Monday, March 28, 2022

Translation in Google Docs Made Easy with Docs Paragraph Translate


Translation of text is one of the most basic ways we can begin to support English learners. When you don't speak another language, this can seem like a daunting task. Though not the most difficult thing in the world, opening Google Translate in another tab and hopping back and forth to copy and paste text is tedious and annoying. But what if you could translate targeted text from right within Google Docs? Would that be so much easier? Spoiler alert, the answer is yes and the Docs Paragraph Translate Add On in Google Docs is here to help.

Start by going to the Add-Ons tab in Google Docs, go to Get add-ons, search for Docs Paragraph Translate and install. Once installed, it'll appear in your Add-ons list as seen below.

After opening it, you can set it to Auto-detect the source language or set it exactly to the language you want. If your source language is English, Auto-detect will work fine. 

Set your target language for which you want to translate to. These settings are automatically saved so you don't have set them each time, unless your want a different language.

On your document, select the text you want to translate. With the Add-on open, click Translate.

Immediately, the translation of the selected text appears in the side panel. From there, click the part of the Doc where you'd like to put the translation.

Below, you can see the translation right beneath the text that was originally selected.

In my 17 years working with English learners, I have seen them be more successful with language development when providing side by side translation of their home language and English. This Add-on has been a life saver for quickly translating directions and other important pieces of text as I curate learning experiences for all learners. How will you use the Docs Paragraph Translate Add-on?

Friday, March 25, 2022

Update to Chrome Reading List: Quite a Handy Little Feature


Recently, Google Chrome was updated to include a Reading List button next to your Chrome profile picture, to the right of your extensions. You may have seen this and wondered if you accidentally added an new extension. What this button does is to open your Chrome Reading List as a side panel on the right. Click the button shown below to check it out.

If you are reading a website, and you want to save it for later, but not set it as a bookmark, the Reading List will be your best friend. With the Reading List open, click the button labeled Add current tab. This will save the URL (link) to your Reading List.

In addition, you have another way to see and access your bookmarks. If you'd like to see your bookmarks vertically, rather than horizontally across the top, the Reading List will display them on the right side panel.

This new feature can be useful for students as well. If students are doing research, they can add their search results to the Reading List for easy access. When they are finished, and no longer need the links, they can quickly delete them from the list. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Jumpstart the Writing Process with Google Keep and Google Docs


In 17 years as an educator, a frequent pain point I have seen teachers deal with is frustration with students struggling to manage notes and sources when working on a research project. These are essential skills that successful adults possess. Please share these tips with your students to help them better manage their notes, sources and writing process.

In the example shown below, a student is working on a research paper on volcanoes. All of the research is being done online. While the student searches for sources, they are copying the links of the websites they plan use and cite.

To make the sources easy to find and use during the writing process, this student puts each source as its own note in Google Keep. Notice how this student is mindful to properly name each source for easy, future reference.

When the student is ready to start writing in Google Docs, they open the Google Keep button on the right side panel.

Immediately, their Keep Notes are available. The student has bullets and information in addition to the link to source on each note. This makes it easy to copy and paste information into the Doc to help jumpstart the writing process. This is great if they're using direct quotes.

If they click the three dots on any note, the entire contents of the note can be immediately imported to the Doc.

When they are ready to add citations, students can use the built-in Citations tool in the Tools menu within Google Docs.

This allows students to easily cite any source, whether a website, blog, book, magazine, etc. With the links saved in Keep, it is quick and easy to copy and paste those links into the Citation tool for instant citation of a source.

Google Keep and Google Docs work very well together when it comes to enhancing the writing and research process. Keep also integrates similarly with Google Slides. This can be useful when creating presentations. How might you use Keep and Docs with your students?

Share the video below with students to show them how to do all the things mentioned in this blog post.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

An Essential Student Skill: Student Gmail Inbox Maintenance (Share with your students)



Students these days are absolute experts when it comes to staying on top of notifications for their online gaming, social media, text messages, DM's and more. What they need to get better at is applying those same skills to email. As they get older, and transition into college or the workforce, professors, admissions officers and employers will communicate vital information via email, not text or DM. The sooner kids take email as serious as they do other forms of communication, the better they will be prepared for their future.

A common theme I see with students, adults too, is a crowded, cluttered inbox. This type of inbox can lead to missing important messages. Since most students are using Google Classroom, they get emails whenever their teachers post assignments, announcements, etc. Kids need to develop the habit of going through their inbox and deleting unnecessary or old messages and moving into labels the messages they need to save. 

The screenshots shown below are using the most up-to-date version of Gmail, recently released by Google. If your Gmail doesn't look like this yet, it will soon. Start by showing kids how to create labels. Click the plus button to create a new label.

Each school year, I like to have students create a label for each teacher. It's also a good idea to create a label for counselors.

With labels created, you can move multiple, or single, messages by clicking the Move to button at the top. In the dropdown that appears, click the label into which you want to move the message(s). 

Instantly, you'll see those messages disappear from the inbox. Click on the label to view those messages.

For messages you know you don't need, don't hesitate to delete them. One way is to click on the message to open it. From there, click the trash can button at the top.

If you have a ton of emails you know you don't need, you can delete many at a time. Do this by clicking the checkbox next to each message you want to delete. Once you've "checkboxed" them, click the trashcan button at the top.

Share this video with students to show them each of the tips demonstrated above.

Share these screenshots with your students. Set up time during the day or make it an expectation for free time for kids to not just check their email, but to organize and declutter their inbox. What email tricks do you have or have you used with students?