Friday, December 19, 2014

Smarty Pins (plus some Christmas fun)

Merry Christmas!
Here's a special BONUS tip. Check out Google Maps Smarty Pins. This fun map based game is great trivia and forces you to spend a little time on the map. No tutorial here, just fun. ;-)

And the "plus"...
The Google Santa Tracker. There is a little movie or game or lesson for each day - be sure to explore - this one is HUGE fun!
The calendar will show you all of the items.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy the break!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Let's Start a Blog

One of the easiest ways to have a web page is to create a blog. Your newest content will always appear at the top of the page, you can add a variety of content, and you can post in a number of ways.
Your account (or any google account) has a Blogger account connected to it. Which means that your username (including and password will grant you access to the wonderful world of simple web publishing.
In this post I'm going to offer a few "levels" of blogging:
  • Just the basics - you can post and people can read what you write
  • Enough to be dangerous - your posts might include some pictures and videos, as well as scheduled posts
  • Showing off a little - you can post to your blog from your phone or email

Let's get started.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What is Google+?

You may have noticed the "+YourName" in several of the Google apps. What is it? That's Google + (plus). It is a little bit like a Facebook-Twitter-blogging-email-Flickr mashup in that it is social, but more customize-able.
The big advantage of Google + is CIRCLES. You create circles, add people to the circles, (you can put people in multiple circles) and share with your circles.
So, let's look at what it is and how to learn more about Google +.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gmail Filters

Last week we looked at adding labels to your email. This week we will look at FILTERS.

As I stated before, Gmail puts all of your email in one container and uses filters and labels to gather what you want in ways you request. Since Gmail is a Google product it makes sense that they would approach mail organization as a searching task. :-) When we create a filter, we ask google to do a pre-defined search and display the results in a pre-defined format.

One warning before you get too far. You can set up filters to forward and delete things. Be careful when setting up your filters.

So HOW do I create a filter?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gmail (Pirate Email) Labels

Google email is focussed around searching and filtering. Understanding this will help you have a better email experience. Gmail uses labels to help categorize things in searching.
In today's post I'll start with some background on Gmail (Part 1) and do a how-to on Labels (Part 2).

Part 1 - Some background on Gmail

All of the labels in google are listed right under the compose button on the left side of the Gmail window. By default, Google shows you only a few of the labels the system created.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Adding a Plug-in to Chrome

Chrome is a powerful tool for teaching and learning. You can take it further by adding some plug-ins to customize your experience.

In this post I will show you "three parts" -  how to add an "extension" or "plug-in" to Chrome, how to manage the extensions, and then link to some suggested extensions and plugins you might like.

Part 1 - Adding an extension

Here's one example of how to add a dictionary...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Google Calendar Appointment Slots

In this Tip of the Week we focus on Google Calendars, specifically on how to create Appointment Slots. This only works in a Google Apps domain, so you would not be able to use this feature on a personal Google account. Let's get to it!

Open the Chrome web browser, login to your Google Calendar, and select the Week view

Monday, November 3, 2014

Google Research Tools

If you use Google Docs, Spreadsheets, or Presentation, this is an AWESOME tool for you!
Let's dive right in. Open your browser (I prefer Chrome) and go to Google Drive.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Remind - Communicate with Students and Families!

Kids have cell phones. Parents have cell phones. Let's put them to work. :-)
Today I am highlighting a great FREE tool that will allow you to send mass text messages without giving students and parents your personal number. Instructions for you are below, and instructions for parent/student sign-up are created for each class you want to include - all you have to do is download and print. :-)

Here's the link to get started:
It's a quick and easy setup - click the blue Teacher sign up button

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adding Events to a Shared Calendar

Calendars are a great way to keep communication updated. Here's how you add events to a shared calendar.
Adding Events
Open your Google Calendar.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Setting GMail as your Default Email

When you click on an email address it should open your email program and fill in the "To:" field, right?
I think so... Let's make that happen with Gmail ( email accounts).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pinning Tabs...

This week a great tip for making Chrome more convenient...

Have you ever accidentally closed a tab you meant to keep open? Check this out. :-)

Tabbed browsing was covered in an earlier blog post, but here is a cool "add-on" for using your tabs.
Pinned Tabs!

Monday, October 6, 2014

MISTAR Resources

Since our switch to MISTAR there have been many questions about many different aspects of the Gradebook software. Here's a few links to sites that offer some help with MISTAR:
Thanks to Kathy Darish (Navigator) for sharing these great tools! (Gold STAR!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Google Classroom

This week we focus on using the NEW Google Classroom. 

Three options - choose one two or all three! :-)
1. Watch the intro video produced by Google (2:18)
2. Watch my video walk-through (17:12)
3. Do the tutorial (Linked Here)

Here's a short intro produced by Google (2:18)

Google Classroom video walk-through (Not a Tutorial)

Here you can watch me walk through the process of setting up a class, editing the class, assigning a document, etc. This is a GREAT way to get a better idea of what is possible with this tool.

Google Classroom Tutorial

Google Classroom Resources & Links

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting Started with Pirate Email

You now have access to a PCS Google Mail account. 
Setting up your Pirate email account is simple and will open the door to many other Google Apps you will find useful. Here are a few "how-to" videos on the setup process. (Takes about 3-5 minutes to complete the process)
If you would like the text directions in addition to the videos (plus some other tips) you can find more at the Getting Started pages or DOWNLOAD this printable PDF with directions and screenshots. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SITE IS FREQUENTLY UPDATED, SO CHECK BACK OFTEN.  :-)
1. Reset your password.
2. Login to your Pirate Email

3. Set your email to forward

4. Let people know about your new address

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tabbed browsing.

This blog is a new effort to get teachers (and students) familiar with all of the tools we have available as part of the Google accounts that have been created for each of you. The goal is to provide more "bite-sized" learning opportunities.

You can request to get an email from me automatically each time I post by using the FOLLOW BY EMAIL field to the left (or below if you are looking at this on a mobile device), but for the first few months, I will be emailing a teaser and link to the post each week.

If you have a suggestion for a tip that you would like to share or learn about, please send me an email ( and I would love to include your tip or question as part of the series.

In our first week, something simple - Tabbed Browsing.

Many already know about and do this, but I am going to share a little about the Chrome browser and the tabbed browsing features it offers.

Watch the video to learn more...