Posts Tagged ‘Google’

So far in the series, Putting the YOU in YouTube, we’ve discussed personalizing your channel, uploading your videos, and trimming out the parts of your videos that you don’t want.  In this post, we’re going to look at using the tools within the YouTube Editor that will help you put your mark on your movies.

I’m not sure why YouTube has made it so hard to find the Editor, but they have.  You can find a link to the Editor under the Enhancements option in Video Manager, OR you can simply type in in your address bar after you’re logged in.  Once at the editor, this is what you’ll see:

Video Editor - YouTube 2013-10-02 13-48-11


In the Editor, you can bring videos together to make one longer video, you can apply filters to your video clips, add music, titles, and transitions, as well as insert still photos into your video.  The image below shows what each of the icons in your “Options Menu” represent.

editor tools


The Video Editor is very easy to use because it is a simple “Drag & Drop”.  You’ll start by dragging all of your video clips you want to include in your movie onto the row of the workspace for the videos.  To add additional video clips, drag the clips down to the workspace and “drop” it beside the clip you’ve already placed.  You can click the Creative Commons icon to access video clips that have been licensed under the Creative Commons that you’re free to use in your own videos.  If you have still images you’d like to incorporate into your video, you can click the camera icon.  You’ll then be prompted to either upload images from your computer, or you can import pictures from your Google+ account.  Once they’re displayed beside the preview pane, again, just drag and drop them where you want them to go in your video.

When you drag a video clip (or any of the other options) onto the workspace, you’ll be able to edit those clips or elements further.  Below is a screenshot of what your screen will look like when you drag a video clip onto the workspace.  Notice that you’ll have the ability to make some quick fixes which include zooming in and out, change the brightness, stabilize, rotate, etc. You can also add text to your video clips.  Be careful with this, however, because if you add text here, it will display the entire time your video clip is playing.  If you’d rather just add a title text or a “slide” of text between videos, you use the text icon from the original Editor menu.  Keep reading to learn more.  To get back to the original Editor menu, simply click in the gray area of the workspace, or click the x in the upper right-hand corner of the clip editor.

video clip options in editor

The music icon will allow you add Creative Commons music clips to your videos.  Although there is a volume bar where you can tell YouTube to favor either the sound from the original video clip or the music, the music always seems to be louder than the sound from the video.  add music in editorSo just be careful and consider which is more important, music or sound from your video.  At this point, there isn’t a way to assign music to only certain portions of your video either.  You’ll drag the music clip onto the workspace under the videos and images.  Also, there is currently no way to upload your own music files…more than likely copyright issues.

To add titles and/or transitions to your movie, you click and drag the type of title or transition you’d like onto the workspace where you want them to go.  When you drag the element down to the workspace, you’ll see a blue line appear to show you where the element will be added.  You’ll need to be careful with the titles because if the blue line highlights the entire video clip, that means that title will play the entire length of the clip.  If you only want it to show before or after the video clip or image, you’ll want the skinny blue line.  To get back to the original Editor menu, you’l usually click the x in the upper right corner.  However, for some reason, that “x” isn’t present on the transitions menu.  To get back to the Editor menu, you can click in the gray area of the workspace.

If you decide that you don’t want an element in your video after all, or any element for that matter, you can hover your mouse over that element.  A small x will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the gray bar.  Simply click the x and that element will be removed from your workspace.  You can also reorder an of the elements in your video by clicking and dragging it to where you want it to go.

Once you’re video is like you want it:  all of your video clips are in the correct order, you’ve added any desired still images, you have transitions between the elements to make it flow smoothly, and you have inserted all the necessary title slides, it’s time to publish.  Directly above the preview pane, you can rename your video, then on the right-hand side of the screen is a blue “Publish” button.  Depending on how long your video is, how many transitions you’ve included, and if you decided to include music clips, it may take your video a little while to publish.  The beauty of the Editor is that until you publish, all of your work is automatically saved.  So if you don’t have time to finish your video in one sitting, you can log out of YouTube, come back to it later, go to the editor, and all of your work is still there.  When you publish, you’ll then have a blank workspace again.

Next Steps:

Making your videos interactive (Coming soon!)

Publishing your videos on YouTube (Coming soon!)

Did you miss the first three post in the series Putting the YOU in YouTube?  Check them out!

Putting the YOU in YouTube

Uploading videos to YouTube

Trimming your videos


If you read the first Totally Awesome Things to do with Spreadsheets in the Classroom post, you’ll know that I’m a little obsessed with spreadsheets right now becaflat-28205_150use I made the lowest grade of my life on a recent grad school assignment involving spreadsheets.

As I do more research, I’m beginning to see how versatile spreadsheets can be, and how, as teachers, it would be very beneficial to our students to use them in regular classroom activities.  By using formulas, students are able to show their procedural knowledge.  Through database creation, students are taken through the research process and can then use sorting and filtering to find what they need quickly.  Spreadsheets have the ability to instantly take data that we have input and create charts and graphs, which will help students understand how information can be shared visually.  Even young students can use spreadsheets!  Go ahead and set up your input columns and headings, and insert a chart.  As students (either individually or as a class) enter data that they’ve collected, the charts are automatically updated!  How cool!  Continue reading below for some specific activities and links that incorporate spreadsheets into classroom activities.  I have included two activities for elementary, middle, and high school.  Read what applies to you, or read all of them and adapt the activities to your needs!

Elementary School

Create timelines:  To help students get used to typing in boxes (cells) rather than straight across a line, using spreadsheets to create timelines is a great activity.  In the lower grades, I’d go ahead and have a template set up, but in the upper elementary, I’d let the kids play around with setting borders around boxes, hiding rows and columns that they don’t need after they’ve sent up their timeline, etc.  Here’s a sample timeline template for you to use (Google Spreadsheet).

Making Decisions:  Before having your students  collect or input data, go ahead and set up the spreadsheet and charts like I said before.  Set up several different spreadsheets for the same data, but have each spreadsheet generate a different chart.  In groups, have students input the same data and examine the charts.  As a class, discuss what each chart shows and then decide which chart was the best for displaying the data.  You’ll want them to recognize that line graphs are best for showing change over time, bar charts are best for showing comparisons, and pie charts are best for showing percentages or parts of a whole.  Although I listed this under elementary, this would be a great activity for middle and high school as well since you’ll be asking the students to justify their decisions.

Middle School

Exploring Weight and Age on Other Planets:  In small groups, have students research how our weight and age are different on other planets.  Set up a shared spreadsheet (Google), and have the students set the formulas for what age and weight would be on other planets.  Some students may not feel comfortable putting in their actual weight, so you could set the fill color to the same color as the text to “hide” their original weight.  Have students draw conclusions about effects of planet mass and diameter on gravity and weight, and rotation and revolution periods on age.  As a challenge, you could have students try to write the formulas for comparing weight and age on planets not starting with their Earth weight and age.  I did this activity one year with my third graders, but I had already set up the template.  They loved seeing how their weight changed on the various planets.  BTW, Pluto was still a planet then. 🙂  Speaking of, here’s a sample template that you could use.  I used the information from this article from, and this website to help set up the template.

Budget Planning:  Financial literacy is becoming more and more important for our students.  If you’ve read the About Me page, you’ll know that my husband and I are working Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps to financial freedom.  We are always saying, “I wish I knew this before I graduated high school!”  I love scenario-based learning, and if I were a middle or high school teacher, I’d definitely have my students go through the scenario of planning a budget based on a specific set of criteria (monthly take home salary, cell phone bill, cable bill, groceries, car payment, house payment/rent, utilities, etc.).  Having students set up a simple spreadsheet where they can set up a subtraction formula would be a great way to show them how quickly money can disappear each month.  Challenge them to make decisions about sacrifices they may have to make.  Ask questions like, “How would you budget be different if you were supporting kids?”, “Last month, your spouse lost their job, so now your monthly budget is __________.  What adjustments are you going to have to make?”  You can find budget templates all over the Internet, but in middle and high school, I’d definitely have the students set up the spreadsheets themselves.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  Here’s a blank template of the one my husband and I use each month.

High School

What is Average?  Read the short story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, with your students.  It’s about a dystopian society where people are forced to wear “handicaps” in order for everyone to be equal.  AWESOME story.  You can even register at and get a free DVD of 2081, the movie version of this story.  Have students brainstorm various characteristics that they’d like to find the “average” for in their classroom.  Some characteristics could include height, weight, a rank for mental ability, a rank for athletic ability, etc.  Create a class spreadsheet with each student’s data, then use the AVERAGE formula, filtering, and sorting to find a class “average” of each characteristic.  Discuss what handicaps would be necessary for certain students/characteristics.  Have students create an illustration of themselves with their handicaps.

Doctors as Detectives:  This lesson activity was actually created by the Learning Times people at the New York Times.  In the activity, students read an article from the Times about how doctors sometimes serve as detectives when it comes to infectious diseases.  Students then research a particular disease and input data about it into a shared database (Google spreadsheet).  Here’s a spreadsheet template with the fields recommended by the lesson developers.  After students have filled in their database information, they write a short story like they are a patient suffering from the disease they researched.  They’ll swap stories with a partner, and then the students will have to use the information in the database to try to diagnose their partner.  Here is a link to the lesson plan.  This one really sounds like fun!

I hope that some of these activities and spreadsheet templates are useful to you in some way.  I also am hopeful that some of these activities gave you ideas of your own about how you can utilize spreadsheets in your classroom.  If so, please share those ideas with us in the comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!

Since last January (2013), I’ve been working on an add-on for my teaching license that will qualify me for my current position as an Instructional Technology Specialist/Facilitator.  This spring I had one assignment in my current class that gave me quite a bit of trouble.  In fact, I made the lowest grade I’ve ever made on that assignment…I mean EVER! It’s all good though, I still have an A. 🙂  Anywho, the assignment was on the use of spreadsheets in the classroom.

In the past, I’ve used spreadsheets to create basic gradebooks, budgets, and lesson plan templates, but I’ve never really thought about using them with the students.  I’m the kind of person that I’m not not going to know something for long, so when I recovered from the shock of my grade, I became determined to learn more about spreadsheets in the classroom.  Holy cow, have I been missing out!

Tammy Worcester Tang is using Google Spreadsheets in some really incredible ways.  You definitely have to check out the Google Stuff page on her website.  A couple of her awesomely creative ideas include:

    • coloring lines and resizing rows and columns to create index cards, notebook pages, and journals.  Since a spreadsheet can have multiple tabs, those are great ways of creating study aids and digital notebooks for your students. Here’s an image of an index card I created. spreadsheet_indexcard
    • use “if/then” statements to create “Guess and Check” activities for your students.  Hide the actual answer in cell A1 and set the background color to the text color.  The correct formula for an “if/then” statement is: =IF(what you’re testing, “true value”, “false value”).  In the example below, I asked the question “How old is Mrs. Boucher?”  I had three formulas that I used: =IF(C6>A1, “Too High”, ” “), =If(C6=A1, “Correct!”, ” “), and =IF(C6<A1, “Too Low”, ” “).

Some other ideas that I’ve found through my research are:

  • Creating math review for basic facts or finding the average of a set of data using a spreadsheet.  Print them out and have your students complete them.  Show students how to use the basic formulas for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and average.  Have a computer station set up where students can input the formulas and check their answers.  By putting in the formulas, they’re cementing their procedural knowledge.
  • Have students collect data on the latest tablets or other desirable electronic devices.  Record the prices for each and have them use the MIN and MAX formulas to identify which one costs the most/least.
  • Have students research different summer jobs that are available in your area.  Input the data and use the MIN and MAX formulas to determine which are the best jobs.  You could go a step further and use charts to compare pay per hour for the jobs to see which jobs offer the most money for the least amount of hours.
  • Have students create databases using spreadsheets, then teach them to sort and filter to find the information that they need.

I always stayed away from spreadsheets in the classroom because I really didn’t understand how they worked.  As I continue to research and find more classroom activities that even the youngest students can do, I’m getting more excited about them.  Have you creatively used Spreadsheets with your students?  If so, how?  Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.

Hello All!  I apologize for not posting the past two Thursdays.  Unfortunately, the demon stomach bug from you-know-where attacked my house and then we sold our house and went under contract on another one within three days.  I’m back to the computer now, and hopefully no more interruptions!

This week, I’m going to introduce the iOS and Android app Stick Pick, a couple of text to speech Chrome extensions, and MoveNote.  I have used all three of these, and I’m sure if you try them, they’ll prove to be invaluable to your classroom.  Let’s dive in!

Stick Pick (iOS and Android, $2.99)

There are not many apps that I will actually pay for.  There are just so many free ones out there that I can usually find one to do what I need to for free.  However, I did pony up the $2.99 for this app because it is AWESOME!  I’m not sure how many middle or high school teachers have the soup can with student names written on popsicle sticks, but I’m pretty sure all elementary teachers have had one at some point.  That’s exactly what this app is, but it takes things a few steps further.  You can choose to put the stick back in the can or leave it as “used”.  The real value in the app, however, is in the fact that you can assign Bloom’s, Revised Bloom’s, or ESL question stems.  So when you “pull” a student’s name, it will generate question stems based on the level you assign to them.  You can then decide to assess using that question stem, or not.  If you choose to count the student’s response as right or wrong, you can periodically see how the students are doing and decide to move them up a level, down a level, or leave them where they are.  All the work is pretty much done for you!  I’m telling you, if you’re a teacher and have an iOS or Android device, BUY THIS APP! (not an affiliate)  I’ve included some screen shots for your viewing pleasure 🙂

2014-03-20 07.42.38  2014-03-20 07.40.36  2014-03-20 07.41.44


Text to Speech Chrome Extensions

ispeechiSpeech: Select and Speak

Unlike the site like, the majority of sites on the Internet cannot be adjusted by reading level.  This makes it very difficult for our struggling readers to get the full benefit of all of the amazing data and resources available online.  This is why I love the text to speech extensions within Chrome.  I’ve tried a couple of them, and the least intrusive and easiest to use (that I’ve found), is Select and Speak by iSpeech.  Within the settings of the apps, you can control volume, speed, and voice.  To convert text to speech, simply highlight the text and click the extension’s icon in your browser bar.  It even has automatic language detection, or you can choose from other languages like German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian, just to name a few.  This extension is great for Project Gutenburg and reading articles from sites like Time for Kids and The Learning Network from the New York Times.


If you are an Evernote Pro user, you can use the text to speech feature in their Chrome extension, Clearly.  Other than converting text to speech, clearly allows users to annotate websites, as well as take away all of those annoying distractions like advertisements and moving pictures.


Do you have lots of PowerPoints or documents you’ve created over the years, but are now looking for a way to shake things up in your classroom?  One way to do this is to “flip” your classroom.  I’m planning a few posts on this in the near future, but for now I’ll just say that basically flipping your classroom means delivering instruction outside of class so that students can spend in-class time participating in meaningful learning experiences to help them fully understand the content.  Movenote is a Chrome app (website) that allows you to record yourself explaining any kind of document saved either in your Google Drive or on your computer.  It’s as easy as uploading your document and clicking record.

While getting links for this post, I discovered that MoveNote has also added a Chrome extension.  Click HERE to watch this short video about how you can access Movenote directly from your Gmail!

As always, please share your experiences with any of these great tools, or let us know how you plan to use these in your classroom in the comments below.

For my first Tech Tool Thursday, I’m sharing with you three tools that I share the most often with teachers in my district.  They are Educreations (tablet app), URL Shortener, and Lucid Chart.  Continue reading for screenshots, how-to’s, and implementation ideas!  By the way, these are all FREE!  If you need a reminder of how to add Chrome apps and extensions, be sure to revisit my initial Tech Tool Thursday post.

educreationsEducreations (iOS only)

Educreations is a simple whiteboard app that allows you to insert images, write or type text, and record your voice.  I love Educreations because you’re no limited to only one page, and as you record your voice and move to the next page, the app automatically pauses the recording.  You have the option to bring in pictures from your Camera Roll, to snap a picture within the app, import from your Dropbox account, or you can search the web from directly within the app.  Since each video generates a link and embed code, you can include them on your class website.  I have had teachers use this app to deliver spelling tests and flip lessons.   A fourth grade teacher gave her students a vocabulary list for an upcoming social studies unit.  The students used Educreations to find images online that showed the vocabulary words and bring them into the presentation.  The students then recorded themselves justifying why they chose the images they did.  This activity served as the first lesson of the unit, and it gave all the students the little bit of background knowledge they needed to be successful in the unit.  Another great feature of Educreations is the “Featured” tab.  This gives the user access to tons of free lessons/videos that have been created.  Here is a link to a video I created on triangulation:

2013-12-02 11.13.30  2013-12-03 10.48.29

google_url_shortener URL Shortener (Extension)

This is probably the Chrome Extension that I use the most.  I am constantly sharing websites with my teachers, and some of them can be very lengthy.  From any website, I can click on the shortener icon beside my Omni bar, and it generates a shortened link that looks like the link above for my triangulation video.  I can also choose to have the extension copy the link directly to my clipboard for easy sharing, or even better, it will generate a QR code!  But that’s not the best part.  If you’re signed into your Google account, each link you shorten gets saved for later reference, and you can see how many times your link has been clicked on.  Too cool!  Here’s a screenshot of what the site looks like for my account.


lucidchartLucid Chart (Chrome App, iOS)

Our district stresses the usage of Thinking Maps and other mind maps as a way to organize student thought, and as a way of making connections to thinking skills.  I have tried a lot of mind mapping apps and websites, and a lot of them area great.  The problem comes when you’re only allowed to create five maps before you have to begin paying for the site/app.  LucidChart is different because, not only is it FREE, but it also connects to your Google Drive!  If you are a K-12 teacher or professor, you can request the free upgrade and get all of the advanced features too. You can create a new mind map directly from your Drive…YAY!!  Although the software can get very complicated if you want it to, the basic functions are drag and drop and very intuitive.  Also, just like other Google Docs, you can add collaborators, and there is a chat feature so that multiple people can work on a document at the same time.  I have had teachers using LucidChart for planning collaborative projects, whole class KWL activities, and small group Thinking Map activities.  Teachers and students are only limited by their creativity!



Please let me know what you think about these tech tools by leaving a comment below.  Already use one of them?  Let us know how!

Clustr Map