Sunday, February 16, 2020

Import Calendar Dates You Can Do

Do you create numerous calendar events? Are you a "calendar" person?

Google Calendar is my lifeline. I depend on it every day. I also see how powerful Google Calendars are for larger purposes ... buildings, staffs, communities, large groups, etc. But the problem is, creating calendar events on a large scale can take large amounts of time. It can open the door for errors.

Awhile back, I searched and searched and found a few helpful resources. I found an article or two, a couple of videos ... but what I really wanted was a template that was ready-to-go and "easy" to use. What I had found was the "theory" behind using a Google Sheet and importing it to Google Calendar. Since I couldn't find a template, I made one and today I want to share that out.

It is a basic, simple, and straight-forward idea. Take a Google Sheet, format it correctly, load in your dates (& as much info as you want to), save as a csv, and upload to the correct Google Calendar. Voilá!

I have used this method for athletic calendars very successfully. I've also recently shared this idea with my district for our yearly calendar. I see this as very helpful. Each building can have its own tab. Tabs can be duplicated - or individual rows can be copied over - for events that need to be on multiple calendars.

To be 100% honest, the first time you create a large number of events, you are not going to "save" a ton of time, but the benefits come in when you have repeating events or you use the same large number of events over and over. For example, a weekly repeating meeting ... create the dates on 2 rows, then use the "magic" of selecting them both & pulling down on the "blue box" to keep that repeating time frame. And if you are like many schools, you probably use "comparable dates" year after year ... and that is where I see a Sheet saving time. [Also, one person can create the district-level events and they be copied over to each building, or use the calendar layering ability to have them all show at the same time.]

Included with the template is a tab for directions. I also tucked in "notes" on each of the column headers to help guide you when you are actually creating your events. I've tried to create this to be something ANYone can do, but if you get stuck or you need help, feel free to reach out!

And finally, at the bottom of the instructions tab, I added a couple of tips on ways you could go further. Interested in an automatic creation of events from your Sheet? Yep - it's possible ... check out the "How to automatically add a schedule from Google Sheets into Calendar" video. Maybe one day, I'll tackle that, too! 

Here is a sneak peak at the template ↬

Link to "template/preview" option (allows for quick copy)

Link to "View only". Please use the "File --> Make a copy" option to make your own copy.

You can also find this on my "Templates for Teachers" website. Feel free to check this one out, along with the 70+ other templates my colleague Beth Kingsley & I have created and shared out.

Looking for Sheets or Calendar ideas/tips/tricks? Check out my Wakelet collections: 
Google Sheets Wakelet
Google Calendar Wakelet

And, as always, have a question or comment? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to reach out - all my links are found below my photos in the upper right corner.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

"Val the Valentine" You Can Do

I did not plan on creating this activity. It is actually not even my idea. But sometimes, hallway conversations have a way of pushing me TO do something I hadn't thought of or planned. 

Many of the templates I create have a pretty cute story behind them. Here is the story of Val. I was walking down the hall last Thursday, and a young student paused and smiled up at me. I smiled back and he stopped, looked at me and asked, "Are you going to come to my class so we can decorate hearts?" 💖

A little background to this question - I've gone into our 1st grade classrooms around Halloween to decorate a pumpkin (thanks to Eric Curts); around Thanksgiving to dress up a turkey (thanks to Beth Kingsley); and Christmas to decorate a tree (thanks again, Eric Curts). 

So really, he already anticipated this activity. We chatted for a bit about how he'd like to decorate hearts and then he proceeded to give me specific dates he'd prefer I come in - he apparently has a vacation coming up and didn't want to miss out 😆.

So thanks to this little one, I designed "Val the Valentine"! It it definitely geared to a younger audience, but older students can add in their own flair if you are ok with that by changing colors, adding in space to write a Valentine note, or search additional Valentine themed images and borders.

Val the Valentine
Here is a link to the template.
If the preview doesn't work, try ↬ Val the Valentine 

Feel free to make your own copy & share out with your kiddos. (I suggest using the "Make a Copy for each Student" in Google Classroom for your littlest ones.) I've also added it to our ever growing collection of templates on "Templates for Teachers". You are welcome to make your own copy of any of them and share/modify to make them your own.

For older students, you might want to check out Valentine's Activities You Can Do, a choice board of activities I shared out last year. There are 6 activities definitely geared toward older students.

Do you know of other Valentine themed activities? I'm working to grow my "Holiday-themed" Wakelet collections and my Valentine's is pretty weak. You can check it out here ↬ . Would you mind sharing ones you know of? I'd love to grow this collection.

And as always, I'd love to connect! Do you have a question, comment, or idea? Share them with me on Twitter (@kiefersj), via email:, or in the comments below.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Insert Audio (... for kids!) You Can Do

Just under a year go, Google announced the ability to add audio in Slides. I was SUPER excited! I couldn't wait. It was released and I immediately went to try it out. I didn't have it in my school account, but I did in my personal Google account. Woot! Woot! 

I figured it was just a matter of time before I had it at school. I talked with a few teachers about using this new feature ... and we waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and waited ... and, then I read Google was halting the release. Boo!!!

But it has finally arrived and it's widely available! YESSSS!!!!

So far, I have utilized this feature on a few of the templates I have created, especially for the little ones. It is a fantastic way to help ensure, that regardless of the reading ability, students will be have the ability of independently (or repeatedly) hearing the directions.

I also used it with a 7th grade ELA teacher around Christmas time. She wanted her students to write a Christmas story for younger readers, and read it out loud on slides. These slides were then shared with the two elementary buildings and teachers could listen to the wonderful stories written AND read, by the 7th grade author. Such a WONDERFUL activity!

Recently, I have been working with multiple grades on PBL projects (Problem Based Learning). Some of the students are interested in using this feature, so I decided some instructions might be in order so teachers can share them with these kiddos now, and have for future use, too. The steps themselves, are simple. But there are a few of them - and settings will be important for the end result.

As always, feel free to make your own copy & adjust specifics if you need to. And don't forget, YOU can do this, too! The directions are the same. I also created a "Quick Reference" tip sheet you can print & share with students. Don't worry, I included a QR code that links them to the comprehensive directions.

Insert Audio You Can Do document
↬ Google Docs, ready to share (feel free to make your own copy and modify to best fit you & your students).

Insert Audio: Quick Reference sheet
PDF version, ready to print
Google Drawings version, in case you want to modify

How many different ways can you think to use audio in Slides? Please make sure to share with others. This is a fantastic tool for students of ALL ages! I'm excited to hear what others do with this ability. Be sure to let me know!

Have a question, comment, or idea? Share them with me on Twitter (@kiefersj), via email:, or in the comments below.