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!!!

technology

12 days of Techmas 2020

The 12 days of Techmas was such a hit last year I made one for this year. Even though it says Techmas, I tried to keep this holiday neutral to include all of my educator friends.

Check back every day and a new snowball will appear. Click on the snowball for the snowman’s gift!

click to open

I hope you find something new to make your job easier or learning more fun for students. Have a wonderful holiday!

Digital Escape Rooms, formative assessment, Game Based Learning, Google Drawing, Google Slides, Stop Motion

Magic Squares Puzzle

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.

click to open

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!

Freebies, PDF, PDF converter

PDF Candy

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.