Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Critical Thinking Skills with Google Trends

Website Wednesday

Google Trends is a search tool that allows teachers and students to see how often specific keywords, subjects, and phrases are being searched on Google around the world for a specific period time. The data is shown using visual graphics, charts and tables. Users are then able to see and compare trends(what's being searched). Trends can also be broken down in to categories. 

Google Trend is the perfect tool to spark discussion in the classroom and have student use their critical thinking skills. For example, simply ask students "iPads or Chromebooks? Which do you think is used more as a learning tool?" Go to Google Trends, type the keywords in the search boxes, use the category feature to keep breaking down the comparison, click enter, and a great visual will populate. Discuss. Infer. Predict.  Here's an example:
*This shows worldwide
*This shows for the US. 
*This shows for Texas. 
And underneath these graphs are even more visual charts and graphs leading to more discussion, questions, and research. I didn't include them here due to space. 

If you don't want to create your own, you can always use, explore, and interact with the google trend graphs and charts already created on the site. 

Use Google Trend in the classroom to...
  • Interpret Results
  • Analyze Data
  • Find Patterns
  • Make Hyphotheses
  • Predict Future Trends
  • Encourage further Questioning and Research
I'm curious to see how you and your students will use this tool. I look forward to seeing your comments and reading about your experiences. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Google Classroom - Add-ons and Extensions

Tech Tip Tuesday

Google Classroom offers so much more than just helping classes go paperless. It is a tool that fits perfect with TTESS since it's all about the students. Google Classroom can store vital classroom resources, is appropriate for diverse learners, and offers students a way to think critically, be creative, collaborate, and communicate. 

Here are a few extensions and add-ons to help teachers and students get the most out of Google Classroom. 

Share to Classroom is a Chrome extension that makes it easier for students and teachers to share web sources with each other. 

These next add-ons and extensions are from Alice Keeler. If you haven't visited her website, do so now. It is a must. She is a Google Classroom guru. Mrs. Keeler has also co-written two books on everything Google Classroom. When she realized Classroom didn't do all that she needed it to do for her and her students, she learned to code and started scripting add-ons and extensions. Here are a few that are specific to or work well with Google Classroom. 

Screen Split - It will split the Google Classroom and student work into side-by-side screens enabling students to view assignment directions and resource links while working. 
QuickShare - Screenshot: Enables teachers to quickly give feedback to students. 

RubricTab - *Mrs. Keeler also has a rubric template that can be used with this add-on. 
Group Maker - Randomly assigns students to groups. 

Don't forget to join us for one of our webinars today featuring Google Classroom. 
4 PM EdTech Talks - 
7 PM PD in your Pajamas -

Monday, March 27, 2017

Whiteboard Apps

Mobile App Monday

Here are two easy-to-use whiteboard apps for the iPad: Doodle Buddy and Whiteboard - Nothing more, Nothing less. Whiteboard apps are the perfect tools for students to share what they know with others. 

Doodle Buddy - is a free drawing app. It's a great tool for students to take notes and share information. They can add a background image and write or draw over the image explaining what it is or what the object in the image does. This app includes 4 font styles and the ability to resize the text. Draw tools are also available to make it easier for students to highlight or emphasize what is important. The completed activity will save to the ipad's photo album. From there students can quickly move the file to their Google Drive. 

Whiteboard - Nothing more, Nothing less - is a super simple, free whiteboard app. This app is great for taking notes, brainstorming ideas, sharing the steps of your math problems, labeling an object, or drawing the perfect play. This app is so cool is can be used in the classroom, on the field, or in the gym. Backgrounds included are various sizes of graph paper, football field, soccer field, basketball court, or add your own image. The pen tool comes in three different sizes and a variety of colors. You can write with just one finger. To erase what you've written or drawn, touch two fingers gently to the ipad. A three-finger touch clears the entire screen. The completed activity will save to the ipad's photo album. If you're using the app on your iphone, just shake the phone to save. From the photo album students can quickly move the file to their Google Drive. 

Next Monday, we'll share three interactive whiteboard apps that also allow students to record their voice and what they are drawing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Build a Story and Master Edition

Website Wednesday

I was looking at updates for Google and came across the Story Builder. Students do not have to create an account. It's easy. AND it is fun. Story Builder helps students develop basic writing skills. Students write a story by typing character dialogue.

1. Go to Story Builder. 
2. Add Character(s) by enter character names into the boxes on the left side.

3. Click the blue Write Story button to get started.
4. Once your story is complete, add a title and music.
*Story Builder offers up to seven different music selections. 
5. Click the blue Finish Up button to animate the completed conversation. 
6. Click the blue Get Share Link button. Students can copy and paste the link in to a padlet or google classroom or even email it to their teachers, families, and friends. 

Warning: I would recommend having a rough draft of the story/dialogue. The edit feature needs some work. Students can not go back to a previous character and edit. Because the dialogue does flow, the next character will need to revise and edit the dialogue. 

Here is a  quick example that I created in just 30 seconds. A Quick conversation: 

But wait, there's more.  Want to collaborate and compose a story with Edgar Allen Poe or William Shakespeare? Story Builder now offers a Master Edition. When you first open it will present you with a google doc look alike. Just start typing. Famous authors of the past will jump right in adding to or changing your story. It's a lot of fun. This tool is useful when teaching tone, syntax, diction, or voice.Once you are finished, click the Share your collaboration button, sign-in using your google account, name your document, and copy the link. It's that easy.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Adding Extensions and Apps in Chrome

Tech Tip Tuesday

Thank you to all who have been participating in our webinars that we began in November. We now offer two regular sessions ever Tuesday and Thursday at 4 PM (EdTech Talks) and again at 7 PM (PD in your Pajamas). In April we will not only offer our Tuesday and Thursday webinars, but are adding a few more on Mondays and Wednesdays at 4 PM. 
Be on the lookout for our April Newsletter coming out on Friday. The Newsletter will list all our available webinars in April. 
In our webinars today, participants looked at all the wonderful features that Chrome contains. Two features we explored were Chrome Apps and Extensions. 
Chrome Apps are web applications that run in Chrome. Almost like a quick link to the website. Apps are added to the Apps button on the bookmark bar located under the omnibox. 
A Chrome extension is something that adds functionality to a website or Google product. Extensions are placed to the right of the ominibox.

Here's how you can find and add extensions and apps to Chrome. 
1. Open Chrome and log-in to your SAISD Google Account. 
2. In the omnibox search for the Chrome Web Store. 
3. Once in the Web Store, you can search for extensions or apps by typing a key word in the search box or searching through the categories. 
4. Once you locate the app or extension you want, click the blue Add to Chrome button. 
5. A box will pop-up asking if you really want to add the app or extension. Click the  Add Extension or Add App button.

Here's a few that we recommend taking a look at: 
  • goo URL shortner - extension
  • Google Keep - app and extension
  • Google Classroom - app
  • Share to Google Classroom - extension
  • Print Friendly &PDF - extension
  • Screencastify - extension
  • Google Tone - extension
  • Kami - app and extension
  • Google Hangouts - app and extension
  • Read & Write for Google Chrome - extension

If you have an app or extension that you have added and just love, please tell us about it in the comment section. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Repost: Write About This

Mobile App Monday

Write About This is a visual writing prompt & creation platform. Students can select from hundreds of images and prompts to create that perfect writing passage. 

Write About This has three levels of prompts so students can start of with level one move up to level three. There is an option for voice, so the prompt can be read to the student. There's even a place to record your voice if that works best for students. Students can save their completed work to the Camera Roll on the device or share through email.

This app isn't free - it has a price tag of $3.99 for iPads and $2.99 for android devices, but it's well worth it. There is a free version you can download if you want to try it out first.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Microsoft Education

Website Wednesday

I know most of use have gone googly with Google, so today is for all those Microsoft enthusiasts out there. I stumbled across Microsoft Education one day when searching for anything about Skype. I was unaware of how much this website has to offer to students and teachers. 

Did you know that we have access to GAFE(Google Apps for Education) and 0365 Education from Microsoft? 

When you first get to Microsoft Education, log in using your SAISD 0365 Account. 
Username: Password: your Outlook/webmail password

The Educator's tab will open the Microsoft Educator Community. From here you can: 
  • Earn Microsoft Badges and Certificates
  • Find Resources such as webinars and quick tip videos
  • Skype in the Classroom - This is everything you need to start using Skype in the classroom.
  • Find, Create, and Share Lesson Plans
  • Connect to other Microsoft Educators
Here's what students will find under the Student's Tab.
  • Resources such as templates, tutorials, training, and tools for school
  • Career Opportunities including scholarships and internships.
  • AND...

We are fortunate to work in a school district that allows teachers and students to work with the best of both worlds: Google and Microsoft. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Keep Google Doc Comments in Google Keep

Tech Tip Tuesday

Google Keep is a wonderful way to store your lists and notes. The comment feature in Google Docs is an effective feedback tool. Now that Google Keep is integrated into Google Doc, you can store a list of your comments in Google Keep and use them when needed in Google Docs.  Here's how it works:
1. Create your List of Comments in Google Keep
  • Go to to open the program. 
  • Create a new list
  • Create a Title for your Comments List. 
  • Type in your comments. If you already have comments in Google Docs, you can copy and paste those into your list. 
  • Create a label for your new list so you can quickly find it in Google Docs. 
2. Add your comments to Google Docs.
  • Open the Google Doc that needs feedback.
  • Click Tools>Keep Notepad - A panel will open on the right side of the screen. 
  • Click Search>Type in the title or label of your list - That list will now show in the panel. 
  • Open a Comment Box in the Student's Google Doc. 
  • Find the comment you need in the Google Keep Panel and copy and paste it into the Google Doc comment box. 

In the end, the combination of these tools will not only be a time saver to teachers, but also help provide a quick way for teachers to give meaningful feedback to students. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

I-nigma QR Code Reader

Mobile App Monday 

I-nigma is a QR code reader for a mobile device. I'm sure there are others out there that work just as well, but I've been so satisfied with this one that I have no need to look elsewhere.
Here's what I love about this app - 

1. It's free.
2. It scans a QR code quickly (I mean it's really fast). I barely get the phone in front of the code and it's scanned.
3. It keeps a history of all my scans. If I need to go back and look at something, I don't have to worry about where it is. I-nigma keeps track of it for me.
4. I can add any scan to my favorites. This way I can find things quickly.
5. I can share my scans through text message, another QR code, Facebook or Twitter.

I encourage you to take a look at I-nigma as your QR code reader. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Websites for Math

Website Wednesday

Here are a few websites for math teachers that are worth checking out. I am working on a top 10 list of websites and apps for Math teachers. If you have a site or app that you think should be added to the list, please let me know in the comment box below.

Alice Keeler is all things Math and Google. Here are a couple of her resources that I have used in trainings that are from her blog.
Math Learning Center is an organization that wants "to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability.
GeoGebra is an online math software that connects geometry, algebra, graphing, statistics and calculus all in one place. Runs on desktops, laptops, phones, and Chrome. 
Illuminations from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Some of the interactive games can only be activated if you are a member of the NCTM organization. Site also has brainteasers and links to math apps. 
TedED for Math - Have not worked with this much. Heard about it at TCEA Conference from Math teachers using technology in their classroom. It's definitely worth a look.

PhET Interactive Simulations for Science and Math. This site is from the University of Colorado Boulder. Not all simulations will run on a Chromebook. Simulations with the HTML5 logo will run on the Chromebooks. The site also offers an iPad app.