Manipulatives with Google Draw

Google Draw can be used by teachers to demonstrate concepts or used by students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts.  Moved objects around, combined, shapes, drawn on objects or set they off to the side for future use. Imagine projecting a Google Draw document to teach place value, geography or DNA splicing.

If you want to create your own Google Draw document, you’ll find Google Draw under the New button upper-left in Google Drive.

Open a blank Google Draw document. Click on the Shapes menu (square and circle) or the line menu to draw your shapes. Create a screen that teaches a concept using digital manipulatives. The manipulatives may be geometric shapes, objects (e.g., animals), maps, numbers or a combination of these. If you want to do a language lesson, you can make manipulatives that are letters or words: “Which letter is missing in the word D_G? E R C L O” then have letter objects below that are moved into place.

Here’s an example by Danebo teacher Torie Meyer:

Google specialist Eric Curts has a Google document “Teaching Math with Google Draw” that shows some examples of how you can use Google Draw as a math tool.

Check out Eric’s Google Draw video, “Teaching Math with Google Draw“. This is 69 minutes long, but you don’t need to watch it all. Just watch enough to get an idea of how you can use Google Draw with math or other content areas.

Note: You can save shapes, words, images, etc., to the left or right of the drawing to be added as you need them during a lesson where you are presenting to students.

Introducing Google Team Drives

One of the challenges of using Google Suite is keeping your documents and shared documents organized for easy access. Your Google Suite Drive can quickly become a jumble of folders and documents. Finding things can be time-consuming and annoying.

To help us keep our shared documents within easy reach, Google has introduced Team Drives. Team Drives work like My Drive with one big exception:  A Team Drive is shared by anyone you add to the team. So, for example, you might create a Team Drive for your grade level colleagues called “4th Grade Teachers.” By default everyone you add to the team has full access to all the documents that are shared to the Team Drive. You can, however, limit access just like you limit access to a shared document.

The beauty of Team Drives is how the content is organized. With Team Drives all the files in the drive are owned by the Team, not individuals. So, should someone leave the team or even the district, the documents she contributed still stay in the Team Drive folder.

To create a Team Drive, go to your Bethel Google Drive and right click on Team Drives in the upper-left and select “New Team Drive” or just click on “New” just above Team Drives. You can then add members to your team just like you share a document with other users.

You can create documents inside Team Drive or simply drag existing documents in your My Drive folder to the appropriate Team Drive folder.

For a more detailed explanation of how Team Drives works, watch this 4 minute video from Google.

Have questions or comments? Add them below.

Add Spark to Student Presentations

Welcome Meadow View teacher and guest writer Rose Peck!

By Rose Peck

My language arts classes recently used the spark.adobe online graphic design app to create “book trailers” as a book report project. This is the best free option I have found to help students quickly make successful videos. We used our Chromebooks and students needed very little guidance as the app is fairly intuitive and has good tutorials.

The video animations can be used in place of slideshows and have the option to add music. Students were very proud of their finished products!

Other offerings from spark.adobe are social graphics and web stories. Here are some Spark resources:

Welcome to Adobe Spark
Cnet Review of Spark
Educators’ Guide to Adobe Spark


Basic Technology Skills Survey

Here are the March 2017 results of the Basic Technology Skills Survey completed by Prairie Mountain licensed staff.

Prairie Mountain teachers, as a group, show excellent technology skills. Out of a total possible score of 168, scores ranged from 85 to 164 with a mean score of 133 and a median score of 139. These will be interesting numbers when we gather data from other schools, but they don’t give us much direction.

What is a bit more interesting is looking at the responses to specific questions. Here are some examples that show PM staff technology strengths and also some areas where we’ve not done a very good job of training staff. Continue reading “Basic Technology Skills Survey”

Using Google Forms to Check It Out

Google Apps for Education continues to add features that help classroom teachers. Here Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers shows you how to use a Google Forms Add-on called “Check It Out”. Creating a Google Form with this Add-on gives you the ability to have students, staff or parents check out resources and check them back while keeping all things organized in a Google spreadsheet. Very clever. Continue reading “Using Google Forms to Check It Out”

Adding Your Picture to Your Google Account

When you login to your Google account, you’ll see a logo in the upper right-hand corner. Unless you’ve changed that image, it will be the first letter of your first name, “T” in the Test Student’s case. If you are viewing a document at the same time as other users, you’ll see a string of such images indicating who is viewing the document. But in a meeting of more than 5 people, this can be confusing: T, B, R, L, T, D and L might not be very helpful.

You can replace the letter with your mugshot so people can clearly identify who you are and who wrote that so very clever tongue-in-check comment about punctuation!.?* I’d be happy to send you a copy of your mugshot we use for your email. Continue reading “Adding Your Picture to Your Google Account”

Google Speaks Up with Voice Typing

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 10.57.27 AMTwenty years ago I remember telling a friend that in just a couple years computers won’t need keyboards.It has taken a long time for this to happen, much longer than I had naively suggested. But now it seems like we really might be there.

Last fall Google introduced Voice Typing. Voice Typing allows you to speak into your computer and see the results appear in your Google document. I’m recording this blog post right now by using Voice Typing and a Google Doc. It works with multiple languages including Spanish. También funciona con múltiples idiomas, incluyendo español. (See full translation here.) Continue reading “Google Speaks Up with Voice Typing”

Creating Animated Movies with an iPad

4 year old Theo creates his first animated movie.

The iPad and animation are made for each other. Long gone are the days of video cameras or, gasp, 8 mm movies. With the iPad and the free app Lego Movie Maker, anyone can be the next animation sensation. Here are a few things to know before you start.

Creating animation is a learned skill. Helping students understand how it all works is critical to successfully creating animated movies. Teachers or parents can help children understand the basics by having them build simple animation devices like thaumatropes, flip cards, window shades, flipbooks and zoetropes. You’ll find how-to instructions for all of these here: Basic Animation. Continue reading “Creating Animated Movies with an iPad”

What’s New with Google Classroom

whatsnewAs with all things Google, change is always in the air and Google Classroom is no exception. Since the last BiTE post, Google has updated the Classroom grading process.

The Student Work Page allows you to follow students’ progress and, once an assignment is turned in, grade it and return it to the student. You can see the number of student who have submitted work and a list of students who have and have not turned in an assignment. You can even see thumbnails of a student’s work.

You can add private comments to a student’s work or a comment for  the whole class.

Grades can be exported as csv files and then opened in or added to a Google Sheet.

Here’s a What’s New in Google Classroom page to bookmark with more specific information and some step-by-steps.



Google’s Share to Classroom Extension

googleclassroomGoogle Classroom is a great online environment for you and your students. Whether you have Chromebooks in your classroom, iPads in your classroom, scheduled weekly lab time for students or students with home access to the Internet, Google Classroom can make your instructional technology more meaningful and easier to use. Here are two good places to start: Google Classroom 101 and Getting Started with Google Classroom

And now Google has added Classroom Sharing. Read this short article written by a teacher using this Chrome  extension: Continue reading “Google’s Share to Classroom Extension”