Google Sheets, Sorting Cards, thinking

Randomized Grouping Spreadsheet

I have been using Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics all year. I talked about the beginning of this adventure and shared some sorting cards that I planned to used with my class.

My sorting cards have been wonderful for most of my classes. I have classes of 26-30 students and the cards sort them perfectly. I have received a lot of questions about how to sort when you have fewer students. I sort as usual, then combine groups that are 1 or 2 students to form my groups of 3. I know some people don’t want that hassle.

I also have ONE class where a few boys will “cheat” and convince people to switch cards after an item has been selected. These boys do not work well together and their actions diminish the positive learning environment in my classroom.

This Google Sheet is the solution I came up with. It can really solve both of the problems listed above.

Random Group Picker Google Sheet

At first glance, you don’t notice that I have placed Bellatrix, Voldemort, and Yaxely in specific cells. They don’t work well together and I don’t want them to end up in the same group. Before class each day, I move them to different cells, but never together. Everyone else is randomly placed in the cells when I click randomize.

To select new groups:

  • Place the names you DON’T want to move in the group you want.
  • Type in the rest of your names
  • Highlight the names
  • Right click (command click) – view more cell actions – and select randomize range.
  • DONE!

The great thing about grouping this way is the endless customization. Notice I don’t have a group 4. If you have smaller class sizes, you can decide how many groups you want and where you want groups to be. I used groups of 3, but you could make groups of 4. There are so many possibilities.

This isn’t as fun or engaging as the sorting cards although I display it on the projector and use the confetti cannon extension after it randomly selects.

My students LOVE the sorting cards, but sometimes you need an alternative. This was my solution. I hope you find it useful.

Google Sheets, Google Slides, pixel art

Valentine Pixel Art Review

I created a Valentine pixel art review for you to use. You can create your question slides with the template provided below and insert the images into Sheet 2, change the answers on sheet 2 from A, B, C, to your answers (I usually change the answer color on sheet 2 to white so it’s harder to find) and then send a copy of it to your students.

If you want to make your own, here is a tutorial.

You can find all my Pixel art templates in this Wakelet. (This one will be added soon)


animated gif, Hooks

Video Clips & Memes with

Have you even wanted a short little video clip as a hook to start your lesson? might be able to help. I found this gem from @emmabalansay on TikTok and I thing it’s gem.

You can search for a phrase and it filters clips for you.

Maybe on assessment day you want students to hear the message “You got this!”

Once you select a clip, you have a few options, embed, gif, make a meme, and share a link.

This is a meme generated from the video. You also have the option on a meme to add your own voice. HOW FUN!

You Got This

I hope this website will provide you with some quick video hooks for your lesson.

comics, Geometry, Reflection, sketchnotes, Student Choice

Student Choice Finals

Our district requires us to give a final. We didn’t last year because we has so many absences due to quarantine and illness. Well, that hasn’t changed for this year but they wanted finals anyway. We always give the reason for finals as preparation for college. Some students are not planning to attend a 4-year institution and that’s ok! They don’t need that preparation. I have 2 of my own children in two different colleges and I can tell you they don’t take finals in every course. Some courses replace their lowest test score with the final, some allow you to take it if you want to raise your grade, and some just don’t have a final. So why do we insist in high school that students take finals?

The answer to that question needs to be a different blog post. For now, my students needed a final and I didn’t want them to have the pressure of another test right after Winter break. You read that correctly. After 2 weeks out of school, we want students to come back and take comprehensive final exams!?! My solution was a reflection choice board.

click to open

I provided quick (and not very good if I’m being honest) examples of each. I have since replaced some of them with student examples. The most popular choice was the meme and the second most popular choice was a sketchnote. I only had one student ask me if they could just take a test. I did not have one prepared so it wasn’t an option. I’m not sure if I will add that option next time either. I love that they looked through all their worked and picked 2 from each unit. The students really enjoyed it too. I love to read their reflections at the end as well. Most students were sincere about their responses and I think they got a lot more out of this activity than they would a test.

I know finals are probably already over for you as well, but hopefully you can file this away for the Spring.

For those who follow both blogs, I will be reposting this on Make Math Not Suck too!

Google Slides

Maximize Space in Google Slides

A new AMAZING update recently happened in Google Slides. Before this update, you needed an extension to go full screen and still interact with your slides. Why would you want to do this, you ask? Well Google Slides is my favorite tool for creating interactive draggable learning activities. The filmstrip, and other stuff just gets in the way.

Well, Google listened and now I’m sharing this awesomeness.

Below is a typical view of an interactive activity. Notice the speaker notes at the bottom, the menus at the top, and the filmstrip on the left. This is all taking space that could be used for your activity.

First, we will go to View and we will unclick show speaker notes and show filmstrip. This will make a HUGE difference.

Look how much workable space we have now.

Now, you could be SUPER happy with the new workspace and call it a job well done! But… you can also minimize the menu to create a little more room.

In the top right corner, click that up arrow. It will do exactly as it says, hide the menu. When you want it back, simply click the arrow again and it will reappear.

Now that is a nice workable space for your draggable activities, and just with a few clicks. I know, what an amazing update!

If you REALLY want an extension to do this for you, you can install Full Screen Interactive. Until this recent update, it was a wonderful solution.

formative assessment, Google Sheets, pixel art, Wakelet

Turkey Pixel Art Activity

You know I love to make pixel art review activities. This week, another teacher in my building came to me and wanted to create one for Thanksgiving, so we sat together and created this. With her permission, I’m sharing the template with you.

  • Type your questions and insert any images on Sheet 1
  • Type your answers on Sheet 2
  • Change the font color to white on Sheet 2 so the answers become invisible
  • Hide sheet 2
  • Set the activity to make a copy for each student
  • ENJOY!

If you would like to create a pixel art activity of your own, you can follow the instructions in my original post.

I have created a Wakelet containing all my templates for Google Sheets activities. Click the link below to check it out.

Enjoy and Happy Turkey Day. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends.