning activities for all students. Check out more about the UDL frame

Making Reading Accessible Through Lexend

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Researchers have found that reading fluency is one of the factors that distinguishes good readers from poor readers; however, many of our students and even adults struggle with reading throughout their careers. In fact, a ccording to the US Department of Education , over 70% of the population struggles with some form of reading difficulty.  What if the problem was more than fluency and literacy?  In 2001, Dr. Bonnie Shaver-Troup discovered and designed a new font called Lexend to reduce visual stress and improve reading performance for struggling readers and those with dyslexia. Shaver-Troup found that the Lexend not only makes reading more for struggling readers and those with dyslexia, it actually benefits ALL readers. Researchers have found some powerful evidence for Lexend: Reading fluency is calculated to find the correct number of words spoken per minute. Researchers discovered that 90% of readers had better fluency scores with Lexend font than Times New Roman.  Reading fluency p

9 Ways to Make Your Presentations More Accessible to Students

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Presentations are an important part of the teaching and learning process. There are times when instruction must occur in small or large groups; however, are your presentations accessible to all of your students?  Variability is the rule and not the exception in our classrooms. When you have so many learner differences in one learning environment, you are bound to have learning barriers emerge. How can we make presentations more accessible to students?  Check out my vide o below for 9 ways to make your presentations more accessible to students.    As a reminder! There are so many different ways to make your presentations more accessible to students!  Guided notes and a “live” note-taker on a document camera / Google Doc. Take a picture of physical notes and post it to Google Classroom.  Use the Closed Captioning feature in Slides Screencastify  to record presentation Post materials to Google Classroom Periodic pauses for reflection Q&A feature in Slides for live questions Pear Deck