Sunday, November 3, 2019


I love❤ these two new features in Google Drive, the new Priority homepage and Workspaces. Google is always adding things to increase your productivity.  I am always accessing the same files over and over again, so much so, I have bookmarked them. Unfortunately, the more I bookmark file the less screen real-estate I have in my Bookmark bar.  In swoops Google Priority homepage and Workspaces to the rescue.

Through machine learning, Google will list files on a new Priority homepage.  The files listed are presented in a carousel and the files presented here on the Priority homepage are files that have been recently edited, commented on or have had a share request.  You will see a preview of the file and what action has taken place on that file. This saves time on searching and locating files that are used by you in your My Drive or a Shared Drive you are a member of for quick access.

Google Priority is great but Workspaces is even better.  Drive will automatically suggest Workspaces to group files you access frequently.  You can also create your own Workspaces to easily group files you access around a related topic, like PD presentations, curriculum-related materials for class or weekly meeting agendas for quick access.  Whatever the need is you can create a Workspace to group those files for quick retrieval. 

Give these two new features, Priority homepage and Workspaces in Google Drive a whirl.  Now in a meeting, I can quickly locate a file and not have to weed through a search or navigate through a bunch of folders to find a file with the information I need.  Googles Priority homepage and Workspaces has saved me time and screen real-estate and for sure. To learn more click here Work smarter with the new Priority page in Drive.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Capture your students' attention with images

How do you introduce a new unit or any lesson to capture the attention of your students? Do you pose a question? Was it creative and unexpected? Maybe it was a simple review of what they learned in the previous lesson. There is a purpose of hooking your students for that fresh learning and setting the objective for each lesson. It can help activate prior knowledge, set the learning expectations and allow students to make connections between the content and real world. The use of images can be that creative and unexpected way to capture your student’s attention with the anticipation of new learning.


Strategy 1 - Half the picture


  1. Locate an image that shows a big idea of the unit or lesson.
  2. Make a copy of the image in order to edit using a photo editing tool to cover half of the picture.
  3. Display the image that only shows ½ of the picture.
  4. Using the 3-2-1 strategy, a great AVID strategy, have students organize their thoughts about what they think is happening in the picture.
For example

Half the Picture
3 - List 3 things you notice in the picture
2 - 1 prediction of what might have happened before the picture, 1 prediction of what happened after the picture
1 - What evidence from the image proves your prediction?

Have students pair up to discuss their ideas with a peer.
Whole image


Display the entire picture and lead a discussion of what actually happened and compare students’ ideas that were shared before.










Strategy 2 - Create a Six Word Story


Having students create a six-word story encourages them to creatively select critical ideas and summarize their own thoughts.
  1. Display your image of choice that relates to the content.
  2. Ask students to share what they see. Depending on the grade level you may want to record the ideas on the board for students to refer to when they write.
  3. If this is a new strategy, you may want to model how to write the six-word story or ask students to work in pairs to write their stories. 
  4. Have students publish their story on a shared Google document or Padlet to promote students.

Strategy 3 - Instagram captions

Students enjoy when they are able to use social media like activities to display their knowledge or understanding. It can provide a creative way for students to write about the content in the way they do in their personal lives.
  1. Insert your image into the Instagram template on this Google Slide. Text boxes have been created as a guide.
  2. Duplicate the slide for each student and, if needed, assign a slide to each student.
  3. Instruct students to do a quick write to represent the image. Include the hashtags in their writing in order for the image to be “searchable”.
  4. Assign students to provide peer feedback to at least a peer to promote the processing of the learning.
Of course, there are many ways to use images in a lesson. The strategies shared today hopefully provides some new creative ways to hook your students in the day’s learning and promote writing for learning. Leave a comment below and share how you have used images in your lessons or creative ways you have hooked your students’ attention.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Every Week is Digital Citizenship Week




Where are the good digital citizens? They show up to our classrooms everyday! This affords
us the opportunity to develop positive digital characteristics that will follow our students beyond the classroom. As we recognize Digital Citizenship Week on October 14-18, 2019, think of some ways that the conversation can go beyond the week. Below, we have shared some ways that teachers can naturally implement digital citizenship so that it becomes a part of the everyday classroom.

Exploring Citations
Media Literacy is a major part of digital citizenship in regard to resources provided by others. When conducting online searches, encourage students to use the Explore tool to search the web within Google Docs and Google Slides. This feature generates a citation in the footnote on the page. There is also an option to change the format of the citation to MLA, APA, or Chicago. Guiding students to utilize this tool shows them that a good digital citizen gives credit for others' work.







Set norms for online discussion
Collaboration and communication are truly skills that need to be taught. Rather than avoid these opportunities, guide students on the appropriate way to do this online. The classroom is the perfect space to teach students how to communicate respectfully. Have you considered guiding students in how this is done? Develop a list of norms or expectations for online discussions between peers. This will be beneficial as students are given opportunities to comment, question, or reflect in
                          in spaces like Google Classroom and VoiceThread.




Become a Model
-Wait! Before you copy and paste that image from online in front of students, is it safe to use?

-Most of the morning has been spent doing online research. Let students know that the
next activity will give them a break from screen time in order to create media balance.

-Your close read article this week may, in fact, be about real and fake news and you require students to look for the theme of the passage. Your students will be mastering standards and learning online responsibility at the same time.

It’s not only what a teacher says that students learn from, but also the actions of their teacher as well. Trust me, there are opportunities that present themselves for modeling so be very intentional. Find ways to integrate #digcit in your everyday lessons. In what ways are you modeling acceptable digital citizenship behavior?




Click Play!
There are plenty of video options that cover various topics of digital citizenship. Whether it’s from Common Sense Media’s video bank( K-5, Middle School, or High School) or the Richland Two Responsible use Policy videos, open up the discussion about #digcit as a follow up to these resources. This is a great opportunity to include some AVID Writing or Collaboration strategies. 


3’s Company
We all know that Digital Citizenship is a shared responsibility between the student, home and school. Help empower families to set boundaries and expectations for their households.

Through your parent communication, consider sharing the following ideas:
  • Model positive online behavior.
  • Set household expectations: 
    • Android Users: If your family uses Android devices, Google’s Family Link can help you set certain digital ground rules, manage apps, keep an eye on screen time and remotely lock your child’s device. 
    • Apple Users: If your family uses Apple devices, Apple Families provides tools that help keep parents in the loop. 
  • Have your child log into their Richland Two Google Account to show you the digital tools that they’re using in the classroom.


All week long, we will provide you with some tips that will get you thinking on our social media pages. Follow us on social media to get tidbits on how you can celebrate #digcitweek on October 14th-18th and beyond! 

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Google Keep Can Keep You Organized








Have you ever needed to take notes or create a list quickly?  If the answer is YES!, then Google Keep is the tool for you and your Student  Google Keep allows you to take notes on the fly from any device with the app or internet access.  Haha, did you get the pun “fly?” It is supported on every platform, IOS, MAC, Android, Chromebooks, and Windows.  Keep is integrated into the sidebar and Tools menu of Docs, Sheet, and Slides. Notes you create on your cell phone can be accessed on your computer or any other device that has the Keep app. You can even create a note by recording your voice.  Also, you can color-code notes, create categories for your notes, add an image, take pictures, create a drawing, create a checklist, assign a reminder date and the best is you can share them with others, brilliant!

Google Keep is an excellent AVID organization tool for your students as well.  Students can keep vocabulary and spelling lists handy for review on cellular devices.  By clicking the Keep icon in the sidebar of Docs, Sheets, and Slides, students can create Keep notes that contain links to items you shared with them in class in Google Keep.  This provides easy access to these resources from a cell phone. So while they are on the activity bus to a game or downtime at practice, they can be reviewing classwork or studying for a test.  Students can snap a picture of one of your slides, annotate with the draw feature of Keep right on the picture. Students can take notes for class and color code notes by subject and even share notes with a student that might have been absent of for peer review. A group of students collaborating on a project can manage a project checklist. Keep notes can be shared with others so when one student completes a task on the list the other students see that the task has been checked as complete. Keep is a great place for students to store journals.  When they are out and see something that inspires them they can snap a picture and journal about it. Google Keep facilitates good organizational habits for students on the go.

Give it a try, it is worth the time to learn Google Keep and introduce your students to this tool that can help them stay organized. Click on this link to learn more bit.ly/GooKEEP.

I love❤ these two new features in Google Drive, the new Priority homepage and Workspaces. Google is always adding things to increase your...