Monday, March 21, 2016



This is an excellent website for building computer science coding skills for all ages. 

"With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.
Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century." (

Friday, February 12, 2016

Google Classroom - File Storage

This new addition to Google Classroom will help address one of the missing pieces that teachers were asking for: the ability to have a storage area for files, links and websites for students in one area, rather than the stream of announcements and assignments.

Previously the Stream showed as a blog like area in which newer posts are at the top and older ones toward the bottom.  As this area was a mix of announcements and assignments, it could be tough for students to look for unit outlines, background information, helpful websites and Google docs for their individual units of study.

Now, Google Classroom houses an area in which the teacher can store important files per unit for their individual classes!  Yay!

This area is found in the ABOUT section (Stream, Student, About).
When adding files, name sections and files for the benefit of the students. For example use the name of the unit of study rather than just Unit 1. 
The examples shown in the picture below show that proper naming of files is very important.  Notice that in my example, I have 'Spreadsheet'.  This is not a good example as it would have no meaning for the students.

  • When you add material (pdf, Word, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, website URL, YouTube video clips), they will be ordered the way you add them, with the first one added staying in the first position.  Keep that in mind when you are adding material.
  • When you add a new unit of study and files, it will be placed ABOVE the unit you previously added.  You cannot adjust the order of these bins once placed.  You can delete and add new though.
  • You can edit the folder name and material within it at any time!
  • All files added to this area are READ ONLY for the students.  They cannot alter them.
  • Instruct your students on this new feature!  They too, have to go to the ABOUT section.

Google: Voice Typing

Google Docs:  Voice Typing  (new feature, Fall 2015)


-question mark
-exclamation mark
-new line
-new paragraph

There is also the ability to change the default language.

You can also use text to speech on your Android or iOS device - 
Read article

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Google My Maps

There is an excellent tool added to your Google Drive this week - it is called Google My Maps. It is very similar to the regular Google Maps, but is now integrated into your Drive. It also cooperates nicely with Google Forms as well - you can collect map data and have it plotted for you. Any grade level can easily use this application.

In your Google Drive, press New, then scroll down the list until you see Google My Maps.  You can generate custom maps that outline the story line of a novel, or events that took place during World War II...etc.  All maps are saved in your Google Drive and can be shared with anyone.

You can integrate data collected in a Google Form (survey) to be seamlessly added to your map.  In the simple example below, the survey asked students to enter their favourite vacation spot.  The spreadsheet generated from the survey is imported into My Maps and placed automatically on the map.  There you can share the map with students and they can add photos to their place marker.  The end result is a tour of these places.

Here is a tutorial video outlining the process: 
Importing data into Google My Maps

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Piktochart: A Great Visual Communication Tool!

Create exciting and interesting INFOGRAPHICS with Piktochart!

  • Free to join
  • Use your Google account to sign up

Create great infographics, reports and presentations to display photos, stats, information, YouTube clips, and graphs with this amazing online application.  Students will find it very user friendly and easy to share their work.  Built in graph maker.  Great for class projects in which data is displayed.  Has more features for reports and presentations than applications such as PowerPoint or Google Slides. Many templates and graphics included.

Infographics are easily shared via email.

Please watch this short video:  Video Introduction

Poll Everywhere in Google Slides

Poll Everywhere for Google Slides

This is an excellent add-on to Google Slides!  Set up a free Poll Everywhere account, make your assessments or polls and easily add them to your Google Slide presentation for live, on the fly results!

Your audience can sign in to your poll through a web link or through text messaging.

Available now in Google Labs (beta)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Google Sheets: Explore!

Video Introduction to Google Explore - found within Google Sheets

"With the Explore panel in Google Sheets, you can now spend less time trying to decipher your data, and more time making a point. Explore creates charts and insights automatically, so you can visualize trends and understand your data in seconds. It’s like having an expert analyst right by your side."

Once your data has been entered, click the button in the lower right hand corner of your screen to show the 'Explore' results.  Graph styles will be automatically chosen for your based on the type of data provided.

New Google Templates

Google has recently revamped its templates for products such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  The templates are now much easier to find and use.  Please share this with students as these can help them with their assignments and projects (as well as yours!).

Examples of Templates:

Docs:  brochure, resume, reports, letters, lesson plans
Sheets:  calendar, schedule, budget, to do list, planner, roster, time sheet, expense reports, purchase orders
Slides: book report, field trip, photo album, certificates, portfolio, lesson plans, recipe book

There are two ways to access these templates. 
Method 1: 
In any of the applications, once open:  >File, >New>from Template

Method #2:
Use the app button to access the application and these templates will be the first thing you see.  
Select Docs for example,

Students could then bookmark the app and use it instead of starting the document from within My Drive.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a tool in Google Apps for Education that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes.

Visit to sign up as a teacher or student.  School must be a member of Google Apps for Education.

New features (Fall, 2015)

Reuse Posts (from archived classes)

Discussion (start threaded class discussions)

Calendar Integration (see article)  add to student or parent Google Calendars

Share to Classroom (push out websites live to entire class or as an Announcement that appears in the student stream).  All individuals at LPSD now have this extension added to their Chrome accounts.

Storage of Files (store by unit of study all files, URL's etc that students would need for review)
This is found in the About tab.

Google Classroom share extension 1.jpg

  • Remember that all members of LPSD have the Synergize training modules for all Google products built in to their Chrome accounts.  
  • Google Classroom Support