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Showing posts from September, 2018

Google Mail - Gmail Shortcuts

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It has been over 5 years since I posted about keyboard shortcuts to Google Mail, so I think it is time again!  Here's the repost with some updates, and a few of my favorite shortcuts that I think save me lots of time cumulatively!

Some people have expressed frustration to me because "things just happen" while they are in their email.  Typically, as we tend to be short of possessed devices, it is because they have unintentionally used one or more of the built in email shortcuts.

So, how do you know the shortcuts?  And, how can you turn them off (or on)?

Well, to know they are enabled or not, you need to check your email settings.  To do this go to the gear and select Settings:


Once the settings are displayed, make sure you are looking at the General Settings, and scroll down until you see Keyboard shortcuts:.  This will tell you if they are on or off:

Turn them on or off, as desired, and make sure to "Save Changes" at the bottom of the window.  You may go throu…

Discovery Streaming - Day of Discovery

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Discovery is holding one of their Days of Discovery here in Michigan!
Date: October 6 Time: 9:00-3:00 Location: Michael Berry Career Center; 22586 Ann Arbor Trail; Dearborn Heights, MI 48127 Cost:  FREE - and includes lunch!
Go to the Day of Discovery website to register or learn more.
Don't know what a Day of Discovery is?  From the website:
Days of Discovery are professional learning experiences focused on three important goals.learn · share · connect These full-day, professional learning events help teachers and administrators learn more about integrating digital content into their curriculum, provide opportunities for participants to share effective instructional strategies, and connect attendees to their most valuable resource: each other. Make connections with fellow community members and learn from presentations by DEN STAR Educators, members of the Discovery Education team, and special guests. These FREE learning opportunities are open to all Discovery Education users.

FREE App Find - Toontastic Storytelling App

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Teachers - I would highly recommend checking out Toontastic if you are looking for an app for students to tell their stories.  It is a free Google product, and works on most mobile devices. 

From the site:
"Toontastic 3D is a playful storytelling app that scaffolds the creative writing process and empowers kids to create their own animated cartoons. While Toontastic was not specifically designed for schools, we have heard from a lot of educators over the years that they love how the app sparks their students’ imaginations and uses the Story Arc to help frame their writing. Their students use the app for creating everything from book reports to news broadcasts and foreign language skills."

 Best of all are the following features of it:

Kids do NOT need accountsStories are stored locallyThere are NO ads or in-app purchases - you get the full app for freeIt works offline, so your younger kiddos can use it without being connected to the Internet


REMC Virtual Courses

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REMC is providing FREE PD via Virtual Courses for Michigan educators!  Information below -  Looking to integrate emerging topics into YOUR classroom? REGISTER for
REMC Virtual Courses today!Click Here for October 2018 Course Registration!Below are the sessions beginning October 8, 2018 Click each box for more info!

MeL Minute: Webinars for Britannica, Gale, and World Book eResources

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From the MeL Team:

On October 1, you will continue to see eResources from Britannica, Gale, and World Book. While our library community has been using these eResources for years, the content is continually updated and to help you keep up-to-date, webinars will be available throughout October and into November.  For those working in or with the education community, we're also offering some educator-specific webinars to highlight how eResource content can be used in a classroom. Additionally, tools are available to support the education community including lesson plans and resource guides. Click the links to register.
Britannica Basics for Public Libraries Monday, Oct 8, 2018 @ 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT  Thought Britannica School was just for school librarians? Think again! Britannica School has a ton of terrific resources for Public Librarians to support K-12 students working on school projects and research reports. Britannica School also has great resources to support parents who home s…

Grant Opportunity for Branch, Barry & Calhoun Educators

From the Mini-Grant Coordinator:

We are pleased to announce that the Mini Grants and FOCUS Grant will be available again for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Guido A. and Elizabeth H. Binda Foundation has generously provided the Mini Grant Program with $20,000 for twenty awards and up to $1,000 for projects that align with district-approved curriculum.  In addition, one FOCUS Grant of up to $5,000 will be awarded.  The FOCUS Grant project needs to "focus" on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with the emphasis being on Mathematics and Science curriculum. 

These grants are available to all public school teachers and support staff in Barry, Branch, and Calhoun Counties in Michigan.

Important Dates:
September 27, 2018 - Grant writing workshop at the CISD in Marshall 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
(you will receive TWO EXTRA points on your application for your attendance at the workshop)

October 19, 2018 - All grant applications due prior to 4:00 pm

November 02, 2018 - No…

Website Resource - C-Span Classroom

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This find is for Social Studies teachers - 

In addition to access to the programming, teachers can find "bell ringers," lesson plans and opportunities for professional development.

From the website:
C-SPAN Classroom is a free membership service for social studies teachers. Our mission is to enhance the teaching of social studies through C-SPAN's primary source programming and websites. ...To better serve you, our site is password-protected, yet remains free of charge. Membership gives educators access to their own library to store C-SPAN Classroom video clips, supplementary materials such as lesson plans and handouts, and special offers.

Google Mail - Collapsed left sidebar

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Working yesterday, my left sidebar was collapsed when in email.  Not having seen this before, I had to search to see how to display it again.  Though, if you are working on a smaller screen, this is a nice feature to know about when screen real estate is needed for other tasks!

Here is an example of the sidebar displayed (on the right) vs collapsed (on the left):
You can see how it pops out when you mouse-over the icons:

Use the "hamburger" icon at the top to turn this feature on/off:

MeL Minute - Fighting Fake News

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From Christine Schneider of the MeL Team -

Fake news. Hoax. Media bias. Misinformation. Media literacy is perhaps more important now than ever.  But do you have the resources you need to help students and patrons? The Michigan eLibrary is here to help!
Just in time for the new school year, MeL and Gale have compiled the “Fake News Frenzy: A Guide to Resources for Librarians and Teachers." Resources include links to articles, videos, lesson plans, games, websites, and more. There are even recommended books with a link to MeLCat for each!
Another great resource for combating fake news here in Michigan is Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints in Context (OViC). It is an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues. This database features continuously updated viewpoints, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and…

Google Forms - Updated Theme Controls

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There are several new options you can use to do a bit more customization to your Google Forms.  Here's an overview -

You still click on the art palette  icon to see the theme options:
The updated screen gives 4 options you can modify:

1. If you want to set an image at the top of your form, you can pick one from the gallery, upload one, or select one from your albums:

2 & 3.  Once you have set the header (or if you stay on the basic theme), you will have several colors you can choose from for the theme color, and the background color.  These are adaptive to the picture you choose if you selected an image:

4. Choose the font style you want to use:

Google Sites - New Button Option

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Another nice addition to the new version of Google Sites!  You can now easily add a simple button that is easy to edit and moveable on your page.  No more going to another site and creating a custom image of a button to upload!

To add a button, look for it in the bottom section of items to insert - from this picture below you can see how it is a new option above the Divider:

Put in the text you would like displayed in the button in "Name" then paste in the link (or select a page from your site) for the button to link to:

It will add the button in a new section at the bottom of your page:

You can move the button to a new location simply by dragging and dropping:

Wildlife Curricula from Michigan DNR

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From the Michigan Department of Natural Resources -


Michigan teachers can get wildlife – wildlife topics, that is – in the classroom! Registration is open for wildlife classroom curricula available to elementary through high school educators. Curricula fit current state educational standards and are free of charge.  K-5th gradesGo Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife introduces elementary students to a variety of species found throughout Michigan and their habitats. Included in the materials are sets of "critter cards" for each student to keep. Sets of the cards are limited and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis to Michigan educators who register.  6th-8th grades Students can learn about Michigan black bears – from their life history to how the DNR manages populations – with A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear. Students get to “follow” black bears' movements by looking at actual location data from collared bears. They also can get an introduction to wetland hab…

Ready to Read Michigan - 2019

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From the Library of Michigan - 
Ready to Read Michigan (RTRM) is gearing up for its second year of providing books and materials to public libraries throughout Michigan for outreach to children ages 0-5. The program is designed for public librarians to model early literacy skill development directly to families and engage in outreach to early childhood centers, preschool classrooms and daycares throughout their community. The title for 2019's RTRM is Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson, an interactive "journey from sunset to sunrise."  Selected by the Library of Michigan's Youth Services Advisory Council for the read-aloud's ability to engage a young audience and its alignment with the 5 Practices of Every Child Ready to Read; Talk, Read, Write, Sing, Play.  In preparation for programming in March (Reading Month!), public libraries will receive a kit in late January to early February of 2019, containing supplies for effective outreach, including extra ​…