Showing posts from November, 2016

Google Forms Just Got Smarter

I can't think of the number of times in the past I would get frustrated by the default multiple choice question type for Google Forms.  A little thing, but those few seconds to change it (I use lots of text answers) add up over time.

Well, recently Google Forms just got smarter!

Now, when you type a question if you use some key phrasing it changes the question type to match what you are asking for.

Examples -
Here is the default first question:

In the past when you typed, it stayed a multiple choice question:
Now, it recognizes when you want something different - and changes the question type.  Here adding an "s" to day (so it indicates the ability to select multiple), it changes the question type to a Checkbox:

Using the word "rate" changes it to a linear scale:

Asking a standard question (like for a name) will change it to a short answer:

Starting with a word like "describe" will change it to a paragraph text option:

 Asking about a date will ch…

Google Forms - Using Graphics for mulitiple choice Options

Yesterday I got asked if one could use graphics for the multiple choice options in Google Forms.  The answer is yes, you can, ever since they added the ability to add images to not just the question, but the choice options as well.

Here is an example using smileys that one local school likes to use with younger children.

First, begin creating your form with a title and the first question.  (You can put on a theme or color scheme if you want now also.)

Click on the image icon to add an image for the question choice:
You will be able to upload the image, take a snapshot, grab it from your Google Drive or search:
You may notice that this does keep the name of each as Option 1, Option 2, etc.
Delete out these and replace with something like a period - trying to delete out all text will not work, something has to be in the box.
Here is what is seen in the browser when filling out the form:

Clicking on the image will even select their option.  If the pictures are too big, you can edit them…

Let Your Creativity Soar Video Contest for Teachers

From the Big Deal Media 

Next Vista for Learning invites teachers to enter its Soaring Creativityeducational video contest. To participate, teachers need to put a little creativity into a video teaching any concept that might be encountered in elementary, middle, or high school, and keep the length to 90 seconds or less. The video might be about sculpture, negative numbers, supply and demand, alternative energy, adverbs, or any other clever insight. This competition is really a set of three contests: one for students, one for teachers, and one for collaborations between the two (specifically a team of at least one teacher and at least one student who do the planning and/or editing). The three contests will be judged separately, and Next Vista will award prizes to the finalists and winners of each.
Deadlines: Videos must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on December 18, 2016.
Click Here for More Information

24th Annual Letters About Literature Contest - Grades 4-12

What: Writing Contest
Theme: "How did an author's work change your view of the world or yourself?"
Who: Students Grades 4-12
Deadline: December 2, 2016 - Grades 9-12
                January 9, 2017 - Grades 7 &8, Grades 4-6
Websites:  Letters About Literature site, Guidelines (pdf), Teaching Guidelines (pdf) from Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Librarian, LM As Nathaniel Hawthorne so elegantly wrote in The Scarlet Letter, "She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom." I read it in the ninth grade and while many in my class moaned and groaned, and quite frankly hated it, I was absorbed into the world of Salem, Massachusetts in 1642. Absorbed into the plight of Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl. It was an awakening to examine how the world has, or has not, changed in our treatment of women in the centuries since. Now the details of the plot and much of the book itself have faded from my memory, but I definitely recall the impact the book and its aut…

2017 MACUL Conference - Adding Pre-Conference Sessions to your Registration

If you have already registered for the 2017 MACUL Conference, and would like to add a preconference session on Wednesday to your registration, use the following steps:

1. Go to the registration site.

2. Login with the account you used previously to register for the conference.  You must use the same account!

3. Note a new window at the top will tell you that you are already registered for the conference, but you may add workshops (pre-conference sessions) by going through the process again.  (You would use these same steps to make any modifications to your registration.)
 4. Click Next on the first screen with your contact information
 5. Click Next on the next screen about Membership
 6. On the next screen, pre-conference workshops are now an option
 7. When you click on the blue bar, it will display the pre-conference sessions.  Each one has the following:
Registration box for that workshopName of the workshop sessionSponsoring SIGCost (1/2 day sessions are $70, full day sessions a…

Google Sheets - New Filter Icon

Today I open a spreadsheet, and notice that there is a new icon if you have your filtering turned on.  Instead of the blue down arrow:

Now there is an icon of 3 green graduated lines:

This inverts into a green box with white lines when that column is activated:

It is much more noticeable now when you have it turned on!

Google Classroom - Using Topics

One of the updates this past summer to Classroom was the ability to assign Topics to items in the stream.  This is a much appreciated addition, as it provides another way to find items in the stream.  Once you set up and use the topics, you have a "shortcut" list on the left side that let's you and your students quickly get to any item that is tagged with that topic -

There are two ways to add Topics in your course.  The first is using the ADD TOPIC option on the left side -

Click on ADD TOPIC -

In the pop-up that appears, type in the name of the topic you wish to add - 

The second way to add topics is from within an item that you are adding.  Next to where it says Topic, click on No topic to switch to the option Create topic - 

You can then type in the name of the topic you wish to add - 

To assign a topic to an item you are adding to your stream, click on the dropdown next to Topic -

It will include any topics you have created so you select the one you want (or c…

FREE Training & Materials for MI Teachers - from MDOT

For 6-12th grade math, science, or civics teachers in Michigan. (from MDOT_TRAC)
What: 1 day free MDOT-TRAC (Transportation and Civil Engineering) Training  When:Thursday November 17 Time: 8:00am-3:30 pm Where: MDOT Transportation Service Center
                  15300 West Michigan Avenue                   Marshall, MI  49068 Registration: Contact information provided at end of page For this FREE training and hands-on tools provided by MDOT:   Educators will learn to use (and will receive) hands-on math and science tools/exercises.Supplies are replenished as used.  Six SCECH hours are also available for the training.

At least 1200 Michigan teachers have been trained to use these tools.  The program is used in 26 of the 50 states and is available for use in grades 6-12.  Training covers civil engineering related exercises involving these concepts: Environmental (settling and filtering) Motion (laws of motion, impulse)Magnetic Levitation (reaction, polarity, aerodynamics, friction, laws …

Lessons from the Vietnam War

Lessons from the Vietnam War The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), the nonprofit organization that founded and preserves the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, has released new curriculum materials that are available to teachers to teach Vietnam in their classroom. The Echoes From The Wall curriculum set explores the Vietnam War and era through 14 lesson plans that include background readings, in-class and extension activities tied to national learning standards, and lecture presentations incorporating primary source audio and video. The lesson plans cover a range of topics, from Motivations for US Involvement to the Legacy of the War in Vietnam. Educators can review and download individual lesson plans or the full curriculum from the VVMF website.
Click Here to Access Free Lesson Plans

Plus: For students who would like to view artifacts of the war up close and behind the scenes, VVMF has debuted a new videoconferencing/distance learning program that con…

#GivingTuesday - Lesson plans and more

Infuse Learning with Kindness, Community, and Purpose On #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, align your students’ attention to gratitude and giving with TeachOne, a giving movement focused on educating young people about service and community. Join more than 10,000 K–12 educators across the country as together they commit to TeachOne philanthropy lesson on November 29. With more than 1,700 free online K–12 lesson plans aligned to Common Core and state standards, as well as 50 mini-grants available for service learning, Learning to Give makes it easy for teachers to guide students to be compassionate, engaged citizens who become lifelong givers. Consider sharing #GivingTuesday across your network with free Learning to GiveK–12 lesson plans. Use #teach1 to spread the movement!
Click Here for More Information About Learning to Give

Click Here for More Information About TeachOne

Click Here for More Information About Mini-Grants

(from Big Deal Media - October 2016 edit…

Discovery Education - Leading Your School District’s Digital Transition Guide

From Discovery Education -

A digital transition is a multi-faceted, multi-year process that must be carefully considered, planned, and communicated. Discovery Education's latest guide, Leading Your School District's Digital Transition, comes from three experienced educators, who bring their combined 16 years of leadership and 20 years of teaching to bear. The guide demonstrates step-by-step strategies on how to bring your team, your infrastructure, and your students into a modern learning environment.

In this guide, learn:
9 strategies for deploying a digital learning environment How to ensure your resources align to standards Advice on instituting your digital vision across a district What 3 superintendents gained from their digital transitions 10 reasons a school district should go digital today

About the educators:

Susan K. Allen
East Irondequoit Central School District, NY
Dr. Christine Johns
Utica Community Schools, MI

MeL - Election Resources

From MeL (Michigan Electronic Library) -

How many days until the Presidential election?Seven, so there’s still time to do some research if you...have questions. A valuable unbiased, nonpartisan source is the MeL database Opposing Viewpoints in Context. [I]t’s designed with students in mind but any Michigander can browse the issues list to learn about topics such as immigration, gun control, women in politics, national security, and many more.

Websites that might prove useful include:
Michigan Secretary of State – numerous links to resources including a full candidate listing for all open offices. – side-by-side comparison between candidates on 75 key issues as well as other resources. Vote Smart – Just the Facts - free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials and their votes, positions, ratings, speeches, and funding. Pew Research Center – research and studies. PBS News Hour Watch the Debates – watch and interact with every presidential debate since 19…

Google Classroom - Add "Class Materials"

Many of you may have missed a new feature in Google Classroom - the ability to have an item (or some items) available to students all the time OUTSIDE the Stream.  This can be very handy for a course syllabus or other item you want students to easily reference throughout the course.

To add items to this area, you need to go to the About section of your Class -

Once you are there, look for a section at the bottom of the page that says Add class materials - 

When you click on that area, it changes so you can add the following:
1 - a Title for the section
2 - icons showing you want you can add here
3 - the box to Post it to your current class

While there are 4 icons of types of items that can be added, it is technically 3. 
1. You can link to items that are in your Google Drive.  (If you select the Attach icon, it actually loads the item to your Google Drive and attaches it the same way as the Drive icon.)
2. Add a general URL link - note that at this time you cannot add a title to this…