New Google Classroom Features Released for Back to School 2018!

New Google Classroom Features Released for Back to School 2018!

There are some nice new features released for Google Classroom lately that teachers will love.  Check them out below.

Google Classroom updates
  • New Settings page- view and update all class settings in one page
  • Classwork page- organize assignments and questions by topics, reorder topics, and classwork within topics
  • New People page- view, add, remove students, co-teachers and guardians from one page
  • New grading tool in Classroom- toggle between student submissions, add grades and private comments and create and use the comment bank 
  • Copy a class- make a copy of an existing course they teach/co-teach. All work will be copied as drafts, so teachers can still modify posts before posting.
  • Turn off notifications on class- turn off notifications on a per course basis
  • Materials for Classwork page – add Materials to the Classwork page so you can easily share resources and other content 
  • Add classwork page to existing class- add the Classwork page to existing classes
Schedule Parent Conferences with Google Calendar

Schedule Parent Conferences with Google Calendar

Have you started making plans for your first parent conferences of the year?  It’s always a great idea to visit with parents and set goals for the new school year.  This can sometimes be difficult to schedule so why not make it easier by providing parents your availability using the Appointment Slots feature in Google Calendar.  Here is how it works.

Double-click a date on the calendar and click the Appointment Slots button.

Name the slots, set a block of time for which you are available and add a location.

Follow the link to the appointment page.  Copy, paste, and share the link with your parents to book and appointment.

Parents see this information when they book an appointment.

These appointment slots do require a Google account.  If your parents do not have them simply book the slot for them.  The website will still be useful as a reference.

Use Pear Deck for Your Next Professional Development

Use Pear Deck for Your Next Professional Development

It’s hard to believe another school year is here for millions of students and educators.  As we move into this new year, many days are spent in professional development.  Why not take Pear Deck for a test drive? You may already have a Google Slides presentation created.  This is a great opportunity to make your presentations more interactive and engaging for your audience as well as gauge how much they are learning during the session. Regardless if you deliver professional development or teach a class of third graders, I encourage you to watch this video that explains the wonderful features available in Pear Deck.

Thanks to @RisaPearDeckfor the great video!

My #txgoo18 Reflections

My #txgoo18 Reflections

This past weekend I had the good fortune to attend and present 2 sessions at #txgoo18 in Kyle, Texas.  This event was hosted by the wonderful crew from Techs4Tex, a non-profit foundation from Texas who provide professional learning opportunities to educators.  As I think about my day, here are some of my reflections.

Dedication to Students

This event was held on a Saturday and included about 300 educators from across Texas.  Just the fact that these educators gathered on a Saturday tells you something, doesn’t it?  On top of that, some of them paid their own way to the event including the $90 registration and cost of travel.  Some had to pay for a hotel room as well.  Sure, some were fortunate enough to get their school district to pay their costs but many I visited with had to pay themselves.  When I just think of the financial aspect it makes me angry that we do not have funds to provide for educators to attend these events.  I honestly heard more comments about how awesome this day of professional learning was than I have in quite awhile.  Teachers deserve to have wonderful days of learning that in turn help them become better at providing high-quality instruction for their students.  School districts should pay for these events and the cost of the events should be reasonable.  Regardless if these educators had their costs covered or not, it was evident that they were dedicated to students.

Flexibility of Google Tools

As I prepared my sessions entitled Making the Most of Google Sheets and Google Slides and Add-ons:  A Powerful Combination, I couldn’t help but think about how flexible Google tools can be.  Before finishing up my presentations, I decided to take a look at other sessions being offered on the schedule.  I wanted to make sure my sessions had some unique elements to keep it interesting and engaging for my audience.  While doing this it reminded me of the importance for educators to find a few tools that work well and stick with them.  Of course, they need to differentiate their activities as best they can and continue to keep their students focused on meeting the standards in the areas they teach.  If they stick with just a few solid, flexible tools like Google they can get past teaching the tool and simply use the tool as a vehicle for learning.  When you look at the schedule of Google sessions from this event you may see 10 sessions on Google Slides but it could be used so many ways in many grades and subjects.  Other tools such as Google Keep, Google Docs, etc have all kinds of possibilities as well.  Why wouldn’t you embrace Google for Education apps?

Encouraging Relationships

My personal and professional life has been significantly challenging this past year.  Attending this event was especially encouraging because I got to visit with some wonderful people I have got to know through social media, other conferences, and a handful of teachers from my own district.  Unfortunately, when I have attended these types of events in the past I’m usually the only one from my school district to attend.  It was nice to have about a half dozen others that I could connect with and share this day.  It was a delight to reconnect with one of my mentors I’ve known for close to 15 years, eat lunch with Nick Park from Pear Deck and visit with some awesome educators that I’ve trained with before at other events.

If you attended #txgoo18, what are your thoughts and reflections?

@haleedtech

5 Ideas for Summer Professional Learning

5 Ideas for Summer Professional Learning

Summertime is a great opportunity to try some new things as an educator.  Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Learn to tweet and/or participate in a Twitter chat.
  2. Join a Google hangout with colleagues. (Need help?)
    • Set aside time for virtual department meetings
    • Hangout with a guest presenter
    • Collaborate on a project
  3. Attend an edcamp
  4. Listen to a new podcast
  5. Read a good book