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.
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.
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.
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.
If you try it out, let me know and give a shout-out to Mel (@fungooli) who told me about whiteboard.chat.
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).
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.
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”.
I stumbled upon this post on Twitter this past week about an Escape Room puzzle idea. You know how much I LOVE making escape rooms so I thought I give it a try. WOW! What a cool idea.
His name is Jason Pullano and you should give him a follow on (my favorite social media) Twitter. I didn’t alter this in any way other than to change colors to match my theme. His template is FIRE (to quote my daughter) and his video is very helpful if you are not sure what to do.
This is the link to the template he shared on Twitter.
Here is the link to MY puzzle.
Yep, I hope you caught that message! 12 Days of Techmas is coming soon!!!!
If you use this, please tag us both. Let Jason know how you used it! It makes people happy to see that what they share is beneficial!
Multiple times in the past few weeks I have been asked questions about turning PDFs teachers have found, or in one case the PDF version of something they created (because they lost the original file), into Word Documents. First, no program does this perfectly, even programs you pay for, but anything that reduces typing will help!
The resource PDFCandy.com is a safe and free site that can help with this problem. BUT, it does WAY more than just turn your PDF into a Word document. Here is a screen shot of everything it offers.
If you notice in the top left corner there is also a language converter. I haven’t personally tried this feature but it’s a bonus in my book.
I especially love the PDF to PNG or TIFF toward the bottom. I have been putting together digital notebooks in Google Docs and included some PDF pages I scanned from older resources. This allows me to turn that PDF into a image and insert the image into the Doc or Slide.
This is also helpful when you want to make a PDF more interactive for students. I’m not a fan of turning a “worksheet” into digital “worksheet” but in some cases I can see the benefit. If you have a PDF lab paper you want students to complete in their digital notebook, you can now set the PDF as the background image once your convert it. You can insert text boxes for students to comment on their lab progress.
I hope you find this website helpful. I love to pass along freebies that I find that work well.
I love Bitmojis! I know it’s not for everyone, but they just make me happy. They make students happy too! My students love when I put “stickers” on their digital work. They sometimes even give me stickers as suggestions when they submit a project. A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about creating custom feedback stickers and putting them in Google Keep for ease of use.
Today I’m going to update that post with animated gif stickers. I mean, the only thing that could be better than Bitmoji stickers is animated Bitmoji stickers!!!
Open a new Google Slides (or PowerPoint, or Keynote if you want an easy transparent background) and go to file – page setup, select custom and change the size to 8 x 8 inches.
If you are using PowerPoint or Keynote, change the background to Transparent.
Select the Bitmoji you want to use from the Chrome Extension and drag it to the Google Slide. Tutorial here
Animate your sticker slide by slide! Tutorial here
Here are a few ideas:
Add word by word and or a moving arrow
Add letter by letter
Turn your sticker into an animated GIF
Google Slides – TallTweets.com is so easy to use (tutorial here). It allows you to simply load your presentation with out any additional steps.
If you REALLY want a transparent background, the easiest way is to use PowerPoint or Keynote. They both have export as GIF options (come on Google!!!)
Open keep.google.com. By placing your image in Google Keep, you can simply drag your sticker into any Google Slide or Doc you want to use them in.
Create a new note with image.
Select your sticker. I don’t title it because it will drag the title with it. You can create a label called stickers or feedback so you can sort if you would like.
Now open something to give feedback on. The image below is a Google Slide. On the RIGHT you will see 3 icons. The middle one is Google Keep.
It opens your Google Keep and you can see your stickers. Select the one you want and drag it over.
I know you’re thinking, this is great for elementary but I teach middle or high school. Your secondary students will LOVE these. They are still just kids!
If you are at all like me then you LOVE fonts. On my mac I have downloaded WAAAAAY too many fonts. I even have an “unused” fonts folder I created for those fonts I want to keep but just don’t need very often.
My favorite GO TO font source to use with Keynote, PowerPoint, Word, etc. is dafont.com. You can download them for Mac or Windows machines. Double click to unzip the downloaded file (if it’s zipped). The instructions for each platform are below. You will need to restart you applications if they are open before you can see the new fonts.
Once the downloaded file is unzipped, double click on the file. FontBook will open. Click install.
I don’t have a windows machine, but here are the instructions I’ve found:
Open the Windows Control Panel.
Select Appearance and Personalization.
At the bottom, select Fonts. …
To add a font, simply drag the font file into the font window.
While these fonts on my computer are AMAZING, my usual place of creation is in Google. These downloaded fonts are not available in Google but fear not, here are some tips and websites to make your fonts GREAT.
TextGiraffe has predesigned fonts. Select one you like and download. You can also just drag it to your Google Slide or Google Doc that’s open.
Magic Rainbow Unicorn is a Google Slides extension. You can click the add-ons tab at the top, search for it, and install. Click on the add-ons button again and launch the add-on. You can select the colors and if you want just the text or to highlight. Magic Rainbow Unicorns will change your fonts to rainbow.
Extensis Fonts add on doesn’t “ADD” fonts to the Google Font collection but it does made selecting a font easier. Go to add-ons and search for extensis fonts. Install the add-on. Click on the add-on button again and the font panel will open. Select the text you want to change and then select the font.
You can also make creative titles inside Google Slides, Docs, and Drawing. Here are a few using Word Art. Click through the slide to see the different examples.
I hope you also have a love of fonts and found some new ideas in this post.
This is a post for my remote teaching friends or even my friends who are in person but don’t want to touch papers. It’s a scary time we live in and the less we touch the better.
During emergency remote learning in the Spring, I had students send me images of their work. Many of them were HORRIBLE. They would send a picture taken from the side with mostly their bed and pillows in the background, dark or blurry pictures that you couldn’t read, or the HEIC image format that couldn’t be uploaded.
I didn’t want a repeat of the spring so I did some research and found Apps that would work on most phones. I created tutorials for each and I also screen shared my phone during Zoom sessions and demonstrated how to use these apps.
Reasons to Scan vs. send pictures:
You get a better image and you can pick PDF or .jpg (in Genius Scan)
You can crop out the background
You can email it or save it to your Google Drive or OneDrive
You only get one file and not 3 separate submissions from students
Notes App (iPhones)
This app is standard on the iPhone. It will only save as a PDF but you can choose color or black and white.
I have been using this app for a few years now. I LOVE this app and have shared it with my colleagues. You can send the image as a PDF or .jpg and it’s available for free on iOs or Android. I still use this app even though Notes will now scan.
I created a tutorial slide for my students with some additional information. The template is from SlidesMania (of course!). Feel free to use it with your students if you find it helpful.
I shared the scanning idea on Twitter the other day and received a lot of requests for more information. I though a blog post would be the best. Hopefully it helps make remote learning a little better for you.