Google Slides, Relationships, Student Choice

Get to know you APP activity

I can’t take credit for this slide deck. It was inspire by a TikTok from @Heidi. She also has her original version available on TpT if you want to purchase it from her. Mine is slightly different but includes the same apps.

I like this activity because it give students a choice from day one. It also allows students to explore using Google Slides, an app we use A LOT in class.

Click the link above to view and make your own copy. You may alter it in anyway to fit the needs in your classroom. Also, go give @Heidi a follow on TikTok. She shares some great ideas.

I have many other get to know you activities you might want to check out.

Other Get To Know You Activities


Canva for EDU, part 4

This is the final Canva for EDU post (for now) but I have only scratched the surface of what Canva can do for you in the classroom.

Canva for Edu Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Classroom Kits

Let’s start by looking at the EDU menu you see when you hover over templates in the top dropdown menu. We’ve already touched on some of these, but I definitely want to look at classroom kits. Different kits contain different things, but each of them is theme coordinated including things like name plates, posters, Google classroom header, labels, and daily agenda.

Here is a snapshot of an ocean theme you could use.

Google Classroom Header

I have shared how to make your own Google Classroom header in Google Drawing. And as I’ve said before, I do love Google Drawing. This is just another option if you don’t want to start from scratch.

There are many templates available, but you can also start from scratch or just customize a template to fit your needs.


The newsletter templates are amazing! The size is set for 8.5 x 11 so it’s ready to print. There are over 100 templates to choose from.

Group Work/ Canva Classroom

We haven’t talked much about the Canva Classroom, but you can set up classroom in Canva and assign groups tasks. The groupwork templates are designed to be used this way. I am no expert in this area because I have not used it. Here is a link to a document created by Canva that can give you more information.


I love an interactive planner. I like to put mine in Notability with links and I have a digital planner I can write on. I’ve also created interactive planners in Google Slides that you can type on. Well…. you can create interactivity within Canva, but it didn’t save the links when I exported. You could always design this in Canva and export it to Google Slides or PowerPoint and add the navigation.

Here is the link to a quick template I threw together. It needs some work, but you get the basic idea.

There are folks on Twitter who know way more about Canva than I do. I hope this has been a good introduction to some options available. If you try any of the ideas, please let me know. I love to see what people create.


Canva for EDU, part 3

More Canva fun for week 3. Check out week 1 and week 2 for more.

This week we will focus on student gift ideas, newsletters, and comics.

Student gift ideas


We want to encourage reading over the summer, and what better way than to give students a bookmark. Canva has a ton of bookmark templates, but as always, you could make your own. You can print these in color and laminate them yourself, and add a fun tassel if you want. You could print these two sided and put a check list on the back so students can keep track of the books they read over the summer.

Using the believe in yourself bookmark you see above, here is the bookmark customized with my student’s name and a reading list for the back.


What student wouldn’t love a sheet of custom stickers? Ok, what TEACHER wouldn’t love a sheet of custom stickers :-). You can use the templates available in Canva OR you can create you own. You can even use Bitmojis or Canva’s built in character creator. If you plan ahead, you can print your stickers in Canva. You can also just use adhesive paper and print them on a color printer. If you want to get fancy, you can use a laminate on just the top to make them more water resistant. You can cut them into squares, or if you have a Cricut or Silhouette machine you could make die cut stickers.


The templates come in the formatted sizes you see on the left in the image, but if you plan to use your own tools to print and cut, you can definitely make die cut stickers. Canva has a download as .SVG option (the file most cutting machines use) but I usually use a .PNG and then use the trace feature to put my cut lines around it.


The newsletter templates available in Canva are amazing. My large district uses Canva to send out monthly updates to the staff. Once the newsletter is created, you can share right from Canva. Super simple and super easy to use.

Once you have created your newsletter, go to share. You can send a view only link or you can share as a website. Our district uses the website option so it is optimized by screen size. Either option will keep links active for the viewer. You can also schedule the release of your newsletter with the free education account.


If you’ve been around my blog any amount of time, you know I love to create comics in my classroom. I have Google templates that I have used in the past. Canva is another free options to make comics. Canva has many layouts for comics and you can always start from scratch.

Canva has a blank layout that comes with character components you can use in the comic.

Canva also has a character builder where you can create your own characters to use in any creation. While in your comic (or any creation) click on more in the left panel and character builder is the face. This same area also has Pixton which contains even more characters to use. You do have to sign in to Pixton to use the features.

Using the template from above, I changed it to add photos, put a background (that students can change) and added story boxes. I would definitely demonstrate my process with students in class and give them time to explore.

Next week will be the final Canva post. I know I will only scratch the surface of everything Canva can do, but hopefully I have shown you something worth trying and you will explore.


Canva for EDU part 2

Last week I started a short series on all the ways you can use the free Canva for educators. Check it out here.

This week we will focus on certificates, videos, cards & resumes.


I’ve been in education long enough that I remember Print Shop software that you could print on a dot matrix printer. There was something nostalgic about looking through the certificate options that took me back to those Print Shop days. Canva says it has 7690 certificate options and, of course, you can customize them to anything you want.

I had a teacher who printed a certificate for every student in the class displaying a quality of that student. I have never been organized to do this with my 150 students each year but I know it would make them feel special. I have one student this year who was super shy so when we worked at the board (I use the Building Mathematical Thinking principles) she struggled to communicate with her team. She is now sharing her ideas and even visiting with them during seat time. This is a certificate I would give to her.

Stock Certificate in Canva
My updates in Canva


This is a template I never thought to look for but WOW does it create a professional looking video. There are some back-to-school templates, tutorials, promotional videos and so much more. Some of our classes are electives and I know they are always promoting their classes to get students involved. This would be a great way to do that. You could also create a professional looking end of the year video to share with families. In my video below I included images and video clips. The best part is that you can send a view link to the video right from Canva.

Click to view video


I wanted to share about the cards and invitations because you can print them from Canva. I ordered some for my daughter’s wedding shower and they were great quality and super affordable. I created her shower invitation from scratch, but as you’ve seen from other ideas in Canva, there are TONS of templates available. Since teacher appreciation just ended, maybe you need some thank you cards.

This templates was perfect for me! And when you click on share you can print your design is so many formats: t-shirts, stickers, postcards, folded cards, and so much more.

Share – print design
Postcard option


Tis the season to be looking, so if you are looking for a new position, new school, or new career, the resumes on Canva are a game changer. There are so many options and I personalize my letter of interest to match my resume. I chose to replace the photo with my name logo, but many people include a photo. You do what you are comfortable with. With 7,062 templates to choose from, I’m sure you will find one that fits your personality. A friend of mine even changes her color scheme to match the school she is interviewing at. She calls it the Elle Woods touch. It worked because she will be an assistant principal next year.

Come back next week for part 3 and happy creating.


Canva For EDU Part 1

I love Google Drawing! (Wait, isn’t this titled Canva for EDU???) Yes, yes it is, but there is a reason I started with I love Google Drawing. I have always used Google Drawing to create my templates and images, and so many other things and I didn’t really give Canva a fair shake. Well, it’s a game changer. It’s so easy to customize and share with others. So for the next few weeks, I want to introduce you to a few features you may not know about.

When you login to Canva, on the left you will can select templates.


Canva is free for educators and allows you to access all of the features.

Once you click on templates, you can select by subject (on the right) or by category (on the left)


There are so many presentation templates to choose from. You can sort by topic or you can pick a design you like and adapt it. The best part about Canva, in my opinion, is the download feature. Once you design what you want, you can download into Google Slides or PowerPoint. You can also edit once download it.

To download to Google Slides click the share button, then go to more.

Scroll down to save, and select Google Drive or PowerPoint.

Not all the other options. You can save to Google Classroom, but under more you can also share to other LMS sites.

You can also just present through Canva.

You can adjust the colors and theme for any presentation you select. The brown in the original presentation was not what I wanted but I loved the graph paper so I clicked on styles. You can select from one that is there, or you can create your own. If you have colors you use all the time, you can set up your own theme to use. The last one shown below is from my Make Math Not Suck color theme.

You can also change any elements you don’t like. For instance, the weird little shrub at the top is not working for me, so I can change it to any other element I would like.


Another template to explore is flashcards. I searched for math flashcards but you can also just click on flashcards in the education section. These are designed to be printed and cut out, but you an also use them in a presentation and make a digital flashcard.

Phone Wallpaper

Here is a fun idea to create contact information for your phone. Here are a few templates I have created that you can make a copy of (another great feature of Canva). You can use the QR code creator in Canva (example 1 & 3) or use one like like the middle one.

I will be posting ideas in the coming weeks so check back often.

Video Editing

Video Candy

I have been using PDF Candy for awhile now. You can check out my previous blog post here. Pam Hubler on Twitter shared Video Candy and I’m super excited about it.

The stop motion one is fun. It takes a video and then puts the stops in that make it look like you made it by stop motion.

You can also create a video slideshow using images and video. I know there are other programs that do this, but it’s super easy, and you can add sound.

Here is a slideshow I put together of our Doodle & Chat promo slides. I added sounds (for free) from

Hopefully this will help you if you are making video content for your school. Enjoy.


Education is Changing

I know I usually share resources and ideas, but every now and then I have a thought I want to share. Today is one such thought. Ok, it’s really some questions.

Someone posted on Twitter this week about how students don’t like school and asked the question, “What can be done to make it better?”. The suggestions ranged from student choice, less like prisons, to not requiring students to attend.

So how did we end up where we are?

History of Education

Compulsory education in the United States began in 1900 by 34 states, most in the north (Lingwall). By 1930, all states had a compulsory education law (Graham, 1974). The purpose of this compulsory education was not to learn to read, write, and do basic calculations but was deemed the best way to turn the nations unruly children into judicious, republican citizen (Groen, 2008). Horace Mann, in 1978, had already laid the foundation of grade level schools, having students progress through based on age regardless of skill level (Thomas, 2010).

In 1880, American high schools were primarily considered to be preparatory academies for students who were going to attend college. But by 1910 they had been transformed into core elements of the common school system and had broader goals of preparing many students for work after high school. The explosive growth brought the number of students from 200,000 in 1890 to 1,000,000 in 1910, to almost 2,000,000 by 1920; 7% of youths aged 14 to 17 were enrolled in 1890, rising to 32% in 1920. By 1940, 50% of the U.S. youth had earned a high school diploma (Church & Sedlak, 1976). Education in the United States: An Interpretive History) American post-elementary schooling was designed to be consistent with national needs. It stressed general and widely applicable skills not tied to particular occupations or geographic areas, in order that students would have flexible employment options. As the economy was dynamic, the emphasis was on portable skills that could be used in a variety of occupations, industries, and regions (“The History of Education in the United States: Secondary Schools”).

In the space of only a generation, public education had left behind a highly regimented and politicized system dedicated to training children in the basic skills of literacy and the special discipline required of urban citizens, and had replaced it with a largely apolitical, more highly organized and efficient structure specifically designed to teach students the many specialized skills demanded in a modern, industrial society. In terms of programs this entailed the introduction of vocational instruction, a doubling of the period of schooling, and a broader concern for the welfare of urban youth.

Selwyn K. Troen, The Public and the Schools: Shaping the St. Louis System 1838–1920 (1975) pp 151, 224–26, quoted in Ravitch, The Revisionists Revised, pp 55–56

Dewey, the father of the foundation for much of what we do in education today, believed that schools were not only a place for students to gain content knowledge, but also as a place for them to learn how to live. He said the purpose of education was to realize the student’s full potential and the ability to use those skills for the greater good. “Dewey insisted that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform. He noted that ‘education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction’.” (John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed (1897) PP. 6, 16).

The Great Depression set the precedent for moving funds away from education to other “necessary” areas of government.

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released a report titled A Nation at Risk. Soon afterward, conservatives were calling for an increase in academic rigor including an increase in the number of school days per year, longer school days and higher testing standards. 

“No Child Left Behind” was a major national law passed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress in 2002, marked a new direction. In exchange for more federal aid, the states were required to measure progress and punish schools that were not meeting the goals as measured by standardized state exams in math and language skills. We have had many reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act but most have the same goals as No Child Left Behind.

Where do we go?

Is is time for education to change again? Do we still want students to learn content or do we want them to think and be able to solve problems based on the information available to them? Those require two very different approaches to education. Learning content requires rigorous testing to “prove” the content is being learned according to the government. And what content is needed? But on the flip side, how do we “show” students are solving problems based on information they find? Do we need “proof” that this is occurring?

Do we need to only educate students through the 8th grade and then share career paths and opportunities, including college, vocational, technical, and work force? What would that look like? What if a student wants to change paths?

What about funding? How to we make funding for public schools more equitable without sending money to private and charter schools?

I haven’t answered any questions in this post. I have simply put information and questions on my blog for future consideration. Education is on the edge of another major change. As educators, we need to decide what we think needs to happen and then we need speak up and let those in power know what we think. Will they listen? Some, maybe. Will we make a difference? Maybe. Will we make a difference if we remain silent? No.

Education is changing. What do you want it to become?

Chrome, Chrome Browser

Chrome Themes

I presented at a conference, IN PERSON, this week and it was wonderful. I love presenting and presenting to a screen is definitely not the same as presenting to real people who have facial expressions and body language. I also love to give away stickers and that is so much easier in person.

While I was presenting, someone asked about how I got the “colors” on my Chrome tab. I told her about Chrome themes and how to find them.

Then, I realized, maybe others don’t know about Chrome themes. I use them because I usually have two accounts open at all times, my personal and school. I have them set to different themes so I can tell them apart quickly.

The grid one is my school and the words one is my personal.

Here is how you can do this too. Go to the Chrome Web Store and click on themes.

The main screen has a ton of themes but you can also search by education, math, spring, whatever you might be looking for.

HeyAshleyG is a TikToker who offeres a lot of fun Chrome themes. After you search her name, click more themes in the top right corner.

My word theme comes from Stefanie Posavak but I changed my background image to my desktop image.

My grid background is by American Apparel

When you find one you like, just click add to Chrome. If you don’t like it you can remove it.

If you want to get FANCY, you can click on the pencil icon in the bottom right corner of a new page and you can adjust your theme. This is how I added my own background page to the theme.

Will this make teaching better? Probably not. Will it make looking at your computer more fun? Absolutely! And, if you have more than one account open at a time, it makes identifying them easier.


Fonts, Google Drawing, Google Sheets, Google Sites, Google Slides

Fun with Google Fonts

I was presenting with GoldEDU on animated stickers when a participant asked about selecting new Google Fonts. I have posted about fonts before and included some Googley goodness but I thought an installment 2 might be in order.

Google has sooooo many fonts to choose from AND you can download them to use in Microsoft or other applications if you want to.

Select New Fonts

So how to find all these fonts you ask? When using a Google Doc, Slide, or Sheets, you can select the default font at the top. It’s usually Arial unless you have changed it (I’ll explain how later). The fonts selected by Google are at the bottom and your recently used fonts are second. What I’m interested in is MORE FONTS. Let’s click that.

This brings us a new screen with so many options. On the left you will see all available fonts. On the right are the fonts you have currently selected. You can click the x if you don’t want them on that main page anymore.

You can search for a font if you know a name, but I usually don’t. I like to search All fonts and then narrow it down to display or handwriting.

Once you find a font you like, click on it and it will add it to your font list on the right. When you are happy with your selections, click ok.

Set a new default

In Google Docs, you can set a new default font. Kasey Bell with Shake Up Learning has a great tutorial on how to do this.

In a Google Slide, you go to Theme Builder under the view menu. On the very top slide you can change the fonts to whatever you choose.

In Google Sheets follow these step:

  1. Click on Format.
  2. Click on Theme.
  3. Click on Customize.
  4. Select Font you want as standard.
  5. Click on Done.

Do Fun Things

What can you do with these fun fonts? Make fun things!

Here is a slide I put together showing some fun font combinations using Word Art.

Here is another fun font tutorial in Google Slides or Drawing.

  1. Insert – Word Art – and type the word you want.
  2. Select the font you want and resize to fit.

I’m going to select a custom gradient. Click on the paint bucket tool and select gradient and then custom.

4. Now you have a custom gradient filled image.

5. Command or control D and duplicate this. We will change the fill color to white, the border color to white and the border size to 16.

6. Click format options in the top right of the tool bar and select drop shadow. I changed the transparency to 100%, the angle is 45, the distance is 13 and blur radius is 0. Play with it and see what you like.

7. Now right click and move the white background to the back and you have some fancy word art for your Google Slide. If you do this in Google Drawing you can download it as a PNG and use it with a transparent background in anything that takes images.

Have fun with your fonts while I enjoy my Spring Break!