Have you ever sent an email and wished that you could get it back? Perhaps you forgot an attachment or sent off a quick reply that could have used a bit more thought.
Gmail has an undo option that you might not be aware of that enables you to undo the message you sent up to 30 seconds after sending. See the screencast below to find out how.
Let us know in the comments if there are any other features in Gmail that you have found helpful.
Written by Shannon Horton, DCSD Media Specialist
Google is not a recommended search tool for those in grades 5 and 6 (and sometimes 7 and 8!), so here’s a quick overview of a few other options.
The first one to seven results will include web pages that are handpicked and checked by the editors of Kiddle for kid-friendly language and quality content. Results eight and onward include sites written for adults that are still filtered by Google safe search but are not checked for quality by the editors.
All of the websites included in this database are reviewed by the editors to be quality sites for students. However, problems with their database exist and that makes searching tricky sometimes. I’ve noticed that if I put in a single keyword I usually only get 7 results but if I add another keyword I get several pages of hits. It’s definitely worth a try, you just may have to be creative with search terms.
Kidrex is a safe search engine for students that is powered by Google, and in addition to typical filters applied to searches, the site maintains its own database of inappropriate websites and keywords.
Kidrex is ONLY about being “safe” and not about the quality or level of the websites it returns. Results are not much different than using Google.
Written by Heath Kelley, DMS 5th grade teacher
Kahoot has become a popular online tool for reviewing content with a large group. The group progresses through the game-based assessment together. Kahoot functions well for the purpose of working with the entire class. The teacher can pause within the game to clarify answers to questions and reteach.
Recently, a new game-based assessment option called quizizz has become popular. Although similar to Kahoot in the sense that students answer multiple choice questions and have a leaderboard, Quizizz has many different features. Probably the feature that is most distinct is that students work at their own pace to answer questions.
During a recent social studies unit, I used quizizz to review vocabulary. Below, is a slideshow of quizizz in action. I placed captions over the pictures to describe the different features.
Quizizz is a nice option if you do not want students rushed to answer. The teacher can decide whether or not to allow extra points for quicker responses. I found that it gave me quick feedback that was easy to understand and use. I knew right away what I needed to re-teach to students.
How about you? Are there feedback systems that you have had success with? How might you see quizizz being used in your classroom?
Written by Heath Kelley with support from Jesse Halweg and Denise Lee
Recently, Jesse Halweg has been using an app called Plickers to collect real-time student formative assessment data. Plickers is easy to use and requires only the teacher computer and an iPad/Android device. First, each student is given a card. The card can be turned by the student to indicate four different answers (A, B, C, or D). After the teacher projects a multiple choice question, the students hold up their cards indicating their answers.
Next, the teacher holds up their iPad or mobile device (Android or IOS) and scans the room. The app collects information from each card in what is essentially a qr code from each student. The data is collected and organized to indicate how students responded, while remaining anonymous (unless the teacher decides to reveal). The results show the teacher overall trends in order to make more informed instructional decisions.
Below is a video taken by Denise Lee of Jesse Halweg in action with 6th grade students:
Plickers is a great student response option if a classroom does not have student devices available or if the teacher does not want students wasting time logging into their devices. Everything (app, cards, etc.) is free. The cards can be laminated or printed on cardstock for students to reuse. Another added benefit, is the fact that the answers remain anonymous to peers due to the uniqueness of each code.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use Plickers in the classroom, here is a link to a few videos Denise Lee has collected that may get you started. You may also want to simply go to plickers.com and begin exploring.
How about you? Have you had an experience with Plickers or other student response systems?
Written by Andrew Ellingsen and Sarah Zbornik, DCSD Instructional Coaches.
When I have a last-minute change of plans and want students to all visit the same website, it can be frustrating to wait for everyone to type in the web address… I know I could add a link to my Schoology course or create a QR code, a tinyurl, or shorten the URL using Google. Sometimes, though, I want to change course mid-lesson…
Google has recently released a new extension for Chrome called Google Tone. This extension allows users to use their computer’s microphone and speakers to transfer a web link from one computer to another. After I installed it, a blue megaphone icon now appears to the right of the address bar in my Chrome browser.
When I visit a website I want to share, I can click on the Tone icon, and a series of notes will play. The microphone on any computer (...in relatively close range...with the extension installed...and the Chrome browser open…) will process the audio cue as an invitation to visit the same website – and the invitation will open as a notification in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Clicking on the invitation will open the web link, and the lesson can proceed without waiting for students to type in the web address.
(I came across Google Tone while I was looking for a computer-friendly alternative to the mobile app Chirp. Chirp allows for the transmission of photos, SoundCloud audio files, short video clips, web links, and other formats by using an audio version of a QR code. This has been a very useful tool with the iPads at the elementary level, but less so for middle school. While there’s an extension in Chrome that allows you to send a Chirp from the computer, they have not yet released a version that allows users to receive a Chirp. Trust me – when they do, I’ll blog about it here!)
What extensions have you installed on Chrome that are helpful? Share them in the comments below!
Written by Heath Kelley (@6kelley), DMS 5th-grade, Collaborative Teacher
During last year’s tech inservice at the high school, I overheard Mr. Iban (DHS Art) discussing a Google Drive tip that has saved me (and my students) much time and energy. Additionally, I discovered from Alice Keeler’s blog post some of the details for implementation.
Previously, when I wanted students to edit a Google Drive file, I instructed them to select File > Make a Copy. This was an extra step that often was confusing to students. I always had to give extra assistance each time I shared a Google Drive file with students and expected them to make a copy to edit.
To remove this extra step, teachers should do the following:
After changing the URL, anyone who clicks on the link is prompted to make a copy. This will work for any Google Drive file (presentation, spreadsheet, drawing, etc.). As I share Google Drive files in Schoology with students, I simply embed the new link within my directions.
How about you? What helpful Google Drive tips have you discovered?
Written by Brigit Storhoff, 7th Grade ELA & DMS Collaborative Teacher
I love sitting down with our ELA department to talk about reading and language arts. I especially love sitting down with our department when we don't have an agenda! This is when I learn about the happenings in my colleagues' classrooms.....the fun strategies they're implementing, the books their students' are reading, the quality of writing they are seeing, while discussing how our students from past years are doing as they move up a grade. These laid back, no expectations conversations remind me why I love teaching ELA, and I always walk away with inspiration to try something they've shared with me. This is how I learned that Taylor is using Kid Blog to document what her students are independently reading this school year! (genius!)
Taylor has always required her students to complete a weekly reading log during the week in previous years. The students updated this log as they read their books and handed it in to her at the end of the week. Once the students got a device in their hands, she started to brainstorm ways she could replace the 150 sheets of paper a week by using a tool on the computer. Each student in 6th grade has a Kid Blog account, and it has now replaced the paper reading logs her students used to share their independent reading with her.
Taylor has seen many positive outcomes in her classroom because of this change. She says, "The kids love sharing this way. It gives the students the ability to share with their peers, which is much more engaging to them than just turning a reading log into their teacher once a week." Students not only can share their blog with Mrs. Amundson, but they can read each others' posts and comment on what their classmates are reading! Taylor also says it's a great way for her to visually see what the students are reading each week (they have to take a picture WITH their book!) The students are very honest in their independent reading progress since they are being held accountable in this way.
As we have learned with technology these past two years, the benefits also bring challenges. Taylor shared with me that she spent some time teaching her students what type of content to put on their blog to make it applicable to the specific weekly assignment. She also needs to teach and remind students how to appropriately comment on other students' posts. "A challenge," she says, "but a great skill for students to learn!"
Taylor's goals for her students this school year in regards to independent reading are to help students monitor their weekly progress, set and meet reading goals for themselves, and visualize all of the books they read throughout their 6th grade year!
Take a peek at a few screenshots from her students' posts!
Written by Heath Kelley (@6kelley), DMS 5th-grade, Collaborative Teacher
With many of my daily routines occurring to some extent in the digital sphere, I have found myself recording the activity on my computer screen more each year. I have noticed that I am also receiving an increasing number of still images or screenshots from colleagues explaining their ideas. I wonder what this means for communicating the digital functions within my classroom?
I've often asked myself - am I maximizing the effectiveness of this tool? Is there benefit to delivering instruction this way? How might students benefit from being able to share their own digital thinking? Can this be a tool to involve parents?
I did some research on screen recording and would like to share with you what I've learned and have tried in my classroom.
The real-time recording of the activity on your computer screen, that is saved as a video file. The recording may capture any visual elements occurring on your computer screen such as pictures, videos, websites as well as any audio narration.
What Tools are Available to Screencast?
How do you Share a Screencast Video?
Challenges to Making Screencasts
How Might Teachers Use Screencasts?
How Might Students Use Screencasts?
How about you? Have you thought about possibly using screencasting in your classroom? What ideas come to mind that you would like to try? Let's Talk!
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