I’m a big fan of the Paint Roller (Paint Format) tool in the gSuite platform. I’ve posted before about using it in Google Docs, as well as in Google Slides. I probably use it most often, though, in Google Sheets. I love a nice, organized Google Sheet and this tool helps a lot with that. My favorite part about it is that it even applies to number formatting (i.e., decimal places, date format, currency, etc.). Check it out in the animated GIF below!
As soon as it came out, I thought the New Google Sites made a pretty awesome Digital Portfolio tool. However, there was one important feature missing – sharing settings that allow you to choose to not make student work public. Well, it’s there now!
First up, a quick overview of this in Animated GIF form, followed by detailed information about the options.
You have a few publishing options with New Google Sites, assuming you’re on a gSuite for Education domain. Here they are:
I’m not a big fan of homework, but I am a big fan of making sure that communication between teachers, co-teachers, students and parents is as convenient and efficient as possible without detracting from the learning experience. For many educators, their learning management system (LMS) or online gradebook already offer a platform for this. However, for those that may need an alternative solution – or just a differentiated form of communication – this idea for communicating homework (and/or details about what was done during class) is a good one! I heard it on Episode 39 of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast, shared by Karen McKenna.
In Karen’s idea, teachers can use a Google Slides presentation and add a slide for each day of class. On that slide, they can include any important details from class that day, including the day’s homework. Putting the newest slide at the beginning of the slideshow would make it easiest – saving the viewers from needing to scroll to the end of the slideshow to get the most recent details.
I love this idea for its simplicity and flexibility. Need to email a parent what their kiddo missed when out sick? Send a link to the slides. Have a Google Site for your class? Embed the slides. Work with intervention specialists, tutors and gifted educators who need to know what you did in your class? Have them bookmark the slides. Check out this animation to see how you can set it up:
With it’s recent addition of different wall formats, Padlet has become one of my favorite edtech tools – there’s just so many possibilities for its uses! And embedding it in a Google Site opens up so many additional possibilities! Just think of the open lines of communication, collaboration and sharing that this can open up! Got a great idea for how it could be used? Share it in the comments below – or share this post with your idea on social media. Below, an animated GIF to show you how to embed a Padlet board onto a New Google Site:
One of the more underutilized tools within Google Docs, Slides, Drawings & Sheets is the Paint Roller (Paint Format) Tool. It’s purpose is simple – when you want some text or an object to be formatted just like another set of text or an object, the Paint Roller is the tool that you need. Click once on the already-formatted object/text, then on the Paint Roller and then on the to-be-formatted object/text.
I’ve posted before about how it works in Google Docs, but I wanted to share an animated GIF about how it works in Google Slides! Notice that it works on text boxes, as well as on shapes, lines and images! With text boxes, you can even apply it to certain words in the box rather than the entire box.
Most people wouldn’t see a need for videos in Google Drawings, but a teacher – especially one that uses HyperDocs – could probably think of thousands of reasons it’d be useful. That’s why I was excited when I heard Joli Boucher share about it during a recent episode of the Google Teacher Tribe podcast (You can hear it here as well, all cued up to her part). It’s a super slick, simple hack and when doing HyperDrawings it’s super useful too. I just had to capture this in a GIF . . . so, here it is:
There are a lot of reasons that you may want to put links into a doc that allow you (or the reader) to jump to certain parts of a Google Doc. Here are a few possible reasons:
- You’re creating a HyperDoc with lots of stuff in it!
- Your students are creating eBooks and need a Table of Contents
- You’re managing a long doc of lesson plans and want to be able to jump to different units or months
- Your students are creating Choose Your Own Adventure books
- You’re collaborating with a team of educators in a doc with multiple meetings worth of notes
- A slightly different reason – sending a link in an email (or messaging system) that takes the recipient directly to a certain location within the doc
There are a few different ways to manage this and different ones are best in different situations. Let’s check them out!
1. Using “Headings” to create linkable pieces of text
When you use the “Styles” dropdown to format parts of your doc as Heading 1, Heading 2 or Heading 3 those Headings become links that even show up in the Insert Link menu. Check out the steps in the animated GIF below.
2. Copying the url for headings, titles & Subtitles
You may have noticed that in #1, I didn’t mention Titles or Subtitles along with the 3 different levels of Headings. This is because they don’t naturally appear in that Insert Link box. I’m not sure why. Regardless, if you add a title or subtitle (just like a heading) you’ll notice that when you click on them, the URL changes. This is because the URL is specific to that location in the doc. So, copy that URL and create a link with it elsewhere in the doc to jump to that spot. Check out how in the animation below.
Note: These URLs are nice outside of that doc as well. Let’s say a colleague asks you about a specific topic that was discussed in a faculty meeting a few weeks back. Copy the URL for the heading or title from that meeting and email it to them – then, when they click on that, not only will the doc open, but they’ll jump to the right spot.
3. Use Bookmarks
What if you don’t want to format some of your text as a “title” or “heading”? Well, bookmarks are the answer for you. In my school, we have a shared document for the plans for our “PRIDE” period, that all teachers teach. We use bookmarks to make it easy to jump by month. The biggest use of this that I can see, though, is to have students link to the locations of their evidence. Think about it: How do I know that the character is feeling remorseful? I can see evidence here when he says “sorry” and here when he is feeling depressed about what he did. Add links to the spots in that document where those events happened and you can see evidence of your students’ reading comprehension. *Boom!* Check out the process for adding bookmarks and using them for links in the animation below.
4. Insert Table of Contents
If you want there to be links to each chapter of your ebook (or dates of your lesson plan or agendas from your meeting…) up at the top of your document, the Table of Contents is a great solution for you. There are two main downsides of the Table of Contents. First,it doesn’t work with Titles or Subtitles. Second, the Table of Contents can become really long. But, if you want links to each of those Headings in the doc, this will be great for you, because it’s really simple to set up. Check it out:
5. Document Outline
The last option is convenient, but isn’t for creating links in the document itself. If your goal is just to be able to navigate the document quickly without concern for how other people navigate your document, the Document Outline is a great solution for you. Anything that you format as Title, Subtitle or Heading automatically goes into the Document Outline. An interesting tidbit is that it also adds things that look like headings to this list (i.e., something bold and underlined). Just remember: your document’s viewers only see the document outline if they go to View and turn it on themselves.
In a blended classroom, it can be tough to see who is on and off task and know who is behind on their work. One trick that I often used in my STEM classes was to open the Google Drive folder that all of my students’ work was in and click through the previews of their docs. The previews weren’t always the most current version (it’s likely the status of the file when you most recently opened up Drive), but I could easily identify students who may be behind (or off task) and then open up their docs to check for sure. It was much faster than opening all of the docs would have been! I also used this occasionally when assigning some pretty simple grades, especially if they were completion grades.
Math & Chemistry teachers use Google Docs, too! And so do other content areas and teachers who integrate math and sophisticated science across content areas. And, for those peeps, there is the ability to add equations and other “mathy” symbols to Google Docs. Just click Insert > Equation.
A quick note, before we get to the GIF: Some educators will tell you that this tool could be better. And for people looking to use this functionality regularly, they’re probably right. In that case you may want to consider other tools (equatIO is a great one). But for people who just use it occasionally, I think the Equation Editor is a’okay.
It’s a tradition on the show for the guest to create a lesson plan that listeners can use. I chose to take a few ideas that I’ve posted about here and combine them into the Ultimate App Smash Lesson. The lesson combines #StopMotionSlides, Screencastify & FlipGrid. It can be used with any just about any content and is appropriate in most grades, starting in around 3rd grade.
You can find the lesson at bit.ly. I hope you enjoy it . . . and I’d love to see some of what your kiddos create when you use it!