Sunday, November 22, 2020

Digital Learning Journal Your STUDENTS Can Do (& a bonus!)

We went back face-to-face 5 days a week in September. It has gone far better than any of us truly thought it would. It has been an adjustment, but we've done the best we can. As to be expected, we have had students who need to do school from home, for various lengths of time. Since my buildings are elementary, not everything is best done on a computer. Sometimes paper work is the best way for students to do work. (Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great tech uses for remote learning; but sometimes, paper is better.)

I was asked this question
, "How does a student return this work, in a timely manner?" I did some thinking ... adding an image directly into Google Classroom, while possible, isn't super easy - especially for younger students. BUT ... inserting images in Google Slides IS pretty easy! (Even for those who've not done it before.)

As a result, I designed the "Digital Learning Journal" to fill this need. There is no way I could predict how many slides everyone would need, so I designed templates on the Slides Masters. It's now as simple as adding in a new slide! And you can worry less about students deleting things you don't want them to.

To walk you through this journal, I made a video hoping it explains it better and more concisely than I could write it. (The journal is below the video.)

Like what you see in the video? Here is the Digital Learning Journal:

Would you like to make a copy for yourself? Here is a template link for the "Digital Learning Journal."

Now, here is my recommendation - make your own copy, then create an assignment in Classroom and use the make a copy in Google Classroom for each student. Don't add a topic to the assignment so it will be "pinned" at the top. This makes it SUPER easy for students to find and add work in. I suggest explaining it to all of your students ... and explain this is for when/if they do school at home. (You certainly don't have to do it this way - you could opt to ONLY assign it if/when a student needs to do work at home. Either way works - just please explain this to your students.)

Finally, I promised a "bonus", too, in the title. I added a template to my co-created site, It goes back to my intentional focus on Google Classroom. This time it's for parents. I called it "Google Classroom for Parents." It's a "1 pager" meant to help guide parents to the key pieces in Google Classroom. I hope it helps. Supporting our parents who are working with our kiddos at home is important, too. Keep it simple - they don't need to know everything - the basics are perfect!

And as always, feel free to check out my Google Classroom Wakelet collection. Lots of good tips, tricks, and resources to help you make Classroom work for you.

Or connect & follow me on social media - all of my links are in the top right corner of my blog under my picture.

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Sunday, November 15, 2020

Gratitude A-Z You Can Do

This week I am taking a pause from Google Classroom because November is quite possibly one of my favorite months! I'll be 100% honest - it IS my birthday month, BUT honest and truly, I love the leaves changing ... I love the fall smell in the air ... I love how some days are warm, but some have a chill ... and most of all, I love Thanksgiving. My mom does an AMAZING Thanksgiving dinner. The entire nine yards. Yum!!!

This year has been a tough year. Yes, all around T O U G H. But here we are. It's mid-November. I can smell the turkey. I can taste my mom's dinner rolls and the pumpkin pie. (I load mine with Cool whip!) Yum yum yum.

While it's been a tough year, I still know I have a lot to be grateful for. I write 6 items I am grateful for each day in my journal. My family is always number one. Our health is number two. Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's a co-worker who has been incredibly helpful; it has been that my husband didn't lose his job, my daughter didn't need stitches, we all got to go back to school, and so on.

The activity I'm sharing today is "Gratitude A-Z You Can Do" and has all the slides A-Z in the add a slide area, so it won't overwhelm any student. Instruct students to complete 1 slide each day, or multiple. It's a total of 26 slides. Not sure you can devote that much time to it? Have students spell out their name or "thankful" or another Thanksgiving-related word.

Interested in making your own copy? Click on this link for "Gratitude A-Z You Can Do." Now you can use your own copy to create an Assignment in Google Classroom (or your chosen LMS). I highly recommend using the "Make a copy" for each student.

In case you are looking for more, or even something additional, last year I shared the activity I created for 4th graders in my district. I called it "Thankful Thoughts You Can Do". (Feel free to click the link and explore that activity.) I've also been collecting Thanksgiving-related activities in, you guessed it, a Thanksgiving collection. I hope you and your students enjoy!

Do you know of other good activities? I'd love to add them. You can leave them in the comments below ⤵ or connect with me on the socials - linked above right

Sunday, November 8, 2020

New Quarter = New Classroom You Can Do

New Quarter equals New Google Classroom
It's November. Pause and take a deep breath. We've made it this far. Whatever your situation - you've made it. You've done it. Yay! Let's celebrate! 🙌

Whew! Our 1st quarter has ended and 2nd quarter starts Monday. A new quarter means new opportunities. Adjustments. Keep what is working and adjust what needs tweaking or updating or overhauling. This is the perfect time to make improvements to your digital classrooms, too.

I've shared suggestions with my teachers and today I've formalized it a bit and I'm sharing today. I've outlined 7 easy steps to starting this quarter - and each future quarter - on a 'better' foot. 

The first Slide is a comprehensive overview of all the steps. (I've included a link to a PDF for quick & easy printing below, if interested.) Slides 2-7 provide a bit of detail and further explanation for each step. The final Slide shares links to specific Google Classroom resources that might be helpful.


Interested in printing the overview Slide? Here's a PDF link to Slide 1 for quick reference. 

Interested in seeing this presentation in a new window? Here's a link: New Quarter = New Google Classroom presentation.

Looking for additional Google Classroom support? 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Google Sheets in the Classroom You Can Do

Last week I shared one of the presentations I did at TCCA. This week, I'm sharing the other one. Google Sheets in the Classroom is focused on using Google Sheets with students in your classroom. Sheets - at first glance - is a spreadsheet tool. And you're not wrong ... but as with so many of the Google tools, don't just use it for its initial use. Look beyond.

Google Sheets has the ability to break any activity or task into multiple parts ... use the tabs at the bottom in a similar manner to new slides in Google Slides or a new page in Google Docs. You can insert images two different ways; merge cells to make larger spots; change the font, the font size and color; fill cells with color; and so much more! I also built my entire presentation IN Sheets so that you can see quickly how versatile Sheets truly can be.

In my presentation, I share 5 activities I've created for use in classrooms. I also share one of my favorite tools - - where Steve shares numerous pre-made activities you can also do. ALL use Sheets as its creation tool. My favorites are the Flashcards, Spelling Words, Matching Game, and Timeline. Sooooo many more - I encourage you to check them and use them. But don't stop there ... encourage your STUDENTS to also use them and build their own.

The most common comment I hear when I bring up using Sheets with teacher and students is that Sheets is very intimidating and teachers are uncomfortable using it. I want to change that. I'm hoping that by sharing this presentation and activities, teachers will see Sheets as a valuable tool.

And here is my presentation, Google Sheets for the Classroom

I hope you try out at least one of the activities with your students. I do believe that Sheets is a wonderful addition to every class.

One more thing ... if you are interested in learning more & going more in depth with Google Sheets, I did a 2 hour webinar this past summer called "Intro to Google Sheets". I'd love it if you check this one out, too!

Do you have any questions? Need or want some help? I'd love to help. Please feel free to comment below ... Tweet at me @kiefersj ... find me on Facebook ... or even email me

And don't forget ... I have a Google Sheets Wakelet collection where I'm always adding to it with awesome Sheets tips, tricks, and resources.