Let Me Google That For You…

We all seem to know how to Google something, but are we really searching an effectively as we should? Let’s pretend you are doing a project on endangered animals and you choose to do one on the panda, if you google “panda” as of today you have over 381,000,000 results. The first result is the song Panda. I am pretty sure Desiigner and his broads in Atlanta are not going to help anyone with their project. So you have to break it down. I am always surprised that when I was in elementary school we spent every morning learning research tools but now those tools have changed we do not spend time on them anymore.If you have ever watched a student “google” something, they put in an entire sentence, “what are facts about pandas?” then click “images.” They are not too savvy even though we think they are since they have been “googling” their entire lives.  So here are some tools that will help you with ‘googling.’

First, Boolean and other search operators, commands that can narrow down a search.

AND When you put “and” between 2 terms the results have both.
Panda AND Endangered
OR Or looks for one of the terms
Panda OR Bamboo Bear OR Giant Bear Cat
NOT Not takes away a term.
Panda NOT Desiigner NOT Designer
      -not Putting a minus sign before a word acts the same as “not.”
Panda -Desiigner -designer
1800..1950 Putting two dots between numbers searches between them. It will work with money ($50..$75) as well as dates
Giant Panda population 1800..1950
“Phrase” Use quotation marks to search for an entire phrase.
“Giant Panda” and “endangered species”
site: This will look in just one website. 
panda site:nationalgeographic.com
filetype: You can use this to search by file type. This can be used with .doc, .pdf, need a slide show .ppt.
If you wanted a cute panda gif for your presentation:
Panda filetype:gif

Try these operators and see how it narrows down each of your searches.This is my favorite list of search operators.

Now that you have these tricks, don’t forget the search bar!

When you click “tools” you get more searches within your search bar.

If you click “settings” you will get a new menu for advanced search that will easily use the boolean and other operators.

Lastly, my favorite game for teaching them to search is “A Google A Day.” The site has 3 questions to google everyday. The questions are hard and you have to break up with keywords to find the answers. Example of today’s question:

Good luck searching! And if all else fails, there is always “Let me Google that for you.”

Hour of Code is Here!

It is that time of year! No, not the holidays, but Hour of Code! Hour of Code takes place during National Computer Science Week, but you can participate anytime. Again this year, I have prepared for you a website to host links and lesson ideas. jefcoedhoc.weebly.com


Lesson and Participating sites link

The link to the code.org HOC page

Looking for more information about the importance of Computer Science? This is a great resource! 


Adobe Spark Page and Post – No More Boring Slide Shows Part 2

Last time we looked at using Adobe Spark Video to create clean but interesting slides shows that included the student’s voice.  Today we are going to look at using alternatives to slide shows. There are other ways students can share what they know in a creative manner. We will look at the other 2 parts of Adobe Spark, Page and Post. As I stated in last post, Adobe Spark is free and can be logged in with your Jefferson County Google account. You can also use it on desktops, Chromebooks, and with an app on iPads.

Let’s start with Page. Page allows students to tell web stories through a webpage to show their learning. They choose a theme, backgrounds, and insert their text. They share the “page” by sharing the link or they can embed into a site. Students can use what they created in Spark Video and Post as well. It is just a click and type program that can create beautiful projects. Students spend more time on the learning and giving information instead of all their time on design and learning the program.

Here is an example of a quick page I created.

Using Adobe Page

Post is also a great way to make quick posters/pictures of information while using those design elements that are such an important soft skill for students to have. Students can make posters, social media sized pictures, and even slides for their Google Slides or Adobe Spark Videos. Below I made a slide that I could use. I used their theme and search for pictures inside of Adobe for the background. They did the hard part – making it look pleasing to the eye – for me.


Adobe Spark Video – No More Boring Slideshows!

Have you ever had a student create a slideshow? Usually they have too many words on a page and crazy color schemes. Many of our students have trouble putting what they know into words, but they are able to tell us about it verbally or with pictures. Adobe Spark Video is perfect for allowing them to use their voice as well as short sentences and pictures to show their learning.

Here is an example of a slide show I created in less than 20 minutes.

The website, spark.adobe.com has many examples of ways people have used the program. There are 3 parts to the program, Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video. All of these can be done on a desktop, chromebook, or by adding the app on an iPad. The accounts are free and can log in with your @jcboe.k12.al.us account. Students can easily share a link or download the finished video when done.

Next post, I will be bringing to you more information about Page and Post.

Buy This or Buy That

With the end of the year coming up and grant time, we have been getting a lot of questions about what you can by with certain amounts of money. So we made a list to share. One reminder, when buying technology, think about how many students the tech will reach. Will the technology support good pedagogy or will it support lecturing and “sit and get?” You will be surprised at what you can buy for students at the cost of one interactive white board.  Remember this when budgeting and purchasing!

5 Ways To Use Google Forms in Your Classroom – With Students Edition

Last post was we looked at how Google Forms can keep you organized. Now we are going to look how to use them with students.

A reminder from last post:  The best thing about Google Forms are that they put all information into a Google Sheet (spreadsheet). Once information is in there, you can manipulate it to sort, use formulas, merge, and using add-ons grade automatically. Also know that website like bit.ly will allow you to customize and shorten links for students to get your forms faster! QR codes will also work, but they will need a reader on their devices.

So here are just 5 ways we can use Google Forms. I probably could make a list of 20. Just remember, anything you have students fill out on paper, you could have them fill out here. And think of all the copies you would save!

Self Grading Quizzes or Exit Slips
Using the add on in sheets “Flubaroo” you can create a Self-Grading Quiz or Exit Slip. Anything that is multiple choice will grade itself. If you have a mixed test that has both multiple choice and short answer you can tell it you want to manually grade the short answer questions. Flubaroo also will highlight the questions missed most often and the students with a failing grade will turn red. You can email students their results too. To see the students’ grades, click the “grade” tab at the bottom of the spread sheet. 

Here is a video of how to use Flubaroo: http://bit.ly/1WnFeGH 
Here is an example of the form: http://bit.ly/1QcKzzu 
Here is an example of the spreadsheet with the results: http://bit.ly/1RXGSyS

 Turning in Assignments
If you are not using Google Classroom or Edmodo, having kids turn in assignments that are done online can be a headache or fill up your inbox. Have students turn in by copying and pasting links into a form. Now when it is time for you to grade them, you have a nice spreadsheet with all links organized.

Math Data for Lessons (Daily Data)
If you do daily data for your class, this is a great way to get information. Also, it is a great way to use technology in a 1 or 2 computer classroom. Have the daily or weekly question up on the computers and the students can answer while unpacking in the morning. Once students answer the questions you can run a report in Sheets and see what they answered. Have students answer questions about the results.

Reading Logs and Journals
Getting reading logs or journals to and from school can be your biggest stress at times. With a digital one, either made for each student or you can sort just one, you have a log for the entire year and those students who can’t keep up with the paper now have other ways to send it in. You can also get the parents to input a special code if you are worried about signatures.

Bookmarks and Bibliographies
When students are doing research it is sometimes hard for them to keep up with bookmarks or a list of all the sources they used. If they each made their own form, they can just input the links as they find them. Also, have them record the facts they found on that site. (As long as they have the link, EasyBib will cite it for them.) They now have a spreadsheet they can use when citing their sources. They can also share with you and you would have their list as well.

Here is an example: http://bit.ly/1TvSuc5

As I said above, there are so many ways to use these forms to help make your life easier. Don’t forget if you want to learn more, feel free to contact Amanda or Channon for more information. If you use Google Forms in a cool way, we would love to hear about it! Leave us a comment below!

5 Ideas For Using Google Forms in your Classroom – Organization Edition

Last post was ‘5 Ways  to Use Google Docs in Your Classroom,” so keeping with that theme we are going to look at ways to use Google Forms with your students and to help you with organization and paperwork.  The best thing about Google Forms are that they put all information into a Google Sheet (spreadsheet). Once information is in there, you can manipulate it to sort, use formulas, merge, and using add-ons grade automatically. Also know that website like bit.ly will allow you to customize and shorten links for students to get your forms faster! QR codes will also work, but they will need a reader on their devices.

I had too much trouble narrowing down the list to 5. I got it down to 10. But 10 is a crazy long Blog Post. I have broken it into 2 parts. This first is for organization purposes, how Forms can help you as a teacher get rid of some of those stacks of papers on your desk that seem to make you crazy! My next post will be ways to use Forms with students.

Lesson Plans
I know that this one can not be used in all schools, some have specific requirements for lesson plan formats, but if you have the freedom to create your own, this is a great way to keep up with all your lessons and give your administration access to it at all times. Highlight that week and print selection if you have to post in classroom.

Example of lesson plan form:  http://bit.ly/1RXCDDq
Example of spreadsheet:  http://bit.ly/1RXCCzm


Parent Contact Information
Collecting and organizing parent information is sometimes a daunting task. On “Meet the Teacher” night or “Open House” have parents fill out a form for information. Have a few devices around the room as well as QR codes that will allow them to fill out from their phones. Also, if you want to get even more fancy, you could run a “autocrat” add on from the sheets and have a Google Doc with parent information of each student. This would be great for a sports or academic teams where you have to have individual student information sheets to carry to events. 


Daily 5 Documentation
Keeping data of reading conferences by putting information into a form. All you information in the spreadsheet will then sort by name and you have a running data.  

Here is an example Form: http://bit.ly/1TvOPLz


Sign Up Forms with Choice Eliminator 
Using the add-on in forms “Choice Eliminator” you can have students or parents sign up for things to bring, but after you have a choice hit its limit, that choice will go away. For example, if you have them sign up to bring chips and you only want 2 people to bring them, after the second person chooses it, that is no longer a choice. Also great for putting in groups or signing up for projects.


 Behavior Logs/Classroom Management 
Documenting student behavior was always a pain for me. Having to remember after class, the forms to fill out, notebook to keep. A coworker made a form so we could record information there instead of on pink forms. The best part, we shared one form so we had information of all the students in our grade. So we could see if they were having issues in other classes or just ours. Also became helpful when contacting parents as well as sending the log to our admin so they know the steps taken for the students.
Here is an example of that form: http://bit.ly/1oDOCe6

The next post will be ways to use Forms with students. I hope you can see the benefits of Gogole Forms and how helpful they can be! If you ever want to learn more, contact Amanda or Channon to schedule training!

5 Ideas for Using Google Docs in Your Classroom

I feel like we spend so much time learning the “how to” with Google Docs that we never get to focus on the “what.” Today I am going to list 5 ideas that you can use Google Docs with your students. Either for a project or with the entire class. I have links to examples. If you want to use the examples, click the link and “make a copy” to get your own template.

Interactive Poster
Have students show what they have learned in a poster! You can make them a template and push out a copy to every student with Google Classroom or you can have each start with a blank slate.

Here is an example of a poster about Thomas Jefferson’s Political Career:

Here is a Science Poster Presentation. Students could add links to pictures and videos:

Fill In Graphic Organizer
Have students fill in a graphic organizer for an activity

Comic Books
Have students take pictures and using “drawing tool” inside of the doc, make speech bubbles.

Newspaper Template
Not only can students use the template to make a newspaper, but since it is a shared document, groups can type into one document and proof read each other’s work.

Recipe Cards
While teaching students fractions, have them take a recipe and cut it in half. Next, put the new recipe in on the recipe card.

These are just a few suggestions of ways to use Docs for something other than writing papers! If you are doing something new and creative, let us know is the comment section!

Hour of Code is Coming #JefCoEd!

Hey everyone! It is that time of year! The Hour of Code! This is an initiative to make students and teachers aware of the importance of coding during the week of Dec 7-13. Over 100 million students in 180 countries have participated in HofC. It would be great to have every school in JefCoEd participate this year. The website to sign up your school is: http://hourofcode.com


We have also created a website for JefCoEd schools who are participating! If you are participating, sign up and let us know! Here is the link: http://jefcoedhoc.weebly.com

Below I am going to give you some resources that may help you plan for the event. Also, over the next month I will post on the HofC site about different tools and sites that you can use to bring coding into your school/classroom. Statistics have proven that not only are these activities great for strengthening math skills, but they also help students get hooked on science and math before stereotypes are learned. Talk about College and Career preparedness!

Code.org is the website that supports and started the HofC. They have lessons put together for HofC in addition to their regular curriculum. Teachers and students can sign up for accounts and save their process. Here is a great lesson plan for that day to use with Code.org.

More Coding Websites and Apps that I will be highlighting over the next month:

Tynker – Tynker is great for students of all ages. They have added lessons for the HofC to use with your students. Tynker has the ability to create a class and you can assign lessons. It is also available as an app.

Kobable – Kodable is for younger elementary. It is also online and an app. You can set up classes and lessons for your students. The site also has HofC lessons as well.

Scratch – Scratch is from MIT and is probably the leading drag and drop coding site out there. They are great for students of all ages. You can also “explore” creations and then “remix” them so you can see the code and change it. Students can create games, stories, etc. There are a lot of sites that have lessons for all grades. Here is my favorite: http://scratch.ie/resources  There is also a Scratch Jr. app for younger students, though students just starting out can benefit.

Made with Code – Made with Code is a site from Google that was created to get more girls interested in coding and STEM. Even though it is for girls, it has a lot of fun projects!

Robots and other resources:

Dash and Dot – Dash and Dot are affordable probably my favorite robots to code. They have a variety of math lessons and many apps to use for coding. They have a HofC ideas on their blog. You can purchase here.

Sphero – this is a fun and also affordable robot that students can code using a variety of apps. Students can make this ball do a variety of activities! You can purchase Sphero from Barnes and Noble.

Ozobot –  These tiny robots can use code using app and a game mat. The best part, they are less than $50 and use apps on Nooks (all those sitting in your libraries!). They can also be purchased through Barnes and Noble.



Google Extensions That Can Help Students Learn (part 2)

So we started with 5 extensions last post and we are going to add 5 more. How did you like the ones from last time? Comment and let us know!

Don’t forget to use Extensity to turn off your apps you aren’t using. Having a lot of apps on at a time can slow everything down!

Next five extensions:

Google Docs Quick Create – With Google Docs Quick Create, you can quickly start a new doc/slide/sheet by just clicking the extension.

Google Tone – If your students have Google Tone extension, you can send them a link and it will open up on their page. It make a tone sound and everyone in the listening area will get a pop up asking if they want to open that link. It is a quick way to push out  a link to everyone without having to stop and email it or send it via Classroom.

Open Dyslexia – This extension can be life changing. When the app is turned on (remember you can turn it back off in Extensity) it changes all the fonts on the webpages to a special font created for people with dyslexia. I don’t know what else to say about it, it pretty much speaks for itself.

High Contrast  – This extension allows you to flip the contrast of the screen. If gives it a black background with with letters. This is very helpful with students who have sight problems. It will also combat eye fatigue.

Print Friendly & PDF – I love this extension. Have you ever tried to print a website and it prints 10 pages full of all the ads, etc? This extension will only print what you choose. When you click it while on the site you need to print, you get a pop up with the page. Anything you don’t want to print, you click it and it disappears. Keep clicking until the passage you want is left.


There are so many more extensions, but these are a few that will get you started! We will do one more post on Extensions that will make your life easier!

Skip to toolbar