There are plenty of flash cards sites, apps and ideas out there. And many of them are great. But… it’s nice to not have to add another tool to your classroom, another site to your list of resources, another password for your students to remember and possibly another account for your students to access.
So, if you don’t need a fully-featured flash cards solution, stick with what you’ve got (and know): Google Slides.
- Students can work together to create the cards.
- You can assign each kid a card to make . . . and 5 minutes later you have a whole deck.
- Cards can involve pictures from a Google image search, pictures from students’ Drive or webcams, drawings and videos.
- You can project it in class to have a class-wide review.
- Students can use it to study from their cell phones and other devices.
- If you have a class website, you can embed the Slides on the site.
- Students can make a copy of the Slides to make them their own, add information that helps them, delete cards they already know and add cards for terms they struggle with.
*Disclaimer: I’m really not a flash cards, vocabulary kind of guy. Knowing the lingo has some value, but in general… memorization of stuff that fits on a flash card is just that: memorization. Since I know that it’s an important part of a lot of classrooms, I want to share this strategy for doing it, but I hope that you do it along with other types of learning experiences, like Project-Based Learning and other inquiry-based strategies.
Nope. They have nothing to do with cats. Sorry. If you’re here for the cat memes, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
They are two Google Sheets formulas that are very useful if you’re organizing information in Google Sheets. Have first names in one column and last names in another, but need them combined? Concat has your back. Have a student’s grade number, but need it to be written out (7th grade instead of just 7) for a mail merge? Concat is here to help.
Need to combine more than 2 things? i.e., first, middle & last name? Concatenate can help you out. It’s the same as Concat but it works for more than 2 items.
The & operator can perform the same tasks. It’s all personal preference.
Some tips are listed below the GIF.
- Basic format: =CONCAT(first thing, second thing)
- =CONCATENATE(first thing, second thing, third thing, fourth thing….)
- =first thing & second thing & third thing
- The items in the formula can be cell references like here: =CONCAT(A1, B1)
- The items in the formula can be regular text, just use quotation marks: =CONCAT(“me”, “ow)”.
- When combining text strings, it puts them together with nothing in between them, so if you want a space, you’ll have to add it yourself – use ” ” if needed – the space is held between those quotation marks.
Have a form that you fill out regularly? Create a pre-filled form link that is partially filled in for you.
Sending a form out to a certain group who will all have the same response to a certain question (i.e., grade level)? Create a pre-filled form link to save them a few moments.
Directions are underneath the GIF
- Click the 3 dots in the top right corner.
- Select “Get Pre-Filled Link.”
- Enter the answers you’d like to pre fill.
- Click Submit.
- Copy the link. All done!
This post is about a useful feature that most people don’t notice in Google Docs: Suggesting Mode. This is fantastic for students doing peer revisions or even teachers collaborating on projects. It allows you to show people what you think should be changed, without actually changing it. The choice is ultimately theirs.
I recommend this when students do any peer revisions in class: if you’re suggesting a specific grammatical, punctuation or word change, use Suggested Edits. However, if you’re giving more general feedback or suggesting a change be made, but not identifying what to change to, use a Comment.
Anyhow, here’s how it works: Up in the top right corner you’ll see the word or icon for Editing, Commenting or Viewing. Click on that and switch to Suggesting. Now, act as though you’re actually editing the document (type, backspace, etc.), but your “edits” will show as “suggested edits.” Awesome!
Never gonna go to war, never gonna drop a bomb
Never gonna shoot a gun and hurt you
Switzerland is never gonna say let’s fight
Never gonna tell a lie, Neutrality
These are not lyrics by Rick Astley. They’re by me, and they’re really lame. But . . . .they serve as a pretty good intro to the idea of having students record their own videos/songs of pop hits recreated with content-related lyrics.
If you know me, you know that I love a good “Rick Roll.” You also know that I love the idea of students proving their mastery of content by creating things rather than by filling in bubbles.
This idea mixes students love of 1) being creative and 2) lyrics videos on YouTube. Here’s a video (with even worse lyrics), followed by the steps.
Continue reading Recreating Pop Hits as Content-Related Lyrics Videos
Years ago, as a middle school math teacher, I had a dilemma. My 51 minute math classes had been shortened to 43 minutes. As any teacher knows, this is a big deal. After wrestling with a lot of ideas for how to handle here’s what I landed on:
Each day, during my planning period, I pressed record in a screencasting program called Jing, stepped up to the SmartBoard and went over the day’s homework as if my class was there. (I’m sure I looked like I had lost my marbles to any passerby) I did it quickly, forcing myself to keep it under 5 minutes. Any longer would mean 2 things: my assignment was too long and I was using to much class time to explain content that my students had already done.
The next day, I would play that video while taking attendance, checking to see who did their homework and meeting with any students who had been absent. This allowed me to combine two sets of things that I had previously done–going over the homework and doing the beginning of class teacher stuff–at once. It made up for those 8 lost minutes, and then some.
Nowadays, my philosophies about homework and classrooms where all students are doing the same thing at the same time has changed, so I wouldn’t repeat this format. However, I think these recordings would still be valuable in a blended learning setting. When students finish certain assignments, they could view the videos to self-assess and learn more. Learning Management Systems and websites really open up the possibilities on this.
Here’s a sample of one of these videos:
I don’t know about you, but I’m often reading and responding to emails that relate to scheduling things. When I am doing that, it’s great to have my calendar handy. Using the Google Calendar Gadget Lab in Gmail makes that possible. I can see my calendar, add events to it and quickly get to the details for certain events. Check it out:
Thou shalt make a copy. – Jake Miller
Ok, so, I never said that. Well, actually, I guess I just did. Anyhow, it’s a trick that’s known in most edtech circles, but it’s useful enough to make sure that everyone knows it:
Change the “/edit” or “/view” (or whatever) at the end of a Google Apps file’s URL to “/copy” and it will force the person clicking the link to make a copy of it (as if they had clicked File > Make a Copy).
Important: make sure the doc is shared, at least as “Can View,” prior to using this. You can’t copy a doc that you can’t view!
With the rise of Google Classroom and other LMS options, it’s not as useful as it used to be, but it has its use cases: sharing a resource on your website, posting forms for use in your school district, sharing optional activities for classes or clubs and much more. It works in Drawings, Sheets and Slides as well! Here’s how to do it:
Just in case, here are those steps:
- Share the doc as “Anyone with the Link Can View.”
- Copy the link to the doc.
- Change the “/edit” or “/view” or “/edit?usp=sharing” to “/copy”
As another school year comes to a close, many schools are packing up their Chromebooks for a 3rd, 4th or even 5th year. These older Chromebooks are likely (or will soon start) experiencing battery issues. This is a great time to check their battery health in preparation for next school year. Here’s how (there’s also a GIF at the bottom of the post):
- Close all open tabs.
- Open Crosh (Chrome OS Developer Shell) using Ctrl+Alt+T
- Type “battery_test 30” and press enter.
- The first number that reads out is your battery’s health (from 0-100%). The higher it is, the better. As a general rule of thumb, if it’s over 50% on an older Chromebook, you’re in pretty good shape.
- After 30 seconds (the number you typed in above) you’ll see how fast your Chromebook is discharging. You could’ve typed in a smaller number to make it go faster, but the test may not have been as reliable. If it’s discharging at a rate of more than 0.10% in 30 seconds, you may have issues in the future.
Of course, a weak or rapidly discharging battery is not a big deal if the device can be plugged in throughout the day. But if you’re in a 1-to-1 school where students carry Chromebooks from class to class, a battery that is under 50% health and discharging faster than 0.10% in 30 seconds won’t make it through the day.
It’s important that you clear your browsers cache and cookies regularly. Doing it daily isn’t necessary, but doing it monthly (or even more regularly) would be wise.
In layman’s terms, cache and cookies are like little pieces of the websites that you visit. In the short term, they help you load that site faster when you visit it next. In the long term, however, as the sites change, the cache & cookies start clogging up processes (often because they are no longer part of the sites that you visit). Clearing them will help your browser run more smoothly!
Here’s how to do it in Google Chrome:
Note: it was really hard to make it through this post without using a lame pun with the words cache or cookie. In fact, I think that my self-restraint earned me a cookie…. oops.