Calendar Integration with Google Classroom

It is finally here! Google Calendar has been integrated with Google Classroom.

Two Big Advantages:

  • Students are able to see all of their assignments for all of their classes in one view right in Google Classroom
  • Teachers are able to embed the calendar on their Teacher Website for parents without having to post content in both places. HUGE time saver!

Hiding Morning and Night Times in Google Calendar

The default to Google Calendar is for the entire day (24 hours) to show. There is a way however to set a particular range of time – times that you work or times that make most sense to you. You must enable a Google Calendar lab called Hide Morning and Night. The following screencast will walk you through the steps.

Customize Your Feedback in Google Docs

Earlier this year, I provided a blog post on how you can create shortcuts in Google Documents so that you are not wasting time when providing valuable feedback to your students. To read this previous post, click HERE.

Last week, Mr. Geddes, came to Kerri Lunn and I asking how he can mimic a way of providing feedback he has done in the past by hand. He wanted a way to provide a check mark, like he would have with his pen as a means of agreeing with the statement the student shared. At first, we did not think it was possible until we looked further.

This is what we came up with:

Find a check and an x that you will want to use to insert in a Google Document. To do this, open up a blank Google Document. Then choose Special Characters – found under the Insert Menu.

Use the draw symbol box on the right hand side to find what you are looking for. You will notice that we drew in a check mark. Then, choose the green check mark so that it can be seen easily in a student’s paper. By selecting it, it will be inserted on your blank Google Document.

We did the same thing for finding an x to use.

Copy the inserted check mark on your blank Google Document so that the shortcut can be created. To do this, click Preferences under the Tools menu.

We had Mr. Geddes type gpp (representing good point). This means anytime he types the letters gpp when providing feedback, Google will automatically replace it with a green check mark. You might be asking, why gpp? We did this so that incase Mr. Geddes would ever type the letters gp together it would not produce a check mark. By adding gpp, we have eliminated possibilities of those letters ever being together.
Once you type gpp in the replace box, paste the green check mark you copied from the blank Google document. Then hit the OK button. 

Repeat step 3 for the red check mark. This time, we had Mr. Geddes use wpp as the shortcut for the red x to appear.

Open up a paper that you need to provide feedback on and use the shortcuts that you have created.

Note: Once you create a shortcut, they will always be available to you.

This solution may not solve all situations you might be used to/faced with when grading physical papers but at least this shows you possibilities that are available with assessing in Google Documents.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask – you know where to find me. As I have already tweeted out, we thank Mr. Geddes for pushing us. It is all about learning!

How Technology Can Be Used During Open House

Lots of us have open house coming up in the very near future. Why not have technology help you with the process…below are some ideas.

Going to be Absent to Your Own Class?

Whether you are a teacher who cannot attend Open House yourself OR you want to be able to reach all of your parents (even those that could not attend), why not create a quick screencast of your presentation? Making screencasts are very easy to do now. You could record yourself talking through the presentation OR you could just turn on your webcam and talk to the computer.

If this is the route that you want to go, I would recommend using the Chrome Extension Screencastify. Below are instructions on how to use the tool if you have never used it before.

Worried about privacy and YouTube? No worries, just save your screencast to your Google Drive account with ‘anyone with the link’ sharing permission. When it is time to share, provide a link or QR code on your door if you are going to be absent. You can also email your screencast and/or embed the video on your teacher website for all parents to see.

Want to Have Fun with Parents?

In past years, some teachers have created a Jeopardy Game for the parents to play – this is a great way of getting parents engaged and involved. If you are interested in going this route, you can create a quick Jeopardy game using and Google Sheets. Instructions on how to do this can be found from a previous blog post that I wrote.

Up for a different competition game? Why not have parents participate in a fun game of Kahoot! We know that our students love participating in the game – might be great to share the fun. You could ask parents questions pertaining to your class and then go into more detail about the answers. It is important to note that parents would have to be willing to use their mobile device to make this work.

Need to Get Feedback?
It is important to know that both options below would require a parent to use their mobile device to provide feedback.

Are you one that likes to collect information from parents? How about making a Google Form to have parents fill out instead of passing around a piece of paper.

Another great option is using the Exit Ticket option from Socrative. This could be a great way of asking parents/guardians what they want you to know about their son/daughter.

The possibilities are endless as to what you can do. The most important thing is to make sure that you are having fun during open house as well as the parents.  Stop by room 222 if you would like to talk more about what you can do with technology during open house.

Happy Beginning of the School Year!