Monday, January 7, 2019

Sun, Moon, and Planets 101

National Geographic's YouTube channel has an excellent playlist that is titled National Geographic 101. As you might guess, the playlist is full of short overviews of the basics of a wide variety of topics in science and geography. In National Geographic 101 you will find short videos about Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Earth, Mercury, Mars, Pluto, the sun, and the moon (actually, there are two videos about the moon in the playlist).


The length and content of these videos make them good candidates for inclusion in EDpuzzle lessons.

How to Create Charts and Graphs in Google Docs

A good chart or graph can sometimes help a writer paint a complete picture for his or her reader. I used to have students in one of my civics course include at least one chart of their creation when writing about voting patterns in state elections. Google Docs makes it easy for users to create graphs and charts even if you don't particularly enjoy or are scared of using spreadsheets. Watch my short tutorial video to learn how to create charts and graphs in Google Docs.

Microsoft Forms is Adding Email Confirmation

Microsoft Forms is an excellent though often overlooked Microsoft tool. Like its better known rival, Google Forms, Microsoft Forms can be used to make quizzes and surveys. Last night (a strange time for a feature announcement) Microsoft's Forms Blog carried the announcement that Forms would soon have an email confirmation option for Form respondents. When enabled, this feature will allow respondents to receive an emailed copy of their responses to the questions in a survey or quiz created in Microsoft Forms.

If you've never tried Microsoft Forms, watch this video to learn how to get started.


There are a few more features in Microsoft Forms than what I demonstrated in the video above.
Those features are:

  • Likert responses
  • Ranking responses
  • Branching logic
  • Forms can be included in Microsoft Teams for EDU assignments

A Pre-search Checklist for Students

Last week I published two blog posts (here and here)in which I referenced having students make lists before they begin in-depth web research. A couple of readers have emailed me asking if I can give an example of the pre-search checklists that I mentioned in those posts. It's not anything fancy, but I do have this Google Document that I have given to students to fill-in by listing what they're looking for, what they already know, and how they think other people would describe the same topic. Feel free to make a copy of the document and or modify it for your students.

As I wrote last week, the list strategy is useful because it often helps students narrow their searches before they even touch the keyboard on their laptops. Rather than just instantly entering the first thing that comes to mind into Google, they're forced to slow down and evaluate what they already know about the topic at hand.