Create an Animated Banner in Google Classroom

You can personalize your Google Classroom by creating an animated banner. The animation can represent the unit or theme your students are studying. The animation will add interest and excitement to your Classroom page.

I prefer using free software to create. By using Google Slides AND Screencastify, you can create an animated image, record the screen, and download it as a GIF. Upload the file to your Google Classroom theme. The banner image will be animated. Super cool!

Follow the below steps to create an animated Google Classroom banner:

Design Animation in Google Slides

  1. Open a new Google Slides presentation.

  2. Change the size of the slides by clicking on File => Page Setup => Select Custom => Enter 800 x 200 PIXELS.
  1. Design the background of the first slide or insert an image. Add an image that you plan to animate. This could be your Bitmoji. To duplicate the slide, click on the slide => Edit => Duplicate.

  2. Slightly move the image/Bitmoji. Duplicate the slide. Repeat these steps until your image has completed the movement.

Design Animation in Google Slides

  1. Click on File => Publish to the Web.

  1. Click on both boxes to place a checkmark. Then click on Publish.
  1. Copy the URL.
  1. Open a new Chrome browser tab. Paste the URL in the Omnibox (address bar). The 3000 number means 3000 milliseconds. To make the images move more quickly, enter a smaller amount (100, 150, 200) and press the enter/return key. If the motion is too fast, increase the number. If the action is too slow, decrease the number.

Record the Screen Using Screencastify

  1. Add the Screencastify Chrome extension from the Web Store.
  2. To record the tab that is playing your Google Slides presentation, click on the Screencastify extension button.
  1. Record the browser tab.
  1. Trim the video clip.
  2. Click on Download. Select Export Animated GIF.
  1. Move the slider so that the size is closest to 800×200.
Upload GIF to Google Classroom

  1. Open Google Classroom.
  2. Click on Upload Photo.
  1. Click on the Select Class Theme button.
  1. The animated GIF will appear as your Classroom banner.
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Keep Track of Changes in Google Sheets

This tip comes indirectly from the good folks at Seesaw who use the technique I am about to describe to keep their Seesaw Ambassadors up to date with the latest changes to the Seesaw Ambassador program which is tracked in a Google Sheets document.

A little known feature to most people is that you can enable notifications via email for any Google Sheets document. To enable the feature you use the Tools >> Notifications Rules

On the set notifications rules screen you need to choose to see when either a change is made to the form (by Editors of the sheet) or when a form is submitted (Linked Google Form). read more

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Google Meet has a new “green room” feature!

If you’ve been teaching remotely, you’ve probably done a bunch of Google Meets or Zoom calls. Have you ever wondered how you look and sound to your participants? This is now very easy, assuming you’re using Google Meet. Check out the new “green room” feature which makes it easier to check everything is working properly, and you look presentable, before you actually join a video meeting.

You can access this feature before joining a meeting. Just click the “Check your audio and video button.” read more

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Google Jamboard is my jam!

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Google Jamboard is a great tool to use for demonstrating a skill, flow chart, diagram, or any concept. Click on the plus sign tostart a new jam and name it.

Change your background and start drawing on your whiteboard. Note that you can even upload your own custom background. 

Jamboard even has sticky notes that you can use for text, and you can bring in your own images. The last tool is a laser which you can use to circle information, and then it disappears.   read more

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Google Sites has new text formatting!

Although Google Sites is very simple to learn and use, that simplicity comes at a price – limited customization. Until very recently, you used the Themes panel to choose the look of your site. You could choose a color option and font for the entire site, but that’s it.

No more! 🙌

Recall that when working with text you can choose from Normal text, Title, Heading, Subheading, and small to format your text boxes. That has not changed.

What has changed is that you can now choose text options just like you can in any other Google app. read more

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