Monthly Archives: October 2015

Reaching Redefinition

The SAMR model, developed by Rueban Puentedura, provides a guide for measuring technology integration. It is not meant to be a ladder with the end goal of redefinition, but rather a guide to assist educators as the evaluate how technology use effects student outcomes. Explore Google Apps such as sites, slides, and docs to showcase student work. Additionally, learn about Chrome extensions and other apps that can turn any device into a rich suite of multi-media tool.

Express Creativity with Google Drawing

Google drawings is a fun app for budding Google students. For students who have played with apps like Kids Doodle getting around in Google Drawings will be fairly simple. The most challenging aspect might be the use of layers. Teaching students how the images are layered will prepare them for digital success!

Images in most graphic programs are layered. I think of it like how we get dressed. The first thing you put on is under everything else. Sometimes, what is underneath can show a little or a lot. In order to move the items in a graphics program you don’t have to remove everything else, you just have to change the “order.” It is important to teach the words “layers, arrange, and order.” These are important digital graphic vocabulary words that will enhance their vocabulary and their understanding. In order to change the order of layers, there are usually several approaches and some are device specific:

Mac book pro Laptop: Two finger click to pull up the menu with the ability to order the layers

Chromebook: two finger click

Mouse: right click

Windows Laptop: right click the bottom corner

By teaching young students about right click, they will begin to look for this in every platform and app they use.  This wonderful skill will open a world of potential for your students.

Get the most out of drawings

  1. Graphic Organizing

For younger students, it is best to create the organizer with instructions.  Here is a sample of a simple Venn Diagram. If using Google Classrooms, assign one to each student. They fill it in.  This will eliminate the crazy hand writing that students fill into a Venn Diagram. It also allows students to easily move one idea to another column if there is a mistake.

Think of all the graphic organizers printed and copied for students to help them organizing before they begin to write. Or think of the check lists that they must complete before an assignment can be turned in. If these are created in Google Drawings, students can actually check off the boxes, fill in any areas and it is all right there for their little fingers.

If using Google Classrooms or any other LMS like Schoology, place all necessary documents in the assignment area. Even if you use the same graphic organizer for every writing assignment, insert the information every time the assignment is given, just like a traditional piece of paper. The time it will take to do this is shorter than printing and coping.

  1. Annotate reading.

Scan a document to your google drive using the google drive app on any mobile device. Go into drawings and add the image to the drawing. Go to images, select Google Drive. Provide instructions on the drawing file for students to drawing boxes, circles, etc around the text to identify the focus for the lesson.


  1. Mind Mapping

Students create a map of for the beginning a story or an idea (see Here is a sample from a student when asked about food. From looking at the mind map, can you guess how the student was organizing the food?  This lead to a discussion to an organizational structure for the paper they were writing about food. Instead of a simple report, the paper began with a fictitious character and became an engaging story.


  1. Background for a Google Slide

Create an image to use as a back ground for a google presentation.  To do this, first create the image in drawing and rename it. Next download it to your computer as a .png. This is one of many image file types. Then open Google Presentations and begin a blank project. Right click on the first slide and choose Background from pop up menu. Next, click choose from the box next to image and upload the image from your downloads folder.

  1. Interactive Image

Teach students to create an interactive image using Google drawings. For example, suppose you want your students to create an interactive concept map about California. First, find an image of California on the web. Next have the students identify the locations in California they want to highlight. They can find more images to represent these locations and place them on top of the California map. Next, they can link these images to websites or even to a Google doc where they have written information about California.  Make your copy of the Interactive map of California. Keep in mind that when publishing Google drawings, you can send a link, but the drawing will download as a png, and the links will become inactive.

Follow me to receive the video showing how to create an interactive map.

Get started with Google Drawing

What is Google Classrooms?

Understanding the need for Google Classroom

As teachers and school districts attempt to deliver more digital content to students, they need a digital medium to do this. Unless you work with technology on a daily basis, you probably use email to send links to webpages (URLs) to friends. You might also use Facebook, Twitter or some other social media.  Just a few years ago, many tech savvy high school and junior high teachers were using Facebook to communicate with students. Companies such as Edmoto and Haiku became popular for communicating lessons and worksheets with students. This platform for organizing digital learning content is call a Learning Management System.  Online learning courses use these platforms, but as digital learning is become integrated into the regular school building, the need for these virtual LMSs are becoming a necessity. In the fall of 2014, Google launched Google Classroom as a means for teachers to share and collect assignments from students, thus joining the LMS competition.

What makes Google Classroom so appealing is the ease in which it integrates in the Google Apps for Education Suite that many schools have deployed.  If a school has deployed Google Apps for Education, they have supplied the students with Google accounts which provide access to Google Classroom and many other apps, such as Google Drive and Google Scholar. However, unlike some of the other apps, Google Classroom is only available to GAFE accounts with in a school’s domain.


Understanding Google Drive

If you are new to Google Drive, think of it as a hard drive in space (the cloud). Students and teachers can access their programs and files from any computer that is connected to the internet. This is very powerful for students because they can work on something at school and then continue to work on it at home. For busy families, this means students can complete work from just about anywhere that has internet access. Google drive allows users access to programs like docs (word processing), sheets (spreadsheets), slides (presentations) and drawings (color pad), just to name a few.


Google Drive – Google Classroom Connection

When Google classrooms is connected to a google account, a folder is created in Google Drive for that account. The folder will be called “Classroom.” Students can have many classes within Google Classrooms. Any “class” will have subfolders within the “Classroom” folder. When teachers create assignments in Google Classrooms, then can pass out “papers” to their students. These “papers” will have the students name on it and the file name the teacher has associated with it. When the student edits the paper, the teacher and the student can see the changes by going into the folders. All of this collaboration takes place because of Google’s ability to share files and folders.

This can provide a wonderful opportunity for teachers to provide clear and concise feedback to their students. Additionally, if parents are logging into their student’s accounts, they have access to their student’s work, teachers comments etc. No more lost assignments!

Parent Involvement

I recommend parents review their student’s accounts from time to time. They should explore creating files and using the apps alongside their students.  Students can create other folders outside of the “classroom” folder. These folders will not be a part of the shared system of folders and are private to the student, unless the student shares them. Take time to create and work with your student. Be a part of their technological learning.  Many parents say, “My kids are my tech teacher!” Studies show that the best learning comes when we teach. Let your kids be your teacher! Kids love it!


Why Google Classrooms?

Watch Google’s Promo Video for Classrooms


How to log into Google Classroom from Home