Thursday, January 29, 2015

Chrome QuickTip #1: Calculator

Need to calculate some numbers real quick?  
Add your equation to your Chrome address bar.

For example: 
Suppose I have 23 students in my class and each student required 7 paperclips for a class project.  To calculate the 23 * 7, I can type the equation into my address bar.  The quick answer will display just below my search.

Click enter and you will be brought to an online calculator (as shown below).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gmail: Change the way emails are displayed in your inbox

Do you feel like you miss email messages?
Are you having difficulty finding your Gmail messages because of the way the messages are sorted and stored in your inbox? 

Conversation View - an email conversation between two people consisting of 14 messages.

Gmail uses a feature called Conversation View to display your messages. Conversation view works by combining emails with all of the associated replies (see image above).  These "threaded" emails are stored together in one place with the idea that this makes it easier to follow the conversation and understand the context of the message.

Personally, I like Conversation View, but I have spoken to other staff members that find it confusing and are concerned that they are missing replies.  

If you do not like Conversation View, no problem.  You can shut it off. 
  1. Click on the settings gear.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Scroll down to Conversation View under the General Tab.
  4. Change the Conversation View setting to off.

What happens when you turn Conversation View OFF?

When you turn Conversation View off, Gmail reloads your inbox with an unthreaded view.  Your inbox messages and replies are no longer grouped together.  Each message will contain just a single message or reply.  This means that you will see more individual email messages.

Some will find this easier to control and manage.  Others may see this as cluttering up their inbox.  

Convesation View OFF
Each reply is listed individually.  Messages sent by me would be located in my SENT folder.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Have you considered blogging?

What is a blog?
A blog is a type of website in which there are frequent updates that appear in reverse-chronological order.

What a classroom blog can do.
A classroom blog allows a teacher to communicate with parents about what is going on in the classroom and what their child is doing in school.  It improves the link between school and home.

What kind of information can you share a classroom blog?
Here are some ideas to get you started.  Please share your ideas for additional uses.

  • Weekly classroom updates.  E.g., Here's what we did in class this week.
    Get your students involved - what activities, events, learning do they think you should write about?
  • Post classroom news.  E.g., upcoming events, field trip information, exam schedules. 
  • Create a list of helpful resources and website links to helpful content online or online textbooks.
  • Post classroom expectations, syllabi, code of content, etc.
  • Post homework assignments.
  • Add your class google calendar.
  • Provide further assignments for students to work on.
  • Post weekly challenges (riddles, brainteasers) that require your students to think creatively and critically.  Have students post their answers online and then discuss the solution as a class at the end of the week.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.  


Would you be interested in PD on creating a classroom blog?  Let me know,

Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Use Google Calendar to Schedule Parent Conferences

Did you know that you can set up a period of time in Google Calendar to allow others to reserve an appointment time on your calendar?  This feature makes scheduling parents conferences easy because it allows parents to select and reserve an available time directly on your calendar.

Please note: in order for parents to schedule time using appointment slots, the will need to have a Google account.

How to set up Appointment Slots
  1. Sign into your Google calendar.
  2. Create a calendar called Parent/Teacher Conference.
    This separate calendar will help keep your appointments better organized.
  3. Select Week or Day view
    (appointment slots cannot be created in Month or Agenda views).
  4. Click on the starting date/time that you would like the appointment times to begin.
  5. On the window that appears, select (1) Appointment Slots instead of Event (see image).
    • Name your Appointment Slot in the (2) What field (e.g., January Parent/Teacher conferences).
    • Select your (3) Parent/Teacher Conference calendar.
    • Assign the length of time for each appointment in the (4) Type field.  In the example above, the appointment time is 30 minutes.
    • To change the length of time that you are offering appointments, click on (5) Edit details.
  6.   Edit details of your Appointment Slot (see image below).
    • (1) Time Block - set the beginning and ending times of your appointment block.  In the example below, I set the time from 9am-3:00pm.  Please note: to have the appointments appear on multiple days, I would click the box next to Repeat.
    • (2) Where - add your school and classroom number.  This event will be added to the parents calendar as well as your own and they will appreciate the extra information.
    • (3) This calendar's appointment page - Copy this link and share the link with your student's parents in an email or on your class website.

How the Appointment blocks will appear on your Calendar.
Your Appointment blocks will appear as a single event on your calendar.  After a parent books an appointment, another event will appear overlapping this event.
Notice that the name of the person who booked the appointment will appear in parentheses after the event name.

How the Appointment blocks will appear on the parents calendar.
The calendar below is an example of what a parent would see when booking an appointment.  In this case, the 9:30 appointment is unavailable.  

Parents will only see appointments booked by themselves.  In the example below, the 12 o'clock appointment was booked by this user, WHS Training.

More Information 

Check out the video below from