Using Google Apps for Research

Using Google Apps in the classroom makes conducting short and sustained research projects easier than ever with a built-in research tool.

Seeing as how my school is almost entirely 1:1 with Chromebook use, my students type all of their papers in Google Docs and create all of their presentations in Google Slides. Not only is this beneficial for collaborating in the classroom, but it also provides me with an opportunity to provide my students with real-time comments and suggestions as they work on their papers.

When students are creating in either Google Docs or Google Slides, instruct them to click on the “tools” menu and then select the “Research” option. Doing so will automatically open a small Google search browser within the Google Doc or Google Slide file. Here is a video demo from one of my SMARTePlans digital, Google-based lessons showing how to do this. This resource is my Of Mice and Men Digital Novel Introduction. This digital introduction is a great way to have students practice their research skills as they prepare to read the novel.

This research tool also provides students with the option to search for websites, images, scholarly articles, and more. Furthermore, this tool is even more valuable if students already have some content typed because the research tool will provide students with a list of related topics of suggested research words to help students jump start their research.

Once students select a source that they like, this research tool makes researching even easier for the students. When students hover over a site, they are presented with three options: preview, insert link, and cite.

The preview option will open another viewing pane directly inside of the Google Doc or Google Slide file that allows students to read the entire web page. This allows the student to type directly in the document as they read information from the source. The insert link option will automatically generate a small, clean link in the file to the resource. This feature is especially beneficial for collaborative projects that require multiple students in a group to find multiple sources. Finally, the cite automatically cites the source by placing footnotes in the document.

Just think about all of the time these tools will save you and your students!

If you are looking for innovative, engaging research lessons for your students, my SMARTePlans digital, Google-based lessons provide a variety of research assignments for the secondary ELA classroom.

Current SMARTePlans Available for Purchase:

The teaching phrase I cannot stand

The teaching phrase I cannot stand and what I'm doing about it.

It’s a common phrase many teachers have heard time and time again: never care more about a student’s grade than they do. I first heard this phrase during my credential program. I heard this phrase from multiple teachers during my first few years in the classroom. I am still hearing this phrase today. And you know what? I am tired of hearing this phrase because I could not disagree more. And let me tell you, if I hear that phrase one more time...

We are the adults in the classroom. We are their teachers. We are the ones who are supposed to be giving them a solid foundation in which to succeed. We need to care, and I will even say that we should care more than they do.

The first reason why we as educators should care more about their grades and performance in our classroom than they do is because they are just kids. True, I teach high school, but they are still just babies in the world. Our students lack the hindsight, foresight, and experience that we have, and sometimes they need that extra, constant push to keep trying to do their best. Our students might not be able to internalize the true value of education yet, and I don’t believe it is in their best interest for us to just give up on them.

The second reason why we as educators should care more about their grades and performance in our classroom than they do is because we might just be their biggest support system when it comes to education. I teach in an economically disadvantaged area. Many of my students come from broken homes, may not eat until the next school day, and have to deal with real-world problems that many adults never even have to think about encountering. I always want my students to know that I not only care about them, but that I also care about their future and their performance in my classroom. To show this, I make an effort to celebrate little victories -even unmeasurable victories like a student putting forth some extra effort. Sometimes our students who struggle the most just need to know that we are on their side cheering for them and that we are there to help them succeed.

What do you do to show your students that you genuinely care about them, their grades, and their future?

Scheduling Posts in Google Classroom

Scheduling assignments in Google Classroom - 1:1 classroom tips

I love using Google Classroom with my classes. Not only is Google Classroom intuitive for teachers, but the students can also easily interact with it. As much as I love Google Classroom though, I loathe having to post all of my assignments and discussions in real-time. As a person who likes to plan things out in advance, this is very frustrating. However, just this month, Google updated its Google Classroom platform to allow teachers to schedule posts in advance.


Now, teachers using Google Classroom can pre-load all of their assignments, content, surveys, forms, questions, and whatever else they could possibly imagine at their own convenience. I usually like to plan a week or so in advance, and now I will be able to plan AND schedule all of my digital content at the same time.
Scheduling assignments in Google Classroom - 1:1 classroom tips
Scheduling a post in Google Classroom is super easy. Simply upload the assignment or other content as you usually would, and then click the downward facing arrow in the lower right-hand corner. Now, there is an option to “schedule” your posts. You can schedule assignments out as far in advance as you would like.

Once you select the "schedule" option, a pop-up window with a calendar will appear. You can select the day and time in which you would like to schedule your post. You just have to make sure that you set the due date to a date after you plan on scheduling your assignment.

Scheduling assignments in Google Classroom - 1:1 classroom tips
I am so excited about this new update to Google Classroom. I typically like to plan my instruction a week at a time, and this allows me to do so. I can preload an entire week’s worth of assignments, Google-drive resources, and discussion questions at once.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
 Teacher appreciation week 2016 Giveaway.
To celebrate teachers and everything we do, I am giving away a $20 shopping spree to my store, The Daring English Teacher, to one winner and a friend.

Entering this contest is simple. Head on over to my Instagram account (@TheDaringEnglishTeacher) and follow me if you don’t already. Find this post, like it, and tag one teacher friend that you appreciate. That’s it. It really is that simple.

Winners will be selected at random through a randomizer and notified via Instagram. No purchase necessary.

Giveaway begins Sunday, May 1 and ends Friday, May 6 at 9pm PST. Winners will be notified on Saturday, May 7. Good luck!