Showing posts from March, 2020

Technology Tidbit - Video Resources

(Part of our Stay-At-Home series focused on practical ways you can use a resource to foster creativity, connections, and collaboration.)

There are many organizations that are offering video resource (or TV programming) each day which may be useful to parents and teachers.  Here is a short list of a few that are freely available you may want to check out:
Public television (and their companion websites) are changing programming to focus on materials for K-12 Students at home until further notice.  PBS stations have blocked out time for each level - 7-9am is PBS Kids materials appropriate for 2-8 year olds; 9am - 1pm is for students Grades 4-8; 1-6pm is for students Grades 9-12. Additionally many have companion resources that can be used with the programming. PBS Learning has resources and learning activities in most subject areas.  Students do need to make a (free) account if they do not already have one. Discovery Education is providing daily learning activities for parents & teach…

Technology Tidbit - Get Outside!

(Part of our Stay-At-Home series focused on practical ways you can use a resource to foster creativity, connections, and collaboration.)

Parents - There is a growing body of research that shows being outside in nature can have positive benefits for our mental well-being.  With what we are dealing with currently, I think we all can use activities that are good for our mental health.
Go for a walk There are many activities that you can do while walking.  Here are some suggestions to make it an learning adventure:
Make ObservationsHave kids share or journal what they experienced with their senses during the walk.  For instance, today I saw our mating crane pair was back from the south, I felt my face warm on one side from the sun and cool on the other from the wind, I heard the frogs that have returned to the creek.  You could even showcase a sense a day!Observe the clouds, the weather, wildlife, insects, amount/types of trafficLook for patterns - both in nature and manmade  Collect Data …

Technology Tidbit - Museum Treasure Troves

(Part of our Stay-At-Home series focused on practical ways you can use a resource to foster creativity, connections, and collaboration.)

Maybe during our stay-to-home time is the best time to travel to other states or even other countries, just to visit Museums that we may never get the chance to see in person!  Museums both have had, and have been adding, lots of resources for parents, students and teachers the last several years.  Some of these include:

Virtual Tours Apparently there are now 2,500 museums that offer virtual tours from home.  It would take a long time to visit all of them! You can find many of them through Google Arts & Culture.  Take, for example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  You can view many of the paintings viewable there - without the crowd - and even learn a bit about them from information added on the page.  Or go to Rome and see the Sistine Chapel. Here are some ways to you might engage students through a virtual tour:

Have students expl…

Technology Tidbit - Keep them writing!

(Part of our Stay-At-Home series focused on practical ways you can use a resource to foster creativity, connections, and collaboration.)

Continuing to write can be very important for students (and adults) right now, not just for learning but also for our social/emotional health.  Writing can help all of us work through emotions, and deal with the uncertainty of the situation many of us find ourselves in currently.  Yet, as many teachers can attest, it can be HARD getting students to start writing.

Here are some ideas/resources that can help encourage your child to write:
Multi-day writing Journaling example- COVID-19 Pandemic: "chronicle the changes you observe as your community, the country, and the world respond to Covid19" This document includes a variety of modification for elementary, students with special needs, and even one with added social-emotional reflection questions.  It can be helpful for students to process through their experiences and what they are hearing an…

Technology Tidbit - Ways to Use the eBooks/Audiobooks

(This is the start of our new Stay-At-Home series focused on practical ways you can use a resource to foster creativity, connections, and collaboration.)

There are a variety of companies providing eBooks and/or Audiobooks for parents and educators while students are not able to attend their schools.  But, what can you do with them - or any book for that matter?

Teachers: Here are some ideas for ways eBooks or Audiobooks can be used to connect with your students.
Share a link to one of your favorite books in your communications with your students, along with why it is one of your favorites.  Invite students to read or listen to it, and invite them to share back a link to one of their favorites.Encourage students to create their own "audiobook" recording of a book for elementary school students (you may give some examples of appropriate books), which you can then share with your elementary teachers for sharingInspire students to create a book report on what they are currently re…

Google Mail - Assigning/Deleting Labels

Once you have an understanding of labels, using them makes more sense.  Here is how to assign & delete them as you want.

To add a label to an email, either when looking at your email list OR inside the email itself, you can click on the label icon at the top of the window -

When you click on it, you will see (1) a list of your existing emails.  You will also see (2) where you can create a new label on the spot -

Because these are labels (NOT folders), you can assign as many as you would like.  Once you have selected all the labels you wish to assign the email, click on Apply -

The email will now appear with the label next to the subject line -

If you do not want the email to stay in your Inbox, you can select the "folder" icon next to the label icon.  This will allow you to assign one or more labels to the email, AND at the same time remove the Inbox label so it no longer shows up in your Inbox - 
The list of labels should look familiar - it is exactly the same, it just …

Google Mail - Adding a Person to Your Email Contacts

There are 2 ways to have people you email (or that email you) added to your email contacts list. 

If you wish for contacts to automatically be added,  you can go into your Google Mail settings and under General, find this option down the page just above the Signature area -

If you prefer to add them manually, when in an email of someone you wish to add to your contacts, click on the More menu (stacked 3 dots) on the right side of the email -
 Select to Add the person to Contacts list - the 5th item down the menu -

That's it!  Going forward that person's email will show up as part of an auto-fill when typing their name.

Google Mail - Create an Event from an Email


There are many time I get an email that I want to make into an event on my calendar - both to make sure I block out the time, and to move the information out of an email in my inbox into the event.

There is a feature called "Create event" that let's you do this - it is available in the More options when you are viewing the message.

Once you select create event, Google opens up a new window, loads your calendar, and creates an event with the message subject as the name of the event, and the body of the message as the description within the event:
You are then able to edit the date/time and other information as needed to finish creating the event.

One adds everyone that was part of the message to the Guest list (see above in red box), so unless you want it to be a group event you will need to click the x next to everyone's name but yours.

Google Mail - Add Email to Task List

If you use the tasks list to help keep track of what you need to do, making a task from an email is an easy "task" to do. 

Here is how to add an email to your task list.

When in the email, you can either
-go to the More Menu (3 stacked dots) at the top above the email and select Add to Tasks OR

-use the keyboard shortcut of Shift + t
Either method will automatically create a task. This will open up your task list on the right side of you screen:

When you mouse over the task it created, you will see an pencil that can be clicked on to edit the task:

When editing, you can edit/see all the following:

The title of the taskDetails you want to add to the taskWhich task list it is part ofDate/time of task (will add to calendar)SubtasksDirect link to the email used to create the task - so you can reference it

Google Mail - Marking Email as Read or Unread

There are many ways to mark emails as read or unread.  (Q: What is the difference between read or unread emails?  Unread emails are bolded so they stand out.)  You can use any of these methods to change the state of any email.

If you have the "Hover" turned on in your settings, when you hover over an email that is in the main window some icons appear to the right side.  The third icon will change the state of the email - closed envelope to change to unread:

Or open envelope to change to read:

At any time, if you check next to one or more emails (if mass changing them) you can go to the top More menu (3 stacked dots) and change from the current state to unread or read:

When inside a message you can click on the More menu (3 stacked dots) found on the upper right side of the email underneath the print icon to change it between read and unread:

Finally, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

Google Mail - Understanding & Creating Labels

One of the hardest concepts when transitioning people to Google Mail from a software-based email application is the idea that all mail is "in" one location.  In thinking of email in a traditional sense (like snail mail), we think of sorting it "to" locations.  It is in the inbox, in the trash, in a folder, etc.

When using Google Mail in the web, all your mail is in one location (I think of it as being a junk room full of my email).  Instead of organizing the emails "into" folders, we actually are tagging emails to make them easier to find (think of it as putting stickie notes on them).  This gives us great flexibility as emails can have multiple stickie notes on them - and I do not have to remember "where" I put them!  An example - an email in my inbox has a tag of "unread" (which makes it bold) and Inbox (so it appears when I click on Inbox).

This brings us to labels - these are the tags we want to create and assign to our emails.  An…