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.

animated gif, Bitmoji, Google Keep, Stop Motion

Custom Animated Stickers + Google Keep

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

Moving Bitmoji

Sparkles!!!

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.

Resize.

Done!

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!

Enjoy!

Fonts, Google Drawing, Google Slides

Fun with Fonts

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.

Mac

Once the downloaded file is unzipped, double click on the file. FontBook will open. Click install.

Windows

I don’t have a windows machine, but here are the instructions I’ve found:

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Select Appearance and Personalization.
  3. At the bottom, select Fonts. …
  4. 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.

App, Distance Learning, technology

Scanning Apps for Remote Learning

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:

  1. You get a better image and you can pick PDF or .jpg (in Genius Scan)
  2. You can crop out the background
  3. You can email it or save it to your Google Drive or OneDrive
  4. 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.

Genius Scan

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.

click for template

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.

Stay safe friends!

BreakoutEDU, Desmos, Digital Escape Rooms, technology, Wakelet

Wakelet and Spaces

If you didn’t know, I am a HUGE fan of Wakelet. See, I was at the very beginning of the Pinterest craze all those years ago because I LOVED the visual aspect of storing my bookmarks. Wakelet hits the visual aspect for me too but it’s easier to share with others and it can be COLLABORATIVE.

Chrome extension

I love the Chrome Extension for Wakelet. If I’m on a website, I can click the W in my extensions bar and it will open a save to Wakelet window! So easy, just like the save to Pinterest button that I love so much!!!

Twitter

I love when I’m on my desktop version of Twitter (and the Chrome extension is enabled) that I can hit the W and save a tweet. When I’m on my phone, I hit the up arrow and save to Wakelet. Also sooooo easy!!!

Wakelets can be public. If you click on this link, it will take you to all my public Wakelets.

BUT, you can also may them private! This is perfect for student work. The private links are sharable, and only the people you share them with will see them. It’s a great way to share student work with the class and their families.

Wakelets can also be collaborative. You can assign each student a topic and they can add to a shared classroom Wakelet that is private to everyone except your class.

Spaces

This week, Wakelet released a new feature called Spaces. Basically, it’s a Wakelet full of Wakelets. Why would you need this you ask? Well, here are a few examples I have created just this week.

Digital Escape Rooms – I had 3 different Digital Escape Room Wakelets on my site. One was the escape rooms I have made, another was resources to create your own, and a third was escape rooms others had made. I had to share all three of them when I talked about escape rooms. NOW, I can just share the space will all my Wakelets inside.

Desmos Resources – We are always finding Desmos resources. I was just saving them to a Wakelet called Awesome Math Ideas. A few colleagues of mine ALSO have Desmos ideas saved. To make the process better, I made a Desmos Space and we have our 4 content areas in it. It’s now collaborative so we can all add what we find. This is going to be WONDERFUL!

So what can YOU do with Wakelet Spaces? I’m so glad you asked. Here are a few ideas, in addition to what I’ve shared above.

  • Classroom Portfolios – Each student would have their OWN Wakelet that you can share with parents and guardians but you can keep all of your students in a Space to keep them organized.
  • Resources – You could create resource folders for parents, students, or colleagues (like my example above)
  • Newsletters – Create a Wakelet for each newsletter and store them in a Space so parents, students, etc. would have access to previous newsletters.
  • Gallery of Student work – I plan to use this idea SOON. My students create ALL THE TIME. I share some of their work on my blog, but using Wakelet, I can share ALL student work. I plan to create a Space to keep all the work I share by class. I can’t WAIT to get this one started.

What will you do with Wakelet spaces? Tag @Wakelet and @MandiTolenEDU on Twitter if you use Spaces in your classroom. I would love to learn some new ideas from you!!!

Google Slides, Tutorial, Virtual Learning

Digital FlipBook

A combination of events led to the creation of this digital flip book.

Event 1: Our school ended up with “air quality” issues due to “spores” created from flooding in the school and hot air. Because of this, everything porous is our rooms were thrown in the dumpster. This is 20 years of books, memories, and saved projects, including examples of foldables I do every year. We will be teaching remotely until our building is clean and safe to be in.

Event 2: Covid! When we do return in person, we need to reduce contact with papers. The foldables that I usually make will need to be digital to cut down on paper contact.

Event 3: I saw this digital foldable idea on TikTok from @adungan. I knew this was the solution I’d been looking for.

I created a template to make a five topic foldable. You could easily adapt it to more or less. You can go to View-Master and change the tab names, colors, and adjust the number of tabs.

You can create you own if you want to start from scratch.

  1. Open a new blank Google Slide and go to File-Page Setup. Set the page set-up to 8.5 x 11.

2. Determine how many tabs you want. Let’s make one with 6 tabs this time.

Using the shapes tool, you are going to draw rectangles for the tabs.

You can change the colors to match the color theme you are going for. You can look for color palettes and get the hexidecimal code OR you can intall a Chrome extension color picker like Color Zilla.

3. We are using a color palette that provides us with a hexidecimal code.

We are going to type this code into the custom color paint bucket tool. It’s at the bottom.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have 6 tabs and the last box should cover the remaining space.

You can click on the tabs and go to format then format options and put a drop shadow on it if you want.

5. Now let’s put tabs or words on your flaps. I’ll put a tab, but you could also just put words. To make a tab, go back to the shapes menu and pick the second option, a rounded rectangle.

You can type in the rectangle, just double click on it. You can change your font by clicking on the box that says Arial.

6. Now the magic happens. On the left, right click on the the slide and duplicate slide. You are going to delete the top big box. Then take the next box and drag it to the top, making it the big box.

You will also want to put a home icon or the word home on this slide. We will eventually link this so it goes back to the main slide.

7. Repeat step 6 until you have a slide for each tab.

8. Ok, I said step 6 was where the magic happens, but that’s not really true. This is where the REAL magic happens. We are going to link our slides so when you click on Tab 2 it takes you to Tab 2.

Go back to slide 1. Click on the Topic 1 (whatever you named this), then click the LINK button in the toolbar.

Click the slides in presentation arrow and select slide 2.

Repeat this with each tab, selecting that slide that you want the tab to go to.

You can do this for EVERY slide, OR you can copy all the linked tabs on the first slide and paste them onto the other slides.

You will also click the house (or word home) and link it back to slide 1.

Your template is ready to use. Type in your information OR have your students write on paper and insert a screen capture of their work. This is how I intend to use these.

The five topic template is also available on Slides Mania. Yay! It’s in the By Edu for Edu category. If you use this, let me know. I love to see what people create! You can shout out on Twitter @MandiTolenEDU and use #MMNS and #infinitelyteaching hashtags.

Head over to the Make Math Not Suck Blog to see a flipbook for Geometry in action.

Game Based Learning, Google Forms, Google Slides, Syllabus, Virtual Learning

Syllabus Activity

I have been a fan of John Meehan since he wrote a guest blog post on Ditch That Textbook. His book EdRenaline Rush is also amazing! He is a very helpful, kind, giving educator that you should definitely follow on Twitter.

This is an activity he posted last year and again this year. Many people have taken his idea and put a spin on it. Here is mine, along with some resources I use. Full credit goes to John. I’m so glad he is part of my PLN!!!

We will begin remotely this year, not because of Covid but because of an “air-quality” issue in our building, resulting in a complete gut our our building. All of our books, resources, supplies, decorations, etc. were thrown in the trash. 😦 That was 20 years of memories gone. The good news is when we return, our building will be safe for staff and students (well Covid safety measures will still be in place!!!).

Since I will start virtually, this activity is set up for remote students. John has his set up for in-person OR virtual.

Inside this activity I link to the following:

click to open

This template has additional colors to choose from.

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This is the same about you activity I’ve shared before. I made the header match our theme.

click to open

John has some of this type activity on Twitter if you want to give choices. Choices are good!

Click to open

This is a different syllabus template I’ve used in the past. You can also change the background color.

I know this seems like more work that just printing your syllabus, but imagine the excitement for your students to explore and learn about your class in a fun way and not just listen to you as you explain your syllabus.

If you make one of these, please tweet out to John @MeehanEDU and me @MandiTolenEDU. We would LOVE!!!!! to see them.

Distance Learning, EdPuzzle, Google Forms, Google Slides, Virtual Learning

Interactive Video (Ed-Puzzle Hack)

I LOVE EDPUZZLE! It’s a quick way to help students engage in a video they are watching. It’s also great for virtual learning. What I don’t love about EdPuzzle is the limitations in the free version. You only get 20 free videos. That will get me through, MAYBE, my first 2 units. You can refer people to EdPuzzle to get more, but who has time for that?

If your district will pay for the PRO version of EdPuzzle, DO IT! Most districts, however, are not in a financial situation to do this. So, I’ve created a HACK to have an EdPuzzle like experience. You can use it IN the classroom or during VIRTUAL learning.

Pros and Cons of my Hack–Pro, it’s free! Con, you can’t prevent students from moving ahead a slide to see the answer.

So here we go… I have two different approaches for you.

Google Slides

You can trim videos INSIDE Google Slides. Just insert your video. When you click on it (not the play button, but the video itself) you will get a Format Slide button right above the slide. Click on it and it will open a menu to the right. You can set the start and stop time for this video clip.

Put your question and answer box on the slide.

I duplicate the slide, and set my start time on the next slide exactly where I left off on this one before. The I watch the video and pause when I want to stop. You can click the button “use current time” to set it that point. Change your question for the new slide.

Keep going until you have each slide set for each question you want to ask.

This is the type of slide activity that you use NOT IN PRESENT MODE. You will also want to set it in Google Classroom to make a copy for each student. They will submit their completed Google Slide when they are finished.

Click here to get the template of my activity.

Slides + Forms

The drawback to JUST using the Google Slide is having to open each student to see their responses. I with we could clip videos in Google Forms, but we can’t, so here is my solution.

Create your Google Slide JUST LIKE I DID for OPTION 1. I just left the questions off.

Now, I’m going to create a Google Form to accept the answers.

If you have never used Tab Scissor and Tab Glue, you’ve been missing out. If you have your tabs open side by side and click Tab Scissors, it will open the tabs in two equal windows. When you are finished, click tab glue and it puts it back together.

This way students can see the video and question at the same time. You can also hit present to make it full size and when you hit ESC it goes back to the split screen.

To recap, if you need less than 20 videos, use EdPuzzle. If your district will pay for the Pro version, use EdPuzzle. If neither of those work for you, use this Hack.

Let me know if you use this. Shoutout on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook at tag #MMNS and #infinitelyteaching!!!\

Happy Creating.