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.
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”
Listen, I get it – when you’re showing your students the chambers of the heart, you want to have “Total Eclipse of the Heart” playing. And, when you teach your class about the food chain, you need “Hungry Like the Wolf” rocking out of your speakers. But, guess who doesn’t get it? Google. No audio in Google Slides. Sorry, no music for you.
But! I’ve got your back. When you present about the states of water, you need to be playing this, or maybe this. I didn’t invent this hack, but I created a GIF to showcase it for you.
Step by step instructions are below the GIF.
- Insert > Video
- Search for & Insert the video for the song you want from YouTube
- Right Click, Video Options
- Select “Autoplay when presenting”
- If desired, set a specific start time
- Make the video tiny
- Rock out when in presentation mode
- Keep in mind – your song will stop when you move on to the next slide, so plan accordingly
Note – this is a copyright gray area (or worse), for sure. I always try to use Vevo videos, because we at least we know that those were uploaded by the companies that own the rights to those music videos.
Need a flyer? A sign? A visually appealing handout?
Google Docs is a great word processor, but it can be hard to get images, text and word art laid out in just the right way. Tools like LucidPress are great for this, but they have a learning curve. For most educators and students, Google Slides is perfect for this – we know how to add & resize pictures and text as well as how to move them around on the screen.
So, why not use Google Slides for creating Printed Materials? Go to File > Page Setup and give your slides the dimensions of your piece of paper. Bam.
We all know from experience, as well as the infamously-hysterical and on-point “Death by PowerPoint,” that slideshows should involve minimal text. But, for many people, this is where cognitive dissonance enters. They believe this to be true, but need somewhere to plan what they will say.
Well, Google Slides has a spot for “Speaker Notes,” and here’s how you print them to have ready during your next presentation:
There are multiple options for creating animations (GoAnimate, Scratch, etc.) but my favorite way to do it is creating Stop Motion Slides. I like that I can make it exactly how I want it in this format. I think this has tons of potential in all subject areas (Please comment or share on Twitter with the hashtag #StopMotionSlides if you come up with any cool uses for it).
There are two main steps:
- Create a Google Slideshow where each slide is an incremental change from the previous one (like a flipbook).
- Open the slideshow up in Presenter view and use a screencasting tool (i.e., Camtasia, Screencastify, Screencast-o-matic) to record it as a video.
Here are a few of my tips for making it quick:
- Ctrl+D or ⌘+D to Duplicate Slides
- Use Arrows to Move Smoothly & Incrementally
- Move in groups when appropriate
- Rotate things incrementally
- Change Colors gradually
- Use Transparency
- Use Ordering
Wait, what page are you on?
I’m confused. What slide are you referring to?
Ugh, what cell are you in!?
GSuite’s tools make collaboration–both between adults and between students–a piece of cake, but it can still be tough to keep up with one another, especially in lengthy Docs, Sheets or Slide decks. Did you know that if you click on their icon it will jump you right to their location? You’re welcome.
Check out the two GIFs below . . .
Sometimes you know who you collaborated on a doc with, but just can’t come up with a search that leads you to that doc. Why not use their email address to track down the doc?
I discovered this search term when I was asked to track down all interactions between two specific students. This gave me the capability to see all docs on which they had communicated, provide them to our administrator and delete the docs from the student accounts.
It’s nice to have easy access to lots of sites, but that bookmarks bar can get crowded. Use Bookmark folders on your bar to categorize them while still having convenient access.
2. Shorten those bookmark titles.
Shorter bookmark titles take up less bookmark bar space. Take the title out to just use the sites logo. If the site doesn’t have a logo, or it doesn’t make the destination clear (like a docs logo), use short words or even emojis to save space!
3. Create Bookmarks for Creating New Docs or Slides
Did you know that docs.google.com/create opens up a fresh new Doc? Or that slides.google.com/create does the same with Google Slides? Create bookmarks for those links and have quick access to that capability.
4. Different Bookmarks for Different sections of your Drive.
Do you go to your Starred files often? Need quick access to Shared with Me when someone sends you a file in a meeting? Do you have a folder for all of your students’ assignments that you go to daily? Make a special bookmark for different locations!
5. Different Bookmarks for Different Parts of Docs, Slides or Sheets
Different tabs in Sheets, Headings in Docs and slides in Slides have different URL’s. That means you can make your bookmark (or a link you send in an email or message to someone) direct you (or the recipient) to a specific spot. It’s nice when you want to send someone to today’s meeting agenda in the massive Doc with all meeting agendas in it. It’s also super convenient if you regularly access a certain spreadsheet tab.
6. Bookmark specific sections of GMail
Have a certain GMail label you access regularly? Want quick access to your starred or important files? Want to be able to get to emails from your admin or boss quickly? Create a bookmark for that exact part of your Gmail.
7. Bookmark specific Calendar Views
Want to be able to access Day, Week, Month, Agenda or a Custom View quickly? Make it a bookmark.
We’ve all pasted something from a website into a doc, presentation, email or other destination before and experienced that annoyance when it doesn’t match your other font. Fixing this is simple… Just add shift to your ctrl+V keyboard shortcut to make your text match the destination font (including size, color, spacing and all style options).
Note: I’ve always been a little apprehensive about sharing this with students, because there’s no easier way to identify a plagiarizing student than a mismatched font with white highlighting . . .