Spring Cleaning for Your Google Classroom 🧹

It’s hard to believe that we are almost to the end of another school year! Before we get to this week’s Tech Tip, I want to give a quick shout out to all you teachers and staff for all your hard work this year. You have gone above and beyond in this strange year. YOU ROCK! 🤘

(Please take some time to relax and recharge this summer!)

As we head into spring and the end of the academic year, I always end up thinking about spring cleaning. In addition to washing windows, decluttering and filing, you can also spring clean your digital world as well. read more

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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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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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5 Google Classroom Best Practices

As we enter our 5th week of working from home / teaching from home, I wanted to take a few moments to remind teachers of 5 things that might make your life a bit easier when using Google Classroom as the information hub for you at home learners.

Turn off Classwork on the Stream Notifications  
Your students will find it easier to find your assignments if you have them organized by topic on the classwork page. If you are posting only announcements in the stream your students will find it easier to find them.

Click on the gear (top right in classroom) and set Classwork on the stream to “Hide Notifications” read more

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New Google Classroom Features

When I opened up my Google Classroom to create a new assignment today, I noticed a couple of changes that I wanted to share with you.

First, the Assignment screen has a new layout. The title and directions are where they used to be, but now all of the options for the assignment are gathered in a sidebar on the right. 

I love how all these options are in one place so that you don’t miss any of them!

You can still assign to multiple classes and students, set a point value, due date and topic. There are a couple of new options there as well. You can now create and use Rubrics within Google Classroom. Rubrics can be scored or unscored. If a rubric is scored, students see their scores when you return their assignments. A future Tech Tip will showcase this feature. read more

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