Join Google & OK Go For Some Sandbox Fun!

OK Go Sandbox logoGoogle recently announced a collaboration with the music group OK Go to use their amazing music videos to explore the worlds of science and math. Called the OK Go Sandbox, this site has been designed to facilitate exploration, imagination, and play. There are resources for both students and teachers to take advantage of.

For Students

Q&A module: The One Moment of MathIn addition to being able to watch the actual music videos, students also have access to Q&A interviews with the band members about what went on behind the scenes and the skills they needed to pull them off.  Students learn how geometry and time factor in to how video cameras capture events to change our perspective in The One Moment. Using the music video This Too Shall Pass, the band takes students on a exploration about simple machines. And last but not least, students can see how math and music are intertwined by way of their Needing/Getting music video.

For Teachers

Each of the three modules contains multiple challenge activities, from exploring how gravity affects objects of different sizes and masses based on The One Moment video to using sensors to make sounds just like they did in Needing/Getting. Each challenge comes with an Educator Guide in PDF format to download, while some challenges also include a Student Guide as well as guides that integrate with Google’s Science Journal app for Android-enabled devices.

OK Go Surrounding Sounds Challenge materials

For more information, check out Google’s Keyword blog post.


As the summer break comes to an end and educators begin preparations for the return of students (and with some already in session), now seems like a good time to chat about the benefits that Google Classroom can have on your class. Google has been hard at work during the summer hiatus listening to the feedback they’ve received from educators like you and have introduced significant improvements to the app. We will spend the next weeks going over these changes, some of which are very, very cool!

To begin, Google has announced a new resource for educators called #FirstDayofClassroom, which has a little something for everyone.

  • If you’re new to Classroom, then check out “The Basics” with YouTube videos that cover setting up your class, adding students, assigning work, and grading assignments inside of Classroom.
  • If you’ve tried Classroom before and are looking for the next steps, then check out the “Teacher’s Lounge” with videos on tips, tricks, and best practices from fellow educators.

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  • Do you prefer documents over videos that you can print out and have in-hand at a moment’s notice? Then scroll down to the “Handy Guides” section.

screenshot of 3 PDF guides available for download

If you or someone you know is new to Google Classroom then this site is definitely bookmark-worthy. If you are familiar with Classroom or perhaps even a veteran, then check back often for news and updates as additional resources and support materials are in the works.


On The Chromebook: Google Cloud Print

Google likes to promote their cloud services and specifically the ability to work on artifacts in real-time that reflect real-time changes. However, there are still times when hard copies of artifacts are needed and Google recognizes this. Because users cannot install printer software on their Chromebooks, Google has created a cloud-based printing service.

The ‘Select a destination’ Window

1. The print destination selection window is divided into three groups:

  • Screenshot_2017-04-03_at_1_33_37_PMRecent Destinations: This is where your recent print destination will be listed, with the most recent one listed at the top.
  • Local Destinations: This option allows you to download a file instead of printing it.
  • Google Cloud Print: This option lists all of the printers your account has been given access to. NOTE: This option by default shows the top 5/6 recently selected devices. To see the entire list of available printers, scroll to the bottom of the list and click on the “Show All…” button.


Screenshot 2017-04-03 at 1.33.03 PM2. Once a printer is selected, use the left-hand sidebar to configure the printer for the desired output from the printer.

3. If you desire more customization options, then go to the bottom of the sidebar and click on the plus sign for “More settings.”





Additional Print Options

Search destinationsScreenshot_2017-04-03_at_1_34_50_PM

If you know the name of the printer you’d like to use, then you can easily start typing the name of that printer into the Search destinations box at the top of the window.




Save to Google DriveScreen_Shot_2017-04-04_at_7_15_41_AM.png

This feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it directly to your Google Drive. This can come in handy when, for example, you want to save a copy of a webpage.

Save as PDF

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 1.38.49 PM.pngThis feature allows you to create a digital file out of the information you have on the screen and save it to the Files App on your Chromebook. This feature can come in handy when you want to create a local copy of a webpage, or when you want to convert a file to a read-only PDF.

CleanPrint Chrome Extensioncleanprinticon.png

Many of today’s webpages are not formatted to print neatly on an 8 ½ by 11 in. piece of paper. When printing in this situation, you may want to consider using the CleanPrint Chrome extension. This tool will remove any ads, images, and other items that take up extra space (and paper), leaving only the important text to be printed. We have deployed this extension to all of our users at York Middle School to help with reducing printer consumables.

To use CleanPrint:

    1. Navigate to the webpage you want to print.
    2. Click on the CleanPrint extension icon to have the webpage “optimized” for printing.
    3. In the CleanPrint preview window, remove any items that you do not need included in the print job, then select the desired output option from the left-hand sidebar menu

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Website of the Week: Saving Squad (Gr. 2-6)

Saving Squad – Children and money

Saving Squad is an interactive website designed to help students understand the concepts of banking, earning/spending money, and overall financial management. Start by creating an avatar, then head on over to the bank to open a checking account. Afterward, travel around the map looking for opportunities to earn cash by solving a variety of problems. Problem scenarios are broken up into three difficulty levels. Access the Teachers section of the site for lesson plans that can be downloaded in PDF format. The site is free to use and students may enter as a guest without having to sign in (an account is required in order to save student progress). Please note that some of the financial symbols are in English pounds.

NOTE: For younger learners, the site creators have developed Fun to Save for students aged 5-7 years.


  • Use the word problems provided in the site to have students create their own using local prices and establishments.
  • Ask students to reflect on their reasoning for their financial choices and whether or not such choices would be fiscally responsible in today’s economy.

A screenshot of the Saving Squad game board

Website of the Week: The National Archives

The National Archives – America’s historical documents

Recently, Richard Byrne over at shared a Civil War resource (General Lee’s map of Gettysburg) from the historical documents section of the U.S. National Archives website. In addition to the Civil War, the site has additional documents around the Constitution, Emancipation, the Louisiana Purchase, and even the Apollo 11 flight plan. These documents can be viewed online as well as downloaded to your computer, often in hi-resolution format.

In addition to historical documents the site has sections devoted to ancestry research, World War II photography, and the recently released 1940 Census. There is also a section devoted specifically to teachers that contains lesson plans along with materials for school tours, getting started with primary resources research, and where to find related resources from their network of state and regional locations.

Website of the Week: Blooms Taxonomy Posters

Blooms Taxonomy Posters – from

In an article from, the author shares two posters designed for the classroom that have been graciously shared by the site LearningToday with the online community. The first is depicted on a butterfly’s wing with the Blooms stages spreading out from the body in colorful waves. The second poster looks like a cross-section of an orange with each wedge containing vocabulary words to help students connect their actions with the appropriate category. Use the link provided above each poster on the site to download a full-size version in PDF format.



Website of the Week: Squishy Circuits (Gr. 2-10)

Squishy Circuits – A project for all ages

Squishy Circuits is a wonderful hands-on activity that is designed to teach students of all ages about electrical engineering and circuits in particular using play dough. The site includes directions with materials and measurements on how to make your own conductive and insulating dough. Click on the Circuits link to access eight different circuit projects with more to be added soon. Each activity comes as a downloadable PDF with written directions and screenshots. Access the videos section to see upperclassmen demonstrating how to mix your dough and/or build a variety of circuits.


  • This is a great hands-on activity for younger students because the materials are safe and easily recognizable by them.
  • Use this site with older students to have them create their own instructional “howto” videos that could then be passed down to your elementary schools; who better to teach students then other students!

Website of the Week: Find That File (Gr. 6-12)

Find That File – Search for content by file type (Gr. 6-12)

Find That File is an Internet search engine designed to help users find content by media file type. For example, let’s say you would like to find an audio recording of MLK Jr. “I Have A Dream” speech. Simply enter your search criteria into the text box, then use the filtering tools on the left-hand side of the screen to filter the results into specific file types (mp3., wma, .m4a, etc).


  • This could be a valuable tool for students who are looking for specific types of media to include with their project presentations.
  • This service can be made even more powerful when paired with a file conversion website like If you find the right type of media but it’s in the wrong format, then you can use Zamzar to convert the file to a format that does work for you and your computer.
  • See Richard Byrne’s review in his blog Free Tech4Teachers.

Find That File Search Engine Screenshot

Website of the Week: Timelines

Timelines: Sources from History (Gr. 4-12)

Provided by the British Library, Timelines allows users to explore a variety of topics throughout history as far back as 1210 A.D. and as recent as the first decade of the 21st century. Once you launch the timeline, use the navigation controls at the bottom of the window to move up and down the timeline by decade; jump by whole centuries using the Next and Previous buttons at the very bottom of the page. When you click on a topic of interest, the item will either: 1) display a dialog box with a brief write-up or 2) may expand to reveal multiple items, to which another click will reveal a write-up. Use the drop-down menus at the top of the window to modify the topics that the timeline will focus on, such as entertainment, science and technology, sacred texts and more.


  • The write-ups from the timeline are bite-sized and are a good way to start a research project or generate topics for class discussion. Write-ups can be downloaded as PDF documents and saved into folders for use later.