Showing posts from March, 2016

March is Reading Month Resources

MDE in collaboration with MeL has put together some sample activities to "encourage reading month activities that go beyond reading contests and encourages purposeful reading for all Michiganders."  Check out this site which has some sample activities that tie into Michigan Electronic Library databases - resources that available for FREE to all Michigan educators and students.

Free Resource - Classroom for PBS Nature Series

Being public supported, PBS provides many videos that are available for teachers to use in their classrooms.

But did you know some of their series provides teaching resources free for your use?  Check out the series Nature.  If you go to the Classroom section, they have provided video clips from episodes, along with teaching resources and relationship to educational standards.  Notice on the example below they list the grade levels that the resource is appropriate for along with the permitted use of the materials -
A great free resource to bring in actual video related to your teaching!

Google Sites - Add a File Cabinet Page

One of my favorite template pages provided on Google Sites is the File Cabinet.  This type of page allows you to share a plethora of resources in a nice organized way.

To add a File cabinet page, first click on the icon to add a new page to your site -

To create the new page, you will give it a name and set its location in your site hierarchy - in addition, you will need to change the template to use to File cabinet -
This will create a page that looks like this - note the icons across the top for page editors & owners -
You can add resources in various ways.  One is by adding a file.  Selecting that option will bring up a file selection window (similar to how you attach files elsewhere) - 
Another is by adding a link with the URL -
Another is by adding a file that is in your Google Drive -
As you add items, they will display on your page.  If you want to organize them, you can create folders to sort the files in -
Once the folder is created, you can select and move files into …

Upcoming #CISD Inspire - All About Educational Records

#CISD Inspire Workshops on Relevant topics that involve Education & Technology Our next #CISD Inspire workshop will be May 19 on the topic of educational records.

This workshop will focus on many aspects of educational records - what they are, the laws about them, and protection & retention practices.  One portion of the workshop will be a refresher on FERPA.  We encourage REMC12E districts to send a team to this workshop as this topic impacts so many district roles.

For more information, please refer to this flyer.  This workshop is free for educators from REMC12E School Districts (in Branch and Calhoun counties).

Google Sites - The Proper Way to Change Fonts & Colors

Whenever you are working with a website, there is definitely a better way to make formatting changes that involve fonts & colors.  And this way does NOT involve using the little icons on the formatting toolbar - which is the obvious way since it is there visible when you are editing your pages!

The proper way is to make those changes so they will set them for the entire site.  With Google Sites, it means making them in the Manage Site area. 

When in the Manage Site screen, in the menu on the left is the option Themes, Colors and Fonts - this is what you want to select.

Once there, you will see the following:
Here's what all these areas are:
Theme - you can see which theme you currently have selected, and change to another themePage Areas - you can select which area of the page you would like to modifyPage Parts - this list the various parts/options that can be changedFormat - this shows the formatting that you can modifyPreview - a preview window to see how your changes affect …

Google Calendar/Email - Email Source in Calendar Event

In a prior post (from 2 years ago!), I shared how you can add an event to your calendar from email.

Today I noticed a nifty little change in a calendar event that I had added this way.  It now has a Source link that links back to the the originating email the date was in. 

I don't know how long it has been there, but it sure is a nice piece of information to have!

Twuffer - An Online Way to Schedule Tweets

Recently I was looking for a way to schedule tweets for my work Twitter account without using an application (such as TweetDeck).  I was on a device that was not my own, and had a need for this. 

Enter twuffer - I stumbled across this (ok - really got it as a result of a Google search), and after exploring it found it to be the near-perfect tool for the job.

To use twuffer, you first need to sign in using your Twitter account - if you are already logged into Twitter, simply clicking on the box will do it as it uses Twitter's API
Then you need to authorize twuffer for use with your Twitter account-
The first time you authorized it, you will need to establish 1 setting - your timezone. 
That's it for setup!  It is now ready to use.  Just 1. enter your tweet, 2. set the date you want it to go out, 3. set the time, and 4. click Schedule Tweet.  That's it!
It keeps a nice list of scheduled tweets, set tweets and failed tweets you can refer back to.  Very easy way to schedule …

Open eBooks Initiative from the Library of Michigan

Are you an educator in a Title 1 school?  If so, you are eligible to participate in the Open eBooks Initiative!

Go here to get more information at Open eBooks.  This does require registering with First Book - which supplies both access to the app and "new books and educational resources - for free and at low cost - to schools and programs serving children in need, from birth to age 18."
 From the Library of Michigan:
"Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of popular and award-winning titles that are free for children from in-need households. These eBooks can be read without checkouts or holds. Children from in-need families can access these eBooks, which include some of the most popular works of the present and past, using the Open eBooks app and read as many as they like without incurring any costs. The goal of Open eBooks is to encourage a love of reading and serve as a gateway to children reading even more often, whether in school, at libraries, or thr…
From Discovery Education -
The Smart Farm: Where Technology and Innovation Meet

Join the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and Discovery Education on a Virtual Field Trip to Deere & Company World Headquarters and learn how innovative technologies aid today's farmers and ranchers as they produce America's food.

Irrigation systems managed from iPads, animal diets tracked by computer chips, and tractors that drive using GPS are only a few examples of the ways farmers and ranchers are using technology on their farms and ranches to produce food in a sustainable manner. Conversations with leaders in agriculture will allow you to explore new techniques that have revolutionized the industry and the career opportunities that these advancements have brought to the field.

April 5 at 1PM EST/10 AM PST

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Google Documents - Outline Alternative to TOC

Google has implemented an option that is a great alternative to the Table of Contents!

Many people felt (especially with LONG documents) that a Table of Contents (TOC) added a lot of clutter to the top of the document, even while it provided needed links to the document sections.  (If you don't know what the Table of Contents is or want to know more about it, check out my post  Google Documents - Using a Table of Contents.)  Like in this example -

Google has now added another option to provide those links without it being added to the top of the document - it is the Outline option.  This is found under the Tools Menu -

Once you select it, an outline is displayed on the left side of the document -

What is displayed?  Well, like the TOC you have to utilize the formatting for headings & titles rather than set them manually & individually-

(A note - you can always customize the color/font/size of the headings by setting that particular heading once, then clicking on the arrow …

Google Sheets - Random Name Generator by Flippity Part 2

This is a very slick and easy to use way to create a random name generator by! And actually, in addition to being a random name generator, it is also a random group creator, and random seating chart - all in one setup.

For my last post, I walked through the setup.  In this post we will look at what it generates and ways you can use it.

When you first go to the generated link, this is the screen you see.  Notice at the top it says Mrs. Waffle's Class - that is because I named the sheet with my student names on it. 
There are a series of tabs across the top which allow you to use this in different ways.  The first tab is a single name generator.  Clicking the forward arrow will move to the next name - you will go through the entire class in a random order.  If you are looking for fully random names, you can use the crossed arrows under the name - that one will essentially through every name back into the pot each time.
 The second tab does a random list of the stu…

Google Sheets - Random Name Generator by Flippity

This is a very slick and easy to use way to create a random name generator by! And actually, in addition to being a random name generator, it is also a random group creator, and random seating chart - all in one setup. 

For this first post, I am walking you through the setup.  In my next post we will look at what it generates and ways you can use it.

To set this up for your students, follow these steps:
1. Get the template Google Sheet here.

2. Put your students' names in column A (replacing the ones that are there - you can add and delete as needed, it will adjust to however many names you have in that column).  My recommendation - just use student first names, not their full names.

 3. Double-click on the sheet name at the bottom, and replace it if you want your class name when you view the generator. 4. Go to the File menu and select Publish to the web. Click on the Publish button.
5. Copy the link that is created there.

6. Go back to the spreadsheet and select th…