I love the holiday season! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or just the winter season, I know that the kiddos get a little, shall we say crazy?, this time of the year. It’s hard to keep their attention on things like math and social studies when it’s almost break. It’s time for you to get creative to engage your kiddos with more than just a series of movies.

I’d like to share with you some holiday-themed activities and tools that will get you in the sprit of the holiday season and hopefully get your students more engaged. read more

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If you haven’t heard about flippity.net, this is one awesome tool. Flippity allows you to create all sorts of cool things with a spreadsheet. Think word searches, bingo games, interactive spelling lists, flash cards, name pickers, scavenger hunts, and the list goes on and on.

I was presenting on this awesome tool at the G-Tech Summit earlier this month and I had all sorts of issues when it came to live demos. I chalked it up to internet issues, but it is more than that. This is directly from the developer: read more

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It’s hard to believe that we are almost to the end of another school year! Before we get to this week’s Tech Tip, I want to give a quick shout out to all you teachers and staff for all your hard work this year. You have gone above and beyond in this strange year. YOU ROCK! 🤘

(Please take some time to relax and recharge this summer!)

As we head into spring and the end of the academic year, I always end up thinking about spring cleaning. In addition to washing windows, decluttering and filing, you can also spring clean your digital world as well.

Clear off those desktop icons and your download folder. Try to get to Inbox Zero. And don’t forget about Google Classroom.

As I was doing some research for this Tech Tip, I came across an article from the amazing Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning. She has written a much better article than I ever could, so I am going to point you to her article.

Kasey lists six tips that you can use to help you clean up Google Classroom and prepare for next school year. Here are her six steps, and I encourage you to check out her article for all the details and instructions.

Tip #1: Reflect on the Year

Tip #2: Check Your “To Do” List in Google Classroom

Tip #3: Clean Up Folders

Tip #4: What to Do with All Those Calendars!

Tip #5: Set Up a Class Template for Next Year

Tip #6: Archive Classes

The whole article is a great read.

Good luck with your spring cleaning, and enjoy your summer!

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At the end of the year, many teachers are looking for ideas for a student project. If you want a project that is timely, how about checking out Google Trends. Google Trends showcases what Google searches are trending around the world. It is a very interesting way to see what people are talking about.

To start, go to trends.google.com. Once you’re there, you can jump right in by entering a keyword or a topic in the Explore bar, or see some examples:

 

Here I searched for COVID-19 vaccine. These are the results:

You can filter by using the menus at the top. Or scroll down to see more detailed information including interest by subregion, here the United States.

And then, scrolling further, you can see related topics and related searches:

 

The Google Trends homepage has lots of cool things available, including stories curated by the News Lab at Google that provide additional insights found in the data, daily Search Trends, and one of my favorites, the Year in Search.

 

Finally, one of the coolest features is where you can visualize the Hot Trends in real-time. First, open https://trends.google.com/trends/hottrends/visualize and then go to the bottom and change “All Regions” to United States (or whatever country or region you are studying):

 

Then, watch as the trends change in real-time. You can even make this into a screensaver!

 

How might you use Google Trends in your classroom?

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If you’ve taken Northern Buckeye’s Google Certified Educator Level 2 cohort, you’ve learned about Google Scholar. If you haven’t taken our cohort, it is likely you’ve never heard of Scholar. Allow me to enlighten you.

So what is Google Scholar? Well, Google has this to say:

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. Search across a wide variety of disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.

 

Google Scholar is a great tool to find articles and case law. It is a great companion to Google Books, which I will outline in a future tip. Scholar will be useful to your students (especially those in high school) and maybe even yourself if you have to do research or are furthering your own education.

Let’s dig in!

To get started, visit the Google Scholar website at scholar.google.com. Once you are there, you see the familiar Google search box, and you can choose from Articles or Case law.

When searching for case law, you can search for Federal court cases or those in Ohio courts. In this screenshot, I am searching for Brown v. Board of Education.

Once you’ve found what you are looking for, you can click the star to make it a favorite, which adds it to your Library. Or, click the quotation mark to cite it. The default citation is Bluebook.

You can also use Scholar to search for Articles in scholarly journals.

Here I did a search for Intermittent fasting. You’ll notice that I got a number of articles both in PDF and HTML format. I can also use the sidebar to narrow down the publication dates, change sorting, or even create an alert that will notify me when something is added that matches my search.

Again, you can make it a favorite, or cite the article. When citing, you have a choice of many formats including MLA, APA, Chicago and more. Simply copy the correct format into your Works Cited page.

Your library holds all of your favorites, both case law and scholarly articles. This is a great way to keep track of your findings.

I think Google Scholar is a great tool for teachers and students alike. I wish it was around when I was in college!

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