Category: Chromebooks

Google Gives Thanks to Teachers with Great Updates

As most of the Google Classroom users in the district know two of the biggest drawbacks ti Google classroom have been that you cannot schedule when posts are available for students to see and parents do not have access to the site. Well on Tuesday May 3rd, Google announced some New Features to Google Classroom that will really help teachers and as a way to give thanks to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. to Google Classroom that will really help teachers. You can now create assignments and schedule them to be posted at a later date and in Fall 2016 Parents will have the ability to sign up for daily or weekly email notifications about their child’s progress.

Below are the original post from Google about the changes, a video from Tom Mullaney (Instructional Technology Facilitator at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland, NC) on How to Schedule Post in Google Classroom and if you can’t wait until the fall to get parents involved a video from Tom Mullaney describing how to Use Google Calendar to Allow Parents to See Inside your Google Classroom. 

Google Gives Thanks Blog Post


Best Sites for Google Cheat Sheets

If you have ever started a project in a Google App that you are using for the first time you know that learning all of the options can be a little daunting. To address this issue a lot of websites have been creating “cheat sheets” that give you an easy visual way to provide you and your students with all of the tips, tricks and how-to information to become a GAFE expert. Below are the two best sites for Google Cheat Sheets along with links for each cheat sheet:

Teacher Tech: Google Drawings

Google Drawings Reviewed by Colleen Quinn-Maxwell (LMHS Health & PE Teacher)

Website: No web address it is one of the tools in the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Suite

Google-compatible: YES

iPad App:  There is no iPad App available however you can get to Google Drawings on an iPad via your web browser

PROS: Easy to use for presentation of information, instructions, online posters, directions, etc.  It is easy to use, has creative options for colors, shapes, backgrounds, is a google app. Students can collaborate & work on same drawing at same time from different computers.

CONS:  Small slide/frame space to work with so limited to what you can display.
Students had difficulty entering text at first and learning to navigate the shapes I created on the drawing attachment.

Specific Teaching Activities:

Health Topic Poster

I utilized google drawings for instructions for a summative online/virtual poster project for my students to demonstrate their comprehension of our last unit where they were able to choose to make a pro or anti campaign poster on a topic that we discussed.  Students had the option to continue to use google drawings to produce their poster or use a powerpoint slide.

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WaWa Webquest Meal Planning

I also utilized google drawings for students to present information for their nutritional 1 day meal plan after completing a 1 day Wawa Web Quest.  It provided clear formatting and display of information for students and myself for grading/submission

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How to sort files in your Google Drive

Today at Murray Avenue we had our second GAFE training session on Google Drive. One of the questions that came up was how can you sort your fsorting-hat-675364_640iles in drive. In Google Drive you can sort by file name, last modified, last modified by me and last opened by me by clicking on the sorting options in the top right hand corner. You can also sort by file owner, file type & file size which I will describe below:

To Sort by Sorting Option
  1. Go to or open one of the Docs, Sheets, or Slides.
  2. In the top right, click the sort icon .
  3. Choose an option:
    • Name: Orders files alphabetically by filename.
    • Last modified: Orders files by the last time any user made a change.
    • Last modified by me: Orders by the last time you changed a file.
    • Last opened by me: Orders by the last time you opened a file.


To Sort by Owner

  1. At the top of the file list, click Owned by anyone and switch to either Owned by me or Not owned by me.
  2. You can also search for a file owned by a specific person by :
    • On your drive home page go to the search bar and click on the upside down triangle “∇” to bring up the drop down menu
    • On the drop down menu go to owner, click specific person and put in a name

To Sort by File Type

  1. On your drive home page go to the search bar and click on the upside down triangle “∇” to bring up the drop down menu
  2. The drop down menu allows you to search by file type however if you try to search for more than one file type it will organize them by name & mix the various file types together

To Sort by “shared with”

  1. On your drive home page go to the search bar and click on the upside down triangle “∇” to bring up the drop down menu
  2. On the drop down menu go to shared with and type in a specific name or names

How to Sort by File Size

  1. In Google Drive, hover over your storage usage in the bottom left corner.
  2. Click Drive in the box that appears & your drive will organized by quota used (file size)

Wednesday Web Resource Roundup: Take it Outside!

Spring is right around the corner and since Pine Road has a fabulous Nature Trail to use Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.52.19 PMmany teachers wanted to know if there was anything on outdoor learning that I could round-up. Below  are some of the best resources that I could find:

Natural Resources

  • Virginia Tech has a delightful elementary unit on Natural Resources that includes hands on activities, worksheets, puzzles, coloring pages and standards of learning.
  • The Soil Science Society of America has a great resource page with lessons and hands on activities broken down by subject and grade level.
  • California Academy of Science’s Natural Resources Bingo lesson plan is a fun way for students grades 2-8 to categorize common things we throw in the trash according to the resource from which they are made.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council has a great resource page for elementary lesson plans, activities, websites and videos related to Natural Resources.


Living Things

  • The Living Things vs. Non-Living Things Lesson plan on PDESAS has K-2 students identify characteristics of living and nonliving things. The lesson is tied to the PA state standards,  includes an interactive smartboard set and suggested  instructional strategies for differentiation. It also links to a fun lesson from the Utah Education Network where students participate in a Living vs. Non Living Murder Mystery. Note: the links to the Utah Education Network lesson are inactive, use this link instead
  • The free Leaf Peepr App helps students to find and report on leaves in their area and
    share that information with the world. Students Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 2.24.59 PMcan also make foliage reports by posting photos, writing comments, and rating foliage status for their location which will be
  • PBS Learning’s K-5  Living vs. Non Living lesson  helps students  explore the characteristics that distinguish living from nonliving things.The lesson includes videos, photos and handouts.
  • The National Wildlife Foundation’s grades 2-5 Explore the Backyard Scavenger Hunt is an interesting lesson that includes a printable Scavenger Hunt List and challenges students to put qualifications on the objects that they found as well as look for signs of wildlife.
  • How to Nest For Less has a terrific K-2  Nature Scavenger printable for students to use as they explore nature
  • Garden Answers app is a free app that allows students to take pictures of flowers & plants and then the app identifies & provides information about the plants
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  • Scholastic’s Teach Now Weather Watchers website has K-3 weather related lessons & activties. Highlights include a internet field trip, weather related experiments and student created plays.
  • Discovery Education’s Connect With Weather website was created with the help of The Weather Channel. Highlights include a virtual behind the scenes field trip to The Weather Channel headquarters, videos, hands on activities and a family preparedness take home activity
  • The University of Oklahoma’s Storm Evader App is a free interactive way for kids to learn about weather. The app encourages students to see meteorology as a problem-solving tool by putting them in the pilot seat to navigate a plane during weather events.
  • PBS Learning’s K-2  What’s the Weather? Lesson helps students learn about meteorology and weather changes, and discuss how weather affects daily life.The lesson includes worksheets, interactives and videos.



  • Life Lab, a national leader in the garden-based learning movement, is a great resource for K-12 composting activities, lesson plans & videos. Highlights from this page are the worm guide, a vermicomposting activity for pre-K and how to build a soda bottle bioreactor.
  • My Kids’ Adventures Getting Dirty: Five Fun Composting Projects for Kids has great activities for creating not only a compost bin but also allows explains how composting helps students’ to reduce their carbon footprint. It also has a link to The Nature Conservancy’s interactive calculator for determining their or their families carbon footprint.
  • PBS Learning’s K-3 Recycling and Composting lesson helps students learn about the value renewable resources hold for our society and the broader community of living things. The lesson includes worksheets and videos for teachers to use.



  • Learning to Give’s What is a Watershed? lesson plan helps students understand the importance of watersheds and ways in which water pollution occurs through hands on activities, research and experiments.
  • NJDEP Water Wash lesson illustrates watershed function, ground water contributions, flooding, and nonpoint source pollution.
  • PBS and its Watershed Quest is a  website explaining the concept of a quest and a one-hour lesson plan that enables students to explore their watershed and water movement using topographic maps.
  • Project Wet has a website that contains fun Interactive activities and video about watershed parts (tributaries, source or headwaters, mainstem) and human impacts on watersheds (dams, pollution, runoff).

Google Sites: Creating a Basic Site

Google Sites is a great tool for creating webpages. Google Sites is not only easy to use but it also brings together all of the other great GAFE services in that it allows users to embedGoogle-sites-icon Google Docs, Drawings, Youtube Videos, etc. It is also a great way for teachers to share student projects via a class website or to create student portfolios. For more uses, read Richard Byrne’s  5 Ways to Use Google Sites in Schools or Technology Enhanced Learning’s  10 Ideas for Google Sites in Education ways to use Creating a site is fairly easy, just follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your Google account
  2. Click on the Google Apps Waffle
  3. Click on sites and enter the sites page
  4. Click on the red “create” button on the left hand side of your screen
  5. Choose a template, click on:
    • Browse Gallery for More- to work from an existing site template created by LMTSD or to search public templates. Some pre-made template will be hard to modify.
    • Blank Template– to design your own site from scratch
  6. Enter a name for your site. The name and URL you choose must be unique within your domain. You can change the name later, but you can’t change the URL.
  7. Click on choose a theme and pick a theme for your site. Each theme comes with a preset background, color scheme, and font selection. You can adjust fonts, colors, and the background later, and you can always change the theme once the site has been created.
  8. Optional:  You can click on more options to categorize your site or to  add a site description.
  9. Click on Create

Now you are ready to add pages to your site

Deleted Posts in Google Classroom

If you have ever accidentally deleted a post in Google Classroom you are probably wondering if you can recover or “undelete” it. The answer is yes & no.

You cannot recover a deleted post however it stays on a deleted posts list (left hand side of your teacher screen) so you can look at work that students handed in for 28 days. You can also go into the post and manually copy & paste the information if you want to “reuse” the post.

deleted 1


 To look at student work follow the steps below

  1. Go to your google drive

2. Search for “Classroom”

3.Open Classroom folder and locate your class.

4. Find Assignment folder.

5. All student work should be present in that folder.

Deleted 2

How to Set the Language in a Google Doc

When teaching a foreign language it can often be useful to have the students reset the language on their Google doc to reflect the language they are learning. This will allow them to note spelling errors and receive suggestions for correcting errors in the proper language.

If you would like to reset the language follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home
    .google apps
  2. Click the Menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  3. Click the Settings icon.
  4. On the Settings page, click the drop-down menu next to Language.
  5. Select the language you want to use.
  6. Click Save.

Or, you can go to your document>> select File>> Language>> English (United States).

Unfortunately, you currently cannot change language settings on Google Doc iOS app (iPad app). So what one needs to do is  log into the google browser (via safari on iPad) and enter Google docs. Create the document and set the language on the document. Now whenever you open the doc with the  Google Doc iOS app, the language will be set to your preference and spell check will reflect this change.