Monday, August 24, 2015

Let's Get This Year Started with Some Great Chrome Apps

This Chat with Deb demonstrates three Chrome Apps to use for the Beginning of the School Year. 

My World - Student Interest Inventory
Connected Mind - Mind Mapping Tool
Pic Monkey - Photo Editing Tool

For additional ideas check out this slide show:

Do you have a favorite app for the beginning of the school year?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thank you to Intel's Teachers Engage for sponsoring this post.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gadgets to Start the New School Year

Are you getting ready for a new school year? Perhaps you're setting up your classroom or office. Maybe you are thinking of lessons and activities for your students. 

If you are like me, you might be considering purchasing a few gadgets to start the new year. Here are a few of my recent purchases.

one, two, three, four

1.  Earlier this summer I was driving on my way to a Google training and needed to stop for gas. And what do I find right by the check out? A selfie stick. I just had to have it. And let me just say, it has been so much fun.  Look for a blog post on selfie sticks very soon! I paid $11.99. 

2.  I have a 45 minute commute to work each day, and the traffic can get a bit hairy. This cell phone car mount is perfect for keeping me updated without taking my eyes off of the road. I've been using this for about a week and I'm really happy with it. The suction cup sticks well to my textured dashboard and the cell phone does not move or shift while driving. I can easily attach or remove my phone and it fits great even with my phone in the case. And I can still charge my phone while it's in the car mount. This picture was taken in my actual car. I paid $14.99.

3.  A wireless bluetooth speaker   at home is a must for me. We use the speaker all of the time out on our porch or patio. I decided to get a wireless speaker for at school for playing music in a classroom, using the speaker in a conference call on my cell phone or projecting audio from my computer.  I decided on a Soundbot, mainly because of the great reviews and the affordable price. We've been using this speaker outside by our fire pit and also at the ball park. I'm super impressed with the sound quality and ability to project outdoors. I paid $26.99. 

4.  Lighting is very important to help create a comfortable, well lit environment. I haven't purchased a desk led lamp yet, but I'm considering this one for $39.99. The features look really nice:

I'm still debating this purchase, but I definitely plan to have some form of good lighting at my desk this year.

Bonus: Although this is not a gadget, my son and I created a baseball hat rack in our garage to help organize the 60+ hats that we have lying around. I love organizing and cleaning up the house before we go back to school. This hat rack makes me happy because I know that my sons will be able to find their hats easily in the morning and after school. 

Are there any gadgets you're considering purchasing before the start of the school year? If so, please share. So far, I really like the choices I've made with a selfie stick, cell phone car mount and bluetooth wireless speaker.

Monday, July 27, 2015

My Best Google Docs Tips and Tricks

In this Chat with Deb, I've put together a series of short videos highlighting 10 Google Doc Tips and Tricks that you may not know about.  I'm pretty sure you will thank me after you have watched the videos.  These tips and tricks are some of my favorites.

Intro and Tip #1 - Web Clipboard

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #2 - The Paint Roller

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #3 - Page Setup

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #4 - Emojis

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #5 - Math Equation Tool Bar

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #6 - Speech Recognition

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #7 - Tag Cloud Generator 
#8 - Texthelp Study Skills Add-on

Click here the for Google Doc.

Tip #9 - Publish to the Web
#10 - Personal Dictionary

Click here the for Google Doc.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick with Google Docs? I would love it if you shared with us.  Thanks for watching this Chat with Deb series.
Thank you to Intel's Teachers Engage for sponsoring this blog post.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Have You Heard of or Tried These?

I am thinking about ordering a Google Cardboard Viewer.  With the Makerspace movement growing and knowing how much our high school students enjoyed the Makerspaces that we introduced last year, I'm thinking this could be a winner and quite popular with our students. I especially like the fact that there are many  Google Cardboard Apps to download and try with the viewer.  My only concern is that I am known for having motion sickness and would probably suffer through out one of the roller coaster rides.

Who doesn't love earning something for their accomplishments? I really want to try this activity to Gamify Your PD from Alice Keeler. After playing with the Google spreadsheet a bit and practicing with myself as a student, I found it quite easy to use and I really think this could be beneficial to teachers, coaches and students. Bring on the badges!

I am not an artist, however, I do love to doodle and play with words. I'm seriously thinking that I would like to learn how to make Sketchnotes and model this in some classrooms for teachers and students.  I'm pretty sure I could learn from any of these YouTube videos.

My favorite new addiction is  Extensis in Google Fonts. I'm a font person. Your font says a lot about you and I really enjoy playing with new fonts. Again, the sketchnotes and drawing fancy letters is right up my alley. Have you checked out the awesome new choices for fonts in Google Docs? I spent way too much time adding new fonts to my list - it is truly addicting!

Have you tried any of these? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you have something new to share that others may be interested in?  Let us know.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Read Write Think - Enhance Digital Literacy

Let's think about Literacy in a Digital World

Free literacy resources and high-quality online activities to help students respond to literature. 

What I love about RWT:
  • Save your work as a RWT file and open it at a later time.
  • Student choice is built into many of the activities
  • How to videos are available 
  • Search by learning objective - Start with the goal in mind
  • Free Printables 

Thank you to Intel's Teachers Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.
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