How to create a final exam in Google Docs

I had a visitor recently ask me how to touch up the formatting on a Microsoft Word document after he converted it to Google Docs. Unfortunately, the formatting options for Docs are pretty limited. This YouTube video shows you a quick overview of how to get numbers and letter choices to align – it helped me out, maybe it will help you as you create your final exams!

Create bookmark collections with your class – or just yourself!

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I am newly in love. With Wakelet. You can create groups (“Politics” – “Differentiated Learning” – whatever you want!) and then, as you come across interesting articles or websites online, you can use the handy Wakelet extension to add them to your collection! But it’s not only bookmarks you can save – here’s a (partial?) list:

  • Links
  • Images
  • PDFs
  • YouTube videos
  • Tweets
  • Facebook & Instagram posts
  • Google files of any sort (docs, sheets, etc.)
  • Spotify or Soundcloud playlists
  • Flipgrid responses
  • Screencast recordings (on your favorite screencasting tool)

Students can create groups as they work on projects together, or you can make a class group and allow everyone to add to it. I made a sample group here for the Crossroads satire edition.

Let me know if you have questions, or check out their help site!

Combat cheating with Google Forms

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This is a great video about how students can cheat on assessments – even if you’re using Google Forms. Learn how to use Forms more proactively after watching this video. *You will need this form open in another window as you watch – to practice what he’s explaining.*

Focus on the video…not the comments

noun_645938_ccWe all know that the comments section under a YouTube video is a dangerous place. If you’re showing a quick video in class, here are four ways to ensure that your students’ attention is focused on what you want them to see – not words you don’t want them to learn in your presence.

Safe YouTube allows you to share YouTube videos with your class by pasting the video link on the Safe YouTube site and then sharing their link. Students won’t see suggested videos or comments, but they will see any ads that appear (unless they’ve installed an Ad Blocker!). Unlike other similar services, this one is free.

Toggle YouTube Contents is an extension that gets to work when you open up a YouTube video: the comments section will not automatically show. You CAN read comments, if you wish, by clicking “Show Comments.” The great thing about this extension is that you don’t have to remember to turn it on – it will always engage when you pull up YouTube.

Turn off the Lights darkens your screen so that only the YouTube video (or any video!) is easy to see. This is a slightly more robust app, though, as you can select an option to have this feature on all websites you visit – so if you want your students to focus on just part of the Parts of the Frog website you’ve pulled up, you click where they should focus and dim the rest of the site.

Other sites exist that will only show the video – and none of the other nonsense surrounding it. One is Clean Video Search – type your request into the search box, and when your video appears, it plays with a blank background. This is a good one for sharing YouTube links with your students to view independently.

How to add folders or documents that have been shared with you to your Google Drive

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A lot of times, I create folders for my journalism students where they can submit miscellaneous documents that I don’t want to collect through Google Classroom. I share the folder with these students by providing a link to it, and they are able to access it when they click the link, but when I ask them to return to the folder a week later…they have no idea how they got there.

If someone shares a document or folder with you that you’re pretty sure you’re going to need to reference again, add it to your Google Drive! It won’t make you the owner, unless the person doing the sharing set the permissions that way, but it will make it accessible whenever you need it.

This quick handout tells you how!

Open email links in Gmail

When you click on a link to send an email…something like this:

Click here to send me an email!

…the page that opens may not be your Gmail. If you’d like to set Gmail as your default email client, follow these simple directions!

And if you’re wondering how to create a link that prompts an email…highlight a word or phrase, and instead of linking to a website, type “mailto:youremailaddress.” See image below!

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