Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Google Keep Customization Tricks!

I've seen this trick a couple of times now on social media: how to add cute title images at the top of your Google Keep notes. I'm pretty sure I first saw it in a tweet from Megan DuVarney Forbes, aka "Too Cool for Middle School" @TooCool4MS:

And THEN I saw a blog post and video about it again from Jordan Priestley at Mrs Priestley ICT! (Thank goodness for Wakelet for helping me save these things when I see them online so that I can give proper credit back later on!)

I knew I could take Mrs Priestley's tips for PowerPoint and make it work for Google Slides (you know, since we're 1:1 chromebooks around here...). I am IN LOVE with how it turned out, and even more excited about viewing my Keep notes within my Gmail inbox!

I'm totally going to do this with my students during the last couple days of school. I think it'll be a fun way to set up, plan, and look forward to the next school year ahead! You can check out my video here:

I hope this helps someone else out there, too! Do you have any special Google Keep pro tips or tricks? Let me know!

UPDATE! 11.5.20 - I have an updated set of Google Keep banner images for you to use! Get yours here:

- Mrs L.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

National PTA + Google Be Internet Awesome Grant!

My PTA is super rad. They're very involved (in all the right ways!), and are willing to go along with ideas that teachers come up with. For example, last year PTA painted the basement hallway outside my room with green paint for doing green screen video projects! 

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that my PTA jumped on it when I saw a grant opportunity posted by National PTA and Google, and I asked the PTA to apply. Right before winter break, we received notification that we had won! With this grant, we were awarded funds to host a parent night to facilitate discussions about internet safety and digital citizenship. 

The PTA was beyond helpful in setting the event up, organizing the event, and getting supplies together for hosting. I volunteered to host by facilitating the main presentation. You'd be surprised how different it feels to present to a group of parents as opposed to a group of 6-8 graders! 

We had an awesome group of facilitators for our small groups, comprised of both teachers and parents:

We spent some of the money on snacks and fun swag for the evening, like pens, notepads, and webcam covers! We even designed our own special "Be Internet Awesome" logo for the night. 

One of our dads came and photographed the evening's events, and the results were amazing! Check out some of the shots here:

Although I was nervous about presenting, I think I got a lot better as the night went on! After our large-group presentation, we split into our smaller groups and had discussions about various aspects of digital citizenship. Each group created a poster, and then presented to the whole group:

I learned so much from this event, and I'm grateful to National PTA and Google for giving us this opportunity! I can totally see us hosting these events at all of our district schools in the upcoming years., and I'd love to help other teachers host these events at their own schools!

Do I look like I know what I'm doing? (I hope so!)

We use the Be Internet Awesome curriculum in our school at the 6th grade level. In 7th and 8th grades, we also use parts of the curriculum from Common Sense Media and EVERFI Ignition courses.

How do you teach digital citizenship and internet safety at your school? 

- Mrs L.