Tools & Tips Tuesdays

Screen-Free Week & Voice Typing Speaker Notes

The resource I have to share with you this week is for Screen-Free Week, April 29th-May 5th. Visit to learn about ways to celebrate. They have a variety of resources for educators and families to enjoy life unplugged!

Google Tip: Voice Type Speaker Notes

Did you know that you can dictate directly into your speaker notes in Google Slides? Go to Tools and select Voice type speaker notes. This is great for struggling writers or anyone! Take note and think through what you want to say.

Earth Day & Customizing Videos in Google Slides

The resources I have to share with you this week are great for Earth Day activities. Use Google My Maps, Google Streetview, Google Earth, Google Arts & Culture, Google Tour Builder, and Google Tour Creator to explore the Earth. Google Earth Education is a great place to start. Check out Nasa’s #PictureEarth event too!

Google Tip: Customize Start & End Time for Videos in Google Slides

When you insert Youtube videos into your Google Slides presentations, you have the option to customize the start and end time for the video. This is great when you only need to reference a certain clip of a video. To do this follow these steps: Insert your video on the slide, right click on the video and choose Format Options, go to Video Playback, select your start and end times. You can also choose to autoplay while presenting and/or mute the audio.

Poetry Month & Photo Add-Ons for Google Slides

The resources I have to share with you this week are great for National Poetry Month, which is April. Eric Curts has some Great Googly Poetry Projects and templates available. NCTE and Academy of American Poets also have some nice resources. Lastly, Storybird has a section for poetry. If you would like help implementing any of these into your lessons this month, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Google Tip: Photo & Icon Add-Ons for Google Slides

Two great add-ons for Google Slides are Unsplash and Icons by Noun Project. Photos from Unsplash are free to use for commercial and personal purposes. Implementing this add-on can create great teachable moments for copyright and fair use. 

Financial Literacy Month & Typing a Fraction Hack

The resources I have to share with you this week are great for Financial Literacy Month, which is April. Everfi has several courses available to help teach financial literacy. Google Applied Digital Skills has a couple of lessons that tie in with that topic, too: Plan and Budget and Track Your Monthly Expenses. Below, you will find even more digital resources.

Google Tip: Typing a Fraction Hack

If you use a table and make the outer border white, you can easily type fractions. This little trick is sometimes easier than inserting an equation, special character, or using Equatio.

Tech Talk Tuesdays & Closed Captioning in Google Slides

The resource I have to share with you this week is a blog that stems from the Screenagers Movie, called Tech Talk Tuesdays. The blog highlights several different topics associated with managing screen time. These blog posts are great food for thought. Some of the topics include Cell Phones in School, Digital Citizenship, Distraction, Homework, Non-tech Activities and Tech in Schools.


Google Tip: Closed Captioning with Google Slides

Google slides has an accessibility feature of closed captioning built into it. To use this feature, open an existing slide presentation and click Present. In the bottom panel toolbar that shows up in presentation mode, click Captions and allow microphone access. Start speaking.

Common Sense Media & Google Trick

The resource I have to share with you this week is Common Sense Media. While I’ve shared this resource with you in the past, I’d like to point out a little niche for educators. The Ed Tech Reviews page is a great place to search for reviews on various tech tools that you might consider implementing in the classroom. They also have a lot of resources for professional development from webinars, articles, training, and a recognition program.

Google Tip: There’s a hack for that!

Need to create a new G Suite file? Shortcut! Create a new doc by typing in the omnibox. The same works for,, and

How to Mimic Thinglink Using the Polyline Tool in Google Drawings

Google Tip: How to Mimic Thinglink Using the Polyline Tool in Google Drawings

Google Drawings are a great way to deliver multiple links and instructions related to a certain lesson. If you use the polyline tool to outline various parts of a drawing or image, you can then hyperlink that shape. By making the shape fill and outline transparent, you can make the shape “invisible”. Hyperlinking several areas of a google drawing create something similar to a Thinglink. By sharing out the “preview” link with students, they will have access to the lesson resources and directions.

Digital Learning Day, National Day of Unplugging & Epic

The tools I have to share with you this week are for Digital Learning Day, March is Reading Month, and National Day of Unplugging.

Thursday is Digital Learning Day. While most days are digital learning days here in West Bloomfield, share how your students are participating on Twitter using the hashtag #DLDay. If you are still looking for ideas, check out their resources here or reach out to me! If you complete an Everfi lesson with your class from one of their courses this week, you will be entered into the $1000 DonorsChoose giveaway. Keyboarding Without Tears also has free grade level keyboarding challenges and a digital citizenship video.

Following that is the National Day of Unplugging on March 1-2. It is important to model digital citizenship to our students. Finding a healthy balance with technology use is a part of digital citizenship. They have a teacher activity toolkit that you can sign up for to help promote that healthy balance and relationship with technology. Check out #nationaldayofunplugging on Twitter.

March is Reading Month is almost here! Check out Epic for thousands of free ebooks for K-5. You can sign up with your Google account and create bookshelves and libraries for your students to read from.

Google Tip: If-Then Adventure Stories

Get creative and practice digital literacy with Google Slides and have your students create if-then adventure stories. There is a great lesson from Google Applied Digital Skills on how to do this. Here is an example of what an if-then story could look like.


Book Creator & Chrome Accessibility

The tool I have to share with you this week is Book Creator. It provides a way for students to demonstrate understanding by creating ebooks. This tool helps engage reluctant writers and is available on iOS or Chrome. The free version allows you to have 1 library with up to 40 books. To see what a finished ebook might look like, check out 50 Ways to use Book Creator in your Classroom, authored by the Book Creator team. You can also check out #BookCreator on Twitter to see how other educators are leveraging this tool in their learning communities.

Google Tip: Assistive Technology

There are many accessibility features in the Chrome browser and on Chromebooks. There are features that help with visibility, screen readers, text to speech and more. Check out the Chrome & Chrome OS Accessibility Youtube Playlist to learn more about these features.

Peardeck & Google Slides Q & A

The tool I have to share with you this week is Peardeck. It is built to work with G Suite and is a great addition to Google Slides. Peardeck helps make your slides presentations more interactive. Students can join your presentation session/lesson by joining with a code. The slides are then pushed out to display on participant screens. It allows students to submit responses to tasks on any given slide. This is a great tool to do checks for understanding. The best part is that this is free!

Google Tip: Q & A Session with Google Slides

If you click the dropdown carrot next to the Present button on Google Slides and choose Presenter View, you can use the Audience Q & A tool to involve participants. Click on Audience Tools to start a new session. This will generate a banner across the top of your slides with a short link for your audience to visit. As you present, your audience can ask questions. My favorite thing about this feature is that it was designed by a student!