Sharing Copies – Google Apps

In previous posts I have written about Teacher Dashboard, Google Apps, and how to share documents with students. Here is one more way that lets you share a link to a document in Schoology (or anywhere else) bypassing the Smart Copy button in Teacher Dashboard.

If you need to share a document with students and you want each student to have his or her own copy, here is what you do:

  1. Create the document in Google Drive. Make sure it has a distinctive name that lets your students know what it is when they see it in Google Drive again.
  2. Click the SHARE button and select to share the link to the document by clicking on GET SHAREABLE LINK.
  3. Copy the link and paste it into Schoology (or your blog, or an email, or Twitter…)
  4. Before you send or publish, edit the link. Change the last part of the link where it says /edit?usp=sharing  so that it says /copy
  5. Share the link!
When your students click on the link, they will see the following screen:
When they click the blue button, they will have a copy of the document they can edit and turn in to you via Teacher Dashboard or Schoology.
Easy, right? Let me know if you have any questions.


World Faire!

The week before winter break GES 5th graders hosted a day-long World Faire that was the culmination of months of hard work in Jen Cosby’s class. In October students were put into research teams. Their mission was to work collaboratively with their team to research a foreign country of choice and prepare presentation materials for the World Faire.

To keep research efforts organized students used checklists in Google Docs. As they researched a topic relating to the country, they would update the team Google Doc. Students were able to view each others research thanks to sharing capabilities inherent in Google Apps.

Once research was complete, teams began work on their presentations. They used their iPads to create movies using iMovie, QR codes, and augmented reality overlays. On the non-techy side, students assembled a presentation board. The board showcased pictures, textual information, QR codes, and augmented reality projects.

The entire perimeter of the school cafeteria was decorated with presentation boards on the day of the fair! Students also prepared learning activities (differentiated for various grade-levels), food samples, crafts, games, speeches, and demonstrations to share with other students who visited the fair.

Each grade-level had a chance to come learn from our fabulous 5th grade students. When students entered the cafeteria they were given a passport. A 5th grade tour guide led a group of 2-4 students from country to country. After visiting each country the students received stamps in their passports and goodies to keep in their “suitcase”.  The passports were filled with postcards containing interesting facts on each country.  Students created the postcards using Explain Everything on their iPads.

The day was a huge success in terms of learning and student engagement. Everyone agreed they were exhausted at the conclusion of the event and after cleanup, but that it was well worth the effort!


To see more pictures of this wonderful event, please click on this link to visit our Supervisor of Instructional Technology’s blog, John Hendron.

4th Grade Animal Adaptations Project

Today 4th graders will begin a new research project.  First, they will choose a one of many global climate zones.  Students will use the Interactive Map on National Geographic to choose the climate zone, and a specific location within the climate zone to gather data.  Next, students will track specific weather data in a Google spreadsheet over an extended period.  Then students will research the climate, topography, and vegetation of the area in a Google doc.  Students will also research an animal native to the region.  They will use the information and data they collect to help explain certain behavioral and structural adaptations of the animal.  Finally, students will create a fictional animal that could also survive in the area.  The fictional animal must have behavioral and structural adaptations to survive in the researched climate zone.  Students will learn about elements of nonfiction writing, and will produce a written report about either the real or fictional animal.  The report will describe behavioral and structural adaptations of the fictional animal that help it to survive given the climate, weather, topography, and vegetation of the area.


This image shows the climate zones students will choose from using the interactive map.

Moving to Google Calendar

Now that we are using Google Apps for Education much more than we have in the past, you might want to take advantage of all the features that make calendars easy to share. If you have been an iCal user in the past, you might want to move everything you’ve already created in iCal rather than starting from Scratch.

Exporting your iCal events is easy. Follow these steps:

  1. Under the On My Mac heading on the left, highlight the calendar you wish to move to Google Calendar.
  2. In iCal, go to File > Export… > Export…
  3. Choose a save location and hit Export.
  4. Repeat these steps for each calendar you want to export.
When this is done, follow the instructions on the Google Help page that will show you how to import your iCal file into a Google Calendar.

Learning to Google

Last week we had a full schedule of classes with teachers. As we’ve been doing for a few years now, we focused on pedagogy rather than on the how-to of the tool. We are encouraging teachers to be self-directed learners, the kind of learners they love to have in their classrooms. To this end, we are encouraging teachers to take advantage of help menus and screencasts created by us, or by the people who know the product best: the people who made it.

Here is the perfect example. In many of the classes, we mentioned Google Apps. We have been using those in Goochland since before they were known as Google Apps, and many of our teachers know their way around Docs, Calendar, and Sites. Others still feel this tool is new and strange, and they need a bit of help. I could schedule a series of classes and gather teachers in a room, then go step by step with them. But it is summer, and we’d rather be at the pool. And I’d rather let teachers pick and choose what will work best for them rather than presenting what works best for me.

When a teacher wants to learn about Google Apps, I’ve been pointing them to the Google Apps Learning Center. Teachers can learn at their own pace, learn what will be most useful to them, and keep up with changes, which happen often in Google.

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