Sunday, August 26, 2018

Learn your New Students' Faces, Names, and More with Google Slides

One of the first things every teacher wants to do each year is memorize their students faces and names. This makes a personal connection to each of your students and helps them feel welcome and valued in your class. The last thing we want to do is call a student by the wrong name or have to resort to a "Hey you".

When I was first teaching (back in 1992, you do the math) I took pictures of my new students on the first day of class with an old camera with 110 film. I then would get the pictures developed at my local drug store and would attach the photos to 4x6 cards I had the students fill out with their names and details about themselves.

These became my flashcards so I could learn my students names, faces, and key details about each of them. I would practice with these for the first week or so of school to make sure I learned all 130 or so new students I had that year.

Well now with technology there are so many better and faster ways to do this. For one example I have created a Google Slideshow template that you can use to help learn your students names and faces and a little about them. You can even randomize the slides for better quizzing of yourself. See below to get your copy of the template and directions for how to use it.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

What to do About the Missing "About" Page in Google Classroom?

Recently Google rolled out some great updates for Google Classroom. You can see my earlier post for all the details here: 9 Updates for Google Classroom (and 3 more to come)

As awesome as these updates are, we did end up losing one feature in the process… the "About" page. In the past Google Classroom had an "About" page that contained lots of information related to the class. Some of those items got moved to other pages. However, one big thing missing is the ability to add class resources.

The "About" page was a nice location to provide easy access to common websites, a syllabus, style guides, and other reference materials for students. According to Google we will have the ability to add such class materials to the new "Classwork" page in the near future, but for now that feature has not been released.

So what can you do in the time being if you want to share classroom resources without an "About" page? See below for a few ideas on possible alternatives for now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

New Pear Deck Critical Thinking Templates for Google Slides

Pear Deck is an awesome add-on for Google Slides that lets you add interactive elements to your presentations including multiple choice, text entry, numeric entry, drawing, and draggable activities.

I have shared posts about Pear Deck several times on this blog including:

Recently Pear Deck rolled out some updates to the add-on that provide more content and easier use, with a big focus on integrating critical thinking skills into your slideshows. In this post we will take a look at these great new updates that are available for you today.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

9 Updates for Google Classroom (and 3 more to come)

When Google Classroom launched in 2014 it was immediately a valuable tool to save educators time and increase connection with students. Since then Google has continued to make updates to Classroom, bringing new features and improvements.

Google has been very busy over the summer for the start of the new 2018 school year. Classroom has received nine updates, and has three more to come in the near future. In this blog post we will take a look at each of these updates, how they work, and what impact they will have on teaching and learning.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Google Tools for English Language Learners

Parlez vous Google? More and more it is becoming common for schools to serve students who do not speak English as their primary language. Thankfully there are many technology tools that can help bridge that gap and help increase communication and understanding.

These resources can include:

  • Translation tools
  • Speech-to-text tools
  • Text-to-speech tools
  • Dictionary tools
  • Summarization tools
  • Screencasting tools
  • And more!

Below you will find an overview of several tools to consider using with English Language Learners, or ELL students. I will continue to add new ideas to this list overtime, and would also love to hear suggestions from you. If you know of tools that have been helpful for ELL students, please consider sharing them in the comments at the bottom of this post.