Thursday, October 8, 2020

How to Share Sections of Google Docs in Google Classroom - And Why You Might Do That

Yesterday a reader sent me an interesting question about Google Docs and Google Classroom. She wanted to know if there was a way to share just one of a few pages of a Google Doc with her students via Google Classroom. One solution would be to copy the content of that one page and paste it into a new document that is then shared in Google Classroom.

Another option for sharing just one page of multiple page Google Doc would be to export as a PDF only one page of the Google Doc then share that one page PDF in Google Classroom. Students will then have to use the “open with Google Docs” option to convert the PDF back into a Google Doc that they can comment on or edit. The process sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. In the following video I demonstrate that process from a teacher’s perspective and show it from a student’s perspective.

Applications for Education
Why would you do this? I've done it with lab procedure documents from Cisco NetAcad that I have as PDFs when I want students to do the first part of a lab but not the second part on a given day. By sharing only the first page I can be sure that they won't go ahead to the second part of the lab without me supervising it (particularly important when working with electricity). 

How to Create Citations and Bibliographies in Google Docs - No Add-ons Required

For years I used the Easy Bib add-on to add citations and create bibliographies in Google Docs. A couple of weeks ago Google added an updated citation tool to Google Docs that makes the Easy Bib add-on redundant. With the latest update to Google Docs you can now create MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations directly in Google Docs without the need for a third-party add-on. You'll find the new citation feature in the tools drop-down menu in Google Docs. 

In the following video I demonstrate how to create citations and bibliographies in Google Docs. One of the aspects of the new tool that I like is that it walks students through where to put each piece of required information. 

Whenever I've shared bibliography tools like this in the past I have received emails from folks who think that students should learn how to make bibliographies without the help of an add-on. To that I say, I learned how to make a bibliography by following the template in an early 90’s version of The Student Writer. Using a template provided by Google Docs isn’t much different than that. And at the end of the day, I'm more concerned with getting my high school students to recognize the importance of citing their sources than I am having them learn the exact (often changing) rules of MLA or APA. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Poe, Halloween, and Phys Ed

We're a full week into October and I haven't shared any Halloween-themed resources. That's unlike me. My excuse is that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. And even though we won't be trick-o-treating or passing out candy this year, my daughters and some of my students are still excited about Halloween. On that note, here are some Halloween-themed resources for language arts, science, math, and physical education. 

Language Arts
ReadWorks offers a collection of Halloween-themed articles for students. The bulk of the Halloween collection on ReadWorks features articles for a K-8 audience with a few 9-12 articles mixed in. The articles covered topics like the history of Halloween, pumpkin farms, and the history of ghost stories. Like all ReadWorks articles, you'll find comprehension questions and vocabulary sets to accompany the articles. A read aloud feature is also available in ReadWorks.

Edgar Allan Poe died on this day in 1849. His work is often read in schools at this time of year as it does have a dark theme that coincides with Halloween. In the TED-Ed lesson Why Should You Read Edgar Allan Poe? students can learn about Poe's guiding principles for writing, the recurring themes of his work, and the personal factors in his life that contributed to his writing. Find the complete lesson here or watch the video as embedded below. 

Physical Education With a Halloween Theme
Keeping Kids in Motion is a great physical education blog written by Justin Cahill. One of the free resources available on his blog is Fitness is Spooktacular. Fitness is Spooktacular is a kids fitness challenge for the month of October (adults can do it too). There is a downloadable calendar of little workouts that you can do with your students throughout the month of October. Each workout is represented by either a jack-o-lantern, a skull, or a bat.

Science Lessons With a Halloween Theme
SciShow Kids has a playlist of videos covering topics that are frequently connected to symbols of Halloween. Those topics are bats, spiders, skeletons, and the changing colors of leaves. In the video about bats students learn how bats use sound to find their way at night, how and why bats hang upside down, and how they rear their offspring. In the video on spiders students learn about the role of spiders in controlling flying insect populations and how spiders create webs. In the video about the human skeleton students can learn about the functions of the skeleton as well as how bones grow and heal over time. Finally, in the video on leaves students learn about the correlation between chlorophyll, sunlight, and leaf color.

A Math App With a Halloween Theme
Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

G Suite Becomes Google Workspaces - What's That Mean for You?

Yesterday, Google announced a rebranding of G Suite. G Suite will now be called Google Workspaces. That change is happening now for some domains, but won't happen until months from now for G Suite for Education users. The change from G Suite to Google Workspaces appears to be designed entirely for business users and doesn't appear to have any immediate impact on G Suite for Education users. That said, there are some potential changes in the future. I discussed those possibilities in this short video

What's Changing G Suite for Education Users?
  • Nothing for now
  • The name will change sometime in the coming months. 
  • There is possibility that G Suite for Education users will get some of the neat Google Workspaces features like using Meet picture-in-picture while collaborating on a Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Read more about those features here
Will the change the tools you can use?
  • No. 
  • All of the tools that you use now are staying the same in G Suite for Education. 

If you'd like an overview of why Google is making this change from a business perspective, take a look at this TechCrunch article

5 Digital Mapping Activities

On Monday I shared a couple of tutorials about measuring distances in Google Maps and Bing Maps. Yesterday, I shared a few resources for helping students understand map projections. This morning, I have some more tutorial videos that might help or inspire you to create digital mapping activities to use in your geography or history lessons. Here are five digital mapping activities you can do with elementary, middle, and high school students. 

Map Spreadsheet Data
The combination of Google Sheets and Google's My Maps tool makes it possible to quickly populate a map with information from a spreadsheet. I've done this to have students share research findings in a Google Form that then populates a Google Sheet that is then imported into Google's My Maps. Doing this eliminates the confusion that can occur when too many people try to edit the same map. Mapping spreadsheet data is also a good way for students to make correlations between information and its location in the world. Here's a short tutorial on how to map spreadsheet data. 

Create a Story Map
Storymap JS is a free tool that you can use to create a combination of a map and a timeline on the same page. This is a good way for students to make connections between historical events and their locations. Watch this short video to see how Storymap JS works. 

Label and or Color Maps in Google Jamboard
Google's Jamboard is a great tool that often gets overlooked in favor of other G Suite tools like Drawings and Slides. With Jamboard it is possible to insert a blank outline map then have students label or color it. Here's a demo of how that process works. 

Learn About Distance and Scale
Google Maps and Bing Maps both make it easy to measure the distance between two or more places. Just using the measuring tools can help some students get a better understanding of the size and scale of two or more locations. Try having your students guess at the size of two countries like the United States and China then have them measure to see how close they were. Tutorials on measuring in Google Maps and Bing Maps can be seen here

Compare Past and Present
In Google Earth there is some historical imagery available to view. You can also import historical maps found outside of Google Earth. Those historical maps that you import can then be overlaid on top of current map imagery. When you adjust the transparency of the imported map, you can make comparisons of historical maps and current map views. Here's an overview of how to import historic maps into Google Earth. 

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