Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Tips for Managing Google Drive Folders

A couple of mornings ago a reader asked me to help her figure out how a Google Doc she didn't remember sharing was accessed by a colleague. After ruling out that her account had been compromised I discovered that the document in question was part of a shared Google Drive folder. The document was created while she was in the shared folder and therefore it was automatically shared with everyone who had access to the folder. 

Monday's experience prompted me to record a few short videos to explain some settings and share some tips for managing Google Drive folders. 

In An Overview of Google Drive Folder Sharing Settings I demonstrate and explain how to create a folder, how to put files into and take them out of folders, and how the permissions of a shared folder impact the permissions of the files within the folder. 



How to Color Code Google Drive Folders is a short video that shows you exactly what the title states. Color coding your Google Drive folders can make it a little easier to quickly recognize important folders like those associated with your Google Classroom.



You can share your Google Drive folders and files for set duration of time by creating an expiration date for access to them. Watch How to Set Expiration Dates for Google Drive Folders & Files to learn how to place time limits on your sharing settings.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

CollegeLab - A Tool to Help Students Find Colleges They May Like

A long time ago when I was a high school student trying to decide where I should go to college the process was a rudimentary one. I flipped through the U.S. News and World Report's giant book of college rankings, looked for ones that I thought I could possibly get into (my GPA was not the best), and the ones that I could possibly afford. Then I went to the college fair at my high school and looked at the pictures of the campuses to finalize my application decisions. In the end, I didn't end up at any of those colleges that had fancy pictures at the college fair. I've probably turned out okay...

Today, there are better ways for high school students to learn about colleges than through the rudimentary method that I used and that you might have used. One of those better ways is to use an online tool like CollegeLab

CollegeLab recently removed their paywall to make it free for high school students (ages 16 and above) to use to identify colleges that fit with the criteria they choose. Students can enter information about themselves to find colleges that could fit with their needs. Some of the information students can enter include GPA, SAT score, ACT score, academic interests, type of school, size of school, and location. CollegeLab then takes that information to find potential matches for students. 

Part of what CollegeLab includes in their matching tool is an acceptance probability calculator and an ROI calculator. The ROI calculator shows debt-to-earnings ratios associated with different majors at different schools, scholarship information, average repayment time data, and loan options. 

Tools like CollegeLab can be helpful in starting the process of identifying the colleges to which students may want to apply. That said, I don't think they can replace getting one-on-one advice from a good high school guidance counselor and or other adults who have gone through the selection and application process. 

A Small Collection of Resources for Teaching and Learning About Veterans Day

This Friday is Veterans Day. If you find yourself looking for some quick lessons to review with your students, here's a small collection for you. 

ReadWorks
ReadWorks is one of my favorite places to go when I need information texts about a holiday to share with students. ReadWorks has a good collection of Veterans Day articles that are arranged by grade level and are accompanied by question sets. 

C-SPAN Classroom Resources
C-SPAN Classroom has sixteen "bell ringer" activities about topics related to World War I. One of those is titled The History and Evolution of Veterans Day. The activity features a five minute video and seven corresponding questions along with a short list of vocabulary terms. You can find all of the C-SPAN Classroom Bell Ringers and lesson plans about World War I on this resources page

Bet You Didn't Know
Bet You Didn't Know: Veterans Day is a video that explains the origins of the holiday and why its date of celebration has twice shifted in the United States. The end of the video includes an explanation of the differences between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Veterans Day by the Numbers is also from History. As the name implies, the video provides a statistical overview of Veterans Day including what percentage of the American population has served in the military among other interesting facts. 


Elementary school teachers may find this video from PBS Learning Media useful in providing an overview of Veterans Day. I prefer this one from Kid History

Monday, November 7, 2022

30+ Activity Templates to Use in Google Classroom

Disclosure: BookWidgets is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

It was around this time last year that I tried BookWidgets for the first time. I was immediately impressed by the variety of templates it offered for creating unique online learning activities for students. I was also impressed by how easy it was to use BookWidgets. Since then BookWidgets has become very popular and has added more tools for teachers. 

Today, BookWidgets offers a Chrome extension and a Google Classroom add-on. With the Chrome extension and Google Classroom add-on installed you can create and distribute online activities without having to leave Google Classroom at all. Furthermore, you can view all of your students’ submitted work as well as their work that is in progress by simply clicking on BookWidgets Chrome extension.

Watch this video to see how the BookWidgets Google Classroom add-on works.



As I previously mentioned, the split whiteboard activity template is probably my favorite of all of the templates that BookWidgets offers. That template lets you put a prompt on one side of the screen and a blank whiteboard on the other side for students to type or draw responses. Take a look at my screenshot below and you’ll notice that the prompt I included in my split whiteboard activity included a video for students to watch. You can find many more examples of BookWidgets activities right here.


Learn even more about BookWidgets, including how to use it without Google Classroom, in this video

Math and Geography

Over the weekend a Tweet from Thomas Petra reminded me of a great Google Earth resource that he developed years ago. That resource is Real World Math. And though he stopped updating it a couple of years ago, there are still many Google Earth files on it that you can download to use as the basis of real world math problems. Real World Math has lesson plans divided into five categories; project-based learning, concept lessons, measurement lessons, exploratory lessons, and space lessons. The space lessons take advantage of the Moon, Mars, and Sky views in Google Earth.

Tom Barrett's Maths Maps is series of activities designed to help elementary school students develop an understanding of distance, scale, and units of measurement. To complete the activities students have to use the measuring tool in Google Maps. In this video I demonstrate how to measure distances in the web browser version of Google Maps.


You can learn even more about using Google Earth and Google Maps in your classroom in my on-demand course, A Crash Course in Google Earth & Maps for Social Studies. The course is 50% off for the rest of the month when you use the code GEOAWARENESS22