Author Archives: Mandi

Bitmoji Scene

If you’ve been around me at all, you know my love for Bitmoji. There are many posts on my blog about using them in the classroom. One way I like to use my  Bitmoji is creating the main image in a digital escape room. You can see an example of it here and here.

During this Covid-19 virtual learning time, I have seen many teachers take this idea and remake their classroom. What a fun way to give convey information to your students. The process to make a virtual classroom is the same as the one I use to make an escape room image.

There are video tutorials available. Here are links to a few that are good.

tutorial 1     tutorial 2

and this website has compiled many posted Bitmoji classroom images for inspiration.

I learn better with step by step instructions and not a video so I thought I would put together a quick tutorial for you.

Before we begin, I want to emphasize the importance to using images with appropriate rights. Do not use images from a normal Google search. You might get images that are not free to use.  In Google Slides, or Drawing you can insert image and do a search. These images are free to use. You can also filter your images in a regular Google search.

Untitled drawing - 2020-05-13T183442.299

labeled for reuse: you are able to use these photos in any way that you’d like whether they be for commercial purposes such as your own website, or noncommercial purposes such as a school project.

reuse with modifications means everything above and you can remove the background, change colors, etc.

noncommercial reuse: you are able to reuse the photo as long as you are doing so in a place that doesn’t represent a commercial entity

Noncommerical reuse should give you the most options but if you plan to crop or change colors, choose with modification

Ok, now that the “Rules” have been covered, let’s make a scene.

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T101848.739Open Drawing, Slides, or PowerPoint

For Digital Escape Rooms, I build mine in Google Drawing, but you can also make them in Google Slides or PowerPoint. Google Drawing and Google Slides have the ability to embed them in a website or anything that accepts an embed code. PowerPoint does too if you save it to One Drive. You want something cloud based to keep your links active if you are using it to share information. Google Slides and PowerPoint will embed as an iframe but Google Drawing does not, so make sure you know what type of embed code you need. If you are using Google Sites to house your escape room, Google Drawing is what you want to use.

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T102527.467Find a wall and floor

You can search for wall and floor and you will set options together. I will also just design my own sometimes. You can create a solid color flooring, for example gray for a concrete floor and create a pattern on the wall for wall paper. The first example below is a wall and floor created by me, including the baseboard. The second example is using separate wall and floor combinations found on the internet. For the one we make today I’m going to use a combo that I found online.

This link is a Wakelet of image resources. Sometimes a search just doesn’t get you what you want.

Circle Unit Escape Room      Qadrilateral Escape Room Image (1)

This was my search and the first few images that came up from insert – image in Google Drawing. I picked the second one and it wasn’t quite tall enough so I pasted in another and cropped out the floor. This is one of the reasons I like finding the wall and floor separate. You can make the wall and floor meet wherever you want.

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 8.12.45 PM Classroom Bitmoji   Classroom Bitmoji (1)

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T103223.198Add classroom elements and your Bitmoji

Now the fun begins. Using the same search methods or websites, start adding in furniture. Make sure you set the search to transparent or type transparent after the image to try to get transparent backgrounds. You can also make your own (Tutorial). In the two image in step 2, I made the sofa, rug, lamp, and shadows in image 1 and the desk in image 2. I used the shape tools in Google Drawing (Slides) to create them. You don’t have to do this but it is an option if you can’t find what you need.

Using the Bitmoji extension for Google Chrome will make adding your Bitmoji easier, just drag it from the extension to your drawing. If you don’t use Chrome or don’t want the extension, you can always email from the app on your phone. Saving the image from the email will retain the transparent background.

If you want to add in photos of pets, your own furniture, or other personal objects (the yellow mug with pens below), you can use remove.bg to remove the background. This also works for clipart, just make sure it has modification rights.

Making a whiteboard is easy. Draw a white rectangle and then using the trapezoid tool, create a frame. I use a gradient for the color. You can see a metal frame and a wooden frame below. The rug below is just an oval shape.

Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 8.33.37 PM

Classroom Bitmoji (2)    Classroom Bitmoji (3)

Classroom Bitmoji (4)

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T104031.085Set Hotlinks

Once you have your image ready, you can set hotlinks on the image. If it is not a grouped imaged you can click the image and the link symbolScreen Shot 2020-05-14 at 11.33.09 AM and type in or paste the URL. If it is a grouped image, you need to put a transparent square or circle using the shape tool and link to that.

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T111647.929Use your image

If you are using your image for a digital escape room and you are putting it in Google Sites, just insert the drawing inside Sites.

If you are using Sway or a website, you need publish it (Slides or PowerPoint only) to the web (see Sway tutorial) and get the embed code.

You can also download the image as a .jpg or .png and use it as just an image. You will lose your hotlinks but it’s still super cute for newsletters and Google Classroom headers (set size to 1000 x 250 px before you begin)

Here is my completed image. The books on the shelf are are clickable links.

Wakelet of Resources      Tutorial to Create Your Own Images

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bitmoji, Digital Escape Rooms, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Create Custom Items in Google Drawing

Let me set the stage: You are creating a custom Bitmoji classroom scene (Tutorial here) or digital escape room scene and you find the PERFECT image, but SAD, it’s not free to use. What do you do? Well, you don’t illegally use it. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT! Instead, you make your own in Google Drawing.

Here is an image I found that is clearly not free because it has a watermark. But I really like the way this desk is situated and I want one like it.

Untitled drawing - 2020-05-14T123017.398

 

 

 

 

 

 

Untitled drawing - 2020-05-14T123451.486Open Drawing and Paste in Clipart

In a new Google Drawing file, paste in the not free to use clipart. Don’t worry, we will delete it later.

Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 12.36.22 PM

Bitmoji StepsUse Shape Tools to Create Image

Bitmoji Steps (2)Delete, Shrink Canvas, Save

Now that your image is complete, delete the clipart.

Select all by using command (or control) A or click and drag your cursor from top left top bottom right. Move your image to the upper left corner.

Drag the handle in the bottom right corner and shrink your canvas to fit your image.

Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 1.34.03 PM Screen Shot 2020-05-14 at 1.35.31 PM
Now you can go to file and download as a .png to keep the background transparent or .jpg if you want the background to be white. If you plan to use this image in your custom scene then you want a transparent background.

Here are a few images I have drawn using Google Drawing. You can use the polyline tool or the curve tool, both under the line tool menu and make custom shapes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Have fun and please share if you create your own custom images.

Categories: Bitmoji, Google Drawing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Digital Escape Rooms with Microsoft

If you’ve been around the blog for awhile, or follow me on Twitter, you know my love for all things Google. When I created my tutorial for Digital Escape Rooms (posted on Ditch That Textbook) it was using all Google apps.

I know some fellow educators out there are not in a Google school. Other educators are Google schools but they can’t use Google Forms.  Never fear, here is a tutorial to create a digital escape room using Microsoft Sway, PowerPoint (or Google Slides) and Forms.

The process is the same except for the location of the image and the last step and you can even use Matt’s planning template.

Digital Escape Room Infographic - Microsoft  Matt's Creating a digital escape room template

1. Write your prompt

You need a good story to hook the audience. When you go to a physical escape room, they set up the situation with a story or information at the beginning. The purpose of this Halloween themed digital escape room was to share some tech ideas with my staff in a fun way.

So I wrote an introduction to tell my audience what was happening:

“It’s a blast from the past! But when I blasted from the future to my 50’s living room, I lost my copy of Ditch That Textbook. Click on the clues in the room to help me find my signed and treasured copy.”

2. Create your clues

Determine how many and what kind (number, word, etc.) of clues you want. I want this escape room to be a fun activity for teachers to do as stress relief at the end of school and maybe gain some inspiration for next school year. During this step, I also created all of my clues. Some are in PowerPoint, Docs, Excel, Jigsaw Planet, etc. I keep all of these in a folder in One Drive so everything is together.

Here are the clues I used for my digital escape room:
  • Microsoft Training Site through a Sway page – CLUE: VV (1)V (2)which translates to 503 with the pigeon number cypher.
  • Editable PDF hack in Google Slide – CLUE: EDIT with alphabet cypher translates to 761122
  • Choice menus from Kasey Bell – launched from an excel sheet – CLUE: BUFFET
  • Using animated Bitmoji’s from Snapchat – launched from a cypher in Docs – CLUE: DANCE

Here is a Wakelet collection with even more clue making resources.

3. Create your image(s)

I almost always have an interactive image that I create in Google Drawing. But to embed in Sway, you have to use used something with an iframe embed code. I know, what the heck is that. No worries, I’ll walk you through it later. In the mean time, use PowerPoint (or Google Slides) to create your image. We will embed this in our Sway at the end and the links or “hotspots” will remain active.

Open a new PowerPoint (or Google Slide) and start creating your scene. I changed by screen size to 4:3. You do this under the design tab, then select slide size.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 2.20.49 PM

It can be as easy as a single image (the reindeer in this Reindeer Games digital escape room), or as fancy as a full scene (like the image below).

Slide1

Once your image is created, you may want to download this and set it as your background. This prevents you from accidentally moving one of your components while setting your hotspots. To download the image, click on the File, then download as images. This will make a zip file. You will have to unzip it (double click usually) to use it. Once you have the image, then click on the Design tab and choose Background, picture from file. Navigate to you photo and upload it. Don’t forget to select all and delete everything from your page (it’s scary, I know, but you have an undo button). You will see your image set as the background.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 2.45.29 PMScreen Shot 2020-05-08 at 2.47.31 PM

After your image is created and set as your background, you need to link your clues to each object. I have 5 clues, so I linked it to the clock, phone, tv, coffee table, and pink sofa.

You can make anything you added to your image clickable as a link! PowerPoint 365 is a little different than Google Slides. You can use a shape or textbox for this next step. If you use a shape, set it to no fill and no outline. If using a textbox, delete the text. Double click on the shape or click on the textbox and go to the insert tab and choose link. Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 2.56.22 PMType or paste the URL for the clue you are linking. To prevent the text from showing I use a period and change it to the color of the object it’s over.  If you are using anything cloud based, make sure share settings are set for anyone to be able to view.

If you are using the desktop version of PowerPoint, you can just right-click on the shape you drew and add your link. It’s much easier on the desktop version. You will have to your PowerPoint to the One Drive cloud to get the embed link.

Some breakouts may have more than one image or page. In my trianglesonly.com breakout game, I had multiple pages on the top tab to replicate a dating site, so I repeated the process for each image I created.

4. Create your locks

If all of your clues are numbers and you have the pro version of Microsoft forms will can create your locks in Microsoft. You can create create a cypher for each clue to change it from letters to numbers. I show some examples in this escape room. You can make your Cypher images in any image editing program. You can also use PowerPoint and download the files as .jpg or .png.

I don’t have the pro version of Microsoft Forms so I’m using Google Forms. Create a new Google Form (I keep everything for each escape room in one folder). You want to use response validation (check out this video for a walkthrough on how to add it) so they have to type in the correct clue. You also want to make the question required.

Adding response validation to Google forms.

For number locks, I use the number is equal to setting then type in the number you want. You can also type in a custom response if they get it wrong. For a number, I usually just use “try again”.

Example error message text for digital escape room locks in Google Forms.

For letter locks, you will select text contains. Forms are case sensitive so my clue usually directs them to capital or lowercase letters.

Example help message text for digital escape room locks in Google Forms.

Continue this process until you have all of your clues entered.

I like to include a special message or image once the person “escapes”. To do this, create a new section in your Google Form.

Digital escape room locks: add a section to your Google form.

On this new page, you can post a message or an image congratulating them on escaping.

Digital escape room locks: add an image or message to Google Forms.

 

5. Create your Sway

In my opinion, this is the most exciting part of the process. This is when everything you have created comes together as an escape room.

Got to sway.com and start new. A title card will always be the first card offered. Title your Sway and add any images you wish. There is a design tab if you want to play around.

Now add you image (or images). Click the plus sign, then the media tab, and then embed.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 3.08.42 PM

Now let’s go get our embed code. Your image is in PowerPoint (Google Slides instructions will be below). In PowerPoint, click file, share, and embed. Copy the embed code.

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Head back over to sway and paste the embed code in the card.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 3.13.03 PM

Google slides will need to be published to obtain the embed code. Go to File – Publish to Web. When you click publish, an embed code will be available.

Now let’s insert our Form. Whether you use Microsoft or Google, the process is very similar. Click the + in Sway and select Embed again.

Go to your Form. Click Send then the <> tab to get the embed code. Paste this code in the Sway card.

Now you are ready to preview your Digital Escape Room. Click the play button in the top right corner. How does it look?

When you are ready to share with others, you use the share button. You can copy a link or create a QR code.

Whew! You made it to the end. Now you are ready to go create your own Digital Escape Room with Sway.

You can try out the Digital Escape Room created during this post with the link below.

https://sway.office.com/s/2Hvb5Qm4ehy2Mn54/embed

 

Categories: Digital Escape Rooms, Google Forms, Google Slides, Microsoft, PowerPoint, Sway | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Google Drawing Tutorial

I LOVE GOOGLE DRAWING!!! If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know how much I use Drawing or Drawing features in slides. That’s right, Google Slides uses many of the same features as Google Drawing. WIN!

Google Drawing will download as a transparent .PNG image. It’s vector based, so if you make a large image it will scale without much degradation of the image. I once create panels for a tri-fold display board, printed them and glued them to the board. The images were crisp and looked professional.Google Drawing examples

This is a little tutorial to help you get started with Google Drawing.

Come back soon and we do something FUN with Google Drawing and Google Slides.

Categories: Google Drawing, technology, Tutorial | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Free Collaborative Whiteboard Space

I had a teacher email me earlier this week and ask for free solutions to a collaborative whiteboard he could use with Zoom so students could graph but not have to share their screen. There are some cool apps out there like AWW app and Bitpaper. Both of these are amazing, but they also charge a monthly fee. Most of us can’t do that. So you know the old saying, necessity breeds invention.

Here’s a little Schoolhouse Rock video if you need the inspiration:

Ok, to the real meat and potatoes of this post. I suggested he use a collaborative Google Slide and the scribble and line tools or a collaborative PowerPoint365 and the drawing tools. He can share the collaborative slide on Zoom while the student drawing is accessing the “whiteboard” on their computer. Our students are more familiar with Slides, but PowerPoint (sorry Google) does a better job with drawing tools.

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 12.10.49 PM

Slides Scribble Tool

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 12.11.28 PM

PowerPoint Drawing Tool

Slides worked very well for graphs, not as easy for writing (I suggest the text tool)! PowerPoint was awesome for writing but there was a big delay with the image appearing on the shared screen.

You can set the graph as the background so it doesn’t move when students are graphing. I’ve included a little infographic on this process for Slides & PowerPoint.

Set an Image as Background infographic SlidesSet an Image as Background infographic PPT

Another colleague of mine likes to send her kids to the whiteboards every day as a warm-up. Well, using this, it would work the same. You could use it over Zoom (or Meet) but you wouldn’t have to. The cool thing is, it serves the same purpose. Students can look around (on other slides) if they need inspiration and the teacher can give immediate feedback.

Just thought I’d share this little hack we discovered this week.

Stay safe friends!

Categories: digital whiteboard, Distance Learning, Google Slides, PowerPoint, Uncategorized | Tags: | 5 Comments

Notability and Distance Learning

Those of you who know me know I have been a Notability fan for at least 8 years. I love it. It has improved significantly since I started using it and every upgrade makes me love it even more.

During this crazy time of distance learning, Notability and your iPad can be a welcome help. You can create notes that can easily be shared in Google Classroom. You can screen cast and save to Google Drive to be shared in Google Classroom. If you download Zoom, you can use Notability and share your screen and give notes live.

I have created a few videos to help you navigate and efficiently use Notability on your iPad. This includes backing it up to Google Drive, screencasting, and some basic use.

I don’t have a tutorial for Zoom, but I will work on it and get that added here as well.

Notability is not free. Right now it’s $8.99. I’m telling you it’s worth every penny you spend. They do have volume discounts of 50% off for purchases of 20 copies or more at one time.

Please let me know if you have questions about Notability or if there are additional tutorials you would like to see.

Set up Download and Sync to get your files to Notability faster.

Set up a Folder to make importing to Notability easier

Set up and basic use of Notability

Connect Notability to Google Drive to import and backup

Open a file from Google Drive

Screenrecord on iPad with Notability

Categories: Distance Learning, Notability, Screencast, Tutorial | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Google Classroom Rubrics

Oh my goodness. Have you seen the new Google Classroom rubrics? You may have noticed it magically appeared in your Google Classroom recently. Curious about how to use them? Well I have created some videos that will hopefully help.

Creating a Rubric inside Google Classroom.

Using the rubric in Google Classroom

I use more of a checklist style rubric. So I created one using the same method.

You can also import from a Google Sheet. Alice Keeler has created a template to help you create one.

Alice’s Template

Hopefully this helps. Try out the new rubric system in Google Classroom. It’s pretty amazing.

Categories: Google Classroom | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Electronic Planner

Last year I created an electronic bullet journal type calendar/planner and shared it here. This year Slides Mania (@SlidesManiaSM) created a template that is FREE to use. That’s right free and customizable. Head to their site, download the slide, and watch the video to customize your own.

You will want to add as many slides as you want, such as the weekly slides, delete the text you don’t want to see, add dates where you want them to be, and place the slides in the deck where you want them. Once you download this as a PDF, that part is no longer editable. I created my weeks and placed them directly after the monthly view. When I click on January then I can scroll to each week in the month.

Editable Katie_Digital_Planner_Template_SlidesMania.png

You can add links if you want. For instance, you can click on the first week in January and link it to the weekly view. This will take a little more time to edit, but the functionality is nice throughout the year.

2020-01-03_16-31-39

Once you have your planner set up like you want it, go to file, then download as a pdf.

I save this in a folder in my Google Drive so I can access it from Notability. Notability is not a free app, but it is worth the money. I use this app daily in my classroom. To explain all the wonderful things Notability can do would take another blog post 🙂

Once this is saved in Google Drive, open the Notability App. Import the file from your Google Drive. Once it’s loaded, the links will still work, but you can also write in the boxes. It’s the best of both worlds.

The best part, in my opinion, is that the template was already created. I was able to change my theme in less than 10 minutes and now I have a planner to use for 2020.

Thanks Slides Mania for saving me a ton of time.

Categories: Google Slides, Notability, Planner, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Digital Escape Room

I wrote a post a few years ago about creating digital breakout games. You can view that post here. Quite a few things have changed, so a new post was in order. Matt (@jmattmiller) was kind enough to let me be a guest blogger on his site. He also added a sweet planning guide to help you with the process. Head over to ditchthattextbook.com and check out the post.

How to create a digital escape room or digital breakout for your class or pd title image.

Categories: BreakoutEDU, Digital Escape Rooms | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Bitmoji Refresh

It’s been awhile since I posted about Bitmojis and a few things have changed since the last post. Below is an update on how to create and use Bitmojis in your classroom.

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T101848.739CREATE A BITMOJI

You used to be able to create a Bitmoji on your computer. You can’t do that anymore. You must create it on the Bitmoji app or through the Snapchat app. Look inside your app store for either or both apps. This is the fun part! You have three different options for Bitmoji: Bitstrips, Bitmoji classic, or Bitmoji Deluxe. My Bitmoji is the deluxe version.

If you use Snapchat, you will have additional options like using the Bitmoji keyboard (on iOS) and sending “friendmojis”. You can also use it in Snapchat which is pretty fun! **Hint** Remember your username and password for the next step.

IMG_7735

This is a friendmoji with my daughter.

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T102527.467.pngINSTALL THE CHROME EXTENSION

Install the Chrome extension for Bitmoji. You will have to use the same login information from Bitmoji or Snapchat, whatever you used to set up your account. Once installed and signed in, you can click on the Bitmoji extension in the top right of the Chrome Browser. It will show the current outfit you have selected from the app. If you want an outfit change, you will have to change it in the app. **NOTE** This only works in the Chrome browser, just another reason to use chrome 🙂

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T103223.198USE BITMOJI FROM EXTENSION

This part is soooo cool. You can search the Bitmoji you want or search through the multiple tabs to find the perfect Bitmoji. Once selected, just drag it onto the Doc, Slide, Drawing, Sheet, Keep (OK, any Google App) or email. You can also drag it from Chrome to a Word Doc or PowerPoint. If you want to use it elsewhere, right click and download the image.

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Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T104031.085.pngUSE BITMOJIS

Now the REAL fun begins. What do you do with it? As a teacher, I put Bitmojis on EVERYTHING.

Build A Robot Project

I put it on instruction sheets for projects

Syllabus Geometry 2019

My Syllabus

Gold Star

Is use them for feedback on student assignments.

You can also create CUSTOM feedback and store them in Google Keep. Here is a blog post about that process.

Bitmoji Feedback

Custom Feedback created in Google Drawing

Google Classroom Header (16)

Custom Google Classroom Header

You can find the instructions for Custom Headers HERE.

You can also put Bitmojis in Google Drawing and create custom Bitmojis like the numbers in the post. You can make a school shirt, a group Bitmoji, or make one say something new. (Custom Bitmoji tutorial) My favorite is using them for Stop Motion Video. The tutorials are linked.

Algebra 1 CHS Bitmoji

download (11)

Untitled drawing - 2019-09-02T111647.929.pngSTUDENT BITMOJI USE

First, Bitmoji is a 13+ app, so it would only be available for high school students. Second, there are some questionable Bitmojis bea0ec75-dbd2-4d97-be32-1a0af004ddf0-67ba5758-862a-48ee-93b0-fb1bb39b5348-v1 and many school block it. I am lucky enough that they will open it for me while my students are using it. I do have a discussion about appropriate use, much like I do with YouTube. Only use school appropriate Bitmojis or we won’t be able to use it anymore. I’ve been using them in my classroom for 4 years now and only had ONE questionable use, and the student used an alcoholic beverage Bitmoji. He changed it before it was published so no harm done.

Here is a workaround for schools blocking Bitmoji. Students can email Bitmojis to their school account directly from the Bitmoji app.

RPReplay_Final1567441504.gif

If you have littles, you can create a folder of Bitmojis for them to use. Create a folder for each kiddo with a Bitmoji that looks like them. Here is a crowd sourced folder of some generic ones. Here is a short podcast talking about creating Bitmojis for students.

Now, WHY do you want to go through the trouble? Because students can create some amazing projects with Bitmoji.

Booksnaps or Mathsnaps

Catapult Activity

Comic Books that you can read in iBooks or Kindle. Or other comic type projects.

Solving Inequalities Comic (1) Superhero Transformations - Samuel (1)

Foreign Language Comic.png

Here are more ideas from the interverse using Bitmojis in the classroom.

https://www.weareteachers.com/bitmoji-classroom/

https://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/2018/09/back-to-school-with-bitmoji.html

https://mrswelchknows.blogspot.com/2017/12/tech-tip-thursday-bitmojis.html

Categories: Bitmoji | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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