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Showing posts from January, 2015

Are your students Chromebook ready?

With the arrival of many Chromebooks in our district, some students may struggle to adjust to the new computers and operating system.  To ensure that all students are ready to use their new learning tool, here is a checklist they can go through, which includes links to short lessons on how to perform the various functions:




Download the Google Doc here.

Teaching with GAfE

As access to technology increases in the classroom, teachers are looking for ways to use these tools with their students.

One of the benefits of using GAfE is the ability to collaborate in addition to working independently.  
Visit GAfE in the Classroom:  Instructional Ideas in order to access some ideas on how Google Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Forms, and Sites can be used in the classroom.

If you are looking for detailed lesson plans, check out some lessons that are provided on the Google Apps for Education site.
These are only a few suggestions, keep in mind the possibilities are endless.  Have fun exploring!

Google Slides + Google Forms = Nearpod!

When I was in the classroom, my two go-to tools were PowerPoint and Google Forms -- the former for delivering visual content and lesson instructions, the latter for formative assessment.  It was disjointed, but it worked for me.

With the move to online content and 1:1 classrooms, I knew there had to be a slicker, more integrated way of carrying out these same functions.  Enter: Nearpod.


Using a similar interface to Google Slides, Nearpod allows you to create online slideshows with the added benefit of embedding quizzes, surveys, and even freehand drawing (for maths problems!) into your slide deck.
What's more, students can sign-in to your slideshow using a PC, Chromebook, or their mobile device to view the content along with you, and take part in the interactive activities.
Transitioning to the new system is easy, as Nearpod will import your existing PowerPoint or PDF files and convert them into its own format.


The system is "freemium," meaning that many features are com…

60 Second Recaps

This is an interesting website that I discovered recently -- 60SecondRecap -- it offers help and advice for Language Arts students through a variety of entertaining blog posts.  What's most beneficial is the series of titular recaps -- short, one-minute videos that serve as a refresher for main concepts in language and literature.
Here is a typical example, focused on Huxley's Brave New World:

For other subject areas, this is a great, engaging template to work from.  Think of the possibilities: 60 Second Lab Reports -- students actively film and photograph their progress in science experiments, and use the video as a precursor and framework for their written reports.60 Second Vocabulary Blitz -- foreign language students take a theme and create a one-minute video reviewing key vocabulary and its meanings.60 Second History -- focusing on a small area of the class topic, Social Studies students produce short films to reinforce their understanding and serve as a study aid.  These…

Five Chome Apps for Language Arts

Continuing our series of subject-based apps, here are five tools that can enhance the Language Arts classroom:
1. Road to Grammar
Download it from the Chrome Store
A series of practice quizzes on various aspects of grammar, along with interactive lessons to support/extend classroom instruction.  Also features a games section that will be very useful for ESL students.

2. OverDrive
Download it from the Chrome Store
For Chromebooks only!  Allows students to access books, ebooks, and online audiobooks through the public library system.  Students will need to have a library card in order to access the system, which can be obtained for free from Sno-Isle.
3. Classic Literature
Download it from the Chrome Store
An online library of free, classic books that allows students to annotate as they go.  Great for keeping track of new vocabulary, important quotations, and fully searchable for when it comes time to write that paper or prepare for a test.  
4. EasyBib
Download it from the Chrome Store
The bes…

Google Classroom on Your Smartphone

Today, Google launched app versions of Classroom for Apple and Android devices.
If you utilise a BYOD environment in your class, students may find these useful for checking-in with class announcements, or submitting work from their own device.
With the mobile app, students and teachers can:

Snap a photo: Right from the assignment page in the mobile app, students can snap a photo and attach it to their assignment — whether it’s the experiment they just did for a science class, or a drawing they made of their family tree. And if they’ve forgotten their homework, they can ask someone at home to snap a photo, text it and then turn it in with the app. Of course, if the dog has actually eaten it, Classroom can’t help you.
Share from other apps: Students can also easily attach images, PDFs and web pages from other apps to their assignments. For example, when you’re in a drawing app, you can create a graphic for an assignment. When you click “share” in that app, Classroom will come up as an op…

Capture Your Lessons and Flip Your Classroom with Chrome

You may have heard a lot about the "flipped classroom" which, if you're worried, has nothing to do with upturned furniture.  It's part of the blended learning model of instruction, where online learning is integrated into a regular classroom.

The "flip" occurs when students use homework time to view lectures, videos, or lessons, and are then able to spend more time in class working with their teacher to increase their understanding.

There are several resources out there that are free to use, and may align perfectly with your curriculum.  (Just do a quick search on YouTube to get started.)  But what happens when a resource isn't available, or what's available differs from your own methodology, or if it just isn't very good?

This guide will show you how to capture and create your own online lessons.  Full instructions and videos are after the jump.


Synergyse Updates

In a previous post I wrote about Synergyse, the fabulous training tool embedded in Google Drive/GAfE. I use the short audio/visual lessons as my first go to when I have a question about any of the Google apps.  The Synergyse peeps have released an updated version of and some of the new features you will see are: Improved search The search feature has been enhanced to provide more accurate results for training content, additional Google Apps training & tips from the Synergyse Blog are also returned when relevant.
Japanese support Synergyse is now available in Japanese for all clients, you can access the interactive training content by switching your Google Apps interface languages to Japanese. Video portal link for unsupported languages When using an unsupported language, a link to the video portal will be provided in the training menu as an alternative option. Related links lists open automatically When watching a custom video with related links, the links list will open automatically at…

How to Change the Default Font in Google Docs

I’m not a big fan of Arial 11 pt font, the default font for Google Docs and perhaps you aren’t either. If so, here are two ways to change the font style and size. If you want to change the font for the document you’re working on and that's it, go to the font drop down menu in the toolbar. Easy enough.

If you find yourself using a favorite font for all your documents, then follow these steps to set a default font style and size for all new documents. No Comic Sans, please!

First open a new document and type a word.

Highlight the word, select the font and size you want, and click "Normal text" on the toolbar.

Click the arrow on the right-hand side and click on: “Update ’Normal text’ to match”.

Now back to the Normal text box again, go all the way down to Options and click on “Save as my default styles”.                                                                             All your new Google documents will have the new default font style and size!

Five Chrome Apps for Science

Chromebooks and the Chrome browser allow teachers and students to access all manner of interactive educational tools online.  Over the next few weeks, we'll highlight some of the best subject-specific tools out there.  We start this week with Science:
1. Chemical Elements
Download it from the Chrome Store
This presents a periodic table of elements, an elements list, and molecular weight calculator. Elements are given with their properties and images. 
2. MolView
Download it from the Chrome Store
MolView allows teachers and students to draw structural formulas, view 3D molecules, search and view compounds, proteins, and crystal structures.
3. Physics Dictionary
Download it from the Chrome Store
Physics Dictionary (or PhyDicS, to give it its TMZ nickname) presents  fundamental physics concepts in an interactive way. A second section of the app contains information about some famous physicists and basic laws of physics.
4. Astronomy Simulations
Download it from the Chrome Store
This app doe…