Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Downloading Documents from Google Drive.

Watch to see how you download a document from Google Drive into a Word file. Sometimes you need/want to download a Google Drive document onto your computer.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adjusting Touchpad & Mouse Settings

One of the biggest adjustments for me when I switched from my MacBook to my Samsung tablet this school year was getting used to the touchpad, especially how overly sensitive the touchpad can be.   After letting it drive me crazy for a bit, I figured out some ways to alleviate this issue, so I thought I’d pass along the information in case you find yourself frustrated with this, too.  You can always turn off the touchpad using the “Fn” key + F5, and investing in a wireless mouse seems to help as well, but you can also adjust your touchpad and mouse settings to your liking.

Here are a few tutorial sites and videos to help you get started personalizing this feature on your laptop. 

I found that adjusting the sensitivity of the track pad has saved me from a lot of frustration when using my laptop.

Please let your tech coaches know if we can help you with this.  Have a great week! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Google Drive Week! Uploading existing files into Drive

You probably already have a lot of great stuff, right? No need to recreate everything. Upload your exsisting files into Google Drive with the "upload" feature. Google Drive converts your word files into a google document version so you are able to edit it. If you are not able to edit the document, watch this short tutorial: Converting Word files to edit in Google Drive

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Google Drive Week: Sharing Documents

Watch this video to see how to share documents with others through Google Drive.

Student Google Accounts-BVMS

The 7th and 8th Google accounts/state email addresses are ready to be used. I have shared them with those who requested access. Please do NOT edit the original document. Make a copy for yourself and then you can modify it to your needs. If you do not know how to do this, please ask.
So now that we have the Google accounts ready for 6th grade, what next?

  • I would suggest communicating within your grade level to determine who is going to issue that information to the students. Last year, I printed off a printer label for each kid that had their Google account/email address, and password, which they put inside their planner so they would have it. I was the only one who had to do this because then they just had their information for the other classes.  
  • Use the "year" column to separate the list into 7th and 8th. Copy and paste the grade you teach into a new column. Then, I would go through the list and put the class period number I have them by each kid, which would allow me to again sort the list by my class periods. (So I would have all the 3rd period kids together, in alphabetical order.) Doing this makes it really easy to work with your student Google account list and distribute/use it in general. 
  • Have the students use it! If we focus on Google Drive and "sell" it, students will get excited about it and take ownership. Show them the power of Drive and the possibilities it offers over Microsoft Word. If we are all using it, at least some of the time, students (and ourselves) will become proficient in Google Drive. If we start thinking in terms of teaching with Google Drive, we will start thinking differently and that's when the dynamic ideas/opportunities occur. We have a powerful tool at our disposal. Don't keep it packed away. Unleash the beast. 
If you have any questions or are wondering how to do something, please ask Jen and myself. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Bank is Open

Summer is over and the school year is here. What better time than now to focus on what's really important in school. Content? Nope. Test scores? Nope. There is a myth in our society that it's all about the test scores and it's all about data. Sure that stuff is important, but it's still just stuff. Can a test measure self-esteem? Can it measure engagement? Can it measure a love for learning? Can a test show a down and out, frustrated teenager who's entire disposition changes because a teacher took the time to care about him? Can a test show that? What is more important to a kid-being cared for or learning about the Battle of Little Big Horn?  We are marching right into the heart of a group of kids who need us. They need us to be at our best. We can not go into this without being equipped with some strategies. For me, my strategy, or perhaps a way of thinking, is to treat kids like Bank Accounts. What do you do at a bank? You make deposits and you make withdrawals. With kids, we do the exact same thing, but perhaps we just don't recognize it.  Let me explain. What are you doing when you walk up to a kid and ask them the most simple question in the world, "How are you doing?" You are making a deposit. You are making a deposit into that relationship. With that one simple question, you are showing that kid you care about them. How about this, "Ya know, Billy, you've been working really hard lately." Yep, another deposit. "So, what do you have going on this weekend?" You got it-deposit #3 and this relationship is growing, just like a bank account. So now I have three deposits into this relationship so when I have to tell Billy to sit down, or pay attention, or get his homework turned it, it's okay because even though I am making a withdrawal, I have already made 3 deposits so everything is cool. When we run into trouble is when we are constantly making withdrawals. "Why is your homework late again?" "Why can't you just be quiet?" "Can you please just sit down!" Those are all withdrawals and if we are only withdrawing from the relationship, we will come up empty. If the only time we ever talk to kids is to ask them why their homework is not done, what will the account of that relationships look like? We will come up empty and fail. I shingle houses everyday during the summer. It's tough work and my paychecks are hard earned. Then I go to Scheels and buy some new shoes. What's easier? Shingling all day to make a deposit in my bank account, or swiping my check card at the cash register? It's obvious but a point I think is important to keep in mind. It is so much easier to make a withdrawal than it is to make deposits. Deposits need to be earned. It takes effort and hard work to build them up, but you can spend it so easily and wipe out your entire account in a blink.
Focus on making deposits. The Bank is open.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Screen Shot help

Sometimes, it's helpful to show someone what to do, then just tell them. Taking Screenshots is not only a helpful thing, but an easy thing! No matter what the device or operating system you are using, the link below will show you how to take screen shots with your keyboard. These screenshotting techniques are not just web based, but built into the Operating System (windows, IOS, Mac, etc.) I use screen shots a lot, whether in a tutorial or showing/teaching a concept to the kids. Probably not something you use everyday, but keep it in the back of your mind as far as a tool you have in  your tool kit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Don't Like It

With the close of summer, I've noticed a theme developing and I don't like it. It seems that everyone thinks teachers dread summer ending and school starting. I was at the grocery store the other day and a person who knew me asked me if I was ready for school to start. Conversations like this have happened on more than one occasion over the last couple weeks.
"Hey! You ready for school?"
"Yeah, I can't wait. Really looking forward to it!"
"oh. haha.  yeah right. haha."
"Yeah, actually, I am. I excited to get started."

It just irritated me. It's like they thought the idea of a teacher looking forward to school starting was just absurd and unbelievable. It's sad our culture is like that. It's sad that people automatically assume teachers hate it when another school year starts. It definitely doesn't help that teachers not only do dread school starting but also make it known! Think about how it looks to community members when a teacher acts like summer ending is the worst thing possible! I don't think that community member is going to have a very positive feeling about their school.  Sure, we all love summer, but if we are dreading the school year starting, perhaps we shouldn't be teachers. Right? We have such a powerful opportunity to do such important work with kids that we should relish the opportunity to meet another batch of kids and begin to make new relationships. We should be driven to provide an experience for our students of such monumental proportions that they are left in awe. Yeah, it's a tall order, but at least try.  Parents are sending us their kids expecting our best. We can't be our best if we are having Summer's over blues. This is your chance to do something great! Change a life! Have fun!
I am looking forward to this school year and I don't feel bad saying it. I hope you are with me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Google Week! Pin Tabs

If you are a Chrome user (which I hope you are!) then perhaps you would like to learn how to "pin tabs" so you no longer have to reopen the same tabs each time you open chrome. Chrome is such a beast because it is built with efficiency and speed in mind. I like the "pin tab" feature because each time I open Chrome, my TweetDeck and my Drive are open and ready to go, no need to waste time and energy open those tabs every time. Pinning Tabs is a breeze, just follow the screen shots below.  The only question is, what tabs will you pin? Be careful, those pins are sharp.

Instructions for 'pinning" tabs in Chrome:
Here are two tabs that I want to pin to my chrome so I don't have to actually manually open them each time I open Chrome. (By the way, if you have Twitter and use it, then TweetDeck is a dream. Check it out!)

Right click the tab you want to pin and this drop down menu appears. Simply click "pin tab" and you are done!

After you have "pinned" your tabs, then they will shrink into mini tabs, so you might have to be more accurate with your mouse, but at least you saved a bunch of time not having to actually open them yourself!

Chrome Browser Extensions

Chrome Extensions I use
So why choose Google Chrome? I use Chrome exclusively because of the speed of browsing and because of some very helpful "extensions" provided. Here is a few of the Chrome extensions that I use and have found to be very helpful. This are located in the Chrome webstore.  Once added to Chrome, they appear as little icons in the top right area of the Chrome Browser. To get these extensions, which are free by the way, search the following:

"Sticky Notes-just Popped Up"-this is a virtual sticky note that you can use on your computer. Great for jotting down ideas while you are browsing. If you add a message to your virtual sticky note and close it, you will not lose the content of that sticky note.

"Split Screen": This extensions allows you to split your screen so you can see two screens at once. This is a helpful extensions if you are getting sick of switching back and forth between two things. This also allows you to take notes in one half, while browsing in the other half. 

"Awesome Screen Shot": This extension allows you to take a screen shot of what is on your screen, either the whole screen or just a region of it. It also allows you to make marks on it, such as arrows, blocks, circles, and text. Helpful if you are trying to explain how to do something on your computer or internet. 
"Symbaloo": If you are using symbaloo for your bookmarking needs, then you definitely need to get the Symbaloo extension for Chrome. This allows you to quickly and efficiently add websites to your symbaloo account. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Google Week! Incognito Mode

This week I want to focus on Google and sharing some things that you might find helpful/beneficial. Since a lot of you use Google Chrome (and those of you who don't, I strongly recommend making the switch), then perhaps Incognito Mode is a tool you would find useful. Incognito Mode allows you to open a completely separate and uninfluenced Chrome browser. If you are using Google Drive, you will not be logged in to Google Drive in the Incognito Mode, which is very useful if you are trying to see what something looks like without being signed in. Instead of signing out of your Drive and then looking at what you created, you can simple open an Incognito window and voila!  Think of it this way: when you are using a Google Chrome Browser and an Incognito Mode, you have two completely separate "internets" open which allows you to bounce back and forth. 

Follow the Screenshots below to learn how to use the Incognito Mode.

Click the three little grey lines going horizontally to open the Chrome Settings/Options.

Once you have clicked the 3 grey lines, you need to select "New Incognito Window." 

Then a new Chrome Browser will appear with this message, letting you know you have gone Incognito. At this point, you are ready to use the Internet and perform whatever tasks you wanted to.

If you forget if you are in Incognito Mode or not, you can simply look up in the top right or top left corner to see if you see the Incognito Guy. If you see this image, you know you are Incognito. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Google Week! Short Cuts in Google Docs

Perhaps not an essential piece of knowledge, but something that may make your life more efficient while working with Google Drive. Google Drive provides a list of many keyboard short cuts for you to use. To see this list, follow the screen shots below.

Access Keyboard Short Cuts List:
Access keyboard short cuts in Mac or Windows. 

Once you execute the command, this is what pops up, giving you a long list of keyboard short cuts that you could use.