Monday, September 26, 2016

Interactive Clock Face with Google Drawings

Google Drawings is a fantastic tool for many tasks (diagrams, graphic organizers, infographics) but is also a great option for making digital manipulatives. For example in an earlier post I shared a bunch of ways Drawings can be used in math for interactive learning (see here:

Recently I decided to see how Google Drawings could help with another math topic: telling time. This is a Common Core Math standard for grades 1, 2, and 3:

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.B.3 - Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.C.7 - Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.A.1 - Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.

To address this I created a Google Drawing template with an analog clock face and two rotatable clock hands. See below for a link to get your own copy of the interactive clock template, as well as directions for using it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Four Fantastic Feedback Tools for Google Docs

In the past when a student turned in the paper copy of their essay, story, report, or project, it was common for their teacher to pull out a red pen to provide handwritten feedback on the pages of the student's work. Feedback is a critical part of the learning process, providing helpful information on strengths, weaknesses, and guidance for improvement.

Now with tools such as Google Docs and Classroom, it is easy for students to create and submit their work digitally. So how does a teacher leave feedback on an electronic document? As we move from paper and pencil to Docs and digital, we need options for providing feedback that is valuable to the student, but not cumbersome and unnatural for the teacher to create.

Thankfully there are many excellent options for creating teacher feedback for digital work. In this post we are going to take a look at four specific options. These include tools for:
  • Text feedback
  • Voice feedback
  • Video feedback
  • Handwritten feedback
See below for details on each of these options, as well as a slideshow and one-hour training video where each method is demonstrated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

20 YouTube Channels for Social Studies

YouTube is a fantastic resource for schools to teach content and for students to learn content. For pretty much any topic you can think of, someone has made a video explaining it (which I greatly appreciate when I have had to replace parts in my clothes dryer three times in the last few years).

The same thing is true for social studies. YouTube hosts thousands of educational videos on history, politics, geography, and more. Some are created by talented teachers sharing their classroom creations with the world, while others are made by companies, museums, and more.

Recently I had the chance to curate a list of YouTube channels for a social studies inservice I was leading. Below are 20 of the channels I found that are worth checking out for your classroom if you teach social studies. I am sure there are many more channels beyond what I have listed, so I would love to hear about others. Please use the comments section at the bottom to share links to your favorite YouTube channel or playlist for social studies.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Watch the Video from the September 2016 Google User Meeting

Catch up on everything new in Google Apps over the last month, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our September 2016 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with links to all the resources and over 25 Google Apps updates from the last month.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
For those who cannot attend in person, the meetings are broadcast live using a Google Hangout. Users can join the Google Hangout remotely to participate in the meeting, or can simply watch the live stream. The video from the meetings is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live.

See below to view the recorded video from the September 2016 meeting:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

5 Google Tools for Staff Professional Development

In schools we are always looking for creative ways to offer meaningful professional development to staff. This might mean:

  • Flexible PD where staff can participate at a time of day or day of the week that works best for them
  • Interactive PD where staff can communicate with others, share ideas, ask questions, and more
  • Engaging PD with the use of multimedia to go beyond typical text or slideshows

There are certainly dozens of excellent technology tools to use for delivering professional development, and we should try out a wide variety to discover which ones work best for our staff, content, and goals. Many of the free Google tools can lend themselves to providing flexible, interactive, and engaging PD. In this blog post we will take a brief look at five possible Google tools to use:

  • Google Hangout
  • Google Hangouts on Air
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Communities
  • Google Sites

See below for details on each of these tools, ideas for use in delivering professional development, and additional resources to help you learn more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Engaging Quiet Students with Google Forms

When I was a student (many, many years ago) I dreaded class participation. Now don’t get me wrong… I loved school. I was a straight-A student who excelled in all my subjects, loved to learn, and took the most challenging courses.

I just didn’t like to talk.

You see, from the time I was a little child into my early teen years, I used to have a stutter. Some days were better than others, but one thing that always brought out the stutter was speaking out loud in class. When a teacher asked a question, I most always knew the answer, but was hesitant to raise my hand. And nothing was worse than the teacher having each student in class take turns reading from the chapter in the textbook. The closer it got to me, the more nervous I became, trying to determine which paragraph would fall on me and which words I would undoubtedly stumble over.

And I am sure I was not alone. For a wide variety of reasons, student may be reluctant to speak up and participate in class:

  • Perhaps they wrestle with a speech impediment.
  • Maybe they fear they do not have the right answer or a valuable contribution.
  • Or they just need more time to think before they are ready to answer.
  • Or maybe they are shy.

Thankfully today technology provides us with more tools for students to participate in class, share their ideas, and ask questions. One great option is to use Google Forms. See the rest of this blog post below for some ideas on how Forms can not only involve the quiet kids, but improve class engagement for everyone.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Exploring Tangrams with Google Drawings

At some point in your life, probably in school, you have had the chance to play with a tangram puzzle. If somehow you are not familiar with this, a tangram is a popular Chinese puzzle made up of:

  • 2 big right triangles
  • 1 medium right triangle
  • 2 small right triangles
  • 1 square
  • And 1 parallelogram

The object of tangram puzzles is to create an image by moving, rotating, and flipping the pieces as needed. Common images to make include animals, boats, people, objects, letters, and such.

In schools, tangrams can be a great way for students to learn and explore:

  • Problem solving
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Geometry transformations - moving (translation), turning (rotation), flipping (reflection)
  • Fractions
  • Creativity - when making their own tangrams

There are lots of ways for students to explore tangrams from physical blocks you can purchase, to virtual tangrams online. One great tool for creating, solving, and exploring tangrams is Google Drawings. It makes it easy to create shapes, and then move, rotate, and flip the shapes as needed.

See below for everything you need to get started using Google Drawings for tangrams. This includes a free blank template with all the tangram pieces already created, a dozen pre-made tangram puzzles to solve, and detailed directions on how to manipulate the shapes using tools in Google Drawings and create your own tangram puzzles.