Take your students to far-off places without ever leaving your classroom with Google Tour Builder. It’s a free, user-friendly app that brings presentations to life with Google Maps. Click through to grab the free cheat sheet and get started!

I first encountered Google Tour Builder a couple of years ago at a tech conference and it recently came to my attention that I've never mentioned it on my blog.

What an oversight--it's such a useful tool!

If you never have, Google Tour Builder is something you should try in your classroom. You can create presentations within the application or you can have students create them. Since it integrates with Google Earth, students can get a bird's eye view of the the place(s) you're discussing or a walking tour view.

It brings stories home to students in a tangible way--not only are students able to view a location on a Google map, but they can also insert videos, text, and pictures.

Here's what a tour looks like:

Take your students to far-off places without ever leaving your classroom with Google Tour Builder. It’s a free, user-friendly app that brings presentations to life with Google Maps. Click through to grab the free cheat sheet and get started!

Google Tours are free and easy to create. You can create (or have your students create) one in five simple steps (grab this free cheat sheet that shows you how):

1. Visit https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com/ and select “build a tour.” You will be prompted to log in with your Google Account.

2. Name your tour, and get started.

3. Use the left side to add new locations. The search bar will help you locate what you are looking for and add it to your map.

4. Once your location is added, add text, images, and video without leaving Google Tours.

5. To present, click on the three lines in the upper right of the screen. Either “play full screen” or  “open in Earth” (most people prefer this option because it makes the presentation extra dynamic).

Take your students to far-off places without ever leaving your classroom with Google Tour Builder. It’s a free, user-friendly app that brings presentations to life with Google Maps. Click through to grab the free cheat sheet and get started!
Take your students to far-off places without ever leaving your classroom with Google Tour Builder. It’s a free, user-friendly app that brings presentations to life with Google Maps. Click through to grab the free cheat sheet and get started!
Download the free cheat sheet HERE.

How do/will you use Google Tour Builder in your classroom? Leave a comment and let me know.

Take your students to far-off places without ever leaving your classroom with Google Tour Builder. It’s a free, user-friendly app that brings presentations to life with Google Maps. Click through to grab the free cheat sheet and get started!

And don't forget to check out last week's Tech of The Week: Save Time by Linking Data.

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Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!
I use Google Sheets to keep track of a lot of data in my classes. This data has a tendency to become tedious because I gamify my classroom. This means that I have sheets that I use to keep up with XP (experience points students earn each day), another sheet that communicates that information to a Leaderboard, and another that communicates the information to a badge tracker. (Want to learn about gamification? Check out this post!)

To clarify, each time you create a Google Sheet Doc, it's called a Workbook. You can create different Sheets within a single Workbook, and it's simple to have them communicate with each other.

I could just use one Workbook and have separate sheets within that workbook. It's easy to link data that way and you don't have to worry about linking separate workbooks. The problem is, I use Flippity Templates for the Leaderboard and Badge Tracker, so they have to be in separate Workbooks. I show you how to use Flippity HERE.

Here's what the workbook looks like:
Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!

Here's how Flippity makes it look online:
Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!

My goal is to only have to put the points into the XP Tracking Workbook every week, have it add up the total for me, and then automatically communicate that information to the Leaderboard Workbook so that I don't even have to open that one.

Here's what I do (be sure to grab the free cheat sheet for reference):

1. Open the Workbooks I want to link.
2. Be sure the final column on the XP Tracker is set to auto add the total of each of the weekly rows.
3. Grab the URL from the top of the XP Tracker Workbook.
4. Go to the Leaderboard Workbook. Click on the desired cell (in this case, I'll be doing it for each cell in column C).

Type:
=IMPORTRANGE("paste URL delete back to edit" , "Sheet1!column letter row number")

Sample:
=IMPORTRANGE("https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XkDkH86zahrmy3tpuXMIP9SkCuECyl3v2gXElMPPqoQ/edit", "Sheet1!AL2")


Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!

5. Copy that information from the first cell and paste it into every other cell you will be using in that column.
6. Go back through and edit each cell to reflect the column letter and row number you want it linked to. (You will probably only be changing row numbers and probably in numerical order straight down.) This part is tedious, but there is a SHORTCUT:
-Click the first cell you entered the information into.
-Place the cursor on the lower right corner of the cell.
-Drag it down to all of the other cells you want to populate.
-Go back and check--sheets should have auto updated for you AND changed the linked cells in order (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...).

You can even use these sheets again next year—just delete the points and change the student names!

Now when you enter your weekly data, your Leaderboard will automatically update!

Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!
Print This for Reference When You Try It!
How do you deal with all of your data? Do you have any hacks to share? Let me know in the comments!
Data entry can be tedious, so my goal is to only have to enter it once. That’s why I link my Google Sheets together. Click through to find out how I do it and to grab the free cheat sheet!

And don't forget to check out last week's Tech of The Week: Make The Internet Your Classroom with Insert Learning.


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If you’re like me, you find articles and primary sources all the time that you want to share with your students. Insert Learning is a free Chrome extension that helps you do this and turn it into a quality assignment. Click through to see how it works!

This week is a super quick tip about a free Chrome Extension that will change your life. Literally.

Remember back in the day, when we would clip an article from the newspaper, make copies, and write questions on the board for students to answer?

Well, you can do it all digitally now with insertlearning.com. It's so simple.

1. Find your article.
2. Click on the "IL" extension.
3. Pick a template if you want (all this does is give you questions and directions to copy and paste, which I love because it makes life easier).
4. Highlight, insert questions and sticky notes, and even insert videos!
5. Grab the link to share with your students or share it directly to Google Classroom.
6. Student responses will go to your dashboard.

If you’re like me, you find articles and primary sources all the time that you want to share with your students. Insert Learning is a free Chrome extension that helps you do this and turn it into a quality assignment. Click through to see how it works!

***A couple of things to keep in mind first--your students must have the extension and they must join your IL class (you can create as many as you want). They will join with a pin just like they do in Google Classroom.***

It's so easy and such a great tool to get our students reading and analyzing more current events and primary sources. And, since the internet is at your disposal, it's perfect for any subject.

Check out this video that shows you what it does:


Have you used Insert Learning in your classroom? Leave a comment and let me know!

If you’re like me, you find articles and primary sources all the time that you want to share with your students. Insert Learning is a free Chrome extension that helps you do this and turn it into a quality assignment. Click through to see how it works!

And don't forget to check out last week's Tech of The Week: Easily Keep Parents Updated.


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Teachers are insanely busy. One of the purposes of technology in the classroom should be to make our lives easier. In this post, I’ll tell you how I simplify my life by fulfilling administrative obligations and keeping parents in the loop all at the same time with Google Slides. Click through to find out what I do!

Our students aren't the only ones bombarded by information--their parents are swamped, too. And for high school students, it's likely that we as teachers spend more time with them on a week day than their parents do (between clubs, sports, and other extra-curricular activities, family face-to-face time can be sparse).

So parents are busy and students don't always communicate with them about what's going on in class. Many teachers communicate with parents through email blasts and weekly newsletters. But teachers, we're busy, too, and those newsletters can take time we don't have.

If you're like me, you have to turn in weekly lesson plans, anyway, so I simplify my life and keep parents in the loop by creating my lesson plans in Google Slides. Keep in mind that my weekly lesson plans don't have to be insanely detailed because I'm also required to hand in very detailed unit plans. Every system is different.

Here's what you need to do:
1. Save your lesson plan template as an image. 
2. Resize a Google Slide Presentation to whatever size you want.
3. Insert the image into the background of your Slide. Don't forget to select a blank layout.
4. Insert text boxes into the appropriate places on the slide and type your plans.

Teachers are insanely busy. One of the purposes of technology in the classroom should be to make our lives easier. In this post, I’ll tell you how I simplify my life by fulfilling administrative obligations and keeping parents in the loop all at the same time with Google Slides. Click through to find out what I do!
Grab The Cheat Sheet for Free HERE!

5. Publish your slide show to the web.
6. Share the presentation link with the appropriate admin (I set it so the slides do not advance--then they are only looking at the current week's plans). 
7. Every week, copy a new slide to the top and type your plans. Since it's published to the web, it will automatically update--no new link required.
8. Every week, send an email blast to parents (I do this through Infinite Campus, but there are many ways--even creating an old-fashioned email list). I type a short greeting, upcoming due dates, and a link to the plans (the same one every week) so that parents have immediate access to it.

Teachers are insanely busy. One of the purposes of technology in the classroom should be to make our lives easier. In this post, I’ll tell you how I simplify my life by fulfilling administrative obligations and keeping parents in the loop all at the same time with Google Slides. Click through to find out what I do!
Grab The Cheat Sheet for Free HERE!

Tips:
- Place a link at the top of the slide to your class calendar.
- Create an email blast template for each class you teach so you don't have to retype everything (including the link).
- Make cards with a QR Code to this presentation and hand them out on parent/teacher night.

Here's what mine looks like:
Teachers are insanely busy. One of the purposes of technology in the classroom should be to make our lives easier. In this post, I’ll tell you how I simplify my life by fulfilling administrative obligations and keeping parents in the loop all at the same time with Google Slides. Click through to find out what I do!

How do you keep parents updated? Leave a comment and let me know.

Teachers are insanely busy. One of the purposes of technology in the classroom should be to make our lives easier. In this post, I’ll tell you how I simplify my life by fulfilling administrative obligations and keeping parents in the loop all at the same time with Google Slides. Click through to find out what I do!

And don't forget to check out last week's Tech of The Week: Use Learning Apps to Impress.


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