Monday, March 31, 2014

KRESA: Free PD Opportunities

KRESA is able to offer some great FREE PD opportunities to Administrators and Teaching Staff  during the months of May and June.

Various programs are available with descriptions and registration links in the Google doc linked here.

Dr. Lodge Does Science and the Solor System.

Lodge McCammon is a professor whose interests lie in engaging students through technology, video, movement and music.

He has been slowly creating songs depicting the important events in states' histories. He now has a series on the Solar System, including a song, lectures and kinesthetic  movements for the song. The kinesthetic motions follow the lyrics and meaning behind each song helping students to remember and engage with the words. The video below shows students performing the Natural Satellites (Solar System) song.

Here is one of his lecture videos that accompany the songs.  In the lectures he explains the science sung about in each verse of the song.

This is definitely a YouTube channel I recommend you watch and subscribe too. I see many more engaging videos coming our way.

All the Natural Satellites (Solar System) videos have been added to our YouTubeEDU account here at PPS, so feel free to point your students to Dr. Lodge and have them check him out!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Google Docs: How do I share files easily - Part 3

In previous posts I shared how to share documents with your students using a distribution list and the GClassFolders script that can be found in the old version of Google Spreadsheets.  Here is one more way to share documents with your students, and possible my new favorite way!


In the new Google Sheets you will find the Add ons menu.  This menu allows you to add features to your spreadsheets and documents, much like the script gallery used to allow you to do.  The great thing is that the new Doctopus add on is very simple to use and walks you right through the process.  The added bonus of sharing documents through Doctopus is that you can set up templates for your students to use, as well as grading them using the Goobric rubric feature.

Check out this video to learn more, or check out Doctupus in the Add ons store:

Legos Comic Builder: Great way for students to demonstrate understanding!

You all have to check out the Lego City Comic Builder. This is a great way for students to quickly create a project to demonstrate their learning. I created one showing the differences between rural/suburban/urban. It is simple to use, fun and works on the chromebooks. Students can even print them to their Google Drives to save and share.

Ideas for use:
Have students show the beginning, middle, end of a story.
Have students recreate various habitats
Have students show a historical event
...the list goes on and on!

Here is what the interface looks like:
I would love to hear how you are using this tool in your classroom!  Leave a comment and share!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Google Docs just got better! Google Docs introduces Add ons.

I will be the first to admit that, despite the fact that I use Google Docs every day, it isn't the most full featured piece of software I have ever used.  There are many times when I would like to insert a graphic organizer in a Doc, or use a spreadsheet to easily create a mail merge.  Well, Google is changing things up and has introduced the Add-Ons menu to Google Docs and the New Google Sheets.  This new menu allows you to select certain tools that you want to use with your Google Docs.  Here is a brief introductory video:
In addition to the Add-ons listed in the video above, LucidChart has also been integrated into the add-on gallery.  LucidChart allows you to create mind-maps and other graphic organizers.  I love this tool and have used with with students as young as second grade.  What I am really excited about is that I now can have my students insert their graphic organizer right into their Google document they are sharing with me.  I can then not only access the final product, but I can see the planning that went in to the paper as well!  Check out this cool tool in this video:

I would love to learn the ways you are using the new Add-ons in your Google Docs with your students.  Feel free to comment to share!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Google Docs: How do I share files easily with all my students? Part 2

Last Week, I explained a way to share Google docs with your class without typing each email on every document by using the distribution/contact groups in Gmail.  Today we will learn how to use the script Gclassfolders to create assignment folders, edit and view folders for your class/classes.

This is a great script.  What you need to do is enter your students names and emails one time into a spreadsheet, then the script automatically creates and shares folders for each of your students and two folders for the whole class.  I love this script and have used it multiple times.  It takes some time up front, but it saves me so much time over the course of the school year!

You can find out instructions and more information about GClassFolders here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Google Docs: How do I share files easily with all my students? Part 1

When teachers first start using Google Docs, one of the questions I most frequently get is "How do I easily share my documents with ALL my students without having to type every single name in on each document?"  As a teacher, I completely understand the importance of this question.  Sharing documents is one of the most important features of Google Docs, but if it becomes a time and management nightmare, who would want to use it?  Well, I have some good news!  There are a few methods that you can use that will make it easy to share documents with your students all year long!  Here is the first and simplest method.  It involves setting up a distribution/contact group in your Gmail, then simply sharing any documents with that distribution/contact group.

METHOD 1: Distribution/Contact Group

Step 1: Begin in your chrome browser while visiting your PortagePS Gmail.
At the upper-left corner of your gmail, you will see the compose button and above that the "Mail" title.

Click on "Mail" and you will see this drop down menu, select "Contacts".

Now under contacts you will see "New Group". Click there...

Enter a name for your new group in the dialog box that pops up (example: 1st hr physics 2013-14). Click OK

Now that the group has been created, there are a couple of different ways to add your students to your new list.

Method 1: Go to your new list and add contacts directly from there.

At the top of your contacts, click on the person with the "+" sign. Click in the text box. Begin typing a name and choose from the selections available. Remember, student email addresses are  Then click "Add".

Note: You can type and select multiple contacts prior to clicking "Add".

Method 2: Go to the individual contact who wish to add to a list.

Click on the "body" button with three heads.

Select the group you wish that person to belong to and click "Apply". This contact has now been added to your list.


Method 1: Compose an email and in the "Recipients" (or To:) field type the name of your group. It should appear as a selection.  Then attach your document to the email.

Method 2: In the document you wish to share, open the sharing menu and you can type the name of a your group rather than entering each email individually.