Monday, January 28, 2019

Grading Forms in Classroom You Can Do

Recently, I've been working with a teacher on setting up self-grading quizzes with Google Forms. A key component is the teacher said it was crucial that he can get the results back to the students. This will then allow them to go over it as a class and each student could see their own work.

A little background - Forms is my 1st Google love. Once I learned how to create a quiz in Forms, grade it with Flubaroo (an awesome add-on), and email results to my students' parents, I was hooked! (my students didn't have access to school email) That was about 6 years ago ... and WOW! Has Forms come a L O N G way!


Forms is fairly intuitive and simple. Setting up a Google Form to be a Quiz is also simple. To set it up to be Quiz that grades itself, reports results to the teacher AND is returned to the student is a bit more of a workflow. Not awful, but definitely something we had to work through since I'd never personally done this with students. Because of this, I created a Google Slidedeck to help with the workflow. Each slide has written instructions on the left and a short video that gives a visual match to the instructions. (We were able to do some of it retroactively, so don't worry if you want to try it out and have already given the quiz.) The Slidedeck is at the end of this entry.

Let's start with a little pedagogy ... not every subject should have ALL quizzes done digitally. Not all quizzes have to be 100% digital. Not all Forms have to be quizzes. Please use Forms as a tool when it fits the purpose of the lesson/activity. For example, the teacher I've been working with wants to use this in his math class. Not all math questions lend themselves to be auto-graded. We decided which of his daily review questions should be digital and which should still be done on paper. This also allows for space for his students to show their work, vital to seeing if the student has master the topic. The digital part of the quiz will greatly reduce his grading time.

What about the student side? This teacher is a 4th grade teacher. It is worth noting that while his students have been using chromebooks in the classroom for more than 2 years, they haven't done too many classroom assessments on them. State assessments, yes, but not classroom ones. Using Google Classroom isn't new to them either, but taking a quiz in Classroom then receiving it back to view IS new. He walked them through the process and said they did great. Students are quick to learn as long as they have a leader.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Class "Inspiration Quilt" You Can Do

One of the best parts of my jobs is working with students. No lie. One of the other best parts is when I collaborate with teachers. Honest. And when I do both, I'm in heaven!

Awhile back, I started a project with a group of 4th graders and I'm excited to share it! The idea is to take a quote that "speaks" to you, pop it into a Google Slide, and along with a picture of yourself, focus on one word. Then we jazz it all up with some of the lesser used features of Slides. And voila! Once printed and hung side-by-side, they have a "quilt-like" collection of their entire grade.

You can do this, too! 

I'd estimate you can do this project from start to finish in about an hour total. I gave a brief overview - see the 2 slides to the left. All my students have used Slides prior, so this wasn't new. However, most hadn't dug into the particular features of Slides we worked with.

1st Step: Create a new Slide & set it up. 
  • title the Slide --> "LastName, FirstName Goal"
  • changed the "Page Setup" to be 11.5 x 8 inches (our final product was printed)
  • deleted the initial 2 text boxes (we were starting from scratch!)
  • share the Slide with me (I would be the one to print & this gives me the ability to collect them all in 1 Slide deck that I shared with their teachers)

[These next few steps can be done in any order.]

From "Life Advice" link
"Quote" Step: In the interest of time, I had 2 places for the students to search for their quote (I also wanted to keep it school-friendly). I had students open a new tab and search for "Inspirational Quotes for kids" in Google. I'm a believer in teaching kids better ways to search and we talked about why I added the "for kids". The other site I allowed them to look was "Life Advice from 50 Beloved Characters in Kid's Entertainment". Other than reminding them to look through and find something that speaks to them, this was easy. Once they found the quote they wanted to use, they returned to their Slide, created a text box, and typed it in.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Your Very Own App You Can Do

This is my "baby". More than a year ago, I included the idea of making an app from Google Slides in "5 Google Slides Activities You Can Do". It is a really cool idea shared by Micah Shippee, so I took my own advice and I created an app using Google Slides.

Why? I co-coordinate the 8th grade Washington, DC trip and one of the things we strive for is efficient and effective communication. I have been using our website for this for the last handful of years. It works fine, but we were receiving many emails with questions from parents about the information I already had on our site. At the same time, I see how connected we all are to our phones, so why wasn't our website serving this purpose? Would an app would be better? Would an app be a better reference point and home for our info? These questions all led me to investigating this Slides app idea. I wanted to find a way to better manage our info so it was friendlier to our parents and student travelers and therefor freeing up time for me to focus on the trip.

Why Slides? I already knew how versatile Slides can be. I can customize the size and orientation, font and colors, as well as being able to insert images and shapes. The ability to link - outside to websites, Docs, and PDFs, as well as within the deck to other slides - is impressive.... and exactly what I needed.

Interested? I hope so. As much as I'd love to show you the exact app I created for our trip (I am extremely proud of it!), I can't because I can't share all of our info. This is a bonus of using Slides! I can share it with those who need the info, rather than putting all the info on our website for the whole world to see (or an app store where anyone can download it and I'd have to figure out how make it account based). I do still maintain our website with the basics of the trip because it is a starting point.

I did duplicate our app, taking out info I can't share. [If you are on a phone or tablet, you can really experience it as an app ... but an added bonus of it being a Slide? It works on computers!] If you'd like to preview this in its app form, click here ↬ . [I provide a template below you may make a copy of if you want a starting point for your own app. Feel free to use the pieces you like and get rid of what doesn't work for you or you don't like.]

Another bonus to using Slides is I can update the Slide as much/often as I want, and each time it is opened, it's the most updated version. With an app, you might have to wait until the person updates the app itself to be able to share the new info. 

"Title Slide"
Where to Start? I started with the traditional blank Google Slide. I changed the page setup to a customized 8.5 x 11 inches to mimic a piece of paper. (It appears to fit phone/tablet screens nicely, but this might be an area of improvement for me in the future.)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

#PodPeeks: GTT Episode 68

💥 Happy New Year! 💥

I hope your year is off to a great start! It's hard for me to believe I've been posting for a little more than a year! I had a goal last year to post once a week. I wasn't exactly 100%, but in total, I posted 64 times ... so I'll count it as successful. 

This year, my goal is to continue once a week here, as well as a couple of short resource shares on my companion blog  "TYCD: Resources" (you can also find a link as a tab along the top). I started this companion blog because I love the way I can attach labels to each resource making them easy to filter for the reader. These aren't full blown explanations, rather short summaries that can help guide you to resources that are helpful.

Here is today's post ... I'm adding to the #PodPeeks series I shared last summer. For all posts under this label, click on the matching label on the far right side.

Podcasts are a simple way to learn "on-the-go". The Google Teacher Tribe is one of my favorites to listen to. Matt Miller & Kasey Bell's podcast is published on Monday's, so it's my typical Monday companion to and from school. They share such wonderful tips & tricks! If you don't already subscribe, you need to. You won't regret it!!!

Their Dec. 19 podcast was a little out of the norm for them but it was GOOD! I assumed Episode 68Ctrl+Shift+T and Other Class Management Tips would be full of keyboard short cuts. I was sure I'd know some, but I was equally sure there would be many that I've yet to discover. To my surprise ... it wasn't! This episode was devoted to classroom management tips for the digital classroom, thanks to a question from John Baglio. WHOA!

Classroom management in today's world is different from when I grew up ... but not so different that it's impossible. I know many teachers feel this way because of the computers, but it really is more about teachers employing strategies that work in a digital classroom. These strategies might look different than a traditional classroom. But I'd argue it goes back to good, solid pedagogy. Cheating was happening long before computers ... being off task was happening long before computers ... students working hard to avoid doing work was happening long before computers ... and so on.

I love that Matt & Kasey took the time to use their voice to share about this topic. I could sit here and give you all the details, but I really feel you need to listen to it. Hint ... it's not all about using a software monitoring program -- YES! You CAN manage a class full of devices without a monitoring program.

Link to Google Teacher Tribe website: