Create QR Codes Right in Google Sheets

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You know what QR codes are, right? They are those funky square images that you can scan and be instantly transported to a website. But QR codes are so much more than that. You can create QR codes that provide directions, prompt the user to make a phone call, share contact information and more. QR […]

No more Remind texts for Verizon customers

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Remind – the secure text-messaging service used by thousands of teachers to communicate with students and parents has announced that they are going to discontinue text messaging for those who use Verizon Wireless. The reason for this change is that Verizon has increased the fee it charges Remind to deliver text messages to its customers. […]

Build a Digital Escape Room with Flippity

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Escape rooms are all the rage! There’s just something awesome about being locked in a room and having to solve puzzles to escape. Escape rooms really require extensive use of the 4C’s – Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity. But how do you replicate this experience in your Classroom? Well, BreakoutEDU is a company that […]

No more excuses for bad grammar – Grammarly is everywhere!

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I am an English guy – no, I’m not from the UK – I just really enjoy writing and grammar. I even taught ELA for two years before entering my current career. I am married to a math teacher, so in our house, if you need math you see my wife. If you need grammar help, you see me.

Even though I love grammar, I’m not always 100% sure I’m following the rules. Enter Grammarly. John Mansel-Pleydell wrote a Tech Tips article about Grammarly back in March, but I wanted to follow up and add some more.

Grammarly icon

If you don’t know what Grammarly is, in a nutshell, it’s a Chrome extension that will help check your grammar and spelling within Chrome. For a more in-depth explanation, check out John’s article. It works on most websites (including Gmail), but as of this writing, Grammarly still is not supported by Google Docs.

 

Google Drive is not supported
This week, Alice Keeler tweeted that Grammarly is beta testing integration with Google Docs. Until that happens, the workaround is to cut and paste your writing into the online Grammarly Editor and check it there.

But there is more to Grammarly than just a Chrome extension. Did you know that Grammarly is available as a native app for Mac and Windows? Just go to grammarly.com/native and you can download the correct version for your platform.

Grammarly Mac

Grammarly Windows

Still using Microsoft Office on Windows? First off, I’m sorry 🙂  Second, Grammarly has an add-in for the Windows version of Word and Outlook. Mac users will need to use the Web Editor.

Grammarly for Outlook

 

Finally, did you know that as of this year, 50 percent of workplace communication and collaboration happens through mobile apps? Good thing that Grammarly now has keyboards for both iOS and Android.

 

Grammarly iPhone

 

You can use the keyboard to check your grammar when writing texts, emails and more on your mobile. Here’s a quick video to show how it works.

You can find the mobile versions of Grammarly in the App Store and Google Play. They are both free.

Grammarly is free, but there is a premium version that costs $139 a year. That version gives you some cool features including plagiarism checking, sentence structure, vocabulary enhancement and proofreading services. Grammarly Premium is even available for school districts.

Now there’s no excuse to be afraid of grammar!

Variations on Quizlet Live

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Last year, I wrote about a wonderful formative assessment tool called Quizlet Live.

To recap, Quizlet Live is an in-class, team-based learning game. It puts the students in randomized teams of 3-4 and gives each group different questions within the study set. Each member of the group has different answers and only one person has the correct answer. The group needs to work together to get the correct answer to get the points.

I have heard from some teachers that there are some pitfalls to using Quizlet Live. Some of these include one student “taking over” the team and teams that are too strong finishing well in advance of the others. I came across this infographic from Patrick McMillan that has five variations on the Quizlet Live game. His ideas all add neat twists to the game!

Check it out:

Will these ideas help you to better use Quizlet Live in your classroom?

Quizlet Live

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Quizlet Live is an in-class, team based learning game. It puts the students in randomized teams (automatically) and gives each group different questions within the study set. Each team is made up of 3 or 4 students with a randomly assigned animal team name. (You can reshuffle the teams until you are satisfied with the groupings.) Each member of the group has different answers and only one person has the correct answer. The group needs to work together to get the correct answer to get the points.  Incorrect answers reset the team’s progress to zero. The first team to match all 12 terms correctly in a row wins. At the end of the game, teams see what they matched correctly and incorrectly.

In the teacher mode, you must have the following to do Quizlet Live:

  • At least 12 questions and answers in the set
  • At least 6 students ready to play
  • 10 to 20 minutes of class time

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To create this on your own:
  • Website to set up your Quizlet account:  https://quizlet.com/
  • Sign up with Google or Email
  • Create a Class
  • Invite students by email, automatic join link, or link with Google Classroom
  • Create your Study Set (or have students create their own)
  • Use any of the below ways to study.  


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Then, when it’s time to play the Quizlet Live game, the students go to http://quizlet.com/live and use the join code provided by the teacher.

PhET – Science and Math Simulations

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I was doing some research for a resource visit last week, and I came across this great resource from the University of Colorado Boulder. It is called PhET and it provides free interactive math and science simulations. 


 Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.

The simulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer. All simulations are open source and are free to all students and teachers. They are great to show on your interactive board.


Here’s a short video introduction to the PhET simulations:

A couple of my favorite simulations are the Plinko Probability simulation, Balancing Chemical Equations simulation, and John Travoltage.

Check out PhET and see how you can use it in your classroom!