Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Digital Interactive Student Notebooks

I am a huge composition notebook, scissors, Astrobright paper, and glue fan. Interactive Student Notebooks are my JAM! But it is 2020 and maybe it is time to go digital. The hubs definitely thinks so because he has told me every time he has moved me and ALL my supplies that there has to be a way to "put these on the computer!" So I did! 

It is hard to think about the scene above not happening in 2020 classrooms. Students with shared materials, in groups, with comfy seating doing math together won't be seen this year. I love the way students love their notebooks! I have shared starting notebooks with any fellow teacher that will listen!

Interactive notebooks keep everything organized, keep students engaged, are literally interactive, and I could go on and on! I even wrote a post about it here. When thinking about how to make all of this goodness DIGITAL, I knew the top priority was that it stayed INTERACTIVE. 

Enter Google Slides! I created pages in PowerPoint because I have to keep my fun fonts of course! Then added those images as a background on the slides. This will keep it from being clickable to students. Slides makes it easy to link to other slides in the presentation. It even changes the slide number for you when you add more slides. Impressive, Google! 

I used the space around the page to add in directions, videos and pieces for a drag and drop activity. You could put links to websites you want students to visit, collaborative slides and activities, anything you can think of! I do like that you can use all the color you want without worrying about printer ink! The list below are some ideas about how to make it interactive.

Collaborative Google Slides
Wheel of Names
Drag and Drop Activities
Scavenger Hunts 
Escape Rooms (Slides)
Choice Boards

I have high hopes for the DIGITAL Interactive Notebook! I created a tutorial on setting one up and how to link things with some options. You will find a link below that to grab a copy of my example. Please copy and make it your own! I would love to see what you create!



Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Create a Classroom Website Using Google Sites

We are going into an uncertain fall this year as we get ready to start back to school. Many districts have already put their plans out and some of those are to start virtual. Whether you will be virtual or in person, a classroom website is a great way to have the things students and families need all in ONE place! A classroom website can provide a familiar and safe space, like your classroom, that can be a home base for students and families that will alleviate a lot of anxiousness. Think about designing your online classroom so that it provides a single place for daily or weekly agendas, learning materials, assignments, activities, meeting links, grades, feedback, and on and on. In your teacher brains, think of the classroom website as the bins, baskets, and cubbies in your classroom!

The tutorial at the end of the post walks you through setting up and publishing your classroom website. Google Sites is super user friendly and you are able to link things straight from your Google Drive such as Slides, Forms, Documents. The great thing about adding from your drive is that changes you make to these are automatically updated in your website. Just be sure your share settings are so that anyone with the link can view! I hope the tutorial gives you some ideas of things you could include in your website. The idea is to have everything in one place so you can direct students and families to your classroom website where they will easily find all the things that make your classroom run. 

I added some super fun extras in the tutorial {hint above} to help with design and creativity! The tutorial is long so it also gives you a brain break while you are creating. You will find time markers below the tutorial in YouTube if you want to jump to the extras. The first is how to create a color palette to use in PowerPoint. Color makes ALL the difference when you are designing resources and using those cute fonts! An easy way to get a color scheme going is to use a color palette. Much like the paint chips at the home improvement store.

You can use the hex color number or the dropper in the font or shape color dropdown to get the perfect shade of pink or orange you want. The color possibilities are endless! I like to use the dropper and hover over the color I want to select it. But you can certainly use the hex color number to be more exact.

So you have cute fonts and vibrant colors in your PowerPoint presentation AND you want to have the same extravagance in Google Slides! That brings us to the second extra found in the tutorial. Until Google stops holding us back, this workaround will be your go-to. 

Create your page in PowerPoint and screengrab or group and right click to save as image. Go over to Google Slides, choose "Background" on an empty slide. Next, choose the image you created in PowerPoint either from your drive or by uploading and click "Done." This sets the image as the background and locks it in place so you can click all over it and nothing moves. You can then layer things you need including links or text boxes. This is how the Bitmoji Virtual Classrooms are created as well. You can find that tutorial here and the blog post here if you need another fun project that would also be awesome on your classroom website!

Leveraging a classroom website as a home base is a great way to provide a student-centered community. You can ensure all students have what they need to learn and be successful no matter what environment that takes place in. 


Link to Google Classroom, Canvas, or other LMS
Bitmoji Virtual Classrooms
Classroom Library
Daily/Weekly Agenda
Learning Materials and Websites
House System
Virtual Meet the Teacher
Communication such as Remind, Email, Social Media, or School Website
Resources and Videos



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