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.
Giving speeches or presentations in front of their peers can be a really nerve-wrecking activity for students. We often encourage them to practice, but . . . what’s practice without reflection and self-assessment?
Students can use the free Google Chrome extension Screencastify to record themselves giving their speech or presentation. Then, they can view that recording and reflect on how they did.
Screencastify automatically saves to their Google Drive and is not public, unless the student chooses to upload to YouTube or share the Google Drive file.
Click on the extension and follow the prompts to set it up.
When ready, click on the extension to record.
Select Desktop (recording entire screen), Tab (recording just the current tab, even if you navigate away from it) or Cam (recording only the camera). If doing Desktop or Tab, decide if you want the webcam on or not.
Click Record and start talking!
Click stop and then watch your masterpiece. Remember that it’s also saved in your Google Drive in a “Screencastify” folder.
The Duplicate Tabs button is probably an under-used option for most people. However, it can really come in handy. Every now and then, I need to keep a specific email open, but get back to my inbox. Duplicate Tab. Sometimes, I need to have a course in Schoology open, but open another. Duplicate Tab. One of my favorite uses, though, is when I have more than one Google Form submission that I have to fill out and they all have some similar entries (i.e., multiple session proposals for a conference, discipline referrals for the same incident with different students). Dup-li-cate Tab! Check out how that looks in the GIF below:
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.
Being able to have side-by-side windows open is a key functionality tool when using computers. Doing it quickly and easily makes it even better. Chrome OS has two little-known shortcuts and one little-known tool that support this. Check them out in the video below!
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to be a little more efficient. Two of my most used in Google Chrome are:
Ctrl+W (or ⌘+W on Mac) for closing your “top” tab (the one showing on your screen).
Ctrl+Shift+T (or ⌘+Shift+T on Mac) for opening your most recently closed tab.
#2 is probably my fave. Not only does it open your most recently closed tab, even if you closed it hours ago or even before shutting down Chrome, but it can open an entire window full of tabs, if you closed them. But my favorite-est part of it? Well, it has an educational aspect of course:
Ever walked by a student and seen them quickly close a tab before you got there? Ctrl+Shift+T to the rescue! Just imagine that student’s face when they find out that their teacher is a Chrome Keyboard Shortcut Ninja!!
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.