Choices, Choices, Choices

We’ve all been there. We need to make a selection only to realize our choice is no longer available. Devastating! Or, if we ask students to select a research topic only to discover, most students chose the same issue. Now you are grading 20+ research papers on Sir Winston Churchill. [sigh!]

Google Forms Choice Eliminator 2 add-on enables you to select a maximum number each choice can be selected. For example, if you are a party planner for staff potlucks, you will want to create a form listing food items in a dropdown question: desserts, utensils, napkins, desserts, side dishes, main dishes, drinks, and did I mention desserts? Using the Choice Eliminator 2 add-on, you will establish the maximum number of side dishes, main dishes, and desserts. The Choice Eliminator 2 add-on is also a fantastic tool for scheduling appointments, meetings, and evaluations. read more

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Kami Assignments in Google Classroom

In the past few months I have been doing a lot of training sessions in schools on the Kami tool. Some schools have adopted Kami as their distance learning tool of choice.

Kami is a digital classroom app that allows you to transform any existing document into an interactive learning experience.  Students can use the built in tools to write over the top of (annotate) documents that you share with them in google classroom.

The Kami website is located at kamihq.com

To get your students started with using Kami will depend on if you have the free or the paid version. I will describe the process for the free version and make mention of what the paid version brings to the table at the end.

At the heart of the Kami experience is the Kami Chrome Extension which can be added by going to the Chrome Web Store. School managed chromebooks may restrict this feature so your tech department may have to add the Kami app to the whitelist or push it out to student chromebooks.

Once installed the Kami extension will detect when you have a PDF open for preview in Google Classroom or Google Drive. A blue Kami icon will appear in the top right corner.

Alternatively you can use the open in menu and choose Annotate with Kami.

The first time you connect your account to Kami it will ask a bunch of questions as it gains access to your Google Drive so it can make changes to your PDF (the annotations) and save them to your Drive. Younger students will need help from the teacher to complete this first login.

Kami loads into a screen with a blue menu bar at the top and a black toolbar down the left side. The tools are clearly marked and the ones you will use the most include:

Select (arrow) 

Use this to select text boxes and other objects you add to the annotation.

Text Box (T icon)

Use this to create a text box to type over your document.

Drawing (paintbrush)

Use this for freehand drawings.

Eraser (eraser icon)

Remove annotations and drawings from the document.

Students will draw over the top of the PDF you share with them and when they are finished they use the Save Now button to save changes to Drive.
Once complete they close the Kami window and they will return to the PDF preview window.

The main difference between the free and paid version is in Google Classroom integration. In the free version, as a teacher you create a regular assignment for your students and share the PDF (make a copy for each student). Students open the PDF as described above, annotate and use the Save Now button to save changes.

In the paid version teachers will have a new Kami Assignment option in the create menu in Classroom. Students will have a Turn In button that lets them submit their assignment without having to return to Classroom. (Nice because turning in the assignment is something easy to forget).

Kami is worth a look if you need a way to put your worksheets into assignments for remote learning.

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Make Google Classroom Friendlier for Littles with Symbols

I have been doing a lot of work with younger students and their teachers in the last few months and one thing that has become apparent is that Google Classroom is not an easy tool to teach to Kindergarten students! Difficult but not impossible! I have been musing as to how one could make it easier for younger students to use.

Last week at a teacher inservice at Swanton, I came upon a solution from a colleague (Julie LaPoint) who has started using a website called coolsymbol.com to add text to her Google Classroom. read more

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Easily Organize Your Apps Launcher

It is so frustrating when you click on your Apps launcher, or waffle menu, and you have to scroll down forever to find Google Classroom, or even Jamboard. An easy fix is to just bookmark all your favorite apps to your toolbar, but sometimes you want to open them quickly from your Apps Launcher, too!

You used to have to install an extension to customize your Apps Launcher. Now you can reorder them without anything extra.

Just click on your Apps Launcher (waffle) to open it. Then click and hold down any app icon in your launcher and drag it to where you want it. Put all your favorites at the top for easy access.  read more

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Immersive Reader is Everywhere!

Many of us suffer through the experience of reading large amounts of text online. Our students are asked to read increasing amounts of information online and for the 1 in 5 of them that has dyslexia the problem is even more apparent

 I am excited to share that the Immersive Reader tool developed by Microsoft is now available in Google Chrome on any web page.

So what is Immersive reader? It is a technology that was developed by Microsoft as one of the views that can be used when editing a Microsoft word document. What makes it so much more useful is that Microsoft has made the technology available for other platforms to use in a variety of ways.  read more

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