Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturdays - I know they can be kinda boring but...

I know Saturdays can be kinda boring. Just hanging around the house doing things like laundry and cleaning. What if I told you there was an event you could attend that was unlike anything you had ever been to. What if that event was also free. Free breakfast and free lunch!

We blogged about this event a while ago and thought now would be a good time to nudge you again. Sign up for edcampstl now!

This event mirrors life. You get out of it what you put in. I have attended every Edcampstl and I never leave empty handed. I usually leave with 6-10 golden ideas that forever change my professional life. Not joking at all.

Why not spend a few hours with us and see for yourself.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Embed an audio clip into a Google Form!

Are you looking to embed an audio clip into a Google Form? Below you will find a list of things you will need ready and a video to walk you through the process.


  • A single PowerPoint slide.
  • Movie Maker. (Already on your computer.)
  • A Google Form.

Watch this video for the steps to follow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Google Keep - An Idea

We have posted a few ways to use Google Keep. This post is how one 3rd grade class uses Keep during the writing process.

     One feature of Keep is your ability to change the color of each note. This is a very simple way for your writers to keep common ideas organized. While you can move your notes around on the screen the color coding helps the students key into what ideas and themes are related.
     Another organizational tip is to tag each note. You can click the hamburger icon in the upper left corner and select the tags you want to show. That way only those notes show. This makes the page very clean and easy to read.

What about those who create a ton of notes? At the very top of your screen there is a simple search bar. Using this will search through all of your notes and display any that contain the word(s) you are searching for.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Kinda like an ELMO but from anywhere in the room.

Picture this - you are in your room waaaay in the back and you want to share something to the projector. You could walk all the way up to your laptop and put whatever it is under the ELMO. That takes too long. To speed the whole process up you can use an app called Pushbullet.

Getting Started

Using Pushbullet

I opened the White House website on my phone and clicked the ice cream cone (three dots) in the upper right corner.

I then clicked Share and picked Pushbullet.

Click on Chrome and watch the website appear on your computer screen.

What else can it do?
Try the same thing with photos. It is a pretty cool idea to take a picture of something you see in a notebook, a book, or something a student is working on. With a simple click the whole class can now see it up on the projector.

I've see Paula Kuhl use this and it was like magic! I was reintroduced to this tool this weekend at Chromecamp. It was one of the best PD events I have been to in years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why can't I find certain files anymore in Google Drive?

I was asked a question last night and it really got me thinking. We used to have to really watch our H Drives (anyone still remember those?) and keep everything highly organized and weed out old files. I took a look at her Google Drive and noticed she had 9 gigs of files. I opened mine and I have 76 gigs! Those mean we both have files on top of files. Search through all of this is like looking for a needle in a needle stack, not an easy task.

I started looking around to find techniques for efficient searching Google Drive. Here is what I found.

I wanted to find all the docs that Doug owned. I typed this into the search bar: owner:dbarton

I know there was a doc created after a certain date. I used this to search: after:2015-01-03

About a year ago I created a document that talked about the Promethean software. I'm not sure what the document was called but I'm pretty sure I mentioned the word Promethean somewhere. All I did to find what I was looking for was to put quotes around the word Promethean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Seesaw - Did you see the update?

Make the work available to the world!

Are you looking for a way to share what your students are doing with Seesaw? You can push items to individual parents but sometimes you want to share things with other classrooms and the world. Follow the steps below to push select items to a public Seesaw page.

I logged in to my Seesaw account on my laptop and this is what appears in the upper right corner. Click on the globe icon to start the process.

All you need to do from here on out is follow the prompts. They are calling the public facing page a blog. Don't worry! Just put a link to this on your own blog, Facebook or website. That will make it simple for anyone to find your Seesaw stuff.

Feel free to read the pages that pop up. I just kept clicking on the links or buttons I saw. 

I would recommend putting some thought into this. Pick a name that really represents your class. 

Make a choice. Do you want it public or password protected? 

Click the blue link at the top to see your new page.

To post items to your blog/public page go back to your Seesaw feed. Look at the bottom right side of a post. Click the globe icon.

Click the green button to make it live on the web.

The post appears on the web exactly as it appears in your feed.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Why do I need to learn to spell? (More talking to your phone.)

Aidan and I were giving my wife a hard time about spelling. She was asking him to practice his words when we pushed back a little. Our point was with Google at our fingertip why did we have to memorize words?

I picked up my phone and asked it to spell a word.

Not only did it pull up the right word but it spelled it out loud for us. It actually spoke letter by letter. Very impressive!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Add a soundscapes to writing with Booktrack Classroom!

Creativity.  Expression.  Emotion.  Imagination.  Immersion...and sound effects.

What am I talking about?  Reading and writing, of course!

Did you say sound effects?  

Yes, I did.

Booktrack Classroom empowers students to add soundscapes to their stories or those from a free, classical ebook collection.  Highlighting text they would like to enhance, students insert layers of music, ambient sounds, and sound effects.  After publishing, readers can adjust the timing of the story's embedded soundscape to fit their reading speed.

The result is an immersive reading and writing experience that engages students deeply in their story. 

Check one out before reading on:

Teachers can create classes on Booktrack Classroom to manage and share student work.  Accounts are free and created with the push of a Google login button.  Published stories can be curated and searched for on the website or pushed out to students through Google Classroom.

If you are looking for a way to activate your students' creativity or engage them more deeply in reading and writing, give Booktrack Classroom a try.

and it can open websites for you! (on going series about talking to your phone)

A quick update on another voice command you can use.

I started with just saying Lindbergh Schools website. That resulted in a standard Google search results page. On a whim I just put the word open in front and magic happened!

This was the result. Very efficient.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Google Alerts - The news you want!

I can't tell you how many times I've "Googled" something.  I don't know how many times a day I do it, but I'm sure somebody at Google can.

I Google random stuff.  Cauliflower parsnip mash.  Donald Trump.  The lyrics to "Shake it off".

Some searches I do more often.  I like knowing when something good happens in the school district I work in.  I keep checking to see if the Rams have moved to LA yet.  

I bumped into Google Alerts and it's pretty awesome.  It's been around awhile, but if you don't know what it is, keep reading.

In a nutshell, Google Alerts watches the internet for you and reports back when it finds the latest on what you're looking for.

You can select filters.  "Hey, Google.  I want daily updates on my Rams from news organizations in the United States.  And only the best results.  Send them to me once a day.  Please."

How could your students use it?  How would you use it?  

What school is that? (Fun times talking to the phone.)

I was driving Sam to school the other day. We sat at a stop sign and across the street was Truman. On a whim I picked up my phone and asked what school is that. The results shocked Sam and I.

The phone knew where we were and answered the question accurately. It was pretty amazing. To top that we asked the phone to call them and it dialed Truman's number! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sometimes I think typing is so 2015.

I am kinda in love with talking to my phone. I don't mean talking on my phone because I really can't stand talking on it.

What do I mean? Picture this, it was like 8:50 PM (which is wicked late at night for me) and we had not eaten dinner yet. The first two place we tried had an hour wait. That was pretty frustrating. My wife was typing on her phone to find a restaurant nearby but I just asked my phone.

In seconds we found a place without a line. It was like a miracle!

What else can you ask your phone to do for you?

On the way to dropping the kids off at school I spoke into the phone and told it to play Chuck Mangione. Why Chuck? Just listen to that horn!

Other times I tell my phone to set an alarm, a timer, open a certain app and about a million other things. I use voice because clicking around on the phone to open an app just take way too long!

What are your favorite voice commands?

Seesaw - Summer 2018

This post was created to help guide our Seesaw session. Seesaw is a student-driven online portfolio which can also be used for parent c...