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Special Characters in Google Docs

posted Aug 28, 2015, 5:28 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated ]

How to Insert Special Characters in a Google Doc

There is an easy way to insert those crazy looking characters that are not present on an English keyboard into a Google Doc. I can see this being especially beneficial to World Language teachers. To insert the special character you simply draw it! Click Insert --> Special characters...  and draw the character in the box using your mouse or trackpad.

PowerSchool Gradebook

posted Aug 25, 2015, 5:32 AM by Doug Saunders

Transfer Last Year's Classroom Setup To This Year
Great news! PowerSchool set up for this school year should be easy for those of you who are teaching the same grade level and content as last year. PowerSchool makes it possible to transfer all of your classroom settings and preferences from last school year to this year. That means all of your class weights, categories, and special scores can be copied to this years classes in just a few clicks!

Directions for Copying Class Settings from a Previous School Year

Favorite Links

posted Aug 24, 2015, 11:36 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 24, 2015, 3:52 PM by Doug Saunders ]

How to Quickly Create a Locally Stored Chrome App

There are certain websites that I visit multiple times per day. Google Chrome offers the option under settings to open a specific set of pages each time I launch the browser. However, I am not a fan of having too many tabs open at once. An alternative would be to install a Chrome App that links to those sites for easy access. However, not all websites have Chrome Apps available. For example, I use the site GroupMe at various points throughout the day. Unfortunately, GroupMe does not offer a Chrome App. Well, fear not, Chrome users can create an unofficial locally stored app right from the Chrome Browser. Once created the app can be docked on the Windows (or Chromebook) task bar; 
Simply following the steps below.

Launch Chrome. Once you arrive at the site, click on the Hot Dog Menu and follow the 4 steps listed below.


posted Aug 23, 2015, 2:50 PM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 23, 2015, 4:44 PM ]

Kami - PDF Viewer & Editor

Trying to edit a PDF document gives me the heebie jeebies. PDF's are great for displaying static information in a consistent format, but can be extremely difficult to edit once a document has been saved as a PDF. I recently stumbled across a Chrome App that makes the viewing and editing of PDF files a little less arduous. Kami (formally known as Notable) is a Chrome App that allows a user to import a PDF that offers a toolbar to highlight, comment, add shapes, signatures, and text to an existing PDF. The process is pretty much hassle free. The free version of Kami offers a plethora of features, but you can upgrade for even more options if you are willing to shell out some extra cash.
Kami - Split & Merge

The company also offers a separate app called Split and Merge. This Chrome app will allow you to delete existing pages from a pdf as well as combine multiple PDF's into a single PDF. The great thing about both of these apps are their ability to work within the browser. There is no need to download and install any additional software.

Video Explaining Kami

Google Keep

posted Aug 21, 2015, 8:32 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 21, 2015, 8:35 AM ]

Google Keep: Create Shareable Notes, Lists, & Reminders
Google Keep is a Chrome app that allows for users to quickly create a "sticky note" in the form of a note, list, or reminder. Like all things Google, it is collaborative by nature and notes can be shared with others. There are other options as well such as uploading images and copying your notes to a Google Doc. Google Keep also works offline. For those of you who constantly have a million sticky notes open on your desktop, this is an app that might be worth checking out. You can download the Chrome App here.

Awesome Screenshot

posted Aug 18, 2015, 12:25 PM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 18, 2015, 2:26 PM ]

Awesome Screenshot: Capture Annotate App & Extension

Awesome Screenshot
is a quick and easy way for you and your students to annotate online images. Some of you may be curious as to how I am able to add arrows, text, circles, and speech bubbles to certain images whenever I post directions on this site. Awesome Screenshot is an extension for Google Chrome that allows you to take a screenshot of the visible part of a webpage, a selected area of a webpage, or an entire page (even the part of the page below the visible area). Once the screen shot is taken you can edit and annotate the screenshot without ever leaving the Chrome browser. Once the screen shot has been edited you have the option to save the file locally to your computer's hard drive or save it to the cloud via. a Google Drive or Diigo account. Awesome screenshot also offers a hosted app. This means you can use it offline. The app also offers a bit more in the area of editing capabilities. Oh and did I mention this extension & app are completely free?

Sample Screenshot with Annotation


posted Aug 16, 2015, 1:22 PM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 18, 2015, 12:40 PM ]

Remind: Quickly Send Important Information to Your Students is a great way to communicate with your students and/or their parents via text messaging or email updates. When a teacher registers for a for a free account they are asked to create a classroom. Once the classroom is created, a unique code is generated for that classroom that allows for those students and/or parents to register using SMS or an email address. 
After subscribing to receive the classroom reminders, subscribers are automatically added to the classroom roster. As names are added to the roster the teacher can begin to send out a single text message containing important reminders such as test dates, upcoming conferences, field trips, project due dates, etc., that will be sent to every student and parent listed on the roster. Additionally, each time a new class is created directions are automatically generated as a .pdf explaining the process students and parents will need to take in order to receive the reminder updates.
Remind allows students to text their teachers with any clarifying questions, but teachers can adjust the settings so that students and parents are unable to reply or text back a response. This setting is important for those teachers who are simply looking for one way communication. Lastly, Students and parents also have the option to download the app to their smartphone in order receive notifications and have the option to search for other teachers in their building.

Google Gooru

posted Aug 15, 2015, 10:48 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 15, 2015, 11:20 AM ]

Check Out My Video On The Gooru!

My video explaining how a user can anonymously upload a file to Google Drive has been posted on The Gooru. The Gooru is an awesome resource that offers many tips and tricks related to Google Apps for Education (GAFE), and I highly recommend subscribing to the Gooru Daily Newsletter. The dropbox video I posted uses a Google script that was created by ITRT Michael Price. The script has since been updated by Willem Karssenberg to include an automated email notification alerting you whenever someone drops a file into the Google Drive Folder. If you are looking for quick and easy way to have students submit a digital assignment, you might want to consider setting up your very own Google dropbox.

The Locker

posted Aug 13, 2015, 9:07 AM by Doug Saunders   [ updated Aug 14, 2015, 8:45 AM ]

Henrico County Public School's New Intranet Site

Henrico County Public Schools has updated their intranet site. The new site is much more user friendly and is a one stop shop for staff members looking to access internal links, school events, employee information, and electronic forms. Since this "in house" resource is on the intranet it can't be accessed over a wifi network. In order to view this secure site, your computer must be plugged in at school or connected to the HCPS Staff network.

Socrative Slideshow

posted Aug 12, 2015, 10:41 AM by Doug Saunders

The Many Uses of Socrative

Mr. Elza and I had a great time presenting today at #TeacherFEST2015. If you did not get a chance to partake in the festivities or you missed out on attending our session entitled, "The Many Uses of Socrative", I have embedded the slideshow from our presentation below. Enjoy!

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