G Suite for EDU: Custom Template Galleries

In addition to the Drive web app, Google recently created a web interface for each of their primary Drive apps:screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-17-56-pm

Using these interfaces allows the user to see all of the files that are stored in their Google Drive that can be accessed by the particular app. For example, navigating to slides.google.com will show all of the Google Slides files stored in your Drive, as well as any presentations formatted for Microsoft PowerPoint that the Slides app can read.

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-12-28-33-pmAt the top of the interface will be displayed a list of templates provided by Google for users to start with; why re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to, right? Clicking on the TEMPLATE GALLERY link in the top-right corner of the window will expand the bar to reveal additional available templates.

Now, Google has added the ability for G Suite for Education and Work users to use and upload their own artifacts to the TEMPLATE GALLERY under a tab for their organization.

  1. Navigate to one of the app web interfaces listed above.
  2. Click on the TEMPLATE GALLERY button in the top-right corner of the page.
  3. At the top-left there should now be two tabs: GENERAL and YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME. Click on the latter.
  4. Templates that have already been contributed to the gallery will now be displayed. Use the SUBMIT TEMPLATE button in the top-right corner of the page to upload and share your own template(s).

submitatemplate

NOTE: If you do not see the new galleries, then this feature may have been disabled. Contact your Google Admin about requesting access to the new galleries and template submission option. For more information, please refer to this post on the G Suite Updates blog.

Bojagi (Gr. 4-12)

Bojagi – Visual-reasoning math puzzles

Created by David Radcliffe, Bojagi combines multiplication with visual-reasoning skills on a grid to create interesting math puzzles. The directions are pretty straight forward:

“Draw a rectangle around each number by clicking and dragging with a mouse. Each rectangle should contain exactly one number, and the area of the rectangle should be the number that it contains. Rectangles must not overlap.”

Once you have completed the training puzzle, click on the List menu to access a growing list of user-generated puzzles, some of which are quite challenging. After you have acquired enough experience with the puzzles, click on the Create menu and try your hand at making one of your own!

INTEGRATION

  • Put a new spin on learning multiplication facts using this site.
  • Have students work in pairs to solve the same problem then compare their results to show that there may be more than one way to solve a problem.
  • Pair with an interactive whiteboard and have students solve one number at a time. Can they solve a number and still leave room for their peers to solve the remaining puzzle numbers?

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Summer Reading for Students

As the school year comes to a close, many teachers and librarians especially try all kinds of techniques to get their students to continue reading over the summer break. Keyana Stevens over at Edutopia has put together a playlist of 10 videos that might help prevent the “…summer learning slide.” NOTE: Some of the videos in the playlist may be geared to older audiences, so please remember to preview any videos before sharing them with students.

This – Is – Jeopardy…w/Google Sheets & Flippity.net

Quiz Show Game Board

Flippity.net, makers of activity templates for Google Sheets, has created one that mimics the classic Jeopardy game show board. In four steps you can customize a game board consisting of six topic columns with five question-&-answer squares each.

Step #1: Use this link to access a  ‘view-only’ version of the template from their website, which will open in Google Sheets. Use the Google Sheets File Menu to ‘Make a copy…’ so that you can edit the game board content. Customize the topic columns, question cells, and corresponding answer cells. Use the row headers to keep track of which questions cells are paired to which answer cells.

GSheets_Template

Step #2: Once you have finished customizing your game board, use the Google Sheets File Menu to ‘Publish to the web…’ From the pop-up menu, verify that you are publishing the ‘Entire Document’ to a ‘Link,’ then choose ‘Publish.’ Copy the URL that is generated to the virtual clipboard and then return to the game board.

Step #3: At the bottom of the Google Sheets project locate and click on the second sheet entitled, ‘Get the Link Here.’ Paste the ‘Publish link’ you just copied into the designated cell. This will auto-generate a Flippity link to your quiz show.

Step #4: Copy-&-Paste the Flippity link into a new browser tab/window to load your quiz show gameScreen Shot 2014-12-03 at 2.45.53 PM board. To the left of the game board are your colored team markers. Use these to submit team answers and it will automatically keep track of each team’s score. Use the plus/minus signs at the bottom of the page to add/subtract the number of teams who as needed (min = 1, max = 6).

For each square:

  1. Click once on a point value to reveal the question.
  2. Click on the question to reveal the answer.
  3. For each team marker click the checkmark (green) if they provided the correct answer, click the X (red) if their answer was incorrect, or leave both blank if they failed to provide an answer within the allocated time. Click the answer square to return to the game board, where that question will now be grayed out to show it has been used.
  4. Correct answers earns points, incorrect answers lose points, and no answers neither gain nor lose points.

Additional features:

  • Insert the Flippity link into your website for easy access in class and/or as a practice tool for students to use.
  • You can embed YouTube videos into a question/answer cell from the YouTube ‘Share’ link.
  • You can embed an image into a question/answer cell from the web.

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  • Because you can embed an image, you could also embed a QR Code. Use QR codes in conjunction with mobile devices to get teams to use their search skills with a specific resource in order to find the answer.
  • To temporarily take down your game board for repairs, use the Google Sheets File -> Publish to web… menu option to un-publish the file. Just remember to re-publish when you’ve finished making changes.
  • You cannot save your game process, so if you close your browser window/tab mid-game then teams will lose the points they had earned.

Searching Twitter for Educational Resources

Twitter-iconI recently read a blog post by Richard Byrne on his FreeTech4Teachers blog (if you haven’t subscribed, you should), about using Twitter to search for educational content, resources, and ideas. First off, you do not need a Twitter account to search their system for resources, so this tip can work for anyone. The key is to take advantage of the built-in indexing system that Twitter uses called hashtags. Hashtags are keyword labels used to mark posts so that they will show up in a search by that keyword. Unlike a Google Search where the results are determined by algorithms, these results come from real people who have found resources and liked them enough that they took the time to share (a.k.a. ‘tweet’) them with others.

Great, but we are still dealing with a lot of information from a lot of sources. How can a teacher focus their search for educational content? Enter this fantastic website by Jerry Blumengarten. Jerry has amassed an impressive list of education-related hashtags to choose from. To speed up your search of Jerry’s page, use your browser’s ‘Find’ command (Ctrl+F for WIN, Cmd+F for MAC) to see if there is a hashtag based on the topic you are interested in. When you find a hashtag that fits, copy-&-paste it into the Twitter search box and let the results start pouring in!

Extension:

  • If you are a Google Chrome user, then you can customize the omnibox search tool (that big bar at the top of the browser window) to quickly search databases like Twitter. Click here for more info.

Smarty Pins

Smarty Pins – A Google Maps game

Smarty Pins is a web-based interactive game created by Google that integrates trivia questions with map skills. Choose from six different trivia categories including current events, science, sports, and more. Click on ‘Featured Topics’ to access trivia questions that are currently trending on the web.

After choosing a topic, your trivia question will be displayed in a box in the top-left corner of the page and a large, red push-pin will be provided to your right. Click-&-drag the pin as close to the location you think answers the question (use the plus/minus sign buttons in the bottom-right of the map to zoom in/out). Once you drop the pin, you have as many chances to change your answer (i.e. move the pin) as you want. When you think you’ve got the right location, click the ‘Submit answer’ button beneath the pin to see how you did. Points are earned based on how close your pin is to the correct location. Bonus points are earned for a speedy answer, and if you get stuck Google will give you a hint to try and help.

INTEGRATION:

  • This site would integrate well with an interactive whiteboard configuration.
  • Include additional students by assigning them to ‘lifeline’ roles. These students could act as “Google Jockey’s,” who work from other devices and try to Google the answer. Other lifeline roles could include “phone-a-friend,” “poll the audience,” or “ask an expert.”

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Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing this resource.