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Sweet Googleness: Goggle tools, tips, tricks – Part Deux

Yesterday I shared something most of you already know. I love the Google. I’m getting into the idea of Keep and Tasks, my new favorite Google tools. Yesterday, you got a few of my favorite Google Search tips and tricks.

Today? Google Drive and YouTube. Read more

Sweet Googleness: Google tools, tips, tricks

A week or so ago, I wrote about Google Keep, my latest new Google favorite tool. I‘ve always been a fan of the Googles. Google Earth. Docs. Maps. Tour Builder. Drive. This week, Keep. And, yes, my favorite Google tools do change weekly. That’s because there’s just too much Google goodness going on for me to keep up. 

You might be the same way. You enjoy Google apps and tools but there’s so much. I spent some time last Thursday at the 2015 MACE conference, talking with teachers about Chromebook tips and tricks. And it was awesome. But I begin to notice a common theme.

Everyone had a different tip. A different trick. Some teachers know about the cool way to create a timer in Google Search. Others know that how to take screenshots on a Chromebook. Someone else shared how to add images to a Google form. But we can unintentionally get in a rut and not realize that there are some sweet little tips out there.

Of course, a quick Google search reveals more than enough lists to get you started. Some of my favorite tips? Read more

Tip of the Week: Powerful Online Tools That Integrate Literacy Skills & Contemporary Events

Need a place to connect past with present? Need writing prompts? Need hundreds of articles about current events in an easy to access place? Need articles with leveled reading? Need a searchable databases that filter by keyword, grade level, Common Core reading anchors, and articles with machine scored quizzes?

If your answer to even one of those questions is yes, then I’ve got a list of tools just for you. All of them are web-based tools that use current events and contemporary topics to engage kids and all provide the chance for you to to encourage the development of skills required by the ELA literacy standards for History / Government. While at the same aligning to state standards that ask us to connect the past with contemporary events.

So why should we worry about current events? The simple reason is that connecting past and present is good for student retention and encourages critical thinking skills. Not to mention our state standards are asking kids to connect past choices, rights, responsibilities, ideas, beliefs, and relationships to “contemporary events.”

So today you get a few online tools and some helpful strategies that focus on current events: Read more

Google Keep – Note taking alternative, cross-platform sharing tool, and all around nice guy

I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.

I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.

But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.

My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of

Read more

50 Ways to Teach with Current Events

Back in the day – seriously . . . way back in the day – during my 8th grade US history teaching days, I worked very hard to include at least some sort of current event activity every week. Some days it was me highlighting an interesting event or article that related to our content. Another day might be a student asking a question about a particular topic. On a great day, it was both – connecting past events with current topics that were relevant and engaging for my students.

I think we all agree that connecting past and present is a big deal. Something that we need to be more intentional about doing. More and more standard documents, my state included, require linking instruction and learning to “contemporary issues.”

But it can be difficult at times making those connections. One great way to integrate current events into the classroom is to use the New York Times Learning Network. Great resources, ideas, materials, and suggestions every day.

And a semi-recent article from the Network provides some very specific ideas of what this can look like. Read more

Travel and geography as a political act

Every once in a while, while traveling around the country, I’ll get the chance to meet and chat with one of them. My daughter calls them fanboys. You might call them uberfans. A polite term might be avid followers. But we’ve all met someone like this. People who just can’t get enough of The Avengers or the Kansas Jayhawks or House of Cards or whatever they’ve decided is the thing around which their world rotates.

And whenever I run into this particular type of fanboy, I have to smile. Because they are so passionate and fun to be around.

I’m talking, of course, about the people who just can’t get enough of Rick Steves. And if you’ve never heard of Rick Steves, well . . . you just haven’t had the chance to spend time with one of his uberfans. Because if you had, you would have definitely heard all about him. They take their love of Rick to a whole new level.

I get it. Rick Steves is the ultimate in travel advice. He has books, TV shows, radio, podcasts, websites, articles, and blog posts – all talking about and sharing information about travel. Where to go. What to take with you. The best places to eat. To stay. The best museums. Suggestions for planes, trains, and automobiles. He does it all and he’s been doing it for a long time.

All of this to say that Rick Steves knows travel. And he has a ton of followers who know he knows travel. So when he shares his ideas about the whys and hows of travel, it’s probably a good idea to listen to what he has to say.

And while I’m not a Steves uberfan, there is one message he shares that I really like. Read more

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