Showing posts from January, 2016

Opportunity: Math Contest

For math teachers in Calhoun County - (Not an educator in Calhoun County, Michigan? There are local contests at various locations; you can visit the website to view a schedule)

Sumdog's math contest for Calhoun County starts Friday February 26, 2016 and will run until the following Thursday.

Cost: It's free to take part and there are plenty of prizes to be won!

Levels: Suggested grades K-8

When: Students can play online either at school or at home using the website or the app!

In order to join in the fun, teachers can enter their class here:

For any questions, contact

Google Sites - Adding Hyperlinks to Your Pages

Adding hyperlinks to your website is the best way to connect to additional content without cluttering up your page.  There are two different ways we will look to hyper link here.

First, before you begin, you need to make sure your page is in Edit mode.  If it isn't, click the pencil to put it in Edit mode so you have the formatting toolbar.

Once in editing mode, highlight the text you want the hyperlink connected to.  (It does make your page cleaner and easier to read if you link text rather than putting the URLs within the text of your page.)

The first way you can hyperlink is between pages within your site.  In Google Sites, this is the default it displays in the linking pop-up.  To link to another page on your site, you can either type it in the search bar OR you can click through your pages in the list provided to find it:

Once you select it, you would click ok and the hyperlink will form between the current page and the page you selected.
The second way you can hyperlink is t…

Opportunity for Michigan Educators - Cyber Innovation Center Resource Showcase

Just received this.  I think it would be a great opportunity to attend!

Cyber Innovation Center Resource Showcase...for teachers and admins. Feb 11, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Aeronautic Building Capital City Airport, Lansing, MI.  Share with middle/high school teachers (math, science, tech, CTE). Opportunity for integration into ongoing and emerging programming for open education resources. Registration and info:

Google Calendar - Easily Adding Multiple Events to a Secondary Calendar

One of my frustrations was when I wanted to add a bunch of events to one of my secondary calendars.  This happens a lot when I am creating a calendar for an online class I am going to teach - I try to post a calendar of when modules open, suggestions of completion dates to stay on target, and any other events I think they should know about. 

If you are in the regular calendar view, you can add the events and change the calendar in the pop-up window:

But I'm about eliminating clicks, so when adding lots of events to a different calendar I think that method is cumbersome and tedious.  Well, there is a quicker way!

If you click on the arrow next to the calendar you want to add the events to to get this menu:

Select Display only this Calendar in the list:

This will unselect all other calendars - you will note that the color boxes next to all the other calendars go white.

When adding events with only that calendar displaying, it will default to those events being on that calendar:

Google Drive - One File, Multiple Places

Because Google functions with labels instead of actual folders, any file can have multiple labels attached to it.  This is very powerful in keeping my Drive cleaned up, I find, as it means that I can maintain one copy of a file but still have it shared with multiple groups of people that are separate from each other. 

Here is how you do it.  When in your Drive, highlight the file or folder on the right and then hit the Shift + Z keys.  A pop up will appear - very similar to the "Move to" pop up, but you may notice it says "Add here" instead:
Then you can double-click on your My Drive to display the folders inside, and continue clicking through until you find the folder you also want the file to be displayed in.  When that folder is highlighted, clicking on Add here will also display it in that folder (in addition to where it is currently). 

A couple points with this:
The file will combine the share settings of all folders it is in.  So if each folder is shared with …

Google Drive - Searching for Items Part III

The last couple days I've shared the general way to think about Google files and searching,  and about the Advanced search bar hidden at the top of Google Drive.  Today let's talk about Boolean operators.

Boolean operators are something that can help you narrow your search.  A Boolean searching "is built on a method of symbolic logic developed by George Boole."
OR is the most common Boolean.  In fact, you use it every time you do a search with multiple words!  When you type in two words in the search bar, by default it is finding every file that has either one of those terms.  The number of results returned to you can be overwhelming when using OR (either on purpose, or by default if you use several words in your search), so knowing additional Boolean operators can be keep to finding exactly what you want.

Let's look at a search so we can compare how these work.  Here's my general search in my drive for the terms blended learning:

Some other key ones t…

Google Drive - Searching for Items Part II

Previously I talked generally about how to think about searching within Google Drive.  Today I'd like to go through using the Google Search Bar.

Just about everyone is familiar with the Google Search Bar.  It resides at the top of your Google Drive.  It is actually found at the top of just about every Google App.

Most people, when searching for a document, will type multiple words into the search bar.  This can result in a lot of frustration as they often get too many results!  Let's talk about ways to get better results.  In fact, let's talk about that little arrow next to the magnifying glass in the search bar because that is one key to better searching.  Enter the advanced search:

Using this will yield you much better results as you can better target your search. Some key pieces that most people file helpful:

Type: Usually you know the type of file you are looking for.  By selecting the type in the advanced search, you can eliminate all other files of other types helping…

Google Drive - Searching for Items Part 1

Thinking about organization within Google Drive takes a major mind shift.  Instead of thinking of it as the old filing system of organizing, we need to think about it as a tagging system. 

The old way, a file was physically located in one place, and there was only one way to retrieve it - by opening the drawer and going to the folder it was in. This method carried over to our computers, we organized exactly the same way.  The biggest difference is the filing cabinets and the folders within them could hold a whole lot more!

With Google's way, I tell people to just think of it as a really big room where everything is thrown together.  However, everything has colored sticky notes on it, and each sticky notes stands for something.  When you want to find something, you no longer "retrieve" search for the sticky notes.  If you don't have good search skills, you can spend a long time looking through the files for the sticky notes.  If you have good search skills, y…

Google Sheets - Forcing a Display of Text

Today I discovered something quite by accident, but it is a hack worth knowing.

There have been many times when working in a Google Spreadsheet that I have dealt with numbers and dates that I want to display as I type them.  I don't want it to auto-format the date to standard, nor drop the 0 on the front end of a number that needs it to display. 

There is a HACK to do this!  Did you know that??  I didn't - and I read a LOT of Google blogs, and follow a lot of Google support groups.  So I figure it must be worth sharing.

Here's the hack - add an apostrophe to the front of it. 

Yup, that's it. If you type '09264 into the cell, this is what you get:
No apostrophe shows, just the number.  No more "lost" zero!

It works well with dates you want in a format that is not an option.  Here's one that shows you how my March 3 displays in the cell without the apostrophe (cell A5) - it's converted to 3/3/2016.  But typing in 'March 3 (as I did in cell A6) d…

Opportunity - Hack the Classroom presented by Microsoft

Looks like a very cool experience - with many renowned speakers!

Announcing the Hack the Classroom Digital Event! Date: January 30, 2016 at 8:00a.m. PST
Location: Online- Register at
Actions:Register yourself for the event •Share this announcement with other educators •Send your own tweet. Example tweet: Join me & Microsoft_EDU for the #HackTheClassroom digital event on 1/30! Sign up here:
Resources: Hack The Classroom Website Questions? Email us
We are so excited to announce a new, free live digital event for educators around the world!
The “hacking” spirit has captured the hearts of educators around the world- more and more, teachers are taking it upon themselves to transform the way they teach, and the way their students learn. Initiatives like Hour of Code and the Maker Movement have been groundbreaking, which is why we are excited to announce this three-hour event, focused on bringing the leaders of these movements to you…