The Text Styles Dropdown in Google Docs – Why it’s useful & how to update your Defaults

Efficiency is intelligent laziness.

This pretty well summarizes my approach to use of technology.  If I can find a way to trim seconds or minutes off tasks without sacrificing quality, I’m all for it.

In recent posts about Google Docs, I shared how to boost font formatting efficiency with the Paint Format Tool and the Select Matching Text option.  This post’s topic fits well with those 2.

Most people type in Google Docs and change fonts as needed without ever noticing the Text Styles dropdown.  They live in “Normal Text” mode, but change their fonts regularly.  But they are missing out!  There is hidden functionality in that dropdown . . .

  1. It allows you to change your default font styles.  Are you an elementary school teacher who always types in size 16 font?  Change your default!  Are you a professional basketball team owner who always types in Comic Sans?  Change your default!  Do you believe that Helvetica is the world’s best font?  Double-space all of the time?  Prefer blue font?  Like size 13?  Always typing in italics?  Change your default!
  2. Using titles & headings adds other functionalities to your Doc.  Do you have a 100-page Google Doc for your lesson plans and hate trying to navigate it to find the correct snippet?  Use Headings & Document Outline view!  Here’s how . . .

The quote at the top is often credited to David Dunham, though it appears that he’s not the originator of the quote).

Exploring Measures of Center with Google Sheets

My obsession with Google Sheets is no secret. I loooove spreadsheets.  And I think that they have a big place in education, especially in math (but elsewhere as well).

Recently, I posted about how you can prove the mean (or average) formula using Google Sheets.  In this post, I’d like to share with you how you can find all 3 measures of center (or measures of central tendency) and explore them in Google Sheets.  I love to change or add numbers in the data set and ask students to make predictions about what will happen.  It really is a great–and relevant–way for students to become more familiar with these statistical measures.

My thoughts on #GrowthMindset

I am a believer in the power of Growth Mindset.  While there are other characteristics that lead to success, I think that it is one of the biggest predictors of success, if not the single biggest predictor.

Anyhow, when a colleague of mine at Brady Middle School invited teachers to record messages to her students about our experiences with and beliefs about Growth Mindset, I jumped at the opportunity to share.

My goal was 1-2 minutes, but sometimes, when something is important to you, you have more to say.  Here’s the video that I shared with them:

Educational Duct Tape Quote

Don’t use duct tape just because it’s shiny. Use it because something is broken and duct tape is the appropriate tool to fix it.

Don’t use Kahoot just because it’s fun. Use it because you need to do a formative assessment and your students need to self-assess.

Don’t use a HyperDoc because you learned about it at a PD.  Use it because it’s the appropriate way to organize content and create a learning opportunity around a certain standard.

Don’t use VR Headsets because they’re neat. Use them because your students need to understand a rainforest habitat.

Educational Duct Tape:

Educational Duct Tape

Educational Duct Tape term, quote and infographic created by me, Jake Miller.  Feel free to use them, but provide attribution.

OneTab Chrome Extension

The OneTab Chrome Extension (one-tab.com) is typically recommended as a way to free up processing speed and reduce clutter when attempting to have a tab-tervention with a tab-crazy browser user.  And, well, that’s a true, but it doesn’t tell the full story of OneTab . . .

OneTab is actually a fantastic option for organizing, categorizing and sharing the sites that we mean to look at, read or follow up on, but just don’t have time – as well as ones that we intend to come back to repeatedly. Think of it as your website to-do list manager.  Check it out in the video below.

Pro Tip: At the school that I work at, our students are doing Passion Projects.  Each week, they have to reflect on their progress and growth in a Google Doc.  For 12 of the kids, I’m tasked with looking at that reflection weekly and providing feedback.  So, I keep the links to their reflections in a locked OneTab Group.

A New Acronym for PBL

PBL = Prohibited by Logistics

Often, when we are presented with a new, high-quality, research-based way to promote student learning, educators identify the obstacles.  The roadblocks.  The logistics.

My response to those logistical roadblocks?  One of my favorite quotes, which I’ve found credited to Ryan Blair:

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

Continue reading A New Acronym for PBL

Proving the Algorithm for Mean (Average) in Google Sheets

I am a huge spreadsheets nerd and a huge advocate of the use of spreadsheets in mathematics instruction.  If you keep an eye on my site (or Twitter feed or YouTube Channel) you’ll see plenty of my reasons why I feel this way.  Here’s one:

Spreadsheets are a great tool for proving mathematical algorithms and formulas.  In this post . . . how we can use a Google Sheet to prove the formula for the mean (which, in spreadsheet land, is known as the average).

Check out this post about finding and exploring all 3 measures of central tendency with Google Sheets.