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!

How to Filter Emails from Google Classroom

Email overload from Google Classroom?

If you’re anything like us, you’re using Google Classroom for any and all student assignments, and likely, your inbox gets flooded with emails telling you that Susie turned in her essay, or Johnny answered a question.

But do you really need all those emails? The short answer is yes, but not in your inbox… So let’s clean them up, make a filter, and send the email notifications from Classroom to its own folder. So easy! Here’s how… Continue reading “How to Filter Emails from Google Classroom”

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!

Z Drive & Network Storage Update (August 2018)

Hello everyone!

THE BAD NEWS 🙁

The Z drive network storage disk died this summer and became unusable mid-July. We were unable to access (from our end) any of the data, and all the tricks we had up our sleeves didn’t work (which included techniques like putting the drive in the freezer to cool off for a bit…)

THE GOOD NEWS 🙂

We contracted with an outside vendor (more on that later, in a separate email, because we setup a partnership with them should you ever need data recovery services yourself) and they were able to recover 99% of the data for us! Continue reading “Z Drive & Network Storage Update (August 2018)”

“Keep” Yourself On Track

If you are like me and need to check tasks off to prove to yourself you are actually done, Google Keep is a great tool for you. If you are also like me and fill your planner and calendars with assignments, birthdays, family events, and everything else going on in your life, Google Keep is for you.

I recently started using Keep as a weekly checklist/ pacing guide to keep my classes on track.

It’s simple. I add a list for each week in the quarter. I then color-code the quarter so that I can easily find where I am in the year. From there, I add the tasks that need to be completed each week with my classes; this eliminates my mind from wandering to everything else going on in life! When I’m done with a task, I simply click the box to check it off! If I don’t get something  done that week, I simply move the task to the next week. If I think of something I forgot, I just add it!

This tool has really helped me stay on track.  Keep has also helped a few of my students who get overwhelmed balance workloads from multiple classes.

Simply look for the Keep icon in your Google waffle grid and start making lists!  I can truthfully say there are very few things that feel better at 3:00pm on a Friday than a Keep list that is completely checked off!

New Theme Options to Help Brand & Customize Your Google Forms

To help Google Forms users create more personalized surveys, feedback forms, quizzes, and more, Google is introducing new theme customization options.

Specifically, you can now choose colors and fonts to theme your form. This has been a top feature request from Google’s users, who have asked for more options to create forms that match their organization or team branding. They hope these options help you build forms that look and feel just right.

Continue reading “New Theme Options to Help Brand & Customize Your Google Forms”

A little test…

We’re testing some backend hacking of a google form with validation. Can you get tell us what the password is?