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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Creating a Welcome Slide for Online Classes

Some of my favorite teachers were the ones that stood outside their classroom door to greet each student. When teaching online, I like to start the Zoom session in a similar friendly fashion. I want to have a welcome slide appear when students enter the Zoom call that includes:

  • a countdown timer to the start of our class
  • a list of what students will need to be successful for the daily lesson
  • an inspirational quote (just because I love quotes!)
  • a joke/riddle 
  • play music – usually a tune from Springsteen or Billy Joel

The below image was created by using Google Slides. It may be fun to create a welcome slide to match your lesson theme or the season. Google Slides lends itself to creating an image because of the design elements included in the program. The welcome greeting may help set the tone for an enthusiastic discussion. #MakeLearningFun read more

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New Citation Tool Coming to Google Docs

Earlier in the summer we heard from Google that they were planning on adding a citation tool to Google Docs. Now those of us who have been using it for a while remember the Research tool which let you add citations to documents with footnotes. Google replaced the feature in 2016 with the Explore tool which includes the ability to add citations as well as pictures to items referenced in the document that were sourced online.

Fast forward to October 2020 and by now most of you will have a brand new citation tool available to you in Google Docs. This tool is much more robust and for all you language arts teachers, yes you can now use it to create proper bibliographies and not just footnote references. read more

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