Friday, June 23, 2017


I'm off to my 3rd ISTE conference, this time in San Antonio, TX. On Monday, I'll share how I use coding within the content areas in class. Presentation notes here:

  • Monday, June 26, 8:00–11:30 am CDT (Central Daylight Time)
  • Building/Room: Park View Lobby

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Managing All Those Lists!

Do you ever find yourself drowning in lists? Where did I put the class list? The field trip list? Who returned school photo orders? Who got student of the month so far?

The answer of couse, is a spreadsheet. That may seem like a no-brainer, which is why I haven't blogged about it, but I have a few tips that have worked for me and may work for you.

  1. Use the same spreadsheet for all the lists. Just make a new sheet within the file when you need a new list. That way you always know where to find it.
  2. When you need a new check off list, just duplicate the original sheet. Then you have all the kids names, You never have to type a list again.
  3. Bookmark that spreadsheet right at the top of your screen. It will always be handy.
  4. Add student names when you first set it up with first and last in separate columns so you can sort either whenever necessary. 
  5. Advanced tip - use conditional formatting to help you visualize info.

Here's a sample file with some ideas to get you started. Link Here 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Creating Bulk QR Codes for Student Work

So Open House is coming up and students have lots of work to share. Maybe you have some cute videos or recordings of student reflections. Here's how you can create a class set of QR codes quickly in a Google Sheet.

Make a copy of this sheet: QR Code Creation Spreadsheet
Add your student names to column A
Paste whatever links or info you need the QR code to share in column B
Copy the formula in column C by selecting C2, hover over the tiny blue square in the lower right corner, and drag it down to fill as many rows as you need.
This is the formula to use:  =image(""&B2)

The QR codes will be displayed as small or large as the row size. To change the size of all the rows at once, select the top left cell, some people call the awesome box. That will highlight the entire sheet. Any changes made to a row or column, will be done to every other row and column.

You can hide the link column if you want. Then just print the spreadsheet. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coding Math Facts Practice

Do your students like to play games? How about make their own games? But you need them to practice math facts. What if they could code their own math game to play?

Bitsbox has an Educator page with free lessons, including math practice. I took the Billy Goats Gruff addition facts code and then changed it to my own rainforest theme. Your students can take the code and create their own theme too!

Rainforest Multiplication Code
Rainforest Multiplication Coding App

Have students go to and start there.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Google Expeditions - The WOW Factor!

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend EdCampSD in Escondido and learn from Jen Roberts as she shared Google Expeditions. I had read about Expeditions, which was released shortly after my Google GEO Teacher Institute in June 2015, but hadn't tried it myself.

- I had actually participated in a web meeting with an Expeditions team member this past spring with two of my kids. He interviewed them about what they were interested in exploring in Antarctica. It was pretty cool to have a connection to Expeditions and I've been really excited to get started.

So Jen pulled out a few Google Cardboard boxes and had us all download the Expeditions app to our phones or ipads. Out of about 30+ people in the room, we had about 8 viewers so most of us just used our devices without the viewer.

First take away - We don't need to use cardbooard or a VR viewer to do an Expedition! It works just fine full screen on our phones or tablets. The device just needs to have a gyro.

Next, she had me set up as a leader on my ipad. It's as simple as clicking LEAD on the app. I searched for an Expedition - chose an Underwater Excursion, downloaded it - and off we went. Others in the room opened the app, found my name and clicked JOIN.

Teacher View - Starting Expedition
Student View - JOIN Teacher's Expedition

Seeing the teacher and student view at the same time was exactly what I needed to understand how this works and be ready to share with my class and my team mates. I can't wait! We are going on some Expeditions! Next stop - Mt. Everest! or Yosemite! or the Googleplex! or Stanford! or Antarctica! So many choices!!

Student View - Waiting for Teacher to Press Play

Student View - Toggle Between VR Viewer and Full Screen

Student View - Full Screen

Teacher View - Swipe cards to the left for next scenes

Teacher View - Select Feature to View. Happy faces show where students are looking

Student View - Arrow shows where the teacher wants you to look

Student View - Target Feature

Student View - Cardboard Mode
While it would be pretty fun to have a class full of VR viewers, knowing that this is possible without is exciting! I have 7 ipads in our class and can probably borrow others from colleagues. We could set up a list of those on our site willing to share and schedule Expeditions to some of these amazing places!
Thank you, Jen, for sharing this amazing resource!

Monday, August 22, 2016

School 2 Home Learning Connection

Letter to my Class Families this year:

"Why I'm Not Doing Homework This Year -

My intention is to make sure there is enough time in our students' days for family time and activities and I want to balance that with time for reading and some real world math and writing.

I'd like students to focus mainly on reading everyday so they have a comfortable, calm space at home to enjoy reading. For the other areas of math and writing I will share options for exploration. This will give parents an idea of the areas we are working on in class. If something comes up at home that is a better "real life" experience with math or writing, I'd love for your student to have that time and opportunity instead. (Here is one article that discusses thoughts on student choice and time spent on homework. Link here)

There are links to a form on the side for your student to share what he or she is working on. If he or she is working on an online file, have them put the link to the url in the form so I can access it. (Here is a link to make a copy of my form.)

If family time and extracurricular time prevents students from getting to these activities, I understand. We will be working hard everyday in class and I think students should have time for other things in their lives too.

Class Dojo points will be earned for sharing things they are learning and trying challenges. If your student is pursuing an area of interest that they would like to share, have them tell me about it in the comment section of the form and I'd love to give them Challenge Accepted points and share in their interest.

However, if your student decides not to use their time wisely in class, then completing that class work might be required and I'll let you know.

Basically, what I'm saying is anything beyond the reading is optional, but I will acknowledge and support their practice and extra interests. There will be projects that may require some work at home throughout the year."

Each week I will post the topics we are learning in class and ideas for games and exploration if the students would like some resources. We also often have topics that come in discussion that we'd like to know more about. We'll be coming up with an "I Wonder" board to post topics and things we discover on those topics. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Collaboration: Sharing Google Forms

Teachers are so amazing about sharing! It goes under the category of "why recreate the wheel?" most of the time. I share with you, you share with me, our lives just got easier and both teachers and students win!

This is why having a wonderful PLN that includes teachers on Twitter that I've never met has been so amazing! Recently, I was reading a blog post from Ms. Drasby (Google Forms Supports Spelling Mastery) where she shared a copy of her Google Form. I had tried to find a way to do that for over a year with no luck. 

I replied and asked about it and she wrote up the procedure in a blog post: Google Forms Force a Copy. It's super easy and simple but if you don't know the trick, it won't work like it didn't for me for so long! It's definitely worth the few minutes to check out her blog and learn the trick!
Google Forms Force a Copy

Now, I am so excited about being able to make forms as a grade level team and share the workload. We can share forms resources just like we do with Hyperdocs, Graphic Organizers, and everything else we do as teachers.

Here are a few of my favorites to get you started: When you click on the form link it will force you to "Make a Copy" of the form I created. So you will have your own, not shared with anyone, and your data will be yours alone. Since it's your copy, you can change it however you would like to make it work for you.

Parent Info Form (Click this link for the Form):
I post this on my website at the beginning of the year and usually get most of the info before school even starts on Monday morning. 

Parent Information 2016.png

Favorite Genre of Books (Click this link for the Form):

<<This one is a good beginning of the year inventory of your students' reading interests.

Here is a spreadsheet of forms my 3rd grade students created to practice multiplication facts. When you click the link, it will copy the form into your drive. There is the tutorial to use Flubaroo to make them autograde. OR, you can turn them into Google Form Quizzes. You will just have to change the answers to multiple choice answers to use Google Forms quizzes at this time.

Multiplication Practice Forms (Click this link)

And here are several other Google Forms to share. 
Click to copy forms and make them your own. Follow the directions above from Ms. Drasby and share your forms too!
Google Forms (Click this link)