Soundtrap & Talk to Books

The tool I have to share with you this week is Soundtrap. This is a tool that enables teachers to enhance teaching and learning with music, podcasts, language, literacy training, and other recordings. Soundtrap works on any device and is a collaborative environment where students can develop their own creative communication skills. Think of it as the Google Doc for sounds and recording. They have a free 30 day trial, which could be enough to do a single project with your students over the course of a month. I’m happy to help you out with implementing this and the students love it!

Talk to Books is an AI experiment from Google that will allow you to browse through passages from books. For example, I can search “is music healthy” and the results will show me books that have passages in them related to my search or question.  This is a creativity tool that helps explore ideas and discover books by pulling quotes from its database of books. This tool could be leveraged as an interesting twist to a research project.


Choice Eliminator 2, Raspberry Jam, Noisli

The tool I have to share with you this week is Choice Eliminator 2. This is an Add-on for Google Forms that will eliminate options from a drop-down, multiple choice, list, or checkbox type of question. With parent-teacher conferences approaching, this is a great tool to use for having parents sign up for a time slot.

The West Bloomfield Raspberry Jam will be held on Friday, December 14th from 4:30-6:30pm at West Bloomfield High School. In celebration of computer science and physical computing, there will be a showcase, workshops, and space to tinker. The event is open to anyone.  Please spread the word!

Noisli is an extension that can help with productivity. You can mix different sounds and create the best sound environment based on your needs to focus or relax. Some sounds you can choose from include wind, water, leaves, bonfire (my personal favorite), coffee shop and more. The timer is also a nice feature. While many of us use music for background noise and auditory cues in the classroom, this can be another great tool to use for similar purposes. ie: When you hear the bonfire stop, it’s time to clean up from writer’s workshop

Jamboard & Keyboard Shortcuts

The tool I have to share with you this week is Jamboard. This is a collaborative white-boarding tool. Similar to other G Suite apps, Jamboard allows for another space for collaboration. You can sketch, draw, erase, add notes, add pictures, and add things from the web. Jamboard works a little differently depending on whether you are using it from a mobile device app or through your web browser. Imagine the possibilities of how this tool can transform the way you collaborate with your PLCs! I encourage you to play around with it and test it out.

 Shortcuts to help in G Suite

Ctrl + R to refresh

Ctrl + A to highlight all the text

Ctrl + Shift + . to make things bigger

Ctrl + Shift + , to make things smaller

Autocrat, #DigCitWeek, Snoozing Emails

The tool I have to share with you this week is Autocrat. This is an Add-On for Google Sheets. A few things you can do with this tool is mail merges, generate certificates of achievement, generate parent letters, and make docs specific to a particular student. Eric Curts (@EricCurts) has a great blog post that includes a tutorial video on how to use Autocrat.

#DigCitWeek is this week! I shared many digital citizenship resources with you at the beginning of the month. I encourage you to use those resources beyond the week and month. Digital citizenship should be an ongoing conversation throughout the school year.

Google Tip:  Snoozing emails until later

In Gmail, you may have noticed the new Snooze option.  This allows you to postpone emails and temporarily remove them from your inbox until you need them. Your email will come back to the top of your inbox when you want it to show up. To learn more about snoozing, visit the Gmail Help Center.

Google Drawing Resources & Accessibility features in Chromebooks

The tool I have to share with you this week is Google Drawings. To access Google Drawings, go to Google Drive, Click New, click More, choose Google Drawings. Google Drawings is like the buried treasure of G Suite! There are several resources to help you utilize it in your practice.

Google Tip:  How to get videos into Google Drawings from Slides

Open a Google Slides presentation, click Insert and choose Video.  Then, search for the video in Youtube, paste the URL, or locate in Google Drive. Once the video is inserted into the slide, copy it and paste it into a Google Drawing. Here is an example.

Bonus Google Tip: Accessibility features on student Chromebooks

Click here for a crash course on Using Chromebooks in Classrooms with Diverse Learners.

Digital Citizenship Resources & Gmail Translate Feature

The tools I have to share with you this week are resources to help teach Digital Citizenship.  Digital Citizenship is important to teach so that students can develop the skills and knowledge to effectively use technology and participate responsibly. There are many resources available for teaching this topic. Some Everfi Courses include Ignition, Commons, Say Something, Honor Code and Character Playbook. Google also has a curriculum called Be Internet Awesome. If you are looking for more of a scope and sequence sorted by grade level, Common Sense Media is a good place to start. These Facebook Lessons can be tweaked for any social media. Lastly, check out #DigCitCommit on social media.

Google Tip: Gmail Translate Feature

This feature is especially helpful when it comes to communicating with ELL students and families. They can write emails to you in their native language. When the message hits your inbox, open the message and click on the 3 dots, choose Translate Message.


This week, I want to share the Global Read Aloud with you. The Global Read Aloud is like a book club on a global level. Classrooms around the world read a common book and make as many global connections as possible. This event happens in October and runs through November. Check out the event website to see which books and authors are contenders for each grade level this year and sign up. The kick off is October 1st!

Google Tip: Giving Feedback in Google Classroom

Did you know you can give annotated feedback in the mobile version of google classroom? Open the assignment in the google classroom app, tap on Student Work, Tap the student’s name and their attachment. Then, tap Edit to make any notes or drawings and tap Save.

*Note that this can only be done in the mobile app for google classroom, which is available on Android, Apple iOS, or Chrome OS.  

AR & VR Experiments by Google

The tools I have to share with you this week are from AR and VR Experiments by Google.  Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tools are becoming more and more prevalent. Mixed realities provide us with another way to be creative with engaging students. Just a line and Access Mars are a couple of my favorites.

Google Tip: Youtube Playlists

A playlist is a collection of videos that you can curate under a single link. This is a great feature for educators when they want students to be watching certain videos. It eliminates the need for the student to look search for the video on their own. Start with viewing a video you want in the playlist. Underneath that video, click Add to + and click on Create new playlist. Enter the playlist name. Use the drop-down menu to select the playlist’s privacy setting and click Create. I recommend selecting Unlisted. This is like when we say “anyone with the link can view” in other G Suite tools. To get the link to your playlist, click on the playlist in the left-hand side under Library. Copy the URL in the omnibox and share it out or post on Google Classroom. Students will be able to see any video you add to the playlist as the year progresses.

AI Experiments by Google

The tools I have to share with you this week are from AI experiments by Google. You may even recognize some of these, as I know some were used in classrooms last year.  But what you probably didn’t know is that these experiments use artificial intelligence and machine learning! Semantris, Emoji Scavenger Hunt, Thing Translator, and Mystery Animal are a few of my favorites.

If you are looking for resources to teach about Constitution Day, which is coming up next week, here are some Lesson Plans from the National Constitution Center.

If you are looking for Dot Day Resources, which is this weekend, here are some resources to help celebrate creativity and collaboration.

Breakout EDU has some news and updates. You can read about them here. Also, to make a twist on these digital escape rooms, check out this blog post about #QRBreakIN. How fun and exciting does that sound?!

Google Tip: Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a G Suite tool that can be leveraged in a variety of ways for educators and students. When you sign up, Google Calendar MAGICALLY creates a virtual call link in the calendar event.

Flipgrid & Google Applied Digital Skills

The tools I have to share with you this week are Flipgrid and Google Applied Digital Skills. Flipgrid is a video discussion tool that can also be leveraged for digital formative assessment. You can also collaborate globally using the hashtag #GridPals. The best part is that Flipgrid is totally FREE now! Google Applied Digital Skills is a project based video curriculum that utilizes G Suite tools to teach technology skills that will prepare students for the workforce. All of these lessons are also FREE!

If you are looking for resources to teach about 9/11, which is coming up next week, here are some 9/11 Lesson Plans from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. These are sorted by grade level.

Google Tip: Creating Templates in G Suite

Simply grab the link of the file and change the end of the URL.  Replace where it says “edit” and anything to the right of it with “template/preview”. Take a look at the end of the URL below.

By doing this, you do not need to share the original file with others and when they click the “Use Template” button it adds a copy to their own drive.  Any changes they make will not appear in owner’s original file. TRICKY!