Monday, April 3, 2017

Satellite imagery for topographic maps

Topographic maps online for science teachers

Did you know that you can access free topographic maps online that are searchable and interactive?  There are many out there, but I found one in particular that had an easy interface and good imaging.  Here's the link:

The site is awesome because you can zoom in to see more detail on the map, search for a location, obtain GPS coordinates, add shapes on the map and so much more. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The citation tool in Docs is back!!

Citing resources found within the Explore (formerly Research) feature in Google Docs is back!! Read the announcement below. All of the feedback must have helped Google realize that it was a highly prized tool for schools. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stickers and badges via Flubaroo Grading?

Who doesn't love stickers and badges?

Did you know that Flubaroo recently released the ability to add stickers and badges in the graded assignments/assessments? 

There is a gallery of pre-made stickers or you can create your own.  

Once you grade your assessment, choose Share Grades.  In the pop-up window, choose Show Advanced Options the Setup Sticker.  In the pop-up window:

  • Check the box to include a sticker
  • Enter the student's percent score at or above which a sticker will be included.
  • Choose the sticker you'd like to send.
    Scroll left and right to find one you like, and then click it to select.
 If you want to upload your own stickers, click the link that asks Want to add more stickers? Click here.

To create your own stickers: 

Create a folder in Google Drive called: "Flubaroo - Stickers":

Set the permissions on the folder to "Anyone with the link can View", to ensure that stickers added to this folder will always work properly in Flubaroo.

Your images will show up now when you choose to add a sticker to an assignment.

When creating images for stickers & badges, use the following guidelines:
  • PNG or JPG format only
  • Image height: 100px to 200px (200px is ideal)
  • Image width: 100px to 300px
All images will be formatted to show as 200px high in emails and documents. So an image that already has a height of 200px is ideal to ensure the image looks its best.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Virtual Field Trips

Some days, I wish I taught elementary school.  It seems as though there are so many fun programs available to the elementary level compared to when I was in school.  They're also not as tightly bound to the time constraints that the secondary level is with our bell schedule.  Today, I was reminded of the resource, Learn Around the World that provides amazing interactive virtual field trips and global virtual guest speakers to the classroom. 

 For the month of November, the field trips vary from Indonesian Temples, Komodo Dragon National Park, to the Pilgrims of Plymouth, MA.  

One feature that I truly love, is the fact that the presentations are leveled:
GEOshow Jr. is for Grades K-4
GEOshow is for Grades 5-8.

They reserve a certain number of spots for participating classes to chat with and be on-camera with the hosts of the field trip. Others are viewers and cannot interact directly.

In addition to the field trip itself, the site offers pre-show tasks, lesson plans, coordination with grade level standards and checklists for the day of the trip.

Overall, the trips offer experiences that help to bring our curriculum to life and enrich the lives of our students that may never get to visit the locations selected. Students might also have the chance to interact with experts in the field, which helps with their public speaking skills and introduces them to various career opportunities.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

New Google Drive Update

Today, as I uploaded a file to my drive and noticed this new popup window:

Apparently, I had already uploaded this exact file to my drive but forgot about it.  Drive notified me that I already had a version of that file.  It now will add it as a new version instead of duplicating the file.  This is an interesting new feature.  However, we need to be careful when uploading files of the same name. Luckily, in your upload window, you can choose to "Keep as separate file" if you just accidentally named the file the same.  You could then go back and rename one of the files to avoid confusion.

Thanks Google!

Friday, October 7, 2016

YouTube shortened link "hack" to view full screen

Shorten YouTube URLs to view full screen without suggested videos
Perfect hack for teachers to avoid distractions

I learned a new hack today for YouTube that I just have to share and document to remind myself at a later date.  Do the suggested videos on the side or comments displaying in YouTube distract you when you click a link to show a video to your class?   Some of the videos are not always quite appropriate either which can be troubling.  Fear no more!

Use the following format to force the video to play full screen without comments, ads or suggested videos on the side.  No add-ons or extra sites to go to.
  Original long link:
  Shortened Link:

   What did I do?  Replace  watch?v= with EMBED/ 

I love the new hack and hope you do too!

Updates in GSuite - Oct. 2016

Google Apps for Education has a new name!  It's now called G Suite.   Sweet.

All puns aside, the google apps for education suite has gotten a ton of new updates for this fall.  I'll list the newest ones here.  

However, don't forget that in each of the google apps, you can click the training icon to get tutorials for all of the features.

Docs Updates
  • Table of contents feature now includes page numbers for organization.
    • Great for those long documents
    • Perfect for year long meeting logs to jump to sections
    • Perfect for students creating a digital portfolio to jump to each section.
  • Explore feature- used for Docs, Slides, and Sheets 
    • Slides: assist in formatting
    • Docs:  replaces the former "research" tool - web citation has been removed :(  Please use one of the google docs add-ons or extensions to asssist with bibliographic citations, such as Easy Bib.
    • Sheets: helps to create formulas for you more easily
Google Classroom
  • Add topics to the stream at any time
    • You can list all of your topics ahead of time so that whenever you post something to the stream you can just choose your topic.  No need to create them on the fly.  
    • Topics allow you to sort or filter the stream based on topic.  Perfect for teachers and students attempting to locate materials.
  • New Android feature: 
  • New iOS features