May 16

Tuesday Tip! – Sheets, Charts, and Docs Working Together

We have become such a visual society that images and graphics really are an important part of our communication skill set.  Why not include charts as a way to reinforce a concept in a persuasive written piece?  Recently, a local high school English teacher did just that.  

When introducing a unit on The Holocaust, she asked students to rank their Top Ten for Who is Responsible for The Holocaust?  The teacher posted a link to a Google Sheet in her Google Classroom.  There were nine categories in protected cells and students could add their own tenth category.  Then, they entered numbers to rank each category.  Next, students converted the spreadsheet data to a pie chart.  Then, they inserted the chart into a Google Document and wrote a justification for their choice of ranking.

Basically, the  teacher saw three different types of effective responses for this assignment.  One student simply did a numbered list.  The pie chart helped to illustrate the ranking for the students to choose the level of responsibility and the student chose the ranking to be ten for most responsible and one for least responsible.  The justification was written with the highest ranking as the first numbered point.  Other students who wrote a numbered list ranked ten as leas responsible and one as most responsible.  So, the written justification certainly became an important part of the assignment.

 

Other students chose to write their justification in essay format, writing a paragraph as a way to explain the choices.  A student took the essay format one step further by changing font colors to match the categories on the pie chart as the explanation was detailed.  Sometimes the best differentiation comes from giving only basic instructions and allowing students to interpret!

 

 

 

 

 

Creating visuals solidifies ideas and concepts for readers and for students creating the visuals as well.  More importantly, an assignment like this gives the teacher a starting place for knowing what information is banked in students’ prior knowledge and what needs to be learned.  Amazing formative assessments don’t have to be locked into a ten question bubble sheet.  Why not smash a few apps together and really learn more about what students do and do not know?

May 9

Tuesday’s Tip! – Create Google Drawings to Create Deeper Understanding

Now more than ever, we are a visual society.  Constant access to the internet has completely revolutionized the way we communicate.  According to Jessi Hempel, who writes for Fortune Magazine, “Pictures are no longer precious; there are just too many of them.  Once collected and preserved as art, or to document memories, they are now emerging as a new language, one that promises to be both more universally understood and accessible to anyone.”

So, now, more than ever, we need to include images and graphics into our communication.  One way to do that is by using Google Drawings to create charts, memes, comics, and infographics which solidify new ideas in our minds.  Matt Miller says that by creating drawings, students get a firmer grasp on the content they are learning.   Continue reading

April 11

Google Tip #5 – It’s Nice To Share

One of the things we are taught early in life is that sharing is a nice thing to do.  That concept never changes throughout life.  Sharing makes the world a better place.

Teachers are encouraged to share with one another to make teaching and learning better for all.  Usually we are glad to share and do so freely.  Yet, sometimes we want to retain the original integrity of our creations.  Using G Suite tools makes it easy to share as well as easy to keep your original.

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December 20

Ten Keyboard Shortcuts for Chrome

Who doesn’t like to take a shortcut when possible?  There are keyboard shortcuts that are possible when using your Chrome browser that can make your work faster and easier.  Here are just ten of them:

1. Want to copy text you’ve highlighted with your cursor? 2. Do you want to paste what you just copied?

Hit the Control and C Keys simultaneously

Press the Control and C Keys simultaneously

Hit the Control and V Keys simultaneously

Press the Control and V Keys simultaneously

3. Do you want to zoom in on your computer screen? 4. Do you want to shrink what is on your computer screen?

ctrl-plus

Press the Control and Plus Keys simultaneously

ctrl-minus

Press the Control and Minus Keys simultaneously

5. Now if you’d like, you can reset the screen…

ctrll-zero

Press the Control and Zero Keys simultaneously

6. Want to reopen a browser tab you just closed? 7. Want to go to the OMNI Bar and highlight the contents there so you can copy/paste or enter a new URL?

Hit the Control, Shift, and T Keys simultaneously

Press the Control, Shift, and T Keys simultaneously

Hit the Control and L Keys simultaneously

Press the Control and L Keys simultaneously

8. Do you have text highlighted and want to quickly create a hyperlink? 9. Would you like to have precise placement of an object such as an image or text box?  You can move it one pixel at a time by using this shortcut:

Hit the Control and K Keys simultaneously

Press the Control and K Keys simultaneously

Use the Shift and Arrow Keys to move in any direction

Use the Shift and Arrow Keys to move in any direction

10. Want to be a power shortcut user?  Use the Ctrl+C, followed by Ctrl+K, and finish up with Ctrl+V!

To get something done in a hurry, take a shortcut!

December 1

Timing

When planning lessons, we constantly think of timing.  It seems we have so much that students need to be guided through or exposed to and such an overload of material that needs to be shared that we are often scrambling for more time.  One of the things teachers do is structure and scaffold our lessons so students learn to manage that too-little-time-struggle as well as learn to manage the time constraints of a busy world.

google-timer

Timer shows seconds ticking away

Recently, one of the administrators at a school where I work suggested that teachers manage time constraints (and help students learn, too) by using an online timer projected in the classroom that helps keep lessons on track.  There are lots of timers that can be purchased and multiple apps that can be downloaded for free.  However, my suggestion is to just use a simple one that is probably right in front of you and your students all the time – Google it!

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