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Showing posts from October, 2017

CheckMark: A Quick Way to Grade Essays

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As learning becomes increasingly digital, teachers need to find quick and innovative ways of providing timely feedback. Unfortunately, it is very time consuming to leave comments for every mistake that a student makes on an essay. The CheckMark Chrome Extension is a perfect solution for grading papers because it provides you with a menu of canned comments that automatically insert as comments into Google Docs. How does it work?  First, you will need to visit the Chrome Store to install the CheckMark Chrome Extension. Next, open up a student essay in Google Docs and highlight the text that you want to comment on.  Once text is highlighted, you will see a list of comments that you can select. Finally, choose the comment that you would like to insert. CheckMark will automatically insert the feedback as a comment in Google Docs. Conclusion Timely feedback is an important aspect of increasing student engagement. Students need to know what they are doing well and what they

The Highlight Tool: Taking Highlighters to the Next Level

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I'm always looking for new Add-Ons to try out in Google Docs, Sheets, Forms, and now Slides. One particularly helpful tool is the Highlighter Add-On for Google Docs. Want to see it in action? Check out my video below: Conclusion : Students can use this tool to highlight text to identify patterns, take notes, and organize information. The Highlighter Add-On then saves your highlights and generates a new document containing your highlights in sequence or organized by color. This is a helpful tool in any classroom, especially where students need to take notes and identify patterns. What's your favorite Add-On? Leave a comment below.

Create Screen Capture GIF's from Chrome with Bukket

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When you think of GIF's, you might think of funny animated images on social media or text messages. Over the past year, I have learned the value of creating animated GIF's to help enhance step-by-step instructions for students and teachers alike. How can you create animated GIF's from screen recordings? One possible option is the Bukket Chrome Extension , which allows you to create screen captures and animated GIF recordings on your web browser. Many schools restrict teachers from downloading applications from the Internet, so this may be an option. How can you create an Animated GIF with Bukket? First, you will want to make sure that you install the Bukket Chrome Extension . Remember: Chrome Extensions only work in the Chrome Browser. Next, choose the Bukket extension and choose "Record Selected Area" to record a specific area on your browser window OR you can choose "Record Visible Area" to record your entire open window. 

3 MORE Safe Alternatives to YouTube!

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First of all, I want to thank you all for your feedback! After my last post titled 3 Alternatives to YouTube, I received many great ideas from you. Without further adieu, here are 3 more alternatives to YouTube! # 1 - Watchkin Watchkin is another great YouTube video alternative that I recently learned about. It provides a safe environment for watching YouTube videos, as well as creating a safe URL similar to SafeShare.Tv and NiceTube. Users can also search for YouTube videos within the website, which makes it a very good tool to use in the classroom. #2 - Embed YouTube Video in Google Slides If you are looking for an easy way to show videos without the distractions, you might want to try embedding a YouTube video in a Google Slides presentation. Your presentation can be shared with students and they do not have to be distracted by suggested videos. How does this work? First, create your Google Slides presentation. Next, you will choose the Insert menu and select

My Leadership Journey: Which Way Does Your Arrow Point?

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Which way does life's arrow point in your life?  This is a question that I have been pondering in my own life. As many of you know, I set the ambitious goal of interviewing 50 leaders in a one year period. Today marks the ending of a one year journey. Throughout my journey, I have seen many excellent and poor examples of leaders. I have sat across from leaders who kindly gave up hours of their time to share their experiences with a stranger. Many graciously bestowed their prized life stories, lessons, and resources without any expectation of repayment. Many were kind. Some were egotistical. Most were extremely helpful. Some were surly and curt.  After interviewing 54 different people, I learned that all leaders have a compass for service. The arrow points in one of two directions, towards the leader or others. The Arrow Towards Me When the arrow points towards us, we expect others to serve our needs, expectations, and desires. I found this to be true in one leader, who to

3 Alternatives to YouTube

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As a secondary teacher, I used YouTube as a teaching tool on a regular basis. Although it has improved over time, questionable content sometimes appeared in the suggested videos section. Since my move into the elementary level as a Learning Technologies Specialist, I have began to search for alternatives to YouTube. Here are 3 alternatives to YouTube: # 1 - NicerTube I just came across NicerTube in searching for YouTube alternatives. It is very easy to use. You simply copy and paste the URL of a YouTube video, choose a creative background, and NicerTube creates your video. Want to see an example? Check out my video tutorial from a previous post. I love the fact that this tool is free, easy-to-use, and allows you to make as many videos as you would like; however, it does contain advertisements. # 2 - SafeShare.TV SafeShare.TV is extremely easy to use and customize to the needs of your students. You simply copy and paste the URL of any YouTube or Vimeo video and SafeShare.

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Assignment Tic Tac Toe Board

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Choice is an important aspect of student engagement. If we know that it works, why do we sometimes limit the amount of choice that we give students? I know that it is not always appropriate or possible, but there are always ways to provide options. With this in mind, I decided to combine the idea of a Tic Tac Toe board and choices. There are many great examples across the Internet of educators using this idea to create assignments. Here is an idea that I created: Here are 5 tips for creating your own assignment Tic Tac Toe board: 1. State Your Goals  If you notice, because humans are naturally goal-oriented, I provided the goal for each section. We need to understand "why" we are doing something; therefore, I stated it in clear terms (i.e. find a current event, summarize, share your opinion). 2. Clear Goals, Require Clear Assessments Although it is important to share your goals, it is also important to have a rubric communicating specific behaviors and action

New Grading Feature in Google Forms!

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Google Forms is quickly becoming one of my favorite formative assessment tools. In the past, you used to have to limit self-grading questions on Google forms to multiple choice, checklists, and dropdown menus. Google recently made an update to Forms, which allows users to create self-grading quizzes with short answers. How does it work? Step 1: Choose the Settings Button (Gear Icon) Choose the Settings button, select the Quizzes tab, and turn on the Make this a Quiz feature. Make sure that you save your progress! Step 2: Create Your Question Create your question on Google Forms. Type in your question and make sure that "Short Answer" is selected. Step 3: Add Your Correct Answers While you are still editing your question, select "Answer Key" and enter in all of your possible short answers. You will also want to select the box containing "Mark All Other Answers as Incorrect" and add a point value for your question. NOTE : If you want

Help Create Student Engagement with ClassKick

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Student engagement is a highly debated issue in education today. Brain research has revealed that we can engage students through recruiting interest, sustaining effort and persistence, and helping develop self-regulation skills ( CAST , 2017). Providing timely feedback is one way to create engagement and help sustain student effort and persistence. ClassKick is an excellent tool to provide students with engaging assignment, monitor progress, and provide timely feedback. ClassKick is free and is available for students to use on an iPad, Chromebook, laptop, or desktop. Features There is a paid version of ClassKick; however, the free version offers many great tools and resources for both teachers and students in the classroom. View "live" student work and write real-time feedback. You can watch your students as they progress through a lesson without any expensive monitoring software.  Share content through text, written instructions, audio recordings, text, links, an

Easily Annotate and Share Webpages with Marker.To

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Have you ever wanted to share highlighted information from a website with someone? How do you typically solve this dilemma? Do you print out the document and physically hand it to someone else? Not only is this practice time consuming, it is also quickly becoming obsolete. Marker.to The Chrome Extension Marker.to gives you the ability to annotate and send your webpages to others. Simply highlight text on a webpage (using a yellow highlighter), click on the Marker.to extension icon to highlight your text, and send the text to someone else via social media or a link. The other person does not need the extension installed or even use the Chrome browser to see what you highlighted! How does it work?  Watch my brief video below: Conclusion This is a great tool for students and teachers alike. Someone using this tool can find and highlight valuable information on the Internet without the need for special software, apps, or extensions! I also like the fact that you can keep

4 Must-Have Writing Tools

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Writing is an essential skill for students and even adults to master. There are dozens of tools on the Internet designed to help correct grammar, spelling, and improve your writing skills. Here are a few of my favorites! 1. Paper Rater  Paper Rater is a free online tool to correct grammar and spelling errors. Simply upload or copy and paste your text in the site. Then answer a few questions about the type of paper you are writing and the education level at which you are writing. Paper Rater will analyze your paper for common errors and suggest improvements to your writing. There is even a proofreading feature available on the Pro Version. I love the fact that you can use this tool online, it gives you a suggested "grade," and even provides resources for improving your writing. 2. Grammarly  Grammarly is also a free tool available on your Chrome browser or for download on your Mac or PC. Grammarly is an excellent tool for correcting grammar and spelling errors. A

Seriously, Do Nothing for 2 Minutes!

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There are times when teachers and students alike feel completely overwhelmed. The stress of a deadline, the pressure of an assignment, or time constraints can create stress in our lives. How we manage stress can impact our grades, decisions, and even professional reputation. There has been a lot of press about the power of yoga, guided breathing, meditation and mindfulness in today's schools. Over the past year, I have experimented with and found many benefits of guided breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. It may sound great, but how can you get started? Do Nothing for 2 Minutes Do Nothing for 2 Minutes is an easy-to-use website with a simplistic objective. Simply visit the site and do nothing for 2 minutes. Once you visit the site, you will hear the sounds of the ocean and see the picture of a sunset. You are encouraged to relax and do absolutely nothing for 2 minutes.  A clock will appear on your screen with a 2 minute countdown. If you move your mouse or touch you

Need a Scanner? Use Your iPad or Mobile Device

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If you are like me, you probably need a scanner to scan documents from time to time. There are many great scanner Apps available for your device. Some of my favorites are Cam Scanner and Genius Scan - PDF Scanner. If you are not familiar with how this works, check out my video tutorial on Cam Scanner below:

3 Ways to Use the iOS Version of Google Earth in the Classroom

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Have you tried Google Earth lately? Whether you are using the mobile, web, Mac or PC version, you should definitely give this tool a try. Although there are many great versions of Google Earth, I want to showcase the iOS version today! Here are 3 ways you can use iOS Google Earth in the classroom. 1. Random Location Writing Prompts Google Earth's I'm Feeling Lucky feature (dice icon) takes you to a random location. Have your students practice their writing skills by describing the location or creating a story. Your students can use Street View (Pegman icon) and information cards to add details to their stories! 2. Take Virtual Field Trips Use the Voyager feature to take your students on virtual field trips. Choose from a variety of different voyages involving editor's pics, travel, nature, culture, history, and education. When you select a voyage, you can start exploring through a local guide, which includes information, maps, images, street view, and photosphe