Using Tables to Organize Images and Text

Quick introduction to adding using tables to organize images and text in Google Docs.

You can view all of the Tech Bytes on YouTube.


#edublogsclub – Pop Culture

Wow.  What a topic- How do you use pop culture in class??… Well, first, because I teach French, I have to have two pop cultures: mine and French; or even Francophone, which to even think about keeping current of “Francophone” pop culture gives me heart palpitations.

I find pop culture a bit of a hit or miss; by that I mean in my family unit I have a picture of the Kardashians and some students don’t know who they are!  (I know right?!)  And I have a picture of the Royal Family and some students don’t know who they are!  (Mind Blown!)  I prefer to use Pop Culture references that are humorous or will get a reaction out of students.  So, I have decided to stick to the bare basics:  The Simpsons, Beyoncé and Brad Pitt.   (Justin Bieber* used to also be a regular  reference, but not so much lately.) It sounds silly, but you can’t do comprehensible input and ask students questions about people if they don’t already know who they are and it’s hard to go wrong with those three.  I’m so grateful that the Simpsons have been around forever, because they are features in many a unit.  And there’s rarely been a time that I can’t throw in Beyoncé or Brad Pitt and not have that work out.

As far as French pop culture goes, I give myself a grade of “eh… significant room for improvement.”  First, I don’t have the time or inclination to be spending hours exploring the latest in French culture.  I’m happy if I get everything planned and the laundry done in one weekend.  I follow Cyprien and Norman on Instagram and along with all the news French Twitter feeds I follow, I call that Good Enough to Get the General Idea.  If I were going to plan something specific about Topic X, I would spent some quality time on the Internet researching current French popular culture on Topic X.  And I imagine that if College Me were in college now, College Me would be as connected via Internet as any 20 year old French person, but I just don’t have the time that College Me had.  College Me would have already watched everything in French on YouTube.  College Me would be following everything getting as much as possible from all of that.  (College Me doesn’t realize how good she’s got it.)

(* Let’s go with 7ish years ago I used to talk about Justin Bieber a lot.  Freshmen girls loved talking about Justin Bieber, so so did I.  So much in fact that some girls brought me a four-page size poster of Justin from some teeny magazine which I put up on my wall immediately.  One day I was out and I came back and my Justin Bieber poster had been signed, “To my number one fan, Bethany, Love Justin.”  This was my colleague being funny.  So the next year when I got a new group of Freshmen girls who loved Justin Bieber, I had some girls walk up to me after class and they said really quietly, “Madame, is that poster really signed by Justin Bieber?”  We were bestest buddies after that.)

Adding Video in Google Slides

Quick introduction to adding video via Google Drive in Google Slides.

You can view all of the Tech Bytes on YouTube.


#edublogsclub – Student Privacy

Having just attended an EdTech Summit on Friday in which there was an hour and half presentation by a lawyer about the laws and regulations governing student privacy,  you’d imagine I’d have something interesting to add to this topic…but not so much.

In addition to making sure that I do my best to insure student privacy and follow the law, this year I added an extra layer to my own students’ privacy.  I do a lot of workshops and trainings on Google Classroom and it’s helpful that I have an actual class in there to demonstrate.  This semester I set up an “Extra Credit Class” for my college students and told them that if they were ok with me displaying their work on a projector to show teachers how Classroom works to join that Classroom.   It’s my own way of making sure that I am honoring their rights to their digital work.

Adding Images in Google Slides

Quick introduction to adding images in Google Slides

You can view all of the Tech Bytes on YouTube.


#edublogsclub – Listicle

I did a training a few weeks ago and someone asked me what my “favorite” tools were.  I thought it was a great question, so here’s what I can’t live without on a daily basis.

  1. Tab Resize Extension.  It takes two tabs and puts them side by side.  You can also use Tab Scissors.  I just like the option Tab Resize of four windows for the days when my work life needs four tabs.
  2. Google Keep– I keep lists of everything in this.  I keep pictures.  I share them with my friends.  And I set myself reminders so I don’t forget to do things like call the vet to get my itchy dog his medicine renewed.  I cleared my desk of all stickies with Google Keep.
  3. Snagit– I saw this demonstrated last year at ISTE and I couldn’t buy it fast enough.  If you take a lot of screenshots, this is for you.  The features are amazing and what I like best is that once you take the screenshot, you can edit it several times and change it.  You can also make a screencast and turn it into a .gif.  It’s super useful.
  4. Trello– Trello is my to do list.  I create a “list” and add “cards” to it.  I can add documents and link to docs in my Google Drive.  I can make a check off list for any task.  I can forward emails and make them part of my to do list.  This is where I start my day- with my to do list.  When I’ve got a million things to get done, I start with Trello and prioritize and start working down my lists.
  5. Feedly– Feedly helps me keep up with everything in the world.   Every morning I swipe through blogs and articles from around the world.   I have different feeds- from EdTech, News, Languages, etc.

More Video in Google Slides

Google Slides is doing such a good job of wooing me right now.

On Monday I posted about being able to add videos straight from your Drive.  I was so excited I didn’t even notice that if you click once it brings up a “video options” sidebar where you can:

  1. Start and stop a video at certain points.
  2. Autoplay
  3. Mute the audio.  (MovieTalk anyone?)

Video Options

#edublogsclub – Challenging Situations

My 5 Step (Mostly) No Fail Method for Dealing with Challenging Situations.

  1. I step away from the email.  I am trying to live by the mantra do not email angry.  This is a continual struggle.
  2. I find someone who knows more than me to give me advice.  I have a list of colleagues and friends I consult about different subjects.  If the challenging situation is about being a manager or managing employees, I call my dad.  He’s got great advice because he was a manager for 27 years.  And I’m pretty sure he’s never emailed angry.  If it’s about an administrative/school issue I go to my colleague KP.  She knows everything because she’s been a teacher and an administrator.  She’s also who I consult if I have a challenging grammar question because she’s the only person I know who is as interested in grammar and words as I am.  If it’s about a French question, I consult the Internet.  On any general topic, I am 100% certain that I am not the first person to have thought or had the problem and more than likely somewhere on the Internet someone has an answer or lesson I can use.
  3. I continue to stay away from the email.  (Très important!)
  4. I confront/deal with the situation following the advice I sought out.
  5. I reflect on what happened.  Why did this situation arise?  Was there anything I could have done to prevent it?  Could I have handled the confrontation or dealt with the person in a different more effective manner? Then I take steps to implement any changes that need to be made.
dad and me
My dad and I judging the student interview competition at SkillsUSA 2/4/2017

Adding Video in Google Slides

Google announced a new feature and I am ecstatic.  You now can add videos directly from your Google Drive!  They don’t have to be on YouTube!!! (If you’re on a school Google account, this feature may not be available just yet depending on how your administrator has set up for rolling out new features.  Just give it a week or two.  You’ll know because when you click on Insert>Video there will be a choice that says Google Drive.)

This means we can add listening or speaking activities to our Google Slides via videos!!

  1.  Create a video using a device.  This might be easiest on a phone, but you can use any device. (I did the example on my phone.  I covered up the camera, but you can also just point to a nice picture.)
  2. Upload this to your Google Drive.  (You’ll need the Google Drive app on your phone.)  Make sure you set the permissions to anyone with the link can view – not sure if this will automatically fix itself if you share in Google Classroom, but why take a chance.
  3. Create your slide and insert it.


Why would we want to do this?  Endless awesome reasons.

  1.  Differentiation- Give students different slightly different directions or a slightly different task.  Give a baseline version and a challenge version.  Example for clothes- have a #authres of some clothes choices.  In different videos ask them what they would wear to a party, to the beach, for a wedding.  Or describe what someone has chosen to wear to one of those places and ask the students if it was an appropriate choice and to explain.  Or give them a different amount to spend and have them say what they would buy.  They can write their answers or discuss.
  2. Choice- Students love choices for tasks.
  3. Working with a story?  Put some images and then tell different stories and have students move the images around to match what you’re saying.  Or change the story slightly and have them react.
  4. I can’t stop thinking of ways this can be used!

In this example I added a video to a third slide of my prepositions Interactive Slides.

Video and Slides



Simple Sort in Google Sheets

Quick introduction to sorting in Google Sheets.

You can view all of the Tech Bytes on YouTube.