Thursday, September 28, 2017

Weekly TNT~ Peer Evaluations with Google Forms

This week's TNT combines Google Forms and a Sheets add-on called Autocrat.  I apologize for the video length, but there are multiple steps on the setup.
Here's a synopsis, so you can decide if this is something that would benefit you.

  • Teacher creates a Google Doc Template that will be used for all of the evaluations and a Form containing the evaluation rubric.
  • Students use the Form to evaluate a peer's work/project/writing/etc.
  • Teacher can review critiques before sending if he/she chooses.
  • Add-on runs on the spreadsheet, and the Form data merges with the template and emails out individual evaluation sheets to each student.
  • Teacher can read all critiques in the spreadsheet or on each individual Doc housed in teacher's Google Drive.

Even without merging data into individual reports, Google Forms is a great way to have students evaluate each other's work!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ Helpful Resources for NaNoWriMo

Last week, we kicked off 2017 prep for NaNoWriMo.  If you missed the post, read it HERE.  I hope you visited the Young Writer's Program, and you got your account set up.  If not, it will only take you a few minutes.  Go ahead...get it done!

Here are three great resources to get you underway to a successful NaNoWriMo.

  • YWP Forums - Connect with other educators who are accepting the NaNo Challenge
  • The NaNoWriMo Classroom -  I found this website this year, and I am impressed.  It's packed full of practical information.  Be sure to read the sections on Daily Agenda and Issues.
  • Teacher Resources - Planning guides from the YWP;  Note:  While the guides list Common Core Standards, they use basic writing strategies that address our TEKS.  I spoke with our own Jody Waters of SAISD about how she connected the planning/writing guides to her curriculum and the TEKS.  She said it was a great fit.  Listen to what her kids had to say!

How are you planning to build the NaNo excitement?
Leave us a comment below to share your ideas!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Google 101 Quick Tip #2 - Sharing Options in Google Apps

Welcome back for another Google 101 Quick Tip!  
We are going to be looking at sharing setting in Google apps.  

How do you share and collaborate with others on a single document?  How do you change the settings, so others can see the document but not change it?  Watch the quick tip video to find out more.

A little sad news from YouTube...the YouTube editor is gone.  If you or your students have been piecing together video parts with the free editor, you will no longer be able to do so.  No worries, though.  I will find new options for you!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Flattening Those Walls ~ Virtual Field Trips

It's Friday, and it's time to flatten those classroom walls!  Use the tools you have available to connect with experts without leaving the school.  Did you know Skype in the Classroom offers virtual field trips?  Take a minute or two to watch the video about one of the interviews underwater.

If you are new to Skype in the Classroom, browse the Getting Started Guide.  Don't let the fear of the unknown stop you from using these amazing tools!

A note to Region 15 teachers:  If you would like to try out a Skype with me before tackling one with a stranger, just email me.  I am more than happy to walk you through the process and test your classroom setup.  I can also help you find partner teachers/classes and experts.

Fill out the Google Form to sign up for more information.

What virtual adventure are you considering for your classroom?
Leave a comment below and share with us!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Meet the New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Classroom is gone.  No worries, though!  It has been replaced by Microsoft Teams.  This is what Microsoft has to say about the new Teams:
Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education.

For our O365 districts, I want to give you comparable tools to those our Google districts are using.  The Microsoft Innovative Educator Program offers great tutorials and a supportive community.  If you would like to know more about Microsoft Teams, the Intro to Teams Course is a great place to start!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WriMo Wednesday ~ NaNoWriMo is Coming!

     I challenge (in fact, I triple-dog dare) you to take on NaNoWriMo!

For those new to the word, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it will be here again this November.

     What we know:
  • Reading and writing are priorities in every grade level and every content area.
  • We need authentic experiences for our students.
  • Students need to be challenged.
  • We need to crawl outside the box once in awhile!

What do kids have to say about it?

It's not just for middle and high school, though...

Just incredible!  It makes my heart sing.  

Now you're asking-
Where do I start, though?  How does it all work?
I know you asked that, right, because surely you can't walk away from a triple-dog dare!

The NaNoWriMo Young Writer's Program has done the setup for you.  I am spreading the word now, so you will have time to set up a free account, to plan, and to get your free Teacher Kit.

Leave a comment below if you accept the NaNoWriMo Challenge!  For those of you in Region 15, I would love to create a Virtual Word-Count Wall for all of our participating classes/schools/districts.  

Check back next Wednesday for more WriMo goodies, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Flattening Those Walls ~ Reach Out Beyond Your Classroom

Those of you who follow this blog know how I feel about using technology to connect your students to the world.  You have so many tools at your fingertips with Skype in the Classroom, Google Hangouts, collaborative documents, Flipgrid...and the list goes on!  What connections are you making this year?  Why not bring in an author to ignite the reading and writing fire in your students?  There are so many authors willing to Skype/Hangout with your students for free, it is crazy not to take advantage of their kindness.

Kim Ventrella is one author I have recently had the pleasure of contacting.  Her new book, Skeleton Tree, will be released on September 26th, 2017, by Scholastic Press.  It is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

You might be wondering why I chose to feature Kim this week.  The answer is her generosity.  I contacted her to Skype with a group of our teachers for this year's upcoming NaNoWriMo on inspiring our students to read and write.  She was willing to take time to Skype with us for free, and she will do the same with your students.  Sadly, we could not make our workshop work in September, but I still wanted you to know about her!  You can find out more on her Scholastic PAGE HERE.

So how are you connecting with the world?  Leave us a comment below.  I get daily requests from teachers in the Connected Classrooms Workshop G+ Community who are looking for partner classes.  If you are interested in connecting with another class, or even think you might want to give it a try,  leave me a comment or send me an email.  I would love to help you flatten those walls!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Build a Tardy Tracker in Google Forms

If you have only been using Google Forms for student input, you need to know Forms are great organizational tools for teacher documentation, too!

I've been talking to some teachers who would like to use Google Forms to track tardies.  While we haven't come up with the perfect solution (there are paid programs that do everything), here are some options on keeping track.

If you have ideas on how to improve them Form, please share in the comments below.  We would love your collaboration!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly TNT ~ Adding a Passcode to a Google Form

I have shared ways to create data trackers using Google Forms, which I love.  Any time teachers can simplify documentation, it's a win!  As a teacher, I had data trackers on my phone that I could access anywhere in the class.  Students occasionally used the camera on my phone to document something, too.  In cases like this, we need extra security on those Forms.  It is easy to add a passcode to a Form in just a few steps!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Google 101 Quick Tip #1 - Uploading Word Documents into Drive

We have the school year underway, and I have had several requests for some basic Google tutorials.  We have several new districts who have chosen to go Google, and I want to share some quick basics throughout the fall semester.  These videos will be three minutes or less and will focus on one basic skill.

We all have things we've created in Word or PowerPoint that we want to use in Google, right?  Here's

Quick Tip #1 - How to Upload a Word Document as a Google Doc

I will still be posting other tutorials in addition to the Quick Tips!