Friday, August 30, 2013

Remind101: A Great Tool to Reach Out to Students

Cell phones are everywhere. We are all connected in ways we never were before, as are our students. Many school fight with phones during class time, but that does not mean you shouldn't take advantage of them outside of school hours! Send text reminders, positive notes, and other messages right to your whole class, individual students, or parents with an easy web tool. The best part, they get a text from a web based program, and not your personal cell. Your number is never used as you use the site to generate messages. This is a great way to remind students and parents of upcoming events, tests, urgent messages, or anything else you may want to tell them. Watch the clips below to learn more and sign up!

Remind101 Presentation Deck from Remind101

A Remind101 Overview

Go to and get started!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Symbaloo: Visually Sharing Web Links

There are many web site sharing methods out there from emailing the link, to listing them on a web site, to services like Delicious, and others. I really like the way that Symbaloo shares web links. It takes the link and makes it a clickable "button". This allows a visual to be attached to the link. With a Symbaloo account you can create multiple shared collections of links as well. Students can easily find the link they need with the visual cues. I just embed a collection of links on my web site. This way any time I find a new site I want to add, it automatically gets updated on my site. This is an easy way to give students and parents access to links you use often. Below is the Symbaloo I use on my class web site for students. 

Go to to set up a free educator account and get sharing!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

ClassDojo: Presentation Materials

The post below comes from ClassDojo. Check out the downloadable ClassDojo Presentation Packs.


Beautiful, free training materials

Please allow images for this email
We love making things that make your life easier! So we made you some beautiful, free resources to help you:
  • Introduce ClassDojo at your school
  • Share ClassDojo with other teachers
  • Run amazing training or professional development sessions
Get them for free right now at You'll find:
  • Posters and handouts
  • Presentations
  • Training and professional development materials

Hope these brighten your day - and your professional development sessions too :)

The ClassDojo team

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gmail: How to Disable Inbox Tabs

Maybe I am in the minority on my feeling of the new Gmail Tabs in the Inbox, but I just don't like them. Maybe the "retro" look is just more comfortable for me. I just want to see all my email in one list and not have to shift through tabs. Call me old fashioned! I know how to separate my email out and read what I want to. I don't really need tabs doing the separating for me when I am trying to preview and read my email. The good news, there is a way to return all email into just 1 inbox if you are like me. Also, it is easy to bring back the tabs if the "newer is better" feeling begins to take hold! Check out the clip below!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ClassDojo: Classroom Decorations Pack

The following post is from ClassDojo about their Classroom Decorations Pack. Download it now and get Dojo-ing!


Beautiful decorations for your classroom

...and a chance to win a ClassDojo t-shirt!

Please allow images for this email

We know how time-consuming and expensive decorating your classroom for the new year can be, so we thought we'd help out - in two ways:

1. We've made you a special gift to decorate your classroom with: the ClassDojo Classroom Decoration Pack! It's full of beautiful free posters, room signs, images, and banners for your classroom - we even threw in a bathroom pass and hall pass! Get it here now →

2. We're running a classroom decoration contest to give you a chance to win a beautiful ClassDojo t-shirt! All you have to do is send a picture of your decorated classroom to by September 13th. Bonus points for creativity - we're excited to see what you come up with!

As always, if there's anything we can do to help, just let one of us know :)

The ClassDojo team

p.s. reminder: it's your last week to get your #ClassDojoLove entries in :)

Monday, August 19, 2013 How to add "I Can Statements" to Lessons

We are using as our lesson plan book in our K-5 classrooms. Overall, the teaching staff seems very pleased with this decision (especially with changes that are required with transparency of CCSS within all lesson plans in Michigan. has many advantages over a paper plan book. 

  • It is accessible anywhere there is internet connection
  • Administrators have direct access to plans (no emailing to find good observation times)
  • No need to print sub plans as there is a link for subs to view
  • Common Core State Standards are easily attached to every lesson
  • and...adding "I Can Statements" is pretty easy

Below is a quick video of how to create (yep, you do need to type them all in once) a list of your I Can Statements aligned with the CCSS.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

YouBlisher: An Interactive PDF Viewer

We are all using PDF files to share documents as it is the best format to share and view on any device. There is nothing special about PDF files in general. It is a great tool for sharing information with everyone, but let's face it....PDF files are still pretty dull. I ran across a great spin to the standard PDF. Youblisher allows teachers to upload, store, and share PDF files for FREE!  Youblisher is a site that you can upload any PDF to and it becomes a "live" file that is accessible online. It adds page turning animations and sounds for all those paper "purists" out there. I attached one below to show how it looks. Click on the image and it will take you to the "live" document.

My collection of Tech Tips from 2012-2013

Tech Tips 1-24 

Youblisher is a great PDF storage spot and allows easy sharing of PDF files. Check it out and set up a free account today!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Exit Slips: Quickly Assess Student Understanding

Exit slips are a great way to assess student understanding of a lesson taught. Teachers use these as informal assessments to adjust the next days lesson and get quick "Did They Get It?" data. There are many ways to do this. Below is a starter list of great exit slip tools. 

    • Google Forms
    • Classroom Clicker Systems
    • "Old school" paper slip

There is a great blog on Exit Slips written by:   

Monday, August 12, 2013

Google Drive: Comments on the iPad

Let's face it, the IOS version of Google Drive has not been the Holy Grail of Google Greatness. In addition, it has not been nearly as user-friendly as it is on the Android system. It has been lacking for some time, but there have been some great improvements over the past year (we finally got collaboration on Documents and Spreadsheets). Overall, function has been quite limited but is getting better. Thank goodness Google keeps updating the IOS Drive app. In the latest update, it now supports commenting. Now, you can comment on documents on your iPad just like in your browser on your computer. All the steps are the same (highlight text, create comments). We are getting closer to the web based version. My fingers are crossed that soon the mobile version is as great as the desktop web version.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Google Docs Cheat Sheet

Google Docs/Drive is a necessity in my classroom and with staff. It is the easiest way to create and share projects and files. Everyone does things their own way (many love icon shortcuts while others like to use keyboard shortcuts) to work in Drive. Below is a list of useful keyboard shortcuts to get around in Google Drive for Mac and Windows.

Below is a list of Mac Based Shortcuts: 

Below is a list of Windows Based Shortcuts: 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Google Forms: A Few Ways to Use

There are a lot of online survey tools out there, and many of them are free. They are used to collect information (data) from others and consolidate it in one place for ease of use. They can be delivered on web sites, links, and even QR codes. The most beneficial way to use a survey tool in your classroom might be to use it for a quick survey or an assessment, but there are many other uses for Google Forms. Below are just a few ways I have used Goggle Forms.


Survey your students before you start teaching a topic, and you can easily find out what they already know. Then survey them after the unit is finished and compare the data. With the pressure put on teachers to show growth, this is a great way to have your own personal set of data to show student growth.

Self Grading with Flubaroo
Using Google Forms is a great way to assess, but do we really want to spend all that time assessing AND grading? This is when a script add on called Flubaroo comes in. By adding this script to a Google Form, the students' responses are self graded. Now students can take a quiz and teachers get the scored quiz with very little work! 

Exit Ticket
A quick Google Form can be used after a lesson to see what the students got from that days' work. The teacher can quickly look at the data and know where to begin the next day. 

End of Year/Semester Feedback
I always do teacher evaluations with my students. The great thing about using Google Forms is that you get the information stored right in your Drive. No more paper evaluations to lose.

Keep Students Involved/Interested
Surveys can be used to help keep students involved and interested in class. try using Google Forms for class voting, quick tallies, or just for fun data. Although our days are busy enough, allowing a little fun data collecting can help keep students involved and participation in class.

Classroom Information
Learn more about your students by generating surveys to collect data on "Get to Know You", "What You Like", "Favorite This or That", and more. I create a form for "Meet Your Teacher" day and have the students fill it out. This data can then be used to create a class roster in a spreadsheet with names spelled correctly and important information I will need for the year (birthday, address, previous teacher, and any other information you may need throughout the year.

Google Forms Tutorial (created by Bob Deneau):

However you choose to use Google Forms in your classroom, you will find it addictive. It will become so easy to collect information and have it stored in one place that you will wonder how you functioned without them. With how easy and they are to create/administer and how well they work, Google Forms will be an essential tool in your teacher toolbox.