Sunday, May 31, 2020

Starting Google Classroom You Can Do

Some of us are wrapping up the 2019-2020 school year ... some are still in school. Regardless, if you use Google Classroom, you might be thinking about how to use it "better". In my district, we just finished the year, so I used this opportunity to have conversations around what we can modify or improve in our use of Google Classroom. 

I boiled it down to 8 "big ideas". While they are specific to Google Classroom, if you use another platform, you can still use these ideas and adjust the specifics to yours. I have this set up as more of a reflection activity - 8 topics, each linked to a slide with some info, and a reflection slide following. Feel free to make your own copy (use the "Template" link) or just write out your reflections on paper. This can be helpful for you to sketch out ideas or plans or thoughts rather than digitally. I challenge you to share this with your team of teachers - those you work closest with and have them do the same. The conversations that follow might help all of you form an even better plan as to how to use Classroom.

On a related note, the closure we all just experienced has reaffirmed my belief that we cannot operate as silos. It has also led me to believe we need each other more than ever. And we can't go wrong as long as we are working to improve ourselves.

The Slides below are a modified version of Slidesmania's Challenge Board (this girl is a genius!).

I'd like my own copy, please! Use this TEMPLATE link.

I'd like to just view the entire Slide deck. No problem, use this VIEW ONLY link.

I had the honor of presenting for Dr. Desiree Alexander this past Friday. I share 3 different ways to build an app for your classroom. I loved every minute! Desiree is my #NYC19 Innovator coach from Google's Certified Innovator Academy. She puts on many FREE webinars regularly. If you are interested in learning more & attending them, please go to her website: .

I will be presenting on "6 Steps to Organize Google Drive" on June 2 at 1 pm EST (12 pm CST) for the GEG Louisiana. The leader is fellow #NYC19 Google Innovator, Wiley Brazier! You can sign up on the GEG Louisiana website.

I will be co-presenting on Sat, Sept 12, 2020, with Beth Kingsley all about our Templates for Teachers website. This will be hosted by Dr. Desiree Alexander and is FREE! You can register now and reminders will come to you when it gets closer. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions, or you'd like help with this - or any of the items I share. You can comment below, reach out on Twitter (@kiefersj), or email me (

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Distance Learning Tracker App You Can Do

Several weeks ago, one of my teachers came to me and we talked through an issue. Distance learning had thrown a curveball in the way parents, students, and teachers could track the work that has been done and still had yet to be done. Relying, in part, on a major piece to my Google Innovator Project, we talked through a "needs assessment". I connected her needs with an idea I had been working on for the upcoming DC trip - a personalized "To Do" list. There are 2 pieces needed to make this idea work - a Google Sheet & Glide Apps.

I took my "To Do" list and modified it somewhat to work so this teacher (and any others) can take the template sheet, connect it to Glide Apps, and have a viable app to share with parents as a way to keep them informed about student work. (I also suppose you can set it up to include a narrative column as well.) And so the "Distance Learning Assignment Tracker App" sprang to life!

I shared it out on last month's GEG Ohio meeting where I shared this out with a quickly written workflow. [You can catch it here on YouTube, April 2020 GEG Ohio Meeting. I start about an hour in to the meeting.] I wanted to polish it up and include a more friendly layout, so I've pasted it below.

I also am very excited to share I will be presenting on this (& my other apps I've built & shared for school use) THIS coming Saturday, May 30, 2020, at 12 pm EST. My Innovator coach, Dr. Desiree Alexander, hosts FREE webinars and I am honored to be one of the presenters. You can register here -> Build an App for Your Classroom <- I'd love to see you there!

I will also be presenting on "6 Steps to Organize Google Drive" on June 2 at 1 pm EST (12 pm CST) for the GEG Louisiana. The leader is fellow #NYC19 Google Innovator, Wiley Brazier! You can sign up on the GEG Louisiana website

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions, or you'd like help with this - or any of the items I share. You can comment below, reach out on Twitter (@kiefersj), or email me (

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Templates You Can Do ... like Alyssa!

I am thrilled to share this today! It's a bright spot in all of the strange and difficult times we've been through the past couple of months. To start, you might know I have a co-created website - Templates for Teachers - with Beth Kingsley. We shared it nearly two years ago and have worked to add to it. About a month ago, we shifted it over to a new site and have enjoyed it even more! I can't believe it's been a month since we shared out the new site. We've published a handful more templates as we continue to move them over & we'd love for you to check them out.

Beth's and my goal with Templates for Teachers is that we create for our classes and we share the templates on our site for anyone to take. You are welcome to use them as they are, or modify them to your own needs. Our previous site only allowed us to actually share the templates. Our new site allows us to also share ideas on how to use them with younger or older students. You can also use the filtering to help you view similar templates or types of templates.

I received an email from a good friend of mine, Alyssa, on April 29. She shared a Google Slide with me and included a note telling me she'd found a template on our site & modified it to fit her class. It's stories like this that are bright spots in the midst of these strange times. 

Here is Alyssa's story - Beth created the "Mother's Day Gazette" for her 3rd graders as a project for Mother's Day last year. (This is an amazing template and they turned out super awesome!) Alyssa was browsing our site and saw it. Alyssa is a 7th & 8th grade Social Studies teacher, mind you. When she saw the gazette, she saw it as a way for her 7th grade students to demonstrate their learning of the Renaissance with a scrapbook. 

Whaaaaaaat??? Do you see a Renaissance scrapbook from the Mother's Day Gazette? I didn't, but Alyssa did! And she is graciously allowing me to share it on our Templates for Teachers website - to quickly find it, click on the label "Alyssa Bruck" on the far right side of the site! You have to check it out - BOTH are amazing! And it's truly a dream come true for me to see a colleague (& friend!) to take one of our templates and modify it to fit her needs in such a creative way!

Alyssa has since followed up the scrapbook with THREE more Renaissance themed templates! (These are also featured on our Templates site) And then this week - just when I was struggling with focus on school work, yet ANOTHER email from Alyssa appeared. I opened it to find a Civil War Choice Board she created & is using with her students during these last weeks of remote learning. Kudos to you, Alyssa! I was blown away! Truly! And to think ... all of this happening during our time of remote learning!?!

This just goes to demonstrate we all have room to grow and we all have our struggles. But when we pull together, we can do more than we thought possible. I count myself lucky to work with both Beth & Alyssa, and I count myself lucky to be able to share it with you. 

Do you have questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! Please comment below - connect on Twitter (@kiefersj) - or email me directly (

Finally, I have a few exciting things to share:

* I was honored to be a guest on the GEG Ohio April meeting. I shared about the apps I've created with Slides & Glide Apps. You can check out the recording here (April meeting YouTube link) - be sure to fill out the fill out the form to earn PD credit!

* I am going to present a more detailed session about building apps with my #NYC19 Google Innovator Coach, Dr. Desiree Alexander, on her FREE webinar series. This will be Sat, May 30 @ 12 pm EST (11 am CST). You can find more info & the sign up link at .

* I will also be presenting "6 Steps to Organize Your Google Drive" on June 2 at 1 pm EST (12 pm CST) for the GEG Louisiana. The leader is fellow #NYC19 Google Innovator, Wiley Brazier! You can sign up on the GEG Louisiana website

Sunday, May 3, 2020

*UPDATED* Share Settings You Can Do

Just two weeks ago, I shared a blog all about the share settings in Google files. I laughed recently, when I heard about - and then saw - the new interface for the share settings! I have to say, change is constantly happening with Google. This change isn't a major one, but if you aren't aware you might be caught off-guard and struggle a little. Personally, I kind of like it! It is a bit more visually appealing - but you do need to adjust to the location of a few items.

To help with this, I created this "*UPDATED* Share Settings You Can Do":

As always, feel free to share this! If it works better for you to make a copy & modify it to best fit your situation, for for it!

Template preview link

File --> Make a Copy link

Do you have a question or comment? Please leave a comment below, reach out to me on Twitter (@kiefersj), or email me, .

Have a great week!