Empowering Our Students with the New Ohio Strategic Plan

via Ohio Department of Education, written by Jonathan Juravich.

Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education, Each Child, Our Future, specifically speaks to what teachers already know — that each and every student in our classrooms is important and valuable. Their individual success is our priority. It is our role as educators to be sure they are continually challenged, prepared and empowered. This is what encourages me about the new strategic plan — a plan that supports and highlights the excellent work already happening in countless classrooms throughout our state. Continue reading “Empowering Our Students with the New Ohio Strategic Plan”

Using Google Slides to tell a “Story!”

It is not uncommon to hear a student ask a friend, “Did you see my story last night?” Chances are, they are not talking about a published book of their life. Rather they are likely referring to their Snapchat or Instagram story in which they posted pictures and captions to let others in on their actions and thoughts. So, why not use this in the classroom?

By simply adjusting the page layout and adding a few text boxes, you can create templates in Google Slides that mirror those of the social media stories that students know so well.  While students read a text or learn about new lands, they can add to their stories to show important events and concepts rather than just adding the information to a traditional slideshow.

Below are just a few ways this could be used in classrooms:

ELA: Have students assume the role of a character and “snap” or add to their “Insta-story” during conflicts, important plot events, or to show a lesson learned. Students can then comment and hashtag to show the feelings of the character during this event.

Social Studies: While learning about an ancient civilization or exploration of a new land, students can travel back in time to add to their stories to show and describe the battles, discoveries, architecture, or roles of the people.

Math: Students can personify a mathematical operation (+,-, x, ÷) and create a story in their perspective.  Examples: Division is always separating people/things, addition can’t get enough, etc.  Comments and hashtags can be used to really show the amount of work these operations go through daily.

Science: Students can create a story to show the scientific method of a lab that includes hashtags to show their understanding (or modifications made) of each step.

Music/Band/Choir: Students can create a story from the perspective of a composer or songwriter that shows the steps of the composition process. To take it a step further, students could add real videos to show how this is not a one-step process.

Art: Students could create a story of a gallery walk in which they add pictures and captions of different art movements or of a specific artist.

Living Skills: Students can create a story to show the steps of cooking a dish or meal.  Students would start with images to show the planning/shopping stage all the way to the finished product!

There are so many ways the format of social media stories can be added into all classes to show understanding of a concept. Rather than assigning students to one more traditional slideshow, why not give them the opportunity to show their creative side in a “story?”


And, I promise they are very enjoyable to grade!

Read&Write Reads PDFs

Maybe you’ve been using Read&Write since last February. Maybe you’re just picking up steam with Read&Write this school year. But you might have noticed that some PDFs you scan in don’t read with Read&Write. That’s because the optical character recognition (OCR) isn’t just right. But it’s an easy fix! Follow the steps below to get the best results:

  1. When scanning in a document from the school copiers, click “Scan and Send”
  2. On the right-hand side, select “PDF (compact)”
  3. Select OCR (Text Searchable)
  4. Click OK
  5. Now scan the document and send to yourself!

Once you’ve received the email, add the document to your Drive and post it for your students to use! For best use, students should download the PDF Reader extension.

On the students’ end, they will open the PDF in a new window (screenshot below). Then they’ll select “Open With” at the top of the screen and select Read&Write with Google Chrome.

save image

I know that seems like a lot of steps, but once it’s habit I hope it’ll be very easy. Stay tuned here for more information about Read&Write as we plan for District PD on the topic!

Want more help on getting the best results reading a PDF? Check out the link here.

Want help with tech coaches Dan or Molly? Sign up for an appointment!

Hanging Out with an Artist in 2nd Grade

2nd grade students chat with artist

When Amy Eibler,  2nd grade teacher at SES, wanted to teach her students about critical thinking, she turned to apples.

Mrs. Eibler’s students studied apples to attempt to look at them differently. Over the course of the first few weeks of school, her class studied different artists who create with different perspectives. Then she asked her students to draw an apple from the perspective of that artist. They drew Picasso apples, Monet apples, Matisse apples, and Kandinsky apples. Mrs. Eibler wanted to teach her class that there are a lot of unique ways to solve a problem, just like there are a lot of unique ways to look at an apple.

To cap off her study of apples and perspective, she asked her friend, artist Beck Seashols to video in her class to talk about art with her students. Mrs. Eibler and a technology coach used her document camera and Google Hangouts to meet with the artist, who lives in Virginia. The students met with the artist for about 30 minutes, where they were able to see some of her art and ask questions about being an artist.

Mrs. Eibler hopes to reference this lesson throughout the school year.  She hopes that students will remember the apples when they have to solve a complex math problem or interpret the meaning in a story. This lesson on critical thinking and problem solving was a great way to encourage students to reach out of their comfort zones and think abstractly.

2nd grade students chat with an artist

Do you want some help integrating technology in your classroom? Reach out to Dan Stitzel or Molly Klodor or sign up for us to come to you!

Improving Communication with Guardian Summaries

google classroom setup flyer

The  year is underway and you’ve set up your Google Classroom. That’s great! Now it’s time to take it to the next level. While teachers and students have access to Google Classroom, parents do not. Give parents and guardians access to Google Classroom in a few quick steps!

  1. In Google Classroom, select the People tab
  2. Next to each student, add the guardian’s email address. You can find the addresses in TAC
  3. Click Invite

That’s it! Now parents can receive daily or weekly summaries of their student’s work in ALL of their classes! And if a guardian has more than one student, the guardian will receive one email with all of their information. Parents can see their student’s missing work, any upcoming assignments, and the announcements you make. It’s a great way to stay connected!

Check out this flyer you can share with parents to help them get started:

google classroom setup flyer

Use Google Docs to Support ESL and ELL Students

I was recently having a conversation with a friend who has a student that just moved to The United States from a Spanish speaking country. As I listened to my friend tell me how they were copying and pasting worksheets and documents (line-by-line) into Google Translator to help this student, I almost feared to tell them the following statement: You can translate an ENTIRE document in Google Docs with just six simple clicks of a mouse.  Here’s how…

Click 1: Open the document you want to translate.

Click 2: “Tools”

Click 3: “Translate document…”

Click 4: “Choose a language”

Click 5: The language you are translating the document to.

Click 6: “Translate”

After the final click, a new document will open with your original document completely translated!

¡Espero que esto ayude!