Showing posts from April, 2015

Google Search - Useful Tools for Teachers

Google Search does much more than search websites.  It has many features embedded right in.  These are great back-pocket nuggets for when you are in a hurry and don't have time to open another app or pull out your phone:

Typing timer into the Google search bar will return a basic timer at the top of the results.   Clicking on the numbers allows you to set it to the desired length of time.  Working in another app?  No problem, it still runs in the background.  And now, there is an icon to make it full screen - so if you are displaying it via a projector for your students it is easier than ever!  Also, a blue bar extends across the bottom showing how much time has been used up.

You can quickly compare 2 items by doing a search with vs between them.  As of this time, I have not been able to do this with phrases, but have for a variety of one word items.  Compare planets, foods, animals.  A great way to get basic facts without pulling out the encyclopedias OR having …

PD Opportunity - CUE Rock Star Teacher

CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp Saugatuck hosted by MACUL Saugatuck Middle School
July 7th to the 9th from 9-4 daily. 
This isn't a just a tech camp, but three high energy days about putting great teaching first and then enhancing it with technology. It's also an experience where the faculty doesn't present, but facilitates and ensures the attendees are the "rock stars".
Last year's event was a huge success and feedback was extremely positive from attendees. The overarching theme from teachers was that they had never experienced PD like that before. 
1/6 of last year's group presented at this year's MACUL conference, many for the first time ever. This is proof that the camp's goal of launching new educational leaders is indeed being realized and helping to grow new teacher-leaders across Michigan and the Midwest. You don't have to be looking to become the next great edtech guru though, just looking to energize your teaching with some new ideas.
The c…

Google Search - ELA Tips & Tricks

Google Search does much more than search websites.  It has many features embedded right in.  These are great back-pocket nuggets for when you are in a hurry and don't have time to open another app or pull out a reference book. Here area a few ELA related items you can perform right in the search bar:

Define a word

Starting your search with define followed by the word will bring up a box with the definition at the top of the search results with links for translations, word origins and more definitions.

Find books by author
Typing in "books by" followed by the author's name in the search bar will result in a bar displaying books by that author at the top of the results list.  Additionally you get biographical information about the author below to the right.

Current Events
Adding "news:" before a search term will return news stories at the top of the search results.  Translate
Type "translate" in the search box to bring up an area to do on the spot t…

Google Search - Math Tips & Tricks

Google Search does much more than search websites.  It has many features embedded right in.  These are great back-pocket nuggets for when you are in a hurry and don't have time to open another app or pullout a calculator (or can't find a coin to settle the argument). Here area a few math related items you can perform right in the search bar:

If you start to type numbers into the search bar, a calculator will appear as the top search.  You can do complex arithmetic - just make sure to remember your order of operations and use parenthesis!

Not sure how to type symbols on your keyboard?  You can phrase the problem as a question and it will still calculate it for you.

It isn't just a calculator, it's a graphing calculator! Add the word graph before typing in your function to see the graph.  You can even mouse over the graph to get coordinate points.

Playing the Odds:
Typing in "flip a coin" brings up an interactive coin you can…

Opportunity - SW Michigan Mini Maker Faire

The Southwest Michigan Mini Maker Faire is a celebration of invention and creativity for all ages. We’re inviting makers (individuals, groups, industries and schools) to present their projects that explore DIY (do-it-yourself) innovation, reveal their process and show how materials are pushed to their limits. Whether it’s scientific exploration, woodworking, robotics, beekeeping or e-textiles, this event will explore it all!

What: Southwest Michigan Mini Maker Faire
When: 10 am - 4 pm May 30, 2015
Where: Whirlpool Centennial Park; St. Joseph, MI

If you have a DIY project, or want to show people how they can make things themselves, we’d love to have you apply. If you are a Young Maker under the age of 18, please have your (adult) project mentor submit your project for you.

Apply at today!

What will you dream up? 
Twitter - @swmimakerfaire       Facebook - makerfaireswmi

Virtual Field Trip - Live Tour Inside NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

2015 is an exciting year for planetary exploration with a number of important NASA missions and significant discoveries. In celebration of Space Day, join us on May 1st, live from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to find out more about NASA's missions, their cutting-edge discoveries, and why it is important for us to continue to explore the solar system. 

This 30 minute virtual field trip begins at 1:00 PM (ET) and is appropriate for all grades. Submit your questions ahead of time - you never know, it may get asked live on air! 


Patti Duncan, Discovery Education
Dr. James Garvin, GSFC Chief Scientist
Educational Objectives

To provide students across the United States with the opportunity to:
Get a tour of a NASA facility and learn about the research being carried out into planetary exploration.Learn why it is important to explore the universe and how our knowledge of the universe has expanded due to the space programs.Understand the multitude of scientific practices involved …

Grant Opportunity - 2015-16 MACUL Grant Application Window Open

MACUL Grants Available to Michigan Educators!Purpose:To encourage and support members interested in promoting effective instructional uses of the computer or related-equipment. Grant Goal: Each project should focus on an instructional use of the computer or related equipment, which has the potential of being replicated in other educational settings. Grant Limit per Application: $1,500 Eligible Applicants: MACUL members who are classroom teachers, coordinators, administrators, or higher education personnel. MACUL Grant recipients from the last two years are ineligible to apply. Deadline: Noon on May 15, 2015 - Applications must be submitted by 12:00 pm EST For more information, including grant writing tips and guidance, visit

Combating Cyberbulling Apps

As someone that works with teens, there is a group of apps you should be aware of that could make a negative impact on your classroom environment (or your homelife if you have preteens and teens).  These apps allow students to post pictures and/or make comments - often anonymously.  The newest of these apps to gain notoriety is called Burnbook - you can read a bit about it here:

This app joins a host of other apps (YikYak, Whisper, AfterSchool,, to name a few) in the same category - they easily promote the escalation of cyberbullying among students. 

So, what are ways you can combat this?

1. By Educating - as technology becomes more seamlessly integrated with our lives, and especially with learning, we cannot rely on AUPs or Terms of Use to guide students' behavior.  We need to provide modeling and conversations.  There are great resources out there (CommonSense Media is one such provi…

MLO Survey -

From Mike Souden, project manager -

If you are an educator that has utilized MI Learns Online (MLO) materials, could you please fill out this quick survey to provide some feedback?

Not sure what MLO is? There is an upcoming webinar to introduce you to it -

Learn to use the REMC MLO Portal Webinar

The REMC MLO Portal contains resources that support online learning. The participant will learn how to use the REMC MLO Portal to find resources that support exceptional online learning, and how to access online learning courses, units and lessons.
Date: On May 6, 2015. Time: 4:00 – 4:30 PM Registration: Go to Requirements: a computer with Internet connection

These Webinars are live facilitated web based learning opportunities that are easy to participate in.  
Connecting information will be sent to you when you register.
For more information email

PD Opportunity - Differentiating with Technology for Learning

This year Calhoun ISD and  Jackson County ISD, will be offering 3 distinct Technology in Learning courses designed to help educators learn ways to implement technology in their classroom right away.   Registration for the second session is open!

Differentiating with Technology for Learning May - June 2015
Differentiating with Technology for Learning is a course designed to help educators explore and begin applying web tools that enable them to develop their ability to communicate with students and parents.
This is a blended course - a majority of the work will be completed online, along with a mandatory face-to-face session that occurs after the course has started. 
Important Course Dates - Course Start Date: May 13Face-to-Face: 4:15-6:45 May 20Course End Date: June 15
30 SCECHs Available - Optional ($15 fee)
Face-to-face location options: Calhoun ISD - Registration Jackson Area ISD - Registration
Additional information can be found here.

Grant Opportunity - The Emperor Science Award Program

From MACUL Big Deal Media:
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and PBS LearningMedia have announced The Emperor Science Award Program, an initiative that will encourage disadvantaged high school students to pursue careers in science, with particular emphasis on cancer research, through a year of mentorship with a scientist from a leading research institution or industry. The education initiative is being launched in connection with Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladiesa three-part, six-hour film on the history of cancer that will air on PBS on April 1. Students may apply for awards or may be nominated by teachers. The first 100 awardees (high school students from Title I or similarly “economically disadvantaged” schools) will receive $1,500 grants as well as one-on-one science mentoring over the course of a year or an intensive summer schedule. Students will be connected with science mentors from a host of high-profile medical research centers, universities and industry leader…

Resource - M-Step Troubleshooting Guide for Chromebooks

A colleague of mine - Justin Cowen - from the UP created this resource for educators in his area giving the M-Step on Chromebooks.  If your district is using Chromebooks for the M-Step, you might share this with teachers and those that are helping provide technical support during the test.

M-Step Troubleshooting Guide - by Justin Cowen

Google Documents - Creating Page Anchors (aka Bookmarks)

There are times in a Google Document you want to provide links to specific areas within the page and  a table of contents doesn't fit the bill. (See how to create & use a table of contents here.)  When this happens, you will need to employ the use of page anchors.

Anchors basically make a linkable spot on the page.  They are pretty easy to create, and can be linked tho both within the page and from outside the page.  Within a Google Document these are called Bookmarks.

Here is how to set them up:

1. Put your cursor where you want the anchor/bookmark

2. Go to the Insert Menu, select Bookmark - this will add a little blue flag to the location

That's it!  You can create as many as you need in the document.

To get rid of an anchor/bookmark that you no longer want:

1. Click in the location you added it.  A pop-up should appear

2. Click Remove

To use an anchor/bookmark within the document:

1. Type the text you want linked to the anchor/bookmark

2. Highlight it and then select t…

Conference - The Connected Educator Un/Conference

A mashup of educational technology & conversation, this is an opportunity to get you moving with an innovative classroom! The #ConnectedEDU Un/Conference features active learning experiences alongside and led by innovative Michigan educators! NOW ONLY $20! DETAILS6 SCECHsBYOD-laptop, tablet, phone..whatever!Computer labs, classrooms & breakout spacesDelicious lunch includedFun surprises!More details LOCATIONThe Jackson Area Career Center; 6700 Browns Lake Road, Jackson, MI The facility features high speed wireless, classrooms with modern A/V, labs and open gathering spaces.
(Building is 10 minutes south of Jackson on the campus of the Jackson Intermediate School District, across from Jackson Community College. Don't rely on your GPS! Viewfull directionsto verify.) UN/CON?The event will blend a variety of strategies found in both traditional “conferences” as well as “UnConferences” (EdCamps), thus the Un/Con label.

Idea Buffet: Pe…

Conference - Mobile Learning Conference

Sponsored by MACUL, the REMC Association of Michigan and Kalamazoo RESA 

Pre-Conference Session: Thursday April 16, 2015 from 4:00-7:00*

*Includes digital playground, Google training, and reception at Bell's Brewery.
Conference Sessions: Friday April 17, 2015 from 8:30-3:30**
**Includes breakfast snacks, lunch and a chance to win technology prizes, including an iPad. 
If you are using, or would like to start using mobile devices in your classroom, this is an experience you should not miss. At-a-Glance,, and Presenters will be available soon on the MACUL website. Additional Information Cost: $65.00 - includes attendance at both pre-conference and conference events/sessions. 
Location: KALAMAZOO RESA; 1819 E. Milham Road, Portage MI
Registration: You can register HERE.

Google Documents - Creating Custom Heading Styles

One of the biggest reasons I am given that people do not use headings in their Google Documents is they want to customize the look of them.  However, creating your own custom heading styles in a Goggle Document is pretty easy - once you know how.  It just takes one step beyond what people already do in formatting their first heading, yet can save a ton of time if there are multiple headings throughout the document.
Create Custom Headings: 1. Highlight the first heading and format to as you wish it to look (you can set font, font size, style, spacing, etc).  Here in my example, I have changed the font, enlarged it to 18 pt, bolded and centered it.

2. Go to the formatting toolbar, select the dropdown that says "Normal text," scroll down to "Heading 1" and select "Update 'Heading 1' to match" (or another heading of your choosing)

3.  Whenever you want to apply the same heading style, you can just highlight the text, go to the formatting toolbar, sele…