Sunday, November 12, 2017

StackUp Chrome Extension: Fake News Warning, Web Page Reading Level, and More

I just recently learned about the StackUp Chrome Extension and highly recommend it for any teacher and/or student.  

Purpose of the Chrome Extension:
  • Tracks your online reading time

  • Notifies you of a possible fake news (misleading information) website through a 'Be a Critical Thinker' header pop-up. 
  • Measures the reading Level of any webpage

  • See the average reading level of the websites you visit (on your Dashboard)


  • Agree to the terms by clicking on 'Add extension'

  • Keep the extension enabled as you visit websites. 

After the extension is installed, use the American News website, which is known to be fake news, to view the 'Be a Critical Thinker' header. When the header appears on a website it doesn't identify the misleading information, but informs you as a reader to be mindful of the credibility of the source. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Checkmark Chrome Extension - Feedback Tool for Student Writing

Check out the new Checkmark Chrome extension from the EdTechTeam. It allows teachers, or peer editors, to provide feedback to a student's document, without telling them exactly how to change the writing. Instead it alerts the student of a potential error and puts the correction back on the student.

The Checkmark Chrome extension allows a teacher, or peer, to provide feedback to a student’s writing quickly and easily.

Access the above image here

Steps for using the extension:
  1. Install the Chrome extension
  2. Enable it on your bookmark bar  
  3. Open a document you have editing or commenting rights to
  4. Highlight a word, phrase, or sentence on the document
  5. Use the toolbar to provide appropriate feedback. 
  6. The feedback will be displayed as a comment for the students. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Secondary Math Card Sorts with Desmos

Card sorts are a good way for students to interact with their learning by grouping concepts that relate to one another, such as vocabulary, geometric figures, graphs, functions, etc. In addition to the sort, it is always best to add high-order questions to engage the students into explaining their reasoning for the groupings. 

Desmos, which started as an online graphing calculator, has advanced into interactive activities, with already made content for: conics, exponential, expressions, functions, inequalities, linear, linear systems, modeling, quadratics, and transformations. 

In the past, I have made all of my card sorts using Google Slides and I will continue for non-math related content. For math, however, I will use the card sorting feature in Desmos, which I learned about from an amazing colleague, Meghan Hill.

Here is a quick video from Desmos that shows how it works. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cropping YouTube (Or Google Drive) Videos in Google Slides

Google Slides has video options available, so when you put in a YouTube or Google Drive video you have the ability to have only a select portion of that video play. Here is a quick two minute tutorial on how to make it happen. 

Video was made no judgement. ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Exit Tickets

Exit tickets are a great way to discover how students are feeling about a lesson and what concepts they understand or still struggle understanding. Here are three different Google Form exit ticket templates you can use with your students. 

Template #1: Make a Copy Here

Template #2: Make a Copy Here

Template #3: Make a Copy Here

Monday, September 4, 2017

Creative Expression Ideas for Writing

Writing doesn't always mean full essays or research papers. In fact, writing should be taking place in all content areas and should surface in many different forms. Here are some fun creative expression ideas students can use to showcase their learning. 

If you have additional ideas, include them in the comments. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Graphic Organizers with Templates

There are various types of graphic organizers that students can and should be using to process information. The organizer teachers select, or students select themselves, depends on the type of processing expected to take place.  

Here is a non-exhaustive list of different graphic organizer types with templates you can make a copy of and use with students.

Type & Description
Possible uses
Organizer Templates
Brainstorming - processing information prior to or just after learning
  • identify prior knowledge
Cause and Effect -
shows the relationship between two or more ideas, concepts, topics, etc.
  • addressing cause and effect
  • analyze characters or events
  • analyze stories
  • identify the impact on an event or experiment.
Compare/Contrast - identify the similarities and differences between two or more concepts.
  • comparing and contrasting stories, characters, topics, concepts, terms, etc.
Concept Map - central idea with corresponding characteristics.
  • brainstorming
  • identifying relationships
  • making connections
Flow Diagram or Sequence Chart - shows a series of events or steps in an order.
  • outlining key events,
  • procedures
  • timelines

Main Idea and Details - shows relationship between major concept and supporting elements
  • identifying main central idea and supporting details of a reading or movie.
  • summarizing

Semantic - shows relationships between words and meanings - shows relationships between words and meanings
  • identifying meaning of a vocabulary word
  • connecting words, meanings, and visual representations.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Google Drive One-Pagers

Here is a collection of Google Drive one-pagers on Getting Started, Sharing Permissions, Organization, Team Drives, and Tips & Tricks. Feel free to download and share with others.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Must Have: Web of Trust (WOT) Chrome Extension for Website Reliability

With billions of websites out there it is impossible to know the reliability of a website upon first glance. As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that students are taking the time to check accuracy of a website and that can be time consuming. 

The Web of Trust (WOT) Chrome Extension does the first steps for us. I stumbled upon it a couple years ago and recommended it to everyone. Then one day it was gone. I have recently discovered it is back and I want to spread the word again. 

The extension allows everyday users to rate websites based on trustworthiness and child safety. Of course, you have to take in people's objectiveness and ability to accurately rate a website, but overall I have been very pleased. A green rating indicates the website is trustworthy, a yellow rating means to be cautious, and a red rating is danger. 

Here is the WOT extension in action after searching for 'Martin Luther King Jr.' You will notice that after the website heading there is a circle that shows you the rating. If you hover over the circle it will give you the rating based on trustworthiness and child safety. 

If you are shocked to see that the website is flagged as dangerous, you are not alone. I have used this website in many professional development sessions to demonstrate that you can't believe everything that you read. When you dig into the owner of the website (Stormfront) you discover that it is authored by a white supremacist (Don Black) whose agenda is to spread lies about Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition to the search warnings, you are prompted with a pop-up if you go to to a website deemed as 'dangerous.'  The pop-up shows the rating, identified issues with the website, as well as a link to see additional details and comments.

I highly encourage every teacher to share this resource with their students. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fun Formative (and Summative) Assessment Ideas

When someone says the word assessment the majority of educators and students automatically think 'test.' While tests are apart of assessments, it is only a small portion. There are multiple ways that we can assess students understanding that doesn't require multiple choice questions. After all, does multiple choice questions really tell us as educators whether a student truly understandings the content. 

Here are a couple ideas you can use to assess you students that will hopefully engage them more than a paper/pencil exam. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mash-Up: Keep + Docs = Instant Photo Transfer

One of the latest updates to Google documents is that you can now bring in your notes and lists from Google Keep. The part that has me the most excited is the ability to take a picture on your phone or tablet and instantly add it to a document, without having to upload it Drive first.  

For years, I have been taking pictures, especially during conferences, and uploading them to Drive in order to insert it into a document. This had been my number one way of taking notes during sessions. Inevitably, I miss something the presenter is saying or miss the opportunity to take another picture because am focused on the upload process. In addition, all of these pictures are taking up space on my phone, until I take the time to go delete them. 

With Google Keep, my life and phone storage just got a whole lot happier. In the Keep app, you can take a picture using your device and now it instantly will appear in the Keep sidebar of your Google document. Drag and drop the picture onto the document, and any title or note you included in Keep with be included on the document, with editing ability. Plus, these photos are stored in keep and not in your camera roll. #spacesaver 

In the Google Keep app:

In Google documents:

What a great way for students to quickly add images to their stories, to the notes they are taking, or lab reports they are composing. There are a ton of possibilities with this new update. Thanks Google!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tab to Search on Chrome

One of my favorite Chrome features is the ability to search websites directly from the omnibar with the 'tab to search' feature. 

Note: this feature only works if you have Google set as your default web browser. 

Chrome will automatically add this feature to any website it determines to have a search engine. To activate the feature, open a new tab and go to the website. Once you go, if Chrome recognizes it, the next time you go it will automatically add the 'tab to chrome' feature. 

Here is a list of some websites Chrome automatically detects and adds for you (remember you have to go to the website one time for the feature to be activated):
  • Facebook
  • Google Translate
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

I wish this would work for every website, but it currently does not. In some cases you are able to manually add a website to 'manage search engines' with a quick code. Please note, that this trick does not work for every site. 

Steps to manually add a website:

  1. In Chrome, go to Settings
  2. Click on 'manage search engines'
  3. Add information in all three fields
    • Box 1: Name of the website (ex: Google Drive)
    • Box 2: type in the keyword you use in the omnibar to activate the feature (ex: drive)
    • Box 3: In some cases, simple add ?s=%s after the websites search URL (ex:
  4. Click done

Here are a couple codes that don't follow the basic rule above. Copy and paste the URL into box 3 of the 'manage search engines' section.
  • Amazon: 
  • Expedia: 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Google Photos Animation

With Google Photos you can take a series of photos, minimum of two and maximum of fifty, and put them together to create an animation. 

Photos put together to create animation

Quick video showing you steps to create animation:

While this is great for sports type videos, you can also use this feature in the classroom. For example, you can capture a series of photos to create an animation of:

  • a science experiment
  • solving a math problem
  • creating a piece of artwork

The important part is remembering to take a photo after each step. 

Not using Google Photos, check out the help section