Google Add-On Lab Scheduler

Google Add-On Lab Scheduler

Google tips

 Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ March 1, 2015

Here is another tip we picked up at METC 2015 in the session, “Become a Google Ninja” presented by Michael McCann and Greg Lawrence. “Lab Scheduler” is a Google add-on that enables school personnel to schedule devices, resource rooms, computer labs, or resource personnel. We see “Lab Scheduler” offering far more uses than just device “sign-outs”. For visiting support personnel, training, special events at school when classrooms need to schedule special visitors, and anything that is tied into blocks of time/periods, this add-on will simplify the set up and keep it current.

Lab Scheduler


Lab Scheduler Overview

The video below from Greg Lawrence’s YouTube Channel explains how best to add and set up the “Lab Scheduler” add-on, and when I previewed the app itself, I was impressed with how slick it worked. This is a great little management tool for anyone trying to manage schedules in middle schools and high schools.

March made its entrance as the proverbial lion, and with nine inches of fresh snow on the ground,
I’m headed out to catch some snow shots this first day of March.
Stay warm and safe!

Common Comments

Common Comments

classroom management Google tips writing

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-22-2015

Every day our curriculum and collaborative work are moving to an online venue, and we are encouraging our students to create and submit their work in digital form. Here is a tip we picked up at METC 2015 in the session, “Become a Google Ninja” presented by Michael McCann and Greg Lawrence . This was a new one to us, and we couldn’t wait to share it with you. Continue reading to find out how you can quickly add one of those common comments we all use when assessing student work.

We’ve seen and used the “canned comments” our grading programs provide, but most of us like to add our own comments that reflect our personal “voice”. Google Docs provides that option under “preferences”.

Common Comments 1

Just access that option under “Tools” where you can find the shortcuts that are there for you, and delete and add to personalize it even more.

Common Comments 2
Make sure you choose characters and combinations that you wouldn’t normally use, such as “qa”.

Stay warm, enjoy your Sunday, and hopefully the sun is shining in your corner of the world!

D.E.A.R. Day

D.E.A.R. Day


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-15-2015

D.E.A.R. Day.

I think I first heard about it in a graduate reading class.
I remember distinctly thinking, “Brilliant! I wish my teachers had celebrated “D.E.A.R. Day” when I was in school!”
The following week, it appeared in my lesson plans.

In my classroom, D.E.A.R. Day was celebrated in many ways. I remember early in my career we would head outside to read under the trees in the weeks before school was dismissed for the summer. My favorite memories were when my teaching partner of many years, Ron Ghere, and I would carry in milk crates filled with picture books from the library for our fifth graders to read.


Who doesn’t enjoy “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”


and “No, David!”?

In addition, to reading to my class every day, D.E.A.R. Day gave me a chance to spend an hour to sit and read right alongside my students.

Last Tuesday, we included D.E.A.R Day as part of our “Library & Media Literacy” session at METC.
As we’ve moved into the digital age, many teachers have forgotten about it, and we feel that D.E.A.R. Day needs to remain an option for our teachers and their students.

For those of you who are wondering what D.E.A.R. Day is, it’s an acronym for “Drop Everything and Read” Day. Beverly Cleary first wrote about it in her book, “Ramona Quimby, Age 8” on pages 40-41. To honor Beverly Cleary, April 12th, her birthday, was set aside to celebrate D.E.A.R. Day as the first day of a month focused on making reading a priority.

Our METC session included multiple digital resources to foster reading and to motivate students to read and to write about what they have read. One suggestion we had was to create a Google form to collect the data our students usually record in their reading logs. It would be the teacher’s responsibility to decide when students fill this form out and how often. The results are generated into a Google spreadsheet that can easily be filtered as a starting point for teachers to use while conducting individual student “book conferences”.

Why are we posting about D.E.A.R. Day when it’s over a month away? One of the teachers who attended our session approached us as we were packing up and told us that she also celebrated D.E.A.R. Day in her classroom, and that last year she asked each parent to purchase a book for their child. The parent, or grandparent, wrote a message in the front of the book, and the teacher surprised her students with their personalized gifted books from their families. We thought this was a wonderful addition to D.E.A.R. Day, and of course, in the case of those parents or guardians that couldn’t afford a book, there are always creative ways we, as teachers, have been able to supplement the extras that our kiddos need to feel loved and part of the class.

Although this tip isn’t as “techie” as what we usually share, we hope it rekindles the tradition of celebrating D.E.A.R. Day in your classroom.

If you would like to see a copy of the Google form that we shared in our session, just click on the image below.


Stay warm, enjoy your weekend, and the good news is that we are on the downside of February. Spring is just around the corner!

METC 2015

METC 2015

Conferences tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-8-2015

This Tuesday, February 10, we will be presenting at the annual Midwest Education Technology Conference
(METC 2015) at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. It has been one of our favorite conferences and it is known as the region’s premier education-technology event. We compare it to a “Mini ISTE”.

We will be hosting two sessions:

Session T2 – Tuesday – 10:50-11:40 “Did You REALLY Read This?”
Strand: Library & Media Literacy

Session Description: “Reading is important at all levels across all curriculum. We know this. Where we stumble is how to motivate and how to foster independent reading. Join us in a session to give you some fresh ideas on how to manage independent literacy.”

Session T3 – Tuesday – 1:00-1:50 – “To Each Their Own”
Strand: Assessment

Session Description: “My mom always says, ‘It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you’re smart’. We all know students learn differently. How can we make sure all students have an opportunity to succeed? Attend this session to find ways to differentiate instruction and alternatively assess your students.”

If you are planning to attend the METC Conference, we recommend that you arrive early to secure easy parking, insure a shorter line to confirm your registration and pick up your “conference swag” (unless your last name is “Smith”), and to take advantage of the morning “coffee, tea, and crumpets” that will be available from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. outside the Grand Ballrooms

Take some time to download the METC 2015 app to pre-plan your sessions,
or scan through the online conference booklet to see all that is available.

METC 2015 itunes app

Click on the image for the link to download the iTunes app.


The keynote speakers will be be presenting from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Gwyneth Jones will be featured on Tuesday and Jaime Casap on Wednesday.

Finally, remember to follow METC 2015 on Twitter and use #METC15 to stay informed.

We have been working hard on this year’s presentation and, as always, are looking forward to sharing some fresh, new ways to include technology into your curriculum. Join us and we’ll help you make your lessons a little more relevant, motivating for both you and your students, and of course, a little more fun!

The Math Learning Center Apps

The Math Learning Center Apps

app App Review iPad tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 2-1-2015

One of our very favorite words.
The Math Learning Center apps are free.

Math Learning Center Apps
We’ve had bins and boxes and crates and drawers and plastic baggies…
all filled with math manipulatives.
I even had one big envelope filled with pieces that could replace missing manipulative sets.
Many of the pieces were broom and vacuum bait.
Those tiny 1/12 pieces were always missing.
And how long can you expect rubber bands to retain their elasticity before they snap when stretched beyond their intended use?

The Math Learning Center Apps have come to our rescue. While we’ve seen many flashy, clever math games for our iPads, these apps are simple, highly functional resources that provide hands-on free virtual manipulatives. This link will take you to The Math Learning Center App Download Page. You’ll find links and YouTube videos that demonstrate how to download each app and some examples of ways to use the app in your classroom.

Last week our post recommended building video playlists.
Make sure you log into your Google/YouTube account and add The Math Learning Center videos to a playlist for quick and easy references.

The Math Learning Center YouTube Channel
We highly recommend downloading The Math Learning Center apps to your device and to organize them into a manipulative folder.

Snow is on its way in our neck of the woods.
We hope it brings whatever you wish for a potential snow day, either an extended weekend, or safe travels to school tomorrow,
and we hope that on this “Super Bowl Sunday”, your team wins!

Your Google Account + Your YouTube Account

Your Google Account + Your YouTube Account

Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-25-2015

“Google Apps for Education” and “Google Classroom” have been our popular workshops this past year. It has been exciting to watch the changes and for us, it has been a challenge to keep our training current. Every time we meet with teachers, we add new features to our presentations, and it’s motivating to visualize the ever increasing options for teachers and students.

One of the features that is often missed, and sometimes one that teachers are not aware of, is their YouTube account. Google acquired YouTube in 2006, and if you have a Google account, you have a YouTube account. “Your Google account + your YouTube account” can be paired to create powerful lessons, and for your students, YouTube is a creative venue to showcase what they have learned.

One of the tips we offer is that whenever you are viewing YouTube videos on your computer, log into your account. As you find clips that you can use in your curriculum, add them to a playlist for quick and easy access.

YouTube Playlist

Under each video, you will find a “+ Add to” link. Clicking on this link will give you options to add the video to your “Favorites”, to create a new playlist, or to add the video to an existing playlist.

Sometime this week, take some time to log into your YouTube account, and begin building playlists that match your curriculum. A starting point might be:



Browse through the videos on this channel to add some multimedia pieces to a Monday lesson. Don’t forget to add it to your first YouTube playlist.

YouTube Safety Mode

YouTube Safety Mode

Google tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-18-2015

At our last workshop, our teachers asked about YouTube and how they could make the viewing experience safer for their students. We offered several suggestions, such as In the past, we enabled the Chrome Extension for, but that extension no longer exists. The easiest and quickest “fix” to remove comments is to enable the YouTube Safety mode. Make sure you are logged into your YouTube account so the Safety Mode will be locked, regardless of the browser you are using.

The video below explains best how to set your YouTube viewing preferences to safety mode.

YouTube Safety Mode

(Note: We generally use the Chrome browser since it works best with Google and YouTube.)

We hope this helps ease your minds and gives you a little more control, while giving your students a little more freedom.

Google Search for Education

Google Search for Education

Google tips

 Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-11-2015

We teach our students how to research,
but research looks a lot different from the research we conducted when we were in the classroom.
There’s nothing more that we love than opening up a book,
but searching online is the first option our students choose.
Google has stepped up to the plate with lessons and support to help us teach students how to research online by providing Google Search for Education.

Google Search for Education is divided into four main areas of support:

Google Search for Education

“Lesson Plans and Activities” provides links to literacy plans viewed as Google Documents with CCSS objectives and step-by-step directions at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Video webinar trainings are included as additional support.

Google Search for Education
“Power Searching” is divided into two main “courses”, “Advanced Power Searching” and “Power Searching”.
Each online course comes with a syllabus and videos to support the instruction.

Google Search for Education

“A Google a Day” is an easy way to provide fun and engaging classroom challenges, whether you choose to assign them daily, or even weekly. The activities reach across the curriculum in Geography, Science, Culture, and History and provide ways for students to work together, or individually on Google Slides.

Google Search for Education

Finally, “Live Training” includes Google+ webinars with the latest tips and trainings from Google.

Google Search for Education

There are plenty of additional links that offer more support as you browse and explore the options.
It’s easy to get pulled into the “World of Google”.
Take a look and we promise you will find something useful to add to this week’s lessons and activities in your planbooks.

Google Tasks

Google Tasks

app email Google iPad tips

Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 1-4-2015

It’s a new year with plenty of goals and projects ahead.
Have we mentioned that we are presenting at ISTE?
In Philadelphia?
Have we told you we are excited?
And then there’s travel, building a new home, and selling the old family homestead.
They’re all at the top of the list.

How in the world are we going to keep track of the “To-Do’s” involved!?
Let’s talk about Google Tasks.

We’ve shared Google Tasks when we present “Google Apps for Education”.
We first discovered it as a component of the Google Calendar,
and the calendar was our “tip post” two years ago.
Google Tasks can by synced across several platforms.
Starting in the calendar itself, the option to add tasks can be seen by clicking the “pull-down” arrow on the left side of your calendar where you find the option to enable “Tasks”. By clicking on it, your “Tasks” will appear in a “Tasks Bar” on the right side of your calendar.

Google Tasks 7

Watch the instructional Google video below that demonstrates adding tasks through your Gmail account which includes tips to manipulate your tasks in your calendar.

And there’s an app for that.
Our “go-to” iTunes app is “Go Tasks” which is free and has excellent user reviews.

GoTasks for Google Tasks

Another option is to make a “homescreen bookmark” as described in this Google video.

Finally, we encourage everyone to use the Chrome browser when working in Google.
There is an extension made by Google, “Google Tasks” which works well.
In researching and reading the reviews, though, we found another extension called, “Better Google Tasks” developed by Matt Atkins. I have installed it, and it does a great job. One of the features I like about this extension is that you can view all of your task lists at once.

We hope these tips help organize and simplify your crazy life a little.
We are working on ours, too. Enjoy what is for many of you, your last day of the holiday break,
and return with a fresh, revised attitude to make the rest of this year the very best for you and your students!

The Noun Project

The Noun Project


Sunday Sit, Sip, and “Sync” ~ 12-21-2014

The Noun Project” was initiated by a group of designers in 2010.
The result is a website collection of icons that continues to grow as new symbols are added.
It represents a global common visual language whose contributors include designers that upload images that can be used in professional presentations, all areas of education, and as a simple means to communicate.


The site includes basically two types of downloadable icons.
The first is
“Creative Commons” where you must either give credit to the artist while using the symbol free,

The Noun Project 1
or pay the artist and use it without attribution.

The Noun Project 2The other option is “Public Domain” which allows anyone to use the icon free without attribution.

The Noun Project 3

Hospital Symbol

There are also several membership options that you can choose as described on their Pricing Page.

The icons, themselves, include four essential elements:

1. The design contains only the essential characteristics and facts of the object or idea in symbol.
2. Design style is consistent throughout the symbol.
3. The symbol does not look illustrative or hand drawn and has the characteristics of a street sign.
4. Symbol designs do not include the artist’s personal opinion, feeling, or belief towards the object or idea depicted.

Once downloaded, the symbols are high-quality and easy to understand as represented:

Piotrek ChuchlaWe invite you to take a look at “The Noun Project” both as a resource,
and to share it with your students with an invitation to contribute as artists.

Enjoy this “Winter Solstice” and the final Sunday before Christmas.
We will be taking a break next week to spend time with our families, as well.
See you in the New Year!