Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Simple Tools for Curating Resources

 

Curation is not just for those who manage museums. Curation is a great strategy for engaging students with content and empowering them to take charge of their learning. Traditionally, teachers have been a sage on the stage where students sit quietly and listen. When you curate resources, students can be empowered to dive into the content at their pace. Students become explorers of content, not just passive consumers. Curation allows you to do this all within in one stop shop.

Instead of having students struggle to keep up with your lecture on To Kill a Mockingbird, try curating excerpts of text, scholarly commentaries, movie video clips and more. Let students have the freedom to explore those resources at their pace and this will likely lead to more engagement and empowerment. Curating resources like this also lends itself towards increased engagement with the 4 C's, communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.

To get started with curation, take a look at some simple tools shared below.

Google Classroom

With curation, there is no need to find some fancy tool. If you're reading this blog, it's very likely you are already using Google Classroom. The link button on a Google Classroom assignment, material and or question allows you to quickly and easily curate resources.


When the student opens the assignment, they will see buttons that lead them to the resources you've created. Be sure to put detailed instructions.



Google Docs

If you haven't heard of Hyperdocs, click here to take a look. You won't be sorry. Hyperdocs are a lesson design strategy using Google Docs and embedded links. The links are curated resources and learning experiences. Students have a whole learning experience set up in a one stop shop. 

Getting started with curation with Google Docs is as simple as turning text into a hyperlink.


When students put their cursor over a hyperlink, a preview to the link appears.


Google Slides

In a very similar manner as Google Docs, you can curate with Google Slides. Any text, shape or image you add to a slide can be hyperlinked.


Like Google Docs, when you hover over an object on the slide that's been hyperlinked, a preview to the resource appears. 


Google Sites

Sites is a visually appealing way to curate student resources. You have more options as far as how the resources are presented. Resources such as Slides, Docs and YouTube videos are visible and viewable within the Site without having to follow a link. Clickable buttons are another option for inserting links. If you are looking for a dynamic user experience, Google Sites is the ticket.


Wakelet

Beyond the realm of Google Workspace, Wakelet has become a popular tool for curating resources. After signing up for Wakelet, you can create Collections. Collections allow you to curate almost any digital file type and they are easily shareable. 


Below you can see the different ways to add digital files to a Wakelet collection. You can paste a URL to a file, search your computers and much more.


Once a Collection is created, Wakelet allows you to customize the way the resources are presented. The Share button allows to quickly share the Collection on almost any platform. If you are using Google Classroom, the Share button allows you to copy a link that can be pasted into an Assignment or Material. 


If you are interested in learning more about Wakelet, click here to try their newly minted Wakelet Certification Course. It's self paced and will allow you to learn all the ways Wakelet can be used.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Teacher Gmail Gets Cluttered: Create Filter to Skip the Inbox

  

Email is the primary form of communication among educators these days. A common pain point most of us share is too many emails. While the majority of the messages we receive are important and need our attention, many are nice to have, but clutter the inbox. A cluttered inbox can make you miss important messages. 

In my role, I support multiple school sites and, each day, I receive "daily bulletin" emails from each. Daily bulletin emails are important, but usually don't require my immediate attention. Using filters in Gmail, I created a system where these messages bypass my inbox and go directly into a label (folder) for daily bulletins. I know if I ever need to see a current bulletin or one from the past, I can open my Bulletins label and find the message. This system is one way I keep my inbox decluttered.

Below is a screenshot of my work Gmail account. On the left you see a Bulletins label and on the right you see the messages filed in that label. Each message in this label has the word "Bulletin" in the subject line. These messages never once appeared in my inbox. They immediately were filed in the Bulletins label upon receipt. I know that if I ever need to go check a bulletin, I can find it in my Bulletins label.


Start by clicking the weird little control panel looking button at the far right of the search bar at the top of Gmail.


A dropdown menu will appear. In this menu, you have a plethora of options for which to filter your search of Gmail. You can filter by who sent it (From), Subject and much more. If you are looking to filter emails from a certain edtech coach, this is the tip for you. In the example below, I chose to create a filter for emails with the Subject "Bulletin". Any email with the word "Bulletin" in the subject line will be put into this label.


After clicking Create filter, in the next pop up, you will set some more rules for your filter. To bypass your inbox and be placed into a label, first check the box for Skip the inbox (Archive it). Next, check the box for Apply the label. This option will let you select which label the message will be sent directly to. If you haven't created the label yet, you have the option to create a new label here. 


Creating filters for messages to skip the inbox is one way to declutter your inbox. You can create these for virtually any type of message you get often. F what will you create a skip the inbox filter?

Better Support English Learners: Two Easier Ways To Translate Text in Google Docs

 

Translating text to help English learners better access content can be a struggle if you don't speak the other language or have to deal with a clunky translation workflow. I speak a bit of Spanish, but I'm not that good where I can quickly translate text I type in Google Docs. I don't like having to tab hop constantly to copy and paste translated text from Google Docs. It's not difficult, but it is annoying.

Check my two favorite ways to translate entire documents or pieces of text within Google Docs WITHOUT having to tab hop, copy and paste.


Did you know there is a translator built right into Google Docs? It's hiding in plain sight within the Tools tab. The Translate document option will create a separate copy of your document in your selected language. This makes it super easy to create separate, non-English versions of Google Docs for English learners. 


When using this feature, the pop up you see below will appear. Click the button you see circled to choose the language from a long list of languages. When you click the Translate button, a new Google Doc will appear in a new tab with all the text translated.


Your new Google Doc will say it's been translated in the the title. This title can be renamed.


To help with English learners' development with the English language, it's a great strategy for them to see text in their own language, side by side, with the same text in English. They can begin to see patterns and make connections between the two languages. If you don't want to create a completely separate version in a different language, the tip demonstrated below is for you.

Start by going to Add-ons in the Google Docs toolbar. In the dropdown menu, click Get add-ons.


A Google Workspace Marketplace window will pop up. In the search bar, type translate. The first search result is Docs Paragraph Translate. Click that one.


Click the Install button to add it to your list of Add-ons.




In the sample below, I created a T-Chart with English text in one column and Spanish in the other column. I selected the English language text and then opened the Docs Paragraph Translate Add-on. The Add-on opens as a menu on the right side of the screen. Since I selected the English language text, all I had to do is click the blue Translate button. Immediately, the Spanish translation appeared in the box below. From there, I clicked on the document (Spanish column) where I wanted the translated text to appear and then clicked the Insert into Doc button.


Immediately, the Spanish translation was inserted into the place on the Doc where I wanted it.


Whether you want an entire separate, translated version or to translate certain parts of a Google Doc, you don't need to constantly tab hopping to Google Translate and copying/pasting. You can accomplish your translation with fewer clicks and all within the same tab. How will you use these tips to make Google Docs content more accessible for English learners?

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Help English Learners with Translator Chrome Extension for FASTER Translation

 

Vocabulary is very important for all learners, English learners in particular. Translating vocabulary, instructions, etc. isn't difficult thanks to the magic of free online translators such as Google Translate. The issue with translation it can be cumbersome. I could create separate versions of Quizlet study sets, Quizizz quizzes, instructions, etc. in another language, but that is time consuming. 

To help with their development with the English language, I like to have definitions, instructions, etc. translated into home languages side by side. I want them to see it both languages at the same time. To accomplish this, in the past, I kept Google Translate open in a separate tab. Tab switching isn't hard, but it's annoying. I have also used the Google Translate Chrome Extension which allowed me to select text, right click and select Google Translate, but it opens Google Translate in a new tab. 

To streamline my workflow, I looked for an alternate to the Google Translate Chrome Extension and I found the Translator Extension. Click here to add it to Chrome. With this, when highlight the text I want to translate, an icon appears. I click it and a pop-up appears where I can immediately see my text translated. I click the copy button and add to my document. This allows me to stay in the same tab the entire time.

 

The example below is how I use it when I translate Quizlet definitions into Spanish, side by side with English. 


I start by adding the English definition. Next, I select the text and click the Translator icon that appears next to my text.


A pop up appears showing my text translated into Spanish. There is a copy button in the top left of the pop up.


With my copied Spanish text, I paste next to the English text.


Not having to switch tabs makes translating much easier and less cumbersome. What are you looking to translate for English learners?

Friday, September 10, 2021

Archive Your Old Google Classrooms

 

As the years go by, the amount of Google Classrooms we create tend to accumulate. Archiving your old Google Classrooms are an easy thing to forget. If this is the case, when you go to the Google Classroom homepage, you will see a clutter of old Classrooms. This can be annoying. 

As we transition to Aeries, there are many bumps in the road. One bump I've encountered deals with importing scores from Google Classroom to Aeries Gradebook. When you import a single assignment the first time, a menu appears for you to choose the Classroom from which to pull the scores. If you haven't archived your old Classrooms, they will all appear in the menu and make it difficult to find the current Classroom you are using. This may lead to a problem where you choose the wrong Classroom and cannot find the corresponding assignment.

Clean up your Google Classroom homepage by archiving old Classrooms. Start by going to the Google Classroom homepage and hovering your cursor over an old Classroom. Click the three dots in the top right corner of the Classroom and select Archive.


If you ever need to resurrect an old Classroom, you can restore from the archive.


In the archive, follow the same steps as you would to archive and old class, but this time, click Restore.


With old Classrooms archived, it's much easier when importing scores into Aeries.


Since I've archived my old Classrooms, I have a short list of Classrooms from which to choose. If I haven't archived my old Classrooms, this list would be much longer and the import process would be more difficult.


I highly encourage you to take the time to go back and archive old Classrooms. If there are old assignments you still want to reuse, think of creating a "Class Shell" and reusing those old assignments in the Shell for future use. Doing this will save those "oldie, but goodie" assignments and allow you to archive old Classrooms. Click here to read more about creating a "Class Shell".










Increase Engagement with Flipgrid......Get Certified Too!

 


For kids these days, apps like TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube Shorts are all the rage. Students engage with these apps voluntarily. If you're looking to leverage the engagement students have with those apps with what you're teaching, give Flipgrid a whirl. The aforementioned apps incorporate video, filters, etc. Flipgrid is a great way to leverage those things with your students.

If you are reading this, it's very likely you're familiar with the basics of Flipgrid. If you're looking to up your Flipgrid game and connect with likeminded educators, check out Flipgrid's Certification program. Flipgrid offers three certification levels. Level 1 is called Certified Educator. Level 2 is called Certified Expert. Level 3 is called #GridGuide. Click here to begin your journey.

I, myself, recently completed the Level 1 Certification and am raring to have a go at Level 2. To get started with Level 1, Microsoft has created user friendly training course that will give you many ideas for how to use Flipgrid. Upon completion, you'll receive a badge like the one you see above.

For me, Flipgrid has been an invaluable tool for helping to empower and engage my English learners. It really helps increasing opportunities for listening and speaking. How will you use Flipgrid to increase engagement? 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Get Started with "Choose Your Own Adventure" Stories Using Google Forms

Just the other day, I wrote a blog post on how to get started with "Choose Your Own Adventure" Stories using Google Slides. It's a great way to give multiple perspectives when students read as well as inject a little bit of voice and choice. If you're a fan of Google Forms, you can create these types of experiences with Forms too. One advantage Forms has over Slides is ability to track accountability. When students complete or submit, there is a record of them reading and which path they chose. You could have kids read all versions and do a comparison of the characters' journeys. The possibilities abound.

Take a look at the screenshots below to get started with the bare bones basics of creating "Choose Your Own Adventure" Stories with Google Forms.

The example below gives three options for students to choose. Jack and Jill went up the hill, but there are three forks in the road. They can fetch a pail of water, get a better view of the city or plant an oak tree. For this example, I typed the opening of the story as a multiple choice question and each option was a choice.


After putting the three options, I added a section for each option. Click the Add Section button (bottom right of the screenshot) to add sections for each option.


Below you can see the sections for each of the options kids can choose.


Next, I added a title and description to each section. Click the button you see circled (on the right of the screenshot) to add a title and description. In the title and description is where I typed a version of the story. Repeat this process for each section. For this example, I set each section or story version to dovetail at the same conclusion. At the bottom of the screenshot, you have a dropdown menu where you direct readers where to go next in the story after reading their chosen section. In this case, I directed them (in all three options) to go the end.


Below you can see the options of where to direct readers after reading a section.


Now we need to circle back to the original fork in the road and set it so each choice directs the reader to its respective version of the story. In the bottom right corner of the question, click the three dots.


In the menu that appears, select Go to section based answer.


You will see a "Continue to next section" button appear next to each option. 


Click each "Continue to next section" button to determine which section the reader will go to based on their choice. Repeat this for each choice.


Below is what it looks like once you've set the destination for each choice.


The example shown above is a very basic way to get started. The story was not overly complicated. The more versions and or forks in the road you put will require more planning and sections. My advice is to start simple and slowly branch out to create more in-depth stories. The GIF below shows all three versions of the story shown in the screenshots.


How will you use "Choose Your Own Adventure" Stories? If you have any questions and would like a follow up, contact me via Gmail or Chat at ajuarez@cojusd.org.