icons

Icons

I love icons. Maybe not as much as I love fonts, but close. Icons are a great way to help students use visuals if they aren’t comfortable drawing. They are also a great way to add visual appeal to your own creations.

Here are a few of my favorite icon places and a few news ones I just learned about.

The Noun Project

I was introduced to The Noun Project by Matt Miller. He is one of the MASTER’S at using icons to make graphics look AMAZING! He also shares ideas about how to use them with students.

Matt’s ideas can be found here.

Instructions to use icon’s from Matt.

The Noun Project has sooooo many icons and you can search by category. Black and white icons are free and you can pay a monthly fee for non-commercial use and color. Inside of Google Slides, you can also recolor the icons. I do give fair warning, you can search for non-school appropriate icons like “boobs” and there are icons for it. I tell my students it’s like using any other online resource, use is responsibly.

Here is a search for Collaboration:

Flat Icon

I learned about Flat Icon last year. It is also searchable and some of their icons are in full color. This one also includes icons that are not school appropriate and this time “boobs” will also be in color. 😂 Some of their icons are premium, so watch out for the little crown icon. You won’t be able to use those.

Here is a search for collaboration:

Icons 8

Icons 8 isn’t new to me. The user interface isn’t a slick as the first two and I honestly forget about it. It does have some great icons that are black and white and full color. Definitely worth checking out. You will also find full color “boobs” on this one too.

Here is a search for collaboration:

fonts.google.com

I just learned about this one this week. I knew you could look at all the Google fonts here but now you can search icons too. On the top right, click the icon button.

Best part, there are no “boobs”! This one is 100% totally school appropriate. They have two tone fonts, outlines and solid. There aren’t as many to choose from, but sometimes for students that is better anyway. Did I mention it was school appropriate! For some kiddos, they can’t handle the temptation.

Here is a search for collaboration:

Slides Templates

Most slide templates have a page or two of icons at the end of the template. It’s a little more work but you can also snag those and put them in a Google Slide for student choices. These should also be “boob” free! At least I’ve never seen anything inappropriate on the icons pages.

Some of my favorites are

Here is an example of an infographic I made in Google Drawing with icons.

I would love to see anything you make with icons or ideas you have to use them with your students. I love them and think it’s a fun way to add a little visual element to your creations.

Bookmark, Chrome

Bookmark Bar in Chrome

Does your bookmark bar look crazy? I sometimes have so many bookmarks that I doesn’t fit at the top. I also have websites I want to open every day and I don’t want to go looking for them. This post will help you use the bookmark tools built into Chrome to help you organize your life.

Tip 1 – Shorten or Remove Names

Most saved bookmark tabs have an icon and words. If you can quickly recognize the icon, you can remove the words to save space in your bookmark bar.

Right click (or command click) and go to Bookmark Manager.

Click the three dots next to the bookmark you want to edit. Then click the edit button.

Delete the words or shorten the words, depending on what you want to see.

Click save.

The icon takes up much less room on the tool bar.

Tip 2 – Folder for Daily Tabs

I access my Calendars every single day. I try to keep them open, but sometimes you need to restart. Now, my Chrome is set to restore tabs, but what if I want to close them for the weekend and reopen them on Monday? I can create a folder to hold the sites I need to go to daily.

I like to begin by opening the sites I want to place in the folder. You don’t have to do this, you can add them by URL if you want to. I think dragging is easy than copying and pasting the URL.

Next, I will right click in the Bookmark area and add a Folder.

Type in the name of your folder and click save.

Now you can drag each tab into the folder. Click on the tab, then click the website icon or in my case the lock icon and drag it to your folder.

The animation doesn’t show it, but when you click on the folder, the sites you added will be there.

You an always go into Bookmark manager and delete anything you no longer want.

Well, I hope this little organization tip is helpful for you. I like to keep my Bookmark bar orderly because it saves me time.

animated gif, technology

Quick GIFs from YouTube

I has hanging on Teacher TikTok and saw this idea from @emily_karst. My head nearly exploded! I love when I see new things for the first time!!!

This quickly creates gifs from youtube videos.

Step 1

(assuming you already have your video selected)

Type GIF before the word youtube.

Step 2

Press enter and a new website will open and your video will load.

Isn’t the website color palette sooo cute!

Step 3

Select the clip you want as the gif by dragging the box at the bottom. You can preview it and move it again if it’s not what you wanted.

Step 4

Click Trim Video in the top right corner.

Now you can add text, graphics, or any of the adjustments.

Step 5

Click create gif in the top right corner.

You can add tags etc if you want to. I love that you can include sound.

Click next.

Step 6

Share it!

You have many options to choose from including download.

GIF – Just Fold It In

And there you have it! Why did I pick this GIF? This is how I feel when I’m asked to implement something new and I ask for clarification. Reflecting on this, I try to be aware when I teach so I don’t tell them to just FOLD IT IN. LOL

This is more fun and less educational but we need fun sometimes!!!

comics, e-books, Google Slides

e-Book Comics

Did you know you can create a comic book and send it to Kindle or iBooks? You can! And… students LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see their creations in e-book form.

The trick to creating these as e-books it to change Google Slide dimensions to 8.5 x 11. Each type of reader has a slightly different page size and I find this one works the best. It also makes it easy to print if you want to create an actual book.

Step 1

You need a comic template. I have shared my personal template below, as well as a template I altered from Sides Carnival. I have also shared original slide templates from Slides Carnival and Slides Mania. You can always let the students create their own too.

I also have a few non-comic type book templates if you don’t want to create a comic book. I mean, it’s less fun, but sometimes you need a traditional type book 🙂

Step 2

Create your comic. There are many reasons you might create a comic in your classroom. We create them in my math classroom, and if we can use them in math, you can use them ANYWHERE! Image a cartoon in Chemistry where students take an element and write a story about it!

Other ideas could include:

  • Caption This (Laura Steinbrink)
  • Idioms and Figurative Language
  • Political Cartoons
  • Cartoons in a world language
  • Conflict resolution and restorative justice
  • Autobiography
  • Genre study

Here are a few additional resources for creating images for your comics:

  • Bitmoji (this is a 13+)
  • remove.bg (to use their own image in comics)
  • storyboardthat.com (you can create comics here but I really like to use their backgrounds in my own templates)
  • The noun project (for basic icons)
  • Google Drawing Tutorial (to make your own images)
  • Wakelet of free image sites

Step 3

Download your Google Slide as a PDF and place that PDF in your Google Drive folder. On you phone or iPad, go to the file in Drive and click the 3 dots in the corner. Click open in and scroll to the end of your apps where is says more. Once you select more, Kindle and iBooks are both an option. It won’t work with Kindle if the file is too big.

Now you have you e-book on your device. Sit back and watch the excitement on your students faces and know you created an positive memorable learning experience for your students.

If you use any of these resources I would to hear how it worked for you and your students!

Google Sheets

Fun with Google Sheets, Part 2

I am back with another installment of Fun with Google Sheets. Let’s dive in.

You can also visit Part 1 here.

Drop Down Menus

I use this when I’m creating my own data sheets but you could also create this in an activity because conditional formatting will still work with it.

Select the cell to place the drop down menu.

Click Data and then Data Validation.

Under criteria, select list of answers.

Type in your selection with commas between.

Click save

Conditional Formatting

This is my 100% absolute favorite thing to do in Google Sheets. It’s so simple and makes you look like a rock star. I use this in my data tracking sheets with students and the many activities I create from escape room to pixel art.

Insert Images

When Google updated Sheets to include images in cells, I was so excited. Prior to that, the image just floated over the cell and it was somewhat clunky! Now you can do both. I use this with activities, escape room, and the it was very handy for the surface area and volume calculator I created.

Now go have some fun with Google Sheets. I will be sharing more Fun with Google Sheets in the coming weeks.

Google Sheets

Fun with Google Sheets -Part 1

After my post last week with my Groundhog activity (Pixel Art) I had some questions about how to use Google Sheets. I decided to do a little series about some basics in Google Sheets. This will be the first post about some fun tips and tricks I use. I am not a Google Sheets “Expert”. I’m just a teacher who will play with tools and learn some stuff.

Checkboxes

-Click on the cell(s) you want the check box.

-Click INSERT and select

If you want the user to have the option to select something in the spreadsheet, check boxes might be what you are looking for. I have used this with students when they self-check standards or topics as they review. You can also use response validation but I like to have my students self-reflect on what they feel like they can do.

Return INSIDE a cell

on a Mac: Command + Return

on a PC: Alt + Enter

I know when I figured out you could do this my mind was blown. How many times have you wanted to start a new line but inside the same cell? For me it was A LOT!

Turn off Grid Lines

Have you ever created a really cool spreadsheet but you wished you couldn’t see the gridlines to make it look more like a document? You can quickly and easily turn off the gridlines and achieve that look. Any borders or cell shading you’ve placed on the cells will remain.

Go to View then unclick Gridlines

Check back in the next few weeks for more fun with Google Sheets.

Google Slides, Organization

Organization for Students

Students need help with organization. Let me say that again.

STUDENTS NEED HELP WITH ORGANIZATION!

I teach high school and many of my kiddos still need help with organization!

Here are a few things that I have done to help them along the way.

  1. Google Docs Calendar

This is a year-long calendar where I add a new month at the top but students can see all of the previous months. You can also add hyperlinks to Google Classroom assignments or other activities you want students to see.

This is also helpful when you go to plan for next year. You have your whole year to look at. This calendar is easy to embed in Canvas or link to Google Classroom.

2. This week in

I started doing this when we were full remote. On Sunday evening I would post this in Google Classroom so students would have an idea of where we were going for the week. This is a Slides Mania template that I used.

3. Weekly Agendas

Sometimes students needs daily reminders. You can have them complete this or you can complete it in advance.

I know there are many other ways to help keep your students organized. Google Classroom and Canvas both have build in calendars that you can use. You can also teach your students how to use these tools.

Enjoy.

digital whiteboard

Whiteboard.chat vs whiteboard.fi

Let me start by saying this is not a paid advertisement for either whiteboard site. This is a teacher trying to find the best product for her students to help them learn. I suggest you try both and see which one works for you.

We are currently not hybrid [1/2 at home, 1/2 in person each day] but I can’t get everyone to the whiteboard at the same time now that we have everyone back in person. I LOVE to have all of my students working on problems at the same time so I can see misconceptions. My district blocks Jamboard (IDK why!) so I began looking for other options.

My friend Melissa (@fungooli) did a comparison of whiteboard.chat and whiteboard.fi on Twitter so I decided to give whiteboard.chat a try. I had tried whiteboard.fi previously. At the time, not all of the features were free and it was super lagy (is that a word?). I checked it out again for this comparison and some of the features, such as saving your board, is still premium. Below is Mel’s comparison of just the feedback portion of the two.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I’m a huge proponent of feedback so the feedback feature in whiteboard.chat was super important to me.

I like the math editor available in whiteboard.fi better, but it’s still lags, A LOT! My student’s computers are not the best and that lag would be frustrating for them. There are some math tools in whiteboard.chat just not in latex format. For what I’m doing, I don’t think that will be an issue.

You can upload a PDF in both. I created a PDF warm-up in Google Slides and used File-Download as PDF. Then uploaded it. It was easy to do in both sites.

The tools for students are more intuitive in whiteboard.fi which means I needed to take some time to explain the tools in whiteboard.chat. Not a deal breaker, just something to note. Tools for teachers are easier in whiteboard.chat. I also like that I can create my board ahead of time because it doesn’t require purchasing an upgrade to save a board.

Overall, I like whiteboard.chat the best. I didn’t actually send whiteboard.fi to my students so I can’t tell you which one they would like the best. Students got the hang of typing their responses using the keyboard. Some were frustrated with writing on their trackpad. Our student laptops have terrible track pads so I feel their frustration. Overall, whiteboard.chat accomplished what I wanted. I still prefer sending my students to the whiteboard when possible 🙂

Here is the first warm-up slide deck I used with my Honors Geometry class. I downloaded it as a PDF and uploaded that into whiteboard.chat.

click to open

If you try it out, let me know and give a shout-out to Mel (@fungooli) who told me about whiteboard.chat.

Uncategorized

Google App – Scan, Translate, and Read Text

Teacher TikTok is a great source of information. It’s a little but dangerous because it’s addictive and not always a “healthy” doses of information depending on the rabbit holes you travel down.

I saw this tip from many educators on TikTok and thought it might be something you all would find helpful. It’s the Google App for your phone. I have it on iOs but it should definitely be available on an android device (I mean it is Google).

Go the the App store and download the Google App. Here is a direct link.

You can do some pretty amazing things with this app.

Grab the text from a printed page.

When the app is open, click the button right next to the search bar.

Position your camera over the text until the words you want to select are highlighted. Then press the circle magnifying glass button.

Click the select text button and it will select all of the text on the page. You can also just highlight the part that you want and select it.

Once you select the text, you have the option to copy the text, or copy to computer. We will talk about the other options a little later.

If you copy, you can open a Google Doc or Slide on your phone and paste it in.

If you select copy to computer (iOs) it copies to your computer clipboard and you can paste it into a Doc or Slide on your computer.

Have Text Read to You

Highlight the section you want to listen to and click the listen button. Google will read the selection to you.

I am scanning a book in this example so it will read books to your or your students.

Translate and Read

Highlight the text you want and click the translate button.

You can select the language you want. Once you select the language you can copy and paste the text

OR

you can have the translated version READ TO YOU. Imagine the impact on your ELL students!

I am excited about what this means for my kiddos. I have two classes of students who struggle to read and many ELL students. This could be a game changer for them.

Geometry, Google Sheets, Make Math Not Suck, Self-Checking

Self-Checking Pixel Art Tutorial

Self-Checking activities are very common in my classroom. I have used them for remediation days, for review days, and as a check your understanding right after a lesson. I shared the Mystery Picture idea from Jason Pullano that can also be used as a self-check activity. Now, I want to take the Pixel Art idea shared by Alice Keeler and turn it into a self-checking activity.

You will want to have your questions and answers prepared and have an idea of an image to use. You can go as in depth with your image as you wish. I prefer to keep it simple and build upon a background image. For this tutorial, I’m going to use a simple snowman on a light blue background. You can do a full image like these examples if you are ambitious.

Prepare your Google Sheet by making your cells into squares. We will merge cells together to write our questions so no worries. Make the squares as small as you need them for your image. The left side is where my questions will go. The right side is where the image will appear.

Now put your questions into the Sheet. You will merge cells to allow room for the question and NOT distort the grid for your image. I put my answers in also. You can delete them once the activity is complete.

merge button

Now we will start our design. I am NOT a Google Sheets expert. There may be an easier way to do this but this is how I do it. I use 0 and 1. 0 when the answer is blank or incorrect and 1 when it is correct. You can change the color of the numbers so you don’t see them. I will start with my first question and my first black block.

D3 is the cell with my answer and 125.5 is the correct answer. “1” will return a 1 if correct and “0” if incorrect.

Now copy and paste this formula in every other box that should be black. I will set the color in the next step.

Now let’s change the color of these 1s. Click on ALL the 1s you have on the screen (hold down the command key on a Mac -IDK for Windows – sorry). Go to Format – Conditional Formatting.

Change the Format cells if… dropdown to “text is exactly” and then type 1. Pick your color and also change your font to that color.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have all colors on your screen.

Now it’s time to delete your answers in the boxes. When you do this, your 0s should appear. Once you see all of you zeros, change the text color to white (or blue in my case since my background its blue.)

Your activity is ready to be sent to your students! Don’t forget to set it to “make a copy for each student”.

Here is the link to my completed activity if you want to use it or investigate.

Enjoy! If you make one of these, let me know how it goes!!!